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Quarterback By Committee 2016

Navigating the 2016 schedule to identify an ideal Quarterback By Committee

This is the thirteenth straight season that Footballguys.com has published its annual Quarterback By Committee article. For those fantasy players who like to wait on drafting their quarterback while stocking their team at the other positions, this is the article for you. The general rule for QBBC fans is that the first eight rounds of your draft should be used to assemble a wealth of talent at running back, wide receiver, and, if the draft unfolds in such a way, tight end. By going the QBBC route, you can save those high picks in your draft and still get solid fantasy production by grabbing two QBs who face bad defenses nearly every week of the year. That's what the QBBC system is all about. Of course, in some leagues, great quarterbacks are available late into the middle rounds of the drafts, so it's important to know your league. But in general, I like to promote the quarterback-by-committee approach, and wait even longer and implement this strategy.

The first key, of course, is to rank the defenses.  The table below lists my rating for defenses for fantasy quarterbacks, listed from the toughest (Denver) to the easiest (New Orleans).

RkDefenseValue
1 Denver Broncos -5.0
2 Los Angeles Rams -4.6
3 Seattle Seahawks -4.2
4 Houston Texans -2.1
5 Kansas City Chiefs -2.0
6 Baltimore Ravens -1.8
7 New York Jets -1.4
8 Carolina Panthers -1.1
9 Cincinnati Bengals -1.1
10 Jacksonville Jaguars -1.1
11 Arizona Cardinals -0.8
12 Minnesota Vikings -0.7
13 Tampa Bay Buccaneers -0.5
14 San Francisco 49ers -0.4
15 Oakland Raiders -0.2
16 Tennessee Titans 0.2
17 Buffalo Bills 0.2
18 Detroit Lions 0.3
19 Miami Dolphins 1.2
20 Philadelphia Eagles 1.3
21 Dallas Cowboys 1.4
22 New England Patriots 1.7
23 Green Bay Packers 1.7
24 Cleveland Browns 1.7
25 Indianapolis Colts 2.0
26 Chicago Bears 2.0
27 New York Giants 2.1
28 Washington Redskins 2.5
29 Pittsburgh Steelers 2.5
30 Atlanta Falcons 2.8
31 San Diego Chargers 3.4
32 New Orleans Saints 5.5

The main key to the QBBC philosophy is to identify which defenses should rank in the bottom quarter of the league when it comes to stopping quarterbacks. New Orleans, San Diego, and Atlanta were juicy matchups for fantasy quarterbacks last year, and project as similarly enticing in 2016. Meanwhile, teams like Washington, Pittsburgh, Indianapolis, and the Giants have questionable defenses and offenses that are likely to bring about shootouts -- which is great if you have the other team's quarterback.  And you definitely don't want to face Denver or Seattle, or even Los Angeles -- that Rams offense isn't going to be driving many shootouts, either.

Once we rank the defenses, it's easy to figure out which QB pairings work based on schedule. When the quarterback is home, his opponents gets a +0.3 adjustment, so a quarterback hosting the Saints receives a score of +5.8.  When that quarterback is on the road, adjustment is 0.3 in the other direction, so playing in New Orleans is worth +5.2. Below is a list of all 496 possible combinations. These are ranked from most favorable to least, with strength of schedule being the only determining factor.  The top combination here features Cam Newton (Atlanta) and Jameis Winston (Tampa Bay), and together, they would be expected to score 35.9 points more than they would if they combined to have a perfectly average schedule.

