RG3 is Out. What Does That Mean for Josh McCown?

If you had to pick one quarterback this offseason you thought would be injured after Week 1, Robert Griffin III would have topped the vote. … Unfortunately, that’s exactly what happened.

After all that offseason hope and optimism surrounding RG3’s role as the starting quarterback in Cleveland, we’re now left to pick up the pieces. Fortunately for 2QBers who drafted RG3, his draft day cost was affordable, going off the board as the QB28 with an ADP of 136.9. For the most part, RG3 was drafted as a QB3, if he was drafted at all. And if you played in leagues with deep enough benches you may have handcuffed him with Josh McCown. Which leads us to…

Should You Add Josh McCown?

Yes. I could end the article there, I guess. We all know how valuable quarterbacks are in 2QB leagues, which makes backup signal callers important by extension, some more so than others. And McCown was at the top of that list.

In years past, be it playing in Chicago, Tampa Bay, or Cleveland, McCown has proven to be a valuable fantasy asset when on the field. From 2013 to 2015, he has scored 15 or more fantasy points in 12 games. One of those games was a near 40-point explosion in 2012 versus the Dallas Cowboys as a member of the Chicago Bears.

Last season, during a three game stretch from Week 3 to Week 5, McCown scored 19.64, 20.24, and 33.48 fantasy points, respectively. He was the QB9, QB4, and QB1, respectively, during that three-game stretch, averaging 25.8 fantasy points. An 18.24 fantasy point day in Week 8 narrowly saw McCown miss out on a fourth weekly top-12 finish. Jameis Winston outscored him by 1.3 fantasy points to edge him out that week.

In his full seven games last season, McCown had three top-12 (QB1) finishes. Those three QB1 performances were triple the amount Peyton Manning had, tied with Ryan Tannehill, and only one less than Andrew Luck, Jay Cutler, and Matt Ryan.

Now McCown gets to play in an offense with Josh Gordon (when he’s back), Corey Coleman, and Terrelle Pryor, in addition to Duke Johnson and Gary Barnidge. Add to that an early season schedule that looks favourable on paper: Baltimore, Miami, Washington the next three weeks, and McCown is immediately thrust into QB2 streaming consideration. If RG3 is indeed out for the rest of the season, McCown should be a viable QB2 candidate, but you might be better off pairing him with a second QB2-type to stream weekly based matchups. Still, McCown is a must add if available on the waiver wire.

What About Cody Kessler?

Ah, yes, the rookie Kessler now goes from third-string to backup, making him a name to know in 2QB leagues. Unless the team adds a veteran backup, which is not out of the question, Kessler will be the QB2 in Cleveland for the time being. I wouldn’t rush to make a claim on the rookie, as I think the Browns will probably back McCown up with a vet, sliding Kessler back down to the QB3 role.

However, if that doesn’t happen, Kessler would be an intriguing player to stash in 2QB leagues. McCown has never started 16 games in a season during his career. He missed five games due to injury during his starting stint in Tampa two seasons ago and only played in eight games last year.

Kessler didn’t get much run in the preseason, completing 19 of his 28 attempts for 92 yards and a touchdown. So we can’t get a true sense of how he’d operate this offseason full-time. For more on Kessler, our own Ben Cummins showed how Kessler compares to Andy Dalton.

Déjà Vu in Cleveland

With the early season injury to RG3, it’s a repeat of what happened last season in Cleveland. The Browns started three different quarterbacks in 2015 and were one of two teams to start their second quarterback of the year in Week 1. Last year it was McCown in Week 1 and Johnny Manziel in Week 2. This year it was RG3 in Week 1 and McCown in Week 2.

With the talent surrounding McCown, his past fantasy performances, and a favorable schedule, he needs to be owned in 100 percent of 2QB/Superflex leagues. And Kessler becomes a waiver wire speed dial candidate.

*Stats used in this article courtesy of FantasyData and NFL.com

Salvatore Stefanile
Salvatore Stefanile is a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association (FSWA) and has been playing fantasy football since his high school days. He is a proponent of 2QB fantasy football leagues, and his work has been featured on XN Sports, RotoViz, and Rotoworld. His writing on 2QB fantasy football leagues earned him the FSWA award for 'Best Fantasy Football On-Going Series' in 2013. He earned a second FSWA nomination in 2015 for 'Humor Article of the Year'. You can follow him on Twitter @2QBFFB

7 thoughts on “RG3 is Out. What Does That Mean for Josh McCown?

    1. Depends on the QBs available. In a 14-team league, can’t imagine there’s much, so you’re going to likely spend close to or above 50% of your budget.

      1. Love your name. I have tryrod taylor in a 3 pt touchdown 2 qb league and worry about his team and Watkins injury, Would you drop him for McCown? or even Alex Smith? Thanks

        1. Haha. Thanks. Same to you. I’m not ready to write off Tyrod yet. But I would find a way to add Smith. Anyone else you can drop?

    1. I’ve always had Smith over Fitzpatrick myself, but I’m against the grain when it comes to Smith in general though. I value him more than most.

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