When Should I Draft a Quarterback

Tuesday, Aug 18, 2015 at 12:00 pm ET

It seems like each year we preach the mantra "Wait on a quarterback" and sometimes people listen...sometimes they don't. There are two schools of thought on this. If your league is a 2-QB league or your scoring system rewards passing more than the standard 4 points/touchdown and 1 point for every 25 yards, then a QB becomes more valuable. If your league doesn't treat passing stats with preferential treatment, read my lips: "Wait on a quarterback".

When should I draft a quarterback

The Tier 1 Quarterbacks

When you look at our fantasy football quarterback tiers, there are only two guys listed in Tier 1. Aaron Rodgers and Andrew Luck are the studs at this position. In a 12-team league, grade-school math tells us that only two owners in your league will get these guys which means that 10 people won't. Don't be surprised if you're among those 10.

Luck comes into the FFN rankings as the 20th-ranked player yet his ADP is 15 meaning that he's typically going at the start of the 2nd round. Rodgers is ranked 24th and his ADP is closer at 20th but he's also going in the mid-2nd-round. Neither guy is going to make it out of the 2nd-round in most drafts. These guys are dynamic, top-tier talent and they are going to consistently put up solid numbers for you every week. If they are available in the 2nd or 3rd round and you really feel like you need an elite QB, go ahead and take them, but if you're patient, you can grab some great QB value later in the draft while stocking up on skill positions.

When you're drafting and both of the studs are gone, rest easy. Our advice is to sit back and wait until later rounds before you start looking at drafting a QB.

The Tier 2 Quarterbacks

The FFN rankings have Russell Wilson, Peyton Manning, Drew Brees, Matt Ryan, and Ben Roethlisberger waiting. An argument could be made that Cam Newton belongs here although FFN has him as the top Tier 3 QB right now. In any event, looking at the ADP for each of these guys means that they are generally going between the 4th and 7th rounds. Wilson is going earlier than the rest in this tier and seems a bit overpriced considering the rest of the tier is still available two or three rounds later. In fact, we recommend letting someone else reach for Wilson, and instead target a Tier 2 quarterback in Round 6 or 7. If you can land Manning, Brees, Ryan, or Big Ben, consider that a win. In fact, a guy like Roethlisberger should be the kind of guy you're targeting from this group.

The Tier 3 Quarterbacks

Cam Newton, Ryan Tannehill, Tony Romo, Matthew Stafford, Eli Manning, Tom Brady, and Philip Rivers are the guys who will be available from this tier. The best value out of this group based upon ADP versus ranking is easily Tannehill. He's generally available in the 9th round and is projected to score just 0.1 fewer points per week than Tony Romo and just 0.3 points less than Matt Ryan. If you didn't get a Tier 2 QB a few rounds earlier, all of these guys should be on your radar. If fantasy football were a bar, consider this your last call. Each guy has the potential to be a Top 10 fantasy QB and Rounds 7 through 10 is where you need to start putting them in your draft queue. Brady makes for a great value play at this point because of his suspension (this could change depending on the outcome of the legal proceedings). Don't be afraid of drafting Eli at this point either. He'll have Odell Beckham Jr., Victor Cruz, and PPR running back Shane Vereen at his disposal. There is lots of potential for guys in this tier. If you remember nothing else from this article, please remember this: You can still win your league with a Tier 3 QB.

The Best of the Rest

If there's a run on QB's and you're stocked to the gills across the rest of the skilled positions because you waited, start targeting guys like Colin Kaepernick or Sam Bradford. Kaep has great value here as his ADP is 144 but his FFN ranking is 113. There are plenty of other options beyond the Tier 3 guys but you'll likely have to play the match-ups more often.

The QB position is pretty deep again this year with only a handful of points or even a fraction of points separating one player from another. If someone wants to reach on a quarterback, let them. As Napoleon Bonaparte once said, "Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake." It's OK to pass on an elite guy as long as you're getting elite value in another position. The QB position is one where you can afford to wait.

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