RkCombinationValueRkCombinationValueRkCombinationValueRkCombinationValueRkCombinationValue
1 CAR--TB 35.9 101 BAL--HOU 26.2 201 CAR--WAS 22.8 301 NYJ--PIT 19.1 401 ARI--PIT 13.6
2 CAR--PHI 35.2 102 DET--WAS 26.2 202 CAR--NO 22.8 302 CIN--SF 19 402 ATL--TEN 13.4
3 KC--PHI 35 103 DEN--PHI 26.1 203 DET--LA 22.7 303 JAX--SD 19 403 IND--MIA 13.3
4 DEN--NYG 34.4 104 MIN--LA 26.1 204 ATL--SF 22.7 304 BUF--PIT 19 404 NE--SF 13.3
5 DET--PHI 34.2 105 OAK--SF 26.1 205 BUF--DAL 22.6 305 JAX--SF 19 405 NO--PIT 13.2
6 DEN--DET 33.9 106 GB--WAS 26 206 BUF--TEN 22.6 306 KC--PIT 19 406 DEN--MIA 13.2
7 NYG--TB 33.7 107 GB--OAK 26 207 SD--WAS 22.6 307 SF--TEN 19 407 ATL--JAX 13.1
8 CIN--PHI 33.6 108 JAX--NYG 26 208 GB--LA 22.5 308 CHI--IND 18.9 408 CLE--NE 12.9
9 PHI--SF 33.6 109 DET--SF 25.9 209 CHI--DET 22.5 309 DET--SD 18.9 409 NO--OAK 12.8
10 CIN--NYG 33.6 110 KC--OAK 25.9 210 SD--TB 22.5 310 CHI--SD 18.8 410 CLE--IND 12.7
11 KC--NYG 33.2 111 HOU--MIN 25.8 211 ARI--DET 22.5 311 HOU--NYJ 18.7 411 BUF--KC 12.7
12 CAR--NYG 33.2 112 BAL--CLE 25.8 212 DAL--WAS 22.4 312 NYJ--TB 18.7 412 KC--NE 12.6
13 CAR--KC 32.8 113 KC--TB 25.8 213 IND--KC 22.4 313 DAL--MIA 18.6 413 NYJ--OAK 12.5
14 CIN--CLE 32.7 114 DAL--MIN 25.7 214 GB--JAX 22.3 314 HOU--MIA 18.6 414 IND--LA 12.4
15 TB--WAS 32.3 115 DAL--SD 25.7 215 HOU--TEN 22.3 315 GB--MIA 18.5 415 ARI--NYJ 12.1
16 DEN--TB 32.2 116 DAL--DEN 25.7 216 DET--JAX 22.3 316 DAL--NO 18.5 416 NE--PIT 12.1
17 CAR--DET 32.1 117 SF--TB 25.7 217 TEN--WAS 22.3 317 NYJ--TEN 18.5 417 MIA--TEN 12
18 DAL--DET 32 118 PHI--SD 25.6 218 ARI--TB 22.3 318 ARI--JAX 18.4 418 ATL--IND 11.7
19 CHI--TB 32 119 OAK--TEN 25.6 219 JAX--PHI 22.2 319 SD--LA 18.4 419 GB--TEN 11.6
20 CLE--TB 31.6 120 CLE--NYG 25.6 220 PHI--TEN 22.2 320 CAR--JAX 18.4 420 BUF--CHI 11.5
21 DET--SEA 31.5 121 GB--MIN 25.5 221 IND--MIN 22.2 321 ARI--KC 18.3 421 JAX--MIA 11.3
22 CAR--DEN 31.4 122 DEN--IND 25.5 222 CLE--GB 22.2 322 KC--SF 18.3 422 NO--NYJ 11.1
23 CLE--DEN 31.2 123 ARI--BAL 25.5 223 ARI--NYG 22.2 323 ARI--IND 18 423 GB--PHI 11
24 NYG--PHI 31.1 124 CHI--KC 25.4 224 CLE--SD 22.2 324 JAX--LA 17.9 424 IND--NYJ 10.8
