The thing about the quarterback position in fantasy in 2023 is that we’re all at least mildly disappointed with whoever we drafted. Nobody is taking a victory lap. It’s been a messy seven weeks.
The four quarterbacks who went first in terms of preseason ADP are actually the top four year-to-date fantasy scorers, yet, by their standards, none have been uncommonly good. Josh Allen is the overall QB1 at the moment and he can’t stop giving the ball away. None of the top-scoring quarterbacks have separated from the pack, which makes each of them a semi-bust at ADP — the point of burning an early pick at QB was to land a game-breaker. Which none of us did.
But at least if you drafted a tier-one quarterback, you avoided the pitfalls that followed. Just look at the guys who went 5 through 14 at this position in an average draft:
An absolute nightmare. Just ghastly.
Even the few good QBs in that range are somehow letting people down (as you will soon see). Today, our mission in the Panic Meter is to sort the valid concerns at quarterback from … well, from this first complaint:
Tua! I have no intention of benching him, but he’s not very consistent.
— Witching Hour Magic (@stewartshouse) October 24, 2023
Panic level: Dude. C’mon. 🤯
Can’t say I saw this one coming. Tua is one of the few undeniable success stories among quarterbacks who were drafted inside the top-100 picks. He’s the overall QB5 heading into Week 8, he’s feeding an all-time season by Tyreek Hill and he’s currently leading the NFL in passing yards and completion percentage. Tagovailoa has delivered three games with three or more TD passes; he’s also passed for at least 200 yards and one score in every week, so he hasn’t yet produced a disaster-game.
Whatever fantasy problems you may have, Tua isn’t one of ’em. You didn’t draft him as a top-five QB and he’s produced a half-season of top-five numbers. This was a draft day win. We are not accepting complaints about this player at this time.
I think it’s Herbert, not feeling good about ROS
— Mauro Funtowicz (@maurofun) October 24, 2023
Panic level: Elevated. 🤔
Herbert is currently the QB8 on the season, which seems fine on the surface, until you realize that he actually delivered most of his points back in September. Over LA’s last three games — since Mike Williams went down with a season-ending knee injury — Herbert has thrown as many picks as touchdown passes (4) while averaging 217.7 yards per game and completing only 57.1% of his attempts. So that’s not great.
Austin Ekeler returned from his ankle issue two weeks ago, but he pretty clearly isn’t operating at full capacity. Josh Palmer has basically been the best possible version of himself over the past month, but he’s not a 6-foot-4 contested catch winner like Williams. This team’s receiving corps could use a talent boost. Quentin Johnston does not appear ready to level up.
It’s entirely possible that the upcoming home matchup with Chicago is a get-right spot for Herbert, who’s faced a pair of stingy defenses over the past two weeks (Dal, at KC). But if we don’t get a multi-touchdown game on Sunday night, I’m not sure when we can expect one from Herbert. The Chargers schedule takes a challenging turn in Week 9. We’re not sitting Herbert, but we also shouldn’t feel as if he’s any sort of difference-maker.
He’s like an off-brand version of Kirk Cousins right now, which is definitely not the experience you signed up for.
Trevor Lawrence….guy can’t produce qb1 numbers
— oooooo (@CasiniFrancis) October 24, 2023
Panic level: Officially none. We’d understand if you added a quality backup, but no panic here. 🥱
We might need to take a break from discussing Lawrence in the Panic Meter, because my opinion hasn’t changed and the people are unmoved. His team is 5-2, on top of its division, and Lawrence himself is legitimately playing well — in fact, he often outplays his receivers. He makes throws that are unavailable to most NFL quarterbacks. His passer-rating on deep throws this season is 131.9, among the best in the league. He’s also somewhat quietly on pace for 500 rushing yards and seems generally unaffected by the recent knee issue. In a nutshell, he’s awesome.
And yet Lawrence has only topped 300 yards once this season and he hasn’t passed for three scores in any game. His managers are understandably irritated by the lack of notable fantasy performances. Some weeks, his receivers have let him down. Other weeks, it’s simply Travis Etienne hogging all the touchdowns. Either way, it’s unfortunate for anyone banking on Lawrence.
My advice here remains what it’s been in prior weeks: It’s almost impossible for a guy to play this well for this long without eventually producing big games — the sort of performances that alter fantasy outcomes. I’m not ditching him in favor of random sketchy streamers with friendly matchups.
Panic level: It was much higher a month ago.
It’s kind of a weird time to be freaked about Burrow, no?
He’s plainly moving better than he was weeks ago, when he was lurching around like late-stage Philip Rivers. Burrow has thrown five TD passes over his last two games (both wins) and he’s coming off a bye, so the calf is presumably as healthy and functional as it’s been all season. Cincinnati’s bye also came at the right time for Tee Higgins, who’s now nearly a full month removed from his rib injury.
If you’re simply fretting about this week’s matchup at San Francisco … well, that’s another matter entirely. Despite the huge game from Cousins in Week 7 (mostly via Jordan Addison), the Niners are allowing the second-fewest yards per attempt (6.0) on the season and they lead the league in interceptions (11). They are, in fact, a problem.
Burrow, however, is not a serious worry at this time. If people are still dealing with residual Burrow panic, I would suggest attempting to buy at a discount before the window closes.
Panic level: Extreme. Sirens and strobe lights. This is some category-five radioactive stuff. Run.
Whether he’s lost or bad or injured or all three, we can also simply call him “dropped.” He’s the deadest of dead weight at the moment and he’s not gonna see the field in Week 8. We’re done here. There’s no reasonable argument to hold him in a standard-issue 10 or 12-team league. No one’s trading for Watson and you’re rightly terrified to play him.
It wasn’t wild to have hoped, back on draft day, that we might eventually see the 2020 version of Watson this season, but that ain’t happening. Move along. We’re way past panic here.