ADP Trends: Buy-Low Quarterbacks

Drew Osinchuk

In this edition of ADP trends, we are going to look at quarterbacks who busted as rookies for ADP purposes (lost 12 or more spots in startup ADP from May of their rookie year to the following May).

We are going to look at how often these quarterbacks are able to bounce back and provide their owners with an ADP boost after their second year and how often they develop into successful fantasy quarterbacks. This is based on single-quarterback leagues. Even in single-quarterback leagues, the fourth round is filled with irrelevant quarterbacks so we are only going to look at ones drafted in the first three rounds.

First, let’s take a look at the quarterbacks who busted:

First Round Second Round Third Round
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A quick scan over this list and it is very apparent that the future is bleak for quarterbacks who fall into this bucket. Luckily, we only have one quarterback in this bucket from the 2019 class; Dwayne Haskins. Let’s dive in.

Production Hit Rate

When looking at quarterbacks, I like to use two top-12 seasons as my threshold for hits to eliminate the one-hit wonders.

Among our group of 16 face-planters, we have exactly zero top-12 seasons. That is rather remarkable. In fact, only two of them even have multiple top-24 seasons; Sam Bradford and Jared Goff.

If we are looking for ANY semblance of hope, we can narrow it down to only quarterbacks drafted in the first round of the NFL Draft. Then we have ten quarterbacks of whom two have put up two or more top-24 seasons – for a very weak hit rate of 20%.

Value Hit Rate

Okay, so we are probably not getting any future studs out of this group but perhaps we can make a quick buck on a value gain? Nope. There were only two quarterbacks on this list who gained value after their second year – they are Bradford and Goff.

The second-year boom rate for first-year bust quarterbacks is only 2/16 = 12.5%. On the contrary, the fourth-round pick boom rate at any position is 23%. You are twice as likely to see a value gain with an average fourth-round pick as you would any of these quarterbacks. Let that sink in.


Draft Capital

The next step is to look for some generalizations that our successful players have in common. Let’s start with draft capital. Both Bradford and Goff had immense investments from their teams as they were both first overall NFL draft picks.

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Most of our samples were drafted with either a first-round pick or a high second. It didn’t seem to matter. But I guess if you are going to buy low, a first overall pick is probably the way to go.

College Efficiency

Two quick and easy metrics when looking at college efficiency are Quarterback Rating (QBR) and Yards per Attempt (YPA). Most of the good quarterbacks in the NFL performed well in these areas. Here is a look at how our face planters fared in those metrics.

College QBR

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Our success stories were both very good to great in this regard. Bradford had a 97th percentile QBR and Goff was in the 82nd percentile.

Haskins scores very well here with a 91st percentile QBR.

College YPA

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Again our success stories were fairly successful using college YPA as Bradford scored in the 92nd percentile while Goff was in the 77th percentile.

Haskins put up an 81st percentile yards per attempt in college so he was also quite accomplished in this sense.

Final Thoughts

Dwayne Haskins has one of the better prospect profiles among our group of face planters. That being said, he was still a face planter so you will need to decide for yourself if you want to hang on for the ride or if you want to jump off while you still can. Here are some prices you might be able to sell for and we will look at this from both a single QB and superflex/2QB perspective.

In single-QB leagues, you drafted Haskins in the third round and can probably get a future third for him at this point.

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Having the chance to re-roll on a new third-round pick would be a terrific outcome at this point.

In superflex, scoring settings mean things get more interesting.

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It is unlikely that you can get a first-round pick for him at this point, but you can probably get a mid-second-round pick this year for him. I wouldn’t move him for a single second-round pick next year. Though a second and third would probably be pretty close to fair value.

Next, let’s use the DLF Trade Finder to look at some recent Haskins trades in both single-QB and superflex settings.

These trades are in single-QB leagues:

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I would pretty easily take the Njoku side here.

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Drew Brees may only have one more season of production but its likely more seasons of production than Haskins has left if he follows the norm for quarterback face planters.

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Here is the Haskins for a third-round pick that we saw using the trade analyzer.

As for superflex leagues, here are some examples:

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If I can get a second-round pick for Haskins, I am doing it. If I can get a second-round pick plus, I am smashing it.

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This is an incredible trade for the former Haskins owner.

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Here is another owner giving up a first-round pick for Haskins.

As you can see, there are trades to be made with Haskins in superflex especially. I have already traded away all of my Haskins shares and I suggest that you do the same.