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Tyler Higbee
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Going Deep

Reviewing 2019 Late-Year Breakouts - QBs & TEs

by Hayden Winks
Updated On: May 2, 2020, 3:48 pm ET

Fantasy football is a “What have you done for me lately?” game because opportunity can change hands instantly with injuries and breakout talent popping up randomly. Because of this, what players did at the end of last season matters a whole lot more than what happened in the beginning of the season, so I’m doing deep dives on what happened at the end of the 2019 season to spot some 2020 fantasy booms and busts. 

 

2019 Late-Season QB Production

Per-game numbers compiled from Weeks 13-17 and playoffs. Minimum three games to qualify. 

Scroll to the right to view entire table.

Rank

Player

FP

PaAtt

PaYD

PaTD

RuYD

G

1

Lamar Jackson

27.2

32

213

2.6

95

5

2

Deshaun Watson

24.3

35

265

1.5

34

6

3

Patrick Mahomes

23.8

34

266

2.1

27

8

4

Ryan Fitzpatrick

23.5

42

326

2.0

25

5

5

Drew Brees

22.2

34

263

2.8

0

6

6

Jared Goff

20.8

43

329

2.2

4

5

7

Jameis Winston

20.7

38

344

2.2

10

5

8

Dak Prescott

19.8

40

294

1.8

16

5

9

Josh Allen

19.6

34

199

1.0

43

5

10

Daniel Jones

19.4

42

298

2.3

15

3

11

Ryan Tannehill

18.7

24

211

2.1

12

8

12

Matt Ryan

17.5

44

306

1.6

12

5

13

Derek Carr

17.4

35

287

1.2

8

5

14

Mitchell Trubisky

17.4

39

256

1.4

23

5

15

Russell Wilson

17.3

32

254

1.3

26

7

16

Carson Wentz

17.0

37

252

1.7

9

6

17

Aaron Rodgers

16.5

36

250

1.7

11

7

18

Gardner Minshew

16.5

33

197

1.6

22

5

19

Kyle Allen

15.8

42

286

1.0

19

4

20

Philip Rivers

15.3

35

289

1.6

1

5

21

Andy Dalton

15.1

38

248

1.4

4

5

22

Tom Brady

14.4

35

221

1.5

6

6

23

Baker Mayfield

14.0

32

221

1.6

12

5

24

Drew Lock

13.6

31

204

1.4

14

5

25

Kyler Murray

13.1

30

204

1.2

25

5

26

Sam Darnold

12.6

36

222

1.2

5

5

27

Jacoby Brissett

12.5

32

203

0.6

17

5

28

Kirk Cousins

11.9

31

210

1.2

2

6

29

Dwayne Haskins

11.9

24

178

1.3

8

4

30

Taysom Hill

11.6

1

12

0.0

19

6

31

Jimmy Garoppolo

11.4

25

209

1.1

3

8

 

Ryan Fitzpatrick (23.5 FP/G) was an absolute legend at the end of the 2019 season. He will be missed whenever Tua Tagovailoa takes over his job. Dr. David Chao believes Tua will be able to play at near 100% health at the beginning of the season. It’s unclear if the Dolphins will let him play immediately. 

Jared Goff’s production (20.8 FP/G) was inflated by wild late-season games against the Cardinals (2x), Cowboys, 49ers, and Seahawks. Goff will be extremely lucky to be anywhere near the top-five quarterbacks in 2020. Expect the Rams to go 12-personnel more than ever as coach Sean McVay attempts to hide his limited quarterback. Goff is more of a fantasy QB2 than QB1.

Dak Prescott (19.8 FP/G) was the QB8 during this closing five-game stretch, but he was a top-five fantasy quarterback earlier in the 2019 season and the Cowboys just made some upgrades to the offense by adding CeeDee Lamb, swapping Jason Witten targets for Blake Jarwin targets, and replacing coach Jason Garrett with Mike McCarthy. Prescott will likely be my QB3 overall. He belongs in the potential MVP discussion.

Daniel Jones (19.4 FP/G) is a much better fantasy asset than real-life talent. He turns the ball over too much and takes too many sacks, but the volume is there for fantasy. Jones can scramble and has a great offensive supporting cast paired with a below-average defense. While I don’t believe in Jones as a legit franchise quarterback, I do believe he can return low-end QB1 numbers for fantasy in 2020.