25 BAL--KC 31.1 125 CHI--NYG 25.4 225 CIN--PIT 22.1 325 CLE--NYJ 17.7 425 JAX--WAS 10.8
26 CAR--MIN 31.1 126 ARI--PHI 25.3 226 CIN--NYJ 22.1 326 CHI--NYJ 17.7 426 BUF--NYJ 10.8
27 ATL--CAR 30.9 127 BAL--CIN 25.3 227 ATL--PHI 22.1 327 SEA--TEN 17.7 427 ATL--BUF 10.7
28 GB--TB 30.7 128 NYG--SD 25.3 228 DAL--SEA 22 328 HOU--SEA 17.7 428 NE--SD 10.4
29 CAR--PIT 30.6 129 GB--HOU 25.2 229 CLE--LA 22 329 PIT--WAS 17.6 429 ATL--MIA 9.5
30 DET--GB 30.5 130 BUF--PHI 25.2 230 ARI--SEA 22 330 NYJ--LA 17.5 430 BAL--NYG 8.9
31 BAL--CAR 30.4 131 BAL--SEA 25.2 231 ATL--OAK 21.9 331 NO--NYG 17.5 431 CIN--WAS 8.7
32 DAL--SF 30.3 132 KC--MIA 25.1 232 NE--PHI 21.8 332 MIA--WAS 17.4 432 NYG--SF 8.6
33 DEN--WAS 30.2 133 BAL--DEN 25.1 233 DAL--NYJ 21.8 333 PIT--SEA 17.3 433 DEN--SD 8.5
34 CAR--GB 30.2 134 DET--HOU 25 234 CHI--TEN 21.8 334 JAX--NYJ 17.2 434 NE--LA 8.3
35 DAL--KC 30.1 135 BAL--OAK 25 235 CIN--KC 21.8 335 JAX--OAK 17.2 435 BUF--JAX 8.2
36 GB--NYG 30.1 136 CIN--LA 25 236 CLE--MIA 21.8 336 LA--TEN 17.2 436 BAL--LA 8.1
37 DEN--LA 30.1 137 DAL--NYG 24.9 237 DEN--SEA 21.8 337 CHI--JAX 17.1 437 MIN--TB 8.1
38 CIN--TB 29.9 138 ARI--DEN 24.9 238 CAR--MIA 21.7 338 CHI--OAK 17.1 438 NE--OAK 8
39 NYG--SEA 29.9 139 CIN--SEA 24.9 239 HOU--SF 21.7 339 IND--SF 17.1 439 ATL--NE 7.9
40 DET--TEN 29.8 140 PHI--PIT 24.8 240 ATL--WAS 21.7 340 MIA--SEA 16.7 440 MIA--NO 7.8
41 MIN--NYG 29.8 141 PHI--WAS 24.8 241 NYG--NYJ 21.7 341 MIN--NYJ 16.6 441 NYG--LA 7.7
42 LA--TB 29.8 142 HOU--PHI 24.8 242 HOU--OAK 21.6 342 CLE--NO 16.6 442 ATL--NO 7.7
43 CHI--PHI 29.7 143 CIN--GB 24.8 243 DEN--JAX 21.6 343 JAX--MIN 16.5 443 NO--SD 7.6
44 MIN--PHI 29.7 144 CIN--OAK 24.8 244 ATL--DAL 21.6 344 GB--IND 16.4 444 IND--NO 7.5
45 DAL--TB 29.7 145 CLE--SEA 24.8 245 OAK--WAS 21.5 345 SEA--LA 16.4 445 MIA--NYG 7.3
46 BAL--PHI 29.6 146 DEN--MIN 24.7 246 ARI--TEN 21.5 346 ATL--PIT 16.4 446 NE--NYJ 7.2
47 ATL--BAL 29.6 147 BAL--MIN 24.5 247 ATL--DET 21.5 347 ARI--SF 16.4 447 NYG--PIT 7.1
48 OAK--PHI 29.5 148 CIN--TEN 24.5 248 NYJ--SEA 21.5 348 HOU--LA 16.4 448 CIN--HOU 6.9
49 TB--TEN 29.5 149 NYJ--WAS 24.5 249 BUF--DEN 21.5 349 BUF--SF 16.4 449 BAL--PIT 6.8
