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Let's talk about this year's crop of rookie signal-callers. Who is your top quarterback in a normal fantasy league? In most fantasy leagues, is there one worth drafting? Does your answer change in a dynasty league?
If A.J. Green is healthy, Burrow is the odds on favorite as he has a strong set of weapons to compliment Green in the form of Joe Mixon, Tyler Boyd, second-round pick Tee Higgins, and John Ross. Cincinnati should also return left tackle Jonah Williams to bolster the offensive line. However, at a fraction of the price, Justin Herbert could be viable in deeper leagues, with a good supporting cast in Keenan Allen, Mike Williams, Hunter Henry, and Austin Ekeler. For a quarterback to be viable as a rookie, they either need to be an elite passer in the Peyton Manning mold or have the ability to score points with their legs. Burrow is the better runner but a Josh Allen-like approach, where Herbert runs aggressively is not out of the question for Herbert as a rookie. Tua Tagovailoa projects for a slow start coming back from his injury with capable veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick on the roster. Even if he gets the week one nod, Tagovailoa has the worst set of weapons and the lowest rushing upside of the three.
I agree with Jordan. I won't be surprised if Tagovailoa has a better career depending on whether the Bengals or Dolphins personnel departments make better decisions in the next few years, but for 2020 it's hard to dislike Burrow. He'll step into the lineup immediately and has a deep receiving corps, whereas Tagovailoa has the hip concern, and a less-complete supporting cast. I don't think it's unreasonable for Miami to given Fitzpatrick the nod initially, and let Tagovialoa take over mid-season when the risk-reward of building for 2021 takes over. Burrow and the Bengals don't have the same veteran alternative.
Burrow is the only rookie quarterback I'm interested in. The Bengals defense is bad, their pass-catching weapons are above average, and Burrow has sneaky upside as a rusher. As Fantasy Points' Scott Barrett pointed out, over the past two seasons, Burrow totaled 1,126 rushing yards and 12 rushing touchdowns on 195 attempts -- or 6.6 rushing fantasy points per game, the same as Josh Allen last year. There are worse ideas than tabbing Burrow as your QB2 in his rookie season.
The skill-position supporting cast is loaded for Joe Burrow and the Bengals if he hits the ground running for a quality start. To offer a super sleeper to round out the responses, Jake Luton was interesting before the NFL Draft and subsequently landed with the Jaguars. Jacksonville is projected as a high NFL Draft position in 2021 and Gardner Minshew is one of the least insulated Week 1 starters. Luton could see meaningful starts for a team turning the page from Minshew, even without an injury, as they prep for 2021 and a (likely) highly drafted quarterback replacement. Laviska Shenault, Collin Johnson, and Tyler Eifert offer potential boosts to the Jacksonville offensive weapons.
There are no rookie quarterbacks to target among the top 20. Rookie passers tend to struggle, of course, and there are no Kyler Murray types with rushing appeal this year. Burrow is the only one we can project (right now) to start 16 games, so he's your man. He'll start from Day One, giving him real value in multi-QB leagues. But I have questions about his outlook, A.J. Green's viability, and coach Zac Taylor, so I don't see any reason to consider him a QB2.
Tagovailoa is my favorite of the class, but I don't see the Dolphins' motivation to start him off the bat.
This season projects as a difficult one for rookie quarterbacks. Normally they need every minute of time in the development phase leading up to their first game. That isn’t going to happen this year.
Jordan Love and Jalen Hurts are not starting barring injury. Justin Herbert has a chance to beat out Tyrod Taylor, but that is unlikely. Tua Tagovailoa is in a similar situation with the added issue of having to prove his fitness. The one -- and only -- logical case is for Joe Burrow as outlined by the others. The release of Andy Dalton means that Burrow is a certain starter from Day 1.
Dynasty is where we can project with a little more vision. Like a few of the other guys, I see Tagovailoa with a very high career upside but a very low floor as well. It would be nice to see another elite left arm quarterback in the league, but Miami has a lot of work ahead to do to get him weapons. Cincinnati and the Chargers have better skill players at their disposal already.
I've been vacillating on the answer to this question all winter and spring.
The competition between Burrow and Tagovailoa is neck-and-neck for "most productive rookie quarterback." If Miami wide receiver Preston Williams has a quick and successful rehab of his torn ACL, he and Parker make a formidable starting duo on the perimeter. The pairing of Matt Breida and Jordan Howard is an underrated one for the ground game. These two will keep the Dolphins in more manageable down-and-distance situations and Breida is one of the most explosive big-play backs in football when healthy--that's been his issue. Adding Ryan Fitzpatrick and Josh Rosen to the mix and Tagovailoa has a much better quarterback room than Burrow--and that's essential for long-term development.
Still, Burrow played in the closest thing to an NFL offense in the college game than we've seen in well over a decade, if not longer. If Green and Ross stay healthy, they're as compelling a duo as Miami's perimeter receivers and Tyler Boyd's work from the slot also gives Cincinnati the edge at receiver. Joe Mixon may hold out, but the Bengals have enough depth at running back to keep Burrow in decent run/pass situations if the line stays healthy.
I think the production this year will come down to the health of the surrounding talent. If Green stays healthy, it's Burrow. If not, it's Tagovailoa.
This appears to be a two-horse race between Joe Burrow and Tua Tagovailoa and of those two, my money is on Tagovailoa and the Dolphins surrounding talent of youth. Having said that, nobody is giving Justin Herbert a chance to stake his claim as the best rookie quarterback in 2020.
Tom Telesco, the Chargers general manager, has made some outstanding moves this offseason to start a new era post-Philip Rivers. He added several talented free agents, namely OT Bryan Bulaga, DT Linval Joseph, and CB Chris Harris. He traded aging tackle Russell Okung for a younger guard in Trai Turner. He let Melvin Gordon walk and re-signed Austin Ekeler to a respectable, but not a bank-breaking extension. The Chargers will also get their star safety, Derwin James, back after a stress fracture in his foot limited him to five games in 2019.
Herbert comes to a veteran team ready to compete, unlike Burrow and Tagovailoa. Tyrod Taylor is listed as the top quarterback on the depth chart, but he could be replaced by Herbert sooner rather than later. Once Herbert proves that he can be the quarterback leader of the team, he will have the talent to elevate his game and perhaps finish with the best fantasy stats among this year's cast of rookie quarterbacks.