When the Chiefs shipped Alex Smith to the Redskins last offseason, the writing was on the wall for youngster Patrick Mahomes to take the starting role and produce, and boy did he ever. Mahomes concluded a fantasy season for the ages reaching pinnacles of over 5000 passing yards and 50 touchdown passes placing him in elite company in the NFL. Being the only fantasy quarterback to secure over 400 fantasy points on the season, it wouldn’t surprise us to witness many championship teams have Patrick as their starting QB.
Moving forward to next season, Mahomes will be one of the first, if not the top selected quarterback in fantasy drafts in 2019. With that said, a slight letdown could occur next season as reaching these statistical heights will be a challenge. Either way, this type of productivity should be consistent for the 23 year old superstar.
Matt Ryan (ATL)
2018 Points: 354.0 | 2017 Points: 228.1 | Net Gain/Loss: +125.9 (Rank #2)
Matt Ryan and the Atlanta Falcons season was a complete wash and disaster as they found their way on the outside looking in for the postseason. Having devastating injuries to the defensive side and losing Devonta Freeman for majority of the year, Matt Ryan was forced to throw the ball more often in attempts to keep Atlanta in games each week. Even with the added pressure of throwing over 600 balls this season, Ryan impressively threw a mere 7 interceptions highlighting his best interception ratio of his career (1.2%). Matt Ryan again found himself back to numbers comparable to his 2016 NFL MVP season raising his fantasy point differential to hit over 120 points which is extraordinary. Team success wasn’t there, but from the fantasy perspective, it was a solid season.
As the Falcons look to clean house on the coaching staff, this again comes with giant red flags. ADF has never been a supporter of recently fired offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian, but the past has proven that any change to the offensive scheme hurts Ryan’s overall outlook in year one of installation. It’s possible we could see Matt Ryan again over drafted in 2019, only to fall short of expectations yet again.
Ben Roethlisberger (PIT)
2018 Points: 341.0 | 2017 Points: 260.6 | Net Gain/Loss: +80.4 (Rank #3)
The Steelers and Big-Ben were another club which endured a massive letdown as a team this season but witnessed Roethlisberger hit career highs in both passing yards (5129 yards), and touchdown passes (34 TDs) at the ripe age of 36 years old. It’s no secret that the Steeler offense went to a much heavier passing attack given the fact that LeVeon Bell was no longer part of the club. Even as James Conner filled in masterfully, seeing Big-Ben throw the ball a whopping league high 675 times this season proves the run game wasn’t what it used to be without Bell. While Ben had games which could’ve cost your fantasy team victories, his overall season performance would’ve taken you far.
Looking to next season, a multitude of speculation will come out in the next month or two regarding the Steelers. Coming into this campaign, Ben suggested the option of retirement which will be front and center this offseason. Adding to that, recent news that star receiver Antonio Brown may have requested a trade from the team, which would only hurt Roethlisberger’s outlook next season. Seeing a repeat performance from Ben in 2019 isn’t something we are expecting at this point.
Deshaun Watson (HOU)
2018 Points: 331.9 | 2017 Points: 168.8 | Net Gain/Loss: +163.1 (Rank #4)
The Houston Texans found their stride after dropping their first three games of the season to finish the year atop the AFC South. Deshaun Watson continued to gain confidence on that surgically repaired knee as the season progressed, putting up a healthy 20.7 fantasy per game point average, placing him in the top five in that category as well. Our concern for Watson entering this season was how well he would be able to handle his own mind and if tentative play would be the outcome. Watson proved that he looks to be over his knee injury, but failed to provide that extreme electricity from last season. Either way, finishing as the 4th best fantasy quarterback isn’t too shabby.
As the Texans look to the NFL postseason, a lot will be said for next year’s evaluation for Deshaun’s fantasy outlook. More pieces will be added to this offense to provide more options for Watson to distribute the ball. For any young quarterback on the rise, the future looks bright for Watson to continue being a fantasy darling at quarterback.