How should we value Rookie QBs in Best Ball Drafts?

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With all the talk of the rise in ADP in Bestball for Anthony Richardson, I thought it would be good to go back and look at how rookie quarterbacks have fared from a fantasy perspective. Using FantasyPros weekly fantasy football leaders I will give their weekly average and where they ranked in the league. I will also give the number of games played and starts, and highlight the 20-24.9, 25-29.9, 30-34.9, and 35+ point games they had that year. These are the usable games we are looking for in Bestball and what we need to justify drafting a guy.

Notes on Methodology:

Though a 10-year sample would be sufficient I did want to be fair and include some clear outliers so this will cover 2022-2011.
I’m including every 1st round pick in this time and 2nd-4th rd QBs who either won the starting job, or had some buzz/chance of playing early. While there can be some debate on those players, I try to be fair in the assessment. Also, some of these players wouldn’t have been on drafters’ radar until right before the season (i.e. Dak Prescott), so that is important to keep in mind how they would have been drafted in terms of Bestball.
This means that situations like Brock Purdy, Jalen Hurts, or Gardner Minshew won’t be looked at. Though they may have been streamer options in redraft leagues or fliers in DFS, no one likely had any reason to draft them in this type of format.
Rankings and weekly average will be based on weeks 1-17 for 2021-2022, and 1-16 for 2011-2020. These are of course not only the relevant fantasy scoring weeks for Bestball, but this helps to ensure that final week outliers don’t skew the data too much.
When possible I will try to only use rookie scores if they played the majority of the game, and not just mop-up type duty. So their points ranking might be a little different, I will try to note those situations to offer additional context. Note if they started a game and got injured, that game will still count.
Players must have played in at least 5 games to count for a ranking.
Unless otherwise noted I won’t be including any Final week (week 17 or week 18 depending on the season) stats in the analysis. For example, if a player started 16 of 16 games, I am only looking at what they did in games 1-15. If they had 5 20+ point games in that window, I will say 5 of 15, not 5 of 16.


Watch Pros and Cons for Drafting Anthony Richardson In Best Ball Drafts at his current ADP


Kenny Pickett: 12 starts, 13 games | Avg: 12.1, Rank: 33rd | 20-24.9: 0 |25-29.9: 0 | 30-34.9: 0 | 35+: 0

It was a rough start for Pickett as his highest fantasy points game was 19.1. His average and ranking might have been a little higher if he didn’t leave a game really early due to a concussion, but it wouldn’t have helped that much. The offense as a whole looked better with him as the season wore on, but it didn’t lead to many fantasy points for Pickett.

Desmond Ridder: 4 starts, 4 games | Avg: 7.6, Rank: N/A | 20-24.9: 0 |25-29.9: 0 | 30-34.9: 0 | 35+: 0

Ridder wasn’t drafted too much last season as his 3rd RD draft capital was worrisome, but he did get a little buzz after camp started and preseason (more so in 20 RD league drafts). Ridder’s highest point total in the 3 games counting towards his average was 9.5.

Malik Willis:  3 starts, 8 games | Avg: 7.3, Rank: N/A | 20-24.9: 0 |25-29.9: 0 | 30-34.9: 0 | 35+: 0

Willis was a pre-draft favorite and that led to some to still consider drafting him. While he flashed some dynamic playmaking in the preseason, it did not transfer over into the regular season. In his 3 starts, he got 2.4, 7.2, and 12.3 fantasy points.


Trevor Lawrence: 17 starts, 17 games | Avg: 12.3, Rank: 34th | 20-24.9: 2 |25-29.9: 0 | 30-34.9: 0 | 35+: 0

Definitely a forgettable rookie year for the consensus number 1 pick. Between the lack of a supporting cast and poor coaching, it was always going to be a struggle, but it meant that Lawrence had very little fantasy value outside of actually playing every game.

Zach Wilson: 13 starts, 13 games | Avg: 12.7, Rank: 32 | 20-24.9: 2 |25-29.9: 0 | 30-34.9: 0 | 35+: 0

Wilson didn’t have a ton of support as a rookie, but you could see some troubling signs from the start. A mid-season injury didn’t help matters and this left him very much a fantasy liability. He was handed the starting role out of the gate, and that clear path probably had him in consideration for Bestball drafts more than he should have.

