If you’ve played dynasty fantasy for any length of time, you’re familiar with the joyous season of rookie drafts. Those drafts are an annual chance to restock your team. … Inject youth into your lineup, and roll the dice on late-round lottery ticket rookies.
Rookie drafts help dynasty owners get an early advantage on the redraft competition, because they encourage us to study incoming rookies months before casual fantasy players even learn their names. Unfortunately, there is an extreme dearth of information from which to prepare for a rookie draft in a 2QB league. There is not much information on how to fit quarterbacks into the rookie class when your league requires you to start two every week.
Several sites specialize in dynasty fantasy football, and you can find great information on the average draft position (ADP) of incoming rookies. One thing that is often missing, however, is rankings (or ADP) for 2QB leagues. How much should you adjust those lists for your two-quarterback format?
I aggregated what data I could get from 2QB dynasties, in the hope of putting together a rough ADP list. The following numbers are compiled based on 25 drafts from 2015 and 14 drafts from 2014. While that’s far from enough data to be definitive, hopefully this information at least gives you a sense for what is typical. Please note that these leagues are not all the same – some have 10 teams and some 12, some are PPR and some are not, etc. – the only common element among all the leagues is that they require each team to start two quarterbacks.
Below I list every rookie QB drafted at least once in 2QB leagues over the last two years. Next to their names are their rookie draft ADP, along with the highest and lowest spot they were drafted in those leagues.
2015 Rookie Drafts
2015 was a binary class of incoming quarterbacks. You had Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota clearly atop most draft boards, with all other QBs falling far behind. In the late-round cluster, Bryce Petty, Garrett Grayson, and Brett Hundley drew roughly equal attention, depending on owner preference. Sean Mannion was a distant last in this class.
Jameis Winston: 3.09 (High: 1. Low: 8.)
Marcus Mariota: 5.91 (High: 1. Low: 13.)
Although Mariota was the first pick in a handful of 2QB rookie drafts, he fell nearly twice as far as Winston did in most drafts. Questions about his ability to transition to an NFL offense, combined with perceived injury risk, pushed Mariota farther down draft boards than the NFL’s first-overall pick, Jameis Winston.
Bryce Petty: 31.35 (High: 22. Low: 42.)
Garrett Grayson: 31.74 (High: 23. Low: 40.)
Brett Hundley: 37.47 (High: 21. Low: 49.)
Sean Mannion: 42.54 (High: 34. Low: 52.)
2014 Rookie Drafts
Compared to 2015, the 2014 rookie QB class had far more depth. Derek Carr served as the midpoint in a draft with three top picks at the position and several taken much later.
The Elite Three
Teddy Bridgewater: 5 (High: 1. Low: 12.)
Johnny Manziel: 5.79 (High: 1. Low: 18.)
Blake Bortles: 8 (High: 2. Low: 15.)
This trio fascinates me, because of how differently each was perceived then compared to how they are perceived now, almost two years later. The “safest” of the three was Teddy Bridgewater, and his safety likely led to the highest ADP and narrowest range. Never falling below the 12th pick, Bridgewater was viewed as a safe pick even in leagues where QB is devalued. Johnny Manziel was the exact opposite. He was the first choice for owners looking for volatility and rushing upside, but he also fell the farthest in risk-averse leagues. Blake Bortles split the difference, but, interestingly, not even a single league saw him go as the first pick overall.
A Man Apart
Derek Carr: 18 (High: 10. Low: 29.)
I was high on Derek Carr coming into the 2014 season, and I liked the numbers he put up in college. For a variety of reasons, Carr was viewed as a step behind the top three in this class, but there was no doubt he was not in the mediocre pack of quarterbacks drafted after him.
Tom Savage: 31.42 (High: 17. Low: 40.)
Zach Mettenberger: 32.91 (High: 22. Low: 55.)
Jimmy Garoppolo: 37 (High: 23. Low: 47.)
A.J. McCarron: 40.2 (High: 27. Low: 47.)
David Fales: 42.5 (High: 39. Low: 46.)
I caution you against inferring from this data that two or three quarterbacks will be drafted in the top-six of every 2QB rookie draft. Unfortunately, I do not have reliable data for earlier years, but I suspect 2013’s class—headed by Geno Smith and E.J. Manuel—would have had much lower ADPs for the top quarterbacks.
2014 and 2015 were draft classes with highly-touted passers going into situations where they were either guaranteed or at least likely to start in their rookie years. Quarterbacks taken early in the NFL draft and provided opportunity to start early in their career will always be highly valued in 2QB rookie drafts. If either of those two factors is missing, the value is less certain and more league specific.
If your league has deep rosters and almost no quarterbacks on waivers, even shaky rookie prospects will merit an early pick simply on the chance they succeed. But in shallow leagues with many options in free agency, owners gravitate toward wide receivers early in rookie drafts, waiting on quarterback for several picks at least. I suggest you take this ADP data and tailor it to your specific league and to each incoming class of quarterbacks.