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NFL Today: Rookie QBs Dominate

January 16, 2024 | By RotoRob | comment on this post
C.J. Stroud has enjoyed historic performances for the Houston Texans.
C.J. Brown dismantled the Browns with ease. (Houston Texans)

Cowboys Head Coach Mike McCarthy‘s future in Dallas is very much in question after the Cowboys got spanked by the Green Bay Packers; Detroit Lions’ quarterback Jared Goff got revenge against his former team, the Los Angeles Rams; and Jordan Love continues to blow everyone away as he hardly looked like a quarterback making his postseason debut (apparently, the theme of the week is you don’t need a veteran QB to win in the NFL).

C.J. Stroud’s Record Setting Playoff Debut

We know that playoff performances don’t count for these purposes, but what C.J. Stroud did to the Cleveland Browns last weekend has to convince any doubters that he deserves to be the 2023 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year (see the video below for a quick recap of what he’s accomplished this season).

In a truly brilliant playoff debut, he enjoyed the finest game of his career, going 16-for-21 for 274 yards with three touchdown passes, no picks and no sacks. Stroud put up 236 yards passing in the first half alone — the most ever by a rookie QB in the first half of a playoff game.

It’s clear that the concussion Stroud suffered in mid-December is now a complete non-factor given his play since returning in Week 17, and he’s just getting better and better since. Despite missing two games because of the injury, he still managed to top 4,000 yards passing as a rookie, while putting up an impressive 23-to-5 touchdown to interception ratio. In fact, no quarterback — rookie or veteran — had a higher passing yards per game average than Stroud’s 273.9 this season. Holy crap, this kid is good.

We’ll be very curious to see how he fares this weekend against a Raven defense that had the most sacks in the NFL, but it’s hard to argue against the fact that after just one season in the NFL, Stroud is already a top six dynasty league quarterback.

The Downfall of Joshua Dobbs

If Joshua Dobbs was among the Cinderella stories of the first half, his fall from grace was definitely among the most disappointing down the stretch.

By Week Four, Dobbs had caught our eye as an early season surprise, but we must have jinxed him as his play really started to tail off after that.

Still, the Vikings traded for him as a replacement when Kirk Cousins got hurt, and Dobbs was a revelation for Minnesota right from his debut. However, Dobbs’ performance got worse and worse, and by mid-December, he had played his way out of a job.

Entering 2024 as an UFA, he’s now barely a top 50 dynasty option with unclear job prospects. Still, given the flashes Dobbs showed, he should be able to bag himself a backup gig at the very least.

The Saints’ QB Situation

The New Orleans Saints bounced back over .500 this season, but remain without a playoff berth since 2020. One of the issues holding this team back since Dennis Allen took over as Head Coach has been its inability to be a consistent winner on the road. The Saints were slightly better away from the Big Easy this season (4-5), but are now just 7-10 on the road over the last two years. That’s not going to cut it if you have postseason aspirations.

Still, Derek Carr racked up a goodly amount of completions in a nice comeback effort in his debut season with New Orleans, so the team seems set at quarterback, at least with its starter. He may only be a QB2 at best for Fantasy purposes, but remains a decent NFL starter, especially after bouncing back from a couple of years of regression. Considering his 2024 salary currently represents almost 11 per cent of the team’s cap hit, Carr better maintain or exceed this level of play next season.

Regardless, if backup Jameis Winston leaves, finding a dependable backup will be among the Saints’ biggest tasks this offseason.

RotoRob Tune of the Day

Jazz/rock band Blood, Sweat and Tears formed in 1967 in New York City, and other than a three-year break in the early ’80s, have remained active since. Here’s “Smiling Phases,” originally from their second album, the eponymous effort released in 1968. This is among the final songs that Al Kooper helped create as he left after the first album. The tune also appeared on the compilation Somethin’ Else Again!

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