The available player pool is vast in fantasy football. While every player has their price, most drafts will center around 40-50 target players and key avoid players on an owner's draft board. These strong takes for the upcoming season based on average draft position (ADP) sculpt a draft plan. Here is the early draft plan for the quarterback position by May 2017 myfantasyleague.com ADP:
QUARTERBACKS TO TARGET
marcus mariota, qb8
Mariota progressed nicely from Year 1 to 2, boosting his touchdown total by seven and running for more than 350 yards. Despite a mere 30 pass attempts per game, Mariota was a fringe QB1 in 15 games. The Titans added Corey Davis at No.5 in the NFL Draft, plus added move tight end Jonnu Smith in the later rounds. Mariota has arguably done more with less on a fantasy front than all the recent top quarterbacks. Mariota has as much rushing upside as any non-Cam Newton option out there. Mariota's advanced metrics were up across the board in 2016 despite little around him. Mariota is one of the few quarterbacks with top-2 fantasy upside if everything clicks.
carson wentz, qb14
The Eagles were not shy about throwing the ball during Wentz's rookie season to the tune of 608 passes, sixth-most in the NFL. Wentz had rookie growing pains as expected, but prevailed through games of early interceptions to log positive performances. Wentz's weapons were underwhelming in 2016 as Nelson Agholor and Dorial Green-Beckham slogged through a strong snap count with minimal results. With Alshon Jeffery and Torrey Smith added this offseason, Wentz has a substantial weapons upgrade.
philip rivers, qb16
Like Drew Brees, Rivers' track record is far above his 2017 early ADP. Rivers has finished as a top-12 fantasy option in 11-of-13 seasons since becoming the Chargers starter. Rivers was already set to have Keenan Allen returning after missing most of 2016 with an injury. San Diego also took Mike Williams at No.7 in the draft. With Hunter Henry entering Year 2 and Antonio Gates still in his twilight, Rivers has an embarrassment of riches around him. Rivers' 21 interceptions and low completion rate in 2016 are career outliers. Rivers is yet another example of why waiting at quarterback in 2017 is an optimal value play.
eli manning, qb19
Manning finished as a top-8 fantasy quarterback in 2014 and 2015 once Odell Beckham arrived. After a down 2016, Manning is poised to be one of the bigger fantasy values at quarterback based on early ADP. Manning, like Rivers, Wentz, and Mariota received a strong upgrade in weapons this offseason. After acquiring Brandon Marshall on the veteran front, the Giants added Evan Engram in Round 1 of the NFL Draft. Manning has arguably the best quartet of weapons between his top-3 receivers and Engram at tight end. Manning's 2016 in most advanced metrics was his worst season in the past decade. Enjoy the discount and Manning is, at a minimum, part of a power-packed quarterback committee.
QUARTERBACKS TO AVOID
matt ryan, QB9
Kyle Shanahan exiting Atlanta is a cause for concern for the offense as a whole. Plus, Ryan had the highest touchdown rate for qualifying quarterbacks last season, nearly 2% higher than his second-best year-to-date. Also on the interception regression watch list, Ryan is a dicey bet on both fronts. Ryan's historically-strong 9.3 yards-per-attempt last year was his first above 8.0 in his career. Beyond Julio Jones, Atlanta has a weak collection of pass-catchers overall. With a number of better bets 5-10 spots later in positional ADP, Ryan is a clear avoid player in 2017.
kirk cousins, qb12
Cousins is coming off his best fantasy season of his career, QB5, fueled by nearly 5,000 passing yards and four rushing touchdowns. Cousins' rushing touchdowns have been an outlier with nine scores on just 60 attempts over the last two seasons. Outside of Cam Newton and select others, quarterback rushing touchdown regression for typical signal-callers is a strong bet. Cousins also lost DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garcon, his two top target recipients last season. While Washington added Terrelle Pryor (and Josh Doctson missed most of his rookie season with injury), the turnover at wide receiver is present.
deshaun watson, qb18
Betting on rookie quarterbacks is historically not worth the investment. Considering Watson is not a dynamic runner and Houston is a close-to-the-vest offense overall with a strong defense, Watson's odds of hitting QB1 territory are low. With options like Eli Manning and Philip Rivers in a similar QB2 zone, Watson is the stand-out avoid player in the area code.