4 Quarterbacks With Huge Touchdown Upside in 2019 NFL Season

Pittsburgh Steelers v New Orleans Saints
Pittsburgh Steelers v New Orleans Saints / Sean Gardner/Getty Images

For all of the ways that value in fantasy football differs from value in real football, there's one huge similarity. In the end, scoring touchdowns trumps everything.

There's more variance in touchdown numbers than we see in some stats, but if you can project them well then you can find fantasy football gold mines. Touchdowns correlate incredibly strongly with season-long fantasy production, especially at the quarterback position.

These four quarterbacks are primed for big 2019 fantasy football seasons thanks to their potential for some serious touchdown numbers.

1. Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs

Divisional Round - Indianapolis Colts v Kansas City Chiefs
Divisional Round - Indianapolis Colts v Kansas City Chiefs / Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Mahomes' touchdown upside is no secret -- it's why he's being drafted as the top quarterback off the board. Even still, it's worth looking at just how high-scoring we can expect his 2019 season to be.

There have been eight instances of a quarterback throwing for at least 40 touchdown passes in a season since 2010. Two of the six passers in that group did so twice, and Andrew Luck came very close by throwing for 39 in his 2018 return from injury. One of the other two non-repeaters was Peyton Manning, whose production fell off a cliff due to age and injuries. Simply having already hit 50 touchdowns in a season is a great sign for Mahomes' upside.

The Chiefs were one of only five teams to pass on over 60 percent of the red-zone snaps in 2018, and when they did run, Mahomes accounted for 15-of-72 red-zone rush attempts.

2. Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers

Pittsburgh Steelers v Cincinnati Bengals
Pittsburgh Steelers v Cincinnati Bengals / Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Big Ben finished fifth in the NFL in touchdown passes with 34 last season, and FanDuel Sportsbook gives him the 10th-best odds of leading the league in that category in 2019.

We can't count on him throwing the ball 675 times again in 2019, but at his average draft position (ADP) of QB13, he doesn't need to do that to be effective.

Pittsburgh was the NFL's most pass-heavy offense in the red zone last season, throwing 65.8 percent of the time. They were also above-average in their passing rate inside the 10-yard line (54.4 percent).

Losing Antonio Brown hurts, but the Steelers' leader in red-zone targets in 2018 was actually JuJu Smith-Schuster. Brown was barely above the team average in touchdown rate on red-zone targets as well, at 27.1 percent compared to the average of 24.8 percent.

3. Dak Prescott, Dallas Cowboys

Wild Card Round - Seattle Seahawks v Dallas Cowboys
Wild Card Round - Seattle Seahawks v Dallas Cowboys / Tom Pennington/Getty Images

Dak Prescott is being seriously underrated this season.

He dominates the list of quarterbacks with the most rushing touchdowns since he came into the league in 2016, ranking first with 18, while second and third are Cam Newton and Tyrod Taylor, with 15 and 10 respectively.

Prescott has been consistent with those scores, with six in each of his three seasons. They come in big volume as well, ranking second (behind Newton) in both red-zone (41) and goal-line (30) rush attempts. Those 30 from inside the 10 are also good for 29th among all players.

He's also thrown for at least 22 touchdowns in all three of his NFL seasons, never finishing worse than 16th in touchdown passes. His scoring numbers saw a big increase with Amari Cooper in Dallas last year, and in nine games with Cooper, Dak was on a 16-game pace for 25.0 scores.

4. Kirk Cousins, Minnesota Vikings

Arizona Cardinals v Minnesota Vikings
Arizona Cardinals v Minnesota Vikings / Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

Kirk Cousins threw for 30 touchdowns in 2018. Those were a career-high, the ninth-most in the NFL, and the 17th-most in a season for any player in the last three years.

That hasn't earned him much respect in fantasy football though, and he has a head-scratching ADP of QB20.

We're often going to see regression after a player sets a career-high in touchdowns, but a lot of what Cousins did looks to be sustainable. His 5.0 percent touchdown rate (the share of his pass attempts that were touchdowns) was right in line with what he'd done over the previous three seasons -- 5.0 percent, 4.1 percent and 5.3 percent. His career-average is also right there at 4.8 percent.

His volume wasn't crazy, either. 2018 was his second time putting up 606 pass attempts in a season, and Mike Zimmer's quarterbacks combined for the league's 11th-most pass attempts in 2017. That was despite the Vikes starting Sam Bradford and Case Keenum, and regularly playing with leads in a 13-win season.

Minnesota also threw on 62.7 percent of its red-zone snaps in 2018 (third in the league). It was bottom-10 in total red-zone plays run, which hurt its volume (13th in pass attempts), but that's an area in which we can expect it to improve.

With a win total set at 9.0 on FanDuel Sportsbook, the Vikings should be doing more scoring and spending more time in the red zone this season.

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Jason Schandl is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Jason Schandl also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username Jaymun. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in their articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.