Fantasy Football Today: Is waiting on QB still the best way to win your Fantasy Football championship?

For years we’ve been telling you to wait to enlist your quarterbacks, and for years you haven’t listened. Each year, so-called “expert” drafts see high-end starting quarterbacks drop in the middle rounds while the vast majority of drafts otherwise have quarterbacks regularly dropping off the board in the second round.

And I’m starting to think we were wrong and that you were all right.

The 2022 edition of the CBS Sports Fantasy Football Draft Guide magazine will be on newsstands in the coming weeks and in that magazine you will see what you usually see in our fictional drafts – quarterbacks last much longer than most drafts. The only exception? I took Josh Allen to the according to round. Three full rounds before the next QB taken.

And you will see a lot of it from me in this season draft. OK, maybe if I know I’m writing with Jamey Eisenberg, Dave Richard, Heath Cummings and the rest of the Fantasy football today QB Haters Club, I might try to wait for, say, round three to get a QB. But I’ll probably be one of the first people to QB in most of my drafts this season, that’s the point.

Why did I change my mind? I wrote about it for the magazine and have the research to back it up in today’s FFT newsletter. I wanted to post this piece before I looked at my 24 best players for the 2022 season in the next few days, because I wanted to make sure you all understand why I will have Allen (and maybe Patrick Mahomes, I haven’t nailed him yet) in the first two rounds of my leaderboard. .

So you can look up the breakdown of the top 24 soon, along with a recap of the more interesting things I’ve seen from the minicamp reports over the past few weeks. We’ll also be doing an off-season mail collector soon, so be sure to send your questions to Chris.Towers@ViacomCBS.com with the subject “#AskFFT” to be included.

Now, here’s why I changed my quarterback tune in the early stages:

The case of the QB in the first round

For a long time, Fantasy analysts have argued that although quarterbacks score the most points in any position, prioritizing them in drafts was not the optimal strategy because you could always find valid starters in later rounds or on waivers. And the data confirmed it: From 2016 to 2019, more than half of all the first 12 weeks in six points per touchdown pass came from quarterbacks who had been drafted outside of the top 12 in ADP that season. ADP’s top 12 quarterbacks also accounted for just 46.6% of all top six finishes.

Being one of the first people in your league to get a quarterback has given you an edge in the past, but it wasn’t enough to justify the price. Not when you had more quarterbacks in the later rounds that could deliver great performances. In 2019, Lamar Jackson (QB15 in ADP), Dak Prescott (QB18) and Matthew Stafford (QB24) all achieved at least five top six finishes; 2018 saw Patrick Mahomes (QB15) and Jared Goff (QB16) do it; 2017 saw Carson Wentz (QB18) and Josh McCown (QB30), while Alex Smith (QB23) added 10 places in the top 12.

Things have changed quite dramatically over the past two seasons. Between 2020 and 2021, 51.4% of all top 12 finishes came from those top 12 quarterbacks chosen each season. But it’s even more dramatic at the high end, where 67% of all top six weekly finishes came from a top-12 QB in ADP. Kirk Cousins ​​(QB17) was the only QB selected outside the top 13 to have more than three top six or seven top 12 finishes, and only two others also had six top 12 finishes. .

Think about it this way: who were you comfortable with streaming last season if you found yourself stuck in that position? Derek Carr had his moments of him (seven top 12 finishes), as did Carson Wentz at the start (six), though he ended up pretty epic by the end. But guys like Tua Tagovailoa, Justin Fields, Trey Lance, Trevor Lawrence, Daniel Jones, Taysom Hill, and Jameis Winston never emerged as reliable weekly options as we hoped.

Of course, it’s not just that the streaming options didn’t live up to last season’s expectations. It’s also that the bar for streaming viability continues to rise. In 2021, the QB n. 12 points per game had an average of 21.6, a score of less than 20 in each of 2016, 2017 and 2019; in 2018, the QB n. 12 had an average of 20.6, a relative boom year.

None of this means that it is impossible to win without a quarterback at the start of the round. It does mean you have to be intentional about the location, though. Once you could just ignore the position late and still end up without much deficit, but it’s getting harder and harder to do so: 17-18 points per game from your QB point won’t cut it when half the league is getting 25-plus.

