2020 Quarterback Fantasy Football Strategy
2020 Quarterback Fantasy Football Strategy
Quarterback is the most important position on the real NFL field but not always the most important in fantasy football.
Some leagues have sought to change that by adding a “superflex” which allows a QB to start in the normal FLEX position in fantasy football. However, for the most part, savvy fantasy owners know that the correct strategy is to “wait” on quarterbacks in 2020.
Lamar Jackson and Patrick Mahomes shook that trend at the position last year and were actually apart a key part of league-winning fantasy football teams. Dak Prescott and Jameis Winston scored a surplus of points and there is really a tier of “haves” and “have nots” at the QB position now. Essentially, if you do not get a quarterback who can run, you are going to be at a weekly disadvantage at the QB position. Combined with the flattening of wide receiver scoring, 2020 marks one of the first years in fantasy where it makes sense to actually select a quarterback in the mid rounds. The group of guys after Lamar and Mahomes: Dak Prescott, Kyler Murray, Russell Wilson, Josh Allen and DeShaun Watson should be your priority in your fantasy draft this year.
In particular, Dak Prescott seems like the best value at the position. There has been some fantastic discussion in the fantasy football space this offseason on why drafting “mid-round QBs” finally makes mathematical sense and Dak is basically the clear reason why.
Prescott, Kyler Murray, DeShaun Watson, and Josh Allen (and uber-studs Lamar Jackson + Patrick Mahomes) are all projected to have above league-average passing stats while also adding in 50+ fantasy points with their legs over the course of the season. Compare this to a decade ago: only nine total QBs threw 500 or more passes and only ONE of those QBs added more than 15 fantasy points with their legs (it randomly happens to be Mark Sanchez).
Of all QBs, Dak Prescott is the best positioned to have a truly nuclear season that puts him in the top five overall scorers. Dallas lead the NFL in yards per play last season while dedicating over 160 targets to Jason Witten and Randall Cobb. Those two have been replaced by CeeDee Lamb and Blake Jarwin. Dak finished second in the NFL in passing yards last season but actually had his lowest tally of rushing yards and touchdowns in his four-year career. The hiring of supposedly analytics friendly Mike McCarthy and the retention of Kellen Moore have every single arrow pointing up for Dak as an elite pick even in the fifth round of your draft.
However, there is always going to be room for a sleeper at the quarterback position. If you can get fifth-round production out of a player you selected in the 12th round, you can’t ever be upset about that. The right answer to that sleeper QB this year is likely Daniel Jones who can provide a cheaper version of the stats that Josh Allen will provide.
You can like Daniel Jones the fantasy quarterback without liking Daniel Jones the actual NFL QB. Much like Josh Allen was able to finish as the QB6 last season despite nine interceptions and 14 fumbles, Jones has the capability to the hair-on-fire style of quarterbacking to propel himself to a top-five fantasy finish. Jones was one of the most turnover-prone players in the NFL season but had five 300+ yard passing games, added 295 rushing yards, and two rushing TDs in 11 games.
Jones had a wild weekly variance in 2019 with crushing games against New England and Green Bay in particular but also had some of the highest highs of anyone at the position. Surrounding Jones are Sterling Shepherd, Golden Tate, Darius Slayton, Evan Engram, and one of the most efficient pass-catching back in the NFL, SaQuon Barkley. Anyone rational would rate this as a well-above-average group of players to throw passes too.
As the fantasy football markets have gotten sharper, it has gotten much more difficult to draft truly league-winning players like Lamar Jackson in 2019, Patrick Mahomes in 2018, or Dak Prescott in 2017. Even Josh Allen now goes well inside the top 100 picks of fantasy drafts. Jones is our last bite at the apple for a QB with 4,000+ passing yards while also adding 50 or more fantasy points with their rushing ability. He will likely have wider variance on a weekly basis than we want but no LRQB offers a better asymmetric upside bet.
It is impossible to control all the variables and you might get stuck without one of our preferred targets. Now, of course, there are a few QBs that we don’t “want” to draft but can still be okay in the context of this situation. We are not fading Ben Roethlisberger or Matt Ryan because we do want to target Juju Smith-Schuster and Calvin Ridley frequently in drafts. While we are not heading into our drafts with the plan of taking the non-rushing QBs, outside of maybe truly no upside players like Derek Carr or Philip Rivers, there aren’t players who are truly not worth drafting. Even the Gardner Minshew/Jimmy Garrapolo/Joe Burrow/Teddy Bridgewater tier of QBs has appealing stack options though they are all better as your 2nd QB in best ball as opposed to your planned week one starter.
Your overall QB strategy this year should be fairly simple. Make sure that you are targeting a quarterback who is going to add points over the course of the year with his legs. If you aren’t able to secure one of those players in the top-100 picks of your draft, then you can call an audible and try to match your highest drafted pass catcher with his quarterback. If you take Julio, make sure to get Matt Ryan. If you take AJ Brown, waiting on Ryan Tannehill is a reasonable bet. Overall, QB is really the position that is going to have the least impact on your weekly win-loss record so it is more about avoiding mistakes than hitting homeruns.