Fantasy Football 101: How to Approach Quarterbacks in Dynasty

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Quarterback is clearly the most important position when it comes to real-life football, but the position doesn’t always carry the same weight in fantasy football. The late-round quarterback approach and streaming the position have proven successful in redraft leagues in recent years, but do those strategies translate to dynasty leagues? Let’s take a look at how to approach quarterbacks in dynasty fantasy football leagues. 

Note: The Fantasy Footballers writing staff will be covering how to approach each position in dynasty leagues. Matthew Betz recently covered wide receivers and the other positions will be out soon.

How Many QBs to Roster?

In a traditional redraft league, it isn’t too difficult to get by streaming quarterbacks week-to-week. With twelve teams filling sixteen-man rosters, there are always at least a few starting NFL quarterbacks available on the waiver wire on a weekly basis. As our fearless editor-in-chief Kyle Borgognoni pointed out in his 25 QB stats from 2020 article, 38 different QBs put up a top-12 performance in 2020, which was actually down compared to previous seasons. The point being, you can almost always find an available quarterback to plug into your lineup in redraft leagues.

But this is a dynasty article. Dynasty leagues regularly feature up to 30-player rosters. With that amount of depth, it’s easier to roster multiple quarterbacks. Couple that with the fact that you can hold on to players for as many seasons as you’d like and the quarterback waiver wire market dries up pretty quickly. It’s exponentially more difficult to find a waiver wire replacement in dynasty leagues. If you have one of the elite fantasy quarterbacks locked up, you’ll still want to roster at least one or two more to cover bye weeks or potential injuries because you aren’t likely to find a usable option on the wire. If you’re more of a quarterback-streamer that likes to play matchups week-to-week you’ll want to roster three or more viable quarterbacks and essentially stream off your bench.

Does QB Age Matter?

Perhaps the biggest difference between redraft and dynasty leagues is the stock market-style rising and falling of player worth as their values fluctuate. This is especially true at the quarterback position. Evaluating quarterback value based on age can be a double-edged sword in dynasty leagues. When to acquire or ship off quarterbacks in dynasty leagues will vary depending on your short and long-term goals.   

If you’re looking to win now, quarterback age shouldn’t be a concern in dynasty leagues. In 2020, six of the top-12 fantasy quarterbacks were at least 32 years old. Digging even deeper, since 2010 there have been 27 seasons where a quarterback averaged at least 17 fantasy points/game at 35 years or older. The 17 fantasy point threshold is somewhat arbitrary but equates to 272 fantasy points over 16 games, which would’ve been a top-12 fantasy season in two of the past four seasons. Those 27 seasons came from nine different individual quarterbacks, as shown in the table below.

QB Seasons w/17+ FPT/Game at 35+ Years Old
Tom Brady 7
Drew Brees 6
Peyton Manning 3
Aaron Rodgers 3
Ben Roethlisberger 3
Carson Palmer 2
Matt Ryan 1
Philip Rivers 1
Ryan Fitzpatrick 1

On a weekly basis, there were ten different quarterbacks with ten or more seasons of experience under their belt that put up at least one top-12 fantasy week in 2020.

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QB Seasons Played QB1 Weeks in 2020 QB Finish in 2020
Tom Brady 21 10 QB8
Drew Brees 20 4 QB21
Ben Roethlisberger 17 5 QB14
Aaron Rodgers 16 13 QB2
Philip Rivers 16 4 QB20
Ryan Fitzpatrick 16 5 QB28
Matt Ryan 13 7 QB12
Matthew Stafford 12 5 QB15
Cam Newton 10 8 QB16
Andy Dalton 10 1 QB31

All of the quarterbacks above had fantasy relevance in 2020. Rodgers and Brady could be arguably be considered league-winners and both were easier to acquire in dynasty leagues a year ago due to age concerns. If you have a strong roster heading into the 2021 season it makes sense to buy low on older quarterbacks with starting NFL jobs.

Getty Images / Stacy Revere

This data can also be useful if you’re strategy is to mortgage a season or two in an effort to build a future powerhouse. In startup or rookie drafts it can pay off to load up on young unproven quarterbacks. The celebrated 2021 rookie quarterback class features five players at the position likely to be drafted in the first round of the NFL Draft. They’re all going to be drafted to be great, but history and probability tell us not all of them will be. Acquiring several of them on your dynasty roster increases your odds of locking up a stud quarterback for the next decade or longer. A top quarterback will outlast any other position on your roster. When you get one early in his career, it buys you time to surround him with strong-skill position players that burn out faster. 

You can never have too many good quarterbacks on your dynasty roster. If you’re fortunate enough to hit on multiple young franchise quarterbacks you’re now locked and loaded for the long term. You also have trade ammo. When quarterback injuries inevitably happen throughout the NFL season you’ll be in a prime position to capitalize on your quarterback depth. 

Making QBs Super

Quarterback value already increases in dynasty leagues compared to redraft. If you play in a Superflex dynasty league their value is taken to a whole new stratosphere. With the option to start two quarterbacks on a weekly basis, positional scarcity quickly becomes a factor for quarterbacks. They’re drafted much sooner in Superflex formats and it isn’t uncommon for every starter and serviceable backup to be rostered. If streaming quarterbacks is difficult in traditional single quarterback dynasty leagues, it’s nearly impossible in Superflex dynasty leagues. This makes it vital to get multiple starting quarterbacks on your roster before it’s too late. 

Conclusions
  • Quarterbacks are more valuable in dynasty leagues. With expanded rosters and the ability to hold players for multiple years, finding a trustworthy fantasy quarterback is more important in dynasty leagues than redraft.
  • Starting quarterbacks last a long time. While age comes into play in dynasty leagues, it isn’t nearly as important for quarterbacks. Veteran quarterbacks often last longer than you’d think. At the same time, locking up a younger franchise quarterback can set your dynasty team up for success in the long term.
  • You can never have enough quarterbacks. As positional scarcity increases in dynasty leagues, you don’t want to be stuck scraping the waiver wire for a starting quarterback. It’s crucial to have multiple viable quarterbacks on your dynasty roster.

Looking for more resources on fantasy football? Be sure to check out Kacey Kasem‘s Beginner’s Guide to Fantasy Football as well as this detailed introduction to dynasty fantasy football and the rest of the forthcoming positional dynasty guides.

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