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Fantasy football – Is the top tier at QB worth drafting aggressively?

For a number of years, fantasy managers have embraced the mantra of waiting to draft quarterbacks, recognizing that depth at the position reduces any advantage that having one of the best in the position could offer.

That could change.

Yes, quarterback scoring has reached record levels, with three of the four 400-point fantasy seasons in history occurring in the past four years, while the position (as a whole) had its top three fantasy points in the same four years (2020, 2021 and 2018, with 2019 taking fifth place). Yes, the bar for a “good” fantasy quarterback remains high, as the 11 signal callers who scored 300+ fantasy points made the 2021 total for the most in a single year in history.

Still, 2021 signaled a decline – albeit slight – in overall QB fantasy production. Additionally, the recent surge in mobile quarterbacks across the league has directly impacted roster-building strategy. Both factors have restored some of the appeal of being one of the best in the position. To be clear, I said sOh.

The 17 game plan

Most notably, the fact that the NFL added a game to its schedule last season gave the position a tangible advantage, at least from the season totals perspective cited above. Adjusting 2021 totals to compare seasons over an equal number of games — in other words, counting back to 16 — last year’s overall position (total fantasy points scored) would have been only fourth-best in history , then 2020, 2018 and 2015 and only just past 2019. Additionally, only 14 quarterbacks would have achieved up to 240 fantasy points, fewer than the number that had achieved that benchmark in seven of the previous eight seasons.

However, perhaps this effect is best illustrated by comparing the overall fantasy point of the position per game Average. In 2021, quarterbacks averaged 16.2 fantasy PPG, a sharp drop from 2020’s 17.7.

The extra play did wonders to cover up the waste, giving the impression that the quarterbacks were maintaining a record-breaking performance overall when in reality they were on a collective step backwards. This drop was particularly noticeable below the top flight, as the top four scorers (Josh Allen, Justin Herbert, Tom Brady and Patrick Mahomes) were mostly in line with the average top four scorers from 2019-2021, while the next 16 scorers saw their totals drop in the compared to this three-year period by almost 20 points.

In other words, the NFL is real elite Quarterbacks mostly maintained their record-breaking fantasy production, like Allen, Herbert, Brady, and Mahomes quiet Placed in top-40 historical QB seasons after added game cleaned up (using 17-game totals, the quartet managed 4th, 11th, 14th, and 21st most fantasy points for a single season ). However, the bar for what is now considered a “backup-level” fantasy quarterback took a step back.

A changing of the guard?

A possible reason for this could be the start of a changing of the guard at the QB position. Since preseason 2019 began, the position has seen three retirements from the above 40 historical seasons in terms of fantasy points: Andrew luck (01/29/2014) in the pre-season 2019, Drew Brees (7th, 2011; 25th, 2013; and 33rd, 2012) after the 2020 season and now Ben Rothlisberger (39th, 2018) last January.

Additionally, the position is likely not far from seeing a few more notable retirements, as three of last year’s top 20 quarterbacks, Brady (3rd, age 45), Aaron Rodgers (5th, age 38) and Matt Ryan (19th, age 37). ) take part in this season from the age of 37. That’s not to characterize this season as one in which to expect a significant downturn, but the position could be headed in that direction if the younger talents don’t step up to fill in their footsteps.

It’s also worth noting that quarterbacks don’t typically deliver their most productive seasons late in their careers. Yes, modern quarterbacks to have was terribly good at old age, but history’s stacked odds show that there were only nine quarterbacks who scored over 300 fantasy points and only 23 with over 240 at age 37 or older, with Brady himself for three and eight was in charge these seasons. Brees accounts for two or three more.

The success of the 2021 NFL draft quarterback class will have a significant say in that position over the next two to three seasons, especially given the relatively weaker class announced in April. While Mac Jones has had a stellar rookie campaign, Trevor Lawrence, Zach Wilson, Trey Lance and Justin Fields have all been relative disappointments, and each will be under scrutiny in 2022.

So part of your opinion and the resulting roster-building strategy at quarterback must be tied to your faith in these five sophomores. I’m cautiously optimistic about Lawrence, Wilson, and Lance, but if at least two of this trio fail to make big strides forward, that position could not only spin its statistical wheels in 2022, but strategically ring even louder in this column Speaking of entering 2023 (something that will be especially true when Brady and/or Rodgers retire next off-season).

