As regular season fantasy leagues wrap up, managers must decide if a player is worth the long-term investment, an outright cut, or primed to be traded.
In this new series, Goody sits down with Nick Goodwin (@ngoodwin_TV) to debate a hot dynasty topic. As we head into the off-season to provide information to help managers decide what to do with some marquee players.
Our First Dynasty Debate: Is CJ Stroud a Top 5 Dynasty QB?
In my opinion, I say no. CJ Stroud doesn’t break into the group of Josh Allen, Jalen Hurts, Patrick Mahomes, Joe Burrow, and Lamar Jackson. All of those guys would be ahead of Stroud in my book.
I would say CJ Stroud is in this tier of quarterbacks, with Burrow being the odd man out. Since entering the NFL, Burrow has had a difficult time with injuries. At only 22 years of age, Stroud is currently leading the NFL in passing yards (3,540) and, at his current pace, will break Andrew Luck’s rookie season passing record of 4,374 yards. Simply put, Stroud is doing things we just have not seen from a rookie quarterback.
Speaking of rookie stats… It’s great to see a player become dominant early in their career. However, many players have started strong but haven’t sustained that pace. In the Top 10 rookie passing yards in a season are the likes of Baker Mayfield, Jameis Winston, Carson Wentz, and my favorite, Mac Jones. Each of those guys had pretty solid rookie seasons, but we’re unable to sustain that productivity.
Those players had solid rookie seasons, but none were in conversations for MVP like Stroud’s name has been. Diving into some numbers for the players you mentioned, each had thrown for at least 13 interceptions in their rookie years. Stroud has only thrown for 5 interceptions on the year, showing a veteran-like ‘savvy’ rarely seen in rookie quarterbacks (1.2% interception percentage). This interception percentage is tied for lowest in the league.
There is nothing from Stroud’s play that would indicate incoming regression, but rather, I see room for growth. Stroud had thrown for at least 40 touchdowns in each of his last 2 seasons at Ohio State and currently sits with 20 passing touchdowns on the year with the Texans. As he becomes more comfortable, I expect that number to rise.
Interestingly, you brought up touchdowns. CJ Stroud has thrown for 20 touchdowns this year, and the Texans offense averages 23.4 ppg, ranking 10th. Many offenses that average more points are the same teams as the QBs I listed above. Based on many of the concepts you stated, Brock Purdy may be likelier to be a Top 5 QB than Stroud. Is Stroud better than Purdy?
No, Purdy is not better than Stroud. In 2022, the Texans ranked 31st in the NFL in offensive yards and 30th in offensive points scored. This year, the Texans rank 6th in offensive yards and 10th in offensive points scored. This massive offensive turnaround (led by Stroud) currently has the Texans in the seventh seed for the AFC playoff picture, taking a team that finished 2022 with a record of 3-13-1 to a respectable 7-5.
Purdy benefited from being drafted by a team coming off a 10-7 record the previous season (making the playoffs in the process). The 49ers have Kittle, Deebo, CMC, Aiyuk, and arguably the best offensive line in football. Outside of Laremy Tunsil, the Texans do not have a Pro Bowler on their offense. Stroud is doing more with less, as he is sitting at QB5 overall in fantasy, with Purdy close behind at QB7.
So, is Stroud a good quarterback? Or a good fantasy quarterback? Doing more with less is great for the team, but does it translate to a better fantasy QB? Purdy has CMC, Deebo, Kittle, and Aiyuk as weapons to pick apart defenses. That would make him a better candidate to be a Top 5 fantasy quarterback than CJ Stroud. CJ has 2 games with Zero TD passes.
Baker Mayfield, Jordan Love, Russell Wilson, and Matt Stafford have either had a touchdown pass in every game they’ve played or only one game without a touchdown. All of those quarterbacks have playmakers. That proves that to be a great fantasy quarterback, you have to have weapons to make plays or be a running quarterback to compensate for the lack of passing weapons.
Stroud has only eclipsed the 20-yard make once on the ground. This lack of weapons or a personal running game makes me feel like Stroud will be a starter-quality dynasty quarterback for the immediate future, but not an elite one.
I agree in the short term that the lack of elite weapons will cap Stroud’s ceiling, but one thing we can count on is that offenses change each year in the NFL. Purdy will not always have Pro Bowl-caliber players around him, and Stroud won’t always have below-average weapons around him. What is more predictable when forecasting years ahead is the talent of the player himself. There is a reason Purdy was a 7th-round pick, and Stroud was picked number two overall; Stroud has all the physical tools you want in a franchise quarterback.
I believe Stroud will be a great NFL and fantasy quarterback for the next decade. Fantasy points can be scored in various ways, and just because a quarterback has rushing upside, that only sometimes translates into production. Look at recent examples like Daniel Jones.
More traditional pocket quarterbacks have had recent success and elite fantasy seasons. Looking at 2021, we had Tom Brady, Justin Herbert, and Aaron Rodgers all finished as top 5 quarterbacks in total fantasy points at the position. If we look at another Aaron Rodgers-esque player, rushing upside won’t matter as he’ll be dicing up defenses through the air. Even with a modest TD number relative to his yards, it still has him at QB5 overall on the year in fantasy points. As Houston continues to add weapons around him, that number will rise.
Counting this year for CJ Stroud as a “Top 5” year should come with an asterisk that says: Joe Burrow, DeShaun Watson, Kyler Murray, Kirk Cousins, Daniel Jones, and Justin Fields all had Top 10 fantasy seasons previously, and all didn’t have an entire 2023 season. Where do I put Stroud? He’s in the Top 10, but the next seven quarterbacks could easily be there. Next year, we will also add Caleb Williams and Drake Maye, plus a host of other college quarterbacks that could take the league by storm.
In my current Top 10, I have Jalen Hurts, Josh Allen, Patrick Mahomes, Joe Burrow, Lamar Jackson, Justin Herbert, Brock Purdy, CJ Stroud, Trevor Lawrence, and Tua Tagovailoa. And that list excludes some talented quarterbacks like Dak Prescott, Jared Goff, Anthony Richardson, DeShaun Watson, Justin Fields, Sam Howell, and Jordan Love, who can all put up Top 10 fantasy numbers.
It is fair to point out some injuries across the position, and the likelihood of different rankings had some players stayed healthy. Even so, when projecting ahead and considering who I’d start my team with today, I’d select Allen, Mahomes, Hurts, Jackson, and Stroud. Is there some recency bias in there? But I do know that I have yet to see a rookie I’ve been more impressed with over the last few seasons. CJ Stroud is staking his claim as one of the best quarterbacks in the league, and he has yet to hit his prime.
What do our Dynasty Pros readers think?
Is CJ Stroud a Top 5 Dynasty QB?
Full time teacher, full time fantasy sports enthusiast. I try to look at fantasy sports through my own lens and share that vision with my readers I love to explore and find new, and exciting fantasy football options including: C2C, dynasty, IDP, and Devy. See me on Twitter @JGoody77
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