There’s basically zero chance Ryan Tannehill (18.8 FP/G) can be the QB11 on 24 pass attempts per game in 2020 like he was in this late-season sample. With Derrick Henry back on the franchise tag, the Titans will likely be near the bottom of the league in pass attempts next season. Tannehill is nothing more than a QB2 in fantasy.

Carson Wentz (17.0 FP/G) couldn’t post QB1 numbers with the Eagles’ 2019 supporting cast that “featured” Boston Scott and Greg Ward at the very end of the season. Luckily, DeSean Jackson should play more than three games this season and first-round rookie Jalen Reagor is ready to play immediately as a potential vertical weapon. 

Kyler Murray’s numbers (13.1 FP/G) lie because he only played half of one of his games and faced a tough schedule to end the season. With DeAndre Hopkins upgrading the receiving group into one of the league’s best, and with a full offseason to figure out what aspects of the air raid work in the NFL, Murray should take a big leap as a passer in 2020. He already was averaging 34 rushing yards per game.

Taysom Hill (11.6 FP/G) averaged more points than Jimmy Garoppolo (11.4 FP/G) from Week 13 on. Lol.

 

2019 Late-Season TE Production

Per-game numbers compiled from Weeks 13-17 and playoffs. Minimum three games to qualify. 

Scroll to the right to view entire table.

Rk

Player

FP

Tar

Rec

ReYD

ReTD

G

1

Tyler Higbee

21.4

11.2

8.6

104

0.4

5

2

Travis Kelce

17.7

8.4

6.6

75

0.6

8

3

Jared Cook

14.6

3.8

3.2

64

0.8

6

4

Darren Waller

14.6

7.8

6.2

88

0.0

5

5

Mike Gesicki

13.8

7.8

4.0

50

0.8

5

6

Mark Andrews

13.4

6.4

3.6

50

0.8

5

7

Dallas Goedert

13.2

8.2

5.7

65

0.2

6

8

Zach Ertz

13.2

7.8

4.6

50

0.6

5

9

George Kittle

12.1

7.1

5.1

57

0.3

8

10

Kaden Smith

11.6

7.0

5.0

50

0.4

5

11

Jason Witten

9.7

5.4

4.2

31

0.4

5

12

Dan Arnold

9.4

3.3

2.0

34

0.7

3

13

Austin Hooper

9.2

7.5

4.8

45

0.0

4

14

Hunter Henry

8.5

4.4

3.2

33

0.4

5

15

C.J. Uzomah

8.1

4.0

3.2

25

0.4

5

16

Tyler Eifert

7.9

4.2

2.8

39

0.2

5

17

Hayden Hurst

7.8

3.3

2.3

35

0.3

6

18

Jacob Hollister

7.8

5.9

4.1

36

0.0

7

19

O.J. Howard

7.7

5.0

3.2

45

0.0

5

20

Jonnu Smith

7.3

3.0

2.4

26

0.4

8

21

Noah Fant

7.0

2.8

2.0

38

0.2

5

22

Ian Thomas

6.8

5.0

3.0

26

0.2

5

23

Jack Doyle

6.7

6.0

2.6

29

0.2

5

24

Cameron Brate

6.3

4.0

2.2

17

0.4

5

25

Kyle Rudolph

6.2

3.3

2.3

22

0.3

7

26

Jimmy Graham

5.5

3.9

2.4

34

0.0

7

27

Darren Fells

5.5

3.4

2.1

16

0.3

7

28

Jordan Akins

5.0

4.2

2.4

26

0.0

5

29

Greg Olsen

4.6

4.7

2.3

22

0.0

3

30

Ricky Seals-Jones

4.5

1.4

1.0

15

0.4

5

31

Blake Jarwin

4.5

3.0

2.2

23

0.0

5

32

Charles Clay

4.5

1.5

1.3

17

0.3

4

33

Seth DeValve

4.4

3.0

2.0

24

0.0

3

34

Josh Hill

4.3

2.3

1.5

8

0.3

6

35

Hale Hentges

4.2

2.0

1.2

18

0.2

5

36

Anthony Firkser

4.1

2.1

1.1

15

0.3

8

37

Joshua Perkins

4.0

2.2

1.5

15

0.2

6

38

Jesper Horsted

3.9

1.8

1.4

17

0.2

5

39

Irv Smith

3.8

2.6

1.7

13

0.1

7

40

Nick O'Leary

3.7

2.3

1.3

9

0.3

4

41

Dawson Knox

3.6

3.0

1.4

22

0.0

5

42

Vance McDonald

3.6

3.0

2.3

13

0.0

4

43

Jeremy Sprinkle

3.4

3.0

1.8

16

0.0

5

44

Matt LaCosse

3.3

1.7

1.2

11

0.2

6

45

Demetrius Harris

3.2

2.5

0.8

9

0.3

4

46

Jeff Heuerman

3.1

1.8

1.2

7

0.2

5

47

MyCole Pruitt

3.1

1.1

1.1

12

0.1

8

48

Derek Carrier

3.0

1.4

1.2

6

0.2

5

49

Ben Watson

3.0

2.0

1.5

15

0.0

6

50

Nick Boyle

2.9

2.2

1.2

7

0.2

6

 