So, you have a few options that you can go to Draft Day with. You can block the high-end QB game with either Josh Allen or Patrick Mahomes, both of which are worth drafting as early as Round 2 in all formats, with Allen likely going some choice in front of Mahomes. Mahomes is as good as anyone in the league at his best, but he wasn’t at his best often enough last season amid a mid-season swoon, and now he faces life without Tyreek Hill for the first time. That’s enough to knock it down half a level for me.

You can wait a few more rounds for one of the Justin Herbert / Joe Burrow / Lamar Jackson / Kyler Murray levels, or wait a few more rounds for the likes of Dak Prescott, Matthew Stafford, Russell Wilson, Jalen Hurts or Aaron Rodgers. If you go that route, you’re probably getting QB in the first six rounds, and that should probably be the only quarterback you get in the draft. My favorites based on where they’re likely to go, for what it’s worth, are JacksonMurray or Wilson, or Stafford if he falls a little further than the others.

Or you can wait. The thing is, that list already takes us through the first 11 in current ADP. Based on the past few years, at least, we’re already starting to run out of options. Tom Brady remains a top-tier player, but he may be without three of his top four receivers from last season to start the year, which is worrying. Kirk Cousins ​​and Derek Carr have the top 12, but probably not the top six, on the upside. Deshaun Watson has the top six advantages but may not be able to play most or all of the season pending the results of the investigation into the allegations against him. If you take someone from that group, you will probably want to pair them with another high-rise option just in case.

Or you can say “to hell with trends” and move all-in on the quarterbacks at the end of the round. Trends aren’t fate, after all, and there are still plenty of quarterbacks with an edge that could ruin the party like Jackson, Allen, Mahomes, and Murray have done in recent seasons.

If you’re going to be looking for end-of-round quarterbacks, you want guys who have a fast upside or significant passing volume potential. Or, ideally, a mix of both.

Here are my five favorites to look for:

Trey Lance

We saw Lance start two games last season and he had 120 yards on 21 carries in those two games, so that’s pretty much all you need to know. The 49ers are committed to him as a long-term starter and he is surrounded by one of the best attacking midfield groups in the league, with Deebo Samuel and George Kittle standing out above all as two of the best after-the-catch catchers in football. I have doubts that Lance will be able to get the most out of pass receivers here, but if you’re looking for someone with the potential to be the next Allen, that’s your best bet.

Giustino Campi

In terms of physical gifts, Fields is right up there with anyone in the position. The question is whether his rookie fights are due to some inherent limitations in his game or the fault of the situation he found himself in. I’m willing to bet that the coaching staff instead of him will now be more willing to use him as a runner after the previous staff used him so rarely in reading option concepts. Trouble is, Fields’ body of directors is one of the worst in the league, so he’ll have to do most of the heavy lifting on his own. This brings us back to questions about his inherent limitations. I might be willing to enlist Lance on my own, but Fields requires a Carr or Cousins ​​to pair him with – an upstairs option, in other words, because he might be in the basement.

Your Tagovailoa

I was expecting Tagovailoa to make a quantum leap last season thanks to an improved supporting cast, so there is a risk of making the same mistake again. However, Tyreek Hill is one of the best playmakers in the league and teams up with Jaylen Waddle to give Tagovailoa the fastest receiving pair in the game. Tagovailoa leaned more on RPO concepts than any other passerby a year ago, so he needs to step up to become a more complete passerby. But if he does, this could be a difficult crime to stop.

Trevor Lawrence

Lawrence has had the kind of rookie season that makes you seriously reconsider a prospect’s chances of making an impact. He led the league in interceptions and averaged just 6.0 yards per attempt, finishing last or near last in nearly every relevant statistical category, including just three top 12 finishes in Fantasy. However, he was also stuck with a manager who was clearly overwhelmed at the NFL level and a rather meager collection of pass collectors. The Jaguars have invested heavily in upgrading the latter, bringing Christian Kirk, Zay Jones and Evan Engram to free agency, and new coach Doug Pederson has helped turn Carson Wentz’s career forward after an equally lackluster rookie season. .

Daniele Jones

Jones remained stationary as a passerby but continues to show himself positive as a runner, so we will follow the Giants lead and give him one last chance. This is as much a bet on new manager Brian Daboll as anything else, although it’s also worth noting that the Giants actually have a pretty intriguing group of attacking midfielders if they can stay healthy. This was a problem for each of Saquon Barkley, Kenny Golladay and Kadarius Toney last season, but there is some advantage here if that trio is on the pitch and Daboll lives up to the hype.

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