Fantasy QB Quandry

There is much discussion going on in fantasy circles on who and when to pick a QB. Some believe you can wait until the 7th round and get comparable value to a QB in the 3rd or 4th. Others disagree and want their trigger man sooner.

What do you believe and why? Let the debate begin.

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My view is that I want a top gun at QB and do not want to wait until the 7th round.
My options with value and VG value;

Allen- 3rd or 4th round
Herbert- 4th or 5th
Mahomes- 4th or 5th

Jackson, Murray, Hurts- 5th or 6th

I want one of these guys and my best pick would be Herbert in the 5th.

My thinking is that my top 3 played every game and went off for 30+ points on some. Others may be only a few points less on average but missed games and do not have the explosion of the top guys. Just my view.

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Just consider the difference in points between the number 1 at any position and the number 10:

QB: 107 points
RB: 146 points
WR: 158 points
TE: 111 points

Before you run off and scream “draft WR’s!”, keep in mind that Cooper Kupp was also 71 points ahead of the WR2., Deebo Samuel. Kupp had a freakishly good season.

All that said, any great RB or WR might be worth more for your team than a QB. Finding that great RB or WR is the trick. But that’s another discussion.

Before we go any further, the type of league is important. If it’s a superflex league, then you’ll need 2 solid starters, maybe even making one pick in the first round.

I pick my QB’s before the draft, then use ADP to determine the optimal place to pick them.

Agree and was talking about any league with one QB. I believe you need one of these top six or to be Lucky for a title.

It is not the only piece to the puzzle but an important one.

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I have heard the argument made that if you get two decent QB’s in a 1 QB league, and just play matchups with them, you will do better than just riding a top QB. This makes sense since the floor for a starting QB is much higher than it is for any other position when considering “lesser” players (barring injury of course).

Consider that Josh Allen, the top QB in fantasy last year, had 10 games with over 20 points. QB12 Ryan Tannehill only had 3 games with over 20 points, so he wasn’t that good. But QB10 Kirk Cousins had 7 games over 20 points, and QB14 Derek Carr had 5 games over 20 points. Sadly, both Cousins and Carr started the year with three straight 20 point games, so that combo wouldn’t have worked for you. But maybe QB9 Jalen Hurts with 9 games over 20 points might work with somebody else to top Josh Allen’s results? But if the Allen owner can bench him for a few of his weak matchups, then he could easily top you.

Therein lies the flaw with using high draft capital to get a QB early: If you drafted Josh Allen, when are you benching him to play a matchup? Answer is you don’t, ever. MAYBE once or twice against particularly good defenses, but probably not even then. Also, what happens if Josh gets hurt? Unless you expended draft capital on another QB as well, you will likely be DOA after losing Josh.

In any non-superflex draft, you will have to pick multiple positions in early rounds, and you will have to dedicate those picks to RB’s, WR’s, and maybe even a top level TE. You can’t be making multiple QB picks for a one QB league early. You’d kill your other roster positions, and you need more of those.

Overall, if you go into the season with two decent QB’s, and are willing to play matchups with them, you will possibly do better than the guy with one stud that he rides all year.

Kupp’s 2021 performance was extremely strong. He had a 31.5% target share, 41.9% passing yard share and 39.0% TD share. And the big difference is that he played all 17 games. Davante Adams’ 2020 game average was almost the same, but he played only 14 games.

Over the last 5 years, the position that made the biggest difference between #1 and #10 was RB:

QB: 30.3 vs. 23.4 (6.9 points per game)
RB: 25.1 vs. 14.9 (10.2 ppg)
WR: 21.3 vs. 14.8 (6.5 ppg)
TE: 15.3 vs. 9.1 (6.2 ppg)

However, this stat is only relevant to you if you have a shot at the (expected) top asset on that position. Because if we look at the #3 to #10 gap, it looks as follows:

QB: 4.1 ppg
RB: 5.6 ppg
WR: 3.4 ppg
TE: 4.2 ppg

What does that mean? Let’s assume following scenario: you draft from the 3rd position. And you have a magic 8-ball and already know the final season rankings.

1.01 and 1.02 picked RB#1 and RB#2 (let’s say JT and Najee). Now, you are on the clock. What do you do?

You could pick the RB#3. Because if you wait until the next round, you may end up with the RB#10, and that would cost you 5.6 points per game.

However, if you picked the QB#1, WR#1 or even TE#1 now, it would give you a 6+ ppg edge over your competition.

That’s why I wouldn’t recommend to chase positions in drafts, just because they were in high demand before you were on the clock. That is especially important for players ranked #4 and below on their respective position.