50 CIN--DAL 29.4 150 ATL--CLE 24.5 250 CLE--HOU 21.4 350 CHI--MIA 16.3 450 MIA--SD 6.8
51 CAR--IND 29.2 151 MIN--SEA 24.5 251 CHI--MIN 21.3 351 IND--SEA 16.3 451 NE--TEN 6.6
52 HOU--TB 28.9 152 SEA--SF 24.5 252 CLE--WAS 21.3 352 CAR--DAL 16.2 452 DET--OAK 6.1
53 CLE--PHI 28.7 153 ARI--CLE 24.4 253 GB--SEA 21.2 353 CHI--NO 16.2 453 IND--NE 6
54 ATL--NYG 28.7 154 DEN--OAK 24.4 254 KC--LA 21.2 354 DAL--HOU 16.2 454 MIA--NE 6
55 DET--TB 28.5 155 CAR--SF 24.4 255 GB--PIT 21.1 355 ATL--GB 16.2 455 ARI--CIN 5.3
56 CHI--DAL 28.3 156 DEN--GB 24.3 256 KC--MIN 21.1 356 BUF--LA 16.2 456 BUF--NO 5.3
57 CIN--IND 28.3 157 HOU--SD 24.3 257 ATL--LA 21.1 357 IND--SD 16.1 457 BAL--SF 5.1
58 BUF--NYG 28.3 158 DEN--TEN 24.2 258 ARI--DAL 21 358 NYJ--SF 16 458 CHI--HOU 4.5
59 CAR--SEA 28.3 159 BAL--CHI 24.2 259 CIN--MIN 21 359 HOU--IND 15.9 459 ARI--WAS 4.1
60 BAL--DET 28.2 160 MIN--WAS 24.1 260 CHI--LA 21 360 IND--PIT 15.9 460 KC--SEA 4.1
61 NYG--TEN 28.2 161 CLE--OAK 24.1 261 ATL--CHI 21 361 GB--NYJ 15.8 461 CHI--CIN 3.7
62 CAR--SD 28.2 162 DAL--TEN 24 262 SEA--WAS 21 362 SD--SF 15.7 462 BAL--MIA 3.7
63 IND--TB 28.1 163 MIN--TEN 24 263 DAL--IND 20.9 363 PIT--SD 15.6 463 DET--IND 3.7
64 PHI--LA 28 164 BAL--IND 24 264 DAL--NE 20.9 364 CLE--JAX 15.6 464 ARI--CHI 3.7
65 BAL--TB 28 165 KC--WAS 24 265 CHI--GB 20.9 365 BUF--MIN 15.5 465 ATL--DEN 3.4
66 CIN--DET 27.9 166 SF--WAS 24 266 CIN--NO 20.9 366 IND--JAX 15.4 466 CLE--TEN 2.7
67 DEN--KC 27.9 167 DET--KC 24 267 CIN--MIA 20.8 367 BUF--CAR 15.4 467 BUF--NE 2.7
68 DAL--OAK 27.8 168 ATL--TB 24 268 KC--SD 20.8 368 MIN--NO 15.3 468 NE--NO 2.3
69 CAR--LA 27.8 169 SD--SEA 24 269 KC--NYJ 20.7 369 JAX--PIT 15.2 469 DEN--NYJ 1.4
70 DAL--GB 27.7 170 BAL--BUF 23.9 270 ATL--HOU 20.7 370 ATL--MIN 15.2 470 IND--OAK 1.1
71 BAL--DAL 27.5 171 OAK--PIT 23.8 271 BUF--CLE 20.6 371 BUF--MIA 15.2 471 CHI--WAS 1
72 OAK--TB 27.5 172 NE--TB 23.8 272 DEN--NO 20.6 372 ATL--SEA 15.1 472 PIT--SF 1
73 DEN--HOU 27.4 173 GB--NO 23.7 273 MIA--OAK 20.6 373 ARI--BUF 15 473 BUF--DET 0.9
74 JAX--TB 27.4 174 CIN--SD 23.7 274 CHI--CLE 20.5 374 ARI--OAK 15 474 SF--LA 0.8
