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Offseason Dynasty Refocus: Quarterback

By Matt Schauf 11:02am EST 2/7/19


Patrick Mahomes just delivered the 3rd season ever of 50+ TD passes.

Tom Brady tossed 50 of them back in 2007. He hasn’t reached 40 in a season since.

Peyton Manning beat his record with 55 in 2013. Then he dipped to 39 the following season before imploding in his final campaign.

Manning did crack 40 one other time. He threw a record 49 TD passes in 2004. Manning averaged 31.4 a year across the 7 seasons he played between that and the 55.

There have been 9 other seasons of 40+ TD passes to date. Drew Brees delivered 46 and 43 in consecutive campaigns (2011 and 2012). Aaron Rodgers tossed 45 in 2011 and 40 in 2016. Dan Marino racked up 48 as a 23-year-old, 2nd-year player back in 1984. Two seasons later, he threw for another 44 scores.

Brees has averaged 31.9 TD passes over his other 11 Saints seasons.

Rodgers -- including his 2 years of 40+ -- has averaged 34 TD passes per 16 games over 11 seasons as a starter.

Marino never topped 30 touchdowns after his 4th season. He averaged 28 per 16 games for his career.

That’s all a somewhat long way of saying that we’re not likely to keep seeing seasons like the one Mahomes just delighted us with. It was just the 3rd time we’ve seen a QB average 30+ fantasy points per game. Each previous occasion saw the following year’s top QB scoring average dip by more than 3 points per game.

So, am I telling you to go ahead and sell high on Mahomes in dynasty?

No. I own him on 1 squad, and I’m certainly not rushing out to unload him.

That said, I also don’t think you should totally dismiss the idea if you own Mahomes.

Is it possible the 23-year-old (until September) Chief just keeps making history? Of course. He can fall short of his 2018 numbers and still remain atop QB scoring for years. At the very least, Mahomes looks likely to deliver you nice fantasy numbers for quite a while.

But if you have some other holes to fill and can deal Mahomes for intriguing young players at multiple positions and still start a solid QB … well, it’s worth considering.

QB differs from the rest of the positions. A 12-team league should pretty easily outfit every squad with a decent starter. Most likely also sport a solid backup. Even leagues of 14 or 16 teams should find plenty of quality options in the current landscape.

Keep that in mind as you consider any options for your own QB situation. Try not to overpay, and try not to over-value your own QB asset(s) if other owners come sniffing.


QB Age

Youth obviously beats age in dynasty when you’re looking at a pair of productive players, because you’ll likely get to use the young guy longer. So there’s always the temptation to sell off older guys. That practice can present value opportunity at QB, which generally allows stars to produce longer than their peers at other positions. But we might be in for a bit of an age correction over the next few years.

I checked back over QB ages for every season from 1980 to last year.


As you can see in the chart above, “top” QBs have commonly skewed older than the full group. (“Top” here refers to annual rankings in total pass attempts.) That makes sense. As a QB gains experience, you’re bound to rely on him more. And the best QBs figure to keep their jobs and stick around longer.

But the “top” QBs have gotten older lately. The past 6 years have each finished with a top-12 average age of 30+. Since 1980, that had never before happened more than 2 years in a row.

We’re likely in for some age adjustment over the next few years, where we’ll see fantasy stalwarts such as Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Philip Rivers and Ben Roethlisberger retire and younger guys move in. Impressive QB classes from the past 3 years look like the vanguard. Look back at the chart, and you can see the ages drop with the famous QB class of 1983 (led by John Elway, Jim Kelly and Dan Marino).

Of course, that doesn’t make every current 30+ QB poison. We can still find plenty of value and productive years from some dudes in that range.

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