Quarterback Positional Overview: Strategy, Targets & Fades (2022 Fantasy Football)
No position is more important in the NFL than the quarterback, yet the fantasy impact of quarterbacks changes sizeable each year. Not too long ago, there were very few quarterbacks that added sizeable rushing yards onto their yardage totals.
Yet, these days we are entirely into the era of the Konami Code QB, and it’s not uncommon to see seven quarterbacks selected through the first seven rounds of a fantasy draft. Before those all-important fantasy drafts, this article will bring you up to speed on the QB position and all you need to know.
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How many quarterbacks should you draft?
This question matters a lot when considering the difference between single quarterback redraft leagues and Superflex. In single quarterback leagues, it’s unusual to need to draft more than one quarterback. The only times to consider it are;
- When drafting a rookie, adding a veteran from another team with an easy schedule might be appropriate, allowing you to wait and see on the rookie.
- You waited very late and opted for a “Quarterback by committee approach.“
- You decide to take an upside swing on someone like Deshaun Watson, hoping he avoids a lengthy suspension.
When should you draft a quarterback?
In recent years the quarterback position has changed drastically with the influx of QBs with a high floor thanks to their rushing ability. As mentioned at the top of this article, this means we often see a lot of quarterbacks selected early.
While Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers and Matthew Stafford all enjoyed success last season, it’s tough to argue that their floor is as high as a quarterback who is gaining five or more points before we even consider their passing. While the rushing QBs may have a higher floor, is it worth drafting them at the opportunity cost of doing so?
The table below shows how reliant the top ten quarterbacks in Expert Consensus Rankings were in 2021 on their rushing production:
|ECR Ranking||Name||2021 PPG||Avg Points Through rushing + Rushing TDs||Percentage of total points accumulated through rushing & rushing TDs||Number of top five Weeks|
Josh Allen is a quarterback who could see less rushing production going forward. While Lamar Jackson, Kyler Murray and Jalen Hurts have plays heavily schemed around their running, Allen does not. If the team decided it was better to keep Allen out of perceived high-injury risk situations and his rushing was reduced, would Allen be able to pay off his ADP? Since 2017 only one Aaron Rodgers has been drafted as the QB1 overall and managed to end the year at that rank.
Josh Allen is our first fade because of opportunity cost against other positions like running back and wide receiver, along with the possibility his rushing output reduces. Instead, who can we look to draft?
Out of the FantasyPros ECR top 10, Allen had the fewest weeks under 20 total points. Yet, as we can see from the column “above 24.6 points,” three other QBs had as many weeks at or above Allen’s season points per game average.
|ECR Ranking||Name||Weeks above 24.6 points||Weeks Below 20 points|
We ideally want a quarterback with the ability to explode and win us matchups, but possibly not at the opportunity cost of Allen. Currently, Herbert, Mahomes, Jackson, Murray and Hurts all go between rounds 3-7, an area of the draft we know can be precarious historically for taking running backs. This is an area that has solid potential to hit on the overall QB1. You stand a good chance if you can leave the draft with one of these elite options with rushing upside.
If you find yourself on the outside looking in as others grab all the quarterbacks, it’s worth remembering how Rodgers, Brady and Stafford performed in 2021 when they were all drafted in the middle rounds of a draft (8-14). Here are two names that should be in your draft queue for 2022:
Tom Brady (QB – TB)
We’re running out of opportunities to properly value Tom Brady before he retires. Brady was the QB3 in 2021, and in 2020 he was the QB9 during his first season in Tampa Bay. Now Brady seems to be even further in control of this team’s destiny, and despite Rob Gronkowski’s retirement, he still has Chris Godwin, Mike Evans, Russell Gage and Julio Jones to throw to.
Derek Carr has struggled to sustain multiple fantasy-viable options for the Raiders for many years. A new dawn beckons as Carr prepares for a season where he’ll throw to Davante Adams, Darren Waller and Hunter Renfrow, fresh off a breakout season. The Raiders play in a division where they’ll have to throw heavily to keep up with the likes of the Chargers, Broncos and the Chiefs, and it isn’t outlandish to suggest Carr might break 5,000 yards this season.
Sexy play alert: Derek Carr hits Davante Adams for a 45-yard bomb in team period. Adams makes the catch over two defensive backs as well.
— Levi Edwards (@theleviedwards) August 11, 2022
Trey Lance’s ADP is climbing quickly now that people seem to be on board with the idea that this isn’t Jimmy Garroppolo’s team anymore. By the time the season kicks off, it’s not absurd to think Lance might have passed Joe Burrow in ADP. Yet, many fantasy platforms are slow for their ADP to catch up to what’s happening in high-volume places where Lance is ahead of Burrow.
This gives us an edge to exploit. FantasyPros’ Andrew Erickson recently pointed out on Twitter that in Lance’s two starts, he averaged 22.4 expected fantasy points per game and 60 rushing yards. Lance struggled with a finger injury during his first season, and now that he’s healthy, there’s every reason to believe he can be fantasy gold.
QB Trey Lance, 49ers
Started only 2 games but showed off the rushing that should excited fantasy managers
Averaged 22.4 expected fantasy points and 60 rushing yards.
— Andrew Erickson™ (@AndrewErickson_) August 12, 2022
Late Round Targets
While Ryan Tannehill’s job seems to be becoming more precarious every year, he’s still a reliable quarterback with a settled team who knows what they want to be. In both of the last two seasons, Tannehill has had seven rushing touchdowns, which greatly boosts his fantasy output. With Robert Woods earning rave reviews in camp, if the Titans can find a way to be feisty again, then Tannehill should outproduce this ADP of QB20, allowing you to stock up at other skill positions in your draft.
In hindsight, perhaps the Falcons and Matt Ryan stayed attached for a bit too long. Now Ryan has found himself a new home in Indianapolis and seems to be thriving. Ryan will enter 2022 with arguably his best-ever offensive line and probably the best running game of his career. If Ryan’s receiving options can stay healthy, he can provide significant upside in a very winnable division that may see some shootouts.
The Patriots look a mess right now, struggling to decide which coach will call plays, and by all accounts, the practices seem disastrous. There are better value players out there with higher ceilings.
Kenny Pickett was drafted to be the Steelers starting quarterback sooner rather than later. Yet, so far, his camp performances have been hit and miss, and he could be the QB3 on the depth chart come the season opener. Rookies are alluring, but perhaps not this year.
If you want to dive deeper into fantasy football, be sure to check out our award-winning slate of Fantasy Football Tools as you navigate your season. From our Start/Sit Assistant – which provides your optimal lineup, based on accurate consensus projections – to our Waiver Wire Assistant – that allows you to quickly see which available players will improve your team and by how much – we’ve got you covered this fantasy football season.