The best Fantasy owners in the high-stakes market like to cheat the QB position. The quarterback inventory in 2018 has plenty of depth with many back-end QBs featuring WRs with high ranking value. If a WR is well respected in drafts, it only makes sense that his QB should have a reasonable floor. This theory will lead to some surprising late opportunities at the QB position each draft season.
There have been many seasons in the NFL when a QB offers an impact separator score. When this happens, they are worth an early draft pick for sure. It’s a fine line trading RB and WR strength to land a stud QB. Even if you decide to pick a QB between round six and round ten, you could be losing out on a key backup player with upside.
When I start looking at my best options at QB, I’m looking for a team that has three strong WRs, one elite pass catching back, and a solid passing TE. A QB with five options in the passing game will force a defense to defend the whole field leading to upside in yards and TDs.
The changing draft flow and depth at the QB have led to many Fantasy owners waiting on QBs in the scoring system at the World Championships this year. Here’s a look at the ADPs for the top 12 QBs in 2018:
The first QB off the board in 2018 is Aaron Rodgers in most leagues, but his ADP is in a much more favorable area in the last ten drafts in the FFWC. Rodgers can be had early in the fifth round in many drafts, which means a Fantasy owner can eliminate the decision at QB each week while pushing back the RB2, WR3, or TE to the 6/7 turn from an early draft position. By drafting a top QB, a Fantasy owner is trying to gain another edge on his team plus add a high floor in many weeks. This season Aaron has an improved TE in Jimmy Graham, but his WR depth is questionable behind his top two options. His RBs will catch some passes while ranking below the top options in the game. Overall, I would say Rodgers has 3.5 strong options in the passing game. His talent is elite, and he makes the talent around him better.
In 2017, Russell Wilson was the top QB in the land with much of his success coming on the ground. This year the Seahawks are lacking at the TE position with only one reliable option at WR (Doug Baldwin). There’s a chance that Brandon Marshall has one last hurrah in his game, but a Fantasy owner won’t have that information until late August. I’d like to own a running QB as one of my two options on my Fantasy teams in 2018, but I can’t pay full price for Wilson even though he is a special player. Russell has a much wider range of draft value when compared to Aaron Rodgers.
Deshaun Watson gave Fantasy owners a huge edge in TDs (19) over a five-game stretch in his rookie season, but he averaged less than 32 passing attempts per game. Watson only has one elite receiving options while Will Fuller can be explosive with TD ability if he can stay healthy. For me, it’s tough to pay full price for Deshaun after suffering a torn ACL in the middle of 2017. Last year I loved Watson as a sleeper pick at quarterback. In 2018, I have to temper my expectations due to his question health increased draft value and lack of depth at receiving positions.
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I’m intrigued by Cam Newton this season. He has a favorable ADP (88) with a reasonable high (73) and low (106). Newton has a top-notch passing catching, an elite aging TE, and upgrades in talent at WR. Cam is monster on the ground with rushing TD ability. I’d prefer to buy him as a value, which will come with different values in each high-stakes draft.
Tom Brady has had a great career in the NFL, and he does make the players around him better. His ceiling in 2018 has to be tied to the health and explosiveness of Rob Gronkowski. His WR core has depth, but just as many question marks. New England will use their RBs in the passing game, especially in the red zone. Brady will have a favorable draft position, but this train will run off the tracks at some point at the end of his career. Tom is a must follow in early drafts due to his career resume and undervalued price point.
I’m putting Carson Wentz in the same category as Deshaun Watson as far as health concern, but I do trust his upside much better. Wentz will depend on his legs, but he has great talent in the receiving game at WR and TE. Philly may surprise with their success running the ball in the red zone in 2018, which will lower the upside in passing TDs for Wentz. I expect plenty of big plays in the passing game but only league average passing attempts.
This year it will be interesting to see how productive Kirk Cousins is with the Vikings. He’s an extremely accurate QB with sneaky value in TDs at the goal line. His WR core grades well with some depth behind his top two options. Kyle Rudolph is a nice steady TE with scoring ability. More of a matchup option for me than a must-start each week. Minnesota has a top defense, which will keep game score in line in many weeks.
Drew Brees is the wild card QB for me in 2018. He has a long resume of attempting the most passes in the league with 30+ TDs in most seasons. Last year the Saints were the best running team in the league, which led to a drop of 80 to 100 passes per season by Brees. As first, I thought the Saints’ defense would be a strength in 2018, but I don’t feel they have enough overall depth in the defensive side of the ball. New Orleans should regain some of their passing ability this year leading Drew pushing his way closer to 4,800 passing yards with strength in his TDs. He has great options in the passing game at RB with a stud WR1. I’m not a fan of his TE options while Cameron Meredith may be the missing link in the success in WR production. Plug and play option, but a Fantasy owner has to pay close attention to the success of the Saints’ running game early in the year.
I get the love of Jimmy Garoppolo as Fantasy QB based on his winning success in his limited starts in his NFL career. He looks like a QB that will make the players around him better, but I don’t believe he can be an elite option until his receiving gains front end receiving talent at WR and TE. I view him as a tease, and I’ll let him beat me this year unless he falls to the QB2 area in drafts.
Matthew Stafford has one of the better passing opportunities in the game, but he needs to be more productive in TDs in 2018. His front WR corps grades well while having a career resume of throwing to the RB and TE position. His options at TE this year rank below league average, but they may surprise in the red zone in TDs. Stafford will be better this year, but he falls into the matchup category with Kirk Cousins which invites some mistakes in roster management.
Andrew Luck is a QB that will gain some value when Fantasy owners see him on the field. His receiving core has strength at TE and WR1. Luck plays for a team that has a weak defense, which will force him to the air in many games in the second half. His skill set and expected passing attempts per game should point to a must play in most games.
Last year Ben Roethlisberger had a tough schedule over the first half of the year, which led to him being a losing play in many games. Over the last eight games, he rankly highly at the QB position which just shows that a Fantasy owner must reflect on each team’ schedule when evaluating expected value at QB. Roethlisberger has a top pass catching RB and the best WR in the game, which set a high floor with an explosive ceiling if his WR2 and WR3 develop as expected this year. Ben tends to be a better play at home. Excellent late QB with a favorable price point.
The QB position is essential over the long football season, but a lower level QB can match the elite players over the short haul in the championship rounds of the high-stakes market. Review the ADPs of all QBs before sitting at the draft table to help you make better decisions in your draft plan.
For more in-depth write-ups about QBs and all players in 2018, a Fantasy owner has to look no further than my team outlook series where each team’s outlook is complete with updates provided over the summer. View each team in the table of contents below.
2018 NFL Team Outlooks
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