Fantasy Football: Late-Round Running QBs to Target in 2019
Quarterbacks are hands down the most important players on an NFL field. However, when it comes to fantasy football their value becomes less important than other skill positions (except for 2-QB leagues). Industry experts typically recommend waiting until mid to late rounds of fantasy football drafts to grab a quarterback in typical roster formats (1 QB, 2 RB, 2 WR, 1 TE, 1 Flex, 1 Def, 1 K). The primary reason why this strategy works is that the replacement value for RBs and WRs is far worse than that of a QB. Replacement value here refers to the difference in the production of a top-12 player versus an option available on the waiver wire. Fantasy owners only start one QB every week but typically start five RB & WR. Additionally, injuries are common so players need to build depth in order to be competitive throughout the fantasy season. If you’re reading this article in June, I’m not telling you anything you don’t already know.
If you’re like me, you want to see evidence to support the late QB strategy. Here is a great comparison of replacement value from the 2018 season:
- The difference between the QB4 and QB20 on a per game basis was only 3.5 points.
- The difference between the RB4 and RB20 on a per game basis was 8.9 points. Keep in mind this comparison isn’t even apples to apples because the options available on the waiver wire are typically in the RB40 range.
I don’t remember another year with more QB depth than 2019 for fantasy football purposes. Why not take a shot at a late round QB who has upside to become an every week starter like Patrick Mahomes last year? There is plenty of value in the double-digit rounds of fantasy drafts. If it doesn’t work out, you can stream QB throughout the season and be just fine. This article focuses on upside running quarterbacks with average draft positions (ADP) in double-digit rounds. Running quarterbacks have an unfair advantage in typical league formats, as outlined below:[lptw_table id=”159834″ style=”default”]
The key to the late round QB strategy is to maximize value among RB, WR, and TE. You should target a late round QB with upside and/or a strong week 1 matchup. I also recommend putting up a smokescreen by chirping at other league mates right before the draft, assuming they are experienced enough to know better. The more other players value the QB position, the more value there will be in the draft for you to soak up. If you want to have a little fun, say things like “QBs are so hot this year, better grab one or two early” and “Hey, did you see Brady throwing bombs at practice the other day?… They say he’s the real-life Benjamin Button.”
Now let’s get to it. Here are three late-round Quarterbacks you should consider targeting in 2019: Josh Allen, Lamar Jackson, and Mitch Trubisky. Here are snapshots of their peak performances in 2018:[lptw_table id=”159835″ style=”default”]
I checked with our analytics team and I can confirm that he’s got big hands and a big arm. If that doesn’t do it for you let’s look a little closer. The guy is a beast at 6’5” and he likes to run through defenders. He’s a common QB target among industry experts and is currently ranked as the consensus QB6 for the Ballers.
Josh “Stallion” was the QB1 over the final six weeks of the season and ended with a career-high 40.5 fantasy points in Week 17. As mentioned in The TRUTH About Fantasy QBs in 2018 Pt. 2, he recorded the 2nd most rushing yards per game (52.6) by a rookie in NFL history! His rushing production alone gave him a floor of 12.9 points per game from Weeks 12-17. He has little competition in the rushing department since he’s competing with young bucks LeSean McCoy (will be 31) and Frank Gore (36). Josh Allen’s ADP is 10.11. Draft him with confidence and hope he becomes an every week starter.
Lamar Jackson was the QB8 from Weeks 11-17. He also posted zero bust weeks during that span. Jackson only started in seven games last year and will have a great opportunity to step forward in his second season. The Ravens also added several exciting offensive pieces around him in Mark Ingram (RB), Marquise “Hollywood Brown” (WR), Miles Boykin (WR), and Justice Hill (RB).
The Ravens are all-in on Jackson. They stuck with Jackson in the playoffs last year despite a poor first-half performance versus the Chargers in the Wild Card Round. That’s an important point to highlight for a team who had Superbowl champion Joe Flacco on the sidelines, who they have since traded to the Broncos. The Ravens’ actions show that they believe in this guy, and I tend to trust head coach John Harbaugh’s decision making.
Jackson is a high upside player who has a juicy Week 1 matchup versus the Dolphins, who Pro Football Reference ranked 27th among 2018 NFL defenses. He has some tougher matchups later on and carries risk, but he’s a great value at ADP 12.02. He posted 19 fantasy points per game from Weeks 12-17 last year and has big game potential (although he didn’t show it in his rookie season).
Mitch Trubisky took a big leap forward in 2018 and finished as the QB-15. He was the QB1 from Weeks 4-10, posting an average of 28 points per game. He also posted the highest QB performance of the season with 43.5 points in Week 4. Mitch Trubisky was a boom-bust quarterback last season who scored over 27 fantasy points four times but scored fewer than 9 fantasy points three times.
He now enters his third season with highly-touted head coach Matt Nagy. Their Week 1 matchup is against rival Green Bay, and I’m going to bet on Chicago. The Bears will have plenty of time to prepare, and they’ll need to score a lot of points to beat the Aaron Rodgers led Packers. I have a feeling Matt Nagy will know how to target new head coach Matt LaFleur’s Achilles heel (ouch…too soon?).
Trubisky is free with an ADP of 13.02. If my target QBs don’t fall to me earlier in the draft, I’ll grab Trubisky and hope I can trade him after a Week 1 explosion. He may only be a one-week rental, as he has some difficult opponents early in the season.