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Was Waiting to Draft a Quarterback an Effective Strategy in 2019? (2020 Fantasy Football)

by Joshua Lefkowitz | @JLefkoNFL | Featured Writer
Jun 17, 2020

If you waited on Lamar Jackson at his 2019 ADP, his selection could have been a league-winning move.

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Fantasy football drafts are a unique experience. One can never assume another league-mate will reach for a player a round or two too early, allowing other players to drop that you did not think would be there. Despite the hectic nature of drafts, one can devise a draft strategy that can guide one throw the ebbs and flow of a fantasy draft.

A particular draft strategy that has proved to be especially useful is the “waiting on a quarterback” strategy. This strategy is designed for managers to script their drafts so they stock up on position players early and often, focusing on acquiring as much value in the early stages of the draft as possible, creating depth, and targeting a quarterback later on.

Examining last season, I pinpointed four QBs that had very low ADPs for 2019 but exceeded expectations and proved that the waiting on a QB strategy is an effective course of action. In 2019, if you were able to resist selecting a QB during one of the earlier rounds of the draft and holding out until the later rounds, there were some major gems available in the later rounds.

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2019 Quarterback Sleepers

Lamar Jackson (QB – BAL)
2019 ADP: 97.6, QB12, finished 2019 as QB1. Enters 2020 as QB1, ADP: 20.8
Lamar Jackson took the NFL by force in 2019, compiling over 3,000 passing yards, 1,000 rushing yards, and a league-leading 36 passing touchdowns on his way to finishing as the QB1. Despite the impressive stats, many fantasy enthusiasts were reluctant to draft Jackson, where he would come off the board as approximately the 12th QB selected. Striking gold was drafting Jackson at his preseason ranking last season.

If you waited on Jackson at his 2019 ADP, his selection could have been a league-winning move. The return on value Jackson delivered in 2019 was unmatched, and if you were lucky enough to draft the reigning NFL MVP in the late rounds of fantasy drafts, your supporting cast around him was most likely strong and deep enough to carry your squad to the championship.

Dak Prescott (QB – DAL)
2019 ADP: 127.2, QB18, finished as QB2. Enters 2020 as QB4, ADP: 58.5
Dak Prescott made a drastic leap in his quarterback play in 2019. He finished second in the NFL in passing yards with over 4,900 yards and led the Cowboys to become one of the NFL’s most high-octane offenses in 2019. Although the Cowboys had the weapons needed to succeed last season, many fantasy players faded Prescott due to his middle-of-the-pack 2018 performance.

However, if waiting on a QB was your game-plan for fantasy drafts last year, and you selected Dak at his 2019 ADP, that selection could have been the catalyst for your team’s success. Dak was constantly excellent all season, even if the Cowboys had their struggles in real life. Prescott was a late-round draft pick that could have been the difference-maker if your fantasy team was built to last or crumbled at the end of the season.

Kyler Murray (QB – ARI)
2019 ADP: 110.9, QB15, finished 2019 as QB8. Enters 2020 as QB3, ADP: 56.5
Not many envisioned Kyler Murray, the 2019 first-overall pick, to have as much initial success in real football and fantasy as he did last season, but Murray was able to make the most of the little weapons he had in 2019 on his way to a QB8 finish. Murray displayed deep-play proficiencies and athletic play-making abilities, finishing second among QBs in rushing yards last season. He has positioned himself as a franchise quarterback and a true QB1 in fantasy.

Despite the hype that the first-overall draft pick brings, Murray was drafted near the middle of QBs in 2019, with logic and reason. The Cardinals were a bad football team on both sides of the field. With the addition of Murray, the offense took a major leap forward, but the defense remained subpar all season. Despite this being a negative aspect in real life, for fantasy implications, the defense forced Murray to have the ball in his hands more, resulting in a great rookie campaign. If you were fortunate enough to buy into Murray’s hype at his reasonably priced ADP, you were vastly rewarded by a rookie that finished as a QB1.

Josh Allen (QB – BUF)
2019 ADP: 145.8, QB21, finished 2019 as QB6. Enters 2020 as QB8, ADP: 85.3
Josh Allen took a massive jump from his rookie season to his Sophomore year in the NFL. Allen saw improvement in all areas of his game, showcasing his abilities as a true gunslinger and an impactful mobile quarterback, finishing behind only Jackson and Murray in rushing yards among QBs, and finishing first in rushing TDs among play-callers.

Allen was widely slept on entering 2019 because of his rocky 2018 rookie season and the uncertainty of the Bills’ success heading into the season. However, Allen showcased his athletic abilities and leadership qualities that propelled him inside the top-10 for fantasy QBs. If you took the risk on Allen at his 2019 ADP, you were greatly rewarded on your asset which held very little risk in the first place. Although Allen was a streaky option last season, his multi-dynamic skillset has catapulted him as a valuable fantasy commodity.

Conclusion

The answer to the title of this article, “Was waiting on a QB an effective strategy for 2019?” is an unquestionable yes.

Although drafting an elite QB in the earlier rounds is tantalizing (who wouldn’t want a young, rocket-armed, Super Bowl-winning quarterback like Patrick Mahomes on their fantasy team?), the advantages of waiting on a QB can be immensely rewarding. Utilizing the earlier rounds to draft position players and add depth truly sets your team up for success. Focusing on

For the most part, the QBs that were slept on in 2019 will no longer be steals in 2020 drafts. However, just like last year, there are still plenty of late-round QBs that could provide you excellent fantasy production and meet the “waiting on a quarterback” strategy protocol.

Listed are a group of quarterbacks that could be a steal at their current ADPs for 2020

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Joshua Lefkowitz is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Joshua, check out his archive and follow him on Twitter @JLefkoNFL.

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