Dynasty League Football


Startup Dynasty ADP Series: The Quarterbacks

We are in the midst of startup draft season. This is a glorious time for dynasty owners as we get a chance for a fresh start. A chance to make up for the mistakes of the past and a chance to try and repeat our past successes. Owners in my leagues have a variety of ways to prepare for a startup draft. Perhaps the simplest and most effective tool to use is startup average draft position data. While every league is different and it only takes one owner “reaching” for a favorite player to throw off the ADP data, this information can be an invaluable tool. Not only will it help as you prepare for a startup dynasty draft, but also in analyzing potential trade ideas or just staying on top of the current market value of each player.

Since January, I have been following startup dynasty drafts featuring PPR scoring and starting only one quarterback. I have compiled data for over thirty drafts to help you dominate your league.

In this series, I will take a look at the average draft position of starting level players. This will include an in-depth look at the top twelve quarterbacks and tight ends and the top twenty-four running backs and wide receivers. For the purpose of this series, I will refer to these players as fantasy starters, although I do realize many of these players are being drafted based on their upside and potential and may not be counted on as starters early on.

Some notes about the data collected

* Rookies were only included in 14 of the drafts.

* Players had to be selected in at least 25% of drafts to be included.

* Ages are as of September 2012.

Here’s a look at the top twelve dynasty quarterbacks, based on current ADP:

*  This year we have seen a trend of quarterbacks being selected much earlier in startup drafts than past years. With three top passers being selected in the first round, it greatly affects the strategy many owners bring into a startup draft. With the depth at other positions, specifically wide receiver, some owners are choosing to focus on quarterback and tight end early in the draft.

*  After the top four quarterbacks, we see a small drop of one round to the QB5, Tom Brady. Being only one year older and having fewer questions regarding the current team situation, Brady is a much better value in the third round than Drew Brees in the second.

*  Following Brady, we see a huge drop and a clear tier drop to the QB6, Eli Manning. The next seven passers come in the span of eighteen picks. For the owner that chose to wait on quarterbacks, you now have a decision. You can take one of the established starting quarterbacks remaining (this group includes Manning, Michael Vick, Philip Rivers and Tony Romo) or grab one of the hotshot rookies (Andrew Luck or Robert Griffin III).

*  If you choose to go the safe route with one of the four veterans, you still have several young quarterbacks to serve as a QB2 for your fantasy team. We’ll take a closer look at those options later.

*  In a startup draft, rookies seems to have increased value and these two quarterbacks are prime examples. Both are already being drafted as QB1s before taking a snap in the league. One strategy I have seen employed in many leagues is selecting Luck or Griffin early on, then following that up with a veteran passer to act as the fantasy starter until Luck/Griffin prove their worth. This could be done by using your fifth round pick on Luck and following that immediately in the sixth round by choosing Vick, Rivers or Romo. Most owners likely do not feel good about using two of the top six picks on passers. A better option could be to wait until the later rounds to choose a veteran like Carson Palmer or Matt Schaub. We’ll take a look at their ADP soon.

*  The man in the middle is Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan, being drafted as the QB11 in the early sixth round. Every fantasy owner seems to have a strong opinion on Ryan. Some view him as a quality starter, while others are still waiting on him to truly prove he is ready to turn the corner as a stud passer.

*  Risers among the top twelve include Luck and Griffin. Both have seen their ADP lower since the NFL draft.

*  Players dropping include Tom Brady and Philip Rivers. It is obvious that some owners have avoided the veterans based on their age. If you are building a team that can compete in year one, take advantage of these guys falling.

While the next set of quarterbacks are not being drafted as QB1s, there is still some great value to be found. Here’s a look at the remaining passers and where they are being drafted in startup dynasty leagues.



Looking closely at this data, it is clear the next eight passers are being drafted with the hopes they will contribute to a fantasy team. This might be as a short term starter or a young promising backup. Regardless, a couple of important pieces of information jump out…

*  The drop from Tony Romo’s 68 ADP to Ben Roethlisberger’s 97 is a huge 2+ round drop. This goes to show the current value of those top twelve signal callers.

