Two of our high-volume best ball bros, Pete and Jonathan, discuss the unique QB landscape this year and how they are handling it across their drafts.

Pete: The prices of elite QBs are more expensive than they’ve ever been in drafts, with three QBs going off the board in the first 30 picks. Even though we’ve started to see a small correction in ADP, this is still a major shift from previous years. 

For almost a decade, we were drafting in the “Late-Round QB Era” where QB production was relatively flat across the draft and QB points were largely replaceable in the later rounds. 

The new era of the rushing QB has certainly flipped that dynamic on its head with QBs like Jalen Hurts and Justin Fields turning into fantasy cheat codes, but I’m still experiencing some sticker shock with how high these signal-callers are going in drafts. 

How are you thinking about this current ADP landscape? Will you spend a Top 30 pick on a QB? When you do, is it always stacked or will you select those KC, PHI, and BUF QBs unstacked?

Jonathan: I’m rarely drafting the Top 3 QBs right now because I think there is a decent chance their ADPs will continue to fall over the course of draft season. If I’m wrong, I can level out my exposures later this summer. 

When I do take an elite QB, it is almost always because they fell to me after ADP. Both Patrick Mahomes and Josh Allen have plenty of late stacking options, so I am comfortable taking them and figuring that out later.

Patrick MahomesJosh Allen

Hurts doesn’t seem to slip in drafts as often, so I have him on just 1% of my best ball teams so far despite taking plenty of A.J. Brown and DeVonta Smith

As a result, I’ve been drafting more 3QB teams than ever before while looking to exploit the cost of the top-end QBs in other ways.

What has your approach been? When you do take an elite QB, how does that impact the rest of your draft? (alternate phrasing could be: Is there a particular roster construction that you think works best when spending up for an elite QB?)

Pete: I’ve been mixing and matching how I approach my Elite QB teams. If you grab an unstacked Hurts in Round 3, it’s essentially Dallas Goedert or bust as far as viable stacking partners. But like you said, Mahomes and Allen have a plethora of options throughout the draft, so I’ve not been hesitating to take them without Travis Kelce and Stefon Diggs in Round 3.

Structure-wise, I think unstacked Mahomes and Allen teams pair really well with Anchor RB or Elite TE teams where you are behind the eight-ball at WR. These builds allow you to trump the early WR drafters at the onesie position while still providing you with viable late-round WRs thanks to the ambiguity of the pass-catching options in Kansas City and Buffalo.

Check out this board from a recent draft where I was drafting out of the 4 hole: 

Draft board

All of my favorite WRs were long gone by my pick at No. 28, and I had already made a RB detour for Saquon Barkley (to correlate with my Cooper Kupp pick in Week 17). With the board flat, and knowing there are tons of late WRs I can stack Mahomes with, I went ahead and selected an unstacked, Elite QB.

I ended up waiting all the way until the 17th and 18th rounds to complete my Mahomes double stack with Justyn Ross and Richie James, both of whom I think have a decent chance to outscore the Chiefs WRs going ahead of them (Skyy MooreRashee Rice, and Marquez Valdes-Scantling).

Draft board

I’m curious how you have been handling your backdoor Allen stacks. Gabriel Davis is multiple rounds cheaper than he’s ever been and Dalton Kincaid is one of the most polarizing selections in our neck of the woods right now. Do you have a preference on the WR3 battle between Khalil Shakir and Deonte Hardy

Jonathan: My favorite cost-adjusted non-Diggs pass catchers on the Bills are:

  1. Dawson Knox (ADP: 177)
  2. Gabriel Davis (77)
  3. Khalil Shakir (186)
  4. Deonte Hardy (215)
  5. Dalton Kincaid (126)

I lean toward Shakir in the WR3 battle, but I’m not super confident in that call, so I want to be mixing in Hardy as well. 

The bigger stand I am making is fading Kincaid, who is being drafted as a Top-12 TE while Knox is available more than 50 picks later. I’ll continue to pretty much only draft Knox until their ADPs are much closer together.

I’ve only drafted a handful of Allen stacks, so a lot of my exposure to this group is actually coming on teams where I am correlating with New England players for Week 17.

Two of the Elite QBs we haven’t talked about yet are actually more interesting to me at their cost: Lamar Jackson (ADP: 35) and Justin Fields (48) offer the most rushing upside at the position, have plenty of late stacking options, and are on offenses that I expect to be meaningfully better than last season

Justin Fields team stacks

Even more importantly, they allow me to grab an extra skill position player or two before making my detour for QB, and I tend to feel much better about the final roster as a result.

I don’t love that they could both be impacted by weather in Week 17, but their ability to rack up points on the ground helps to offset that. Unless the ADP gap vs. the top 3 QBs shrinks, I expect to have more of Jackson and Fields than the Mahomes, Hurts, Allen group. 

Do you like that second tier of Elite QBs as much as I do? And given how the entire position seems to be pulled up in drafts compared to past years, is there any point on the draft board where QBs actually feel like a value to you? 

I am underweight on that second-tier of Elite QBs, but mainly because I’m grabbing WRs in Round 4 most of the time. I do agree with you that they offer some nice arbitrage prices on the Elite QBs and allow you to navigate the positional value pockets better after the top WRs and RBs come off the board in the middle of Round 3. 

My QB portfolio is largely tilted toward late-round 3QB builds (headlined by Kenny Pickett and Sam Howell) or the mid-tier QBs (Tua TagovailoaRussell WilsonGeno SmithDak Prescott, and Aaron Rodgers):

Best ball mania IV

For the most part, I would consider my QB strategy fairly agnostic and value- and stack-dependent.

The late-round QB builds occur when I’m loading up on other positions and forced there by necessity. The mid-tier of QBs—highlighted in this QB Roster Construction article by Dwainlend themselves very well to stacks (I love the Dolphins WRs, CeeDee Lamb, Garrett Wilson, etc.) and often fall past ADP because drafters don’t want to take them unstacked. 

It will be fascinating to see how this year plays out considering the QB prices are so different from previous years. 

As always, remain flexible in drafts. There is no one silver bullet strategy for the QB position; it’s all about how you construct the rest of your team around those selections.

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Pros v Cons
Peter Overzet
Peter Overzet
Peter Overzet is the creative lead for Fantasy Life and voice of the newsletter, as well as a podcast host and comedian. He streams a variety of fantasy football shows on his YouTube channel covering best ball, DFS, and high stakes season-long. He is also known on Twitter as a thought leader, influencer, deposit king, and aspiring engagement farmer.