75 OAK--SEA 27.4 175 HOU--NYG 23.7 275 BAL--NYJ 20.5 375 BUF--WAS 14.9 475 NYJ--SD 0.5
76 MIA--TB 27.4 176 BAL--TEN 23.6 276 CIN--DEN 20.5 376 ARI--NO 14.8 476 JAX--NE 0.3
77 DET--NYG 27.4 177 ARI--CAR 23.6 277 MIA--MIN 20.4 377 MIN--SD 14.7 477 BUF--IND 0.2
78 DAL--LA 27.3 178 PHI--SEA 23.5 278 MIN--SF 20.4 378 NO--LA 14.7 478 NO--SEA 0.1
79 GB--KC 27.2 179 LA--WAS 23.4 279 GB--SF 20.4 379 DET--NO 14.7 479 MIA--SF 0
80 DEN--PIT 27.2 180 OAK--SD 23.4 280 DAL--PHI 20.3 380 CAR--NE 14.6 480 HOU--WAS -0.5
81 CLE--DET 27.2 181 MIN--OAK 23.3 281 DAL--JAX 20.3 381 MIA--PHI 14.5 481 ATL--NYJ -0.7
82 CAR--TEN 27.2 182 DET--MIA 23.2 282 CLE--SF 20.3 382 BUF--CIN 14.5 482 MIA--LA -1
83 DEN--SF 27.2 183 ARI--SD 23.2 283 CAR--CHI 20.2 383 HOU--PIT 14.5 483 JAX--KC -1.5
84 SEA--TB 27.2 184 NO--PHI 23.1 284 IND--NYG 20.2 384 BUF--SEA 14.5 484 BUF--OAK -1.9
85 CAR--CIN 27.1 185 IND--PHI 23.1 285 SD--TEN 20.1 385 DEN--NE 14.4 485 JAX--SEA -2.2
86 CLE--KC 27 186 BAL--JAX 23.1 286 CHI--PIT 20 386 BUF--SD 14.4 486 NE--WAS -3.1
87 CAR--OAK 27 187 ATL--CIN 23.1 287 CAR--HOU 20 387 JAX--TEN 14.2 487 ARI--NE -3.3
88 CLE--MIN 26.9 188 MIN--PIT 23 288 HOU--KC 19.9 388 DET--NE 14.2 488 PIT--LA -3.3
89 BAL--GB 26.8 189 ARI--GB 23 289 IND--WAS 19.9 389 NO--SF 14.2 489 HOU--NE -3.9
90 CAR--NYJ 26.8 190 BAL--SD 23 290 ARI--ATL 19.9 390 HOU--JAX 14 490 ARI--HOU -4.5
91 BAL--WAS 26.7 191 NO--TB 23 291 BUF--GB 19.7 391 NO--WAS 14 491 MIA--PIT -4.6
92 NYG--WAS 26.7 192 BUF--TB 23 292 CIN--JAX 19.7 392 PIT--TEN 13.9 492 KC--NO -5
93 CLE--DAL 26.6 193 DET--PIT 22.9 293 BAL--NE 19.6 393 MIA--NYJ 13.9 493 CIN--NE -6.1
94 KC--TEN 26.6 194 CLE--PIT 22.9 294 NO--TEN 19.5 394 IND--TEN 13.9 494 ATL--SD -7.6
95 PIT--TB 26.6 195 GB--SD 22.9 295 CHI--SF 19.5 395 BUF--HOU 13.8 495 CHI--NE -8.6
96 NYG--OAK 26.6 196 ARI--MIN 22.9 296 ARI--LA 19.5 396 GB--NE 13.8 496 JAX--NO -10
97 CHI--SEA 26.5 197 CAR--CLE 22.9 297 NYJ--PHI 19.4 397 ATL--KC 13.8  
98 OAK--LA 26.5 198 NE--NYG 22.9 298 BAL--NO 19.3 398 NE--SEA 13.8  
99 PHI--TB 26.3 199 DET--MIN 22.8 299 ARI--MIA 19.3 399 HOU--NO 13.7  
100 CHI--DEN 26.2 200 DAL--PIT 22.8 300 DET--NYJ 19.1 400 MIN--NE 13.7  

