Pick-a-Player: Goff, Mahomes, or Roethlisberger - Footballguys

Footballguys staff and Facebook answer a dilemma at the 11.01 spot

The premise of a Pick-a-Player question is as follows:

  • You need a player at that position and all three are available.
  • The draft is at a stage where these players are usually drafted, and none of their bye weeks are duplicated on your current roster.

We ask two groups of people: the Footballguys staff, and the great people following the Footballguys Facebook page. If you'd like to answer a future Pick-a-Player question, they are being posted daily on our page. Like and Follow us, and you can join the great discussions taking place every day.

In this case, it is a PPR league, and you are up at Pick 11.01. Would you take Jared Goff, Patrick Mahomes II II, or Ben Roethlisberger? Or would you pass on all three?

The Results

And the winner is -- a split. Roethlisberger easily won the staff vote, while Goff grabbed the honors on Facebook. One thing was clear: These quarterbacks are pretty good options as very few from either group would pass on all three. See the percentages below.

Group Voting
Percentage Picking...
Goff
Mahomes
Roethlisberger
None
Footballguys Staff
7.1%
14.3%
71.4%
7.1%
Footballguys Facebook
50.0%
9.5%
33.3%
7.1%

The Reasons (from the Staff)

Daniel Simpkins: At this pick, I’ll take Patrick Mahomes II. The other two options are solid here, and I would be happy with any of them. Mahomes offers the greatest upside, as he has the ability to generate yardage on the ground at a rate that trumps Roethlisberger and Goff.

Jason Wood: Ben Roethlisberger is the answer, and anyone who says otherwise may need to be suspended from Footballguys staff for a few days to clear their heads.

Devin Knotts: Agreed.

Bob Henry: I like Ben Roethlisberger in terms of his floor and best ball upside week-to-week, but I usually go for Mahomes in actual draft scenarios that I've faced. Both have tremendous supporting casts, explosive/big-play receivers and a strong running back to lean on in the running game. The main difference for me is two things - 1) Health, and Mahomes is a much better bet to play 16 games than Ben. 2) Mahomes offers a lot more as a runner than Roethlisberger does at his age. Mahomes could easily run for two to four touchdowns where Roethlisberger is more likely not to have a single rushing touchdown or accumulate any yardage to boost his bottom line.

Ultimately, the key to my answer is that I'd take Roethlisberger at this spot, but in an actual draft, I'm more likely to sit tight, pass at this spot and target Mahomes later as a higher priority QB2. If I need a starter, I'm going with Roethlisberger.

Clayton Gray: I'm passing on these three. I like Alex Smith better than this trio, and he's available later.

Ryan Hester: I wrote a Spotlight on Mahomes, which was a glowing review, and even I would take Roethlisberger here. There aren’t many drafts where I’m seeing Roethlisberger this late, so he would be a gift at this spot.

My quarterback strategy has been centered around Mahomes, who has been my preferred quarterback selection in drafts because it allows me to wait on the position but still draft a player with top-six quarterback upside. Roethlisberger also has this upside, but I’ve been entering drafts assuming he’s not available as late as Mahomes. I don’t see many players below this group who have a high likelihood of achieving that upside. In the event Roethlisberger is not available at the 11.01, Mahomes is the easy call over Goff.

Chad Parsons: I will take Ben Roethlisberger without much hesitation. I do not trust Patrick Mahomes II as essentially a rookie for 2018 and Jared Goff is the benefactor of a strong system and offense (in Sean McVay I trust), but not a matching high-end talent. Roethlisberger has an elite set of weapons (all three are in good spots in this regard), plus as upper-level QB1 upside, where the other two have more questions there. In this zone of the draft, I would be getting my likely starter, and Roethlisberger gives me the most comfort in that spot.

Jeff Tefertiller: I expect defenses to catch onto McVay and Goff this season. The coach did a masterful job last year putting his quarterback in situations to succeed. Also, I do expect Mahomes to struggle a little as he sees meaningful snaps for the first time. Roethlisberger is my choice as his consistency and big-play ability are underrated. He has put up solid numbers for many years. The two youngsters hope to be able to play as well as the veteran in their prime.

Will Grant: While I'll stop short of taking Jason's position that people need a time out if they choose otherwise, the simple answer here is Roethlisberger and for me, it isn't even close. Solid selection, proven offense and he has two of the best weapons in the game right now with Bell and Brown. That doesn't always translate into top-tier fantasy quarterback numbers, but if you're taking a quarterback at 11.01, you're probably running a QBBC approach and Roethlisberger is a perfect fit.

Knotts: Easiest choice of the series. Ben Roethlisberger is the guy here. The only knock against him has been his injury history, but over the last five seasons, he has averaged the following stats on a per game basis as he has averaged 291 yards and 1.9 touchdowns per game. He is as safe as they come while the other two pose too great of risks for me to take. If I'm waiting on a quarterback, I don't want to have to worry about a guy struggling as the rest of my team should be stacked. I'll take the consistency with Ben all day long.

Danny Tuccitto: Another vote for Roethlisberger here. I currently have him at 66th overall, whereas I have Mahomes at 104th and Goff at 110th.

