First off I’d just like to point out that at this point we don’t even know if Gabbert will get substantial playing time and if he does end up using a clipboard more than a football this year, then this article will be a moot point. The Jaguars do still have David Garrard who is a serviceable NFL quarterback and is currently slated to be the starter on opening day against the Tennessee Titans but Del Rio has not ruled out the possibility that Blaine Gabbert could play, so it’s still fun to speculate on the possibility.
To address the issue of his chances of being the starter, I think what head coach Jack Del Rio said in an interview with Rich Eisen on the third day of the draft is the best indication we have so far if this is still Garrard’s team.
"Well it is going into camp and certainly we anticipate that David will be able to hold off a talented young player but we do recognize he is a talented young player and any time you take a guy this high, he’s going to play at some point. It’s up to the veteran to hold him off and so we think we have a really good situation in that Blaine doesn’t have to play right away but we really believe that his presence will either elevate David to a level that will be even beyond what he’s been able to do, which has been pretty darn good, or ultimately Blaine would play but the result is the Jaguars get great quarterback play and that’s what we’re looking for."
Lets say he does beat out Garrard and is the signal caller for the Jaguars for a majority of the year, would he be worth owning in fantasy? I would have to say no. From a fantasy aspect next year he has no value even if he plays all 16 games. Rookie quarterbacks who start in the NFL never have relevant fantasy seasons. Ever since the merger back in 1970 there have been 46 rookie quarterbacks who started under center for at least ten games (not counting Warren Moon due to his six years in the CFL or Jim Kelly due to his two years in the USFL prior to their NFL careers). If you average all their seasons together you would get a season of 12 touchdowns, 15 interceptions, and 160 passing yards per game. All of these are well below the average of what you expect from your quarterback.
Even in arguably the best season for a rookie QB ever back in 2004 when Ben Roethlisberger led the Steelers to an undefeated record in his 13 starts and he had the best QB rating for a rookie ever with 98.1, he still wasn’t a relevant fantasy option. On the year he had 17 touchdowns, 11 interceptions, and a 187.2 passing yards per game average. In that same season there were 25 other quarterbacks who also started at least 10 games. Of those 25 players, 17 had more total touchdowns and 20 had a better passing yards per game average. In no way should Roethlisberger have found his way on a fantasy football team’s roster in a standard head to head league.
Unfortunately I don’t see Gabbert breaking the mold this season so he should be left undrafted in your fantasy leagues along with Cam Newton, Jake Locker, and Christian Ponder.