Best Ball Bargain Hunting: Quarterbacks
The Best Ball Bargain Hunting series looks at the ADP differences for players across popular platforms in order to identify players who may be flying under the radar on specific sites. For an explanation of the methodology, check out the running back article that kicked off the series.
A few scoring notes before getting into the analysis:
- Scoring on DRAFT is 25 passing yards per point whereas all other sites are 20 yards. This gives a boost to high-TD and rushing quarterbacks in this format.
- Scoring on MFL10s and Fantrax is -2 per interception, whereas FFPC and DRAFT it’s only -1.
- FFPC is the only site that doesn’t score -2 points for a lost fumble, and QB is the position that fumbles most frequently. Between that and only -1 for an INT, turnover-prone QBs get a slight bump relative to the other sites.
|Player||FFPC - Average||FFPC - MFL10s|
Matt Ryan is currently the QB19 in FFPC drafts, which is two spots behind the average of the other sites. Ryan was a best ball team killer last year, as he was highly drafted after a ridiculous 2016 season. He then failed to exceed two TDs in a single game in 2017. Still, Ryan managed a QB14 finish and has multiple top-12 finishes throughout his career, and hasn’t finished as low as QB19 since 2009. While a rebound to his 2016 numbers is highly improbable — and the oft-derided switch from Kyle Shanahan to Steve Sarkisian may limit his upside — he still has plenty of room for positive regression. The only full-time starters with a higher yards-per-TD ratio last year were Mitchell Trubisky, DeShone Kizer, Marcus Mariota, and Jacoby Brissett. It wouldn’t take much for Ryan to eke into the top-12 QBs, and at a discounted price, FFPC leagues are the best spot to take a chance on that outcome.
Both Sam Darnold and Baker Mayfield come at a significant discount in FFPC. The teams at the top of the draft where they are likely to be selected all have potential starters on the roster, so there’s no guarantee either player would start Week 1, which may be keeping their ADPs down for now.
However, that’s not the case for Lamar Jackson who is actually being drafted ahead of both Darnold and Mayfield, despite being projected as a later pick in the NFL draft. The main reason for this is likely his prowess as a runner, a skill that can immediately translate to fantasy success for rookie QBs. If he gets an opportunity to start, Jackson might have the best chance of the whole rookie class to put up big fantasy weeks which are key in best ball.
FFPC drafters are apparently not too afraid of Andrew Luck’s health, as he’s going a ridiculous six positions higher on average, despite just admitting to not even having thrown a real football yet this offseason. Even if Luck is cleared to play by Week 1, is he going to be the same Luck that we last saw fully healthy way back in 2014? Dr. Budoff isn’t so sure that he will be. If you’re looking to add Luck to your best ball teams, it’s a lot cheaper to do so elsewhere.
You’ll also have to pay a steeper price to roster one of the trendier sleepers in Patrick Mahomes. Will his big arm and the Andy Reid offense immediately make him a top option at the position? It’s possible that the other sites are just slow to catch up to the hype and that he’ll be higher across the board before the season starts, but you’re definitely not getting a discount in FFPC leagues.
One trend to note is just how much more tightly clustered the QB run is in FFPC than the other leagues. In FFPC drafts, the 16 QBs between QB6 and QB21 are being drafted in a span of just 42 picks. The average for the other three sites? 66 picks. With uncertainty about which rookies might force veterans out of jobs, the guaranteed starters are taken fast and furious. Blink and you’ll miss them.
|Player||PD - Average||PD - MFL10s|
If you want exposure to Mahomes, this is the place to get it, as he’s being drafted all the way at QB21.
Surprisingly, Russell Wilson and Marcus Mariota are both going a bit later in this format despite their rushing ability. In Wilson’s case, the player displacing him happens to be Deshaun Watson — also a capable rusher — but it’s hard for me to draft a player with just six NFL starts under his belt over last year’s overall QB1.
If you’re a believer that Tyrod Taylor or A.J. McCarron can hold off likely rookie competition, then they can also be had for relatively cheap.
And what if you’re the lone Josh Allen truther who subscribes to RotoViz? Well, you may have taken a wrong turn somewhere, but DRAFT is the place to pick him up in your best ball leagues.
Derek Carr is going four positions earlier on DRAFT than the average of the other sites. Though Carr was previously overrated, he’s fallen enough that his selection here might make sense — however that requires a belief that Jon Gruden is just trolling everyone with his semi-coherent ravings, and not actually as out-of-touch with the modern game as he seems to be. If I’m making that bet, I prefer to have better odds on it by getting Carr cheaper elsewhere.
Is Ryan Tannehill a reliable late-round QB who can serve as filler for a late-round QB squad, or is he destined to be a casualty in the AFC East scramble for rookie QBs? It’s too early to answer that, but I’m not really planning on paying up for a QB with what would seem to be limited upside until I have a better answer to that question. Roll the dice on a rookie like Mayfield or Jackson instead.
|Player||Trax - Average||Trax - MFL10s|
If you just can’t help yourself and want a piece of Luck, this is where it makes sense to take a shot. He’s going late enough that the risk may justify the potential reward if he can come back anywhere close to full strength.
Watson is no lower than QB3 on the other sites. He’s QB8 here. I lean towards him being overpriced elsewhere, and the QB8 price being more accurate, but you’re looking for big weeks in best ball, and he certainly proved capable of those.
Jimmy Garoppolo has also been riding the hype train up draft boards on the other sites, but remains somewhat affordable on Fantrax.
My favorite bargain here though is Jameis Winston. Being drafted as the QB23 on Fantrax, it won’t take much for Winston to return value at that price. In fact he finished better than that last year despite missing three games. Buy if you can get him at that price.
I like Kirk Cousins this year, but I’m not drafting him as the fourth QB off the board. Ditto for Tom Brady who is being drafted second among QBs. You should be willing to take a shot on either player if they fall to the right spot on other sites, but avoid them on Fantrax if their prices don’t come down.
|Player||MFL10s - Average|
Cousins is being drafted here as QB9, despite finishing last year as the QB5 and now moving to an arguably better offense. In fact, Cousins has finished as the QB5 two years in a row now and was the QB9 in the season prior to that. Garopollo threw 6 TDs and 5 INTs in his five starts last year. I don’t care what kind of galaxy-brain offensive genius Kyle Shanahan might be, the fact that Garopollo is QB8 in MFL10s and being drafted ahead of Cousins strikes me as odd. Both players could have excellent years, but target each of them where they’re at their cheapest.
Cam Newton is being drafted here as the QB7 here despite finishing last year as the QB4. Yes, Carson Wentz outscored Newton on a per-game basis, but Wentz also led the league in TD percentage by a large margin1 and will be entering the season coming off a major injury. Not only is Wentz being drafted earlier, but he’s being drafted earlier by 14 picks — over a full round. Newton is a great target if he continues to sneak in to the ninth round in many MFL10 drafts.
Allen has only been drafted a handful of times, but the guys who did draft him apparently were really excited about him. Don’t be one of those guys.
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- Good chance it regresses (back)