Draft Recommendation: Drafting two quarterbacks between the eighth and tenth round proves to be a much better strategy than drafting one of the top quarterbacks.
One of the questions that many fantasy football players ask themselves is when to draft their starting quarterback. Many sites suggest waiting before drafting your starting QB because there is generally good value in later rounds. In our Average Draft Position Analysis Article we came to the conclusion that the two groups that have value at QB are the top three and the 13 to 16 group. However, the problem with the 13 to 16 range is that there are some risky picks in that group so this made us think: what if we selected two QBs in that 13 to 16 range to increase our chances of finding a big sleeper and reduce the risk of being left without a starter? In the following article we will compare the strategy of drafting a top QB with a below average backup to the strategy of drafting two QBs in the 13 to 16 range.
Based on our analysis, a top QB and a below average backup will earn on average 27 more points than two QBs in the 13 to 16 range. However, those calculations assume that between your starter and your backup you will have started the QB who will have the most points at the end of the season in all weeks. There is however one additional advantage of having two good QBs which is that you can adjust for matchups and start the one which you believe has the most favorable matchup every week.
We decided to look at weekly statistics from the last three years to see which strategy would have been better if you started your QB with the most points every single week. That advantage drops from 27 points to only 2 points. If you pick the best starter in most weeks (but not all) we estimate that advantage to be somewhere between 10 and 15 points.
It is still early but at this point the QBs in the 13 to 16 range are Carson Palmer, Matt Cassel, Eli Manning and Matt Hasselbeck. Matt Schaub and David Garrard are also around that range, both of whom are QBs that we believe could be undervalued this season. As shown in the article above, you can expect to earn about 10 to 15 fewer points from a QB duo composed of two of those QBs than you would with Brees, Manning or Brady and a weaker backup. The difference is that you might spend a ninth round pick on Cassel and a tenth round pick on Garrard as opposed to a second or third round pick on Brees, Manning or Brady. If you selected a WR like Reggie Wayne or Marques Colston in the second or third round instead of a top QB, you would be at a slight disadvantage at the QB position but would gain a large advantage at the WR position.
A final advantage that you can gain from picking your QBs later is that you have more players to pick from. Most websites have the top QBs ranked in the same order and if, like last year, Brady is injured and Manning does not have his best season, you could be in trouble. In our rankings last season, we had Jay Cutler ranked 5th, David Garrard 6th, Matt Schaub 11th, Aaron Rodgers 13th and Kurt Warner 14th, all five of those QBs had an average draft position at least five spots lower than where we ranked them. At the end of the year, four of the five finished in the top ten. We might not be as lucky this season but even if you pick any two QBs in the 13 to 16 range, you will gain an advantage over your opponents.