Josh Allen is a Top-10 Fantasy Quarterback
Josh Allen is a Top-10 Fantasy Quarterback
I know what you are thinking. This guy is crazy. What in the world is he smoking? Well, that is irrelevant. My name is Taylor and I am a Josh Allen truther. I believe in Allen and his fantasy production. There are many things to like about a 6’5 quarterback that can chuck it 80 or more yards in the air. (Check out draftjoshallen.com for more on how good he looks in shorts.) Alright, here we go. I will start with his best asset: his legs.
Here are the top-10 QBs in terms of yards rushing per game since 2000.
That is a whole lot of Michael Vick… and Josh Allen. Allen rushed for 52.58 yards per game to rank seventh among quarterbacks in the last 18 years. He also ran for eight touchdowns in just 12 games. His eight touchdowns were two more than any other QB in 2018. Translating his rookie stats over a full 16-game season, Allen totals 12 touchdowns and 842 yards rushing. Only Cam Newton has rushed for more than 12 TDs in a season in the last 18 years.
Great End to 2018 Season
When Allen resumed the starting role in Week 12, he finished as a top-5 quarterback in five of his last six starts. During that stretch, he averaged 25.38 fantasy points per game. That ranked first in the NFL during that stretch and only Pat Mahomes averaged more for the season.
He averaged 207 yards passing per game and threw seven touchdowns. He also rushed for 79.3 yards per game and scored another five touchdowns. If we use his passing averages from the last six games across a full season, it translates to 3,312 yards, 17 TDs, and 17 INTs. Let us assume he rushes for the amount I mentioned previously and scores 12 rushing touchdowns. If he loses four fumbles, that puts Allen at 314.7 fantasy points for the season. That would have ranked as QB6 in 2018. If we had used his rushing averages from just the last six games, he sits comfortably in the top-five. That ranks ahead of Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees, Russell Wilson, and Cam Newton. If Allen can sustain what he did the last six weeks of 2018, he is a lock for a top-10 quarterback this season.
Two other rookies made the top 10 from Week 12-17. Lamar Jackson was fourth during that period and Baker Mayfield was seventh. Jackson flashed his rushing ability at the end of the season and Mayfield added Odell Beckham Jr. to an already talented skill position core. I have seen both of them ranked in the top 10. Neither of them has the upside that Allen does.
Allen finished as a QB1 six times during his rookie season, one more than both Jackson and Mayfield. Five of those six he was inside the top-five. I would assume the more a quarterback finishes inside the top-five on a weekly basis, the better chance that QB has to finish inside the top 10 for the full season.
There is so much negativity surrounding Allen’s wide receivers in the fantasy community. He does not have Odell Beckham Jr. or DeAndre Hopkins. That is a fact. But he does well with the weapons that he has and the Bills added even more playmakers in the offseason.
The first thing that sticks out here is clearly Robert Foster. He was targeted 40 times by Allen, which was the second most by any Bills player. The duo connected 24 times for 436 yards and three touchdowns. Allen also did not throw an interception when targeting Foster. Over the last six games of 2018, Foster tallied 22 receptions, 406 yards, and three touchdowns. He had at least four receptions or a touchdown in five of the final six games. Allen and Foster are a dangerous duo if they can continue this in 2019.
It is not a large sample size without Foster, but it is clear Allen plays better when Foster is also on the field. In his 10 games with Foster, Allen projects as the QB2. This securely plants Allen as a top-10 quarterback.
The Bills also have Zay Jones. Jones was targeted by Allen 27 times more than any other receiver, but he only hauled in 47.7% of those targets. Despite the low catch percentage, Jones averaged 14 yards per reception and scored five touchdowns from Allen.
Buffalo added two receivers to the mix as well. Cole Beasley and John Brown were signed in the offseason to give Allen more options. Both guys had bounce-back 2018 seasons. Beasley finished as WR44 with Brown right behind him as WR45.
Both receivers come from run-heavy offenses, but each has proven they have the potential for fantasy relevance. Brown finished as WR25 in 2015 and gives the Bills another deep threat for Allen’s laser beam attached to his shoulder. He averages 15.03 yards per reception for his career. Beasley was WR32 in 2016 and brings an added presence to the slot. He has caught 71% of his career targets, including three seasons catching 75% or more. There are targets to go around in Buffalo and these guys bring something that Allen can benefit from. Allen will have playmakers at his disposal in 2019 in addition to Foster and Jones. They are not OBJ or Hopkins, but the Bills knew what they were doing when they added these guys.
Here is a list of five quarterbacks: Andrew Luck, Matthew Stafford, Eli Manning, Jared Goff, and Mark Sanchez. What do these five QBs have in common with Allen? Much like Allen, these quarterbacks were selected in the top 10 of the NFL Draft. That is not all. Each one of these quarterbacks attempted at least 197 passes their rookie season while completing less than 55% of those attempts. Wait, we are not done! Each one of these guys has finished as a top-10 fantasy QB in their careers. Luck, Stafford, and Manning each have five such seasons.
It is no secret that Allen is not the most efficient passer. That was the knock on him coming out of Wyoming. People are writing off his accuracy after one season when Luck completed just 54% of his attempts as a rookie. Again, Allen was a rookie in 2018. He will mature as a passer. History is on his side as well. These other quarterbacks have proved that an inefficient rookie season does not mean they are bad players. On average, the QBs I just mentioned increased their completion percentage by 5% in their sophomore season. In their third season, they improved by another 3%. Quarterbacks take time to develop. Allen flashed star potential as a rookie. He will need to improve his accuracy as these other QBs did, but he is more than capable. His legs remain his greatest asset and I believe he will use them a lot.
If he improves as a passer and continues his success on the ground, Allen is a no-doubt top-10 fantasy option. Go buy him now while his value is the lowest it will be for the next five years.