NFL Futures: Which Quarterbacks Will Start More Games In The Regular Season?

by Travis Pulver
August 21st 2019, 2:16am

Every preseason, the most exciting and compelling things to watch around the league are the various position battles going on around the league. Since quarterbacks are typically viewed as the most important guys on the field, QB battles tend to get the most attention.

This year, whether the team considers a ‘battle’ to be taking place or not, the general public thinks there are a few:

  • New York Giants
    Daniel Jones vs. Eli Manning
  • Miami Dolphins
    Josh Rosen vs. Ryan Fitzpatrick
  • Washington Redskins
    Dwayne Haskins vs. Case Keenum vs. Colt McCoy
  • Tennessee Titans
  • Marcus Mariota vs. Ryan Tannehill

Joe Flacco and Drew Lock were on the list as well, but after Lock’s injury Monday night against the San Francisco 49ers, that is no longer the case. So, you could say that Flacco won the ‘training camp battle’ by default.

Who will win the others remains to be seen, but what matters most is not the training camp battle. Winning the battle is great, but what matters most is winning the war. War, in this context, refers to the regular season.

Just because a player wins the training camp battle and starts the season as QB1 doesn’t mean he will keep the job.

So— who will win their war? Who will have more regular-season starts? has posted odds on who will win their respective ‘war’ this season:

  • New York Giants
    Daniel Jones +200; Eli Manning -286
  • Miami Dolphins
    Josh Rosen -150; Ryan Fitzpatrick +110
  • Washington Redskins
    Dwayne Haskins -200; Case Keenum +200; Colt McCoy +1200
  • Tennessee Titans
    Marcus Mariota -590; Ryan Tannehill +350

New York Giants

The New York Giants have been all in when it comes to Eli Manning for years and have given no indication that they are giving up on him yet. But with how Daniel Jones has played during the preseason, fans are going to be clamoring for him to start sooner rather than later.

However, when you have a two-time Super Bowl winner, you don’t just cut him loose because he has a few bad games. The Giants are going to have to be very careful how they do it—and it will likely depend on how good/bad of a start they get off to.

If they flop to start the season and go 0-6 (which is entirely possible with their schedule), it wouldn’t be shocking if they were to give Jones an easy first start against the Cardinals. But if they go 2-4 (which is more likely or better), the Giants will likely ride Manning out until their bye week before contemplating making a switch.

Recommendation: Take Manning.

Miami Dolphins

The Dolphins knew one thing when the offseason kicked off—they didn’t want Ryan Tannehill anymore. So, they got rid of him and acquired professional journeyman, Ryan Tannehill, to be their bridge to the future. But then they acquired Josh Rosen from the Cardinals and got fans wondering.

Is the future already here? Do the Dolphins still need Fitzpatrick?

Ryan Fitzpatrick

So far, the talk coming from the Dolphins has made it seem like they are going to go with Fitzpatrick rather than let Rosen learn by playing. Rosen hasn’t done enough to earn the job outright during training camp.

But if the losses start to pile up as expected, they are going to need to find out whether Rosen can be the future.

Miami starts the season with a tough four-game slate, so the earliest they may start Rosen is after the bye week (Week Five). Otherwise, it probably depends on how he develops in practice, and if Fitzpatrick can stay healthy.

Recommendation: Take Fitzpatrick.

Washington Redskins

Colt McCoy’s injury issues make this a two-person battle. Assuming Keenum gets the job to start the season (which is likely), the Redskins are going to be more apt to go to Haskins if they decide to pull Keenum than a healthy McCoy.

Haskins hasn’t been great in preseason play, but he has shown enough for the team to be interested in seeing what he can do in a real game.

Dwayne Haskins Redskins QB

Of course, if Keenum gets hurt early on, they may be more likely to go with McCoy. But right now, it remains to be seen if he will be healthy enough to play.

When or if they pull Keenum will depend on if they have a shot at making the playoffs. Heading into their bye week (Week 10), they could be anywhere from 2-7 to 4-5. At 4-5, Keenum remains in, but if they are closer to 2-7, Haskins will likely start Week 11.

Recommendation: Take Keenum.     

Tennessee Titans

When the Titans acquired Ryan Tannehill from the Dolphins, they were not looking for a QB battle or controversy. But with how the two have looked in the preseason, they have one in the court of public opinion.

However, they are not going to be too quick to pull Marcus Mariota. This is a contract year for him, and they are going to want to see if he deserves one. To do so, they have to let him play.  Of course, how well he will play remains to be seen.

But it is more likely Tannehill sees the field if Mariota gets injured—which is entirely possible.

Recommendation: Take Mariota (but there could be value in taking Tannehill).