2022 Fantasy Football Drafting Quarterbacks Strategy

by Daniel Johnson
2022 Fantasy Football Drafting Quarterbacks Strategy

When it comes to preparing for the 2022 Fantasy Football season, we've got you covered here at F6P. And in today's edition of our draft kit, we're talking strategy for drafting quarterbacks in standard/PPR leagues.

Everybody else thinks they know best, right? Always some card up their sleeves. They've got the sleeper QB on lock, and they're gonna get him before you; they've done some abstruse math and have determined that Kyler Murray's mobility points offset the benefits of drafting a WR2 in the fourth, maybe even third, round; they'll let all the other dominoes fall until the fifteenth round, and they'll take Baker Mayfield, and how did you not see that as a good strategy? Everyone's a genius.

We've heard it all. And we know it, ultimately, comes down to things like league size, draft position, etc. So what works best?

The most common strategy, of course, is to wait, wait, wait to draft your quarterback.

However, what we witnessed last season, and what so much of this offseason suggests, is a change of both guard and scenery when it comes to some major marquee names. Which, we know, means a change in market value with which you should familiarize before your drafts.

It's probably the unsexiest offensive position to evaluate when it comes to sleepers and breakouts because of the predictable parity, but it's hard to understate, week-to-week, how impactful a consistently elite quarterback can swing your matchups.

So let's look at the new landscape in the NFL and strategize.

2022 Fantasy Football Drafting Quarterbacks Strategy

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Fantasy Beasts, and Where to Draft Them

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This, I suppose, would qualify as my first-tier of quarterbacks for 2022.

As you can see, I'm advocating for taking Josh Allen in the third/fourth round, depending on your league size. This is because, despite the per-game downturn in scoring average for QBs between 2020 and 2021 (17.7 PPG vs. 16.2 PPG), Allen remains one of the indisputably elite options who transcends scoring average.

Of course, this has a great deal to do with his mobility, and his rushing attempts inside the red zone, which we all know amounts to, more or less, a fantasy cheat code. But, no doubt: his situation, his talent, and his weapons all contribute to this kind of value. He is the only one here I'd truly reach for.

For reference: I'm drafting him over guys like D.K. Metcalf, Darren Waller, Antonio Gibson, and Marquise Brown.

Herbert, Jackson, and Mahomes

I've got Herbert, Jackson, and Mahomes clustered like a birdshot blast smack dab in the center of the fifth round. This feels a little risky. If your drafts are anything like mine, once everyone sees the first QB leave the board, there's a frenzied sense of urgency that surfaces in many other drafters that they must secure the next-best QB.

What I'm saying is: I could easily see these guys going 8-10 spots above where I'm ranking them, depending on how skittish your leaguemates can be.

Nonetheless, fifth round feels right for each of these three signal-callers. There are question-marks with all of them: Will Herbert take that next step in his second year in Staley's offense (read: I loathe Brandon Staley)? How will Lamar do without any elite name at the WR position, now that Hollywood Brown is gone? Mahomes lost his lightning-strike weapon, and the Chiefs haven't had a run game since Kareem Hunt; is he actually an elite option anymore?

I'm willing to bet you'll see someone jump for Herbert or, honestly, even Kyler Murray in the fourth/early fifth round. I'm not going to lambaste you if you jump for Herbert. I'll probably be doing so myself in quite a few drafts. Kid's a stud, and maybe Staley (this dude's a squid, I swear to God) will have worked out some kinks in their inconsistent offense such that Herbert breaks out as the next Josh Allen.

But take a look at the four skill guys I mentioned I'm taking Allen over, and consider them the caliber of player I'm willing to take before, in some cases, Herbert, but in all cases, Jackson and Mahomes.

How to Value the Second Tier

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  • Kyler Murray, QB, Arizona Cardinals (90 overall)
  • Jalen Hurts, QB, Philadelphia Eagles (99 overall)
  • Tom Brady, QB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (114 overall)
  • Joe Burrow, QB, Cincinnati Bengals (118 overall)
  • Dak Prescott, QB, Dallas Cowboys (122 overall)

And now: we wait, wait, wait. Maybe?

What we've got to start here are two incredibly mobile quarterbacks whose legwork can mitigate poor offensive game-flow/poor performances through the air, and three veteran pocket passers (mostly). Again, in terms of overall strategy, it's hard to overemphasize the importance of mobility when it comes to a quarterback's statistical floor and ceiling.