Trey Lance: 2 starts, 6 games | Avg: 18.7, Rank: N/A | 20-24.9: 2 |25-29.9: 0 | 30-34.9: 0 | 35+: 0

Lance had a lot of buzz and was pretty popular in Bestball drafts (likely would be even more in the same situation today), but ended up being a line-up killer as he didn’t win the starting job, and could never pry it away from Garoppolo. In the 3 games where he filled in due to injury, his fantasy numbers were solid with an 18.7, but he didn’t meet the 5-game minimum to count in the rankings.  His highest game of the 3 was 20.4, so there shouldn’t be too much hype from a lost opportunity. Had he played more he probably would have had a 15-18 point average given the talent surrounding him, but it would be tough to project more than that.

Justin Fields: 10 starts, 12 games | Avg: 12.6, Rank: 33rd | 20-24.9: 1 |25-29.9: 1 | 30-34.9: 0 | 35+: 0

Fields didn’t start either of the 1st two games and then suffered a Ribs and ankle injury later in the season that knocked him out of 4 more games. The Bears also sat him week 18 out of precaution. In his 10 starts Fields struggled quite a bit and had 5 games under 9 fantasy points. His two 20+ games were 20.4 and 26.3.

Mac Jones: 17 starts, 17 games | Avg: 14.1, Rank: T27th | 20-24.9: 3 |25-29.9: 0 | 30-34.9: 0 | 35+: 0

It wasn’t until right before the season that Mac Jones was named the starter. Still being a 1st round pick he was likely on the Bestball team’s radar as a late-round flier. Jones did play in every game and had 3 20 point games, but he never cracked 22.3. He was at best a 3rd QB option, who helped raise the floor of your weekly scoring by a small amount.

Davis Mills: 11 starts, 13 games | Avg: 11.7, Rank: 35th | 20-24.9: 2 |25-29.9: 0 | 30-34.9: 0 | 35+: 0

Mills was a tough call to include on here or not as he definitely wasn’t a starter heading into the season. A week 2 injury to Tyrod Taylor got him in the line-up for a couple of weeks. Then at the end of the season, the Texans went back to him to see if there was any future potential. Overall he wasn’t going to be drafted that often, but there was a little camp buzz on him, and Taylor was only seen as a stopgap QB. Fantasy players didn’t miss much as he only had 2 games over 20 points, with the highest being 24.7.


Joe Burrow: 10 starts, 10 games | Avg: 17.9, Rank: 16th | 20-24.9: 2 |25-29.9: 0 | 30-34.9: 1 | 35+: 0

Burrow hit the ground running as a rookie as 8 of his 10 starts he had 15+ fantasy points, with 2 in the low 20’s and a nice spike week game of 34.6. Unfortunately, a knee injury knocked him out of the last 5 weeks. From a fantasy perspective, he was a good QB 2. It was a higher-scoring fantasy season, which is partly why he couldn’t crack the QB 1 range with that 17.9 average.

Tua Tagovailoa: 9 starts, 10 games | Avg: 15.2, Rank: 28th | 20-24.9: 1 |25-29.9: 1 | 30-34.9: 0 | 35+: 0

The Dolphins sat Tua (outside of mop-up duty) until their bye, starting him week 8 for the first time. He later missed another game due to a thumb injury. Tua was up-and-down as a rookie with a pair of games in the 20’s, including a 28 point high. Other weeks though he couldn’t crack 10 points. It wasn’t fully clear that he was definitely sitting to start the season, but that should have been baked into Bestball strategy as he wasn’t also given the starting role.

Justin Herbert: 15 starts, 15 games | Avg: 22.1, Rank: 9th | 20-24.9: 5 |25-29.9: 3 | 30-34.9: 0 | 35+: 1

Herbert didn’t begin the season as the starter and wouldn’t even have played in Week 2 if not for a freakish pre-game injury to Tyrod Taylor that forced Herbert in the line-up. Herbert is everything one could hope for from a rookie fantasy QB as he had a strong floor, and plenty of ceiling. In the 14 games between weeks 2-16 that we are focused on, Herbert had 9 quality fantasy games including 38.5 points one week. Three other games were in the 27-28 range, and he only had one game below 15 fantasy points. While he was definitely expected to be inserted at some point in the season, it’s unclear when the Chargers would have turned to him. It could have been like the Tua situation waiting until after the week 6 bye.

