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When Should you Draft Patrick Mahomes and Lamar Jackson? (One Quarterback Leagues)

The Fantasy Quarterback Fallacy

One of the more polarizing questions fantasy football players ask themselves during a draft is, “When should I take my quarterback?”. A prevalent commonality amongst casual players is the notion that a quarterback should be your first pick. Makes sense right? I mean, they score the most points, so why shouldn’t you take them with your first pick? The answer to that question is fairly simple. Quarterback is by far, the unquestionable, most replaceable position in fantasy football. So what does that mean exactly? Well, the disparity of points between the top quarterbacks, and the quarterbacks you can stream off the waiver wire in favorable matchups isn’t very different. For example, if Deshaun Watson is playing an away game at New England, he is likely not going to score as much as someone like Jared Goff playing at home against a team with a weak defense and a good offense such as the Atlanta Falcons. Watson is often going as the fourth or fifth quarterback off the board, yet in certain matchups you can find a quarterback off the waiver wire who you can project more points for on any given week. But are there exceptions to this rule? Yes. Yes there are. Lamar Jackson and Patrick Mahomes are THE exception, as they both possess every week elite startability, With a ceiling higher than any other player in the NFL. Doesn’t matter the matchup or weather, these guys just know how to get the job done.

When Is It Safe To Take Mahomes And Jackson?

Everyone is going to give you a different answer to this question. The truth is, there is no right answer. Some would suggest you take these guys early in the second round because they are safe. Others will tell you to not even consider it until the fifth round, (which will never happen) because they are stuck in the old school mindset of “late quarterback wins leagues”. Although both sides have valid points, I feel like I have come to a much more logical solution to this question. I would take these quarterbacks back to back, in between players who are “sure things” and players that have some question marks. So what exactly does this mean? Well, to put it bluntly I would take them right after the tier of DJ Moore, Allen Robinson, Kenny Golladay, Chris Godwin, Mike Evans, and George Kittle. And before the tier of Amari Cooper, Todd Gurley, Chris Carson, Adam Thielen, and Cooper Kupp.

Why Should You Take Them There?

So why here? Why not earlier or later? My strategy combines the logical arguments of both the early quarterback drafters and the late quarterback drafters. From the late quarterback drafters, I adopt the ideal of drafting them behind guys with more positional scarcity amongst the elite options such as a running back, wide receiver, and tight ends. From the early quarterback drafters, I adopt the ideal of the willingness to draft them in front of guys who have elite upside at the positions that aren’t as replaceable. You may be asking yourself, “Isn’t this contradictory?”. It may seem that way but I assure you it is not. And this is why; The players I listed that I would take before these quarterbacks are all sure things with no question marks surrounding their elite fantasy upside and floor. The players I listed that I would take after these quarterbacks all have high upside, but they come with a lot more uncertainty. An important part of fantasy in the early rounds is to draft risk adverse. These quarterbacks are about as safe of picks you can make. And drafting them where I do means you won’t have to sacrifice elite upside and safety at other positions, while also not missing out on these guys completely due to an old and outdated fallacy. Some draft these quarterbacks for their elite upside. Don’t think of it that way. Think of it as you are drafting them for a safe floor, so you can save yourself from the polarizing 50/50 shots on the Odell Beckham Jr’s and Amari Cooper’s of the world.

What Will My Team Look Like If I Implment This Strategy?

In the rare instance you are awarded with an early round pick and will be able to snag one of these guys in the early third round, here is what your team can look like if you pull the strategy off right when you are supposed to.

Pictured above are two teams that I drafted, in back to back positions on a Sleeper mock draft. Implementing the strategy of when to take these quarterbacks. As you can see, both of these teams are very well balanced with high up side and a safe floor floor despite going quarterback relatively early. When you implement the strategy you don’t sacrifice elite performers at other positions. You merely enhance your roster to its full potential when you take the best and safest player available. In some cases they happen to be these quarterbacks. All in all, don’t take them too early and don’t leave them completely off your draft board either. Follow these steps, and I assure you you will be able to craft an elite, well balanced squad.