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Bump and Run

Stats To Know in the QB Shuffle

by Kate Magdziuk
Updated On: March 18, 2020, 10:41 am ET

The quality of quarterbacks that hit free agency in 2020 in remarkable, and the implications are huge. Let's try to paint a picture of what we can expect in the coming season for the biggest names in fantasy football.

 

Tom Brady to the Bucs ... Almost Definitely

There's no official word on a deal just yet, but rumblings around the NFL say that it's happening; The Bucs will land the six-time super bowl winner in his first-career free agency appearance. It's an exciting fit - the best quarterback of all time, matched up with quarterback whisperer Bruce Arians. 

  • Julian Edelman led the Patriots with 153 targets in 2019, which likely means good things for 2019 breakout Chris Godwin. Godwin played 55% of his offensive snaps out of the slot and has shown proficiency as a YAC monster. It's a match made in heaven, and Godwin is easily a top-five wideout again in 2020.
  • TB12 finished as the QB12 in 2019 for fantasy football, ranking fourth among quarterbacks in pass attempts on the season. Given his lack of pass-catching weapons available in New England, it's nothing short of a miracle. Now he gets a Bruce Arians scheme and arguably two top-five wide receivers in the NFL. Brady is a lock for a QB1 in 2020 and should be a buy for any dynasty team in win-now mode.
  • Rookie RB Dare Ogunbowale led Tampa Bay running backs with just 46 targets in 2019. Compare that to the 162 targets Tom Brady fed to the running back position, and you'll notice there's a large vacancy to fill. We don't even need to say it, but for giggles, I will; draft whatever pass-catching running back the Bucs are sure to acquire in all of your PPR leagues. Former Patriot Dion Lewis finished as the RB15 in his final season with Brady and was recently cut by the Titans. Could we see a reunion? We'll soon find out.

 

Philip Rivers to the Colts

The rumors have been looming for some time, but it seems like a natural fit for Philip Rivers in Indianapolis. He thrives behind a line that can pass-protect, and Indy has made moves to bolster the offensive line since they broke Andrew Luck in 2016. The move makes sense.

  • The Chargers targeted the running back position at the highest rate among all NFL teams in 2019 - 30.9%. This is great news for Nyheim Hines, who led Colts running backs in targets for the 2019 NFL season. Hines could be a sneaky late-round option in PPR leagues or Best Ball formats. 
  • The Colts targeted the tight end on 29.4% of passes in 2019, the fourth-highest rate in the NFL. Rivers has an established history of utilizing the tight end position between HOFer Antonio Gates and Hunter Henry. We could be in for more of the same. The Colts let Eric Ebron walk in free agency, vacating 50 targets and creating opportunity in the offense, but it remains to be seen for whom. Interestingly, over the last two seasons, Doyle averaged two more PPR points with Ebron on the field than without him.
  • Philip Rivers had 79 passing attempts of greater than 20 yards in 2019, the fourth most among all quarterbacks. On these passes, he threw five touchdowns and nine interceptions while managing a passer rating of just 59.1. There was only one quarterback to have a worse TD:INT ratio on deep passing attempts among starting QBs in 2019 - Jared Goff. 
     

Teddy Bridgewater to Carolina

The writing was on the wall once the Panthers announced Tuesday that they permitted Cam Newton to seek a trade. There's been an evident changing of the guard in Carolina, making it all the more symbolic that Teddy Bridgewater gets his fresh start there after crawling his way back from a brutal knee injury that nearly ended his career. It's been awhile since we've seen him play a full season, so painting a picture of an offense designed for him requires us to take a journey back to 2015.

  • In Bridgewater's last full-season, Stefon Diggs led the Vikings with 84 targets, closely followed by Kyle Rudolph with 73 and Mike Wallace with 72. Simply put, there was no clear target-hog. I'd expect much of the same in Carolina.
  • In 2015, Bridgewater's average depth of target was 7.5 yards while ranking 22nd among quarterbacks in deep pass attempts of 20+ yards. This is a hit to Curtis Samuel, who led Carolina with an average depth of target of 15.3 yards in 2019.
  • TE Greg Olsen and the Panthers have parted ways, leaving third-year TE Ian Thomas as the next man up. Thomas is explosive with massive 11-inch hands and certainly has the chops to be a safety valve in a new Panthers' offense. In his nine games played without Olsen since being drafted, he's averaged nearly 10 PPR points per game. His average puts his 16-game pace at 156 PPR points, which would have ranked as fantasy football's TE7 in both 2018 and 2019.
     

Question marks remain for the Chargers and Patriots, but with several names left on the board, we should still be ready for some more free agency entertainment. For the latest updates, check out Nick Mensio's 2020 NFL Free Agent Tracker.

Kate Magdziuk

Kate Magdziuk is a contributor for Rotoworld, RotoViz, and host of BallBlast: A Fantasy Football Podcast. You can find her on Twitter @FFBallBlast.