2021 Fantasy Football Draft Kit

Fantasy Football Quarterback Draft Strategy


Original author of the Fantasy Football Quarterback Draft Strategy is Alex Hamrick. It was updated in 2020 by Kevin Huo.

What is the proper Fantasy Football Quarterback Draft Strategy? Most people who have played Fantasy Football for a while, know the basic strategies for drafting a quarterback. But, for those who are new and probably need to read an article like this post, let’s discuss the strategy with a simple and frivolous analogy.

Drafting a Quarterback in Fantasy Football is a lot like going to the movies. A weird comparison, I know, but hear me out. We all know that going to the movies can be a very expensive event.

Movie tickets cost a fortune, and what makes it worse is the concessions. Buying popcorn and a drink can cost just as much, if not more, than the ticket itself. And the candy…don’t even let me started about the candy.

But, a movie theater is in the business of making money. It knows that the demand for concessions is relatively inelastic. Smart people, or terrible people, depending on how you look at it, are always looking to get something at a discounted price. These people go to the grocery store before the movie and buy a whole bunch of snacks and candy, for a fraction of the cost. They then stuff as many of the goods in their pockets and purses and take the treats into the theater.

Don’t act like you’ve never done it.

The Candy and Snacks of Fantasy Football

This experience is like a Fantasy Football draft, and the quarterbacks are the candy and snacks. The movie ticket is a necessity to get into the theater and watch a movie. This is the price you must pay to play in a league, whether it is in the form of a time commitment or an entry fee.

The popcorn and drinks are your position players like running backs and wide receivers. These are items in which you are willing to pay a steep price, for the enjoyment of the movie. Also, these items are much harder to find at a discounted price.

Imagine someone trying to sneak in their big bag of popcorn and their 20-oz. drink. First of all, this is much more unrealistic. Second of all, who wants to eat cold store-bought popcorn and drink warm or watered-down beverages, as opposed to what the theater has to offer.

This is just like running backs and wide receivers. To get good ones requires paying a steep price, and you need to load up early and often because finding ones at a discounted rate is much harder to do and could get messy.

A Pricey Investment

Quarterbacks, though, can be obtained at a discounted price, like the candy you bring into the movie theater. Some people prefer to pay the premium to lock up an elite quarterback, early in the draft. But, this is a pricey investment. And, you can’t do both.

You can’t spend the high price on a quarterback early in the draft and load up on expensive high-quality running backs and wide receivers. No, you can’t buy your popcorn and soda, and afford to buy movie theater candy too. Maybe you can, but for purposes of this analogy, we only have enough money for one or the other. Sorry rich people!

Another option is to bring your own candy and not pay the high price, allowing you to have more money to spend on popcorn and beverages. There are a lot more quarterbacks that can put up relatively similar and respective numbers, that you can find in the later rounds, than running backs and wide receivers.

Therefore, it might be smart to load up on those positions before the massive drop-off in talent and wait to draft a quarterback. Either way, don’t get so caught up in the value of things that you forget to enjoy your movie. Remember it is supposed to be a fun experience, no matter how you choose to go about it.

Fantasy Football Quarterback Draft Strategy

One of the most commonly asked Fantasy Football questions is “When should I draft a Quarterback?” The answer to that question is and should always be “it depends.” In fact, it depends on several factors. This Fantasy Football Quarterback Draft Strategy should help clarify things.

Embed from Getty Images

Scoring System

How many points does a quarterback get for throwing a touchdown, for a certain amount of passing yards or rushing yards? How many points does the position lose, if any, for an interception? These things affect the value of the quarterback position.

Is the league a standard or PPR league? PPR leagues tend to increase the value of other position players, therefore, lowering the importance of grabbing a quarterback early, as opposed to a running back or wide receiver.

League Size

The size of your league also affects the value of the quarterback position. As you will read later in this article, there are approximately 20 or more quarterbacks that can be viable starters for your fantasy team. This means that in 10 to 12 team leagues, or less, the ability to find a decent starter at quarterback is easier to do in the later rounds. This decreases the value of quarterbacks in smaller-sized leagues.

In 14 team leagues or higher, the quarterback position becomes much scarcer, especially when people start to draft backup quarterbacks. This increases the value of quarterbacks in larger-sized leagues.

Roster Size and Starters

Another thing to know is how many quarterbacks you can start in your league. In two-quarterback leagues or ones where you can start a quarterback at flex, the value for quarterbacks increases exponentially, and the need to draft quarterbacks early rises.

It is also important to know how many position players you can start. Typically, a starting lineup consists of about two running backs, two wide receivers, and a flex. This means that you need to draft multiple entities at these positions to fill your lineup as opposed to drafting just one quarterback.

Some Statistics

Embed from Getty Images

In 2020, Justin Herbert was the only quarterback among the top ten most commonly owned fantasy players on playoff teams. In 2019, two of the top ten most commonly owned fantasy players was a quarterback – Ryan Tannehill and Lamar Jackson.

