What if I told you there’s a quarterback who is stepping in as the starter for an offense that, in fantasy football terms, produced RB4, WR6, WR41 and TE9 in full-point PPR scoring last year? And the quarterback Tyrod Taylor is replacing, Philip Rivers, would have been better than QB15 if he hadn’t thrown 20 interceptions.
The Chargers pursued Tom Brady and didn’t land Cam Newton (not yet at least). So their professed commitment to Taylor as the starter this year feels residual more than concrete. The specter of rookie Justin Herbert taking over will hang over him all season.
Taylor is the type of quarterback who seems ripe to be replaced any time he’s the starter. But he did start 43 games over three seasons with the Buffalo Bills (2015-17), with solid numbers and a playoff start as well. He started the first three games of the 2018 season for the Cleveland Browns, before an injury opened the door for Baker Mayfield.
Chargers head coach Anthony Lynn was on the coaching staff in Buffalo during Taylor’s first two seasons there, first as running backs coach then eventually as offensive coordinator and interim head coach. It’s worth noting that Lynn has said he likes mobile quarterbacks, and Taylor clearly fits that bill.
In those three seasons starting for the Bills, Taylor only reached 20 touchdowns passes once (20 in 2015). He notably added to his production on the ground, with 568, 580 and 427 rushing yards in those seasons respectively. He also had at least four rushing touchdowns each season.
Only throwing 16 interceptions over those three seasons as Buffalo’s starter can be regarded in two credible folds on Taylor- a notable hesitance to pull the trigger as a passer and a run-oriented offense.
Here are Taylor’s finishes as a fantasy quarterback in those three seasons:
So Taylor was a usable fantasy quarterback all three seasons, despite Sean McDermott trying his darndest to replace him with Nathan Peterman in 2017. And I’ll bet you didn’t realize he was a top-10 fantasy signal caller in 2016.
There’s a good chance Herbert plays at some point this season, though it probably won’t be right out of the gate. But there’s also a chance, if the Chargers are winning a lot of games and assuming he’s healthy, that Taylor starts all 16 games.
The Chargers have a top-10 fantasy running back (Austin Ekeler), a top-10 wide receiver (Keenan Allen), another top 30-40 wide receiver with high upside (Mike Williams) and a top-10 tight end (Hunter Henry). That’s called “a rising tide raises all ships”.
The Chargers might become a strong argument for using team quarterback in fantasy leagues this year. But to forget about Taylor as a QB2 or a high-end streamer, with upside that’s sure to be overlooked, is foolish in the current circumstance.