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Quarterback Touchdown Bounceback Candidates for Fantasy Football

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Throwing a lot of touchdowns? Good! Throwing a lot of touchdowns at a rate that surpasses either your average level or the league average level? Good when it happens, but maybe not so good the next year, when you can come crashing back down to Earth.

Not every quarterback is going to throw for Aaron Rodgers-like numbers every season. If a player tosses touchdowns at a rate that seems surprising, there's a good chance that the next season will see those numbers regress back toward their normal levels. And on the flip side, some quarterbacks who suddenly struggle could see their numbers positively regress toward their career averages.

So, which players are candidates to experience a bounceback this year? Let's find out.

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Lamar Jackson, Baltimore Ravens - 4.2 TD%

Lamar Jackson is more than capable of hitting gaudy passing numbers. Full stop. I'm not even entering that discussion because it feels very dumb to me to reduce this man to the "rushing quarterback" label. Other than in his rookie season, in which he started only seven games, Jax has completed at least 242 passes and always reached a minimum of 2,757 passing yards while throwing 16+ TDs. Last year was a career-low season in his brief NFL tenure, and he still went for 2,882 yards on a 64.4% completion rate with 382 attempts.

The only thing that killed Jackson's upside was the low 16 passing TDs. Was that Jackson's fault, though? Hard to believe that was the case. The Ravens' pass-catchers were a true mess last year. Even Mark Andrews, the best TE of the season, could only post a 5%+ TD rate mark playing in the 2021 Baltimore offense. Marquise Brown--now in Arizona, why oh why...--scored just six TDs not even reaching that 5% touchdown rate. Ugh.

Lamar Jackson has never had extraordinary receivers in his offense, and that doesn't seem like it's changing in advance of 2022, but odds are he raises his low TD% if only because of the flashes he's already shown in 2019 and 2020 when he put up marks of 9.0 and 6.9%.

 

Ryan Tannehill, Tennessee Titans - 4.0 TD%

It is true that Tannehill won't have A.J. Brown around next season to aid his chances at a bounceback. That said, it is also true that one of the main reasons Tannehill didn't post a better number on the touchdown-rate category last season was, precisely, the presence of A.J. Brown in Tennessee's offense. Brown's 5 TD on 105 targets were good for a 4.8 TD%, which is his lowest mark since he turned pro and the first time he's dropped below a 9.5% figure. No bueno.

Adding wood to the fire, Julio Jones was a true afterthought all year long, Nick Westbrook-Ikhine finished with the second-most touchdowns scored (four), and only the two oft-used tight ends were able to put up three more scores each on pass plays. Ugh. Tannehill will have to work with newcomers Robert Woods and (rookie) Treylon Burks next season, but Tennessee is also adding TE Austin Hooper. Tannehill had posted TD rates of 4.9%+ in four consecutive seasons prior to the last one, so he should at least bounce to a reasonable 5% mark without much trouble.

 

Derek Carr, Las Vegas Raiders - 3.7 TD%

Carr has never been quite there as an elite passer, not gonna lie about that. That said, Carr has reached a touchdown rate of 5% or higher in three of his eight years doing it as a pro in Oakland/Las Vegas. In fact, Carr's 3.7 TD% from 2021 is his worst mark since the 2018 season when he put up a career-low 3.4% figure. Now, for one, Carr threw the rock a ridiculous 626 times in 2021, which was obviously a career-high number along with the 428 completions he logged and the 4,804 yards he reached. That type of volume would kill anybody's rates at anything and everything.

Even though launching up from 600 attempts, though, Carr still kept up a good 68.4% completion rate. It's the 33rd time in the past 22 seasons in which a QB has thrown 625+ passes, and Carr was able to post the fifth-best completion rate only bested by four Drew Brees' seasons. On the other hand, Carr's measly 3.7 TD% is tied for the fifth-lowest rate among those 33 qualifiers. Something here is clearly wrong, and the Raiders seemed determined to fix it this offseason by adding WR1 Davante Adams to their receiving corps line up next to breakout star Hunter Renfrow and a healthy Darren Waller. Not many things are as sure to happen next season as watching Carr hitting touchdown passes with his eyes closed.



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