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QBs

Draft Strategy: Three Ways to Draft QBs – C. Krause

by CJ Krause

With fantasy drafts right around the corner and NFL rosters coming together, it is time to dive into strategies that really matter. Let’s start with arguably the most important position in the NFL: the Quarterback!

Now I know we have all heard, “quarterbacks don’t matter,” or, “just go late round QB.” BUT what does that really mean and why is it so often suggested?

Today, I am bringing you three distinct ways to attack your draft*:

1. Set and Forget/Secure a Stud
2. Konami Code
3. Full Stream Ahead!/Match-up Marvels

*based on a 1 QB, 4-point-per-passing-touchdown league

Now I’m not saying any of these are right or wrong. BUT, knowing what you are getting and what you are giving up is half the battle.

Strategy #1: SET AND FORGET / SECURE A STUD

This is a strategy involves drafting one of the three top-rated QBs at Average Draft Position (ADP). Many find this strategy obsolete due to the marginal difference between one QB to another.

FLASH FACT: The difference between QB4 and QB20 was only 3.5 points per game in 2018

However, it is a nice feeling not having to worry about playing the waiver wire and knowing the position should be safe to be a top performer week in and week out.

Players considered in this range:
Patrick Mahomes (ADP 3.05)
Aaron Rodgers (ADP 5.09)
Deshaun Watson (ADP 6.04)

These three QBs are considered the elite of the elite and I do not blame anyone from wanting them on their teams. BUT this means in exchange for picking up Mahomes, you are missing out on players like Aaron Jones, Devonta Freeman, and Stefon Diggs, who are locked in for production. Or, if you opt for Watson or Rogers, you give up high upside guys like Robby Anderson and Miles Sanders. Something to think about.

Ultimately, if these players live up to their predictions week in and week out they will return value. BUT, if you are drafting them at their ADP, they better live up to it or you may have shot your team in the foot by wasting precious early-on picks.

A good rule of thumb I follow if I am targeting these players is to pick them up two rounds past their ADP. That way, the risk is mitigated by value.

PROS

  • Week in and week out production
  • Save FAAB or priority for other positions on waiver

CONS

  • Missing out on upside or studs at skills positions
  • Comparable value on waivers

Strategy #2: KONAMI CODE

This strategy targets QBs that have both steady floors and high upsides due to their above-average rushing yards per game.

Players considered in this range:

Kyler Murray (ADP 8.04)
Cam Newton (ADP 9.06)
Lamar Jackson (ADP 11.09)
Josh Allen (ADP 14.04)

Targeting these players in the third round and beyond is a risk-adverse way of ensuring your team still has a high potential upside. These QBs’ rushing floor will keep them relevant in any game —even if they fail to put up the passing number. This strategy is especially helpful since you can fill your entire starting line-up in most leagues, possibly even adding in a few high upside bench guys, before even looking to fill your QB slot.

This strategy is particularly useful in 4-point-per-passing-touchdown leagues. Since rushing touchdowns are worth 6 points, it only will take two rushing touchdowns to match a three touchdown passing game. Even better, rushing QBs give you the ability to make up passing yard points with rushing yards, as typically, leagues give 1 point for every 10 yards rushing and 1 point for every 25 yards passing.

Buddy System

If your league is known for drafting multiple QBs per team, I recommend using the “buddy system.” What is it? Simple, it’s drafting one of the high-floor/high-upside QBs listed above with a high-floor QB as a “break glass in case of emergency” start OR to be able to sub in and out for different matchups.

Buddy System” QBs to consider pairing with the QBs above:

Phillip Rivers (ADP 10.11)
Dak Prescott (ADP 12.04)
Jimmy Garoppolo (ADP 12.08)
Kirk Cousins (ADP 13.02)

PROS

  • Fill out entire roster
  • Stronger at all skill positions

CONS

  • Weekly volatility potential
  • Higher risk of injury

Strategy #3: FULL STREAM AHEAD! / MATCH-UP MARVELS

This strategy involves picking players with good early season matchups as late in the draft as possible, and then worrying about grabbing a new QB a few weeks later.

Typically, when using this tactic I try to look at the first 2-3 weeks schedule. Since defenses change year to year and throughout the season, it is important to not fixate on the whole season’s strength of schedule as a marker of success. Rather, looking at short windows to exploit throughout the season is your best bet.

Players to consider:

Lamar Jackson (ADP 11.09)
Dak Prescott (ADP 12.04)
Jimmy Garoppolo (ADP 12.08)
Josh Allen (ADP 14.04)

These names look familiar? Not only do they work using the Konami Code strategy, but you can use these QBs as a tiebreaker when selecting your QB in your draft.

FLASH FACT: 41 different QBs had top 12 performances in 2018

For example:

Lamar Jackson faces some of the softest run defenses with his early schedule and has one of the strongest early projected strength of schedule of any QB.

Dak Prescott has the easiest first 4 weeks by CBS Sports rankings in both Run and Pass metrics so expect Dallas to come off to a hot start, Zeke or no Zeke.

Jimmy G might start off with two East Coast road games before coming back West right before a bye week, but starting off against Tampa Bay and Cincinnati sounds like one of the most optimal starts to me.

CONS

  • Weekly volatility potential
  • Requires planning week in and week out
  • Uses FAAB or priority on a QB

PROS

  • Fill out entire roster
  • Stronger at all skill positions

Josh Allen, although he also has two road games to start the season, it’s not a far drive. In fact, he’ll be driving to the same stadium as he faces the Jets then the Giants back-to-back weeks. Josh Allen doesn’t even leave the New York/New Jersey area until week 5 when he travels to Tennessee.

There you have it: three ways to attack your draft.

Whichever you choose, I encourage you to aim for upside. Because if you ain’t first, you’re last.

 

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