Now that the dust of the 2016 season has thoroughly settled it’s time to look at what we learned at each position. This week I’ll be taking a look at quarterbacks. Since individual players fluctuate from year to year I’m not going too in depth on individual players at this point. The purpose of this article is to find trends in performance versus draft position to determine whether it makes more sense to lock in a stud quarterback or wait until the later rounds for a bargain. All ADP and end of season rankings are based on ESPN standard leagues.
2016 Quarterback ADP and End Of Season Ranking
|Name||Draft Position||End of Season Rank||Points Scored|
Depending on how you interpret the numbers you could make an argument that last season’s results support taking a quarterback early or late. I’m going to make a case for each side before I share how I really feel we should react to this data.
My Case for the Early QB
If you took one of the first five quarterbacks off the board, three of them returned value by finishing in the top five at the position. The biggest lesson here is that you should look towards quarterbacks with consistent track records of success such as Aaron Rodgers and Drew Brees, as opposed to flashier options coming off of a big year such as Cam Newton. There is a certain security in knowing that you have a plug and play quarterback from day one and risk averse players will certainly find that appealing.
My Case for the Late QB
Out of the top 10 quarterbacks drafted, only four ended the season returning any sort of value on their draft position. This is the same number of quarterbacks that finished outside of the top 15, which makes them virtually unstartable in anything but two quarterback leagues. By taking a quarterback in the second through fifth round you are giving up a potential RB2 or WR2 which is a much more difficult commodity to come by as the season goes on.
Where I see value last year (and most years) is in the middle to late rounds of the draft. You could easily have stacked your other positions and come away with a Kirk Cousins, Matthew Stafford or even Matt Ryan if you did your research coming into the season. All of these players went in the 9th round or later in 12 team leagues and all finished inside of the top 10 at the position.
As in years past, the evidence clearly points towards taking a quarterback late in my opinion. Even if your late round selection falters you can use them in rotation with streaming options or cut bait entirely since you don’t have serious draft capital tied up in the position. The one caveat here is that you don’t want to pass up what the draft gives you. For example, if Drew Brees falls past the fifth or sixth round I wouldn’t hesitate to pick him up based on his consistent track record from year to year. My strategy is to pick two or three late round quarterbacks that I think have a great shot of finishing inside of the top ten and hold out as long as possible in selecting one while also ensuring that I don’t miss out.