Jordan Love: 0 starts, 0 games | Avg: N/A, Rank: N/A | 20-24.9: N/A |25-29.9: N/A | 30-34.9: N/A | 35+: N/A

Not only did Jordan Love not start a game, but he didn’t even play his rookie year as Aaron Rodgers went on to win the MVP. Hopefully, Bestball drafters avoided this situation otherwise it was costing them dearly.


Kyler Murray: 16 starts, 16 games | Avg: 18.8, Rank: 13th | 20-24.9: 2 |25-29.9: 4 | 30-34.9: 0 | 35+: 0

Murray showed off his dynamic playmaking ability as a rookie, finishing an impressive 12th in points per game average. With 6 good fantasy weeks out of 15 games, Kyler was worth the investment in Bestball-style drafts. He did have a more volatile floor as he did have 5 games under 15 fantasy points as well. Overall though as long as you didn’t overdraft him, Kyler was a good fantasy player this year. If he was paired with 1-2 other solid-to-good QBs you probably had a strong QB score most weeks.

Daniel Jones: 12 starts, 13 games | Avg: 19.3, Rank: 11th | 20-24.9: |25-29.9: 1 | 30-34.9: 2 | 35+: 1

Jones didn’t start the first 2 games and then missed two games later in the year due to an ankle injury. Daniel Jones is the poster child of rookie spike week upside, with 4 games between 28.2 and 35.3 in 11 starts in this window. He’s also the poster child of a rocky floor as not a single one of his other 7 games did he hit the 15 point mark. Jones’ spike weeks are what everyone is looking for in best ball, but his unusability in so many other weeks, meant that would probably needed not 1, but two other QBs if you were going to try to make it work.

Dwayne Haskins: 7 starts, 10 games | Avg: 10.4, Rank: 34th | 20-24.9: 0 |25-29.9: 0 | 30-34.9: 0 | 35+: 0

Haskins sat for the start of the season getting in a little work in a couple of games. He finally got the starting role later in the year, amassing 7 starts and playing significantly in an 8th game. In that time he only broke 15 points twice, with a high of 19 points. Though he was expected to sit some, Washington didn’t have a quality starting option that year, so Haskins should have been seen as a late round target.

Drew Lock: 5 starts, 5 games | Avg: 14.8, Rank: N/A | 20-24.9: 1 |25-29.9: 0 | 30-34.9: 0 | 35+: 0

Though not necessarily expected to start the season, Lock suffered a thumb injury in preseason that forced him to go on IR for the first 11 games. By that time the Broncos were ready to insert him in the line-up, and he started the remaining games. With only 4 games during the window he didn’t qualify for a ranking, but he did flash with one 20+ point game in that time. He would have still been a pretty disappointing selection for those who tried to draft him late.


Baker Mayfield: 13 starts, 14 games | Avg: 16.9, Rank: 18th | 20-24.9: 2 |25-29.9: 2 | 30-34.9: 0 | 35+: 0

Mayfield didn’t start the first 2 games and came in the middle of the third game. From that point on he stayed in the line-up and showed a mixture of the big play, big risk style that he’s been known for. Mayfield did manage 4 solid 20+ point games with a high of 25.9, but he also had 7 under 15 points. Add in sitting the first 2 starts and it’s a high-end QB 3/low-end QB 2 profile.

Sam Darnold: 13 starts, 13 games | Avg: 13.4, Rank: 31st | 20-24.9: 1 |25-29.9: 1 | 30-34.9: 0 | 35+: 0

Of the 5 1st rounders, Darnold was the only one who was set to start from week 1. Unfortunately, an injury cost him 3 games in the middle of the season. In eight of the 12 games he finished with under 15 fantasy points, and just two were 20 plus, with a high of 26. Not a lot of fantasy value for the 3rd overall pick and the rookie with the most established workload going into the season.

