Late-Round Quarterback in 2QB Leagues

Andy Dalton

The fear twists its tendrils around your innards, dominating your thoughts as its grip tightens ever onward around you. You are on the clock, desperate to make the right pick. Your season hangs in the balance, and you are terrified you’ll make the wrong choice.

In years past, the fear gripped us all. Passing on quarterback in a 2QB league meant sure failure. Your season would be stillborn, and you knew it. So with each passing second, you watched the other owners draft quarterbacks and you knew it. You knew you would be taking a quarterback as well.

The dreaded run on quarterbacks would always start with the next pick. Always. If you passed on quarterback, it was inevitable and you knew it. Your team would be captained by Shaun Hill and Jon Kitna.

If you are new to the 2QB format and only just converted in the last couple years, you will have to take me at my word, because I know it is hard to imagine. It is hard to envision a ten-team draft with seven quarterbacks selected in the first round and another five in the second. But that was real life.

Over the last few years, however, the rising tide has lifted all ships. The NFL has become more dependent upon the passing game, and offenses support increased passing numbers. That means the middle tier of quarterbacks now has a legitimate shot at 3,500 passing yards and 18 touchdowns, something thought impossible just a few years ago. (In 2007, only nine quarterbacks surpassed 3,500 yards. Eight in 2006. Fourteen had 3,500 yards last year, and another four broke 3,300.)

Now there is far less downside to waiting on quarterbacks, because you can pick up reliable production throughout your draft. Near-elite options Eli Manning and Philip Rivers are QB13 and QB14 in 2QB drafts this summer. (You can find our most recent 2QB ADP data here.) Steady producers Joe Flacco and Jay Cutler are QB16 and QB18. 2013’s top-five quarterback, Andy Dalton, is QB22. All of those provide fantastic value if you wait to draft your quarterback.

Late-Round QB

Additionally, late-round quarterback is now a firm pillar of the fantasy football world, and nearly everyone is familiar with the idea even if they aren’t drafting with that philosophy.

In short, the argument is that you should wait to draft your starting quarterback until late in your draft for a couple reasons. First, quarterbacks are incredibly predictable with low bust rates. Second, you can get consistent production from mediocre quarterbacks because unlike any other position, quarterbacks are guaranteed touches every week.

J. J. Zachariason brought the idea to the masses, and Steve Gallo supported the idea at the start of 2013 with his now-famous “Zero QB Theorem.”

A few years later, we now see the philosophy taking firm root in two-quarterback leagues. This summer has been marked by an extraordinary patience toward quarterbacks in 2QB drafts. Late-round QB is real, and it is here to stay.

The result is a safety net that did not exist in previous years. More owners are waiting on quarterbacks, and mid-round quarterbacks are more productive. That combination creates an ideal environment in which to wait on quarterback.

Strong Late-Round QB Teams

I have run a lot of 2QB mock drafts this offseason, which has let me see hundreds of team compositions. And I like what I’m seeing from the late-round QB teams.

Here are two intriguing teams from the same mock draft. One waited until the fifth round to take his first quarterback, and the other the sixth round:

Late-Round 2QB Teams

There are many other examples, but I selected two to show some diversity. You can take Gronk early and emphasize running backs, or you can stack elite wide receivers. Either way, both teams put together quarterback groups I would happily trot out this season, and they matched them with fantastic skill position players.

If you want to get some experience with the late-round QB idea with no risk, join one of my mock drafts. Leave a comment here or shoot me a message on Twitter (@LakeTwoQBs). I’d love to get you a spot so you can see the magic of waiting on quarterback.

So give it a try this season. Don’t take a quarterback in the first round. Heck, don’t take one in the second round. You might just like it.

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