7 Ideal Late-Round QB Pairings and Where to Draft Them
Last season, 4for4 contributor Joshua Lake proved in this pass-happy NFL era that streaming quarterbacks can be a viable strategy. Through Week 16, our optimal streaming QB scored 21.2 points per game, good enough for QB10 overall. The takeaway from last year's results is that we could’ve achieved QB1 production from the waiver wire alone. Overall, our streaming choices averaged 18.1 points last season. In the words of the great Larry David, prettay, prettay, prettay good.
Now it’s my turn to help take that strategy and apply it to the later rounds of 2017 fantasy drafts.
The goal is simple: find quarterback pairings that will give you the best possible matchups for as many weeks as possible, with those quarterbacks having an average draft position (ADP) no higher than round 10.
In order to find the best matchups, I used 4for4’s aFPA tool to pinpoint which defenses fell outside the top-25 in adjusted fantasy points allowed to quarterbacks. In other words, I was looking for the best seven teams a fantasy quarterback could play last season. Those teams were the Titans, Lions, Falcons, Colts, Bills, Saints, and Browns.
Below you will find the late-round quarterback pairings that resulted in the most favorable matchups in 2017.
Andy Dalton and Blake Bortles (10)
Despite a rough Week 1 situation, no other pairing of late-round quarterbacks produced as many favorable matchups as these two, with ten against the bottom-seven defenses in adjusted fantasy points allowed to quarterbacks. In addition to the 10 total weeks versus those defenses during the fantasy regular season (Weeks 1–13), at least one of these quarterbacks will face a bottom-half defense in QB aFPA nearly every week after the first week of the season.
Bortles has a 14th-round ADP. You’ll see below Dalton functions as a bit of a skeleton key in this exercise, as no other late-round QB (11th-round ADP as of August 1st) has as many matchups against bottom-seven QB aFPA defenses as he does with six.
Joe Flacco and Sam Bradford (9)
Flacco’s back injury needs to be monitored closely, but this pairing offers nine weeks against the bottom-seven in QB aFPA. Overall, Bradford has the easiest schedule of all quarterbacks this season. Together, Flacco and Bradford also offer a great start to the season with Bradford opening at home against the Saints and Flacco hosting the Browns in Week 2.
Bradford’s ADP sits in round 15, while Flacco is routinely being drafted one round earlier.
Andy Dalton and Carson Palmer (9)
This Dalton pairing solves the Week 1 issue the Dalton/Bortles pairing was facing, with Carson Palmer getting Detroit on the road to open the season. Plus, Palmer gets another juicy matchup in Indianapolis the following week, while fantasy owners wait for Dalton’s schedule to loosen up in Week 3.
For those wanting to employ a streaming strategy at the quarterback position overall, Palmer offers the best matchups out of the gate in Week 1 and Week 2. Palmer has a palatable 12th-round ADP.
Andy Dalton and Sam Bradford (8)
Here once again is the streaming skeleton key that is Andy Dalton. Dalton, overall, has the 16th-easiest schedule in terms of QB aFPA, as his five games against top-five defenses weighs it down. However, Sam Bradford has eight weeks worth of matchups versus bottom-seven defenses.
Like Palmer, Bradford is also another viable option to the Dalton Week 1 problem, with a home game against the Saints.
Joe Flacco and Mike Glennon (8)
In 18 career starts, Glennon has averaged only 13.6 fantasy points per game, which is what Trevor Siemian posted last season. Of those 18 starts, 13 came during his rookie campaign. His improved 6.98 yards per attempt in his second season put him in the mix to start in 2017. He opens with a solid Week 1 matchup at home against Atlanta.
Paired with Joe Flacco, eight weeks against last season’s bottom-seven QB aFPA defenses are available; however, the pairings above may be more desirable, considering a brutal stretch for these two from Week 5 to Week 7.
For what it’s worth, Glennon sports an ADP in the 21st round. He’s basically going undrafted.
Carson Palmer and Ryan Tannehill (7)
This is a fantastic pairing on paper to get you from the start of your fantasy season through Week 7. The only week in that span not against one of those juicy green boxes above is Week 3, where you still have the option of matchups against bottom-half QB aFPA defenses in the Cowboys and the allegedly tanking Jets. Plus, look at their fantasy playoffs schedule in Weeks 14 and 15. Yummy.
Tannehill is being drafted in the 14th round.
Joe Flacco and Carson Palmer (7)
These two quarterbacks have fantasy season bookend upside. Not only do they have an attractive start to the season, but they also have favorable matchups from Week 13 through Week 16.
The Bottom Line
Andy Dalton is a player many 4for4 staffers are targeting late in drafts this season. Associate Editor TJ Hernandez recently wrote about his potential for positive touchdown regression, and he also has a top-five fantasy QB season on his resume to go with a ton of weapons. His six matchups against bottom-seven QB aFPA defenses leads all late-round quarterbacks as well.
While not a true late-round option, Jameis Winston is another quarterback to pair with a late-round signal-caller, as he has five matchups against bottom-seven QB aFPA defenses.
Bortles is likely to see a regression in attempts this season with Leonard Fournette now in the backfield. Therefore, my personal preference would be to pair Dalton with Palmer or Bradford.
Be sure to look for our weekly QB streaming series this season that will highlight the best starting options at the position.
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