Before I start drafting each Fantasy football season, I need to get an understanding of the player pool. I then need to understand the drop downs at each position. There are all different kinds of Fantasy football leagues across the country. For the casual player, most leagues are trading with a playoff system at the end of the year. In most cases, the best team doesn’t necessarily win each season. The goal is to draft a team that has enough depth and enough upside to compete for the league title. Each owner will be dealt a different hand as they will pick from different slots in the draft. Without a top draft selection, most Fantasy owners will have to be creative in gaining edges at different positions to compete for a league or an overall title. One of the first steps, before you sit at the draft table, is developing an understanding what you need out of every position to be a contender. I’m going to go through every position and give you the average player stats to help you understand what it takes to have an edge at a position. Each player’s Fantasy points are based on the Fantasy Football World Championship Scoring.
The Fantasy Football World Championship is a 12-team format with the overall winner in the main event taking home $150,000. My goal as a Fantasy owner is to draft the perfect team that allows me a chance to compete for an overall championship.
This scoring system awards four points for QB passing TDs with 0.05 points for each passing yards. Each rushing and receiving yard is worth 0.10 points. Each reception is worth one point. Each rushing or receiving TD is worth six points.
The tables below show the average scores for the top 12 options at each position over the last four seasons.
The first part of the equation is learning the gaps and edges of each position. Here are the average position scores for all 11 starting roster slots for the Fantasy Football World Championship over the last four seasons:
These scores can be used as targets for each position. A winning team will need to have an edge at multiple positions to win their league plus their roster will need depth while having success managing your team through bye weeks and injuries. The goal in this format is to score more than 145 fantasy point per week. If you do this, you will finish in the top four in your league with a chance to win your league championship. The best teams in the competition will average over 165 points.
In 2017, there was a shape decline in offense in the NFL leading to the average scores at the starting positions in the World Championships to fall to 137.41 Fantasy points. I expect 2018 to return to the previous levels set in 2013 (147.17), 2014 (145.69), 2015 (144.35), and 2016 (143.78) despite the downward trend.
Here’s a look at the best QB options over the last four seasons:
In 2017, the average quarterback in the NFL passed for 239.2 yards per game with 21.20 completions on 34.16 pass attempts, which led to 1.45 TDs per game with 0.84 Ints. These stats translate into just under 20.0 Fantasy points per game in leagues that award four points for each passing touchdown and 0.05 for each 20 yards passing. The overall number would be slightly higher as most quarterbacks do have some rushing yards each week plus some rushing TD production. The top 12 QBs over the last four years have averaged between 20.94 and 23.14 Fantasy points per game with 2017 delivering the lowest output.
Over 16 games during the NFL regular season, the average QB production would deliver about 285 Fantasy points in four-point TD leagues and 325 in six-point TD leagues. As is the nature of the NFL, quarterbacks will miss games or lose their jobs, so these point totals are delivered by the team passing yards, TDs, and rushing yards.
Nineteen QBs scored over 300 fantasy points per game in this scoring system in 2016, but that total fell to 13 QB last year. In 2017, Russell Wilson had a 74 points edge (4.6 per game) over the bottom six top 12 QBs while outscoring Tom Brady (2nd highest QB in 2017) by 3.00 Fantasy points per game.
The average score for the top 12 quarterbacks was 335.01 Fantasy points last season or 20.94 fantasy points per game. The average of the top four quarterbacks in 2016 in this format was 403.6 Fantasy points, which was almost identical to 2015 (403.7). Last season that number fell to 361.55 Fantasy points.
In 2015, QBs passed for 842 TDs (highest NFL history). That number fell to 741 in 2017 with a rebound in rushing TDs (425 – only 365 in 2015 and 380 in 2016). Over the last five seasons, there have been 1,214 (2013), 1,187 (2014), 1,207 (2015), 1,219 (2016), and 1,121 rushing and passing TDs scored. Last year was the lowest overall scoring season in the NFL since I started tracking the data in 2010.
The NFL changed the rules for kickoffs in 2018, which may lead to better field position and ultimately higher scoring.
The QB position is a dynamic position, but it is one where a weaker QB can match a top QB over the short periods in league championship rounds, which is why many top Fantasy owners in this type of format will wait on a QB. By doing this, they will have the ability to be stronger in one of their other starting roster slots.
I’ve never been a very good matchup manager at the QB position, which leads me to draft a stronger QB and ride him out throughout the season.
Of all the positions on a Fantasy team, the QB position will offer the most points in the free agent pool. In any given week, a backend QB could put up 20+ points, which is another reason to wait on the QB position.
A team that punts the quarterback position will be giving up three to ten Fantasy points per week at the position to the top four teams in the league. I know the goal for someone that waits on the quarterback position is to find the next breakout quarterback. In this strategy, it is important to roster more QB depth on draft day to give your Fantasy team more outs at the QB position. The downside with this is the week-to-week mistakes in decision making by starting the wrong option.
Here’s a look at the result of the top 12 backup QBs over the last four seasons:
Observation: If a Fantasy owner decides to select a quarterback early, he is looking for an edge at the position plus he wants to eliminate the decision-making process each week at the quarterback position. A player that waits for a midrange quarterback is looking to gain an edge at RB or WR. For a Fantasy owner that wants to push the envelope at quarterback, he is hoping to gather enough depth at other positions so he can have an edge when replacing injured players or even covering his best players when they are on bye weeks. When waiting on a quarterback position, it works best when there isn’t a wide gap of scoring at the quarterback position. In 2010, the leading quarterback in this scoring system had only 356.70 Fantasy points. The quarterback gaps were much tighter, which would allow a person that waited at the quarterback position to have an advantage. This year the quarterback position has some upfront talent with enough firepower to gain an edge at the position, but the backend of QBs looks extremely deep with some underlying upside.
Based on our early projections at ScoutFantasySports, here are the expected gains or losses for the top QBs in 2018:
Only Aaron Rodgers projects to have an edge (56.8) over the average top QB scores (20.94) from the 2017 data if you believe in my projections while still have a high probability of beating my outlook. The early projection will change a lot over the summer with each bit of training camp news and injury update. There are multiple QB with talent and upside, which invites breakout options later in the draft.
When looking to draft your starting QB in 2017, a Fantasy owner should be looking to see which QBs have the most receiving depth. The best QBs in the game over history had five top receiving options. The goal is to identify the teams with the most pass-catching talent while understanding the direction of a team’s offense in the passing game.
If you would like to see the full projections for all the offensive players in the NFL in 2018, they are coming soon exclusively at ScoutFantasySports.com!
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