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Should you wait on a QB in 2024 Fantasy Football Drafts?

The question arrives every fantasy football draft season; Should you wait for a QB or strike early and guarantee yourself a stud? Your answer will have major implications for the rest of the draft. It will determine, not just how you build the rest of your roster, but also how many roster spots you allocate to QB. This year feels like an outlier compared to recent years. Let’s break down your fantasy options by wargaming how your draft would look with either strategy.

What!? Your fantasy football league wasn’t hosted on Fantrax last season!? Once you see how Fantrax stacks up to the competition, we think you’ll be singing a different tune in the 2024 season.

Wait on a QB? Will it Work in 2024 Fantasy Football Drafts?

Scenario A: Be aggressive and draft a QB early

If this is your approach, you likely land one of if not the first QB off the board. This brings us to our first question, just who is that guy?

While there are others you could make a case for, it boils down to four options. Patrick Mahomes, Josh Allen, Lamar Jackson and Jalen Hurts. Let’s take a brief look at the pros and cons of each.

Patrick Mahomes:

Pros: he’s Patrick Mahomes and he has major familiarity with both Andy Reid and Travis Kelce bucking retirement rumors to return in 2024. With that he also has a massive upgrade at WR this year compared to last, highlighted by the speedy additions of Marquis Brown and Xavier Worthy. Mahomes is also quite durable, playing in every game since 2021 despite a few injuries.

Cons: he was just QB10 last year. While you’d be wrong to say teams have “figured him out,” everybody knows the game plan against Mahomes is to take away the deep ball and hope he gets too impatient settling for the intermediate and underneath throws all game. Are those upgrades at the WR position enough? Is Kelce’s age starting to show?

Josh Allen:

Pros: He was the fantasy football QB1 last year and probably the most durable QB of this top Tier, playing in every game since 2019. He’s always good for a couple of rushing TDs and puts up more than his fair share of yards on the ground.

Cons: He lost Stefan Diggs this offseason. I know he wasn’t a major factor in the second half of the year, but his presence alone meant something. Allen’s passing stats were very human looking through the final 5 games. He only had one game where he had either 250 passing yards or 2+ passing TDs. He did that vs. Miami in the regular season finale. His stats were ballooned by 15 rushing TDs. That’s double compared to the average for the rest of his career. All said, that boosted him over 40 extra points on the year and is likely an outlier.

Lamar Jackson:

Pros: Jackson is the reigning MVP and still the most electric running QB in football. Mark Andrews is healthy after missing the end of last season due to injury. Additionally, Derrick Henry should help open up some space for Lamar down the field and on option plays. The Ravens will also get another year of development for Flowers and Bateman.

Cons: Jackson missed time with injuries in each of the two seasons before winning his second MVP and his play style lends itself to an increased risk of injury. Derrick Henry also might steal a few TDs, particularly in the red zone and goal-to-go situations. Can Mark Andrews return to form? Will Flowers or Bateman take a leap or remain on the same level?

Jalen Hurts:

Pros: he undoubtedly has the best weapons of any QB in this Tier. No other team holds a candle to the combination of AJ Brown, DeVonta Smith, Dallas Goedert and now Saquon Barkley. Hurts was the TD vulture master last season, it became comical how often the Eagles were stopped at the one, only to score on the Tush Push despite everybody in a five-mile radius knowing it was coming.

Cons: How many times do you think that happened last year? Of Jalen’s 15 rushing TDs 11 came from inside the one, two more from inside 3 yards. The Eagles scored 20 of their 22 rushing TDs last year from inside the 10, the other two were inside the Redzone. Saquon is certain to cut into those numbers at least a few times this season, stealing a few Tush Push TDs from Hurts.

So if you jump at a QB in late round two or early round three you’ll end up with one of these four. There’s no such thing as a sure thing, and each of these elite QBs has their flaws or question marks flaws. Ideally, if you’re passing on your second or third best set-and-forget player, it should be for a flawless QB. So you aren’t guaranteed to have to play the matchup game week to week or

Scenario B: Wait for a QB

Now let’s look at who you could end up with in that next tier of QBs:

  • Dak Prescott
  • Joe Burrow
  • CJ Stroud
  • Anthony Richardson
  • Brock Purdy
  • Jared Goff
  • Kyler Murray

This is a solid group of QBs. Dak, CJ, Burrow, and Murray all have top 5 upside. Richardson could land in the top 5 if he can stay healthy enough to finish games. Goff and Purdy may not have the top 5 upside but they’re solid players who are super reliable and don’t come with many risks.

In our wargame, you’re likely taking someone off this list in late round 4 or as late as round 7. This allows you to build out your entire fantasy starting lineup before taking your QB. Further, let’s do some quick math, these two Tiers give us a total of 11 QBs who are either reliable or have high upside. So even if you play in a standard 12-team league, you’d have to be the last to take a QB to not come away with one of the QB options we’ve mentioned. So not only can you afford to be a little patient, you can wait until everyone else has taken a QB and you come away with one of the guys on the following list.

Scenario C: Last to the table

  • Trevor Lawrence
  • DeShaun Watson
  • Matt Stafford
  • Aaron Rodgers
  • Jordan Love
  • Geno Smith
  • Justin Herbert
  • Caleb Williams
  • Jayden Daniels

Considering this list is who you’d have to “settle for,” that’s a heck of a group to choose from. Far from a list of geeks to choose from in a game of dodgeball, this tier offers fringe top-five fantasy upside like Lawrence and Watson, others with great targets to throw to in Stafford, Rodgers, Love, Geno, and Caleb. Herbert has a rough WR core and will be quarterbacking an offense that will rely heavily on its rushing attack. Daniels’ rushing ability gives him top-10 upside. Even if you’re in a deep league, I named 20 total QBs you can take if you wait until the end.

If you wait for a guy on this list it’s up to you but rounds eight and nine are when you’ll want to strike if you want a pick of this litter. Know your draft room, if a lot of guys like to carry 2 QBs you will likely need to pick in those rounds if you want to get one in particular you like. Even if you’re all in on waiting for one guy, don’t settle for just one if you’re going to play this scenario. Increase your odds of success.

Bonus QB strategy: More eggs, more baskets

Look me in the eye and tell me you have never had a must-draft sleeper bust horribly on you. If you can confidently say that’s never happened, welcome to your first season of fantasy football. It happens; there are no sure things. Players bust or get hurt; schedules have tough stretches and sometimes things don’t work out. It’s a part of fantasy football. If you wait until after Tier 1, especially if you’re picking from Tier 3 to find a starter, take multiple QBs.

Last year if you were banking on Aaron Rodgers, you ended up scouring the waiver wire to find a QB the rest of the way, probably more than once if you were in a deeper league. However, if you took Rodgers and also took CJ Stroud, your season was likely saved. This strategy is more effective the deeper your league. You can either take the third RB on the Cowboys depth chart because he had one great camp highlight posted to the team’s social media, or you could take this year’s Jared Goff. Your final picks are usually waiver wire casualties anyway, increase your odds of finding gold at the end of the draft by burning a pick or two on a couple of QBs to choose from.

Final Take

In the end, it’s up to you which path you choose. Personally, I think the sweet spot is Tier 2 and walking away with at least one of the Tier 3 QBs in that tier. This is all subjective to how big your league is and how aggressive everyone is when it comes to drafting a fantasy QB, along with who is on the board when your pick comes around. Either way, this year more so than others it feels like a deep QB class, in each tier and overall top to bottom.

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