Tyler Higbee (21.4 FP/G) turned into peak Rob Gronkowski at the end of 2019, turning 11.2 targets into 8.6 receptions and 104 yards per game. The Rams seem set on running more two-TE sets this upcoming season, and Higbee should be somewhat featured, especially with Todd Gurley and Brandin Cooks on other rosters. Higbee belongs in the top-five tight end conversation.

Jared Cook (14.6 FP/G) was the TE3 over this sample, but he only saw 3.8 targets per game and was completely touchdown-dependent. With the Saints adding a true No. 2 receiver (Emmanuel Sanders) this offseason, it’s unlikely that Cook sees the volume of other TE1s, which is bad, bad news for Cook. He is my model’s top touchdown regression candidate.

Mike Gesicki (13.8 FP/G) was quietly a top-five tight end at the end of last season while seeing 7.8 targets per game. The Dolphins Offense needs to get better for Gesicki to truly break out, but there’s a chance that happens after retooling the offensive line and adding Tua Tagovailoa this offseason. Gesicki is a 97th percentile SPARQ athlete with 4.54 speed. He’s worth buying.

Dallas Goedert (13.2 FP/G) and Zach Ertz had identical fantasy production from Week 13 on, but both of their target totals should take a slight hit this season with DeSean Jackson and Jalen Reagor entering the starting lineup. Still, 6-8 targets per game should be enough for TE1 or fringe TE1 production.

George Kittle (12.1 FP/G) was dominant to end the regular season, but he posted 3-16-0, 1-19-0, and 4-36-0 receiving lines during the playoffs with the 49ers going super run-heavy. San Francisco should regress a little bit in 2020, so Kittle shouldn’t have any troubles posting top-five TE1 numbers despite the iffy late-season production.

Kaden Smith’s production (11.6 FP/G) and volume (7.0 targets per game) from late last season is a decent baseline projection for Evan Engram in 2020, assuming he’s all systems go coming off his Lisfranc injury. Engram averaged 58 yards and 8.5 targets in his eight healthy games, but Golden Tate and Sterling Shepard were in and out of the lineup at that time.

Hunter Henry (9.2 FP/G) surprisingly only saw 4.4 targets per game during Weeks 13-17 and only Melvin Gordon is gone from the Chargers’ loaded skill group. Expectations for Henry have to be lowered with Tyrod Taylor and Justin Herbert unlikely to pass well enough to keep four different Chargers afloat in fantasy. We know two of the four will be Austin Ekeler and Keenan Allen. Henry and Mike Williams might be on the outside looking in as no-brainer every-week fantasy starters.

Blake Jarwin (4.5 FP/G) should inherit some of Jason Witten’s production (9.7 FP/G) and volume (5.4 targets), but his breakout appeal was deflated by the CeeDee Lamb selection. Jarwin will need to be highly efficient on limited targets to be a streamable tight end in fantasy next year. That’s still possible. The Cowboys should have a top-five offense.

Noah Fant (7.0 FP/G) made a few splash plays as a rookie, but his competition for targets will likely be too strong for him to sneak into the every-week TE1 conversation this season. He was only seeing 2.8 targets per game at the end of last season, and now the Broncos have Melvin Gordon, Jerry Jeudy, and KJ Hamler in the building.

RBs and WRs will be posted next week. 

 

Fantasy Football Content

1. Free Agency Winners and Losers

2. 2019 Rushing Efficiency Rankings

3. 2019 Receiving Efficiency Rankings

4. 2019 Expected Rushing TD Rankings

5. 2019 Expected Receiving TD Rankings

6. 2019 Expected Fantasy Points (WR)

7. 2019 Expected Fantasy Points (TE)

8. 2019 Deep Target Efficiency Rankings

9. NFL Depth Charts - QB, RB, WR, TE

10. Stop Running It Up The Middle