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Value of Things: AFC South Quarterback Fantasy Projections

How does C,J. Stroud stack up against the rest of the division?

NFL: Houston Texans Minicamp Thomas Shea-USA TODAY Sports

We’ve already seen the running backs for the AFC South projected. In the effort of full disclosure, this article has been written and rewritten a number of times. When DeAndre Hopkins signed with the Tennessee Titans it threw everything out of proportion. That’s the kind of ripple effect one major move can have. So, when we evaluate quarterbacks we have to consider the quality of play around him. Offensive lines matter. Skill position players matter. Coaches matter. A lot has changed between 2022 and now in the division on all three fronts.

Like with the running backs, we are going beyond the standard numbers to look at the efficiency at which things are likely to happen. PFF, CBS, and ESPN all include this extra data, so we will be using their numbers for the quarterbacks. However, before we get to the projections we should take a look at what happened this past season.

Jacksonville Jaguars: 394/596, 66.1%, 3,959 yards, 25 TD, 9 INT, 6.6 Y/A, 287 rushing yards, five TD

Tennessee Titans: 285/456, 62.5%, 2,914 yards, 16 TD, 11 INT, 6.4 Y/A, 265 rushing yards, three TD

Indianapolis Colts: 398/604, 65.9%, 3,432 yards, 17 TD, 20 INT, 5.7 Y/A. 46 rushing yards, one TD

Houston Texans: 352/579, 60.8%, 3,344 yards, 20 TD, 19 INT, 5.8 Y/A. 196 rushing yards, two TD

We listed the numbers in order of the standings and the actual rankings come pretty close. We would probably flip flop the Colts and Texans due to the touchdown to interception ratios and yards per attempt, but this is a pretty good starting point. For our purposes we will keep everything simple and combine the numbers for each team and not look at individuals for now.

Jacksonville Jaguars

Trevor Lawrence took a huge step forward last season and the expectations are higher this season. Everyone is back and they add Calvin Ridley to the receiving corps following his year long suspension. Will he immediately regain the form he had in Atlanta? That’s an interesting question, but even if he doesn’t there is plenty to hold on to here as the Jaguars appear to be the class of the division at quarterback.

PFF: 385/595. 64.7%, 3,915 yards, 26 TD, 14 INT, 6.6 Y/A, 281 rushing yards, two TD

ESPN: 386/600, 64.3%, 4,145 yards, 28 TD, 14 INT, 6.9 Y/A, 318 rushing yards, four TD

CBS: 402/615, 65.4%, 4,150 yards, 27 TD, 14 INT, 6.7 Y/A. 287 rushing yards, four TD

AVG: 391/603, 64.8%, 4,070 yards, 27 TD, 14 INT, 6.7 Y/A, 295 rushing yards, three TD

These numbers are very similar to the ones they put up last year. We have to remember that Indianapolis and Houston are rebuilding/reloading so they both should be better defensively. Obviously, that accounts for nearly 25 percent of the Jaguars schedule. They also carry a first place schedule into their non-divisional opponents. They very well could be a better football team without their final numbers reflecting that.

Tennessee Titans

The biggest question facing the Titans was how signing Hopkins will impact their quarterback play. In order to answer that we have to back up a little. How much is Ryan Tannehill going to play? Is the plan for Will Levis to sit the whole season and learn or will the coaching staff get the itch and switch to him if things get bumpy along the way. Obviously, that will impact these numbers.

PFF: 337/525, 64.2%, 3,786 yards, 22 TD, 12 INT, 7.2 Y/A, 179 rushing yards, one TD

ESPN: 349/534, 65.4%, 4,011 yards, 20 TD, 13 INT, 7.5 Y/A, 244 rushing yards, three TD

CBS: 308/483, 63.8%, 3,458 yards, 20 TD, 19 INT, 7.2 Y/A, 241 rushing yards, two TD

AVG: 331/514, 64.4%. 3,752 yards, 21 TD, 15 INT, 7.3 Y/A, 221 rushing yards, two TD

For one, there is more variance between these three sources than there was for Jacksonville. It makes perfect sense. There are more variables to deal with. Hopkins is a huge variable. Levis presents another variable. What is undeniable is that the presence of both seems to make the experts think the Titans will improve a lot at the quarterback position.

Indianapolis Colts

There is no wild card bigger than Anthony Richardson. If he plays from week one on, there are bound to be growing pains, but there might be no quarterback in the game as explosive as he is with his arm and his legs. The sources are wildly different which presents us with some challenges moving forward.

PFF: 344/545. 63.1%,, 3,547 yards, 20 TD, 15 INT, 6.5 Y/A, 505 rushing yards, five TD

ESPN: 309/507, 60.9%, 3,345 yards, 17 YD, 14 INT, 6.6 Y/A, 640 rushing yards, five TD

CBS: 305/514, 59.3%, 3,060 yards, 18 TD, 21 INT, 6.0 Y/A. 1,001 rushing yards, five TD

AVG: 319/522, 61.1%, 3,317 yards, 18 TD, 17 INT, 6.4 Y/A. 715 rushing yards, five TD

I’m a stat geek, I admit it. I love crunching numbers, but occasionally the aggregate is misleading. I don’t see how anyone with a sub-55 percent completion percentage in college busts out a 63 percent completion percentage as a rookie. Projecting a 1,000 rushing yards is also outrageous. So, when you factor in those numbers together you get some inflation across the board. I’m betting the under across the board, but Richardson will be dangerous just the same.

Houston Texans

Yes, Stroud is a rookie, but he is as close to a conventional quarterback as you will find in the modern game. Conventional quarterbacks bring reasonable projections. It seems pretty safe to assume he will be taking snaps week one and as long as he’s healthy. So, hopefully some improvement is expected.

PFF: 359/563, 63,8%, 3,704 yards, 21 TD, 17 INT, 6.6 Y/A, 170 rushing yards, two TD

ESPN: 353/575, 61.4%, 3,781 yards, 21 TD, 16 INT, 6.6 Y/A, 150 rushing yards, one TD

CBS: 353/570, 61.9%, 3,573 yards, 22 TD, 19 INT, 6.3 Y/A, 127 rushing yards, one TD

AVG: 355/569, 62.4%, 3,686 yards, 21 TD, 17 INT, 6.5 Y/A. 149 rushing yards, one TD

You can look at these numbers two different ways. You can compare them with the rest of the division and come away underwhelmed. You can also compare them with last season’s numbers and see the improvement. When you couple these numbers with the improvement we saw at the running back position, there is reason for optimism. It should be guarded optimism, but optimism none of the less.

Final Rankings

For the final rankings we are combining passing yards and rushing yards and also combining passing touchdowns and running touchdowns. Doing so not only gives us a clearer picture of the position in fantasy terms, but also shows how close the units are when all things are considered.

Jacksonville: 4,365 total yards, 64.8%, 30 total TDs, 14 INTs

Indianapolis: 4,042 total yards, 61.1%, 23 total TDs, 17 INTs

Tennessee: 3,973 total yards, 64.4%, 23 total TDs, 15 INTs

Houston: 3,835 total yards, 62.4%, 22 total TDs, 17 INTs