At this time of year, we should be stocking our dynasty benches with long-term upside plays if we are out of the playoff hunt, and even if we are in the playoffs, it’s time to cut your depth to a lean and mean level and still maximize your bench spots for future growth. For the next four weeks, we’ll look at each position and sort out end of season dynasty stashes and players to monitor next offseason into Snorkel, Scuba, and Submarine levels of league depth. First up, quarterback, which is becoming more important to thoroughly evaluate with the rise of 2QB/Superflex leagues.
Teddy Bridgewater, NO - Bridgewater will likely get signed to start somewhere this offseason. The possibilities are not that exciting, outside of Tampa and maybe Cincinnati if they are ready to move on from Andy Dalton, and Bridgewater doesn’t necessarily have the profile of a high ceiling fantasy quarterback but a starting quarterback is a starting quarterback. If he doesn’t leave New Orleans, it will be because they have anointed him as the heir to Drew Brees, which is probably the best long term fantasy outcome for Bridgewater.
Nick Foles, PHI - Foles, like Bridgewater, will likely be signed to start somewhere, but also has a lower fantasy ceiling. He probably has enough cachet to be considered an answer and not simply a bridge to a rookie first round pick, and there may not be more than one or two first round quarterback this year.
Jacoby Brissett, IND - Brissett probably won’t get his starting job until 2020, but there was that rumor that Chris Ballard shot down about Seattle offering a second round pick for him, so there’s an outside shot he gets traded. He’ll certainly be a starter on his next team, even if it’s just as a bridge to a rookie. Brissett wasn’t a fantasy wonder last time we saw him, but he was only second year quarterback on a team that he joined right before the season. He has some running ability and will be more polished the next time we see him.
Taysom Hill, NO - Hill has become well-known around the league for his true swiss army knife role, but if Bridgewater leaves, he could become the next in line behind Drew Brees. While that’s an uncertain proposition, Hill clearly has the running ability to be a fantasy QB1 if he ever does get a shot to start in New Orleans, or anywhere else for that matter.
Alex Smith, WAS - It’s possible that Smith was dropped after his leg got mangled if your league has limited injured reserve slots. He was a massive disappointment in fantasy this year, and may never be the same again, but the guaranteed money Washington has tied up in him assures that as long as Smith can play in 2019, he’ll start again.
Tyrod Taylor, CLE - Taylor is only a bridge quarterback at this point, but the league always needs them, and he has been relevant in fantasy leagues at two different stops despite his limited passing ability and offenses that didn’t ask him to do a lot as a passer. He would make sense in Jacksonville.
Jeff Driskel, CIN - Chances are Driskel’s audition will simply confirm that he is destined to be a career backup at best, but stranger things have happened than Driskel showing he might be one of the 32 best quarterbacks on an NFL roster over the next month. He has outstanding athleticism and running ability to make the bar much lower for him to be relevant in fantasy leagues if he does get a shot beyond this year.
Cody Kessler, JAX - Kessler is the quintessential backup quarterback, but he could show out much better than he did in his rookie year and climb the list of backups into the bridge quarterback category, or perhaps even endear himself to the Jaguars and start Week 1 next year.
Ryan Fitzpatrick, TB - Don’t laugh. Fitzpatrick was more than relevant in fantasy leagues this year, and he’s actually a good (better than Eli?) fit for the Giants next year. Fitzpatrick is probably still on the fringe of starter quality and if he wants to, he can give us another ride or three on the Fitzpatrick-go-round from backup to hero to backup.
Josh McCown, NYJ - Like Fitzpatrick, McCown was relevant in fantasy leagues not all that long ago, and he can certainly shop his services to a team in need of a bridge quarterback or temporary answer in a down year for draft quarterbacks, and like Fitzpatrick, he could represent an alternative to Eli Manning to keep a fanbase from revolting in the offseason.
Mason Rudolph/Joshua Dobbs, PIT - Ben Roethlisberger doesn’t have the look of a quarterback who will hang up his spikes soon, but it’s still worth monitoring who pulls ahead in the battle to be his possible eventual replacement. Dobbs has more athleticism and running ability (few NFL quarterbacks are less athletic than Rudolph), but Rudolph can unlock more of the value of the robust Steelers passing game.
Kevin Hogan, DEN - Hogan looked overwhelmed in his very small amount of NFL action, but it was still early in his career and the Broncos believe in him at least enough to be a backup. They have a long term opening at quarterback and Denver was getting close to giving Chad Kelly an audition before his bizarre off-field incident. If Hogan can lock down the backup job this offseason and the Broncos don’t make a splashy move at quarterback in free agency or the draft, Hogan might get another chance at some point next year. The other reason he’s on this list is his top end running ability as one of the few quarterbacks to have a 100-yard rushing game.
Brett Hundley, SEA - Hundley spectacularly flopped as the Packers starter last year, but we’ve seen evidence that Green Bay’s offensive staff doesn’t set up their quarterbacks to succeed. He’ll be a free agent next year and could get into an open quarterback competition if things break right, or at least backup a precarious starter. He also adds value as a runner.
DeShone Kizer/Tim Boyle, GB - Kizer has found new life in Green Bay, and he keeps with the theme of tracking any quarterback with plus running ability, and any quarterback who once was the object of some hopes, but were given up on before their rookie contract was up on their original team. Boyle fits under the heading of tracking any quarterback who a team decides to use a valuable roster spot to develop as a third quarterback.
Cooper Rush/Mike White, DAL - The Cowboys are probably going to commit to Dak Prescott long term this offseason, but that doesn’t shut down the possibility of Rush or White having future value in 2QB/Superflex leagues. Rush was able to overtake Kellen Moore to become the backup as a rookie and White was kept as a third quarterback. Some desperate team could dangle a pick for either, knowing that the Cowboys won’t need both and the 2019 draft quarterback class is underwhelming.
Kyle Sloter, MIN - Sloter is another third quarterback who deserves some further examination in 2QB/Superflex leagues because of the Vikings willingness to use a valuable roster spot on him for two years now despite his being far from fieldworthy at this early juncture of his career.
Kyle Lauletta/Alex Tanney, NYG - Yes, the Giants could keep Eli Manning, and they will certainly make a quarterback move of some sort in the offseason, but we still have Lauletta’s open-ended future as a quarterback picked by this regime, and Tanney hanging around with the team insisting to not overlook him when Lauletta is discussed. Any quarterback could get to throw to Odell Beckham Jr and Saquon Barkley is worth tracking.