While most of us experienced a downright miserable year, there were a few silver linings: Bitcoin and mobile quarterbacks. Pocket passing “traditional quarterbacks” were exposed this past season. A lack of mobility coupled with an inability to escape pressure inside the pocket severely capped the upside of QBs like Matthew Stafford, Matt Ryan, and Kirk Cousins, who failed to crack the top 10 in Fantasy Points per Game. In today’s game, simply delivering the ball down the field accurately is no longer adequate. Dual-threat QBs litter the top 10 in FFPG, providing a substantial edge to fantasy gamers in all formats.
Following the Trends: Analyzing Pocket Passers vs Mobile QBs
Fantasy football doesn’t have to be hard. A simple glance at the leaders in Fantasy Points per Game at the QB position indicates a blatant trend: mobile QBs consistently outperform their pocket passing counterparts.
And it’s not just the case in the 2020 season, revisiting the 2019 and 2018 seasons paints a similar picture.
Even a semblance of athleticism dramatically boosts a quarterbacks fantasy value.
Konami Code QBs such as Ryan Tannehill, Justin Herbert, and 2019 Jameis Winston will consistently offer more value over time than the likes of Matt Ryan and Kirk Cousins. Finding the perfect mixture of traditional pocket passing skills and new-age mobility will be imperative going into 2021 fantasy drafts. Luckily, young promising players such as Josh Allen, Kyler Murray, and Jalen Hurts perfectly fit the mold of league-winning mobile QBs and should be drafted as early as the second round.
Josh Allen – Future MVP
Josh Allen is easily the most improved player from the 2020 NFL season. Allen was nothing short of sensational, posting a remarkable 69.1-percent completion percentage after averaging only 55.8-percent through his first two years in the league. His meteoric rise in completion percentage combined with his rushing production positions him squarely in QB1 territory going into the 2021 season. With three regular seasons worth of games under his belt, he has averaged 99.3 rushing attempts per year, converting 8.3-percent of them for touchdowns.
The Bills have maximized Allen’s size-adjusted athleticism in the most pivotal area of the field when it matters most: the red zone. Rushing touchdown regression is unlikely due to how he is deployed near the goal line. In 2020, we saw him rush 24 times inside the 20, tying him with Kyler Murray for attempts inside that distance. While this usage cripples the fantasy ceilings of Zack Moss and Devin Singletary, it bolsters both Allen’s floor and ceiling. He has catapulted up to 25.3 Fantasy Points per Game, the No. 1 mark among qualified quarterbacks after posting 17.7 (No. 10) in 2019 and 17.2 (No. 18) in 2018. At only 24 years of age, Allen is entering his super prime, and it would be nothing short of asinine to not roster him in all formats going into next season.
Kyler Murray – QB Rushing TD Record Setter?
Heading into his second season, Kyler Murray had high expectations to deliver after an underwhelming rookie campaign where he averaged only 17.5 (No. 12) Fantasy Points per Game. To the relief of the entire fantasy community, he proved this past year that he has what it takes to carry a franchise, as well as our fantasy football teams.
Kyler Murray finished as the QB2 in 2020, 15 points behind Josh Allen.
Murray is still just 23-years-old? pic.twitter.com/EyGhLFlfxL
— RotoUnderworld (@rotounderworld) February 21, 2021
Even with questionable decision making, questionable play calling, and general coaching ineptitude, Murray finished the season with a 24.4 (No. 3) Fantasy Points per Game average. While he only threw for over 300 passing yards three times, his rushing production more than made up for it. He ran wild on just about every opponent he faced, averaging 51.2 yards rushing (at an average of 6.2 yards per clip) and 0.93 rushing TDs per game. He ended his season with a ho-hum 11 (No. 2) Rushing Touchdowns, falling three short of the all-time record for QBs held by Cam Newton. Given his otherworldly burst, it’s not unreasonable to assume Murray has a shot of breaking the all-time single-season QB rushing record as soon as next year.
Jalen Hurts – League Winner
What do Patrick Mahomes, Lamar Jackson, and Kyler Murray all have in common? Each of them experienced tremendous second-year leaps, and Jalen Hurts is next in line to continue the trend. After the inevitable benching of Carson Wentz, Hurts immediately provided a much needed spark to an otherwise anemic offense and franchise. In the four games he started, he showcased his supreme athleticism and dual-threat capabilities. He had per-game averages of 230 yards passing and 68 yards rushing to go along with 1.25 passing TDs and 0.75 rushing TDs per game. Impressive numbers for any rookie QB, but especially so for one inundated in the chaos surrounding Philadelphia.
Fading Hurts next year solely on situation will prove fatal. The presumptive starting QB heading into 2021, he will have a full offseason taking first team snaps, giving him plenty of time to fully ingratiate himself into the offense. He’s oozing with ability and has both the tangible and intangible skills capable of compensating for organizational deficiencies. Given a relatively low projected ADP, Hurts has legitimate league winning upside, especially at the cost of drafting him.