Josh Allen: 11 starts, 12 games | Avg: 15.2, Rank: 22nd | 20-24.9: 0 |25-29.9: 3 | 30-34.9: 0 | 35+: 0

Allen didn’t start game 1, but quickly got into the game as the starter struggled mightily. Allen then started 11 of the next 15 games, missing four games due to injury. Allen struggled as a passer, but his rushing value helped allow him to have a couple strong fantasy games ranging between 26-28.7. In 6 of the 11 games, Allen failed to reach 15 points, including 4 under 10 points. The upside was real, but the reality was he was more of a QB 3 with some spike potential.

Josh Rosen: 13 starts, 14 games | Avg: 8.9, Rank: 36th | 20-24.9: 0 |25-29.9: 0 | 30-34.9: 0 | 35+: 0

Rosen didn’t start playing until week 3, and got the starting role week 4. Despite that much usage, his play was just atrocious. He offered zero value as a fantasy player.

Lamar Jackson: 7 starts, 16 games | Avg: 17.2, Rank: 16th | 20-24.9: 1 |25-29.9: 0 | 30-34.9: 0 | 35+: 0

Jackson played in every game, but he didn’t end up starting until after the bye week for the final 7 games. His average was strong during the 6 games in this window, but his highest point total was just 20.2 points, so there wasn’t a ceiling here. Unfortunately for fantasy players, Jackson’s lack of usage early on would have made it tough for him to pay off for drafters.


Mitch Trubisky: 12 starts, 12 games | Avg: 11.5, Rank: 32nd | 20-24.9: 1 |25-29.9: 0 | 30-34.9: 0 | 35+: 0

Trubisky was the 1st QB taken in the draft, and he came in week 5 and started the remaining 12 games. In the 11-game sample, he had just one 20-point game (21.3) and 6 games of 10 or fewer points. He was a fantasy non-asset his season, and wouldn’t have been worth selecting in Bestball.

Patrick Mahomes: 0 starts, 0 games | Avg: N/A, Rank: N/A | 20-24.9: N/A |25-29.9: N/A | 30-34.9: N/A | 35+: N/A

Mahomes only started 1 game as a rookie, in week 17 so outside of the sample. Though he would become an elite QB very quickly, he did not offer value for fantasy drafters that year. Now it was expected that he wouldn’t start to begin the year, as the Chiefs had Alex Smith, but had Smith struggled, or the Chiefs struggled he could have forced his way into the line-up. Hopefully, drafters would have taken the situation into account, as they evaluated him.

DeShaun Watson: 6 starts, 7 games | Avg: 24.1.1, Rank: 1st | 20-24.9: 2 |25-29.9: 0 | 30-34.9: 2 | 35+: 1

Watson was electric as a rookie and took the league by storm. He didn’t start week 1, but got a chance middle of the game and didn’t look back. He made 6 more starts, but lost the rest of the season due to injuries including an ACL tear. In that time though he was playing at an incredible level for fantasy. Three 30+ games over the course of a season is good, over the course of 6 starts is amazing. Add in two other 20+ point games and it was a great fantasy debut. Now it wouldn’t take anything away from the production he did give, but it is worth noting that his TD rate (9.3%) was absurd and not supported by his low completion rate (61.8%) and INT rate (3.9%). If he had been able to play out the rest of the season, he probably would have still had some good 20+ fantasy weeks, but we shouldn’t automatically extrapolate and say he would have kept producing 30+ games at that level.

Deshone Kizer: 15 starts, 15 games | Avg: 1, Rank: 37th | 20-24.9: 3 |25-29.9: 0 | 30-34.9: 0 | 35+: 0

Kizer was a highly touted 2nd round pick and the Browns gave him the reins to start the season. He made 15 starts missing one game due to injury. To be fair for Kizer Cleveland had no real talent around him, but the results weren’t great. He did manage 3 20+ point games, with a high of 23. He also had 7 games where he wasn’t able to crack 10 points. From a fantasy perspective, if you needed to rely on Kizer, you were in trouble.