The growing importance of mobility

Speaking of rookie classes, one particularly interesting development from the five draft classes leading up to 2021 (and actually 2021) was an increased number of scrambling-style mobile quarterbacks. There have only been 17 seasons in history in which a quarterback has had at least 120 forwards, a feat accomplished by nine different quarterbacks. Of those nine, four were chosen between the 2018 and 2020 drafts (Allen, Jalen Hurts, Lamar Jackson, and Kyler Murray). Deshaun Watson, a 2017 first-rounder, joined them as one of seven quarterbacks with an 80-try rushing season in one of the past three years — the 2011 draftee Cam Newton and 2012 draftee Russell Wilson were the others.

This is especially important for our drafting strategies, since mobile quarterbacks can offer us a lot. Sure, since they put themselves at significantly greater risk of taking brutal hits than their brethren who come by in the pocket, they are more prone to injury and missed time. However, when they play, they generally possess higher stats and higher statistical ceilings.

To further illustrate this point, consider that six quarterbacks averaged at least five rushing attempts per game last season while starting at least half of their teams’ games as quarterbacks – Allen, Fields, Hurts, Jackson, Daniel Jones and Murray. Four of this group – Allen, Hurts, Jackson and Murray – averaged more than 20 fantasy points per game. This group also accounted for 21% of the top 10 weekly QB performances and 31% of the top 2 QB performances for the entire season.

That five-carry threshold is important because the numbers confirm that number as your goal from a mobile quarterback. In 2019-21, quarterbacks who carried the football at least five times in a game scored at least 15 fantasy points 70% of the time — a pretty useable but non-league-winning total. Quarterbacks who had fewer than five carries, by comparison, only did so 54% of the time to reach those statistical floors. As for statistical caps, quarterbacks with at least five carries have scored at least 25 fantasy points (much closer to a winning number for matchups) 27% of the time, compared to just 13% of the time for those with fewer than five carries.

None of that is said to be a quarterback got to Achieve a rushing average of five attempts for the season as a whole. Of the 11 quarterbacks who scored more than 300 fantasy points in 2021, at least six did three Rushing attempts per contest, with Herbert (2nd in fantasy points, 3.7 attempts per game), Mahomes (4th, 3.9) and Dak Prescott (7th, 3.0) to Allen (1st, 7.2), Hurts (9th, 9.3) and Murray (10th, 6.3). It’s not surprising, then, that all six quarterbacks, plus Jackson, whose total suffered primarily from sick leave (including COVID-19), are widely considered top 10 position picks for 2022, with most top 5 lists made up of players from this group .

What I do with my designs

I’ve long been a proponent of picking two quarterbacks and mixing and matching them as matchups dictate throughout the season. After all, the goal at this point isn’t to design “name brands”, but simply the best possible one-week stats. In short, you still want 20 points from your quarterback every week regardless of who the individual is or what defense they’re playing.

With that in mind, it’s all the more important to embrace the league-wide trend of mobile QB, and that means designing them more aggressively than you might have done a year, two, even five years ago. Given these quarterbacks’ risk-reward profiles (the former part was almost entirely tied to injury risk), the wisest approach might be to design yourself an Allen/Jackson/Murray and then pair it with a reliable, lower-cost pair in your pocket -Passer guy, like a Matthew Stafford/Derek Carr/Kirk cousins.

In my last mock draft (granted, a 14-team FSGA league), I was the first to dip into the quarterback pool accordingly, picking Allen 34th overall (a third-round pick). This followed the huge disappointment of our internal mock on June 23, where I missed out on Allen (No. 42 overall, Round 4) by a pick and went for Mahomes instead. In both cases the collective perception that one had to Careful waiting for the quarterbacks was evident in the draft room and made both quarterbacks great values.

Remember the last part of my quarterback mantra that I often quote: It’s not about waiting for quarterbacks, it’s about waiting for them your to slip, to be quarterback given to you in a given round.

If Allen slips to the 40th or 45th pick early in 2022, consider it a gift. Accept. Then you can approach the next position names accordingly in the following rounds.

https://www.espn.com/fantasy/football/story/_/id/34257526/fantasy-football-top-tier-qb-worth-drafting-aggressively Fantasy football – Is the top tier at QB worth drafting aggressively?

Emma Bowman

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