Dynasty fantasy football is all about spotting opportunities. Few things can sink the prospects of an otherwise strong team quite like an underwhelming quarterback. Whether you were convinced that Mitchell Trubisky was set to break out or whether you were looking for Joe Flacco to keep you on track, you might find yourself desperately searching for an upgrade prior to the 2020 season. With the looming retirement of faces of franchises and disappointing draft picks being shipped out, just which landing spots should you be keeping an eye on as you search for the next fantasy superstar at quarterback?
Note: This article is looking at situations where a new quarterback would be best positioned for long-term fantasy success. The Cincinnati Bengals and Miami Dolphins, for example, are both almost certain to end up with a new starting QB, but, barring a dramatic upgrade in surrounding talent, neither will be in situations where they should be expected to produce.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Jameis Winston’s time in Tampa Bay looks as if it’s coming to an end. The 1st overall pick of the 2015 NFL Draft was supposed to have a breakout year under the tutelage of quarterback whisperer Bruce Arians. Still, instead, he leads the NFL in interceptions with a completion percentage among the lowest in the league.
Whoever inherits the quarterback position for the Bucs will find themselves in a great situation. Mike Evans and Chris Godwin combine to headline one of the top wide receiver groups in the game. Evans is 26, while Godwin is only 23, meaning that both should be enormous contributors for the foreseeable future.
Bruce Arians and his vertical offense have managed to get impressive fantasy results from Carson Palmer (QB5 in 2015) and a rookie Andrew Luck (QB9 in 2012). Winston is currently the QB9 despite a disappointing season. Whether the Bucs choose to bring in a veteran in free agency, make a trade, or draft Winston’s successor, he’s likely to be a player handpicked for his fit in the system.
New England Patriots
It’s the argument that people have been using to diminish his achievements for as long as I can remember – “Tom Brady is a system quarterback.” While it’s often said jokingly, there’s something to be said for the ease with which backups have stepped in, whether Matt Cassel, Jimmy Garoppolo, or Jacoby Brissett.
Brady has fought father time with unmatched success and has hinted that he’d like to take on grandfather time with the same tenacity. Still, he’s currently extending his career one year at a time, and, aged 42, he’s no longer competing for MVP awards. Nobody builds a team quite like Bill Belichick. The man may well have a life-threatening allergy to failure, and the Patriots will be contenders until his retirement. Even after that, his successor, whoever and whenever, will likely be a disciple of his and look to continue “the Patriot way.”
Brady has been a solid fantasy quarterback this season. He’s the QB12 after 11 weeks, but his supporting cast is playing a crucial role in that. Among qualifying quarterbacks, he’s currently the QB28 in PFN Offensive Share Metric, with a lot of the team’s offensive production coming due to his receivers making plays.
When looking at dynasty quarterback landing spots, the quick fix isn’t always the best. Brady’s experience and intangibles obviously help, but the Patriots offense gives quarterbacks a high fantasy floor. Brady’s heir, whenever they ascend to the throne, will be primed for fantasy success.
The Pittsburgh Steelers don’t have a long-term answer at quarterback. The assumption is that Ben Roethlisberger won’t want to end his career on these terms, but he’ll be a 38-year-old quarterback coming off elbow surgery and entering the last year of his contract. Roethlisberger has undoubtedly done enough for the organization that they will keep him for as long as he wants to be there, but he’s teased retirement before.
The defense has looked dominant at times this season and is establishing itself as one of the top groups in the league. The offensive line hasn’t been as consistent as it was under Mike Munchak’s guidance, but they’re still an asset to the team. That’s not even mentioning offensive weapons such as James Conner and JuJu Smith-Schuster. Smith-Schuster has struggled to overcome poor quarterback play but is still one of the top young wide receivers in the league and would be set for a bounce-back with an upgrade at the position.
Mason Rudolph has shown that he’s not the answer, and the coaching staff still value him higher than Devlin Hodges. At the least, a new addition to the quarterback room would be a backup with a strong chance of game time throughout his first season. At best, he’s the starter for an offense that has previously been among the most consistently strong in the league. The lack of a first-round pick (due to the Minkah Fitzpatrick trade) will hurt the Steelers’ ability to get their top choice in the draft, but there’s an opportunity for a new face to take over.
The Carolina Panthers are at a crossroads. They look ready to move on from Cam Newton and take their offense in a new direction. First impressions of Kyle Allen, the backup who stepped in following Newton’s injury, were promising. He’s not the dynamic talent that Newton is, but he’s more of a traditional quarterback.
With Christian McCaffrey, DJ Moore, and Curtis Samuel set to star for the foreseeable future, and the QB will have one of the league’s best playmaking groups entering their prime. That’s why Allen’s recent struggles will concern head coach Ron Rivera, who’s not entirely as secure in his job as he was when the team went to the Super Bowl. Attaching himself to a talented young quarterback could give him a longer leash.
Allen will be given the rest of the season to make his case to be the long-term starter. The Panthers’ offseason decisions will answer questions on his success, and a new addition to the quarterback room could find themselves in the starting quarterback discussion sooner rather than later.
Andy Gallagher is a writer for the Pro Football Network covering Fantasy Football. You can follow him @AndySGallagher on Twitter.