Stud QB or QBBC?

Footballguys staff members discuss how to approach the quarterback position

Welcome to the 2015 Footballguys Discussion series, where we get a few staff members and toss them an open-ended question. Check out their answers.

Do you prefer spending a high pick on a stud quarterback or going with a QBBC? Explain.

Jeff Pasquino: I think you can do both, which is a bit of a hedge of an answer, I know, but I will pass on Luck and Rodgers and try and find a comparable quarterback later. With Ben Roethlisberger, Tony Romo, Matt Ryan, Matthew Staffor and even Tom Brady available between Rounds 5 and 8, I do not see why you would spend up for Luck or Rodgers and cost your team a feature running back or a stud WR1. As far as going for a QBBC, I do prefer getting two solid (Top 20) quarterbacks, so while that is not a true QBBC approach (taking two in QB10-15 range) I will not try and wait too long for securing a solid QB2.

Andy Hicks: It depends on my draft slot, who I already have, scoring systems, my competitors etc.

Unlike previous years where there were up to 5 or 6 stud QBs, this year you can only truly have two in Aaron Rodgers and Andrew Luck. There are six or seven behind them that are likely to be true QB1s, but Rodgers and Luck are the only real studs this year. To get either you are going to have to spend a 2nd round pick, 3rd if you're lucky, on them. To get any of the next 6 or 7 you'll be spending a 4th to 7th rounder on them.

If you are playing the QBBC game, then you enter the equation in the 8th round onwards.

In drafts this year I have already done both. My lineup looks much stronger with the QBBC approach, but getting Rodgers makes up for the lack of an RB2 or WR3 in my opinion.

In essence it is very difficult to plan to take a quarterback with your 2nd pick going in to a draft. What if Rodgers and Luck go just before your pick? Do you take Wilson in the 3rd just to make sure or change gears and wait? Planning is important, but you have to adapt quickly to your unique draft and change strategy if required.

Daniel Simpkins: I’ll probably get tomatoes and other assorted rotten fruit thrown at me for this answer, but it really depends on your format and the dynamics of your league. It’s important to keep the tendencies of your league mates in mind and to be flexible with your strategy when things take an unexpected turn. Let me give you a perfect example. I’m in a friends and family league that’s non-PPR and awards six points per passing touchdown. As a result, quarterbacks tended to be overvalued in years past, with as many as five or six going off the board in the first round. I ended up with the fifth selection in this year’s draft. I was sure I was going to have a shot at one of Le’Veon Bell, Peterson, Lynch, or Charles.

To my surprise, all four went off the board before me. I’m not a fan of taking Lacy or Gronk that early, so I had a real dilemma on my hands. I decided to do the unthinkable for a “fantasy expert” and take Andrew Luck in the first round. I wasn’t feeling comfortable with any option but Luck at that point, and I believe it’s really important to follow your gut in those instances. I reasoned that Luck would give me a positional advantage, but also has unknown upside because of all the weapons that have been added around him.

As an added and underrated bonus, his selection would also save an extra roster spot I would have used on a third quarterback if I had done my usual QBBC strategy. Additionally, I knew that even though my league mates had been uncharacteristically patient and not taken a quarterback till that point, taking one off the board had the potential to insight a run that would allow me to regain ground at running back and wide receiver in the second and third rounds. My hunch turned out to be correct. Rogers went the pick after mine. Manning was a surprise pick right after Rogers.

The next wave came in the third round with Romo, Roethlisberger, and Brees. Was taking Luck really high my plan headed into this draft? No way! But when things didn’t go chalk, I decided to take what the draft was giving me. As a result, I think I ended up with the best team I’ve ever drafted in my many years in this league!

Chad Parsons: As the years pass, I have morphed into one of the most devout late-round quarterback drafters this side of the Mississippi. The astute Steve Gallo (penned this masterpiece on quarterback value) and I even discussed a game of chicken at quarterback during the day of Flex League drafts in 2014. I waiting until the final round - even taking kicker and defense before my first quarterback - to 'settle' for Ryan Tannehill. Things worked out fine that season. The quarterback position is deeper than ever. When settling into redraft strategy in August, my first order of business is surveying the landscape of each position's ADP. At quarterback, I glance at names in the 10-15 range and guage my reaction. This year names like Tony Romo, Ryan Tannehill, Eli Manning, Philip Rivers, and even Matthew Stafford are in the area code.

