Jameis Winston Should Not Be On Your Waiver Wire

September 14, 2021

Dylan Powell

On August 23, 2021, Jameis Winston torched the Jacksonville Jaguars in the New Orleans Saint's 2nd preseason game by completing 9 out of 10 passes for 123 yards, 2 TDs and 0 INTs. He brought an electricity to the Saint's passing game that they hadn't had in the Superdome since the prime years of Drew Brees. If the competition wasn't over after Winston's laser show, then it certainly was over after Taysom Hill came in and completely flopped (11 for 20, 138 yards, 1 TD, 0 INT) when he came in with the 2nd stringers behind Winston and the starters.

Looking beyond that 2nd preseason game, Jameis Winston annihilated Taysom Hill in the QB competition throughout the entire preseason.

Per Pro Football Focus (min 20 dropbacks):

Metric Jameis Winston Taysom Hill
Completion Pct 72.7 59.4
Average Target Depth 11.9 7.1
Yards Per Attempt 10.0 6.8
Touchdowns 3 1
Interceptions 1 1
NFL Passer Rating 124.8 77.5
PFF Passing Grade 91.4 (3rd) 66.0 (28th)

On August 23, 2021, Jameis Winston became the starter for the New Orleans Saints. And then on August 30, 2021, Sean Payton officially announced it. By August 31st, 2021, you should have been drafting Jameis Winston everywhere.

I understand though why you guys didn't draft him. I get it. @RotoGods didn't exist yet. If I had created this website more than 10 days ago, I would have been pounding that table, sounding that horn, launching rockets to the moon for you guys to draft Jameis Winston everywhere. So, I'm sorry about that.

But I did highlight him to you as a target player in My Favorite Targets by Round in Underdog Best Ball Drafts on September 5th. And I did prove to you that I draft him everywhere in the 16 Best Ball drafts that I did right before the season started. Finally, I reminded the few of you who followed me on twitter back on August 27th that Jameis Winston finished the 2019 season as the QB3 overall in fantasy because he led the league in passing.

Let's dive into this last point, because it's probably the most important one.

In 2019, Jameis Winston was the Overall QB3 in Fantasy

Quarterback FPts Pass Yds
Lamar Jackson 421.7 3,127
Dak Prescott 348.9 4,902
Jameis Winston 335.2 5,109
Russell Wilson 333.5 4,110
DeShaun Watson 332.0 3,852
Josh Allen 297.5 3,089
Kyler Murray 297.3 3,722
Patrick Mahomes 291.9 4,031

Let's pause for a moment and let this sink in. Jameis Winston scored more fantasy points than Russell Wilson, DeShaun Watson (15 games), Josh Allen, Kyler Murray, and Patrick Mahomes (14 games). Note: Watson was the only QB on this list with more fantasy points per game than Winston, by 1.1 FPPG, because he missed a game. Winston finished the QB4 in fantasy points per game.

Jameis Winston did this because he threw for a league leading 5,109 yards. He did this by throwing 33 TDs. He did this because interceptions don't hurt you in fantasy football. He did this because he has proven that he can be elite at fantasy football.

In Week 1, Jameis Winston was the Overall QB4 in Fantasy and in landed everyone's waiver wire column

Quarterback FPts
Kyler Murray 34.6
Patrick Mahomes 33.3
Jared Goff (lol) 29.9
Jameis Winston 29.6
Tom Brady 29.2
Jalen Hurts 28.8
Dak Prescott 28.4
Russell Wilson 27.1

Fast forward to week 1 this year, and Jameis Winston did again what he did in 2019. He scored a ton of fantasy points on his way to a QB4 overall finish. And it landed him on the cover graphic for everyone's waiver wire article this week across the industry.

But Jameis wasn't even spectacular this week. He was buoyed by significant positive touchdown variance. He threw 14 completions on 20 attempts for 158 yards, 5 TDs, no INTs.

So what gives? Did everyone just now wake up and realize that Jameis Winston was the starting QB for the New Orleans Saints -- a team with a historically offensive minded head coach and one of the most elite pass catching running backs in the history of the NFL?

Oh I think I see now, it's the 5 TDs and no INTs isn't it. It's the QB4 finish on the week. It's the TD he threw every 4 passes that sent lightning bolts out of our TV screens. It's those sexy, sexy fantasy points.

Okay, fine, let's cover up the mistakes we made by not drafting him from August 31st to September 9th, and put him in our waiver wire columns this week.

Wrapping Up

Look, I know what you're thinking. In the last section I was mocking that Jameis Winston is in everyone's cover graphics on today's waiver articles, and then I go an put him in my cover graphic. Am I a hypocrite? No, I don't think so. This isn't a waiver wire article. I'm not telling you that Jameis Winston is a great waiver pickup like everyone else is. I'm simply reminding you that he shouldn't have ever been on your waiver wires to begin with. He should have already been on your team.

But if you're playing in a league with a bunch of people who don't follow @RotoGods yet, and Jameis Winston happens to be foolishly lingering out there on your waiver wire, then yes, sure, fine, go get him. Correct the mistake that everyone in your league made a few weeks ago by not drafting Jameis Winston. Go take Jameis Winston off your waiver wire. He doesn't belong there. If he's on your waiver wire, for some silly reason, then go put in a waiver claim tonight for Jameis Winston.

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