Consider this: Josh Allen, Lamar Jackson, Jalen Hurts, and Kyler Murray all averaged at least five rushing attempts per game last season; each of them averaged over 20 PPG.

As Tristan Cockroft over at ESPN points out, this five-carry-per-game data point is important, and is precisely what you should be looking for when evaluating whether or not to jump (or, conversely, wait) for a mobile quarterback. It's why I'm all in on jumping for Murray and Hurts.

I've got them firmly in the eight/ninth rounds right now, but I can easily see them flying off the board in the sixth/seventh rounds. I just like the idea of snagging guys like Thielen, Gabe Davis, DeAndre Hopkins, and Hunter Renfrow, if I can, before drafting a QB, if I've missed out on the first tier.

As far as Brady, Burrow, and Prescott go? Don't settle. Wait as long as you can for them. Let other folks in your league be the ones to jump for them, as I believe this is when the parity between QB performance starts to level off, and we start to draft quarterbacks based on their floors,  not their ceilings. I believe you can get comparable value on the cheap in later rounds for these guys.

The Perfectly-Serviceable Failsafes, and One Roll of the Dice

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The Stafford Approach

As they've done for, well, almost his entire career: people will have forgotten about Matthew Stafford. With sexier names and swifter legs ranked before him this year, so too will the drafting public have forgotten Matthew Stafford's sixth-overall finish at QB in 2021.

He's my QB10 right now, but I could easily see a reality in which he finishes with more 2022 fantasy points than Dak, Brady, and Burrow.

He's going to drop to the ninth-to-eleventh rounds in your drafts, guaranteed. I have him slightly below the second tier, but I'd probably end up happier with Stafford on my team than Dak. And I'll do you one more: I think it's quite possible that he might be the best bang-for-your-buck when it comes to QB-drafting strategy right now. Believe in The Stafford Approach.

The Rest

Wilson, Carr, and Rodgers are all in wildly different offensive situations than they were in 2021, and so I've ranked them here in order of my confidence that they'll reach their draft floors. Because, again, this late in your drafts, almost always, you should be drafting your starting QBs by valuing their potential floors, not their ceilings. That's why Cousins undoubtedly deserves top-15 consideration here.

That strategy is all well and good—except! (And there always must be one exception, right?). Except when it comes to Trey Lance! In his short stint as a starter in 2021, Lance averaged 6.3 carries per game, averaging just under 30 rushing yards in those contests. Both are good for top-10 in the NFL. His accuracy was a major problem, but remember the five-carry-per-game threshold. Lance will blow by that again in 2022, and might just be a league-winner, especially if Deebo Samuel returns to the Niners.

He's the guy you wait on to draft for a potential top-five-to-seven ceiling. He might bomb. But, as I always say: try to catch lightning in a bottle before the rest of your league does.

2022 Fantasy Football Drafting Quarterbacks Strategy: The Bottom Line

Based on everything we've gone over so far, here's what I'm doing in my drafts:

  • I'm probably always going to let someone else draft Josh Allen before I do, and I'll try to jump for Herbert.
  • If I can't get Herbert, chances are, Lamar Jackson and Kyler Murray are still on the board. Depending on the flow of the draft, I'll take either, but I'd obviously prefer Jackson. Murray might edge him out this year, though.
  • Once Murray is off the board, I might pinch my nose and take Jalen Hurts just because I'm all in on the change-of-guard toward mobile QBs. But I don't love Hurts. So, in all likelihood, I'm going to calm myself as the flurry of other tier two QBs fly off the board, and snag a still-elite Stafford at his current ADP. He might well be my primary QB target, the way drafts are going so far this year. I believe in The Stafford Approach.
  • If my Stafford plan fails? Maybe Trey Lance is still on the board, but I doubt it; he's shiny, and new, and people are going to want to get in on the ground floor of him opening up shop in the Bay. If he's there, I'll take him. If not, I'm waiting a bit longer, and looking at Derek Carr, or maybe even Trevor Lawrence. Because, at that point, why not?

I think it's important to note: I'm an analyst who likes running a QB out there, week-in-and-week-out, who I like to watch play the game. There are probably many of you out there like me. So if you want to tell rankings and current ADP to go whistle, I say go ahead and reach for your favorite quarterback, just so you can experience the pleasure of watching him rack up points for you every week.

It's why I don't really want to end up with Jalen Hurts, despite his obvious upside. I just don't like watching him play. And, ultimately, we all want to have a team we're excited about rolling out every Sunday. If you need to buck strategy for fun, you might put yourself at a competitive disadvantage, but I say let it rip.

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