Tips for Drafting Top Quarterbacks

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Tips for Drafting Top Quarterbacks
Quarterback passing football stock illustration

Fantasy football quarterbacks are one of the most exciting fantasy positions for many reasons. The quarterback position probably brings the greatest variety of draft strategies around it compared to any other position. 

Additionally, the QB position may be the least dynamic. There is a limit on how many points a quarterback can realistically accumulate in one week compared to running back, wide receiver, or even tight end.  

Not to mention, there are entirely new leagues popping up as two-quarterback leagues that have become increasingly more popular. 2QB and Superflex leagues bring a whole other strategy and aspect to the position.  

All of this makes it one of the most complicated positions to draft and breakdown. Let’s get into all of this and more in this one.

To get started, let’s take a look at why the QB position is the least dynamic. QB may be the least dynamic of the core fantasy positions but is still very important.  

Standard QB Scoring

In standard leagues, the quarterback gets:

  • 1 point per 25 passing yards.
  • 4 points per passing touchdown.
  • 1 point per 10 rush yards.
  • 6 for a rushing touchdown.  

Mahomes vs Hurts Example

What makes this hardly dynamic is that an average fantasy quarterback, like Jalen Hurts. Hurts can go out and have an average game while one of the top quarterbacks in Patrick Mahomes can have a good game but not outscore Hurts by much.  

To break this down, say Hurts got 225 pass yards, 2 touchdowns, 30 rush yards and 1 interception. A very average game. Then say Mahomes threw 300 pass yards, 3 touchdowns, and no interceptions with no rush yards (Mahomes ran for less than 10 yards 5 times last year).  

It looks like Mahomes would outscore Hurts by a lot. However, in reality, Mahomes only outscored Hurts by 5 points, 19 to 24. In comparison, an average WR game could be 4 catches, and 60 yards vs a good game would be 9 catches for 100 yards and a touchdown. 

That’s a 13 point spread, 10 to 25. This example shows that the difference between QB points is not as great as other positions and should be drafted accordingly.

The QB Draft Strategy

The introduction to the quarterback position continues with our first draft strategy: wait on drafting a quarterback.  

Now, Mahomes may outscore Hurts every week by an average of 5 points. However, is that worth taking a quarterback in the 2nd or 3rd round vs Hurts current draft ADP of 90th to 115th?  

The discrepancy of a 2nd or 3rd round receiver compared to one drafted 90th to 115th has a greater point spread between the two.  

To keep hammering home the early round QB vs a 9th or 10th round QB let’s look at an example. Say in that average Jalen Hurts game he got 60 rush yards (something he did 3 times in the 3 full games he played last season). Now, it is only a 2 point difference.  

Mahomes did have the top quarterback performance of 2020, however, getting 40 fantasy points. 

That’s good, but Hurts is one of just his full starts got 37 fantasy points, just 3 off from the top of 2020. The sample size is small, but Hurts isn’t the only quarterback to put up big numbers.  

Most of the quarterbacks who put up huge numbers can do damage with their legs as well. Mahomes and Dak Prescott are the top tier guys who do it mostly with their arms but still do a little damage on the ground.

QB’s with Rushing Ability

Besides Hurts, being drafted as the 11th quarterback on average. QB’s like Josh Allen, Lamar Jackson, Kyler Murray, and rookie Justin Fields have the ability to win a fantasy matchup with their legs. 

Rushing ability is what you want in your fantasy quarterback. Allen got it done last year in the air and on the ground. Due to this should be considered as the top quarterback drafted.  

This is why Hurts is behind Mahomes in most drafts, as in some games he disappears. Not something you want when using your 2nd pick on a QB.

QB Passing Yards

Allen had 3 games under 200 yards passing yards but still managed to throw 284 yards per game on average, with half of his games going over 300 yards.  

Allen can also kill you running, which he didn’t do as much of last year but still managed 8 rushing touchdowns and 421 yards. 

The real runners come in Lamar Jackson and Kyler Murray. Jackson is considered a top 4 fantasy quarterback primarily because of what he can do running.  

Last year, he had a disappointing season, throwing for 2,700 yards and running for 1,000 after his season before of 3,100 pass yards and 1,200 running.  

Still, it was a good fantasy year but not the number 1 overall quarterback season that people were drafting him at.  

This season, people are high on Jackson again, with some experts having him as high as the 2nd overall quarterback.  

Should you Draft Lamar Jackson or Kyler Murray?

