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Draft A Quarterback In The First Round? Yes, It Will Work And Here’s How

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Draft a QB in the first round? Only if you want plague, pestilence, and famine to scorch your Fantasy chances. Right?

Umm, no. I know that some of the guys on the Fantasy shows and some other sites out there like to say it’s doomsday. One radio personality whose opinion I actually value has dug his feet in; he says he will not take a QB in the first round, ever.

Ever? Really? That’s just plain stupid. Don’t get me wrong, if I have one of the top overall picks and am picking in a standard league, I’m not taking a quarterback either. However, I play in a bunch of different types of leagues that force you to think about those decisions a little more. And that’s just tip of the iceberg.

Suppose you have the 11th pick. Which option inspires more confidence? Option A is to pick, Devonta Freeman, Leonard Fournette, Dez Bryant or Jordy Nelson and then a QB in let’s say the fifth round. Option B is to snag Aaron Rodgers and a high upside player like Ameer Abdullah or Brandon Marshall in the fifth round. I’m no Sheryl Sandberg, but Option B looks pretty good.

But we are getting ahead of ourselves. First I’ll discuss the situations where you should take a QB in the first round. I’ll follow that by showing you what a typical team might look like if you draft a QB in the first round. And then I’ll give you some of the specifics.

So take my hand and I’ll lead you through the scary woods of drafting a QB in the first round. I promise you, it won’t hurt.

Draft A Quarterback In The First Round

When You Should Draft a QB in the First Round And When You Shouldn’t

The basic rule of whether or not to draft a QB in the first round is the farther you get away from a standard league, the more you should consider taking a quarterback. That starts with the scoring system.

Scoring System

One of the more popular variations is six points for a passing touchdown. I understand the rationalization for the four point TD pass. How many times have you seen a quarterback make a simple short pass and then the receiver either jukes or speeds by another seven guys for another 60 yards to pay day? The quarterback probably shouldn’t get six points for that. However, how many times have you seen a QB with three behemoths in his face perfectly thread the needle to his double covered receiver for six points? The QB should probably get the credit for that, right?

We can argue back and forth, but either way the 6 point pass touchdown is one of the first points that leans in favor of taking a QB in the first round. But there is more to consider than just the scoring system.

Roster Setup

Another very popular alternative is the 2-QB or Superflex league, which enables you to start 2-QBs every week. Part of the reason to take only one QB in a standard league is that even if you don’t like your starter, there is usually a dozen options available in free agency? In a 2-QB, if there are any starters before the injury bug starts, you are lucky. Also, the deeper the league is in the situations, the more scarce a quality QB is. In an 8-team league, you might want to still bypass a QB in the first round. In a 2-QB, 14-team league with this set-up? If you don’t take a QB early you’ll be in trouble.

In addition to those two popular variations, there is also the variation that includes 2 QBs AND six points for a passing touchdown. Wait, there’s more! Some leagues have started awarding points for receptions, even if it’s just one fifth or one quarter of a point. If we look at last year for example, sure, we see names like Rodgers, Brees, and Ryan all in the top 10. But Carson Wentz makes an appearance at seven, Sam Bradford is fifth, and even Joe Flacco was 2nd in completions! Any of you one QB leaguers planning on drafting any of those guys and early?


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But now all of sudden, in a situation like that a QB like Drew Brees starts to look like a worthy QB to draft in the first round! Especially if you’re picking in the back half of the first round. Which is the next important consideration.

Pick Selection

If I am picking within the first few picks this year, I might not draft a QB in the first round. Instead, I might be able to grab a quarterback like Philip Rivers, who usually produces QB1 numbers despite not being drafted as such. However, once I get around to the 5th pick, I start to consider a quarterback. By the time we get to the last few picks of the first round, I’m probably taking a quarterback unless someone has already done so. Those players with ADPs in say that second half dozen just doesn’t inspire confidence like one of the top quarterbacks.

