Quarterback Shuffle Up: Lamar Jackson's schedule toughens up

In most seasons, quarterback is the easiest fill. Alas, 2019 is not one of those seasons.

What’s happened to this point is an audition, nothing more. If you want to look at a list of scoring leaders, you can find that elsewhere.

Please don’t get hung up on the exact prices, anyway. What matters most here is how the players relate to one another, where the talent clusters and where the talent drops off. Players at the same price are considered even.

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Don’t get hung up on the tier names or where the divisions are. We like to break up the copy.

The needle-movers

$34 Russell Wilson

$32 Deshaun Watson

$31 Lamar Jackson

$29 Aaron Rodgers

$27 Matt Ryan

$25 Jacoby Brissett

It’s not like I’m slamming Jackson when I have him at QB3, but I’d like to see more consistency in the passing game, and more touchdowns from the offense. Not counting the Miami game, these guys have a modest 14 offensive scores in six games. And the schedule gets harder in the second half; Jackson will get a test from the Patriots, Bills, and 49ers. I don’t think it’s a bad idea to dangle Jackson in trade, see if someone lets recency bias turn into an offer you can’t refuse. Use their emotion against them . . . Assuming Ryan is healthy enough to keep playing, he looks like a safe fantasy option while he lives that high-volume, garbage-time life. And Atlanta’s rushing game has been in the toilet all year . . . Brissett’s been more fantasy-valuable than real-life valuable, though he’s having a wonderful year. Frank Reich has steered Brissett to a 6.8 percent touchdown rate, second-best among qualifying quarterbacks . . . Watson just needs to stay in one piece, improve his pocket awareness and sack avoidance. This was tightened up for two weeks, before a messy loss at Indy.

The Seahawks had no answer for Lamar Jackson last week. (Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)

No-doubt starters

$24 Dak Prescott

$22 Kirk Cousins

$21 Kyler Murray

$20 Josh Allen

$19 Jameis Winston

$19 Matthew Stafford

$18 Tom Brady

$17 Philip Rivers

$17 Carson Wentz

Cousins would be a little higher if Adam Thielen were completely healthy. The Minnesota offense is giving Cousins tons of throwing time, and although the Vikings don’t have tons of passing options, Thielen and Stefon Diggs are legitimate stars, and even rookie Irv Smith is coming on . . . Winston is the classic “take the stats, don’t watch the game” quarterback. Even when he plays poorly, which is often, Chris Godwin and Mike Evans can drag him to a good place. A shame this team can’t seem to unlock O.J. Howard . . . Perhaps Stafford will see more volume with Kerryon Johnson out of the mix. Detroit’s complement of targets is Top 10 in the league . . . Brady has the worst touchdown percentage of his career; that’s what happens when Sony Michel is around, bogarting those short touchdowns. Brady also has three plunges himself, something that could go away at any point; though he’s unstoppable at that QB sneak, he had five rushing touchdowns, total, in the previous six years . . . It’s depressing to see the Eagles so beholden to DeSean Jackson, a 33 year old speed receiver with an extensive injury history. At least Dallas Goedert is finally healthy and putting together his breakout.

No-man’s land

$15 Jared Goff

$11 Baker Mayfield

$10 Gardner Minshew

$10 Derek Carr

$9 Jimmy Garoppolo

$8 Ryan Tannehill

$8 Sam Darnold

Something’s missing with the Rams. The easy chunk plays aren’t there. The offensive line has clearly taken a step back. Brandin Cooks has looked like a JAG all year. And to be fair, Goff hasn’t played well, either. I will always bet on Sean McVay long-term, but I don’t see the Rams in the playoffs . . . Maybe it’s the scars of Marcus Mariota that are clouding my judgment, but I was relieved to see Tannehill back on the field. He wasn’t that bad in his Miami tenure. He’s willing to pull the trigger on tight-window throws. Maybe he can get Corey Davis unlocked. And the Bucs are coming to town at the right time . . . Darnold’s awful Week 7 performance has to be thrown out. He played well the previous week. Maybe the Patriots simply are that destructive. Outlier performances, good and bad, can often get in the way of rational evaluation. Burn the film.

Superflex low-end guys

$7 Daniel Jones

$7 *Teddy Bridgewater

$6 Mitchell Trubisky

$5 *Kyle Allen

$4 Andy Dalton

$4 Mason Rudolph

$4 Ryan Fitzpatrick

$3 Case Keenum

$2 Joe Flacco

$2 *Matt Moore

Hard to imagine the Bengals sticking with Dalton all year. His value is propped up by garbage time and some touchdown runs . . . Jones needs to develop some pocket awareness, and fast . . . The Steelers figure to hide Rudolph as much as they can.

The Injured

$0 Patrick Mahomes

$0 Drew Brees

$0 Cam Newton

There’s no point in pricing these guys; you can be as injury optimistic or injury agnostic as you want. The Saints and Panthers have been winning with their backups, so there’s no need to rush a return. And the Chiefs already have the AFC West title half in the bag.

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