As fantasy players, particularly this late in the season, we all become at least a little intrigued by breakout performances. A lot of this has to do with the fact that there is scarcity - the idea that owners could actually add a difference-maker to their team this late in the season could turn a team into a lethal contender. As a result, even the most innocuous of weeks in the run up to the playoffs could lead to a feeding frenzy. Desperation often colors our vision.
Enter Matt McGloin. The undrafted Penn State rookie came out of nowhere to start in place of the injured Terrelle Pryor. Like when the Wu-Tang dropped their seminal Enter the Wu-Tang: 36 Chambers album, expectations were low but results unexpectedly blew people away.
Though not a ton was known about Method Man, the ODB, or Matt McGloin, there has to be a certain amount of optimism after his debut performance. McGloin, in standard scoring, outscored Russell Wilson, Andrew Luck, Peyton Manning, Drew Brees, Tom Brady, and Colin Kaepernick. It should not be shocking, then, that McGloin will get more than a few looks in leagues. But is McGloin destined for a Method Man-style rise, or is he destined to fall like Masta Killa?
You Don't Know Me, and You Don't Know My Style
At first glance, McGloin's numbers appear pretty impressive. With nearly 200 yards and three touchdowns with zero interceptions, McGloin's 19 fantasy points made him more than a viable start in Week 11. Upon reviewing the deeper Net Expected Points numbers, however, McGloin performed painfully average.
On the year (which includes a Week 9 15-throw performance against Philadelphia), McGloin has a Pass NEP per throw of .01, putting him even with Mike Glennon on the year and barely ahead of Joe Flacco, who has a 0 NEP/pass, and Ryan Tannehill, who has a -.01 NEP/pass on the year.
Getting down to brass tax: what's all this say about McGloin's performance? Throwing the ball, McGloin has been no better than a replacement-level quarterback. From a pure quarterbacking perspective, it appears McGloin has not proven he is anything more than a matchup play. That's certainly not to say that McGloin is bad, but you should only really be adding him if you are playing the streaming quarterback game, and even then you have to base it on a matchup-to-matchup basis. Unless times are rough and tough like leather, cash should rule everything around you heading down the stretch, and McGloin is far from money in the bank.
Bring the Ruckus
If we are going to accept McGloin is at best a matchup play, we need to look at his schedule in Weeks 11 and beyond. Consider that McGloin's best matchup has probably passed him by, as Houston ranked 29th in Adjusted Pass NEP after Week 11. The Raiders next matchups are Tennessee, Dallas, New York Jets, Kansas City, and San Diego. These teams rank 16, 9, 18, 1, and 27 respectively within the same metric. What that means is McGloin is facing about average to way above average passing defenses the rest of the way until Week 16, ostensibly your championship game. If you trust McGloin in your championship matchup, power to you, but my guess is if you make it that far it's with a passer you trust miles more than you would McGloin.
The fact of the matter is, without a matchup nearly as tasty as Houston was, and with the average play of McGloin thus far, there's really nothing to indicate that McGloin will strike fear in the hearts of any opponents the rest of the way, at least in standard leagues. In extremely deep (16-plus team/two-quarterback) leagues, there are two matchups in there where McGloin will have some potential, but if were I betting man, I'd bet that there's no way McGloin is leaving the mic in body bags in the way he did this past week. As I said, this was easily his best matchup until the fantasy championship. There's just nothing there to make McGloin a viable fantasy option.
You Could Never Capture the Method Man Stature
Things would be different if McGloin had a bevy of options around him, and while the position players McGloin has at his disposal aren't awful, they also aren't a lethal clan you should move to the front. And they won't torture defenses like the intro to Method Man.
Much has been made of the emergence of Mychal Rivera. Rivera's hands are a bit suspect, but he was on the receiving end of one of McGloin's three touchdowns last week, hauling in five of his six targets. However, on the season, Rivera has an NEP/Target that ranks 17th amongst tight ends with 20 or more receptions (about two receptions per game). While it's slightly more efficient than the targets of Antonio Gates and Coby Fleener, it certainly is not Earth shattering, and certainly is not a guy that you would envision making a mediocre quarterback great.
Similar mediocrity applies to McGloin's other two main targets: Denarius Moore and Rod Streater. Amongst wide receivers with 30 or more receptions this season, Denarius Moore ranks 17th in Reception NEP per Target and 21st in total Reception NEP, while Rod Streater ranks 24th in Reception NEP per Target and 43rd in total receiving NEP.
Again, like Rivera, these numbers are painfully average (and in the case of total Receiving NEP for Rod Streater, way below average) - there's nothing here to really make you excited to add and start McGloin unless you are totally desperate. That's not, again, to say these options are all that bad on an absolute basis; in a vacuum these options are pretty talented. But with the upcoming schedule, as well as McGloin being at best a replacement-level quarterback (or, at least, playing that way), I would need to be ravaged at quarterback to play him.
My advice would be to Protect Ya Neck and look for better streaming options moving forward. McGloin, for me, is an avoid in almost all formats.