In the simplest terms, the rationale behind drafting any player is hoping he out-produces everyone else available at that time. This is true whether you’re choosing the first overall pick or the fourth pick in Round 9 or the last pick in the draft. Why else would you take a player?
The only reasonable answer to that question: Because you need to fill specific positions in your weekly lineup. But even when you’re choosing based on roster needs, the same rationale applies: When you pick a player, you’re hoping he out-produces everyone else available from that position at that time.
But that’s something you already could have figured out. What you might not have thought through is how you feel about each position. How much will you stress running backs? Is this the year you’re going to target receivers early? Or are you going to zag while the rest of your league zigs and lock down a tight end and a quarterback before anyone else? And can you rationalize to yourself the answers to these questions?
Look, Fantasy is supposed to be fun. This should be a fun thought exercise and not something that keeps you up at night. Besides, you need your beauty sleep. Read along and think about these strategies and how they align with what you think is best on Draft Day.
And don’t forget to know exactly what the rules of your league are and how many players you can start. The strategies you’ll map out in a 10-team league with one flex are a lot different than a 12-team Superflex with three receivers or a 14-team tiered-PPR with team RBs and four flex dyno-multipliers.
I just made that last one up, but it sounds fun!
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Savvy Fantasy drafters know that when it comes to quarterbacks, it’s not about waiting until the double-digit rounds or reaching for one of the first guys off the board. It’s about maximizing value by drafting an excellent Fantasy quarterback at an excellent, practically impossible-to-believe spot.
That’s what people did last year when they woke up in Round 6 and took Tom Brady or Justin Herbert. Both loaded with potential (one with much more of a track record than the other), these quarterbacks went a full round behind Lamar Jackson and Aaron Rodgers, and a full three rounds after Josh Allen. While Allen was the best Fantasy quarterback in 2021, he was less than a full point per game better than Brady and Herbert. You tell me who had the better value.
It almost has to be a no-brainer decision. As in, you can’t believe Russell Wilson was available in Round 9, which happened in the drafts in this very magazine. Selecting players for value is a crucial key to drafting anyone at any position, but it’s easiest to do with quarterbacks because they’re plentiful and undervalued based on demand compared to rushers and pass-catchers.
So when is it too early to take a signal-caller? You’d give up value if you took a Tier 1 quarterback before Round 4. This specifically speaks to Herbert, who had the quietest 5,000-yard season ever. He’s fallen as far as Round 6 in some of our drafts – just ludicrous value for a guy who could lead all of Fantasy in points per game. I’d rather wait on him than take Allen. The same can be said of Wilson from Tier 2, who could fall past pick No. 90 overall. Expect all the quarterbacks through Tier 3 to get taken by the end of Round 11 in one-QB leagues. That means that even if you never get comfortable with a draft value for a quarterback in your first eight picks, you should still find someone with good value.
DAVE’S FAVORITE STRATEGY IF YOU START ONE QB: Wait until there’s a screaming value at quarterback and go for it, even if it’s in the middle rounds. Don’t hesitate to take a second quarterback if it’s an appropriately-ranked second- or third-year player and you have seven or more bench spots.
DAVE’S FAVORITE STRATEGY IF YOU START TWO QBs: The position depth goes away quickly in Superflex and two-QB formats and everything you just read basically flies out the window. I don’t like to mess around in these formats and will spend two of my first three selections on quarterbacks just so I have two quality starters (and hopefully upside-loaded studs).
Quarterback tiers (updated 7/29)
Target round 4-5