Lamar Jackson's smash-hit 2019 season should remind you of two key principles when it comes to drafting signal-callers: rushing stats mean a lot, and hitting on a late-round quarterback is the ultimate cheat code.
The rushing stuff is obvious. The more stats a guy can create, the more Fantasy points he's worth. Seven quarterbacks had at least 3,000 passing yards, 20 passing scores, 200 rushing yards and three rushing touchdowns in 2019 — six finished as top 10 Fantasy options and four landed in the top five.
It's taking a quarterback (or quarterbacks) past the mid-point of drafts that seems to get lost among casual Fantasy fans. Since 2015, we've been treated to a parade of quarterbacks who outperformed their late-round ADP. Jackson, Patrick Mahomes, Carson Wentz and Dak Prescott are just a few of the guys who've been amazing bargains, but the truth is that there's at least three per season who have dazzled by any Fantasy metric.
Your perfect plan to draft a quarterback isn't about getting your hands on Jackson or Mahomes — it's about getting the next Jackson or Mahomes with a pick past 75th overall. And if getting that guy means making the Fantasy playoffs, then you should do it no matter who else you draft.
Of course, getting Jackson or Mahomes wouldn't be so horrible. Can you name another player at any position who could reliably average north of 30 Fantasy points per week like these guys can? There's no questioning the talent — it's drafting them when you could instead get an elite-level running back or wide receiver that should make you squirm. More than one person in every league will see those two as must-haves and grab them before 15th overall. You're gonna have to let them — not until early Round 3 are they impossible for anyone to pass up.
The good news is that they're not the only quarterbacks with that kind of incredible potential. Literally every quarterback in the two tiers behind them have nearly the same opportunity to produce at a consistent and explosive level. So why reach for a quarterback in Round 1 or 2 when there will be someone with big upside available as late as Round 7 or 8?
And even if you miss on them, there are always the late-round prospects. Tier 5 is ripe with quarterbacks who not only have good wide receivers at their disposal but most are also strong candidates for modest rushing totals. Their upside is better than what's expected of declining players like Jared Goff, Baker Mayfield and Philip Rivers. I love the idea of waiting to draft two of these guys, doubling the chances of having a 2020 breakout lead you to Titletown.
Similar strategies can be deployed in Superflex/2QB leagues, though there's certainly more pressure to get at least one top-flight quarterback. The best plan would be to take one top-10 quarterback with a pick between Rounds 1 and 4 (Jackson and Mahomes will be top-five picks; you never look dumb taking a quarterback early in these formats) and then two of the high-upside passers between Rounds 6 and 7. That's safer than waiting on the position and taking three from Tier 5, and more cost effective than spending two of your first three or four picks on primo passers and skipping on the great players at other positions.
MAHOMES & LAMAR
AFTER 30th OVERALL
ROUNDS 5 -6
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LOW-RISK, HIGH REWARD
ROUNDS 9, 10
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