*  For those owners waiting until later in the draft to choose their starting quarterback, some good short term starters are available, including Roethlisberger, Peyton Manning, Schaub and Jay Cutler. While these may not be ideal long term starters, they will be adequate and form a great duo if you drafted Luck or Griffin earlier in the draft.

*  On the other hand, if you selected a veteran starter in the opening six rounds, there are some very appealing options for a young QB2. Among those are Sam Bradford, Jake Locker, Andy Dalton and Josh Freeman.

*  Ideally, by the end of round ten, you have a solid pair of quarterbacks, one from each tier.

*  Another thing to focus on is the difference between QB20 (Josh Freeman) to QB21 (Matt Flynn) is 19 draft spots, another tier drop in dynasty value.

*  The next tier of twenty passers is an eclectic group including less heralded rookies, disappointing sophomores, and veterans with few starting years remaining.

*  You will notice the high/low draft pick range grows as we go down the list of quarterbacks. This should tell you, once you hit the 13th or 14th round, if there is a guy you like, take him while you have the chance. A player who you view as a sleeper in the 20th round may be stolen in the 16th and vice versa. I learned this lesson in my HyperActive 5 startup. I knew I wanted to draft Ryan Mallett, but passed him over thinking I could wait until closer to his ADP. He was drafted soon after and that was a somewhat cheap reminder of this idea.

*  From this large tier of quarterbacks, there is only one I would be willing to consider starting in 2012, Carson Palmer of the Raiders. If you have already drafted one of the strong veteran quarterbacks from the top two tiers, you likely do not need Palmer for anything other than trade bait (and I doubt he brings much more than a 3rd round rookie pick). Although, if you enter round 15 with a quarterback duo of Ryan/Dalton or Luck/Freeman, Palmer is the perfect option for you.

*  There are some players in this final tier that would be on my Do Not Draft list. I can not find a reason to draft, or even roster, players like Matt Cassel, Matt Hasselbeck, Kevin Kolb and Colt McCoy. They carry no trade value and if any of these guys end up as your best starting option, your team is in trouble. I would much rather take a shot on one of the rookies or second year players who are awaiting their chance to shine.

*  This final tier is really about taking your favorite sleeper or young player you think emerges. I would be gambling on a pair of Ryans – Tannehill and Mallett at this point in a startup draft.

*  The players rising among these two tiers include Peyton Manning, Jake Locker, Ryan Tannehill and Russell Wilson.

*  Players with a falling ADP are Sam Bradford, Matt Flynn, Ryan Fitzpatrick and Joe Flacco.

Stay tuned to DLF as we break down the running backs in the next installment. Make sure to follow Ryan on Twitter @RyanMc23 as well.


Ryan McDowell
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10 years ago

It’s like you’re in my head, Ryan. Except you are able to word it much better than I would have done. Great article and I couldn’t agree with the thought process more. Well done Sir!

Ray Voeller
10 years ago

Great article. Biggest surprise was Big Ben. Not that I am a huge believer in him but considering the weapons and offensive system with Haley there would of thought his ADP would be on par with Ryan & Romo.

10 years ago

Who do you personally prefer between Bradford and Locker?

Chris Engle
10 years ago

If I were drafting a new team this year, I’d definately put some of this info to use.
Nice write-up Ryan!

10 years ago

Aaron Rodgers lowest draft position 15? What do you loose points if your a Packer? or am I not understanding what lowest draft position means?

Danny Hall
Reply to  richz0974
10 years ago

Lowest draft position simply means that out of all the drafts Ryan participated in,or pulled data from, the lowest Rodgers was drafted was 15th overall.

Danny Hall
Reply to  Danny Hall
10 years ago

Which is crazy he went that low unless pass tds were worth 4pts

Scott Land
10 years ago

I waited on a QB and ended up with Cutler, Tebow, and Campbell. How aggressive should I be in seeking a long term starter? Should Cutler be ok for year or two? I’m pretty happy with the rest of my roster.

robert huber
10 years ago

great article! gives me some guidance on relative perceived/drafted values and identifies some decent QB’s that may be under valued and a good potential value on draft day.

10 years ago

I really like this article! Can you guys do one for runningbacks?

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