Where you choose to draft your first quarterback can make or break your fantasy football draft. Many championship teams have been formed by the influx of advice from the past few years to wait on quarterbacks until the later rounds.
However, you aren’t guaranteed to find a league winner in the late rounds, and the late round QB strategy involves more erratic and unreliable play week-to-week. Also, if it’s a flawless strategy, why do any quarterbacks get drafted before the eighth round? Because the key in choosing a quarterback is finding value wherever it is in the draft.
Value can be tough to assess when comparing different positions to each other, but the question you should ask yourself when drafting is: who would benefit my team the most with this pick? You need to compare the replacement value of each of your best options. This can be tricky on the fly, so it’s best to know beforehand how much you value, for example, Patrick Mahomes compared to Kenny Golladay and George Kittle.
I’m going to go over three strategies you can employ: the early round QB, the middle round QB, and the late round QB. But before we look at each strategy individually, we should take a look at how accurately quarterback ADP predicts success.
I took the top 20 quarterbacks drafted (except those who played less than 7 games) from each of the past three seasons to see how well recent preseason rankings predict the actual rankings in points per game. The first graph charts how accurate the rankings were, while the second chart determines if there is a correlation between round and points per game.
Looking at the data, I noticed a few interesting things.
- (Graph 1) The top two quarterbacks drafted each year all stayed in the top ten, but only two of six returned top five value. Those two were 2018 Deshaun Watson and 2019 Deshaun Watson.
- (Graph 2) Drafting a QB between rounds 5 and 11 looks like a total crap shoot. There was at least one QB over 20 PPG from each round, but also busts across the board.
- If you look at Graph 1, you’ll see eight QBs that were drafted as the QB10 or later, but finished in the top 5. If you look at Graph 2, you’ll notice that 2018 Patrick Mahomes and 2019 Lamar Jackson have a mile over everyone else who meets the criteria.