Blake Bortles had a phenomenal breakout season from a Fantasy Football perspective in 2015. He finished fourth in Fantasy points at the position behind only Cam Newton, Tom Brady and Russell Wilson. Looking at it historically, he was only the third quarterback in NFL history age 23 or younger to toss 35 touchdown passes. The other two were Dan Marino and Matthew Stafford. Marino and Kurt Warner were the only two to throw that many touchdown passes in their sophomore campaign.
Bortles has a slew of young wide receivers who figure to get even better, and his team as a whole is projected to be one of the most improved in the NFL. So, Bortles is a surefire starting quarterback in Fantasy, right? I’m not so sure. Let’s compare his season to the three others we’ve referenced:
The first thing that sticks out is that Bortles was nowhere near as good as the other three quarterbacks referenced above. I’m going to cover this more in a minute, but his completion percentage and yards per attempt do not suggest a top-10 Fantasy quarterback. But the more important statistic is the final column. As good as those other three quarterbacks were, none of them came anywhere close to their touchdown total the next year.
To be clear, those weren’t the good years for those quarterbacks. In fact, they were some of their worst. Stafford was the only one of the group to post a top-10 Fantasy season, and that’s because he threw the ball 634 times. Also, I chose the best names on the list. I could have just as easily referenced Jason Campbell, Kyle Orton or Drew Stanton.
All of this is to say that if you draft Blake Bortles expecting him to throw 35 touchdowns again, you’re going to have a bad time. I wouldn’t touch him in the top-12 quarterbacks.
Bortles is a solid backup quarterback you’re hoping develops into a Fantasy starter. The time to draft that player is the Derek Carr/Jameis Winston portion of the draft, long after you’ve selected at least one starting quarterback and several other skill position players.
Many people will be down on Matt Ryan after the worst year of his career, but I’d much rather draft Ryan than Bortles in the late rounds.
The release of Josh Norman into the free-agency wild was a stunning move by thePanthers, who held his rights for another season under the franchise tag. Carolina will get a compensatory pick from the move but will have a hole in the secondary for 2016.
Norman inked a massive deal with Washington, getting five years and $75 million from the Redskins. But he can’t let the Panthers releasing him go. Speaking with Emily Kaplan of TheMMQB.com, Norman talked about his issues with how the Panthers handled his release, lamenting the lack of family values in the decision by GM Dave Gettleman.
Dez Bryant wasn’t Dez Bryant last season, at least not the Dez Bryant we’d come to know over the course of his career. From 2012 to 2014, Bryant averaged 91 catches, roughly 1,300 yards, and nearly 14 touchdowns per year. In 2015, Bryant caught 31 passes for 401 yards and three touchdowns.
Two factors, both of which Bryant couldn’t control, significantly contributed to his downfall. Injuries limited Bryant to nine games. And Tony Romo’s fragile collarbone meant even when Bryant played, he was forced to catch passes from the likes ofMatt Cassel and Kellen Moore — a quarterback lineup bad enough to ground any of the league’s top receivers.
According to Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones, another factor played a role: Bryant wasn’t in great shape last year.