2018 Late Round Gems – QB
- Philip Rivers (Los Angeles Chargers) – If you’re like me and wait on QB’s & TE’s, you can really do some damage loading up on solid RB’s & WR’s in the early to mid-rounds. I don’t know why, but a guy like Rivers is always underrated and drafted as a backup QB in most leagues. I understand he’s getting up there in age (36), however if you look at the past three seasons he hasn’t regressed. He adds zero value in the run game, however Rivers is averaging 4,564 passing yards & 30 td’s per season. Plus, last year he had one of his better seasons with a QB rating of 96.0. I know the injury to Henry really hurts, however Rivers still has solid targets in Allen, T. Williams, M. Williams & Gordon. Look for another similar season as last year.
- Jared Goff (Los Angeles Rams) – If you watched Hard Knocks Goff’s rookie season you’d think this guy was going to be a bust. However, last season he really took a step forward with the new coaching change. Don’t forget Goff was a #1 overall pick in 2016 and is the prototypical NFL QB (6’4″ 222 lbs.). A lot of teams are going to focus on Gurley, however as he proved last season Goff isn’t afraid to air it out. People quickly forget, but in just his second season Goff threw for 3,804 yards, 28 td’s & only 7 INT’s. The addition of Cooks will be an improvement from Watkins and he still has Woods & Kupp as targets. The Rams are also really high on their third year TE, Tyler Higbee (6’6″ 255 lbs, 4.67 40). I know he’s no where close to Gronk’s level, however in comparison Gronk’s 6’6″ 265 lbs. and ran a 4.68 40.
- Marcus Mariota (Tennessee Titans) – I know, I know, last year Mariota had a terrible season and most people are over him. However, if you go back to his rookie season and second year, he had QB ratings of 91.5 & 95.6 respectively. Mariota’s still only 24 years old, the same height/weight as Goff, however is more athletic and can add value in the run game. This year he’s healthy, has the 5th ranked offensive line, and solid WR’s/RB’s. If Corey Davis can emerge into the stud WR he’s projected to be, and Deon Lewis perform like he did for the Pats, I think Mariota puts up numbers similar to 2016, where he threw for 3,426 yards, 26 passing td’s, 349 rushing yards, and 2 rushing td’s. Statistically, he’s by far a better passer when they run play action, so the combo of Henry/Lewis is ideal for him to rebound this year.
- Patrick Mahomes (Kansas City Chiefs) – There isn’t much NFL game film on Mahomes, however this guy certainly passes the eye test on all levels. He’s an athletic 6’3″ 230 lbs. with a rocket for an arm. If you go back to his college days at Texas Tech, in his Sophomore & Junior years he combined for 9,705 passing yards, 77/25 TD/INT, & rushed for 22 td’s! Although he’s inexperienced, Mahomes is in an ideal situation to excel. Last year Alex Smith had a career year in which he threw for 4,000+ yards and 26 td’s. I would not be surprised if Mahomes puts up similar numbers in 2018. This year the Chiefs have one of the most explosive offenses in Hunt, Kelce, Hill & Watkins. This is a guy I’d highly recommend taking a chance on late in your draft.
- Baker Mayfield (Cleveland Browns) – Yes Mayfield’s a rookie, yes he’s on the Cleveland Browns, yes he’s only slightly taller/heavier than Johnny Manziel, and not to mention listed as a backup. However, I know there’s a lot of haters out there, but this kids different; he’s a winner. After the Browns start the season 0-2 with Tyrod Taylor, I believe this is when the front office will get pressured to turn to Mayfield. I don’t know what it is about him, but he seems to always come through in clutch situations. If Cleveland signs Dez Bryant, and Gordon gets his act together, this WR threesome of Landry, Bryant & Gordon will be unstoppable. With these talented WR’s, Mayfield’s rookie season could be a successful one. I know he can be a little errant and risky with some of his downfield throws, but if you’re throwing to Dez or Gordon, those downfield throws may not be so risky. In addition to those three studs, David Njoku, TE, is turning into a real threat. Njoku was a 1st round draft pick in 2017, is extremely athletic, and is one of my break out candidates for the year. Don’t pass on Mayfield just because he’s a Brown or listed as a backup to start the season. You can probably draft him in one of the last rounds of your league and might work out in your favor!