Jared Goff: 7 starts, 7 games | Avg: 8.1, Rank: 37th | 20-24.9: 0 |25-29.9: 0 | 30-34.9: 0 | 35+: 0

It was an ugly rookie season for Goff as the Rams waited until after the bye week to start him, allowing him to play the final 7 games of the season. Goff only managed to crack 10 points once in the 6 starts in this window (16.6), and was not usable in fantasy at all. Despite being the 1st overall pick, the Rams took it slow with him and he still wasn’t ready to produce. Lack of games played, and a lack of production is a bad combination in Bestball.

Carson Wentz: 16 starts, 16 games | Avg: 12.9, Rank: 28th | 20-24.9: 1 |25-29.9: 0 | 30-34.9: 0 | 35+: 0

The Eagles had other options in camp, but they left open the door for Wentz to win the job. He did so leading the team to trade Sam Bradford and let Wentz start all 16 games. Wentz only had 1 game over 20 points (21) and three others over 15, so it wasn’t the strongest fantasy season.

Paxton Lynch: 2 starts, 3 games | Avg: 9.5, Rank: N/A | 20-24.9: 0 |25-29.9: 0 | 30-34.9: 0 | 35+: 0

Lynch had the opportunity to win the job as a rookie as his only competition was 2nd-year 7th rd pick Trevor Siemian and Mark Sanchez. He was raw coming in, but at least there was an opportunity he could take the job. His only 2 starts came due to Siemian being injured and he did little to suggest he should stay in the line-up. Lynch also had a pretty strong supporting cast as the Broncos won the Super Bowl the season before.  Given the thin depth chart and his athletic profile, I’d imagine he would have gotten some love in Bestball circles during the offseason.

Dak Prescott: 16 starts, 16 games | Avg: 19, Rank: 7th | 20-24.9: 4 |25-29.9: 2 | 30-34.9: 0 | 35+: 0

Prescott had a fantastic rookie season, and what’s crazy is it almost didn’t happen. If not for a preseason back injury to Tony Romo, Prescott would not have had the opportunity to start. He won the back-up job as a 4th round rookie and continued to play well when they turn the starting role over to him as well. In the 15-game sample, he had 6 20+ point games including a high of 27.3. Prescott only had 3 games under 15 points, meaning he rarely was a negative to your line-up. Overall Dak Prescott is one of the best rookie success stories over these 12 seasons, but given his 4th rd draft status, he likely wasn’t a blip on the Bestball radar until right before the season started.


Jameis Winston: 16 starts, 16 games | Avg: 17.2, Rank: 19th | 20-24.9: 1  |25-29.9: 1 | 30-34.9: 0 | 35+: 0

Winston was given the job from the start, and played in all 16 games. He only managed 2 20+ point games, though his highest almost cracked 30 points at 29.8. The rest of his season was pretty above average with only 6 games under 15. Generally, he was a solid floor-play QB who did have one pretty nice spike game.

Marcus Mariota: 12 starts, 12 games | Avg: 17.5, Rank: 17th | 20-24.9: 1 |25-29.9: 1 | 30-34.9: 1 | 35+: 1

Mariota was a spike week QB his rookie year as he started the season as a starter, but did need to miss 4 games due to injury. In the 11 games in this sample, he had 4 really usable weeks including spike weeks of 25, 33.3, and 35.9. His other 7 games weren’t that strong as he failed to break 10 points in 4 of the 7. As a QB2 with a spike week upside he delivered, but he could not have been your QB1 in Bestball.


Blake Bortles: 13 starts, 14 games | Avg: 12.1, Rank: 30th | 20-24.9: 0 |25-29.9: 0 | 30-34.9: 0 | 35+: 0

Bortles didn’t play at all in the first 2 games, and then came in the 3rd game before finally taking over as the starter. He struggled throughout the season and never topped the 20-point mark. In fact only 4 of the 13 games in this sample topped 15 points. For the top QB selected this was not the expectation of fantasy owners.

