2016 Fantasy Football – Quarterback Drafting and ADP

By Chet Gresham – @ChetGresham
Follow @walterfootball for updates.

In leagues with just one quarterback starting, which encompasses the majority of leagues, you can safely wait on a quarterback until later in drafts. Of course, when someone you feel strongly drops into the fifth or sixth round, I can understand grabbing him, but I still feel better strengthening my team’s wide receivers or running backs at that point due to needing to start 2-4 of each. It’s much tougher to hit on the right group of receivers and backs than it is to grab two mid to late round quarterbacks and get a solid starter between the two. And trading for quarterbacks is easier as well. Most people take a couple quarterbacks, and if both are playing well, they’ll want to trade one for a more pressing position. Always think of how many solid starters there are in the league versus how many fantasy players you need at each position.

Since I do wait on quarterbacks, the players I’ve been drafting so far have been Eli Manning, Philip Rivers and Tony Romo. Of that group, I usually wait until one of those three is taken and then check on what quarterbacks are left and how far until my turn.

For the most part, quarterbacks’ ADPs so far are about where I’m ranking players. Of course, there are differences, but the groupings are fairly close to what I’m prognosticating.

Right now, I have Eli Manning ranked as the eighth-best fantasy quarterback, while his ADP is as the 11th quarterback, and overall, he’s the 100th player off the board, which has him going in the ninth round. That’s enough value for me to feel good about getting him at his ADP. You can see my thoughts on him here.

I have Philip Rivers ranked as the 10th-best fantasy quarterback and his ADP is as the 12th-best quarterback and 108th overall, which is moving into Round 10, another spot I feel good about for Rivers. The addition of Travis Benjamin and the health of Keenan Allen give me great hope for a solid 2016.

Tony Romo is currently going off the board as the 10th-best fantasy quarterback, while I have him ranked as the 11th. He’s also being selected 88th overall on average. That isn’t a place I want Romo. I’ve seen him drop much further, so he remains on my radar, but if ADP holds true, I’d pass on him.

But what if you miss on those three or they just go much earlier than you’d like? Well, thankfully there are other quarterbacks in the league. My next value tier after those players is Matthew Stafford, Tyrod Taylor, Matt Ryan and Ryan Tannehill, based on ADP. These four are all being taken later than I’d like and have good upside, especially as a No. 2 quarterback, but if you have to grab one of this tier late as a starter, then you should quickly grab another, which will make for a good streaming team.

Stafford is that player you see do well in the previous season’s second half and you hope he can keep that play going. Jim Bob Cooter seems to fit Stafford’s strengths, and I see a much more consistent season coming from Stafford this year, and his ADP is currently as the 20th quarterback and the 171st player off the board.

Tyrod Taylor’s biggest hang up has been injuries, but as the 17th quarterback and 150th player off the board, his rushing ability alone should give him plenty of value that late.

Matt Ryan is not my favorite quarterback, but I’m amazed that he’s being drafted as the 21st quarterback. Yes, he was not good last season, but he still finished with the fifth-most passing yards and attempts. That alone should make him a Top-15 pick because this offense isn’t going to change that much, but the odds of Ryan throwing 614 passes and getting only 21 touchdowns again are slim. In his five previous seasons he had 28, 29, 32, 26 and 28 touchdowns. He also gets Mohammed Sanu to take over for the aging Roddy White and Justin Hardy will be in his second year, looking to take a step forward. Add in a pass-catching Devonta Freeman and possibly Austin Cooper, and you have some reasons to be optimistic other than the clear regression to the mean, which should happen.

Ryan Tannehill should be dead to me after liking him last season, but he isn’t yet due to his late ADP, good receiving group and new head coach Adam Gase. Tannehill is currently the 22nd quarterback and 179th overall player off the board in ADP. His upside is still good, especially when he starts running. Gase has been great at getting the most out of his quarterbacks and I don’t see Tannehill being any different, especially with Jarvis Landry and DeVante Parker as their top two receivers.

There are, of course, plenty of quarterbacks who could drop past their ADP as quarterback is the most volatile position, and I often see huge swings in where one is taken from draft to draft. In “industry” leagues, which are usually composed of fantasy sports writers, quarterbacks are taken late, which makes it feel easier to pick your spot, but in your average work league, the top quarterbacks go off the board quickly, which might leave you worried and anxious to grab someone who has working legs and arms. Don’t worry. Fantasy players on the whole like to fill out their starting lineups and backup receivers and running backs before ever thinking about a backup quarterback. So what if someone drafted Cam Newton early and has the spot locked up? Don’t think the quarterback run is going to overtake you and eat your face off, because there are only 11 starting quarterbacks in most fantasy leagues, which means even if you wait, you’ll usually get that 12th quarterback, who you probably liked better than some of the guys taken ahead of him. Yes, you may end up with a couple quarterbacks you don’t have a ton of faith in, but you get a much more valuable pick for a scarcer position than most of your competitors and Cam Newton was drafted as the 15th QB and Carson Palmer was drafted as the 17th QB last season, both past the 10th round, whereas Andrew Luck was the consensus-No. 1 quarterback. Drafting two quarterbacks with decent upside is a more economic and scarcity-based plan, that helps put your team on a consistent path.

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