Upside Only: Swinging for the Fences at Quarterback

Downside and risk shouldn't be factors when evaluating and selecting quarterbacks in fantasy football.

This article is about a 6-minute read.

Selecting quarterbacks late in fantasy football is far from revolutionary. But with high-upside quarterbacks climbing the ranks and tempting fantasy managers to select them early, consider this article a reminder that the late-round quarterback strategy is built on years of data and can still work in 2020. Last year's version of this article had Lamar Jackson as the cover boy (nailed it!) but also mentioned Cam Newton (not so much), Kyler Murray (yes, sir), and Dak Prescott (incredible value). For more detail on why it's worth waiting to select a quarterback, please go back to last year and view the graphs and charts.

As mentioned last year, these are the reasons why the late-round quarterback strategy works:

  1. Positional Scarcity
  2. Flat Scoring Distribution at Quarterback
  3. Quarterback is a Predictable Position
  4. Quarterback is a Replaceable Position

Please note that all assumptions in this article are based on typical league setups (i.e. one-quarterback leagues with 18 or fewer roster spots).

Positional Scarcity

Here are the starting players in a 12-team fantasy league vs. how many available NFL starters there are at each position.

Position Fantasy Starters NFL Starters*
QB 12 24
RB 24-36 48
WR 36-48 52
* The "NFL Starters" column assumes that certain passing offenses aren't palatable in typical leagues (hence the reduction from 32 at quarterback and 64 at receiver) and makes assumptions that committee/third-down running backs are fantasy relevant (thus, a number greater than 32).

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