With those as default options once every other owner has their starting options, why press the position in any capacity? Heck, I am fine waiting for options like Carson Palmer, Joe Flacco, or Sam Bradford beyond the top-15. Knowing a late-round quarterback approach comes with more early-season flexibility is also key. Drafting a top-10 option will come with more attachment to ride out a cold snap early in the season due to the cost of investment. Going cheap means riding optimal matchups, ideally landing on a consistent option along the way. When compressing the late-round quarterback landscape down to Week 1, Sam Bradford gets Atlanta in the dome and Carson Palmer gets New Orleans in Arizona of note.

Stephen Holloway: I agree with several that have already expressed the caveat that this choice is greatly dependent on league size and scoring. However, for a general answer I think that Jeff hit the nail on the head that there are several potentially elite quarterbacks that should be available several rounds after Luck and Rodgers, the consensus top tier guys. . This year, I prefer to be patient and try to get one of Roethlisberger, Romo or Eli Manning. Even if I fail to get one of these, I'd be happy drafting Tom Brady and then looking for one of Carson Palmer, Joe Flacco, or Derek Carr as my stop-gap until Brady comes off suspension. I also agree with Jeff that I do not have a goal of developing a QBBC to platoon all year long. I am more looking for those players that I feel are capable of producing QB1 numbers at a decreased cost so that my team can have dominant wide receivers or running backs.

Dan Hindery: When making the tough draft day decisions comparing the top remaining player at one position to the top remaining player at another position, it all comes down to how much each player outscores (on a per game basis) a "replacement level" player (PPGaR) at his own position. Looking specifically at the top QB, Andrew Luck projects to score about 7 PPGaR. In other words, if your opponent has a replacement level QB (a low end QB1 or high end QB2) and you have Luck, you should have an advantage of about 7 points heading into the week at the QB position (on average). While 7 points is a pretty big advantage, it is less than the advantage provided by the elite RBs and WRs (all of whom project to 8-11 PPGaR). Thus, I wouldn't take Luck until the mid-late 2nd round. Once A.J. Green, Jordy Nelson and players in that tier are gone, Luck probably becomes the top option and a good pick if he lasts until around 20th overall. Luck projects to provide you a bigger weekly advantage than players like Jeremy Hill, DeMarco Murray, Randall Cobb and Alshon Jeffery.

The next player on the list is Aaron Rodgers (4.5 PPGaR) and he should be the best available player sometime in the late 3rd round to early 4th round range. Russell Wilson (3 PPGaR) is a solid value in the 5th round. Ben Roethlisberger and Drew Brees (both ~2.5 PPGaR) become strong options in the 6th round.

After the top five passers though, it makes sense to wait for a while to take your starting QB. From QB6 all the way to QB18, there exists a huge cluster of passers all projected to score within about 1 PPG of each other. For example, it makes little sense to reach for Peyton Manning (projected for 21 PPG) when Eli Manning (20 PPG) is available many rounds later. There should be players at other positions with higher PPGaR than the QBs once Roethlisberger is off the board.

As long as you can get one of those top 18 starting QBs, you should be in very good shape at the position because quarterback is just so deep right now. Especially because while your opponents are snagging QBs in the mid-rounds, you can stock up on RBs, WRs and TEs with higher comparative PPGaR projections. Your 15 PPG wide receiver and 20 PPG quarterback will outperform your opponents 12 PPG wide receiver and 21 PPG quarterback most weeks.

Jason Wood: A lot of my fellow staffers have made the astute point that no two leagues are equal. And I also agree with most that you can win a fantasy league going either route; it's all about understanding relative value at a given point in your draft. I'd like to take a bit of a different tact though and say that I think the wait-on-quarterback mantra has become lazy analysis. I'm not accusing anyone here of being lazy, but I will say that it's almost the UNIVERSAL advice to callers on the radio, Twitter questions, forum questions, or anywhere else that they should WAIT ON QUARTERBACK. That's simply ridiculous. If I'm in a league and Andrew Luck falls to me in the 3rd round, it would be asinine to tell people to wait simply because there are other quarterbacks available. was built upon the presmie of Value-Based Drafting. We were the first fantasy minds in the world to explain to people how to value different positions against one another on draft day. To suggest that QB12 is as valuable as QB1 is not only faulty, but it's stastistically indefensible. You have such an advantage if you end up with the top quarterback; it's not much different than having the top receiver or running back.

This year, the projected relative value of Andrew Luck argues he should be a first round pick in every league. Since you can probably get him in the second, he's worth taking pretty much every single draft. I would say that Luck and Rodgers are both worth having in the 3rd no matter the format. Know your league, and get a sense by looking at prior year's draft results when quarterbacks start to come off the board. Use that to your advantage.

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