By Jared Clifton

Quarterback Comparisons continued…

QB6: Deshaun Watson (2019 Rank #4)

Ian Walton/Associated Press

Player Profiler Comparison: Dak Prescott

2020 Consensus Projections:

Kyler’s gain, is Deshaun’s loss.  Watson has been a fantastic real life and fantasy asset for the entirety of his 3 year career and a sizable portion of that was directly contributable to one of the best WR’s in the game. However, the consensus projectors aren’t penalizing him and even boost him in a number of categories from last year’s stats.

He does have a respectable receiving corp, with the addition of Brandin Cooks, a presumably healthy Will Fuller, the mostly reliable Randall Cobb and deep threat Kenny Stills.  Even former stud David Johnson makes for an interesting new toy.

It still feels like he could take a step back this year with the injury risks of his weapons and Bill O’Brien still able to make whatever trades pop up on his vision board.

Maybe all goes well and he can emulate his HMH predecessor, who just so happened to finish as QB1 in his season.  Assuming O’Brien doesn’t procure a time machine.

History Meets Hype Comparison: Daunte Culpepper (2003–finished as QB1)

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While Desahun doesn’t have Deandre Hopkins, Daunte Culpepper has his, in one Randy Moss and in a three year block of the 2000’s Culpepper used both his HOF receiver and his legs to the tune of three straight #1 QB finishes, 2003 being the second of those three.

He was a big brute force to try to tackle and had an arm that only few in his day possessed.  He was what fantasy QBs are made of. While his rushing numbers did dip from a stellar 2002 campaign, his passing game was much improved and he shed 12 interceptions form an unsightly 23 the year before. 

Although they missed the playoffs, despite leading the NFC North up until the conclusion of Week 17, Culpepper’s star shone bright and that led to an even better 2004, before injuries (and Lake Minnetonka boat trips) finally knocked him off the tracks starting in 2005.

QB5: Kyler Murray (2019 Rank #8)

Player Profiler Comparison: Russell Wilson

2020 Consensus Projections:

We’ve been lucky recipients of two sophomore star making seasons over the past two years.  Both Mahomes and Jackson have gone from star potential to star power, to make a tier to themselves above all other QB’s. Could we see the same out of former first overall pick Kyler Murray? 

The hype is real and the offense is stacked, with new addition Deandre Hopkins leading a full cabinet of offensive weapons.  The projections, however, allow for just modest increases in all categories due to estimated poor O-Line play.

We may still be a year out from the breakout, but if Kyler can follow the footsteps of his HMH comp, then we should be in for a fun next couple of seasons.

History Meets Hype Comparison: Andrew Luck (2013–finished as QB4)

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Luck was also a number one overall pick, who took over the QB reins from a former first rounder, much like Murray. It just happened to be some guy named Peyton Manning, while Murray replaced generational talent, Josh Rosen.

Luck’s second pro season was a vast improvement from his rookie campaign, as he cut his interceptions in half, improved his completion percentage to over 60% and most importantly had 11 games with 15 or more fantasy points, including two 30+ point efforts..  It was the beginning of helping Colts fans forget journeyman Peyton Manning, who flukily won the MVP in 2013.

It wasn’t his finest season, but it was the beginning of his run as one of the finest QB’s in the NFL.  Here’s hoping we get to see many more years, then we do from the Barry Sanders of quarterbacks.

QB4: Russell Wilson (2019 Rank #3)

Dean Rutz / The Seattle Times

Player Profiler Comparison: Drew Brees

2020 Consensus Projections:

One bad slant pass aside, Russell has been a fantastic, if not spectacular QB, over his eight year career. The prognosticators see that continuing in year nine, as he is projected for nearly 4000 yards and a sterling 3.5 to 1 TD to INT ratio and a QB4 finish.  

The rushing portion of his game has gradually become less pronounced,  but his floor has been kept high by being a near lock for thirty plus TD’s over the past three seasons. Our HMH comparison only enjoyed one thirty plus TD season, but it was a special season that culminated in just his franchise’s second Super Bowl appearance.

History Meets Hype Comparison: Donovan McNabb (2004–finished as QB3)

2004 will always be seen as the cherry on top of a criminally underrated career.  The former Orangeman two sport star, came up short against the Patriots in Super Bowl XXXIX, but was nearly perfect leading up to that disappointment; also known as the notorious McNabb puking game.

While leading his team to a whopping seven game margin over the rest of the NFC East, he threw for an Eagles record 464 yards and 5 TD’s against the also Super Bowl contending Green Bay Packers, in what was voted as the #1 game of the decade by Eagles fans. 

Unlike Wilson, McNabb never got the chance to deliver a championship to his team, but his 2004 season definitely has a special place in Philly fans hearts and minds.

