Football season is right around the corner and leagues everywhere are scrambling to set up their fantasy drafts. Things may be a bit different this year for some leagues. Leagues that have previously gathered in bars, living rooms, backyards and office conference rooms may be moving from live drafts to online drafts this season due to Covid-19. Some leagues are incorporating Zoom meetings into their drafts so the smack talking can continue. Whichever way you’re doing your draft this season, you need to get ready and have a plan and that’s what were here for!
Today’s article is going to help you prepare for your draft and help you plan when and how to draft your quarterbacks. The most common leagues are 10 or 12 team redraft leagues where you start 1 QB each week, so in those leagues, you want to have 2 solid quarterbacks when you walk out of the draft room. Whether you’re playing against your brother-in-law Doug or Zach from Accounting, its important for you to go into a draft with a road map to success. What I’m going to break down for you here in this article is specifically where to target drafting your quarterbacks.
The quarterback position is certainly an important one when drafting your fantasy football team. What I will do here is break the quarterbacks into “pockets” and tell you what rounds to target each pocket in your draft. By formulating a plan in pockets, you don’t go on tilt if someone snipes the one player you were targeting from you. If you are looking for breakdowns of the players, or rankings and projections, head over to Razzball.com and check out some of the amazing tools like Donkey Teeths’s rankings and Rudy Gamble’s projections, along with some great articles from the Razzball writers! Lets take a look at the QB Pockets and nail down a plan on when to go after your guy!
Pocket 1 –Mahomes, Jackson
This pocket is pretty simple, it’s the 2 best QBs in the league. Not only are they both sure to put up fantasy points on a regular basis, but they’re 2 of the most exciting football players we’ve seen play the game. The issue here is that if you want one of these studs, you’re going to be paying a premium. In order to land a QB in this pocket, you will have to pick them in the 1st or 2nd round of your draft as they generally don’t slip below that. As enticing as they are, I am of the mindset to draft other positions in the early rounds so I won’t be paying up for this pocket. You certainly can, but if you do, just know that you will have some scrambling to do during the season, likely at the RB position.
Pocket 2 – Prescott, Wilson, Watson, Murray
This next pocket of QB’s is generally where I start my shopping. I have been targeting one of the QBs from this pocket as my QB1 and have been able to land one anywhere between rounds 5-7. Depending on where you’re picking in the draft, I would look to grab one of them in the late 5th or early 6th and you will have a “lock and load” starting QB for almost every week of your season. Prescott, Wilson and Watson have proven year over year to put up fantasy points and consistently finish among the top scoring fantasy QB options. Kyler Murray joins this group for me this season as he got a huge boost to his offense with the addition of DeAndre Hopkins this season. The Cardinals are expected to have a high-powered offense this season and Kyler adds rushing ability as well. I believe he takes a leap forward this season to join this group.
Pocket 3 –Allen, Ryan Brady, Brees
If I miss out on the Pocket 2, I will 100% be looking to land 1, if not 2, of the guys from this pocket. This pocket generally goes somewhere in the rounds 7-9 range. If you want Allen or Ryan you should go after them in the 7th and with Brady and Brees you can usually land them in the 8th or 9th round. I ALMOST added Allen to the group above, but his accuracy issues and the pace of his offense had me drop him here. His rushing upside and Ryans passing volume are the reasons you see them being drafted a round or 2 higher than the other 2 QBs in the tier. Brady and Brees are only drafted so low due to their age. They will be quarterbacking 2 of the most potent offenses in the league this season. Gimme!
Pocket 4 – Rodgers, Wentz, Mayfield, Stafford
At this point you should have drafted at least 1 QB already as your starter. If you played QB chicken and didn’t, you MUST look to land one of these QBs from this pocket and you may even want to grab 2 of them and play matchups. This is a pocket that generally goes in the rounds 10-12 range and overlaps draft positions a bit with the tier 5 pocket below. If you didn’t draft a QB1 yet, take one of these in round 10 and if you do have your QB1 already, you should consider one of these as a high end QB2 and a solid insurance plan in the 11th or 12th.
Pocket 5 – Newton, Jones, Goff, Tannehill
This is a pocket that should only be in the QB2 conversation. This pocket is being drafted in rounds 11-13 in most draft rooms. The quys you see here are quarterbacks who have the potential to be QB1s but have some question marks surrounding them. If you’ve drafted your QB1 in one of the top pockets and have a solid core of position players, you can grab one of these guys in these rounds as a high upside QB2 who can fill in admirably if your QB1 goes down or misses some time.
