When Should You Draft a Quarterback in 2021 Fantasy Football?

When Should You Draft a Quarterback in 2021 Fantasy Football?

Ryan Knuppel
3 years ago
3 min read
When Should You Draft a Quarterback in 2021 Fantasy Football?

By now, you know how it goes in fantasy football drafts. Draft running backs and wide receivers early, and draft plenty of them. By doing that, addressing the quarterback position usually doesn’t happen until the middle of your draft at the earliest, causing some managers to wonder if they waited too long.

Well, not only is it okay to wait on a quarterback, it’s encouraged! In fact, waiting until the later rounds to draft a quarterback may actually put you in a position to dominate your league. Here are some reasons why:

Lots of Options

Every year, more and more quarterbacks become players who can rack up 20 or more fantasy points per game. In 2017, the number of QBs who averaged that total was only three. However, last season, 10 QBs reached that number.

Some of them, like Patrick Mahomes and Lamar Jackson, were high picks taken within the first few rounds. However, many others, including Josh Allen, Ryan Tannehill, and Justin Herbert, were picked in the later rounds. A guy like Herbert, a rookie, originally slated to start the year as a backup, wasn’t even drafted in most standard fantasy leagues.

In addition to the ten who averaged 20 or more fantasy points in 2020, 17 more averaged anywhere between 15 and 19.9 points per game. That shows you that ultimately, the difference between the top tier of QBs and the middle of the pack is actually quite small.

Diamonds in the Rough

Along the lines with the first point, every year, there seems to be a quarterback or two who enjoys a breakout campaign after low to moderate fantasy expectations. A guy like Allen comes to mind, as the Buffalo signal-caller started off as many owners’ QB2 before eventually becoming one of the top fantasy quarterbacks in football.

Last year’s MVP Aaron Rodgers was ranked 15th among quarterbacks going into last season according to ESPN’s fantasy rankings, while Tannehill was ranked 20th. Now, the two of them are top-10 quarterbacks who fantasy owners will look to build around.

We’ve seen similar things happened to Jackson in 2019, Mahomes in 2018, Carson Wentz in 2017; the list goes on and on. While it doesn’t always work out that well, finding that breakout quarterback late often leads to huge success.

Load Up Elsewhere

There is a reason as to why running backs and wide receivers are the hot commodities in fantasy football. Between their yard bonuses, points-per-reception, and six-point touchdowns, making sure you end up with elite options is vital for success.

However, a problem some managers run into is when they wait on drafting RB/WR in favor of an elite quarterback. Sure they grabbed Mahomes, but now they have to settle for Melvin Gordon or David Johnson as their RB2 when everyone else has already snagged the top options. Then they get forced into drafting running backs to try to make up for any value lost, but then the wide receiver position becomes neglected.

Long story short, there is a great distance between the top running back and the 15th running back or the 15th with the 30 running back. So making sure you get quality and quantity at those two positions is the most proven route for fantasy success.

Playing the Waiver Wire

Even if you wait on a quarterback and he doesn’t pan out the way you had hoped, your fantasy season is far from over. More and more, we are seeing how “streaming” the quarterback position on a weekly basis can be a recipe for success.

More than any other sport, matchups matter in football and therefore matter in fantasy football. I could have Matthew Stafford as my QB1, but he has a tough matchup against the 49ers coming up. So instead, I go to the waiver wire and find Kirk Cousins, who has dynamic weapons around him and is going up against a porous Falcons defense.

Playing the matchup game requires a lot more work than just drafting Lamar Jackson and starting him every week regardless of opponent. But unlike any other position, the quarterback is where you can right the wrong of a missed draft pick each week with a different player and never really lose a beat.

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