Monday, August 6, 2018
Written by Scott Duda, Loaded Box Podcast Blogger
My biggest pet peeve is watching fantasy team owners reach for a player they like, especially a QB. In real life, a QB is the most important player on the field. However in fantasy football, an elite QB is traditionally not worth his ADP.
I have finally figured out the best QB draft strategy. I honestly don’t believe a QB should be drafted before the 11th round in a traditional 15-round draft. I know what you’re thinking, and no I’m not insane. Before you stop reading, hear me out. Based on ESPN’s QB projections for the 2018 season, the projected point range between QB1 and QB15 is 49.5 points. That boils down to about three points per week difference between QB1 and QB15. In the grand scheme of things three points is enough to overcome. This point differential can be overcome by stockpiling great players at RB and WR.
In a 10-12 team PPR league (or standard, it’s just more apparent in PPR), value is the most important draft strategy. So when that one guy drafts Aaron Rodgers in the third round he is doing you a favor. His pick allows you to gain a player with better fantasy value. While Tom Brady is a great statistical QB, his relative fantasy value is not much higher than say Philip Rivers. I use these two because they happen to be QB1 and QB15 respectively, according to ESPN projections. Based on projections, Brady will score about three more points a week when compared to Rivers. The biggest difference between the two is their draft values. While Brady will go within the first five rounds, Rivers will likely still be available in the 10th or 11th round.
The reason value becomes so important, while drafting in the earlier rounds, is the availability of position players. For example, the range between RB1 and RB15 is 143.3 points. This is why wasting an early-round pick for a quarterback could be detrimental to your entire draft. A similar range is true for the wide receivers as well. 93.4 points separate the top-15 projected receivers.
This season is an especially deep year for QBs. There are multiple QBs ranked 10-26 that can win you a fantasy championship. One of my sleeper picks is Derek Carr. Carr is projected the 26th-rated QB. In my mind getting a talented player in Carr, who has proven can be a good fantasy QB, is a steal as a second QB. He’ll have high upside.
While some team owners are dumb enough to draft a second QB by the end of round 10, most have their head on straight. This means at worst an 11th round QB will be QB15. At this point there is still very talented QBs available. To name a few, Marcus Mariota, Jimmy Garoppolo, Jared Goff, Dak Prescott and Carr are all projected 16-26. For me, I’d be ecstatic to grab an extra RB or WR early and to fall back on one of these QBs.
Last year I took my first attempt at this draft strategy. It was a 10-team PPR league. In the 11th round, I selected my first quarterback – Rivers. I then followed up this pick with a defense in the 12th, a high-risk high reward TE in the 13th (Tyler Eifert), Andy Dalton in the 14th, and closed the draft out with a kicker in the 15th. While I admit Dalton did not pan out, Rivers ended as QB8. Also, since Dalton was expendable, I was able to grab Alex Smith off the waiver wire after week one. Smith finished as QB4. It may have been luck, but my patience paid off. Although just wait to hear who else I was able to draft due to holding off on a QB.
Within my first six draft picks, I was able to pick up Todd Gurley, Kareem Hunt, Ezekiel Elliott, Tyreek Hill, A.J. Green, and Doug Baldwin. These players respectively finished RB1, RB4, RB12, WR8, WR10, and WR13. As I’m sure you can imagine I won the league.
Value, value, value. While other we’re picking one, if not two QBs in the first 10 rounds, I was accumulating value players. Patience is a virtue and as you can see it paid off.
Don’t reach for a QB. Let the players come to you. If you see a good QB value in rounds 8-10 pull the trigger if you feel comfortable, but don’t forget there is great value late.
Like I mentioned, this strategy is most useful in a PPR league because of the larger discrepancy in point differentials. For a standard league, it predominately holds true but maybe plan for a round earlier than the 11th. Also, as teams in your league grow to 12 or higher take that into consideration as well, but do not overcommit at QB. As for a Superflex, please disregard this article because the value of a QB increases dramatically.
Be sure to check out the latest episode of the Loaded Box Podcast as the guys discuss RB’s ranked 1-12 and let you know who you should target/avoid in your fantasy drafts.