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Josh McCown: Sneaky Fantasy Football Konami Code Candidate

Salvatore Stefanile argues that McCown’s rushing ability makes him a good Monday Night Start.

Chicago Bears quarterback Josh McCown
Chicago Bears quarterback Josh McCown

Oct 20, 2013; Landover, MD, USA; Chicago Bears quarterback Josh McCown (12) attempts a pass against the Washington Redskins during the second half at FedEX Field. Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

For those of you unaware of the famous Konami Code and its impact on fantasy football, fellow XN scribe Rich Hribar posited a theory on regarding standard scoring fantasy football, and how it’s broken, just like cheating by using that old cheat code to dominate the Nintendo game Contra in the late 80s.

In his article, Hribar discusses how rushing quarterbacks are a sort of cheat code in fantasy football, especially in leagues where passing touchdowns are worth only four points, because of the added value quarterbacks receive from rushing fantasy points.

On the surface, it might not seem like injury replacement McCown would be a Konami Code candidate, but if you unravel the stats, McCown has scrambling tendencies, and his scrambling abilities could lead to extra fantasy points.

From what I could tell, McCown proved himself adept at passing the ball Week 7 in Trestman’s system, going a methodical 14-of-20 for 204 yards, one touchdown, and no interceptions. Even though McCown didn’t play the whole game, he still wound up the 15th highest scoring fantasy quarterback in standard leagues.

In addition to his passing, McCown also rushed for 33 yards on four carries, which equated to a yard per carry average of 8.2, and, most importantly, was worth an additional 3.3 fantasy points.

Those extra 3.3 fantasy points might not seem like much, but when you deduct them from McCown’s overall Week 7 fantasy total, he goes from 15.46 fantasy points and QB15, to 12.16 fantasy points and QB24; the difference between a high-end QB2, and a low-end QB2.

This is where things start to get interesting with McCown, and his fantasy value going forward in 2-QB leagues. On the season, Cutler was completing 65 percent of his passes, and efficiency is a large part of Trestman’s offense. McCown completed 70% of his own passes in Week 7, and if Trestman has his way, he’ll set McCown up to play in high completion situations.

However, if McCown feels the heat, or he can’t find an open Brandon Marshall, Matt Forte, Alshon Jeffrey, or Martellus Bennett, he won’t let the pocket collapse on him, leaving him to scramble to make plays with his legs, and gain fantasy yards on the ground.

It was mentioned earlier McCown’s 3.3 rushing fantasy points earned in Week 7, but it’s also worth noting in his two 2011 starts, he racked up a total of 68 yards rushing. It might not seem that an average of 3.4 fantasy points per game is a lot, but as we talked about earlier, his 3.3 rushing fantasy points made a huge difference in his final Week 7 fantasy quarterback scoring rank.

The thought of McCown as a “rushing” quarterback isn’t one we equate with him, and it’s still not a term I would use when describing him, but his career rushing numbers did surprise me when I first looked into him.

The below screenshot from shows McCown’s career rushing attempts, rushing yards, rushing yards/attempt, and rushing touchdowns:

Josh McCown career rushing stats.  Screenshot from

Josh McCown career rushing stats.
Screenshot from

How could you not be intrigued by those numbers upon first glance?

When you dig a little deeper, here’s what else we find:

Games with at least five rushes:11
Games with at least 30 rushing yards: 10
Highest carries in a game: nine
Most rushing yards in a game: 48
Career rushing yards: 670
Career rushing touchdowns: three
Career rushing attempts: 143
Career yards per carry: 4.83 (minus 2002 and 2008 outlier seasons)

Looking at McCown’s career fantasy production we find that he’s scored a total of 418.04 standard fantasy points. Rushing wise, 85 of McCown’s career fantasy points came via the ground, which is good for 20.33 percent of his overall fantasy points.

Unless you’re Davis Mattek, here’s something else you might not know about McCown: he ran a 4.59 40-yard-dash at the 2002 NFL Combine, tied for the fastest quarterback 40-yard-dash that year with Ronald Curry.

The potential for McCown to unleash a partial Konami during his Johnny Carson-esque guest host fill-in audition is there, and a Monday Night match-up versus the Green Bay Packers is a good place to start.

Three times this season the Packers have allowed quarterbacks to rush for at least 20 yards versus them: Colin Kaepernick-22, Brandon Weeden-20, and Christian Ponder-38.

A couple of extra fantasy points each week could mean the difference between a low-end QB2 and high end QB2, or even a high-end QB2 and low-end QB1. In 2-QB leagues, we need all the advantages we can get at the quarterback position, and taking advantage of a cheat code is a fantastic way to do so.

Just because it might be a little harder for McCown to input the Konami Code on his controller than other quarterbacks it doesn’t mean he doesn’t have the ability to do so.

Stats used in this article from,,, Yahoo! Fantasy Sports and

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