Learning From My Mistakes: The (Too) Late Round Quarterback Strategy

We all learn from our mistakes, right? Well, the same is true for fantasy football. It’s how you become a better player. I made some strategic and player evaluation mistakes last year in 2012. I would like to address them.

Last week I decided to get the first mistake I made last year out of the way. Here’s another:

#2 – Drafting a Quarterback TOO LATE (aka Philip Rivers).

Philip Rivers sacked ffdrivethru fantasy football

Philip Rivers was knocked around to the tune of 49 sacks and 7 lost fumbles in 2012.

I always have and certainly this year support and employ the Late Round Quarterback Strategy in fantasy football drafts of all league size. Much has been written about this strategy and very extensively in fact by Mr. JJ Zachariason (@LateRoundQB) , author of The Late Round Quarterback e-book. It’s an imformative strategy guide and great read in general, updated every season, for any fantasy football nerd out there or someone looking to step up their game and dominate their drafts.

In a nut shell, drafting a quarterback in the mid to late rounds as opposed to drafting one of the perceived “elite” or “stud” fantasy quarterbacks should instead allow you to build your team with a strong core of top of the crop running backs and wide receivers. While some fantasy players’ logic on quarterbacks is that they score the most points, therefore you should draft one of the highest scoring quarterbacks, if you are smart you know why that logic is flawed.

In the overwhelming majority of leagues, you only start one quarterback. The depth of the talent pool and the high scoring potential is greater with quarterbacks when compared to running backs and wide receivers. The difference in fantasy points scored per week between the top fantasy quarterback that carries an ADP in the first 2-3 rounds and a quarterback you could have drafted instead in of the mid to late rounds is minimal. For example:

  • Quarterback A - Passing Yards: 4,827  Touchdowns: 34  Fantasy Points Per Week (ESPN): 21
  • Quarterback B -  Passing Yards: 4,903  Touchdowns: 29  Fantasy Points Per Week (ESPN): 17

Quarterback A (Tom Brady) had an ADP of about the 5th overall pick in 2012. Quarterback B (Tony Romo) had an ADP of about 65th overall in 2012. The difference between a 1st round fantasy quarterback and a 6th round fantasy quarterback last year in this situation was only 4 extra points per week.

What is key in the late round quarterback strategy is that you are reaping the benefits of drafting 2-3 potentially top running back or wide receivers within their respective positions instead of taking a quarterback in the first few rounds that barely outperforms a quarterback taken much later. The top running backs and wide receivers that are typically taken in the first 4 rounds consistently and massively overproduce their positional counterparts taken in the later rounds.

When it comes down to it, drafting a quarterback in the first few rounds handicaps your team from the start.

How Will I Learn From This?

So what was my mistake in 2012 utilizing this strategy of waiting to draft a quarterback? Well, simply put, I waited too long.

In my main money league from 2012 I had a good plan going into the draft, which included waiting on quarterback. I was targeting either Tony Romo, Matt Ryan or Philip Rivers. Now, living in Texas presents an anomalous aspect to fantasy football draft day. You just really never know when Dallas Cowboys players will be taken, given the large number of Cowboys fans (Hey, we love our Cowboys here, what can I say?). Needless to say, Romo was hugely over-drafted in this particular league.

Matt Ryan was right in my sights in the draft, right where I wanted to draft him. The problem though, was the Matt Ryan Hype Train had hit full steam already by that point and another owner took him a round earlier than his going ADP. So…that left me with my next target, Philip Rivers.

What a bumpy ride that Philip Rivers was last year. It seemed like he could never stay on his feet long enough to make a throw and then when he did, it was intercepted. He finished as the 21st highest scoring fantasy quarterback in ESPN.com leagues. Generally, I try not to over-draft a player by too much than his going ADP. Staying within a player’s ADP within a reasonable range is how you grab value in drafts, but in certain circumstances it can also hurt your team as a whole.

Looking back, would I have liked to draft my starting quarterback rather than my 4th wide receiver in the 7th round? Well, hell yes, because I ended up with terrible Philip Rivers. Reaching just slightly for Matt Ryan would have greatly benefited that particular team in 2012. As we have written about before, reaching past ADP isn’t always a bad thing.

This year, I will surely have Philip on the brain and be much more cognizant of waning options. I’ll still be waiting to draft a quarterback, but maybe not quite as long.

For more fantasy football advice, rants and musings find us on Facebook.com/FFDriveThru and follow @FFDriveThru on Twitter.

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One response to “Learning From My Mistakes: The (Too) Late Round Quarterback Strategy

  1. Pingback: Full 2013 Fantasy Football Mock Draft, 12 Teams (Version 2.0) – Sideline Mob·

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