Fantasy Football Quarterback Shuffle Up: Russell Wilson and Deshaun Watson show the way

Scott Pianowski
·6-min read

Every Shuffle Up is done from scratch. I think it’s counterproductive to justify an old, dated list. What’s below is how I would view the position if I entered a new, start-from-scratch league today. These are not Week 8 ranks, these are “rest of the way” ranks.

[Week 8 Fantasy Rankings: QBs | RBs | WRs | TEs | FLEX | DST | Kickers]

A few caveats upfront. The salaries are unscientific in nature, merely used as a way to compare players within their position. I do not compare salaries outside of position — the salary of a quarterback is only meant to be considered within his positional class.

Players with the same salary are considered even. Assume a half-point PPR scoring system (that really only applies elsewhere, not at QB), and away we go.

The Big Tickets

$27 Russell Wilson

$27 Kyler Murray

$25 Patrick Mahomes

$25 Lamar Jackson

$23 Aaron Rodgers

$21 Josh Allen

$20 Deshaun Watson

Wilson’s schedule gets tricky in the second half, but does it matter? Seattle is finally letting him pass proactively, and he has two receivers who could finish in the Top 5. Wilson also adds sneaky rushing value; smart and experienced enough to take the free yards, but not recklessly taking risks with his body. Enjoy every Seattle Island Game, and keep them coming . . . The scary thing about Murray is he really hasn’t matured as a passer yet; he still runs a little too proactively at times and leaves big passes on the field. But his ridiculous arm strength can reach every spot on the field, and he’s very good at navigating the pocket to maximize his optimum throwing window. And no one has a good defense for Murray, the runner. You’re making a major profit here . . .

Jackson will need the rushing backdrop, as the overall Baltimore receiving group has been a mild disappointment. Perhaps that’s tied to volume, and to be fair, Jackson’s missed his share of downfield shots (you can easily pull a clip of Hollywood Brown almost-touchdowns). But to call Jackson the QB4 on the heels of an MVP run, that is not exactly a slam. He’s still capable of being the QB1 in any given week and is tied to an offensive coordinator (Greg Roman) we like. One underreported story in Baltimore this year: The offensive line has been ordinary. Obviously, they miss retired star OG Marshal Yanda . . . Watson’s stats get a buoyancy from the awful Houston defense on the other side. The Texans have also shifted to some good ideas since replacing Bill O’Brien; a narrowing target tree, more play action, and more pre-snap motion. The Texans are one of the jazziest Carnivals for Fantasy 2020.

Every-Week Staples

$18 Justin Herbert

$18 Tom Brady

$15 Ryan Tannehill

$15 Joe Burrow

$14 Matt Ryan

It’s amazing to think that Herbert could easily be an unknown quantity right now, sitting while Tyrod Taylor played. If not for a bizarre medical snafu, that would probably be the case. Herbert has shown an uncanny knack for using his entire target group — not just the stars — and he’s been poised and unflappable in the pocket, despite a below-average offensive line. I’m not telling you anything you don’t already know; he looks like a superstar . . . Although Brady has plenty of name-brand talent on his offense, his usage is driven by matchups and what’s best in the moment. There is no sacred cow in this passing game, which is why the receivers here will have plenty of busts while we await the next boom . . . Tannehill’s been a wizard in the red zone since ascending in Tennessee, and given that the trend goes back a solid year, we have to take it as legitimate. And heck, there’s a tailwind here — a featured back who wears down defensive fronts, a game-chasing deep threat, an offensive coordinator we like, a plus offensive line. Even Corey Davis and Jonnu Smith show flashes of being significant starters. Score another hit for the Escaping Adam Gase documentary.

Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert
The Justin Herbert story has been amazing thus far. (AP Photo/Alex Gallardo)

Playable most of the time

$13 Matthew Stafford

$13 Drew Brees

$12 Ben Roethlisberger

$11 Derek Carr

$11 Carson Wentz

$11 Jared Goff

$10 Teddy Bridgewater

Bridgewater would be a slam-dunk Comeback Player of the Year in a non-Alex Smith season, and perhaps he should win anyway. He’s no longer a check-down specialist, and the Panthers should get Christian McCaffrey back soon. Ian Thomas’ quiet year has been a disappointment, but the Panthers hired well on the coaching staff and have a handful of exciting skill players . . . Wentz’s suspiring rushing volume and willingness has saved his fantasy value, but he doesn’t get the untouched rushing production — he pays the price on almost every carry. More than any other QB living on his legs, you worry about Wentz lasting the full season . . . Roethlisberger is blessed with all sorts of receiver talent, but the Steelers want a balanced offense, and often times the defense can carry a game. Even when Big Ben aired it out Sunday — a season-high 49 passes — the results weren’t exciting, just 5.5 YPA. There’s no reason to change anything this year, but Pittsburgh needs to think about who its post-Roethlisberger QB will be . . . I originally had Brees a tier higher, then I had a painful Taysom Hill flashback. Sean Payton’s vanity is one of this team’s biggest problems.

Talk them up, talk them down

$9 *Cam Newton

$9 Gardner Minshew

$8 Daniel Jones

$7 Kirk Cousins

$6 Tua Tagovailoa

$5 Jimmy Garoppolo

$5 Philip Rivers

$5 Baker Mayfield

I think the Jaguars would be foolish if they benched Minshew, but it’s their dime. This should be a develop and evaluate year, and if you’re not happy with the result come January, then you can plan the next move. Mike Glennon’s upside left the building several years ago . . . Kyle Shanahan’s scheming tells you all you know about Garoppolo; they don’t want their quarterback holding the ball or doing any heavy lifting. Garoppolo was competent enough to quarterback a team to the Super Bowl last year, but it was as a component piece, not the driver. It’s not a sin to be around league average, but he’s never going to be the star we dreamt about a few years ago . . . Newton doesn’t look right, and we can only speculate the reason why. How badly is he compromised after his COVID-19 stint? Is the hand hurting, or the shoulder? Even if Newton can get his body right, good luck clicking with a Patriots group of wideouts that is one of the five worst in the NFL. Heck, it might be the worst group of all 32 teams; there is no dynamic playmaker here.

Bargain Bin

$3 Nick Foles

$3 Drew Lock

$2 Kyle Allen

$2 Andy Dalton

$1 Sam Darnold

$1 Ryan Fitzpatrick

$1 Ben DiNucci

I couldn’t do this list without a nod to the Fitzmagic. The NFL trade deadline is almost always a dud, but I would love to see Fitzpatrick moved to a team that needs a second-half quarterback. If and when that happens (or if Miami shifts back), we’ll reevaluate the value.

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