Rookie quarterbacks offer intriguing fantasy football options

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    Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield, the No. 1 overall pick in the NFL draft, has been declared the backup for the team behind Tyrod Taylor.


  • There were four quarterbacks taken in the top 10 picks of the NFL draft this year, so let’s take a look at how these players will progress this season.

    While most quarterbacks don’t excel in their rookie seasons — please don’t look at Toledo’s own DeShone Kizer’s numbers last season with the Cleveland Browns — a couple in this year’s crop might see a lot of playing time.

    Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen could start for the team this season after an injury to starter AJ McCarron.
    Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen could start for the team this season after an injury to starter AJ McCarron.

    ■ The situation under center for the Buffalo Bills is intriguing for the seventh pick of the draft, Josh Allen out of Wyoming. 

    AJ McCarron, acquired in the offseason, was probably going to win the starting job. McCarron, the former backup to Andy Dalton in Cincinnati, suffered a hairline fracture of his collarbone in last week’s preseason game against Cleveland. How long he will be out is yet to be determined.

    This doesn’t mean Allen will be handed the reins, but the other choice is Nathan Peterman, a second-year pro. Allen has the size and arm strength to succeed in the NFL. We see him playing by Week 3, if not sooner. Grab him as your No. 2 quarterback.

    ■ The third pick of the draft was Sam Darnold by the Jets. Many prognosticators thought he would be drafted No. 1, but he fell to New York.

    The quarterback out of USC threw a touchdown in his first preseason game and looked good under pressure. He was mediocre in his second game.

    Veteran Jets quarterback Josh McCown likes what he saw of the rookie. 

    “I don’t want to put any undue expectations on him, but I’ve been very impressed with him, I’ll be honest with you,” the 39-year-old McCown said.

    “Of any kind of rookie player I’ve been around, he’s been impressive how he’s handled information from the classroom and then to take it to the [practice] field and then take it to the game, he’s done just an excellent job of that.”

    It will come down to Darnold, McCown, and Teddy Bridgewater for the starting spot against Detroit on Sept. 10.

    We don’t see the Jets handing the starting job to Darnold in Week 1, but he might have the controls by Week 7. He could fill your No. 3 quarterback slot.

    ■ In Cleveland, the first pick of the draft is being nurtured to be the quarterback of the future. Heisman trophy winner Baker Mayfield out of Oklahoma has been playing a lot this preseason with a good amount of success.

    Mayfield is 18-of-33 for 287 yards and two touchdowns, and he has not thrown an interception. He has also rushed for 22 yards. He will be brought along slowly.

    The Browns traded for Tyrod Taylor to be the bridge quarterback for the franchise. They will probably stick with that plan, unless Taylor gets hurt or is 0-10 before the team’s bye week.  

    That would be the only reason to draft Mayfield, unless you want to stash him for next year.

    Josh Rosen out of UCLA was drafted with the 10th overall pick by Arizona. Sam Bradford is the Cardinals’ starter, and they also have Mike Glennon.

    Rosen has been decent this preseason, but don’t look for him to start in the regular season anytime soon. He is 16-of-29 passing for 148 yards, one touchdown, and zero interceptions.

    Bradford has history of injuries, and Rosen has the size and arm to play in the NFL, but his time is not near. 

    So, like Mayfield, stash Rosen for next year. 

    ■ We should probably mention Baltimore’s Lamar Jackson out of Louisville, taken with the 32nd pick of the first round. 

    It looks like Jackson will need time to learn the NFL game, and Joe Flacco is locked in as the starter. Baltimore also has Robert Griffin III to be Flacco’s backup, so don’t expect Jackson to play much.

    BASEBALL TIP: As the season winds down, try to use veteran players on teams in a pennant/wild-card race, or young players on teams out of the hunt.

    Expect Arizona, Colorado, Houston, and Oakland to keep playing their regulars in the stretch drive of their divisions. Teams like Baltimore, Kansas City, the White Sox, and Detroit will give youngsters more playing time.

    Keep an eye on Adalberto Mondesi of the Royals, and Nicky Delmonico might get a lot more at-bats.

    With Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman going on the disabled list, Dellin Betances, Zach Britton, and David Robertson will see save opportunities. 

    Contact Bill Piotrowski at:, 419-724-6505, or on Twitter @MooseJawDuck.