You could make the argument for that, but 3rd or 4th seems more reasonable with Kyler Murray also in that conversation.  

Murray threw 1,200 more passing yards than Jackson and the same number of touchdowns and ran for 4 more touchdowns. 11 compared to Jackson’s 7.  

Murray and Jackson should both be in line to improve as well. Jackson will look to get back to his 2019 season stats. 

Murray will look to improve his touchdown passing numbers. This should be very doable with guys like DeAndre Hopkins, Christian Kirk and potential rookie breakout Rondale Moore to throw to.  

It seems you can’t go wrong with one of these tier 1 quarterbacks this year if that’s the draft strategy you choose to go with.

Dual-Threat Rookie Quarterbacks

The next dual-threat quarterback is Justin Fields, which gets us into the rookie quarterback impacts.  

Fields will probably be in the same class of runners as Jackson and Murray.   

However, the difference between Fields and the two veterans is that Fields’s current draft ADP is the 15th QB.  

If Fields can beat out the Bear’s veteran quarterback Andy Dalton to be named the week 1 starter, he should be considered before Jalen Hurts’s current draft ADP. 

However, Hurts seems to be under-appreciated in drafts. Also, Allen Robinson would have a considerable positive impact on Fields if he does as the Bears alpha WR.  

Trevor Lawrence or Justin Fields?

The next rookie quarterback to consider is Trevor Lawrence. Drafted number 1 overall in the NFL draft, he is expected to be the week 1 starter. But does that guarantee he will be a good fantasy quarterback?  

In year one, experts’ hopes are relatively high in fantasy pre drafts for Lawrence. His fantasy quarterback rankings are at about 14th, ahead of guys like Kirk Cousins, Ben Roethlisberger, and Matt Ryan.  

This isn’t extremely high, and no one should be drafting him as their first quarterback off the board. 

Although Lawrence is surprisingly high for a guy coming into one of the worst offenses in the Jaguars. He will have garbage time to put up padded stats, similar to what Gardner Minshew did last season for them.  

Lawrence will also have a revamped wide receiver core with new deep target Marvin Jones that could surprise some people. 

Zach Wilson and the Jets

Zach Wilson is a wildcard as no Jets quarterback has been fantasy relevant since anyone can remember.  

The last season a Jet’s quarterback threw over 20 touchdowns was Ryan Fitzpatrick in 2015. Wilson looks to have an early connection with Corey Davis, but Davis will likely be the better fantasy player to target.  

Wilson will probably go undrafted in 2021 fantasy drafts but could be a waiver wire pickup if injuries arise on your roster.  

Are Trey Lance and Mac Jones Draftable?

The only other rookie quarterbacks to be considered are Trey Lance and Mac Jones.  

Lance is going pretty high in draft ADP’s and on average, is being selected higher than Lawrence. Even as Lawrence is almost a guaranteed lock to be the starter the entire season.  

The big question mark on Lance is, will he even play this year? It looks like Garrapalo will be the week one starter for San Francisco. 

Lance not getting a start unless an unfortunate injury or the 49er’s are out of contention.  

It appears like it will be too much risk to draft an early backup fantasy quarterback when he’s not even guaranteed to play or play well.  

Mac Jones is in a similar spot with probably getting beat out by Cam Newton. Even if he does, how much could he do with that receiving group in New England?

These rookies are a little high on fantasy draft boards, but some potential top 5 quarterbacks are being overlooked this year.  

Will Aaron Rodgers finish as the top PPR Fantasy QB again?

One of those guys is Mr. Discount Double Check Aaron Rodgers. Rodgers recently reported to camp and looks to be in line as the regular-season starter.  

Still, he is going as the 9th or 10th quarterback behind guys like Ryan Tannehill and Tom Brady on draft boards.  

Those are some big names, but people are quick to forget Rodgers threw 48 touchdowns and only 5 interceptions last year compared to Brady’s 40 and 12.  

Another guy people are excited about, and for good reason, is Matt Stafford.  

Stafford is in a new situation with the Los Angeles Rams that may be the best offense he has ever been on.  

The weapons are crazy for Stafford in 2021 with Robert Woods, Cooper Kupp, and Desean Jackson at wide receiver and Tyler Higbee at tight end.  

Expect a 30+ touchdown season for Stafford for a guy you can pick up in the 110 to 130 range in most drafts.  

Now that we have talked about top tier quarterbacks, rookies, and undervalued quarterbacks, let’s get into the deep sleepers of the position.

