Should You Draft a QB In The Second Round?

Kyle Soppe, RotoExperts Staff
If you’ve been playing Fantasy Football for a while you know that Fantasy production is up at the quarterback position. Whether it is a result of rule changes or simply improved talent, offenses are airing the ball out as much now as ever, thus inflating Fantasy numbers. Did you know that last season we had 11 quarterbacks drop back to pass at least 600 times? That’s one more than the total number of quarterbacks to so in 2008 and 2009 combined. The increase in the sheer volume of attempts has quarterbacks putting up gaudy numbers and has resulted in Fantasy owners chasing elite production. But is that a wise move? Sure, the high-end production is as high as it’s ever been (Peyton Manning and Drew Brees combined for 805.7 Fantasy points last season, 17.2 more than the trio of quarterbacks that ranked 5-7, a group that included Manning, did in 2008), but that’s not to say that the second and third tiers of signal caller haven’t seen an equal, if not greater, rise.
When can you draft Peyton Manning and feel good about the investment? Photo: Jeffery Beall

When can you draft Peyton Manning and feel good about the investment? Photo: Jeffery Beall

For this study, I decided to evaluate the advantage a Fantasy owner who drafted a “Big Three” quarterback could reasonably expect to have over an owner who waited and selected a quarterback ranked 8-10. Based on the hundreds of early drafts that took place over the last week, the ADP of Manning, Brees, and Aaron Rodgers has been pick 17 while the mid-level quarterbacks (Tom Brady, Matt Ryan, and Cam Newton) are coming off the board with an average pick of 76. I took a look at the percentage of production that an owner of a Top 3 standard scoring quarterback, at season’s end, held over the owner of a middling QB from 2008-2013 in an effort to determine the value in drafting the game’s best. This study does not include the possibility that a QB other than Brees/Rodgers/Manning rank among the elite, as such a concern is not being considered by Fantasy owners this season. Even in this pass-first era, Manning’s remarkable 2013 was viewed as a significant outlier (22.4 percent more Fantasy points than the average total for the highest scoring quarterbacks since 2008) and therefore is not included in the QB chart. I then performed the same task for the trio of running backs (RB9-RB11) and wide receivers (WR5-WR7) that are going around pick 17 and compared the percentage increase in Fantasy production over the players at their positions going around pick 76 (RB32-RB34 and WR31-WR33). Is it statistically smarter to select an elite QB and settle for an average RB/WR in the later rounds to fill out your starting lineup or vice versa? Let’s start with a look at the pass-catchers:

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