Best Ball Strategy: Quarterback Deep Dive - Footballguys

Looking over the past two years of data we want to look at the floors and ceilings of the quarterback position.

Fellow Footballguy, Justin Howe kicked off our Best Ball coverage just last week with his article titled Best Ball Fantasy Football: A Primer. It's now time to follow up that with a series of articles that will break down each position over the past two years with a focus on player's weekly production. In Best Ball, the key is both to look for players who will give you a steady stream of fantasy points week in and week out but also on the flip side you want to find the players at each position that can also deliver big spike weeks along the way. That being said we will be looking at players floors and ceilings in this exercise and seeing if we can find value Best Ball plays along the way. We will break down the players weekly fantasy production over the past two years (32 games) using DRAFT scoring and look at Top 20, Top 12, and Top 5 weeks for each player.

First up we are going to look at the quarterback position and try to find any potential values, must-haves, floor players, or high ceiling players. The chart below we are focusing on finding the quarterbacks that have the highest ceiling which we will evaluate by how many top-five fantasy weeks they had at the position over the past two seasons.

Quarterback
DRAFT ADP
Stats from the Last Two Seasons (32 Regular-Season Games Possible)
(on 7/17)
Games Played
Top 20
Top 12
Top 5
Top 12 %
Top 5 %
65
32
24
18
15
56.3%
46.9%
39
23
22
18
10
78.3%
43.5%
58
7
6
6
3
85.7%
42.9%
72
32
24
17
9
53.1%
28.1%
100
32
26
15
9
46.9%
28.1%
112
16
14
13
4
81.3%
25.0%
90
32
26
15
8
46.9%
25.0%
88
29
20
13
7
44.8%
24.1%
75
31
22
13
7
41.9%
22.6%
108
32
25
16
7
50.0%
21.9%
111
29
22
17
6
58.6%
20.7%
150
29
20
14
6
48.3%
20.7%
162
26
14
8
5
30.8%
19.2%
139
32
23
17
6
53.1%
18.8%
121
32
29
15
6
46.9%
18.8%
208
17
10
5
3
29.4%
17.6%
132
30
20
14
5
46.7%
16.7%
160
32
26
12
5
37.5%
15.6%
183
13
7
4
2
30.8%
15.4%
124
30
22
12
4
40.0%
13.3%
185
30
23
11
4
36.7%
13.3%
118
32
28
16
4
50.0%
12.5%
128
24
13
6
3
25.0%
12.5%
146
30
18
10
3
33.3%
10.0%
107
12
6
4
1
33.3%
8.3%
153
31
15
8
2
25.8%
6.5%
173
32
20
14
2
43.8%
6.3%
203
32
16
7
2
21.9%
6.3%
147
13
4
2
0
15.4%
0.0%

High-Ceiling Quarterbacks

The three names at the top are no surprise as far as upside goes with Russell Wilson, Aaron Rodgers, and Deshaun Watson leading the position. Before looking at any numbers you would assume that Aaron Rodgers would be top of this list but he actually comes in second behind Russell Wilson. Wilson was a top-five scorer at the quarterback position 15 out of 32 games over the past two seasons for a high of 46.9%. He was almost a top-five-or-nothing type of scorer at the position because he only added a top-12 scorer on 3 of his other 17 games. If you are looking at Wilson in Best Ball you will want to pair him with a cheaper ADP play such as Dak Prescott who finished a top-12 scorer 53.1% of the time and could help fill the void of the games that Wilson might struggle in.

Kirk Cousins looks to be the best value for high ceiling plays at quarterback as he has an ADP of 100 but is tied with Tom Brady with 28.1% of his games as top-five performances. He makes an excellent DRAFT selection in the 9th or 10th round to use as your QB1 and not having to overpay for one of the higher priced options and most importantly he allows you to load up on the running back and wide receiver positions.

Matthew Stafford and Ben Roethlisberger are the other two options in the Cousins range that make some sense to draft and that you won't have to break the bank on in the earlier rounds. Stafford gives you 22% of his weeks as a top-five quarterback but also backs that up with 50% of the time landing as a 12 option at the position. His current ADP is 108 and would be a nice pairing with Cousins if you drafted both in rounds 9-11. Ben Roethlisberger is similar value at an ADP of 111 but offers a slight worry with missing three games out of 32 over the last two seasons. He has a 21% chance of hitting as a top-five fantasy quarterback and a 58.6% rate of a top 12 option. The top midrange ADP plays to target have both a high floor and ceiling but their ADP is affordable.

High-Floor Quarterbacks

Looking at some of the best floor plays that you won't have to overspend with on DRAFT, you will want to take a look at the likes of Ben Roethlisberger, Dak Prescott, Matthew Stafford, Philip Rivers, Kirk Cousins, Matt Ryan, Jameis Winston, Alex Smith, Andy Dalton, and Blake Bortles. In determining the high floor type of players it is best to look at their top 12 numbers from the previous two seasons and draw conclusions from there. In seven games Deshaun Watson crushed finishing with six games and 85.7% rate of a top 12 week. The sample with him is too small right now and with him coming back from injury there might be too much risk to put him in the high floor tier. Andrew Luck is in a similar situation as he finished with 81.3% rate of a top 12 option two years ago, but with so many unknowns with his health leading up to the season, it might be best to let others roster him on their best ball teams.

If you want to pay up for safety and upside all in one, Aaron Rodgers would be your option as he has a 78.3% rate of top 12 performances and 43.5% chance of a top five week. When chasing floor plays the goal is to find value later in the draft and not have to overpay for the production. We want to look at players in the rounds 9-12 ADP range that give us a strong weekly floor.

The goal here is to find the guys that you like from the list and try to target a couple of them starting in the 10th round. If you wanted a third quarterback to roster the likes of Winston, Smith, Bortles, or Dalton all make great options at significant discounts. Dalton intrigues me the most as a QB3 as he has only had 2-out-of-32 games where he put in top five numbers but his 43.8% rate as a weekly top 12 option jumps off the page at his ADP of 173.

Quarterback Outliers

It is hard to know where to draft these players in a Best Ball format because of how important roster construction is and how each of your 18 roster spots on DRAFT are so important. Patrick Mahomes II is the one here that offers very little risk out of the bunch and should be drafted with confidence. Deshaun Watson is an interesting case as he dominated the fantasy world in his seven games played last year putting up three top-five weeks and six top-12 weeks. Andrew Luck has shown in the past that he is a top-five type of quarterback but with so much still up in the air with him heading into the season, he might be a guy you will want to avoid and let others draft him at his current ADP. Jameis Winston still offers some good upside if you can stomach the three games missed and he might be a good compliment second quarterback if you draft your first quarterback early such as Rodgers or Wilson. He would also make some sense if you drafted him as your third quarterback and felt like you didn't have to rely on him early on in the season.