Fantasy Football Strategy: Drafting a Quarterback Early

by Joey Korman | Featured Writer
Jun 9, 2018

Aaron Rodgers deserves your consideration as a third round selection in fantasy drafts

Outside of two-QB leagues, the “Drafting a Quarterback Early” strategy isn’t one of the more popular strategies in fantasy football. Year after year, we witness quarterbacks that could be found on waivers turn into fantasy stars. It’s easy to forget that Matt Ryan in 2016 and Carson Wentz last year could both be found on waiver wires at the beginning of the season in 12-team leagues.

Being able to find late-round or waiver wire gems at a position that typically only fields one player has made it trendy to wait, wait, and wait some more to draft a quarterback. I was all aboard that last season and I may be once again as there are a handful of quarterbacks that I will be targeting that are currently being drafted among the lower half of QBs in the league (Marcus Mariota, Jameis Winston, Dak Prescott, and Mitch Trubisky).

Get expert advice during your draft with our fantasy football draft software >>

However, that doesn’t mean I’m against drafting a signal caller early if the situation calls for it. First, we need to define what “early” is. Drafting a quarterback within the top 24 picks in a one-QB league is ill-advised as Aaron Rodgers is currently the 33rd overall pick according to FantasyPros Consensus ADP.

Therefore, let’s define “early” as anywhere in the third round of a 10 or 12-team league (fourth round for eight-team leagues). For the 2018 season, there is no reason to draft any quarterback that early except for Aaron Rodgers and Deshaun Watson (ADP 37) since Tom Brady is currently being drafted third among QBs with an ADP of 57.

Now that we have narrowed down who you should draft and when you should select them, if you decide to take the plunge on the “Early QB Strategy,” then all that’s left is to determine whether to do it or not. If you feel strongly that Aaron Rodgers is going to have one of his MVP years, then by all means, go ahead and draft him. However, there are two other situations in which you may be better served passing on a wide receiver or running back in favor of a quarterback:

  • You are confident that you can secure your WR & RB positions with late-rounders and waiver wire gems. Maybe you have a knack for finding the Alvin Kamaras and Jordan Howards of the world. However, you also may be passing up the chance to draft somebody who could have a Todd Gurley or Kareem Hunt-like year.
  • You know the running back or wide receiver you would draft will still be there when you pick next.

That’s basically the criteria. As for 2018, I wouldn’t touch Deshaun Watson within the top 40 picks (I don’t draft players who suffer significant knee injuries in the middle of the previous season, regardless of “how good they reportedly look”). That leaves Aaron Rodgers as the only early QB selection that I would even consider making, and it’s one to seriously consider.

Generally speaking, drafting Aaron Rodgers in 2017 meant that you were spending a second round or early-third round pick on your quarterback. Coming off a 2016 season in which he was the league’s top fantasy quarterback with 40+ passing touchdowns, you were drafting him to be that once again despite evidence that doing so is extremely difficult. As I wrote last season in the article linked above, even Aaron Rodgers had only thrown 31+ touchdowns in two straight seasons once, and 40+ touchdowns in two straight seasons had just happened once in NFL history, which was accomplished by Drew Brees in 2011-2012 (it should be noted that Brees was dropping back to throw 660+ times per season during this stretch).

Coming off of a broken collarbone and with the departure of Jordy Nelson, the urge to draft Rodgers won’t be there like it has been in the past. He might even be sitting there in the late third or early fourth round. There’s no doubt that unless you are drafting near the turn of the third and fourth rounds, then you will need to use your third round pick to get him so that’s when you must consider him. So should you?

The answer to that is a resounding “yes.” The last time Rodgers failed to play at least 10 games in 2013, he followed that up with one of his best seasons to date: 4,381 yards and 38 touchdowns. Entering his age-35 season, the wheels are not ready to fall off quite yet for somebody of Rodgers’ caliber — the smart bet is that he will continue to play at a high level as he nears 40 like Tom Brady and Drew Brees. I’m of the belief that Aaron Rodgers makes the wide receivers, as is the case with almost any elite quarterback, so the departure of Jordy Nelson doesn’t concern me. Although I am very intrigued by some of the late-round QBs that I alluded to previously, I’m fully expecting a bounce-back 2018 for Rodgers and company, which means that spending a coveted third-round pick on Rodgers will be a consideration if my situation meets the criteria.

