Fantasy Football Strategy: Why Waiting to Draft a Quarterback is the Only Option in 2017

With all the depth at the position, waiting to draft a QB is the smartest move you can make.

It’s been no secret over the last few years that a popular strategy has been to wait on a quarterback and load up at the skill positions. It’s a very sound strategy that has plenty of legs to solidify the theory. With there being 32 NFL teams, there obviously are 32 starting quarterbacks that aren’t threatened by running back committees or deep receiving cores. You can easily go 20 quarterbacks deep that you could use as your starting QB in leagues. Granted there are a handful that are far superior to others, along with some QBs that are just disgusting to own. Regardless, there are just too many viable options at QB to warrant such a high pick, when you should be building your depth at the skill positions.

In 2016, Aaron Rodgers was the top point scorer at the QB position with roughly 378 fantasy points. Four others topped 300 points, including MVP Matt Ryan, Drew Brees, Andrew Luck and Kirk Cousins. After that, a majority of QBs scored in the 270-250 point range. So say the average “top tier” QB scored 320 points in 2016, while the others averaged about 260. That 60 point difference averages out to a 3.75 point per game difference. Where Drew Brees was often drafted anywhere from the 4th to 6th rounds, guys like Dak Prescott, Tyrod Taylor and Andy Dalton were not far behind Brees in production, all while mostly going undrafted or picked in the very last rounds.

Take the RB group for example. Once you get into the RB20 range with Mark Ingram, Carlos Hyde and Tevin Coleman you become weary of having these options as your starting backs. Instead of taking an Aaron Rodgers in rounds two or three, backs like Isaiah CrowellChristian McCaffrey or Marshawn Lynch are much more serviceable to you in starting lineups. Same goes for the WR group where you have your Demaryius Thomas’, Terrelle Pryor’s and Keenan Allen’s. If you reach on a quarterback, then you have to start dipping down into the Brandon Marshall, Jeremy Maclin and Emmanuel Sanders territory of starting receivers and your lineup looks less and less sexy.

Let’s take a look at the QB landscape here. In average twelve team leagues that hypothetically brings the last owner to draft a QB at either Russell Wilson or Dak Prescott. Don’t be afraid of having to reach for a sexy name in the high/middle rounds, knowing that guys like Prescott, or Philip Rivers will be there come the double digit rounds. Let’s play a quick game here. Which would you rather have?

  • Player A – 4,944 yards 38 TDs, 52.5 ADP
  • Player B – 4,386 yards 33 TDs, 108.4 ADP

Player A is going around rounds 4 or 5 based on ADP while Player B is getting selected around round 9 or 10. Which guy do you want? I’ll gladly take Player B much later in the draft with not that much of a drop off in production. For the record, Player A is 2016 MVP Matt Ryan and Player B is Philip Rivers. It just goes to show you how invaluable the QB spot really is in fantasy. You see the weaker teams who have no depth or skill at the RB and WR positions, because they went QB early and missed out on the important pieces.

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Now, I have to give credit where credit is due to Simply Shamus’ boy, Aaron Rodgers. I had Rodgers in two leagues last year because he fell a few rounds later than I anticipated and his monster Week 16 game was a huge part in winning both of those leagues. That’s not to say you should COMPLETELY avoid drafting QBs, but don’t reach for them above or at their expected price. If Rodgers is still sitting there around Rounds 4 or 5, go for it. You’ve built up multiple rounds of stud position players by then and can then plant your flag as QB king. It’s just the thought of using a 2nd or 3rd round pick on the elite QBs that troubles us as there are true fantasy studs and difference makers still there for the taking.

The main takeaway is to be smart. Don’t overreach for a QB, and know that there are more than enough viable options available in the later rounds. If a stud QB seems to be dropping a few rounds past what you expected and you like your team thus far, go ahead and take that elite QB.

At the end of the day, it’s all about VALUE. Knowing there’s so much value in the QB landscape, it’s easier to wait and pick one up on the back end. With the depth and skill of QBs sitting there around rounds nine and ten, I’ll gladly wait on the Kirk Cousins’, Marcus Mariota’s and Jameis Winston’s of the landscape knowing I have a stacked core surrounding them.

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