Why Every Fantasy Football Team Should Target A Great Quarterback

Is QB more important than RB in Fantasy Drafts?

8/2/12 in NFL   |   Matthew_Shovlin   |   735 respect

Jan 15, 2012; Green Bay, WI, USA; Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) throws a pass in the second half of the 2011 NFC divisional playoff game against the New York Giants at Lambeau Field. The Giants won 37-20. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-US PRESSWIREFor years, fantasy football "experts" would say that quarterback is not an important position to target on fantasy draft day. Just a few years ago, the top fantasy quarterbacks would not score much more points than the low-end QB1's. Running back was always the position to target. There was a huge drop off from the elite backs to the second-tier guys, and if you went after a big name QB instead of one of the top runners, your fantasy team was toast.

However, those days may be over.

I took a look at all the rosters in my league last year and found some interesting statistics among everyone's QB's and RB's. I analyzed the numbers based on the six teams that made the playoffs against the four teams that didn't make it. All the numbers are based on my league's scoring settings, which you can look at
here.

The first thing that caught my eye was that the starting QB's of teams that made the playoffs, on average, outscored the non-playoff teams by 124.95 points over the course of the season. Where top quarterbacks used to put up similar numbers to the low-end QB1's, there is now a striking difference between the elite and the mediocre. This is in large part due to several teams, such as the Packers, Saints, and Patriots, adopting a new pass-happy approach that is becoming more and more popular in the NFL. When quarterbacks have more opportunities to make plays, the top-tier becomes further separated from the second-tier.

That number alone may not be extraordinarily compelling, but compare it to this: playoff teams' top-drafted running backs only averaged 78.52 more points than the non-playoff teams' top-drafted backs. In addition, 3 of 6 playoff teams (including the two teams in the championship) waited until the second-round to draft their first RB, while only 1 of 4 non-playoff teams did so.

Another intriguing statistic came when looking at teams' second-drafted running backs. Playoff teams were actually outscored by non-playoff teams by an average of 24.85 points. Some teams attempted to load up at RB and wait to get a QB for a better value in the later rounds, but it didn't seem to work for them. It seems to make more sense to go after a QB earlier, and wait to get a better value on a RB later.

But if you're losing value at RB2, where do you make up for it? Well, aside from the fact that you'll be gaining a ton of value at the quarterback position, you're going to want to dig deep into free agency every Tuesday. Running back is the most important position when it comes to the waiver-wire. Between injuries, committee approaches, and Mike Shanahan backfields, there are always free agents to target. As well as free agents, there is way more sleeper appeal for RB's than there is for QB's. Among the six playoff teams in my league, only one team started a quarterback who wasn't drafted as a QB1 (Cam Newton). However, plenty of playoff teams rode their sleeper RB's to the postseason...
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8/3/12   |   Jess   |   34631 respect

I'm retired now, but I always took a QB in the first round. While my fellow managers were focused on picking up a running back, I wanted to make sure to get a "sure-thing" QB. They earn just as many points as a solid RB, and if I waited until the 2nd round, I risked not getting a good one, depending on where I sat in the draft. The only time this ever screwed me was in a keeper league where people with great quarterbacks don't give them up.

With RB's in most systems anymore, save just a few, you're going to be able to pick up someone considered a "backup" and still get some great points from him on a weekly basis. There are more high scoring RB's out there than QB's, and I like a well-rounded team.

8/2/12   |   Tyler_Waddell   |   426 respect

Not taking a quarterback round one has ultimately kicked me in the butt for the past two years. The league has become so pass friendly nowadays, even guys like Christian Ponder and Carson Palmer had some pretty outstanding fantasy football weeks.