The common denominator between these three quarterbacks is the lack of draft capital you would have needed to get these guys on your team. Herbert and Tannehill went undrafted while Jackson went in the 10th round in 2019.

Not only does this show the importance of other positions, it shows how a quarterback drafted in the later rounds can have a much more significant impact on your team’s success.

Another interesting nugget to look at is the average points per game by quarterbacks over the last three years.

In 2020, ten quarterbacks averaged over 20 points per game (PPG) (Josh Allen, Aaron Rodgers, Kyler Murray, Patrick Mahomes, Deshaun Watson, Russell Wilson, Tom Brady, Tannehill, Jackson, and Herbert). While Murray, Mahomes, Watson, Wilson, and Jackson were relatively high draft picks, the other half were late-round picks or completely undrafted. Seventeen other quarterbacks averaged between 15.0 and 19.9 PPG.

In 2019, seven quarterbacks averaged over 20 points per game (PPG) (Jackson, Dak Prescott, Matthew Stafford, Deshaun Watson, Brees, Russell Wilson, and Mahomes, with sixteen other quarterbacks between 15.0 and 19.9 PPG.

In 2018, seven quarterbacks averaged over 20 points per game (PPG) (Mahomes, Ryan, Ben Roethlisberger, Deshaun Watson, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Andrew Luck, Brees). 17 quarterbacks averaged between 15.0 and 19.9 PPG.

In 2017, three quarterbacks averaged over 20 PPG. 15 averaged between 15.0 and 19.7 PPG.

This data shows that there are about 20 or more quarterbacks each year worth starting. More interestingly, the number of quarterbacks who are likely to get you 20+ points every week is increasing. That means that in a regular 12 quarterback league, the gap between the person with the best quarterback and the 12th best quarterback might not really be that big.

Drafting a quarterback early can come back to hurt you and doesn’t significantly help your team in relation to other position players. Finding quarterbacks that can break out in the later rounds is a viable option in which you can build up your position players and still find a quality quarterback.

Two Strategies

In my opinion, you should consider only two strategies when drafting a quarterback.

Draft an Elite Quarterback Early

Embed from Getty Images

This strategy involves paying a high price for a quarterback at the expense of other positions. Here you look to draft one of the hopeful four or five elite quarterbacks at their high ADPs, normally in the first four rounds.

If you do this, this should be the only quarterback you draft. You can now spend the rest of your picks on improving other roster spots and taking fliers on high upside players to make up for the deficiencies at your running back and wide receiver positions.

There is no need to draft multiple quarterbacks because if you have one of the four or five elite quarterbacks, who average over 22-23 points per game, you are starting him no matter what, regardless of matchup, and you can play the waiver wire for that player’s bye week.

Wait and See Approach

As you can probably tell, this is the approach I prefer. Putting all biases aside, the numbers tend to support this strategy.

This approach involves loading up on position players by getting quality and quantity at the running back and wide receiver positions. This allows you to ensure quality starters and depth in case of injury or other unforeseeable occurrences. Loading up on these positions ensures you will not likely be at a disadvantage in these position battles when playing your opponents.

Then in the later rounds, you have the option to draft an elite quarterback, if he falls significantly below his ADP, unlikely. Or, you can draft one of the 15 plus quarterbacks that are averaging between 15 and 19 points per game.

This strategy shows that you can still put up great numbers at the quarterback position and have a significant advantage when it comes to your starting positions and roster depth.

There are two more options when deploying this strategy. You can draft one quarterback and continue to load up on other positions. You can do this knowing that there will likely be a viable fill-in on the waiver wire each week. Or, you can draft a second “backup” quarterback to play matchups with. This allows you to exploit certain matchups against bad pass defenses. Therefore you can optimize your late-round quarterback production.


Either Fantasy Football Quarterback Draft Strategy leaves you open for trade discussions. If you have an elite quarterback and another team has a deep bench, a trade might be made.

Get in on some Best Ball leagues at Underdog Fantasy. Sign up and get a Money Back Guarantee if you don't love it during the first month.

Conversely, with the depth that you should have been able to amass by waiting on quarterback, you should have the ammunition to swing a trade for a passable starter.

Visit the F6P Fantasy Football page for more advice, including all 32 Fantasy Football Team Previews to get you prepared for the 2020 season

About Kevin Huo

Kevin is a fantasy football writer for Fantasy Six Pack. He considers every angle - whether statistical or theoretical - when weighing his options and isn't afraid to be a contrarian. You can follow him on Twitter: @KevinMHuo

Recommended for you


  1. Pingback: 2017 Fantasy Football Draft Strategy - MyFantasyLinks.com

  2. Pingback: 2019 Fantasy Football Overvalued Players - Fantasy Six Pack

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.