2017 NFL Draft Reaction: Josh Dobbs Goes to the Pittsburgh Steelers

RotoViz has teamed up with TwoQBs to provide post-draft analysis of the 2017 quarterback class. Two QBs is devoted to 2QB and Superflex fantasy leagues and provides player evaluations and advice, rankings, and strategy. Anthony Spangler’s work can be found here.

Joshua Dobbs is headed to Pittsburgh after being selected in the fourth round  (135 overall) in this year’s NFL draft. The 22-year-old signal caller will first look to secure backup duties with his new team before making his case for a starting role; similar to how Ryan Mallet and Brock Osweiler were each able to land starting roles following stints as backups to entrenched, franchise QBs.

Despite a lackluster collegiate career with the Tennessee Volunteers, from a statistical standpoint, Dobbs is in a unique position to completely rewrite his narrative and become an intriguing fantasy player to keep an eye on.

Barring injury to Steelers’ starter Ben Roethlisberger, Dobbs isn’t expected to make too big a splash in the fantasy football pool in 2017. Leading up to his selection by Pittsburgh, Dobbs’ ADP in MFL10 leagues has been virtually nonexistent. Even though Dobbs’ value hasn’t (yet) registered with fantasy owners, there’s plenty to like about the situation the new Steelers’ QB has been presented with.

Joshua Dobbs, Tennessee, 6-3, 216

In his Armchair Scouting Report Anthony Amico points out that, despite fellow rookie quarterback Deshaun Watson’s advantage in passing volume, Dobbs compares quite nicely in terms of passer efficiency rating and adjusted yards/passing attempt (AYA). The pair also shares some striking similarities in their combine measurables, with Dobbs even edging Watson out in many of the categories.

Here’s how the two stack up according to a few combine metrics:

Dobbs vs Watson

At a glance, Dobbs compares favorably, athletically at least, to Watson and the other more-coveted QBs of this class. This is our first indicator that Dobbs could be the sort of late-round gem that fantasy owners dream of hitting on.

Dobbs ranked 53rd overall, and ninth among QBs in the 2017 RotoViz Scouting Index. RotoViz analysts viewed him slightly more favorably, listing him eighth in pre-draft QB rankings. In both cases, Dobbs found himself somewhere in the middle of the pack for this year’s QB class.

Coincidentally, Dobbs’ passing efficiency was also middle of the road among the 2017 rookies:

Dobb Passer EFF

There’s no doubting Dobbs’ appeal from a speed and agility standpoint. However, despite his attractive combine data, Dobbs always felt destined to be a mid-to-late-round draft pick due to oft-cited accuracy issues and questions regarding ball security and pocket presence. Even with those issues in mind, it seemed to be the consensus that Dobbs possessed enough intriguing upside to make him worthy of an NFL roster spot as a sort of low-risk, high reward, Deshaun Watson-lite.

Any lingering questions regarding Dobbs’ ability to perform at the NFL level won’t be answered until he’s able to address them on the field. As with most players, it can be expected that a great deal of Dobbs’ success, fantasy or otherwise, will be tied to the situation surround his new team.

Player Outlook

Given the presence of Roethlisberger, it’s difficult to imagine Josh Dobbs unseating the 13-year veteran anytime soon – if ever. And barring injury to Roethlisberger, Dobbs’ fantasy value appears to be greatest in deep-roster, dynasty formats as a free agent or perhaps waiver/FAAB acquisition.

As mentioned earlier, Dobbs hasn’t been registering at all with best ball owners. Using this knowledge as a barometer for re-draft leagues, he’ll likely reside exclusively on most owners watch lists throughout the summer and leading up to Week 1.

Dobbs’ speed and agility make him both an intriguing NFL and fantasy QB prospect. Depending on how owners manage the position, (streaming vs studs, etc…) it may be wise to get a jump on the opportunity to acquire Dobbs and stash him on your bench or taxi squad. Taking the initiative on a high-upside QB like Dobbs now will obviously pay off big time if he finds himself in a 2016 Dak Prescott or 2008 Matt Cassel situation – either as trade bait or a cornerstone player on a fantasy roster.

Team Outlook

In theory, Dobbs’ presence with the Steelers isn’t likely to initially impact his teammates value from a fantasy perspective. Looking big picture, it’s worth noting that the team also selected wide receiver JuJu Schuster-Smith (pick 62), adding to an already impressive offensive skill group. If Dobbs finds himself under center for any reason this year, it’s reasonable to expect that he’ll perform no worse than current backup Landry Jones. And if given that chance, there are few better skill groups to be surrounded by in order to take advantage of the opportunity.


Josh Dobbs is a high-upside prospect worth roster consideration in deep fantasy leagues, or those with taxi squads. Though his situation isn’t exactly ideal, Dobbs’ athleticism and underrated efficiency as a passer will make him an interesting fantasy prospect when he gets his chance to start.

Find all our 2017 NFL draft reaction content here.

Additional Research

  • The QB Prospect Model – RotoDoc uses a statistical feature selection process to build a QB projection model. It provides a likelihood of success, and in testing, mis-classified QBs just seven percent of the time. RotoDoc provides success odds for the incoming rookies, as well as 2016 draftees, and the complete data set for all QBs going back to 2007.

See for yourself…



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By Anthony Spangler | @https://twitter.com/AnthonySpang | Archive

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