The fantasy year is almost upon us. With many new additions to the AFC South this year, the division looks to be perhaps the most dominant fantasy-wise that it has in many years. With the Tennessee Titans rebuilding quickly, the Jacksonville Jaguars getting palpable rookies and signing big name free agents, the Indianapolis Colts gaining a healthy, recharged Andrew Luck back, and the Houston Texans revamping their offense to compliment their defense, these teams are moving towards intense, ultra competitive divisional games in the years to come.
This article will be the first segment of a weekly AFC South fantasy outlook. This week, quarterbacks in the division will be discussed in depth. Let us begin the discussion.
AFC South QBs
This division is actually starting to look pretty “chill” (as the kids say) nowadays when it comes to quarterbacks. Andrew Luck is entering his prime, Marcus Mariota is a year or two away from being fully developed (which will be very scary for other teams), and Blake Bortles is starting to look like a guy who can really hurl the ball around the field despite his interception issues. Brock Osweiler isn’t up the talent level that these guys have, but he should be a solid piece for an all-around good team in the Houston Texans.
Look for Luck to be a top 5 fantasy quarterback this year as long as he stays healthy. In fact, I would go so far to say he will be the second best quarterback behind Cam Newton, but I’ll be safe with the top 5 projection. His skill reminds me of a mixture between Ben(jamin Todd) Roethlisberger and Aaron Rodgers. He’s the real deal fantasy-wise. Remember the year before last when he was the second best fantasy scorer? I do. Let’s not forget those days.
For Mariota, expect several glimpses of greatness this year, but not consistent enough to be your trusted weekly starter. By the end of the year, I think Mariota will be a top 10 or 15 QB, but the Titans seem determined to let their run game be dominant this year. This means the run game will be taking away some numbers from Mariota in order to let him slowly develop unlike last year. Yet, like I said, there will be several games where he will really shine. Don’t be surprised if he even pushes a top 5 ranking if the team needs to pass more in order to come back in the second half of games. However, for now I’ll give a safe projection with my little caveat.
The real dark horse in fantasy this year will be Bortles. He ended up in the top 5 of quarterbacks last year, according to ESPN’s rankings. However, his numbers were skewed. Most of his touchdowns and yardage came in the second half of games when his team was down and he had to lead a charge in order to try to get the team back in the game. I don’t see the Jaguars struggling defensively like they did last year. Yet, I still see Bortles averaging around 250-300 yards and a 2:1 touchdown-interception ratio a game (16-18 points average in standard ESPN leagues) with the Jaguars playing a more consistent, all-around game. These aren’t staggering number projections, but will keep him in the top 10 or 12 and a consistent fantasy starter for your team. I would consider him more of a compliment to your other players than the point leader every week like he most likely was last year for your team. He won’t be the best starter or the guy he was last year, but if you get him in the right round, he could be a real homerun. I mean someone has to keep passing the ball to Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns.
Otherwise, no other quarterbacks in the division have true fantasy value. I don’t see Osweiler as a fantasy starter right away. The Texans most likely will rely on their newly acquired running back Lamar Miller to lead the charge this year rather than the arm of Osweiler. Miller along with other backs will be discussed next week.
Best rounds to get these guys based on their value in a standard 10 team league:
Luck in Round 2 or 3, Bortles in Round 5 or 6, Mariota in Round 10 or 11 (as your backup and sleeper)