All 4 skill positions share a characteristic: there is a steep dropoff in the top 3 on that position. After player #4, the curve drop becomes a lot less steep.

If you draft at #7, and the top 6 RBs are all gone, you can decide to panic now and pick the RB#7. Or wait until the next round and pick the RB#12. Historically, that’s a difference of only 2.8 points per game in half PPR.

Many leagues will panic and rush after QBs or RBs if they start coming off the board early. Don’t chase such a trend. If you draft from the #12 spot, and the players before you picked 6 RBs and 5 QBs, it means the WR#1 and TE#1 are still on the board. Pick them. They are difference makers, compared to the options you will find when you are back on the clock at 3.12 and 4.01.

If you panic and follow the trend, you will get the RB#7 and QB#6. They hardly make a difference to the RBs and QBs you will find at the end of the third round.

Let’s do the math:

Scenario A: you grab the RB#7 and QB#6, and then the WR#10 and TE#5 at 3.12 and 4.01.
QB#6: 25.5
RB#7: 17.2
WR#10: 14.8
TE#5:; 10.5
Total 68,0 ppg (half-PPR)

Scenario B: you grab the WR#1 and TE#1 with your first picks, and the QB#10 and RB#15 at 3.12 and 4.01.
QB#10: 23.4
RB#15: 13.6
WR#1: 21.3
TE#1: 15.3
Total 73.6 ppg (half-PPR). 5.6 points more in every game than if you just followed the trend.

That’s why I am no fan at all of fixed draft strategies like “zero RB”. My draft strategy is to make the best of the situation I find when I’m on the clock. I want to have difference makers on my roster. If we consider the top 3 options on every position to be difference makers, then there are only 12 of that species on the market. In a 12 team league, it means that every team can get only one of them. If a league gives me the opportunity to claim 2, then I’ll take it, regardless of the position.

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Great stuff Zak, appreciate it. I will re-evaluate over the weekend.
How have your teams fared over the last couple of years?

I’m doing okay. I tend to play few leagues (3-5 per year), and over recent years, my focus shifted more and more towards dynasty.

I won my main dynasty league last year. Took over a derelict team in another one 2 years ago and turned it around. Might have a shot at the playoffs there this year, and hope to be a contender next year - if Trey Lance and Travis Etienne deliver.

As for redraft, I didn’t play a single one last year, as I decided to give DFS a shot instead. That went great in the first 3 weeks, and after that, not at all. :sweat_smile:

Not sure if I’ll give DFS another shot this year. Might hit some prize leagues instead, based on my projections, which I started doing last year for the first time.

But it’s still just a fun hobby. I love Excel, that’s why I like toying with data analysis. And I love to talk about it, as you undoubtedly noticed. :sweat_smile:

Funny, I drafted Lance in the 12th and got Etienne off waivers to stash on IR.

I prefer to get Herbert in the 5th or Jackson, Hurts or Murray at 6 or 7. I don’t consider that high draft capital.

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I’d rather get Hurts at 6 or 7 than Jackson. I had Jackson on one league last year, and he didn’t look like the same QB from 2 years ago. I’m not saying I wouldn’t draft Jackson, but Hurts seems like getting the same thing in a younger package. If Hurts can improve his passing even moderately, and I think he can with AJ Brown there, then he’s a steal in the 6th round.

I started a keeper league 2 years ago and drafted Murray in the 6th, won the title.
I kept him and missed a repeat by Ekeler, Mitchell etc. out in the semi’s, finishing 3rd. No clue as to what I am doing this year.

He was a high vale for me but, had injury issues for 3-4 games late after raising the roof in the first 10 or so.

Herbert in the 5th is my top choice. Allen costs too much and Mahomes has too many questions. Then, as you say, Hurts and adding Murray before Jackson.

If I miss out, I Punt. :slight_smile:

As a late/waiver pick I want Lawrence.

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Lawrence just seems too risky for me. Davis Mills did better than Lawrence in fewer games.

No comparison. Lawrence has Pro Bowl potential and I want him late or on waivers. He has roughly the same skill set as Herbert and Allen.

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Lawrence is nowhere close to Herbert or Allen in passing skills. He’s not even close to Mills.

Justin Fields will be far and away better than Lawrence.

When I loved Allen pre draft many said he has no passing skills. When I loved Herbert over Tua many said he had average passing skills,

I may be wrong here but don’t think so,

Justin Fields will be far and away better than Lawrence.

I like Fields but the talent level is not close.

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Time will tell, but I think Fields throws a better deep ball and is better on the move. Which the new Bears coaches will focus on. We will see.

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