By: Nate Leer
There are 4 clear cut top QBs going into fantasy football 2017 (Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, Drew Brees and Andrew Luck), any of which I would love to have on my team, and Matt Ryan who is likely to be the 5th QB taken in most drafts. However, there is so much value to be had later in drafts that it makes sense to build the other areas of your team over the first 6-8 rounds. Especially in 10 team leagues but even in leagues with 12 teams, getting 8 or 6 other positions filled will prove valuable before wading into the QB pool.
In 10 team leagues, you can have 6 or 7 WRs and RBs plus an elite TE or 2 good ones and still be able to grab a couple QBs to make up a platoon. This strategy can pay off in a big way if 1 or both players have big seasons. Most likely, you can play matchups and the hot hand to keep pace with the top QBs. Worse case scenario, you can mine the free agent pool for matchup plays and young QBs who could emerge.
Assuming the top 5 QBs are off the board, target 2 of the players listed here after you have built the rest of your team. Exercise patience and don’t reach for the guys you like. Let the values drop to you later in the draft as your opponents miss out on productive WRs and upside RBs by taking QBs they are infatuated with. Trust me, your team will look much better after the draft.
Top 10 QBs to target after pick 80 in you draft:
1. Derek Carr – Oak: I put Carr #1 not because he is the best option of this group but because he can be the best value. I think this guy has all the upside in the world. He has a couple top end WRs, a new and improved TE and an elite OL. Even the addition of Marshawn Lynch could help open things up for Carr downfield. If Lynch shows a little juice, Ds may start to focus on him and leave vertical routes open. The tricky thing with Carr, if you like him as much as I do, is gauging when to pick him. Be patient and move on if someone selects him in the top 80 picks but consider him after that.
2. Cam Newton – Car: There is plenty of negative hype around Cam which makes him a perfect buy low candidate. Besides his down year in 2016, there is the expected shift in offensive philosophy to a shorter passing game that does not seem to play to Cam’s strengths. However, if he falls far enough, I love betting on Cam’s talent and the coaches figuring out how to use it.
3. Philip Rivers – LAC: Rivers has a deep receiving corp and an improved OL plus he has produced big seasons and stretches of games in the past. As part of a strong platoon, he offers upside and predictable performances based on matchup at the right value.
4. Marcus Mariota – Ten: As a 3rd year QB with improved playmakers and elite skills, Mariota seems poised to break out. His upside seems limited by the run first nature of the O but his own ability to rack up yards and TDs on the ground makes up for that.
5. Ben Roethlisberger – Pit: Big Ben is dropping pretty far in some drafts, making him a perfect wait and see pick up. He still has the best WR in the game (Antonio Brown) to throw to as well as other talented options.
6. Jameis Winston – TB: Winston is on a similar career arc to Mariota with similar help in the passing game arriving via the draft and free agency. His OL and running game are not as good but his WRs are better. Winston is a classic drop back passer who is big enough to convert TDs with his feet. He could be on a big year.
7. Matthew Stafford – Det: I think Stafford’s upside is limited a bit by his lack of a big WR to target in the red zone or great deep threat. However, he has a bunch of good players to throw the ball to and is in a pass first O. Plus, the Detroit D versus Os such as Green Bay should lead to shoot out games.
8. Russell Wilson – Sea: Wilson is low on this list because he is as likely to be the 6th QB off the board as the 10th. If he falls in your draft, grab him as one of your platoon QBs.
9. Dak Prescott – Dal: Many people are still doubting Dak but he seems to be a nice two way player with a great supporting cast. I put him lower on this list because I want to see a bit more success before drafting as my QB1, although he is a nice QB2.
10. Kirk Cousins – Was: Cousins rounds out this list as I think he has the most risk without having great upside. He is capable of averaging 300 yards per game but that doesn’t necessarily make him a good QB or a great fantasy option. However, he is useful as the back end of a solid QB platoon.
Others to consider: Eli Manning – NYG, Carson Palmer – Ari, Andy Dalton – Cin, Tyrod Taylor – Buf, Carson Wentz – Phi.