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Fantasy football draft targets: Quarterbacks

We look at quarterbacks who you should target in your 2020 fantasy football drafts.

Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton drops back to pass against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the third quarter at Bank of America Stadium. Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

Fantasy football can be an analytical endeavor where you project players statistically for the season and then grab the guys that offer the most value at each pick. But, it is also a game and finding “your guys” and going after them in a draft can be fun too. Of course, “your guys” are also likely players you feel can be had at great value at their ADP, but because you are much higher on them than most of your league mates.

Below, I will give you my guys. These are quarterbacks I may reach ahead of ADP to grab, as I believe in their talent and opportunity this year. I’m very much on the side of waiting on quarterback, as there are 32 starters in the NFL and only 12 in most fantasy leagues. Is the difference between a Top 5 quarterback in ADP that much better than a Top 15 quarterback? It really isn’t. Those of you who grabbed Patrick Mahomes as the first quarterback in the draft last year would have done much better waiting for Lamar Jackson. Who will this year’s Jackson be? I hope he’s in the list below!

Matthew Stafford, Lions

Last season Stafford got off to a tremendous start. He had five games with three or more touchdown passes out of the eight he ended up playing before his injury. Extrapolated to a full 16 games, he would have thrown for 4,998 yards, 38 touchdowns, and 10 interceptions. Who knows how those last eight games would have truly gone, but getting Marvin Jones back, a second-year T.J. Hockenson at tight end and rookie running back and pass-catcher D’Andre Swift can only help. The Lions could improve on defense, but it likely won’t be enough to keep their offense in run mode, so there is a chance for plenty of passing while trailing.

Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers

Roethlisberger has never been a consistent top fantasy quarterback, but before his injury that kept him out of 15 games in the 2019 season, he saw a huge expansion of his passing attempts on the way to his best fantasy season ever. He appears to be ready and healthy, having lost weight and toned up a bit from the sideline slob we saw last season. With JuJu Smith-Schuster, Diontae Johnson, James Washington and Eric Ebron to throw to, I like his chances to beat his ADP and finish in the Top 10 again.

Cam Newton, Patriots

Is Newton the same player he once was? Probably not, but all systems appear to be go for the season and I don’t believe he’ll stop running the ball. Bill Belichick signed Newton for his total ability, and that includes rushing the football. Newton also showed in 2018 that he could adapt to a new, shorter passing offense, and succeed. Injuries slowed him that year, but he also completed 68 percent of his passes compared to his previous high of 61.7 percent. The Patriots aren’t flush with offensive talent, but they have reliable pass catchers in Julian Edelman, Mohamed Sanu and James White, while they hope to get more out of second-year receiver N’Keal Harry. Add in Josh McDaniels and Bill Belichick’s schemes and Cam’s rushing touchdown ability, and there is plenty of upside to be had.

Teddy Bridgewater, Panthers

The Panthers defense isn’t going to be good this year while their offense has the personnel and coaching to put up points. That imbalance should lead to plenty of chances for Bridgewater to throw the ball. His pass-catching weapons are great, starting with Christian McCaffrey, to D.J. Moore. Curtis Samuel, Robby Anderson and ending with Ian Thomas. Factor in offensive coordinator Joe Brady, of National Champion LSU Tigers fame, and there is plenty of upside.

Gardner Minshew II, Jaguars

Minshew proved last season that he can compete and even put up good fantasy numbers. His fantasy numbers took a hit in the second half, but through his first eight games, he averaged 40 rushing yards per game and threw for 1,976 yards, 13 touchdowns and just two interceptions. And that was after spending all training camp as the backup quarterback and then being called upon to take over for an injured Nick Foles in the middle of their first game. If he can average 40 yards rushing per game for the season, find the end zone a few times as a rusher and keep that connection with D.J. Chark going, there is plenty of reason to believe he can be a useful fantasy quarterback this year.