Johnny Manziel: 2 starts, 5 games | Avg: 4.0, Rank: N/A | 20-24.9: 0 |25-29.9: 0 | 30-34.9: 0 | 35+: 0

It was apparent pretty quickly that the Manziel experiment was going to be a failure. He couldn’t earn the starting role in the preseason, and while he appeared in a couple of games for a handful of plays he wasn’t really involved. Finally, at the end of the season, he got a little more playing time and the results were awful. He was injured in his 2nd start and missed the final game of the season. Hopefully, fantasy drafters saw the writing on the wall beforehand and didn’t waste a selection on him.

Teddy Bridgewater: 12 starts, 13 games | Avg: 14.0, Rank: 27th | 20-24.9: 1 |25-29.9: 0 | 30-34.9: 0 | 35+: 0

Bridgewater didn’t play in the first 2 games, before seeing a larger role in game three. He then started game four of the season but missed the next game due to injury. After that he came back and started the rest of the way. Bridgewater did have 1 20 point game, five games in the 15-19 point range, and 6 games below 15 points. Given the lower scores and late start to the season, he was no more than a low-end QB3.

Derek Carr: 16 starts, 16 games | Avg: 12.3, Rank: 29th | 20-24.9: 1 |25-29.9: 1 | 30-34.9: 0 | 35+: 0

Carr won the job in camp and started all 16 games for the Raiders as a 2nd round pick. In the 15-game sample, Carr had two 20+ point games with a high of 25.5 points. He only had three other games in the 15-19 point range, meaning 10 of his games were under 15, and basically unplayable. He did win the starting job from the 1st week, but didn’t offer too much else making him a low-end QB3.


E.J. Manuel: 10 starts, 10 games | Avg: 13.3, Rank: 26th | 20-24.9: 1 |25-29.9: 0 | 30-34.9: 0 | 35+: 0

Manuel started the season and played the first 5 games before suffering a knee injury. He missed the next four weeks, before coming back in playing in 5 more games. He then missed the final two games due to injury again, making it a rough rookie year for the lone 1st round QB. Manuel did manage one 20-point game in the 10-game sample, he had 5 other games in the 15-19 point range. If not for the injury he might have ended up a solid floor play QB2, but without spike weeks he couldn’t be seen as more than that.

Geno Smith: 16 starts, 16 games | Avg: 11.7, Rank: 33rd | 20-24.9: 4 |25-29.9: 1 | 30-34.9: 0 | 35+: 0

Smith won the starting job in camp as a 2nd rounder, and though his on-the-field performance was troubling, he did do better for Fantasy drafters. Smith played in all 16 games, and in the 15-game sample, he had 5 games over 20 points, including a high of 27.4. He didn’t manage another game over 15 points, meaning you’d only want him in your line-up for those 5 games, but that is better than a lot of rookies. He was probably a low-end QB2, as he didn’t have any 30+ point spike weeks, but would have helped raise your floor some weeks.

Mike Glennon: 13 starts, 13 games | Avg: 11.9, Rank: 31st | 20-24.9: 0 |25-29.9: 0 | 30-34.9: 0 | 35+: 0

Glennon as a 3rd round pick wasn’t expected to start, but after a strong camp, there were some rumblings that he might be the starter at some point in the season. After the first three games Josh Freeman was benched, and Glennon was inserted. In the 12 games of the sample size, Glennon never cracked 20 points, and had a 6 vs 6 split of games above 15 points and below. He probably wasn’t on the radar in fantasy until late in camp, and he didn’t do much to pay-off for those who bet on him as the Bucs starter.

Bonus 2012:

Andrew Luck: 16 starts, 16 games | Avg: 17.4, Rank: 9th | 20-24.9: 1 |25-29.9: 3 | 30-34.9: 0 | 35+: 0

Luck was the surefire number 1 pick, and easily won the starting QB job. He played in all 16 games, and had 4 games over 20 points, and another 5 in the 15-19 range. This puts him as a really good QB 2, but probably just shy what you are hoping for in a QB1 (despite the average ranking).

Robert Griffin III: 15 starts, 15 games | Avg: 21.5, Rank: 1st | 20-24.9: 3 |25-29.9: 2 | 30-34.9: 2 | 35+: 1

Griffin was Washington’s starting QB basically as soon as he was drafted. He started 15 of 16 games, missing one due to a knee injury. RGIII was electric as a rookie and ended the year as QB1 in ppg. With eight games in the 14 game sample over 20 points and three of those going over 30 points, he was a massive fantasy asset as a rookie. Just four of his games went under 15 points, making him quite valuable all year.