I always have to be vigilant about combating the bias of my True Fantasy Points projection system towards long-tenured, same-team players. In this case, although I do think said bias suggests I should move Roethlisberger down, the combination of his sample size-driven known skill and the talent of his receiving corps nevertheless keeps him above both Mahomes and Goff.

And even setting the specifics of my projection system aside, I tend to prefer known quantities at quarterback from a general game theory perspective. If I'm going to take chances, I'd rather do so at positions with higher variance, like running back and wide receiver.

Dan Hindery: Give me Mahomes here. Last season, Alex Smith outscored Ben Roethlisberger by more than 27 points from Week 1 to Week 16 at the helm of Andy Reid's offense. There is no reason Mahomes can't step in and do the same. The Chiefs offense has become deeper and more potent with Sammy Watkins added. His speed will further stretch defenses already stressed by the speed of Tyreek Hill. Kansas City should have an advantageous one-on-one matchup somewhere on every play with Watkins, Hill, and Travis Kelce each tough to cover with just one man.

The separating factor between Roethlisberger and Mahomes is the rushing upside of Mahomes. Smith easily outscored Roethlisberger last season despite rushing for just one touchdown. Mahomes is a great athlete who averaged over seven rushing touchdowns per season in college. Andy Reid has shown he is willing to be creative in maximizing the talents of his quarterback and will use his quarterback as a runner, especially in the red zone. If Mahomes can even come close to matching Roethlisberger and Jared Goff as a passer, he will be the top fantasy option of the trio due to the extra points he will generate as a runner.

Wood: The confidence many of you have in Pat Mahomes intrigues and astounds me. And I keep seeing people use Smith's 2017 in support of Mahomes. Smith's 2017 shocked everyone and not a week went by when most expected Smith to regress to his career mean, which is to say a high end, boring, No. 2 fantasy quarterback.

Hindery: Most will agree we basically know who Alex Smith is at this point. He has a long track record, which makes his 2017 success all the more intriguing as far as Mahomes is concerned. The fact Smith had a huge fantasy season highlights the elite pass-catching talent on hand in Kansas City and the quarterback-friendly system Andy Reid has developed. How can the fact Smith finished as a top-5 quarterback in 2017 not be looked at as a positive for Mahomes?

It is worth noting in this context that Ben Roethlisberger has never finished as a top-five fantasy quarterback in any of his 14 NFL seasons. If your goal is low-end QB1 production, Roethlisberger is your guy in this range of the draft and the safer choice. If you are willing to take on some risk for a legitimate shot at a top-five fantasy performer, Mahomes is the better pick and carries more upside.

Andy Hicks: If you want to play safe you will take Ben Roethlisberger. He’s a 15-year pro and has an established track record of fantasy production. He has Le'Veon Bell, Antonio Brown and JuJu Smith-Schuster. Case closed, right? Not so fast. Only three times in his career has he managed to play the full season. He will be 36 and for a guy with a reputation of taking hits, you always fear how long he is going to miss the next time it happens. There is no doubt that he deserves to be ranked highly, but we are in the 11th round here.

Upside should come into play and while Roethlisberger is the safe choice here, others listed could have a higher upside and it probably won’t be Patrick Mahomes II II.

Jared Goff is the pick here. A lot will be fooled by the 12th-ranked finish of 2017. Goff didn’t play the final week of the regular season and even an average game would have moved his year-end rank up to seventh. If he had played a great game, he could have finished as high as second overall. That’s all well and good, how about 2018? The inconsistent Sammy Watkins leaves and the very dependable Brandin Cooks arrives. Robert Woods missed four games and was injured in multiple other games. The tight ends in Gerald Everett and Tyler Higbee will be like most young tight ends and improve rapidly. Cooper Kupp is now a second-year player and not a rookie. The main reasons people are underrating Goff this year are to do with the defense and the play of Todd Gurley. Gurley had an all-time top-20 season as a running back, with only Arian Foster’s 2010 season and David Johnson’s 2016 season better this decade.

A little regression should not only be possible, it should be expected. Finally, the defense looks all-star on paper, but how has that worked out for teams in the past, especially with a bunch of new players? The Rams schedule also is much harder this year, and I expect them to not have wrapped up a game by the fourth quarter in most instances. Goff has top-six upside and his downside still should place him as a starting fantasy quarterback.

David Dodds: Don't overthink this one. It's Ben Roethlisberger by a wide margin.

Goff is ascending, but the Rams are about playing defense and running the ball. His upside is limited based on how this team will be managed. Mahomes is essentially a rookie that is lacking supporting wide receiver talent. Ben Roethlisberger has the game's top wide receiver, an exciting second-year player in JuJu Smith-Schuster and a top-three pass-catching running back in his arsenal. The Steelers should have an elite passing offense.

Wood: Yep!

Justin Howe: This one isn't particularly close: it's Roethlisberger. He has his warts - age and injury risk - but he beats out these two in a landslide. Goff was dynamic last year but benefited wildly from splash plays while disappearing statistically numerous times. Mahomes has a live arm and a great future, but he's not in this discussion yet.

Roethlisberger still boasts unreal talent at his skill positions, and his new coordinator is his old position coach; the offense isn't going to shift. Drafters can safely prioritize him in Round 9 or 10, which brings great value. And in best ball leagues, he's right at the top of the third quarterback tier in my eyes, ahead of even guys like Matthew Stafford, and Kirk Cousins.