Picture this: You're in your draft, you have two running backs and two wide receivers, you don't like any of the tight ends available, and you think this is the perfect time to take a quarterback. Patrick Mahomes is off the board, but Josh Allen, Kyler Murray, Lamar Jackson, and Dak Prescott are all still there as you sit four picks away.
Then, suddenly, two quarterbacks go and you're on the clock. You've got two of the next six picks, and one of the two teams between you already took Mahomes. So, do you take a QB now, or wait until the next pick comes around?
Well, with three QBs gone and two remaining in the top tier of Dave Richard's rankings, your best bet is to pass on a QB with this pick and take one coming back around. The worst-case scenario is, the team that didn't take Mahomes takes either of the remaining two QBs, leaving you with the leftovers. You have your top non-QB player and one of the top-tier QBs left.
This is the value of drafting with tiers. Ordinal rankings are great, but it can be hard to tell how much better No. 7 is than No. 8, say, or whether the gap between No. 4 and 6 is the same as between 11 and 13. That's where tiers come in. If you see there are plenty of players left in one tier at a position, that's usually a sign that it's OK to wait. You might prefer, say, Jackson to Prescott, but unless you think the gap is huge, waiting to take the last player in a tier can be a great strategy.
We talked about quarterback tiers on Monday's episode of Fantasy Football Today, with Dave introducing his tiers and Heath Cummings and Adam Aizer helping him break them down. You can listen to that episode here, while checking out Dave's tiered rankings and his written QB strategies below. And, if you're looking for the long-term answers, Heath Cummings has his pre-training camp update to his Dynasty QB tiers, where he identifies Trey Lance, Carson Wentz, and Jameis Winston as three who could make a leap up the rankings with a good camp and preseason. Check out his analysis and his tiers here.
And now, here's Dave with his updated tiers and strategies for the QB position:
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Dave Richard's updated QB tiers
Many drafters will wait and wait to take a quarterback because there will always be somebody with modest weekly potential in the late rounds. That is definitely true.
But why go for "modest weekly potential" when you should shoot for "soul-crushing, league-winning potential?"
It's the quarterbacks in the first two tiers who have the most upside, of course. While you might like to get them at a heavy discount, the reality is that many Fantasy managers like to take quarterbacks in Rounds 1-3. You're just going to have to let them do it. But if you can snare one of those first nine quarterbacks in the rankings at anything from a fair value to a total rip off, you're doing fine.
And if you miss out on them, no big deal. You know you can fall back on finding an arm with "modest winning potential" later on.
But there's also the sinister idea of drafting two quarterbacks — one to be your for-sure starter, and one to roll the dice on as a mega-value MVP.
And those letters, "MVP," are appropriate. Mahomes was a late pick in 2018, Jackson was a late pick in 2019, and Aaron Rodgers was a late-ish pick in 2020. All three went on to win the league MVP (and Fantasy MVP) thanks to their unreal numbers.
Your goal, whether you take a quarterback before Round 7 or not, is to draft the late-round MVP. And even if you don't end up with the actual MVP, you can still land someone who produces large like Justin Herbert did last year, or Carson Wentz or Alex Smith did in 2016. You get the idea.
The third and fourth tiers are full of names who can be your rags-to-riches quarterback. Yes, some of them might not run for even 100 yards this season, but the pocket passers have displayed accuracy, efficiency and grand passing volume in the past, and the mobile passers have, well, the legs to rack up gobs of Fantasy numbers, not to mention the progressive offenses that will utilize their legs (plus their arms aren't so bad, either). Two of them are rookies who offer unbelievable upside. Getting one of these guys on the bench to start the year, just to see what happens, is worth the price of a pick after Round 9. This is easily the best gamble you can make for yourself on Draft Day.
DAVE'S FAVORITE STRATEGY: Hope to get a little value drafting a top-tier quarterback. Whether you land one or settle for a field general in the middle/later rounds, don't pass up the chance to land a late-round quarterback who you believe could massively outperform his draft value.
AFTER 30th OVERALL IF YOU CAN
So which sleepers, breakouts and busts should you target and fade? And which QB shocks the NFL with a top-five performance? Visit SportsLine now to get Fantasy cheat sheets for every single position, all from the model that called Josh Allen's huge season, and find out.