QB3: Dak Prescott (2019 Rank #2)

Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Player Profiler Comparison: Deshaun Watson

2020 Consensus Projections:

It wasn’t the offseason that Dak had hoped for, but he’s hopeful that another top 12 QB season will get him the love…and money that he’s after.  Some playoff success would go a long way to getting him both.  That said, his fantasy numbers have been lost in the noise of being the QB on one of the loudest franchises and he is rarely talked about in the same breath as the top tier of QB’s.  

He has shown to be a legitimate contender for 5,000 passing yards and that may be more of a reality than his consensus yards projections show, with future star CeeDee Lamb taking over Randall Cobb’s spot in a now three headed WR monster. That said, a McCarthy coached QB hasn’t cracked 4500 yards since 2011 and this is an offense that still runs through Zeke and a still formidable O-Line; something his HMH comp didn’t enjoy until two years after his best season.

History Meets Hype Comparison: Blake Bortles (2015–finished as QB4)

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It hasn’t been that long, but think back and ask your brain if you ever remember Blake Bortles fishing as the QB4.  Well, it happened brain and although the Jaguars season was a dismal 5-11 finisher, it was a glimpse (possibly the only real glimpse) into why he was selected 3rd overall in 2014 to be the Jaguars savior.

Bortles had 11 multi TD games, but also 5 multi INT games, with only four games without a turnover.  That ended up being his damnation in Jacksonville, but for one semi-brilliant season, he showed the Jag faithful what a future QB star could have looked like.  He did end up getting a big contract in 2018, but was out just a year after.  Sounds like a cautionary tale to me.  Maybe the franchise tag wasn’t such a bad idea, Jerry.

QB2: Patrick Mahomes (2019 Rank #7)

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Player Profiler Comparison: Matthew Stafford

2020 Consensus Projections:

There are $503 million reasons for Patrick Mahomes to be happy, but the kid would have been just as joyous coming off the Chiefs first Super Bowl victory in 50 years.  Projectors have Mahomes virtually splitting the middle between his MVP season of 2018 and his abbreviated 2019 season.

Mahomes has captivated the NFL world and many see him as the face of the league.  His laidback and almost aloof mannerisms, make him a fun watch both on the field and in post-game interviews.

While his HMH counterpart is definitely perceived as a more icy personality, it’s his on-field play and more specifically his 2009 season that matches up perfectly with Mahome’s projections.

History Meets Hype Comparison: Aaron Rodgers (2009–finished as QB1)

Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

I feel certain that Aaron Rodgers has never eaten ketchup on a steak, but Rodger’s second full season starting Green Bay a six year run of 100 plus passer rating seasons and quickly made Packers fans forget the sting of Brett Favre being run out of town.

The former Cal Bear standout had 9 games of over 20 fantasy points, including a monster week 15 game against Pittsburgh with 37.52, and only one performance under 14 points. He even got in on the action on the ground with a career best in  rushing TD’s. Rodgers went on to finish second overall in fantasy points, behind Chris Johnson in Tennessee and outpaced the next closest QB (Drew Brees) by over 3 fantasy points per game. 

That kind of season certainly seems in range for Mahomes and at worst is a conservative estimate to Mahomes floor if all goes well in KC.

QB1: Lamar Jackson (2019 Rank #1)

Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

Player Profiler Comparison: Deshaun Watson

2020 Consensus Projections:

If ever there was a season that lived on the edge of unique, it was Lamar Jackson’s MVP star turning season of 2019.  Luckily for this exercise, the experts seem to believe that NFL defenses will catch up Greg Roman’s Jackson-centric offense and TD regression will occur in both his passing and rushing TD numbers.

If Lamar needs some advice on how best to handle defenses adjusting to his game, he only has to jog over to the sideline and talk with his clipboard holder and History Meets Hype twin, Robert Griffin III.  Although Griffin III only played in 15 games in his rookie campaign, the numbers are eerily similar.

History Meets Hype Comparison: Robert Griffin III (2012)

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While I fully expected Lamar’s comp to be Michael Vick, the dual passing and rushing prowess of the two current Ravens, were by far the most concretely similar.  In 2012, Griffin III took the league by storm and garnered the title of “cheat code” that few before and after have been deemed.  A true unicorn, that is able to transform the game with his arm or his feet.  Sound like someone we know? 

It makes sense why John Harbaugh, some seven years after Griffin’s finest season, would ensure his offense was protected by securing a backup QB with such a similar game.  Sure he’s lost a step or three, but the Raven’s could do worse than deploy a QB that so closely aligns with Jackson, in the event Jackson does go down.

Unfortunately it was a gruesome knee injury that cut Griffin’s meteoric rise short, but hopefully we get to see what the follow up to his fantastic 2012 season would have looked like, in Lamar Jackson’s third year offering.

Tune in tomorrow for my RB Rankings.

Jared Clifton – Dynasty/Redraft
Ride or Dynasty
Twitter: @unstuckintime82