Jamies Winston is a polarizing player. His questionable decision-making skills, both on the field and off, have led many people to believe he is a bum. Winston’s future is already one of the biggest storylines this offseason. This uncertainty has led many dynasty owners to question his value. One of RotoHeat’s Facebook followers recently asked about Winston’s value in rookie picks in SF format. That is a fair question considering the public perception of Winston, and it seems many people think he isn’t worth much.
This is a classic trap that many of us have fallen in before: too closely conflating “real life” football play with fantasy results. There is no question that Winston is a shaky QB in the real NFL. Luckily, none of us actually run a real NFL team. We run well-crafted fantasy teams and we want guys who put up big numbers on our squads. Winston is one of those guys.
To illustrate that Winston is a fantasy monster, I could list all of the QBs that scored fewer points than Jameis in 2019, but you would get bored reading it. Instead, I’ll list all of the guys who scored more fantasy points than Jameis Winston in 2019: Lamar Jackson.
Lamar Jackson, with his magical season as both a QB1 and RB1, is the only quarterback to score more points than Winston in 2019. In fact, over the last six years, only five QBs have scored more points in a season than Winston did this year. That’s impressive. Winston’s 5,109 passing yards is damn impressive, too–historical even. Only 11 players have ever done that before.
In real life, Jameis Winston’s 35 turnovers are maddening to coaches and fans. At times they are even back-breaking for his team. They aren’t back-breaking for your team, though. They are annoying, sure, but not a killer. In fact, the argument could be made that his turnovers lead to him throwing for even more yards and touchdowns. In a Superflex format, where you can (and probably should) start two quarterbacks, Winston is a huge asset.
I believe Tampa Bay ends up sticking with Winston and we get another year of vertical passing for huge plays downfield in 2020. Even if Tampa Bay moves on and Winston ends up elsewhere, he will likely sling the ball all around the new yard, too. Why would you not want that on your squad?
Rookie picks are fun. They are shiny, new, and full of potential but I’d much rather have the known commodity of Winston over a handful of unknowns with a 50% bust rate. If you currently own Winston, at least hold on to him and see what happens after free agency. If you don’t currently roster Winston but need depth in your SF, go acquire him now for a mid-round rookie pick and start planning where you’ll buy fancy crab legs with your winnings next year.