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QB Hot Seat: Projecting 2020 for Jameis Winston, Derek Carr, Cam Newton

The offseason is entering an empty period before free agency mania begins soon. All we can do now is predict how players will do in fantasy for 2020 before everything changes.

To that end, there are still a lot of question marks in regards to who will be a starter for all 32 teams. Therefore, it’s always great to analyze some skill players and see if they may be worth a pickup in fantasy drafts this summer. Let’s breakdown some QBs from a fantasy perspective and see how they may perform in 2020.

Note: the QBs analyzed may not even start for their respective teams in 2020, although this article will act as if they will stay put and will project their fantasy value given similar circumstances.

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Jameis Winston, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Good old Jameis Winston. One week he’s your savior and the next he’s handing out footballs to defenders like the Easter Bunny. As maddening as he may be for fantasy owners yearly, there’s no denying he has that explosive potential that can lift you to the top of your league.

So how will he fare in 2020? It’s safe to say it may be much of the same, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. First, let’s look at the positives. Winston threw for 5,109 yards and 33 touchdowns in 2019, both career-highs. The QB also threw for 8.2 yards per attempt and 319 pass yards a game, another career-high.

The firepower is there, but there are concerns or problems that may prevent Winston from being an elite fantasy player in 2020. For one, the Bucs QB has had 50 career total fumbles in five years. He had 12 in 2019 alone. Another issue is his lack of rushing prowess which dual-threat QBs do supply. Winston has not run for more than 280 yards any given season and has had only one rushing touchdown each of the past four seasons. Building on that, he was sacked a career-high 47 times in 2019, signaling problems with the offensive line that may need to be addressed.

Perhaps the Florida State product’s biggest drawback is his accuracy or lack thereof. He has thrown an insane 88 picks in five years, including 30 this past year. His touchdown to interception ratio was nearly the same in 2019 and has been that way for most of his career. In addition, the QB had a meager season QBR of 57.1, and his career-high has been 69.7, back in 2018. On top of that, the guy leading Tampa Bay had 124 poor throws in 2019, up from 60 in 2018.

QBs like Philip Rivers may be one of the names thrown out there to potentially take the Bucs signal-caller job. However, there is no clear-cut answer yet on whether Tampa Bay will move on from Winston. Assuming he remains the starter, there are clear issues with starting the QB in fantasy though. He’s not the most accurate player, hence his recklessness at times. If you can deal with the number of picks he throws, the 26-year-old can provide decent numbers during certain weeks in 2020 considering he has elite receivers in Mike Evans and Chris Godwin along with an inept running game (as of this writing). After all, all that matters in fantasy is the yards and touchdowns thrown and Winston was among the top-performing fantasy QBs in 2019.

2020 Projection: 4,500 yards, 27 TD, 18 INT - Winston is best viewed as a QB who can be selected as a low-end QB1 in redraft leagues of 12 or more teams.

 

Derek Carr, Las Vegas Raiders

Derek Carr is not the flashiest QB in fantasy or reality. While he has proven he can be serviceable in the right matchup, he is not typically the guy associated with upper-echelon, golden fantasy QBs. As evidence of him being in the middle-tier of fantasy QBs, Carr has only thrown over 4,000 yards twice in six seasons.

In 2019, he threw for 21 touchdowns and eight picks and has thrown roughly around this number of TD for the past three seasons. The Fresno State product also averaged 253 yards per game in 2019, which is roughly around how much he’s been averaging during his career. The Raiders QB did have a career-high QBR of 63.7 in 2019, but that’s not saying much.

Though the team improved its offensive line in 2019 and nearly cut sacks in half, Carr doesn’t offer an explosive potential like other QBs. He doesn’t fumble a lot (seven in 2019) which is good, but he’s not a heavy rushing QB nor does he go off for monster yards and several touchdowns any given week. In fact, he’s only rushed for over 100 yards in 2015. He’s a middle-tier player that is best suitable for matchup-dependent starts.

Carr himself has been frustrated with the rumors about the team considering another QB through free agency such as Tom Brady, or by being active in the draft and selecting one of those promising prospects. However, the Raiders are more of a dark-horse candidate to get a new QB rather than an obvious one since they have many other glaring needs.

Because the team relies on Josh Jacobs and the run first, Carr’s fantasy value takes a hit there. On top of that, Vegas needs a couple of speedy, top-notch receivers in the draft to help boost the signal-caller’s value and give him a reason to keep throwing. Even then, a run-first offense may set up the QB for a modest 2020.

2020 Projection: 3,800 yards, 20 TD, 10 INT- At this moment, Carr is not a QB who should be picked in redraft leagues. He is a middle-tier QB at best; you could draft a much more fantasy-friendly option.

 

Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers

Sources say Cam Newton will remain in the Queen City. That may be great news for longtime fans of the QB, but his effectiveness and durability remain key questions. Newton only played two games in 2019 before leaving for the season with a foot injury, specifically a Lisfranc injury. Kyle Allen and Will Grier were rather underwhelming as substitute QBs for the team.

With Newton supposedly back in his starting role, is he a good fantasy play in 2020? Let’s look at his last few full seasons. He has substantially dropped off since his 2015 MVP season, amassing 65 touchdowns, 43 picks, and 18 fumbles from 2016-2018. “Superman” has also not thrown more than 3500 yards since 2015. Like Jameis Winston, Newton's picks and fumbles remain a concern from a fantasy perspective. His QBR was in the high 40s to low 50s from 2016-2018, and he has averaged 232 pass yards per game.

Now at 30 years old with questionable health, we can’t expect Cam Newton to regain elite fantasy status. However, the biggest pro of this QB is his rushing ability. This includes a career-high 754 rush yards in 2017 along with a total of 58 total career rush touchdowns. However, the Panthers may opt for a more cautious approach and try to limit the chances of another injury by lessening the QB reads and rush attempts.

Newton is the riskiest choice of these three QBs in fantasy for 2020. Not only may he be rusty, but he’s also a huge risk to even draft considering his recent injury history. In addition, RB Christian McCaffrey is the focal point of this offense, so Newton may not even be a factor in some games, especially during the beginning of the season.

2020 Projection: 3,300 yards, 17 TD, 9 INT - Newton is too risky to pick in redraft leagues or dynasty startups considering he is coming off a major injury.

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