Written By: Jason Feiner
QB Draft Strategy:
Determining what pick to use on a quarterback can be a stressful proposition, as a run on quarterbacks could cause panic. Early season rankings are rarely reflected during the season and replicating previous seasons has proven almost impossible, year after year. Players get injured, traded, cut, suspended, and lose their jobs to the next generation of NFL superstars. We are still in the early weeks of offseason training programs with the June OTA’s still three weeks from getting underway. Position battles between veterans and the league’s new faces have yet to unfold. It is imperative to have a plan when entering a draft in order to successfully strike a winning roster.
Fantasy is a fickle entity, forever evolving with the time and talent available. There are so many different methods for building successful rosters and dominating a league. Each position is valuable and some have much higher price tags depending on the depth of the group. Players are tasked with devising a method to lead them to glory, but today, I will tell you that there is one foolproof rule in drafting a quarterback. NEVER REACH. In one-quarterback leagues, it is reasonable to draft one player at the position and stream during the bye week. It is also important to note that twelve quarterbacks make up the QB1 threshold, and most leagues contain ten-twelve rosters. You can do the math. With the correct cards in play, it is highly likely each owner drafts a starting caliber quarterback. However, timing is key. With the right amount of strategy or luck, Jared Goff could once again fall to the eleventh round. It is tough to determine value, but be wary about overextending for a superstar at quarterback when the fall off at running back and receiver is far steeper.
Fantasy football is value-based and running backs and receivers come at a much higher cost since the difference between studs and duds could mean the trophy or a last place punishment. The drop off at the skill positions makes them a much higher priority when drafting. This is why sitting back and waiting for a signal caller makes the most sense. If there was ever a year to hold out on a QB, this is the year! A handful of young signal callers proved their fantasy worth in 2018, and the NFL may have the deepest talent pool at the position in recent memory. With the average fantasy output from QB1 to QB10 over the last five years being a difference of six points per game, it’s just not worth the draft pick when you compare the point differential of a running back or receiver taken in the same rounds.
In light of this, I’d like to take a step back. It’s one thing to say don’t draft a quarterback too early, but it’s another thing to convince someone to pass on a plug and play fantasy option at the right cost. If Aaron Rodgers is still there in the 5th round, it’d be foolish to pass. Taking the wrong player early could be the downfall of the fantasy campaign before it begins.
Price Tag: Who to Avoid
Many players enter this season with a hyped up price tag, and their value does not coincide with their estimated draft capital. It is horrifying to think about what Patrick Mahomes did to the league in 2018. He dominated and was one of the front runners for fantasy's MVP if he didn't claim that prize already. Yet, it is extremely hard to replicate his offensive output two years in a row, while losing his running back and star receiver. His 2nd round ADP is too much, and his high price tag has warranted a do not touch label. His risks outweigh the benefits. The same goes for Baker Mayfield and Deshaun Watson. Mayfield is one of my favorite players; however, his value doesn’t surpass round 10. Watson’s talent level is there, but his offensive line and injury history continue to terrorize fantasy players. Their price tags are overblown and could spell the end to the season earlier rather than later. That being said, each of these three players remain in the top tier at their position.
Early top-10 rankings
Fantasy is a value-based proposition and reaching for players is never a good idea, especially at the quarterback position. Be patient, have a plan, stick to the plan, and NEVER deviate.