A couple weeks ago, we discussed how quarterbacks are overvalued by bettors. Don’t be fooled, QBs are vitally important, but their impact is factored into lines by sportsbooks, and one player does not make a team.
Three games into the 2015 season, it is no surprise that Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady have been elite. But questions surround many of the other signal callers as the likes of Andrew Luck and Sam Bradford have been much worse than predicted, while Andy Dalton and Tyrod Taylor have been pleasant surprises.
Can we expect the current trends to continue or will the preseason prognostications prove prescient?
The consensus top QB in fantasy drafts, Luck is 32nd in the league in Quarterback Rating right now. Nobody is suggesting that this will continue all season, but his 6.49 yards per attempt rank just below Josh McCown, Teddy Bridgewater, Kirk Cousins, and Blake Bortles; his seven interceptions are two more than any other quarterback in the league; and his 56-percent completion rate is only better than Bortles, Ryan Mallett, and Jameis Winston.
Let’s not sugar coat it. Luck has been awful this season. Most of his stat lines should improve, but don’t expect a return to 2014 numbers. He is facing some better defenses this year as the Colts matchup with the AFC East, and he has always struggled with turnovers. The fourth-year pivot has been picked off 50 times in 51 career games, and over the last seven games in 2014, including three in the postseason, he tossed for nine scores and nine INTs.
Many thought that, if Bradford could stay healthy, joining Chip Kelly’s offense would finally make him look worthy of being the top overall pick in the 2010 draft. While Philadelphia finally won on Sunday, it wasn’t because of Bradford. He wasn’t intercepted for the first time this year, but he also completed just 14 of 28 throws for 188 yards. He hasn’t averaged 6.5 yards per attempt in any game this season and has just three touchdown passes to four INTs. Bradford’s 2015 numbers are slightly below his career averages, and nobody thinks he has had a successful career.
If Philly can get its run game going, Bradford may find passing lanes opening up a bit more. But it doesn’t look like he’ll take the huge strides predicted at the start of the season – especially given the subpar receiving corps Kelly has assembled.
The much maligned Bengal QB ranks second in Quarterback Rating and has lead Cincinnati to a 3-0 mark. He was nothing short of brilliant against the Ravens on Sunday, completing 20 of 32 pass attempts for 383 yards, three touchdowns, and one interception. During the first two weeks of the year he tossed five touchdown passes and was not picked off while completing 68-percent of his throws.
But it’s worth noting that Cincinnati started 3-0 last year, too, and Dalton personally had four touchdown passes and only one pick through three weeks. Over the rest of the season, he threw more INTs than majors and Cincy went 7-5-1, dropping the division title to Pittsburgh. In sum, we’ve seen this movie before. It’s still too early to go all-in on Dalton.
Raise your hand if you saw first-time starter Tyrod Taylor sitting top-five in Quarterback Rating through three weeks? If your hand is up, go see a doctor; you either have a problem telling the truth or are delusional. The Virginia Tech product and longtime Ravens backup won a training camp battle to earn the starting job in Buffalo and flew out of the gate in a 27-14 Week 1 win over the Colts. He also played very well in a 41-14 rout of the Dolphins in Week 3.
In four years with the Hokies, Taylor never completed 60-percent of his pass attempts. This year, he is connecting on 74-percent of this throws. He also has seven touchdown passes – more than Peyton Manning, Philip Rivers, and Matt Ryan – and another major on the ground.
Will this continue? There’s reason for scepticism. Taylor has indeed played two solid games. But he also played one pretty darn bad one. In Week 2, he looked overmatched in much of Buffalo’s 40-32 loss to the Pats. His stat line at the end of the game didn’t look so bad (23 of 30 for 242 yards, three TDs, and three picks) thanks to a big second half. But two of the picks came in the first half and the game was basically out of reach part way through the third quarter. Considering that his good games have come against two of the most disappointing teams of the early season (Indy and Miami), the jury is still out on Taylor.
(Photo credit: emeybee (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons.)