One conundrum I guarantee you'll face during the draft is when to draft your first quarterback. Drafting based on value has always been a good draft strategy but in order to do that effectively you need some background knowledge of the quarterback position. Top tier quarterbacks are consistent fantasy point producers. The degree to which passing attacks have exploded are well chronicled and it's to the point that it goes without saying. In standard leagues the quarterback position is the top overall fantasy point leader (lead by RB in PPR leagues excluding Mahomes incredible season). And that will occur again this season, as prolific QB play should be more prevalent than ever for fantasy owners.
Let's take a look at my 2019 quarterback draft strategy for standard and PPR 10, 12 and 14 team leagues with 1 QB slot.
Historical Repeats Shift Draft Strategy
The stats floating around fantasy circles has shifted. We used to believe (based on the numbers) that top 12 finishers from the previous season had a fairly high chance of repeating top 12. Headed into the 2019 NFL season the numbers have shifted. Quarterbacks are now more likely to jump into the top 12 as the younger generation begins to take shape. What does all this mean? To me it means we don't need to pay up in the 3rd, 4th or 5th round to increase our odds at top 12 QB production. Come to think of it I've never needed to draft a 3rd, 4th or 5th round quarterback to land a slam dunk, but we will get into this later.
Passing on Drafting the Top Tier QB
With so many viable options when do you draft your first quarterback? I'm a huge proponent of selecting best available RB or WR (emphasis on 3 down backs in PPR leagues) in the first three rounds. However, in many leagues the top 3 quarterbacks won't be selected until the 3rd or 4th round? This is an ideal situation and I recommend that if possible you wait on your first quarterback pick as long as possible. If you have drafted with this same group of people in the past it would behoove you to review their drafting tenancies. Their tenancies will give you insight as to when you can consider targeting your first quarterback.
The Best Versus the Maybe Best
Let's get this out of the way first, here are your top tier quarterbacks: Mahomes, Luck and Rodgers. I feel it is extremely likely these 3 quarterbacks will finish in the top 6. Ryan and Brees can be had in the 6th round in most drafts yet they consistently put up top tier numbers and can easily finish top 3 any given season and can be had in the 6th round. And if one of these top tier QB don't drop for you here are some quarterbacks I like that should easily fall past the 6th round in most 1 QB leagues.
Side-note: Mayfield is pure speculation but how can you blame me? Not drafting him in the 6th however if he drops to the 8th it's an interesting spot. Would probably pull the trigger if I wasn't super exited about my team and needed a high upside pick to pan out. Wentz is an exceptional value in the 7th round and I'd grab him there without pause. The rest may or may not drop below their ADP but the one that does will find his way onto my team.
Value In Waiting To Draft Your First Quarterback
You can't just look at how many points a player scored last season (or a positions average for that matter). It pays to examine how his points compare to the other players at the same position. We highlight this in our online cheat sheets so you can easily make head or tails of the situation. That is the essence of value based drafting. The point totals for the top tier quarterbacks is much higher than the mid-tier quarterbacks. But how does that difference contrast between tiers that you will find at RB and WR with a similar ADP? You will find a more sizable decline in points from the top backs as the numbers descend toward the 24th running back than you will when you compare the top scoring QB to the 12th highest scoring QB. The same can be said for wide receivers. Therefore you see most people drafting RB and WR way before the top tier QB's, it just makes sense.
Drafting Food For Thought
With RBBC becoming more and more prevalent you really have no choice but to draft those 3 down backs first. In most leagues the drop off is greatest between the upper and lower tier RB's. If you can draft one of the top four or five running backs do it! Without question you need a top running back and/or some waiver wire luck to win your fantasy league.
Draft Quarterback In The 4th or 5th Round?
Which leads to the assertion that you should wait until at least the 5th round to select your first quarterback in PPR leagues and the 4th round in standard leagues. I'm only pulling the trigger that early if a top tier QB drops to said round. However, I am not an advocating that you adopt a rigid mindset of waiting until the middle portion of your drafts. Don't overly fixate on a specific strategy to such a large degree that you deny yourself opportunities that arise. If an elite quarterback is still available as you enter the 4th or 5th round the scoring differential that a premier signal caller can provide is too important to pass up in favor of a blanket philosophy. Waiting until 4th or 5th round will probably prohibit you from drafting a historically known top tier quarterback. But it is very possible that one of these signal callers will still be available. It's also important to remind you that based on 2017 and 2018 stats the odds of mid-tiers QB rising into the upper tier is more likely now more than ever before. Now you need to read our backup quarterback draft strategy.