Written by Cody Manning
Every year, players enter the fantasy football season with tons of potential to explode onto the scene and be a significant part of a playoff run. Some will fail to reach those expectations, forcing fantasy football owners to scramble around for a reliable substitute to make up for the large dent in their rosters. For the quarterback position, if an owner doesn’t land a player like Aaron Rodgers, then they will want to look for one that has the potential to be a top-5 fantasy quarterback. A quarterback taken in the later rounds that can put up big numbers gives an owner’s roster a huge boost. But, if such players have a down year then the owners will have to play matchup-based quarterbacks that may not be reliable starters every week. I look at three quarterbacks that I believe have boom or bust potential for the 2018 season.
Derek Carr — Oakland Raiders
Boom: Carr finds himself in a position to have a bounce-back year after being injury-plagued last season. Prior to his season-ending injury in 2016, he was having the best season of his career. In 15 games Carr threw for 3,933 yards and 26 touchdowns. Carr enters the season with plenty of options in the passing game. If Amari Cooper can return to the player we saw prior to last season, Jordy Nelson can prove that age is just a number, Martavis Bryant can finally live up to people’s expectations, and Jared Cook can continue his chemistry he developed with Carr last season, then that could lead to a great year for the young quarterback. IF all can align for Carr then he has the potential to put up 4,000+ yards and 30+ touchdowns for the Raiders.
Bust: As I alluded to in the prior section, Carr’s boom potential is based on many “ifs” with his options to throw the ball to. Cooper is supposed to be the main focal point of their offense, but if his yips continue then Carr will have to find a new favorite target in the passing game. If Nelson’s age catches up to him and his injury history repeats itself, then it will be clear why Green Bay decided to let Aaron Rodgers’ favorite receiver go this offseason. Bryant has been a major disappointment in training camp, so unless he bounces back rather quickly then he could be a non-factor in their offense at the start of the season. Carr’s 2018 success hinges on these players, so if most of them fail to turn things around then it could be a long season for Carr’s fantasy football owners.
Jimmy Garoppolo — San Francisco 49ers
Boom: After getting traded to the 49ers last season, Garoppolo took the NFL by storm by helping lead San Francisco to finish 2017 with 5 consecutive wins. Rightfully so, Garoppolo and company are entering the 2018 season with a lot of hype around them. He finds himself paired with one of the NFL’s brighter offensive minds in Kyle Shanahan. The team may depend on his arm this season, as their lead back Jerick McKinnon will act as the starting running back for the first time in his career. However, McKinnon’s ability to catch the ball out of the backfield will only benefit Garoppolo. If he lives up to expectations then he could put up some big numbers in his first full season as a starter. I could see Garoppolo reaching 4,000+ yards and 25+ touchdowns in a season under Shanahan’s offense.
Bust: One advantage that Garoppolo had last season was the lack of game tape defensive coordinators had on him. While it has only been 5 games, it is still enough for coaches to break down tape and find any tendencies in his game. Like Carr, Garoppolo’s season rests on the quality of the receivers in the 49ers passing attack. Will Marquise Goodwin continue his development? Will Pierre Garcon return from his injury and have a big role in the offense? Will Dante Pettis prove to be worth a 2nd round pick and make an immediate impact on their offense? Will Garoppolo’s chemistry with George Kittle continue in the 2018 season? If the answer ends up being “no” to most of these questions, then Garoppolo’s fantasy owners and 49ers fans will end up being extremely disappointed after all the hype this offseason.
Patrick Mahomes — Kansas City Chiefs
Boom: After trading away Alex Smith to the Redskins, Mahomes is now entrenched as the Chief’s starting quarterback. Mahomes enters the season with the advantage of having barely any game film on him, as he only played in the last game of 2017 season. He has a plethora of weapons in Travis Kelce, Tyreek Hill, and Sammy Watkins. Mahomes not only has a big arm, but his wide receiver duo fits his style of play and can help him get the ball down the field. Smith just came off his best season, so if Mahomes is the upgrade that the organization believes he can be, then he should surpass Smith’s 2017 numbers. If he does, then Mahomes should at least have 4,100+ yards and 26+ touchdowns this year.
Bust: As this year will essentially be Mahomes’ rookie season, his inexperience will show throughout the season. If he is unable to learn from his mistakes then he could have a letdown year. His receivers both are boom or bust players themselves. Hill has games where he is a big-play threat, but he also disappears at times. If he fails to show consistency, then that will hamper Mahomes’ performance. Watkins hasn’t lived up to the player he was selected to be and is on track to being labeled as a first-round bust. As such, if he has a breakthrough year, he will have a big impact on the success of Mahomes’ season. Like Garoppolo, if he fails to live up to the hype that has been thrown his way, then owners will wish they would have taken a proven quarterback over the sexy pick in Mahomes.