NFL Fantasy: Is Trevor Siemian a must-start?

Denver’s young quarterback overcame turnovers to finish as the QB-4 in Week 1 and the QB-3 in Week 2. Is it a fluke? Or is he for real?

Trevor Siemian is not the elusive, big-armed, deep threat quarterback that John Elway had in mind when he drafted Paxton Lynch last year. Perhaps that is why the Broncos gave Lynch every opportunity to knock Siemian from the starting role this preseason, even while everyone agreed he was not as ready as the third-year option in front of him. 

After two games of the 2017 season, most will agree that Denver made the right call in putting their season in the hands of the steadier and headier Siemian. He is spreading the ball around well, hitting vertical targets, and managing the offense effectively. His teammates are raving about him and Broncos fans are starting to buy jerseys. 

NFL fantasy fans, of course, need more convincing. Despite coming up with 22.66 and 22.64 standard NFL fantasy points and holding the QB2 ranking after two weeks, Siemian is owned in less than one-quarter of all leagues. In fact, some owners still want to stream defenses against Denver because Siemian is supposed to be an inexperienced, weak-armed passer.

Are two games enough to say we made a mistake and proclaim Trevor Siemian a good NFL fantasy quarterback? More importantly, is he a must-play Sunday? Well, let’s take a look. 

How he did it

Denver’s offense is winning by spreading the ball around well. Siemian keeps his two veteran receivers, Emmanuel Sanders (14 targets) and Demaryius Thomas (16) happy by splitting the bulk of the load evenly among them while filtering in enough to other receivers to keep everyone engaged. He hit nine different receivers against Dallas, but Sanders and Thomas saw eight targets each. 

He has a relatively solid offensive line with savvy, veteran tight ends and running backs to help keep any heat off him. Denver’s defense wins the field position battle more often than not. Every skill player can catch a check down if needed. Make no mistake. Siemian is in a great situation in Denver. 

With all that, sometimes things will go wrong. Siemian has thrown two interceptions, lost a fumble, and gotten sacked six times. What happened after those miscues? Nothing. Siemian shrugged them off and went back to work. 

His throws have been accurate and timely. He shows mobility with 33 positive yards on 11 scrambles and short runs. It certainly sounds like he has mastered this whole NFL quarterback thing. 

About to get Buffalo-ed

If there is a reason to hesitate before anointing Siemian a worthy NFL fantasy quarterback, it is because he is about to have a new experience on Sunday. Both victories this year were played in front of the Bronco faithful. Sunday, he will hit the road to take on the Buffalo Bills. That would be the same Bills who just held the Cam Newton-led Panthers to nine points. 

Dallas took on Siemian with only two healthy cornerbacks after the first quarter and replaced their star middle linebacker just a week earlier. The Chargers put quite a bit of pressure on Siemian before fading in Week 1. 

The Bills’ defense is led by Leslie Frazier, who knows a thing or two about how to stop quarterbacks. The Bills rank as a top-five unit in several real-life defensive categories, but a season-opening date with the Jets taints that achievement somewhat. They are one of only three NFL fantasy defenses that finished with a top-ten fantasy point total twice. 

So… is he a must-start? 

Siemian will see a quality defense on hostile turf in Week 3. Accounting for his lack of experience, this is enough to knock him out of must-start status. However, he is a better start than more than half the league. He might not repeat as a top-four fantasy quarterback this week, but he probably won’t be in the bottom tiers, either. 

If Siemian puts up top-ten NFL fantasy numbers against Buffalo, then he becomes a weekly must-start. For now, start him only if you don’t have a safer option. 

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Pat Opperman

Pat recently retired from real life to watch sports and write. Look for references to games and events from ancient times as memories of an earlier Age of Sport tend to pop into his head.