Say what you will about runningbacks, quarterbacks are the key to dynasty league success. There is no doubt RB production is hard to come by and there are many studies and many sites to prove that the value of RBs is premium in the fantasy world. But, all of those studies and sites are based on the redraft league format, they take into account neither time nor longevity. In the dynasty format, where you keep your players from year to year, production variability from year to year is an important component to consider when choosing players for your team. The QB position especially must have low variability if you will succeed in dynasty. Also, your QB has a longer NFL career span so picking the right QB can set you up for years.
To be sure, there is no science to picking QBs. It will always be hit and miss. That being said, if you follow these tenets you will maintain a good flow of QBs through your franchise. In many dynasty leagues there are limits to the number of QBs you can have on the roster. In my league the limit is 4. That doesn’t leave a lot of room for developing a roster, but this is how I think about each roster spot. Keep in mind if your league allows more or less players at the position you must adjust these as necessary:
QB Slot #1 – Superstar - you want this guy to be your most consistent and reliable guy. Not everyone will have a superstar, but if you get one, put him in this slot and ride him for as many years as you can. Example – Peyton Manning, Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers, Philip Rivers
QB Slot #2 – Solid Starter - you want this guy to be a starter that is established and is not in danger of losing his job in the next 3 years or so. Example – Ben Roethlisberger, Matt Schaub, Donovan McNabb, Eli Manning
QB Slot #3 – Emerging Starter - if you have a solid starter in slot #2 and you find one for this slot, then your ahead of the game. If not, you want a guy who is slated to start in the upcoming season and has the potential AND opportunity to become a solid starter. Example – Chad Henne, Mark Sanchez, Matt Moore, Josh Freeman
QB Slot #4 – Developing Player - Again, if your QBs are developed enough where you have a solid starter or an emerging starter in this slot, then you are golden, if not, you want a first or second round rookie or second year player that will have the opportunity to start in the next 2 seasons and has all of the tools to become a future star. Example – Sam Bradford, Jimmy Clausen, Charlie Whitehurst, Tim Tebow
Here are some tenets that will help you choose your QB carefully:
- Choose players from the first two rounds, while there are success stories from later rounds (Who’s the next Tom Brady?), there’s a much higher success rate in the higher rounds. Picking a QB in the first 2 rounds is no gaurantee, but odds are better than the later rounds.
- Choose a QB that has led his team to a bowl game at least 2 times. Leadership is an important characteristic of a Qb, you want a guy who has been on a winning team. Bowl games mean that the team has had a winning record (for the most part) and has had some success as a leader.
- Choose a Qb with a live arm. You don’t need a rocket, but an NFL QB must make throws that most college abs can’t make.
- Choose a qb that will have an opportunity to start in the next 2 years. You don’t want to wait 3 or 4 years just to see if your pick paid off. It could be worth the wait, but maybe not. The sooner you know, the better.
- If you are doing an initial draft, make sure you find at least 3 solid starters to fill your roster. You don’t necessarily know which one will fill which slot on your roster, so depth is critical.
- When looking for veterans, look for guys who have been drafted high but have not come to immediate success. Many times it takes 4 or 5 years to hit your stride. Drew Brees is a perfect example of this, Alex Smith seems like he could be one too, we’ll see.
- Look for veterans who have been in the same system for at least 3 years. Many times, guys who were drafted late get into a system and are a backup for several years but by they time they get a chance to fill in for an injury or poor play by the starter, they know the system and execute very well. Matt Moore seems to be a pretty good example of that.
- Finally, look for veterans who have had some decent production in the past and have changed teams which provides an opportunity to start in the near future. Derek Anderson is a good example, leaving Cleveland to go to Arizona where Matt Leinart is anything but established.
So, good luck, use these nuggets to help think through your QB strategy and happy hunting!
Ken Clein owns www.dynastyfootballfan.com