Fantasy Football: Quarterback Sleepers and QB Draft Strategy

RADIO.COM

There are more rock-solid quarterback options available in fantasy football than ever before, and the statistics prove it.

In 2018, 20 NFL starting quarterbacks averaged at least 17 fantasy points per game, way up from 11 in 2017 and 14 in 2016. That means you should not pick a QB early in your fantasy draft.

The weekly advantage last year for fantasy teams that had selected a quarterback early was not enough to justify the draft strategy. Aaron Rodgers ranked sixth among quarterbacks in total fantasy points. Tom Brady was 14th. However, the difference was fewer than two fantasy points per week. That’s not enough to justify taking Rodgers early in drafts.

Even if you look at the position on a fantasy-points-per-game basis to account for quarterbacks missing games due to injury, the advantage of drafting a QB early was not enough. DeShaun Watson was fourth in fantasy points per game in 2018. Russell Wilson was 12th. Again, we find that Wilson was fewer than two points per week behind Watson.

With the strategy of waiting to pick a quarterback in 2019 fantasy drafts in mind, here are five prominent QBs who are being overlooked in drafts:

Philip Rivers: Rivers, Wilson and Drew Brees have finished as top-12 QBs in five consecutive seasons. But only one of the three is available after the 8th round in drafts. It’s Rivers, the Los Angeles Chargers mainstay, with an average draft position around the 10th round.

Kirk Cousins: The Minnestoa Vikings quarterback was up and down from week to week in his first season in Minnesota, but he still finished 12th among fantasy QBs, his fourth consecutive season inside the top 12. He joins the three names above as the only ones to do that. Cousins did that despite changing teams and offenses and getting a new offensive coordinator in the middle of the season. Despite his consistent finishes since 2015, his average draft position sits after the 10th round.

Dak Prescott: The Dallas Cowboys' young QB has three consecutive seasons finishing as a top-12 fantasy quarterback. But he’s still being drafted near Cousins very late in drafts, in the double-digit rounds.

Ben Roethlisberger: Big Ben has finished as a top-12 QB in back-to-back seasons, but fantasy football drafters appear to be concerned about the departure of Antonio Brown from the Pittsburgh Steelers. He was the third-best fantasy QB last season after finishing 10th in 2017. Roethlisberger was also top-12 at the position in 2013 and 2014

Jared Goff: In Sean McVay we do not trust (apparently), which seems unwise. Goff, like Roethlisberger, has back-to-back top-12 fantasy QB finishes. He was the No. 7 QB in 2018, improving on his rank of No. 12 in 2017.  Nevertheless, the Los Angeles Rams passer can often be found in the 9th round of drafts.

Don’t forget these consistent quarterbacks in your fantasy drafts this season.

By Stephen Andress (Follow on Twitter