Quarterback Stock Watch – Week 9
It has been another crazy week in the NFL, and the quarterback landscape continues to be fluid, with players traded, benched, and injuries piling up. Now that the NFL trade deadline has passed and we find ourselves at the halfway point of the season, we have value changes to discuss on this week’s Quarterback Stock Watch. Before locking in your week nine lineups, let’s take a look at a few players who have seen their stock affected over the last few weeks:
At a Monday press conference, Cardinals’ head coach Johnathan Gannon stated that Clayton Tune or Kyler Murray would start on Sunday. I found it interesting that he didn’t declare Murray their starter, but with Josh Dobbs shipped out to Minnesota, a new starting quarterback is needed regardless. Even if Tune were to get the nod for Sunday’s matchup against the Browns, all signs point to Murray eventually taking back the reigns in Arizona. After a week of injuries devastating the quarterback position, Murray deserves an immediate look for fantasy managers hoping to replace their injured players. Some need season-long help, such as fantasy managers who have lost Kirk Cousins for the year due to an Achilles tear.
In weeks 1-9 of the 2022 season, Murray had six Top-10 fantasy finishes. Understanding he is coming off an ACL tear less than one year ago, I still expect Murray to provide solid upside in a Cardinals offense that made Josh Dobbs a weekly streaming option. Like most, I am still determining what the future holds for Murray. Still, in a barren quarterback landscape, fantasy managers should look to Murray, who is only on 56% of Yahoo rosters.
Levis balled out in his NFL debut, throwing for 238 yards and four touchdowns. This performance led to a QB6 finish on the week, logging 27 fantasy points. Since his debut game, Levis’s ownership is up 42% on Yahoo. This performance is impressive, especially considering that Ryan Tannehill hasn’t thrown for more than one touchdown in any game this season. In his most recent performance against the Steelers on Thursday Night Football, Levis completed 22 of 39 passes for 262 yards. Levis threw his first interception in the NFL and failed to log a touchdown in his second game, finishing with only ten fantasy points. In watching the game, Levis appears exceptionally raw and will have to get better at anticipating pressure. Despite his subpar performance, Levis showed off the arm talent that wowed scouts throughout the draft. As long as Tannehill is out, Levis is the guy. If Levis can continue his strong performance, I’d expect Tennessee to finish the year with him as their starting quarterback. They need to see what they have in the rookie before heading into this offseason, and fantasy managers could reap the benefits.
It looks like Atlanta is waiving the ‘white flag’ on their season, choosing to bench second-year player Desmond Ridder for veteran journeyman Taylor Heinicke. Last we saw of Heinicke, he led the Commanders to a 5-3-1 record in games he started in 2022. Although his stock may be up, fantasy managers should have reservations about looking at Heinicke as a starter. In games started in 2022, he failed to register more than 25 fantasy points. While that might spell trouble for those looking for a 30-point performance from their quarterback, Heinicke will arguably play with the best weapons at his disposal throughout his career. Terry McLaurin and Jahan Dotson are a solid one-two combo. Still, an Atlanta team featuring Kyle Pitts, Drake London, and Bijan Robinson seems to be a quarterback away from unlocking the elite potential of their offense. While I’m not jumping to waivers to pick him up, Heinicke is worth looking at with favorable matchups against Minnesota and Arizona before Atlanta’s week 11 bye.
Before arriving in Minnesota, Dobbs had been solid for Arizona this season, as he is currently QB12 in fantasy. With Kyler Murray set to return for the Cardinals and the Vikings looking to replace an injured Kirk Cousins, Dobbs finds himself in a great position to succeed. While he might not have Justin Jefferson to throw to just yet, he will find playmakers in Jordan Addison and TJ Hockenson to help keep this offense afloat. Dobbs is QB12 on the year and has given fantasy managers three top-10 finishes (all over 20 fantasy points). Dobbs can also offer a safer floor than most, as he is 3rd among quarterbacks in rushing (only 22 yards behind Jalen Hurts). With injuries piling up and coaches benching their quarterbacks, Dobbs might be a reliable option among all the uncertainty within the position.
Love started hot this season but has seen his stock cool off over his last three starts. During that span, Love threw for three touchdowns while throwing five interceptions and averaging 197 yards passing per game. With the Packers on a four-game losing streak, they’ll look to their first-year starter to help right the ship. Unfortunately for Love, this is not the week we’ll see that ship correct course. Green Bay takes on the Los Angeles Rams (12th in fantasy points allowed to opposing quarterbacks), who, before playing Dallas in week 8, had only surrendered one receiving touchdown on the season to opposing wideouts. Not to mention, the Rams are allowing the sixth-fewest points to opposing running backs. With Aaron Jones taking another questionable designation into the weekend (limited participant in practice), Love won’t have his best running back at 100% to help manage the load. That will mean more pass attempts for Love, but with a balanced offensive attack, it will prove easier to drive the ball down the field to Christian Watson, capping Love’s upside and likely impacting his efficiency.
I hate to kick a guy when he’s down (currently nursing a rib injury) but Pickett hasn’t been viable all season. On the year, Pickett has one game in which he’s scored over 20 fantasy points. After eight starts, Pickett has thrown for only 6 touchdowns. For perspective, that is less the same as Desmond Ridder (6) and less than Jimmy Garoppolo (7), who have both subsequently been benched. Even with the return of Diontae Johnson to the Steelers offense, Pickett belongs on waivers in all 1QB leagues.
Nick Godwin has been playing fantasy football since 2010. He grew up right outside of Philadelphia. GO BIRDS!! You may have seen him in Underdog bestball drafts (ALWYSSTDY), or in other draft rooms under Always Steady. He plays fantasy to win and hopes to share his hot takes, talk strategies, and most importantly, help everyone win their championships. He’s always ready to talk all things dynasty, devy, redraft and IDP. As an avid fantasy fan, he spends most of his days mock drafting, getting in to best ball drafts, and preparing to dominate his home leagues.