2016 brought equilibrium to the Force, young padawan.
2015 sent ripples of shock through the fantasy community, because it was so unique for the quarterback position.
For nearly a decade, quarterback performances had fallen within a narrow range, and the fantasy community has done a reasonable job predicting which passers will succeed and which will fail. 2015, however, was unlike anything we had seen in recent memory. Several highly-drafted fantasy quarterbacks tanked, and late-round heroes were too numerous to count. As a result, the order in which we drafted QBs bore almost no connection to how those QBs performed.
After that disastrous 2015, we in the fantasy world did far better drafting quarterbacks in 2016. Things were back to normal; we did a fair job drafting quarterbacks in an order that reflected where they’d finish the year — despite missing badly on Matt Ryan.
This chart shows the connection between where we drafted the top-32 quarterbacks each year and how many points they scored per game that season. The higher the number, the more our QB ADP matched final PPG rankings.
Because of the 2015 disaster, quarterback ADP tumbled last offseason, allowing us to draft quarterbacks later than ever before. Much of that patience at the position stemmed from how many late-round quarterbacks had success in 2015, which led to a collective overconfidence in our ability to draft late-round winners who’d turn into QB1s.
After a 2016 season that largely saw early QBs succeed and late QBs finish with middling numbers, I want to take another look at how to value QB2s. This entire article will use ADP to define QB1s and QB2s. Thus, QB1s are the first 12 quarterbacks drafted that season, and QB2s are QBs13-24 off the board that year.
First, what can we expect from our QB1 and our QB2? The chart below shows points-per-game numbers for the top-12 QBs alongside their counterparts drafted 13th through 24th. There is a noticeable difference between the top guys, on average, and their later-drafted backups.
Shown differently, here is how wide a gap we have seen between the top-12 QBs and their QB2 compatriots each season:
While we are admittedly painting with a broad brush, you can expect to see a 3- or 4-point gap each week between the top 12 quarterbacks and those drafted 13-24. For some of you, that gap seems small, and it encourages you to wait on the position, grabbing a bigger PPG advantage at other positions. Others of you, however, will see that as an argument for taking a top quarterback or two, to ensure you get those extra points every week.
How about if we take out the elite quarterbacks, who obviously skew our numbers? Below you will find the same style of chart, but this shows the gap between quarterbacks taken 5th through 12th and QB2s (QB13-24).
This suggests a shrinking gap, roughly 2 or 3 points between QBs 5-12 and the QB2 tier. From this data, I doubt whether it is wise to draft a non-elite QB1 rather than waiting to draft guys in the QB2 tier. Is the 2- or 3-point difference worth passing on high-end skill position players? I doubt it.
How Many Points Should I Expect?
To put this in clearer perspective, let’s break out every QB slot and show the average PPG you could expect over the last eight seasons. Hopefully this offers some insight as you determine how long you want to wait to draft your quarterbacks in 2017.
|QB ADP||Average PPG|