Ryan Tannehill: 16 starts, 16 games | Avg: 11.8, Rank: 29th | 20-24.9: 1 |25-29.9: 0 | 30-34.9: 0 | 35+: 0

Tannehill won the starting job an played in all 16 games as a rookie. He only had a single 20-point game as a rookie, and eight of his 15 games in the sample were under 15 points. As a fantasy asset that is low-end QB 3.

Brandon Weeden: 15 starts, 15 games | Avg: 11.0, Rank: 31st | 20-24.9: 1 |25-29.9: 0 | 30-34.9: 0 | 35+: 0

Weeden won the job as a rookie, and started the first 15 weeks of the season. His play was rough all season as he managed one 20+ point game, and just three others over 15 points. He ended up offering little as a fantasy asset, despite playing every week.

Russell Wilson: 16 starts, 16 games | Avg: 16.7, Rank: 12th | 20-24.9: 4 |25-29.9: 1 | 30-34.9: 0 | 35+: 1

Wilson as a 3rd round pick beat out Matt Flynn in the preseason and started every game of the regular season. He was very much a spike week QB, but had four games in the 20-25 point bracket, and another in the 25-29, and one major spike week of 39.4 points. Most of his other games were unusable as 6 of them fell below 15 points. Still, Wilson would have provided a lot of value as a Spike Week QB2 option, for those drafters who took a shot on him.

Bonus 2011:

Cam Newton: 16 starts, 16 games | Avg: 23.9, Rank: 2nd | 20-24.9: 3 |25-29.9: 2 | 30-34.9: 3 | 35+: 1

Newton took over the starting role in Carolina and started all 16 games. He was an elite fantasy asset throughout the season, combining a number of spike weeks, good weeks and even above average to be the 2nd overall fantasy QB in ppg. Having 9 of 15 games to go for 20+ fantasy points with 4 of those over 30 is incredible. Definitely the most complete fantasy performance in this 12 year window for rookies.

Jake Locker: 0 starts, 5 games | Avg: 16.0, Rank: N/A | 20-24.9: 1 |25-29.9: 0 | 30-34.9: 0 | 35+: 0

Locker got limited work as a rookie with the team bringing in veteran Matt Hasselbeck. Given the limited work, and only 3 games with meaningful snaps his ppg total is skewed. Locker did manage a 20 point game in relief, but never had a single start on the season. There was an expectation that Locker wouldn’t be the starter at least early in the season, so hopefully that was baked into projections.

Blaine Gabbert: 13 starts, 14 games | Avg: 7.8, Rank: 35th | 20-24.9: 0 |25-29.9: 0 | 30-34.9: 0 | 35+: 0

Gabbert didn’t start week 1 and came into play late in week 2, but then was given the starting role for the rest of the season. Unfortunately, it was an awful year fantasy-wise as in the 14-game sample size, Gabbert only had a single game above 15 points. Eleven of his games couldn’t even break 10 points, making it a completely unusable season.

Christian Ponder: 10 starts, 11 games | Avg: 11.9, Rank: 25th | 20-24.9: 1 |25-29.9: 0 | 30-34.9: 0 | 35+: 0

Ponder sat the first 5 weeks, played in week 6 and then started the rest of the way his rookie season. In the 10-game sample size, he managed 1 20-point game and two other games of 15+ points. Given the lack of starts and the minimal usable weeks he would not have been much of a fantasy asset.

Andy Dalton: 16 starts, 16 games | Avg: 13.1, Rank: 17th | 20-24.9: 1 |25-29.9: 0 | 30-34.9: 0 | 35+: 0

Dalton won the job in camp as Carson Palmer‘s successor and started all 16 games as a rookie. He had two games in the low 20’s, with a high of 21.6, and another 4 games in the 15-19 point range. Dalton offered little more than a low QB2 or QB3, but he returned more value than the other rookies outside of Newton.

Author: Austin Bryant