Waiting to Draft Your Fantasy Football QB? Here’s Who to Take
Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo
- Thanks to rule changes and the evolution of NFL offenses, quarterbacks are throwing for more yards than ever.
- With passing numbers skyrocketing, fantasy football owners should consider waiting until the final rounds of drafts to take quarterbacks.
- For those willing to wait, we offer two quarterbacks being drafted outside of the top 15 at the position with insatiable early-season schedules.
There are three things I refuse to pay a premium for: fancy brunches, craft beer and fantasy football quarterbacks.
Sure, let’s spend $25 on eggs when I can buy a dozen for $1, or have to stalk packies (liquor stores for us in New England) to spend insane amounts on beer that tastes like old toilet water.
The same goes for fantasy football quarterbacks in typical 10- and 12-team leagues that start only one QB. Of course the $25 restaurant-quality eggs made by a professional chef are preferable to what I can whip up at home, but are they that much better to justify the hefty price increase?
And therein lies the issue with drafting fantasy football quarterbacks early, or even at all.
Thanks to offense-friendly rule changes and the evolution of schemes and play-calling, NFL teams are throwing the ball all over the field these days, allowing quarterbacks to rack up yardage in record numbers.
Last season, 12 signal-callers threw for more than 4,000 yards — that’s double the number from 2008.
In 2003, Peyton Manning and Trent Green (!) were the only quarterbacks to manage the feat.
So what does this mean from a fantasy football perspective? When Patrick Mahomes goes off the board and starts the inevitable quarterback run during your draft, make like William Wallace in “Braveheart.”
That’s right, when the flood is coming and eventually turns to, “I’m going to be starting Andy Dalton” panic, just hold.
Allow the early quarterback run to wash over you and instead spend that time hoarding more volatile positions like RB and WR.
As I mentioned above, I’ve passed on drafting quarterbacks altogether a handful of times in 10-teamers over the past few seasons, diving head-first into streaming.
I’m not necessarily advocating for that here, though.
Being a dedicated streamer, I target QBs with startable matchups in Weeks 1-2, then will decide from there whether to continue with my passer if he’s showing the ability to be an every-week starter, or simply hit the waiver wire and snag one of a handful of capable fantasy performers.
With this in mind, here are two quarterbacks being drafted outside of the top 15 at the position — according to FantasyFootballCalculator.com’s average draft position (ADP) — who should hit the ground running to start the 2019 regular season.
It takes a bit of a leap of faith to draft Jimmy G right now considering his health issues, but that’s the beauty of drafting to stream.
Garoppolo costs just 14th-round capital at the moment, putting him in defense and kicker drafting territory. So if he doesn’t seem ready to perform at the start of the season, just drop him and grab someone else.
But if he is ready, San Francisco’s early-season schedule is delightful. The Niners get Tampa Bay in Week 1, a pass defense that ranked 30th in the NFL last season per Football Outsiders’ Defensive Efficiency Rating (DVOA).
In addition, just four Week 1 games are expected to see more scoring than 49ers-Buccaneers according to the over/under of 49 points.
In Week 2, San Fran gets Cincinnati’s 25th-ranked pass defense from last season, giving Jimmy G and head coach/offensive guru Kyle Shanahan a nice opportunity to get rolling early.
I just can’t quit you, Kirk Cousins. I don’t know why, but I’ve liked Cousins since he was drafted by the Redskins and continue to find myself drawn to him in Minnesota.
Still, the numbers show that the hate may have gone too far with Captain Kirk.
While Cousins didn’t light the fantasy football world on fire last season, he still finished 12th at the position in Weeks 1-16 per FantasyPros.com, which makes his current ADP of 145.3 and 20th at the QB position seem like an overreaction.
The Vikings return a loaded offensive unit that includes pass-catchers Adam Thielen, Stefon Diggs and Kyle Rudolph, while running back Dalvin Cook is fully healthy after catching 40 passes out of the backfield in just 11 games last season.
Not only does Cousins have the weapons to make a big jump this season, but Minnesota’s 2019 schedule is about as good as it gets from a fantasy-matchup perspective.
Week 1: vs. Atlanta Falcons (29th in DVOA’s pass defense last season)
Week 2: at Green Bay Packers (28th)
Week 3: vs. Oakland Raiders (32nd)
Those are three soft defenses, including two home games, before a date with Chicago’s top-ranked pass defense from last season in Week 4.
And in the potential scenario that Cousins and the Vikings offense gels and he turns into the fantasy beast I know he can be, Minnesota gets its visit to Lambeau out of the way early (when the weather is good) and has just four total games this season against pass defenses that ranked in DVOA’s top 10 last year:
Week 4: at Chicago Bears (first)
Week 11: vs. Denver Broncos (fourth)
Week 15 at Los Angeles Chargers (10th)
Week 17 at Chicago Bears (first)
Many standard fantasy football leagues end after Week 16 as well, so there’s a chance that a large percentage of owners don’t even have to worry about that Week 17 date with Chicago’s defense, either.
Let’s not forget that the Vikes will also enjoy two dates against the Detroit Lions and their 31st-ranked pass defense from last season as well.