Key fantasy questions around the AFC North
(This is the third of an eight-part, four-week series from Pat Thorman attempting to answer pressing fantasy questions in each of the NFL’s divisions. Follow the whole series here.)
As we do every July in the run-up to training camp, let’s take a spin around the league and ask – and attempt to correctly answer – one fantasy-relevant question of each team. The AFC North is up next. This season, division members face the high-octane NFC South and up-and-down AFC West.
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How likely is Joe Flacco to get benched, and what are the fantasy implications?
A half-decade removed from the Ravens’ Super Bowl victory and the farce of “elite,” Flacco has consistently been one of the worst quarterbacks in the league. Over the last four seasons, only Blake Bortles, Josh McCown, and Jay Cutler have a worse touchdown-to-interception ratio among quarterbacks with at least 1,000 pass attempts.
While the Ravens have lapped the field by 47 total pass attempts the past three years, Flacco has graded as our 26th-, 27th-, and 29th-best quarterback. His PFF passer rating — which accounts for dropped passes, spiked balls, and air yards – has ranked 27th, 24th, and 30th during that time. The more often Flacco throws, the more obvious it is he’s a liability.
Only Drew Stanton had a lower yards-per-attempt average than Flacco last year among 40 qualifying quarterbacks. He rarely makes something (positive) happen when he drops back. At a time when turnovers are declining league-wide, and innovative coaches are scheming mediocre quarterbacks to viability, the main thing keeping Flacco in the lineup is a historically bad contract.
If John Harbaugh, whose seat is warming, has to watch his quarterback make mistakes, why not insert one who will also make some plays?