This is going to be a very unique drafting year. Gone are the days of 16 of the first 24 players drafted being RBs. I anticipate there being some vastly different draft approaches going into this year’s draft, and today’s article will focus on QB draft strategies. From my perspective there are two options this year when drafting your QB, and I wanted to spend some time analyzing the pros and cons of each approach and how your draft spot may dictate which approach you want to take.
Strategy One (Stud) – Draft a stud early. It’s extremely early, but based on the mock drafts I have seen so far, Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Cam Newton and Matthew Stafford are going to be gone by the second or third round at the latest, with Michael Vick following very closely behind. A clear early trend is drafters in the back half of round one are opting to take a proven stud QB over the second wave of RBs and before the WR run occurs. The logic behind this approach is after Calvin Johnson there are 10-12 WRs that are tossups and any RB you take at the back of Round 1 has some question marks. Most of these teams will leave Round 2 with a stud QB and a stud WR or RB with upside and question marks. The downside to this approach for me is the depth and quality at the QB position this year. It comes down to the quality versus value discussion. Stay tuned for more information on this in a bit.
Strategy Two (Value) – Let the first and possibly second QB run pass you by and stock up on RBs and WRs. If you are in the first half of Round 1, you are much more tied to this. I think you are making a serious mistake if you have a top 3 pick and you don’t walk away with Arian Foster, Ray Rice or LeSean McCoy. However, those later in Round 1 may make the decision to draft Calvin Johnson, Ryan Matthews, Chris Johnson or other RBs and pass on Brady, Brees and the rest of the first wave. These same owners will then follow up in Round 2 and take the best available non-QB. They will walk away with multiple studs, but no elite QB. They will then take a QB in the Tony Romo, Eli Manning, Phillip Rivers, Ben Roethlisberger, Peyton Manning and Matt Ryan tier in the Round 5 or 6 area.
So where does that leave each squad? Let’s bring in some real life player examples. Below is a “realistic” look at how a team would look drafting out of the 10 spot using both strategies, including PPR total point projections from a prominent site.
Round 1 | 1.10 | Tom Brady (426)
Round 2 | 2.03 | Jamaal Charles (202)
Round 6 | 6.03 | Isaac Redman (157)
Round 1 | 1.10 | Ryan Matthews (282)
Round 2 | 2.03 | Matt Forte (257)
Round 6 | 6.03 | Tony Romo (337)
I’m going to completely admit these projections are not where I would put them, but the story stays the same. Overall in these two scenarios, the value strategy provides a significant increase in total points scored. Yes team Stud walks away with a clear upgrade at QB, but team Value makes up for that by having more balanced scoring.
However, let’s take a step back. Can taking a stud QB early work for you as well? In full disclosure, I took actual draft picks from the Cafe Response Team Mock going on right now for my above example. Changing the players drafted on the stud team to say Brady, Larry Fitzgerald and Doug Martin, the total points between the two teams is within 12 of each other.
So what am I saying? Basically, do what you want; they can both work! For me personally, I think the value you can get out of waiting on a QB this year is too great for me to take a QB in Rounds 1 or 2. I will go into most drafts knowing I will not have an elite QB, and there will be major pundits talking about fantasy changing and you need an elite QB to win. I disagree; you need more points than your opponent to win. I also feel when you take a QB very early, you are much more tied to that one player. Your backup will generally come very late because you have a stud, and why would you waste a premium pick on a backup QB? I also think the Round 5 or 6 decision is much more challenging at RB or WR. The guy taking Tony Romo has a couple options that are all equal, while the Redman drafter has to gamble.
At the end of the day, I truly think this comes down to personal preference. As illustrated above, both strategies can succeed, or fail for that matter. We will touch on other positions in future articles down the road.
Just an average guy that enjoys talking fantasy. Follow me here in the forum under username murphysxm.
Want to write for the Cafe? Check out the Cafe's Pencil & Paper section!