Drafting in 2QB and Superflex Leagues

This is exceptionally crucial for 2 quarterback leagues as in a 10 team 2 QB league. Nearly all the starting quarterbacks in any given bye week will have to be played.  

A little 2 QB league strategy to get into before the sleepers is to have at least 3 starting QBs on your roster. Ensure they all have different bye weeks and you’re insured for the season at QB barring injury and drops.  

Deep sleepers are good to have in 2 QB leagues and if you wait on a quarterback in a draft. You are looking for a QB who can have a high ceiling and even outperform your number 1 quarterback for QB sleepers.  

Ryan Fitzpatrick is always slept on, and maybe it is because he is a walking meme or that he never really has won or been considered a franchise guy.  

None of that matters for fantasy as long as they put up numbers consistently, something Fitzpatrick has done.  

In his lone season with 16 starts, Fitzmagic threw 31 touchdowns and 3,900 yards.  

The Washington Football Team are expected to compete. The Football Team plan to do it with him at the helm. 

Fitzpatrick’s average draft position is around the 20th to 23rd selected quarterback. He could be your last overall pick for a backup in standard fantasy leagues.  

Will Deshaun Watson play this season?

Another sleeper is Deshaun Watson. Obviously, the hesitation with Watson is that no one knows at this point when or if he will suit up. 

Watson should be worthy of one of your late-round picks if you indeed go safe at your number one quarterback.  

Holding on to a deep sleeper like Watson, who is a top 5 fantasy quarterback when playing, is a good bet to take.  

If your starter gets to their bye week and Watson is still out, then it could be time to consider dropping him.

Who will be the Saints starting QB?

The last two sleepers come from the same team. Taysom Hill and Jameis Winston are still battling to see who will replace Drew Brees in New Orleans.  

Both possess a completely different skill set, but both have the ability to be top 10 fantasy quarterbacks.  

Their draft ADP positions are all over the place but could be worthy of a late-round pick as well based on the potential.  

If given the reins, Hill obviously brings the ability to run. He could even lead the league in quarterback rush yards and touchdowns.  

Winston is a boom or bust player but will put up 30+ touchdown passes if he is named the starter.  

In 2019 Winston threw for an absurd 5,100 yards (number 8 all-time for one season) and 33 touchdowns with 30 interceptions.

Drafting a QB Late

There is such a variety of quarterbacks and every NFL team has at least one starter. Although across the 32 NFL starters, most leagues will have only 10 starting quarterbacks every week.  

You really can’t go wrong with a top 20 rated quarterback. Even a strategy of waiting really late for a quarterback and taking 2 deep sleepers is not one that should be looked down on. 

As long as one of those sleepers is guaranteed to be a starter, then it should be a decent strategy.  

This would look something like taking your first quarterback with pick number 170. 

You can get a guy in Kirk Cousins who threw 35 touchdowns last year. Then draft a high potential player in a rookie, Fitzpatrick, Watson, or one of the Saint’s guys after that. 

Obviously, this strategy is to load up on running backs, receivers, and tight ends with your early picks. Avoid wasting them on an early pick who could produce almost identical stats to a Kirk Cousins.  

Is drafting a Top 10 QB worth it?

Drafting a tier 1 quarterback can also pay off if you don’t see the value at other positions around the time of the pick.  

If you do pick up an early quarterback, then consider waiting until one of the last rounds to take your QB2. Just don’t draft a backup at all and only pick one up for your starter’s bye week. 

It’s key in drafts to load up on flex players who could break out during the year. Instead of taking a backup QB who may only play in that one week during your starter’s bye.  

The draft strategy that we’ve mentioned a lot is taking a mid-range quarterback such as Hurts or Rodgers. Both of whom you can get after pick 100 and have the potential to be top 5 QB’s by the end of the year.  

You can draft another safe quarterback in the 15 to 20 range who has the potential to exceed your starter. This will get you better flex players with your early picks to have a complete roster.  


The fantasy quarterback position is fun to game plan for going into your draft. This is because of all these options that arise with different draft strategies.

The marginal difference between QB’s ranked 3 through 12 is potentially relatively even. 

Therefore, it looks as if this is the year to wait on drafting a QB. As you can draft one of the quarterbacks in the 8 to 12 range who has elite potential.  

One final tip is however you draft your quarterbacks, try to pair them with one of their wide receiver targets. This can get you that added bonus of stacking your lineup.

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Tips for Drafting Top Quarterbacks