Over on the fantasy football subreddit a reader posed the question “Who’s your sleeper Quarterback that you feel is going to be an every week starter in fantasy leagues?“. This was an easy one for me and I answered Tyrod Taylor with some very simple reasons why. To my surprise many people disagreed with this pick. While I respect everyone’s opinion (and really that’s one of the many things that makes fantasy football so great) Taylor just seems like a no-brainer to me. Below I am going to outline my reasons why Taylor is such a great pick and offer some counters for the arguments against him this season.
The Case For Tyrod Taylor
Taylor has a track record of fantasy success. Over the past two seasons Taylor has finished as QB7 and QB8 on a per game basis. The only other QB’s to finish top 8 both seasons are Tom Brady (2nd and 3rd) and Drew Brees (4th both seasons). That’s it, that’s the list.
Taylor will have more weapons in the passing game this season as well. In 2016 Robert Woods led the team with 613 receiving yards. Tight end Charles Clay led the team in receptions with 87. With Sammy Watkins battling a foot issue from week one and no depth at the position the Bills were left with a rag-tag receiving crew for much of the year. Watkins was only able to play in 8 games last season but in those games Taylor threw 12 touchdowns. He had 5 in the other 8 games combined. Since 2015 when Watkins is on the field Taylor averages more touchdowns, more yards and a higher YPA:
The Bills used a second round pick on WR Zay Jones from East Carolina. He should finally give this offense the clear #2 it’s been lacking. Jones impressed at the combine and will be joining his wide receiver coach from college in Buffalo. If Taylor can put up top 10 numbers with Robert Woods and Charles Clay leading this offense he should have no problems matching that with Watkins and Jones.
His rushing ability gives him a safe floor. Last season Taylor had 6 games with at least 40 yards rushing and in 2 others he had 38 and 39. In standard scoring leagues that is basically a free touchdown in half of his games. In 2015 he had 9 games with at least 40 yards in just 14 games played. He also added 7 rushing touchdowns in 2016 so he isn’t reliant on having huge passing days like some of the the other top quarterbacks.
Drafting Taylor as your fantasy QB is basically free. In MFL10’s he is currently being drafted as QB16. According to Fantasy Football Calculator he is QB17. If you play in a standard one QB league he will likely go undrafted. That means you could draft Taylor in round 13, a defense in round 14 and a kicker in round 15. This is a huge advantage over your league mates especially if Taylor again posts a top 10 points per game season. Even if he ends up being bad you can easily drop him as his cost is very low compared to someone who drafted a stud quarterback early. Just ask 2016 Cam Newton owners how it feels.
The Case Against Tyrod Taylor
The most common arguments against Taylor seem to be his inconsistency, his low perceived ceiling, his lack of ability to play quarterback and playing on a bad team. Let’s address these and see if they have any merit.
Is Tyrod Taylor an inconsistent fantasy quarterback? In short, no. He only had 3 games scoring under 15 points last season. To put that in perspective Aaron Rodgers had 2, Matt Ryan had 3, Drew Brees had 4, Andrew Luck had 3 and Tom Brady had 2 in just 12 games. Every player at every position has bad weeks but knowing you’re likely going to get at least 15 points from your 15th round quarterback is about as safe as it gets.
What about his ceiling? Last season he had games of 24.4 points, 24.3 points, 25.9 points and 31.2 points. That seems like a fine ceiling to me. Sure, he likely won’t have as many 20+ point games as the top guys but he doesn’t require near the draft capital as those guys. While your league mates are reaching on quarterbacks you’ll be drafting position players hoping to land this years Melvin Gordon or DeMarco Murray.
But he’s a terrible quarterback in real life! First, that is not true. Over the last two seasons Taylor has thrown for 37 touchdowns versus just 12 interceptions. He’s also added 10 rushing touchdowns over that stretch. That’s 47 touchdowns against 12 interceptions. No, he won’t put up those gaudy passing numbers like Rodgers, Brady or Brees but saying he is a terrible real life quarterback just isn’t true. In fact he’s pretty good.
Second, for fantasy purposes, who cares if he is good or not? Terrance West is a bad real life NFL running back and he helped many fantasy owners win games last year based on opportunity. In 2015 Blake Bortles was the 4th best fantasy quarterback and he is an awful real life quarterback. That same year Tim Hightower won many owners a fantasy championship! Talent, or lack thereof, does not always equate to fantasy success.
What about the Bills? They are going to be awful this year right? Yes, they probably will but it’s not like they were that great in 2016 either. Being on a good team is not a pre-requisite to being a good fantasy quarterback. Three of the top 5 fantasy quarterbacks had 8 wins or less in 2016 (Brees 7 wins QB3, Cousins 8 wins QB4, Luck 8 wins QB5). Hell, Bortles finished as QB11 on a team with 3 wins. Yes, winning is good for a fantasy quarterback but it’s not a deathblow if a quarterback is on a bad team.
Taylor represents great value at a very low cost for fantasy owners. With a healthy Sammy Watkins and the addition of Zay Jones he now has a better offense around him. He has shown consistent fantasy production over the last two seasons and could be setup for one of his best years. Savvy drafters who load up on RBs and WRs early can wait till the later rounds to grab a potential top 10 quarterback and give themselves a big advantage over their league-mates.
Still Disagree? Want to discuss Tyrod Taylor or other quarterbacks? Hit me up in the comments below.