Of course, a Newton/Winston combination doesn't work for a few reasons: one, Newton is the first quarterback selected in most fantasy drafts, and two, a combination of Newton and Winston means you are going to play the Panthers star every week.  Instead, there are three combinations I want to highlight.

Jameis Winston/Eli Manning is a great combination with a lot of upside; the one downside is Manning tends to go pretty early in drafts.  He has an ADP of QB8, but if he slips in your league, be sure to pounce on him rather than the other NFC East quarterback I will highlight.

Another option if you really want to wait is to grab Tony Romo and Matthew Stafford.  Both players have had huge fantasy seasons in the past, but the fantasy community is much less excited by them this year.  They combine to have an excellent schedule, though, and could be a great backup option if you miss out on my next recommendation.

But my top combination would be to draft Kirk Cousins and Jameis Winston. You can wait a long time to take these two -- they have ADPs of QB13 and QB14, respectively -- which means the rest of your roster should be excellent.  And after all 11 of your league mates have drafted a quarterback, both of these guys should still be on the board, so you can wait a bit longer as most fantasy players don't spend a high draft pick on their backup quarterback.  Then, you should pounce and draft these two with back-to-back picks.

If you do, here is the combined schedule that you would be rewarded with:

  • Week 1: Pittsburgh Steelers
  • Week 2: Dallas Cowboys
  • Week 3: @ New York Giants
  • Week 4: Cleveland Browns
  • Week 5: @Carolina Panthers
  • Week 6: Philadelphia Eagles
  • Week 7: @Detroit Lions
  • Week 8: Oakland Raiders
  • Week 9: Atlanta Falcons
  • Week 10: Chicago Bears
  • Week 11: Green Bay Packers
  • Week 12: @Dallas Cowboys
  • Week 13: @San Diego Chargers
  • Week 14: New Orleans Saints
  • Week 15: @Dallas Cowboys
  • Week 16: @New Orleans Saints

This schedules features three games against the Cowboys and two games against the Saints, which is like manna from the fantasy heaven for your starting quarterback.  The funny thing about this combination is that you wind up starting Cousins in each of the first four weeks and Winston in each of the last four weeks.  Washington's schedule is frontloaded when it comes to great matchups, while Tampa Bay's is backloaded; that's why they make for a perfect combination.

Winston has two top receivers in Mike Evans and Vincent Jackson, a strong receiving running back in Charles Sims, and two solid options at tight end with Cameron Brate and Austin Seferian-Jenkins. Cousins also has two strong veterans in DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garcon, a superstar tight end in Jordan Reed, and a first round rookie wide receiver in Josh Doctson.  Surrounded by talented supporting casts and facing bad defenses, these two young quarterbacks are in perfect positions to be fantasy studs when paired together this year.

Picking Just One?

Even if you don't believe in committees, or have no preset draft plan, it pays to know how tough of a schedule each team has. So let's close with a look at the quarterbacks with the easiest schedules. In leagues with small rosters, it's difficult to go QBBC, so it's helpful to know which quarterbacks have the easiest (Joe Baltimore) and toughest (New England) schedules.

RkTmSOSRkTmSOS
1 BAL 15.3 17 OAK 2.2
2 DAL 14.5 18 TEN 1.8
3 NYG 14.3 19 LA 0.5
4 PHI 13.5 20 SEA 0.5
5 DET 11.2 21 KC 0.1
6 WAS 10.5 22 NYJ -3.0
7 MIN 10.1 23 ARI -3.3
8 CLE 9.6 24 SF -3.5
9 CHI 9.0 25 JAX -3.6
10 DEN 8.6 26 IND -4.0
11 CIN 8.2 27 SD -4.1
12 GB 8.1 28 BUF -5.3
13 TB 4.8 29 MIA -6.1
14 PIT 4.6 30 ATL -8.8
15 CAR 4.4 31 NO -11.5
16 HOU 3.0 32 NE -16.7

NFC East quarterbacks have 3 of the top 6 schedules, which is why I've recommended Cousins, Manning, and Romo as possible cornerstones.  And Joe Flacco could be poised for a bounceback year with that easy schedule.  On the other hand, Tom Brady (once he returns), Drew Brees, and Matt Ryan all have difficult schedules that may not be priced into their current ADPs.