Narrative Street: Should you avoid rookie QBs in fantasy?
Last year’s crop of rookie quarterbacks started the year hot. Carson Wentz was the next best thing, and Dak Prescott was a fantasy starter just one quarter of the way through the season. As the year progressed, Wentz cooled off, Prescott got better, and Jared Goff fell on his face.
But if nothing else, last year’s hot start brought rookie quarterbacks to the forefront of the discussion in fantasy.
The narrative: You should avoid taking a rookie quarterback in fantasy football.
Typically, this ends up being a fairly short discussion. The narrative is that you shouldn’t take a rookie quarterback in fantasy. Over the past five years, guys like Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees, Cam Newton, Andrew Luck, Russell Wilson, and others have been playing at or near their best. With fantasy leagues typically featuring just 12 quarterback starters each week, the already-crowded room makes it difficult for rookies to break through.
That’s the narrative, at least. And with the NFL draft coming up, with Mitchell Trubisky and Deshaun Watson (at least) looking like potential starters if they land in the right situation, it’s worth asking: Is it true?
To keep things relatively recent while still providing an ample sample size, I examined all quarterback data from the past five seasons. Note that this excludes Cam Newton’s big rookie season in 2011, but it includes Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III, and Russell Wilson in 2012.
I compared rookies to second-year players, third-year players, etc., in terms of yards, touchdowns, interceptions, fantasy points, weekly fantasy finishes, and more.
To put it simply: Rookie quarterbacks trailed their veteran counterparts in every category. Here’s the yards-per-game chart as an example: