Lamar Jackson puts the moves on Houston Texans S Tashaun Gibson.

Brett Coomer/Staff photographer

Both in life and fantasy football, there tend to be situations in which there's a clear cut, miles-ahead-of-the-rest favorite.

In other situations, there's a group of contenders that will provide a similar level of production, and choosing between them comes down to personal preference (ex. WRs). We will NOT be discussing one of those cases. Because in the case of choosing your top QB, there's only one right answer.

If I were being provocative, the title of this article might as well include "...and not Patrick Mahomes." The top tier fantasy QB conversation begins, escalates, and concludes with those two guys. I can't think of another year when a pair of QBs were ranked so consistently close together. Let alone a time when, depending on the writer, publication, and hour of the day, which one's ranked higher seemingly flip-flops with wild abandon. In overall rankings, they seem to never be more than five spots away from one another, and in more than a few they're literally side-by-side. So, who do you go with, and why is it Lamar Jackson? I'm here to explain.


I'm not going to try to convince anyone that Patrick Mahomes is bad or unworthy. It'd be a dumb and foolhardy exercise. Yet, the question must be asked: has he peaked, statistically? Probably, and let me tell you, what a peak it was: the highest scoring season for a fantasy quarterback, period. Joining the 50-TD-5,000-yard club, alongside it's only other member, Peyton Manning, will do that for you. But is something like that replicable? Well, let's look at last season.

Allow me to make my obvious caveat now, yes, Mahomes dislocated his knee! For those of you with iron-guts out there, it's quite easy to find the YouTube clip of a trainer popping it back into place. Yet, due to some weird superhuman quirk regarding his naturally loose ligaments, he missed only two games and, in his return, threw more passes and yards than in any other contest (50 attempts and 446 yards). His next two starts after that were letdowns, in which he tossed only one touchdown a game and couldn't top 200 yards in either. Lingering injury, rust, or strong defensive gameplans from division rivals? A mix of all three? Sure.

I say all that to say this, even with the most generous of projections for the 2.5ish games that Mahomes missed, he wasn't going to get within spitting distance of his record-breaking previous season. He played in 13.5 games, with totals of 4,031 yards, 26 TDs, and 5 interceptions. Not bad, but compared to the 16 games in which he racked up 5,097 yards and 50 TDs, it leaves you wanting. Just rounding up his stats from the game he was injured, and tacking on the averages from his MVP campaign brings us to 4,909 yards and 34 touchdowns. Even if we project that he wouldn't have added another pick in those games. Factoring in his rushing stats, and we can generously estimate that he would've clocked 365 points. Lamar still hung a full 50 burger over that number, despite sitting out Week 17.

While I do believe that Patrick Mahomes will outdo his numbers from last year, and it's less likely that Lamar will be able to outdo his, I'm confident that Jackson will remain the highest scoring QB in the league.

Lamar Jackson releases a strike downfield.Will Newton/Getty Images

First, we have to discuss Jackson's unparalleled ability to run the football. This aspect of his game is what makes him such a transcendent fantasy player, but he fares better without it than you might realize. He marshaled the most effective passing attack in the league last year by a

wide margin, as he matched Denver's starting back, Philip Lindsay, point for point. Erase his rushing numbers, and he'd still fall in the top half of fantasy quarterbacks with his 36 touchdowns and over 3,100 yards. Most impressively, he did all that on a team featuring a woefully ineffective set of wide receivers. His only consistent target was Marquise Brown, a rookie pass catcher, who struggled with lingering hip and foot injuries, while his scorching speed, the most valuable asset in his toolbox, was mostly underutilized. Remember that last bit.

We've already established that Lamar's legs make him special, but there's another way of looking at this. What his rushing attack actually provides is coverage for the errant off week. Every quarterback in the league will post a dud game for any number of reasons, Lamar not excluded. However, averaging 27 points a game means that a lot of things had to go right and, in this case, it meant some of Jackson's least impressive passing games could still lead to God Level fantasy performances. The three times he didn't throw a touchdown (against KC, CIN, SEA) he scored 21, 30, and 23 points, respectively.

An important thing to remember about the league's reigning MVP: his age. At 23 years old, he's still younger than the number one overall pick, Joe Burrow, and has plenty of room for improvement. His completion percentage skyrocketed last season after making simple mechanic changes and learning how to better read defenses. He's by no means a finished product, and one area of improvement is his deep ball. Generally, his accuracy on these passes were just about league average, much like the amount of times the running-heavy offense attempted such plays. Defenses will attempt to take away these gains first by crowding the box and the middle of the field, Lamar's preferred area of aerial attack, second, leaving wide open chunks of grass to the deep perimeters.

If he can begin to exploit defenses in this way next season, even in small doses, the floor of his production rises and it could keep his ceiling in a stratosphere occupied by a select few. This upgrade, along with the new wrinkles that Greg Roman, his Offensive Coordinator/Wizard, will be implementing to maximize Lamar's effectiveness will keep his stock trending upward (and beyond Mr. Mahomes).

Josh Allen scampers for a gain against the Colts in the third quarter of the wild card game.

Harry Scull Jr. /Buffalo News

As the NFL postseason got underway last week, it became clear we need to make some halftime adjustments with our picks this week.

The Ravens were an easy cover for us, especially once Lamer found his groove and the grooves in Tennessee's D. Throw in a few head scratching punts by Mike Vrabel and that does the trick.

Meanwhile, Stefon Diggs came up two catches short for us with three targets left on the table. It was always going to be tough to get that many grabs, but it was worth a few bucks just to see what would happen.

Please, please, please remind me never to bet unders. I haven't hit one all year and yet the siren's song calls me to shore. I maintain this is the best one I bet all year. The pick 6 and DK Metcalf bomb in the second quarter killed after the best start imaginable. After 15 minutes, we had a combined score of 3, 15 minutes of game time later? 30. Bananas.

Then I don't really know what else to say about Pittsburgh losing to Baker Mayfield and co. that hasn't already been said. I just have to edit my list of completely impossible things to put, "Snowing in the Sahara desert," and "Taylor Swift ever getting back together with Jake Gyllenhaal" above "The Browns beating the Steelers in the playoffs."


Keep reading... Show less

Wizards guard Bradley Beal looks on in a game against the Celtics on Jan. 8, 2021.

Brian Babineau/NBAE via Getty Images

Put on your general manager hat for a moment and ask yourself this question: If my team struggled mightily the past couple seasons, is struggling now and will continue to struggle, would I trade my franchise star?

It's an extremely difficult decision to make, but it's something the Washington Wizards have to be pondering with shooting guard Bradley Beal.

Beal has been on an absolute rampage through 11 games, posting a league-high 34.9 points per game on 49% shooting and 38% from distance. He's also dishing out five assists and grabbing 5.3 rebounds with 1.5 steals. All that in 36 minutes a night, yet the Wizards are 3-8 which is the third-worst record in the Eastern Conference.

"I'm pissed off," Beal told reporters after his 60-point game on Jan. 6. "I'm mad. I don't count [them]. ... Any of my career-highs, they've been in losses. So I don't give a damn. You can throw it right out the window with the other two or three I've had."

His frustration is evident, and though he hasn't verbalized that he wants out of D.C., it's hard not to think that the idea hasn't crossed his mind at least once with how bad the Wizards have been recently.

From 2018-20, they went a combined 57-97 with John Wall sidelined after he tore his Achilles. Before this season began, the Wizards acquired Russell Westbrook in exchange for Wall and a pick, thinking they were getting an upgrade at point guard. Plot twist, they weren't.

Wall is healthy and playing good basketball in Houston while Westbrook is sitting back-to-backs and is currently nursing a quad injury. More importantly, he doesn't make them much better because of his lack of defense and is thus piling up meaningless triple-doubles that don't translate to team success.


Keep reading... Show less

Each Friday, FindBet will preview the week's DFS slate, highlighting players that are priced well on DFS sites, as well as some contrarian plays that can push your team to the top of the leader board.

Most NFL DFS games have you putting a team together with players from a certain slate of games. It could be just Sunday 1:00 PM games, or it could be every game that is slated for the week. Once the last game that has eligible players is over, the final payouts are made according to how many fantasy points each team scored. Each player is worth a certain dollar amount, and you have a cap of $60,000 to build your team with. You have to have 1 QB, 2 RB, 3 WR, 1 TE, 1 FLEX (RB, WR, or TE) and 1 DEF.

The general scoring rules include (6) points for each rushing and receiving touchdown, (4) points for each passing touchdown, (0.1) points for each rushing and receiving yard gained, (0.04) points for each passing yard, and also (0.5) points for each reception. There are other scoring opportunities for defenses. Let's take a look at players we like in the first round of the NFL playoffs this weekend.

Keep reading... Show less