How to Handle the Elite Quarterback Tier in Best Ball Mania IV
More than a decade ago, JJ Zachariason introduced the concept of the late-round quarterback to the fantasy football community. The idea is that the difference in production between top-tier quarterbacks and mid-to-late-round quarterbacks is not significant enough to warrant using an early-round pick on a quarterback. By waiting to draft quarterbacks, you can spend your early-round picks on higher-value players at the other positions.
Since then, we've had guys like Patrick Mahomes in 2018, Lamar Jackson in 2019, Josh Allen in 2019 and 2020, and, most recently, Justin Fields last year, reward the late-round quarterback evangelists. None of these four players had an average draft position (ADP) in the first eight rounds of those monster years, which is what made them so valuable. You'll also notice that all but Mahomes offered a ton of value from their rushing production. But, as Bob Dylan once wrote, "The times they are a-changin'" (to this day, Ron Burgundy has still never heard that song).
The quarterback landscape on Underdog is currently more different than we've ever seen. There are currently three quarterbacks (Hurts, Allen, Mahomes) with a second-round ADP with two more (Jackson and Fields) not far behind at a third-round ADP. In BBM3, only four quarterbacks ever had an ADP in the first four rounds. What else do you notice about the quarterbacks being drafted this early, though? Once again, all but Mahomes contribute heavily to his fantasy profile with his rushing production. The market has caught up with how to value rushing production from quarterbacks.
When you take a quarterback early in your draft, you sacrifice a huge opportunity to draft players with a more secure and projectable workload at other positions. Thinking about this in the way of 2v2 decisions—would you rather have Patrick Mahomes and Jakobi Meyers or Jaylen Waddle and Geno Smith—is a good exercise because it forces you to understand the opportunity cost associated with each pick. In this article, I explore whether that opportunity cost for an elite quarterback is truly worth it and, if you take that route, how best to approach building the rest of your roster.
Note: Unless otherwise stated, the historical data used in this analysis is from Underdog's Best Ball Mania 3 tournament.
More Best Ball Mania IV Strategy: Positional Allocation | How BBMIV Prizes Impact Draft Strategy | Week 17 Games to Target | Best Ball Draft Curve
Best Ball Resources: BBMIV Rankings | Underdog ADP | Roster Construction Tool | Advance Rate Explorer | 2023 Schedule Grid
Comparing Quarterback ADP Trends
BBM3 drafts did not require as heavy of an investment into the quarterback position as BBMIV currently does. But, by the time we got to the end of May (as we currently are), all of those quarterbacks had dropped at least four spots overall in BBM3 ADP. While that isn't massive movement, it's still movement in the way of devaluing those quarterbacks. In fact, each of the first 20 quarterbacks drafted last year (except Hurts) saw his ADP fall in the first three weeks of the tournament opening.
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