Subscribe: iTunes | Stitcher | SoundCloud | Google Play | TuneIn | RSS

Joey Korman is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Joey, check out his archive and follow him @leaveit2divac.

What's your take? Leave a comment

1Saquon Barkley (NYG)RB
2Ezekiel Elliott (DAL)RB
3Christian McCaffrey (CAR)RB
4Alvin Kamara (NO)RB
5Melvin Gordon (LAC)RB
6DeAndre Hopkins (HOU)WR
7Davante Adams (GB)WR
8David Johnson (ARI)RB
9Le'Veon Bell (NYJ)RB
10James Conner (PIT)RB
 View All Rankings 
11Julio Jones (ATL)WR
12Todd Gurley (LAR)RB
13Joe Mixon (CIN)RB
14Odell Beckham Jr. (CLE)WR
15Travis Kelce (KC)TE
16Michael Thomas (NO)WR
17Nick Chubb (CLE)RB
18JuJu Smith-Schuster (PIT)WR
19Dalvin Cook (MIN)RB
20Antonio Brown (OAK)WR
21George Kittle (SF)TE
22Mike Evans (TB)WR
23T.Y. Hilton (IND)WR
24Marlon Mack (IND)RB
25A.J. Green (CIN)WR
26Keenan Allen (LAC)WR
27Amari Cooper (DAL)WR
28Derrick Henry (TEN)RB
29Leonard Fournette (JAC)RB
30Adam Thielen (MIN)WR
1Mike Trout (LAA)CF,DH
2Christian Yelich (MIL)LF,CF
3Mookie Betts (BOS)CF,RF
4Nolan Arenado (COL)3B
5J.D. Martinez (BOS)LF,RF
6Max Scherzer (WSH)SP
7Ronald Acuna Jr. (ATL)LF,CF
8Alex Bregman (HOU)3B,SS
9Cody Bellinger (LAD)1B,CF
10Trevor Story (COL)SS
 View All Rankings 
11Javier Baez (CHC)2B,3B
12Francisco Lindor (CLE)SS
13Justin Verlander (HOU)SP
14Jacob deGrom (NYM)SP
15Trea Turner (WSH)SS
16Paul Goldschmidt (STL)1B
17Gerrit Cole (HOU)SP
18Chris Sale (BOS)SP
19Jose Altuve (HOU)2B
20Bryce Harper (PHI)CF,RF
21Jose Ramirez (CLE)2B,3B
22Blake Snell (TB)SP
23Charlie Blackmon (COL)CF
24Freddie Freeman (ATL)1B
25Manny Machado (SD)3B,SS
26Whit Merrifield (KC)1B,2B
27Adalberto Mondesi (KC)2B,SS
28Rhys Hoskins (PHI)1B,LF
29Trevor Bauer (CLE)SP
30Anthony Rendon (WSH)3B
1Anthony Davis (NOR)PF,C
2James Harden (HOU)PG,SG
3Giannis Antetokounmpo (MIL)SF,PF
4Karl-Anthony Towns (MIN)C
5Kevin Durant (GSW)SF,PF
6LeBron James (LAL)SF,PF
7Stephen Curry (GSW)PG,SG
8Nikola Jokic (DEN)PF,C
9Damian Lillard (POR)PG
10Russell Westbrook (OKC)PG
 View All Rankings 
11Victor Oladipo (IND)PG,SG
12Paul George (OKC)SG,SF
13Joel Embiid (PHI)PF,C
14Kawhi Leonard (TOR)SG,SF
15Chris Paul (HOU)PG
16Jimmy Butler (PHI)SG,SF
17Kemba Walker (CHA)PG
18Kyrie Irving (BOS)PG,SG
19Ben Simmons (PHI)PG,SF
20Jrue Holiday (NOR)PG,SG
21Rudy Gobert (UTH)C
22Andre Drummond (DET)PF,C
23John Wall (WAS)PG
24Kyle Lowry (TOR)PG
25Khris Middleton (MIL)SG,SF
26Donovan Mitchell (UTH)PG,SG
27Bradley Beal (WAS)SG
28Kevin Love (CLE)PF,C
29Draymond Green (GSW)PF,C
30LaMarcus Aldridge (SAS)PF,C
Follow the Pros!

Follow us on Twitter @FantasyPros for exclusive advice and contests