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Mon Jul 5th 2021

Positional Philosophy: Quarterbacks

During the dead weeks in July before NFL training camps start on July 27th, I thought I would write about my dynasty philosophy for each position. My philosophy has changed slightly over the last few years as the NFL changes, as have many of my dynasty leagues with new rules and roster requirements. Though each of my dynasty leagues is different, here are some of my current overall philosophies around the quarterback position.

All Leagues

The Older, The Better

  • I generally prefer older quarterbacks over younger quarterbacks. As I'll write more about below, I tend not to draft quarterbacks early in start-up drafts or rookie drafts. As a result, I roster a lot of quarterbacks that are in their thirties. Many quarterbacks in the 15-25 range in my dynasty rankings are on my teams, and I have no problem with that fact. They're ranked lower because of their age, but they're consistent and reliable starters, even if I have to stream them week to week.

Passers Over Runners

  • I know it's popular to talk about the Konami Code of running quarterbacks, but I generally prefer passing yards and touchdowns or those on the ground. This strategy certainly makes me the exception in most of my leagues, but it's worked well to target older quarterbacks who win games and score fantasy points with their arms over their legs. The NFL is changing, as more and more teams have rushing quarterbacks, so it's getting more difficult to find pure pocket passers, but I have many of them on my rosters. Of the ten quarterbacks who rushed for over 300 yards last season, I only have three total shares of them on my rosters, Josh Allen, Russell Wilson, and Daniel Jones.

Track Record Of Health

  • One of the reasons I prefer passers over rushers is the injury factor. They are far less likely to get injured. Russell Wilson is among the few running quarterbacks who do not run recklessly. He always finds a way to slide, get out of bound, and avoid the big hits, whereas Lamar Jackson, Kyler Murray, Cam Newton, and Deshaun Watson do not. While some of these guys have played entire seasons without getting injured, they're still a considerable risk to me. If I'm able, I prefer to draft quarterbacks that do not extend plays but get rid of the ball quickly and avoid needless hits.

Scheme and Weapons Dependent

  • While teams change year to year as new players get drafted and players come and go in free agency, I try to add quarterbacks to my teams with great weapons around them and coaches who like to throw the ball. That's why I drafted Dak Prescott in the first round of a Superflex start-up last year. That's why I have Matt Ryan on so many of my teams. That's why I had so many shares of Jameis Winston when he was with Tampa Bay. Players and coaches change pretty regularly, but if I can hit a prime window for four to five years in pass-happy schemes as I have with these quarterbacks, I do pretty well.

Superflex Leagues

Drafting Early and Late

  • I'm currently in two Superflex leagues, and I drafted differently in the start-up drafts in each of them. I waited on a quarterback in one draft and ended up with only two starters, Jared Goff and Kirk Cousins. That strategy worked well for me. I made the playoffs and finished in third place the last two years since the league started. It's a viable strategy. I do not think you have to draft quarterbacks early. Last year, I tried a different strategy in my latest Superflex league, and I prefer my team in that league more, even though I did not make the playoffs in year one since my first-round pick, Dak Prescott, got injured last year. In that draft, I drafted Dak in the first round and Matt Stafford in the fourth round. I think that's how I would prefer to draft in Superflex leagues now that I have employed both strategies. I think it's best to draft a younger top-tier quarterback in the first round and an older second-tier quarterback a few rounds later. I like my teams in both Superflex leagues, even though I tried different strategies in the start-up draft. Give me a healthy Dak this year, and I'll make the playoffs in both leagues.

Quarterback Handcuffs

  • I don't think it's necessary to draft a third starting quarterback in start-up drafts, but I do try to draft two quarterbacks with a history of not missing games due to injuries. I do, though, aim to draft their backups in case they do get injured. Quarterback handcuffs are easy to nab late in drafts or off the waiver wire early in the season. Backups never come close to the same fantasy production, but at least they allow me to start a quarterback in the Superflex spot if mine is injured. Last year, I made sure to draft Andy Dalton and Chase Daniel late to backup Prescott and Stafford, though now they are both backups on other teams unless Chicago does start Dalton over Justin Fields. I also added Sean Mannion to back up Kirk Cousins and John Wolford to back up Stafford this year during the offseason.

Hoarding Backups

  • In addition to drafting my own backups, I like to draft backups on other teams. If a quarterback gets injured, then the backup becomes a very tradeable asset. I try to add backups that are veterans who have started in the NFL, like Andy Dalton, Case Keenum, or backups that are behind older or injury-prone quarterbacks, like Mason Rudolf, whom I have on one roster and was able to trade in the other Superflex league.

One-Quarterback Leagues

Draft Late In Startups

  • In one-quarterback start-up drafts, I draft quarterbacks late, just like I do in re-draft leagues. I prefer to focus on the running back and wide receiver positions early in start-up drafts. As mentioned above, I draft older quarterbacks, and in one-quarterback leagues, there are plenty of older quarterbacks available in the middle ground of the draft. That's when I have drafted guys like Matt Ryan, Matt Stafford, and Tom Brady.

Draft For Value In Rookie Drafts

  • I rarely draft the top two or three prospects or guys drafted in the first round of rookie drafts in one-quarterback leagues. Instead, I draft rookie quarterbacks from the next tier in the second or third round. Like I do in start-up drafts, I target running backs and wide receivers in the first and second rounds because, with rare exception, rookie quarterbacks don't shoot up dynasty rankings ahead of established older guys, whereas rookie running backs and receivers often do. I'll draft a quarterback in a rookie draft, but never in the first round and always the second-tier prospects. As a result of this strategy, I drafted Justin Herbert on several of my teams two years ago and Mac Jones in this year's rookie draft. It's also how I got my one share of Russell Wilson.

Dynasty Streaming

  • I often stream my quarterbacks in one-quarterback leagues since I rarely have a top-twelve dynasty quarterback on my teams unless I traded for them like I did with Josh Allen or hit the jackpot on a late rookie pick like I did with Justin Herbert. I prefer to have three quarterbacks on my roster, and I'll pick a starter among the top two based on the match-ups for the week, which team is the hottest at the time, or which team has the most healthy playmakers.

Quarterbacks On My Rosters

  • Dynasty Diagnostic Champions League (12-team SF): Kirk Cousins, Jared Goff, Andy Dalton, Case Keenum, Sean Mannion, Mason Rudolf
  • All-Flex League (14-team, SF): Dak Prescott, Matt Stafford, Andy Dalton, Cooper Rush, John Wolford, Deshone Kizer, Chase Daniels, A.J. McCarron, Felipe Franks
  • FFPC (12-team, 1-QB): Tom Brady, Matt Ryan
  • Reality Sports Online (12-team, 1-QB): Justin Herbert, Matt Stafford
  • Diehards (12-team, 1-QB): Josh Allen, Mac Jones, Jameis Winston, Andy Dalton
  • Freeks (10-team, 1-QB): Justin Herbert, Matt Ryan, Jameis Winston
  • Good Times (10-team, 1-QB): Justin Herbert, Russell Wilson, Jameis Winston
  • Keeper (10-team, 1-QB but moving to SF in 2023): Tua Tagovailoa, Jameis Winston, Daniel Jones, Teddy Bridgewater, Davis Mills

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