As the expression goes, you can’t win a league in the first round, but you can lose it. And given that any of those RBs or WRs that might be available could be surpassed on the depth chart far sooner than Aaron Rodgers or Tom Brady, I’ll take the security of job security with my first pick thank you.

So, I know there are some reservations still. One of the claims that the anti-QB in the first round camp makes is that you cripple your team too much. Oh really?

What Happens If You Draft a QB In The First Round

Fellow SCFE scribe John Leinweber recently wrote about a mock in which took a QB first. Here’s that team:

QB: Aaron Rodgers (shocking, right?)

RB: Leonard Fournette, Danny Woodhead, Mike Gillislee, Terrance West, James White

WR: Mike Evans, Brandin Cooks, Tyreek Hill, Jeremy Maclin, Tyrell Williams

TE: Jack Doyle

K; Mason Crosby

DST: Patriots

Some quick thoughts on this team:

-Wow, that’s a pretty good team! I  definitely would not look be looking forward to playing that team in my PPR league.

-Secondly, I’m not a Jack Doyle fan and might be the biggest weakness of this team. However, there are so many TE sleeper options that you can swap Doyle out for and grab one of my preferred my TE sleepers, this team would still be scary.

-Third, I am sure someone out there is going to say, “Evans in the 2nd round? Yeah, right! He’ll never fall to the early second round!”. And I’ll want to punch that someone right in the nose. But every league is different and you never know. But fine, swap out Evans for say, more common second rounders. Our top WR becomes Dez Bryant or Michael Thomas. This is still a team that would strike fear.

-Of course, someone else, far less pompous, is going to say “But yeah, John writes for a fantasy site. He knows what he is doing. Of course, he drafted a good team”. And I would not punch that person in the nose. But I would roll my eyes because if you don’t have confidence in how you draft, why are you playing this game again?

Here’s the point–drafting a QB in the first round does not cripple your team.In fact, it might even make your team stronger. So how do you go about doing it?

Strategy Specifics If You Draft a QB in the First Round

Round 1

Obviously, your first pick should be a quarterback and it should be Aaron Rodgers or Tom Brady. Don’t get cute. Is Rodgers or Brady necessarily going to be the top quarterback this year? Maybe not. But what Rodgers and Brady bring to the table is an extremely high floor.

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In Rodgers worst year as a starter, he still passed for 17 TDs and over 2500 yards. And that was the year he only played nine games. In the eight other seasons in which he was the starter all year, he always had at least 30 TDs and at least 3800 passing yards. Given that Rodgers is coming off a season of 40 passing TDs and over 4400 passing yards, the ceiling is quite high as well. I prefer Rodgers over Brady. Rodgers has a more proven WR corps and will typically notch more touchdowns. Yet I wouldn’t fault you for grabbing Brady in the first round either.

Brady played in only 12 games last year, resulting in some of his lowest numbers since he was injured the first game of 2008. However, the 28 touchdowns and 3500 plus yards he had in 12 games last year are pretty close to his floor as well.

Round 2-9

Unless there is a tight end who’s value is so extreme (like Gronkowski still available in the 6th round), you will be grabbing all WRs and RBs. Guys like Tyreek Hill and Jeremy Maclin might not be top ten WRs. Yet the gap between them and top 20 receivers is smaller than the gap between the first round quarterbacks such as Kirk Cousins and Dak Prescott.

Later Rounds

The remainder of the rounds is going to look very similar to your opponents picks. The difference is that if you don’t have to take a second quarterback. But your opponents might. Why? Because they don’t have the cornerstone at QB like you do!

2017 Fantasy Football Draft Kit
Positional Rankings | Sleepers | Busts | Player Analysis | Strategy | Preseason Analysis | Mock Drafts | Tools

Looking for some picks to go with your first round quarterback? Check out the DraftWizard at FantasyPros along with So Called Fantasy Experts of course. 


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