Links to other positions in this series:
It’s hard to believe the NFL regular season is here, but Week 1 gets underway on Thursday. If you're like me, you still have several key drafts to complete in the next few days. After spending more than four months focusing on every bit of minutiae, every tidbit, every coach’s quote, and adjusting our rankings and projections, a lot can change from our original expectations.
Quarterbacks Who Changed My Mind
Lamar Jackson (BAL) is back in business
Last year’s Ravens offense shook me, and I was far below consensus on Jackson earlier in the summer. He lost his best receiver in Marquise Brown, was unhappy with his contract, and looked absolutely lost a year ago when the team opened up the passing attack. But then cooler heads prevailed. Jackson is healthy, seems in good spirits about his contract negotiations, and it’s become apparent the Ravens are going to get back to the 2019-2020 plan of leading the league in rushing attempts. Jackson’s legs give him a top-10 floor, and if he can be closer to the 30 touchdown threshold than the 20 touchdowns, he’ll be back as one of the best at the position.
Matthew Stafford (LAR) worries me a little
Credit to my colleagues Matt Waldman and Sigmund Bloom, who turned me onto Matthew Stafford’s elbow issues a few months ago. I initially discounted the worry, but as someone who’s spent years playing fantasy baseball, too, I believe that elbow issues rarely get better without surgery. It seems like the Rams have a plan to minimize the risk, and I’m not totally off drafting Stafford or the Rams receivers. But when push comes to shove, I’ve been passing on Stafford for other signal callers in his tier.
Tua Tagovailoa (MIA) makes the cut
In traditional (start 1 QB) leagues, I always have a cutoff of quarterbacks I want to come away with, which usually runs 14 or 15 deep. My initial projections had Tagovailoa below the threshold, but I’ve warmed to him in recent months. He’s healthy, has a positive attitude, and had a strong camp. I’m not ready to anoint him as a must-start passer, but I would now be comfortable taking him as my Week 1 starter if I prioritize other positions early.
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