Pocket 6 – Cousins, Garoppolo, Rivers, Minshew, Lock, Roethlisberger
This pocket is the one that I would consider the last of the real QB2 options. This pocket is a mixture of quarterbacks either at the end of their career, unproven youth, and game managers. This pocket should only be drafted as mid to low end QB2s who can fill in bye weeks for you. This pocket can be had generally in rounds 13-16.
Pocket 7 – Burrow, Carr, Bridgewater, Darnold
This is the Hail Mary pocket. These quarterbacks go in rounds 14-16 and are only useful to you as bye week fill-ins if you have yet to draft a QB2. If your strategy is to wait on QB2 and take a guy from this tier, then make sure you do your homework and see who has a favorable match-up on the week your starter has his bye. This will likely be the only time you use this quarterback.
Pocket 8 – Taylor, Haskins, Fitzpatrick/Tagovailoa, Trubisky/Foles
Plain and simple – don’t draft these guys in regular 12 team, 1 QB leagues. Quarterbacks like these will likely go undrafted and be available for you on the waiver wire should something happen to one of your guys.
As you head into your draft rooms and Zoom drafts, go in with a plan and use these pockets to be prepared to dominate! Hopefully, reading this article and having the quarterback position broken into pockets helps you to understand where you should be targeting the position in your drafts. You know what they say – “Plan your work and work your plan”. Good luck and happy drafting!
Drafting this weekend. I have the first overall and taking McCaffery. Its 14 team starting a QB, 2 RB, 2 WR, TE, Def and kicker and 2 flex positions. I like the draft QB late strategy as in mocks i have been getting Newton or Mayfield later. My question is, since i am drafting the number 1 back in the first round, what do you think of drafting 4 WRs in the next four rounds. Gives me a good chance of having a WR core of Moore, Ridley, Sutton and Parker (example). Since all four Wrs will be starters with the setup of the league it seems like a decent strategy. With my later picks I have been getting RBs like Gibson, Moss, Johnson or Harris. Does this sound good considering the settings?
Hey Homer, thanks for reading and for the question.
I know a few people who love the “modified zero RB’ type approach like youre describing and it certainly builds a strong WR room, but personally Im not as comfortable with it. I love Moss as much as the next guy, but not as my RB2. In your shoes, I would almost definitely look to take a RB 2 on that 2/3 turn, then you can hammer WR for a few rounds if you like the guys in that group. I think WR is the deepest position and the difference between having a Carson, Taylor, even David Johnson as RB2 vs Moss or Duke is much wider than say Sutton or Parker to a Sanders, P Williams or Perriman rounds later. Given the depth at WR thats the route I personally prefer, but if youre comfortable with those later backs as your RB2 and flex then Im not going to tell you not to!
Hope this helped you a little! Have a great draft and a great season! Im always available here and on Twitter if you have any questions or want to bounce anything off of me!
You must be going for the contrarian strategy of need 2 QBs and QBs early in a 1 QB league.
I am happy taking anyone from the 4 or 5 Pocket as my QB one and streaming QB.
Thanks for reading Afro!
The pocket 4 group are viable starting QB1s but personally I wouldnt roll the dice on the pocket 5 guys as they all have bigger question marks. I am usually a “wait longer for qb” guy, but with more uncertainty than usual this year, and some solid deep WR value, Ive adjusted. I found that paying a 6th or 7th round pick for my QB1, then grabbing QB2 in early double digit rounds, still allows for solid lineup builds with the value we’re seeing in the double digit rounds.
I think having a viable and start-able QB2 is more important than ever this year should your QB1 have to miss time or if there is a virus breakout in their locker room.
Thanks again for reading and have a great season!
This year, with COVID, I can kind of see the need to lock down 2 QBs in a 12-teamer or more, but in 10 teamers, I just can’t see it. Even if everybody else in a 10-teamer goes 2 QB, you’d still have 13 available to stream in any given week. That’s plenty to pick from. Even in a 12-teamer you’d have 9…that could be a little nerve wracking, but doable.
I lean more toward Afro on the pockets though. I’ll take pocket 3 guys who fall a couple rounds or pocket 4 guys around their ADP, but no way am I paying up for the top end. Especially in a year like this. I already have teams that look like they’ll need to play guys drafted as depth in week 1 because of injuries, releases, or whatever. And in this case, I’m glad those first-line depth guys are high-floor and/or high-upside. Wouldn’t have them if I’m drafting QBs or TEs in the first 6 or 7 rounds.
Hey Bob thanks for reading.
Youre absolutely right that you may be able to get pocket 6 and maybe even pocket 5 guys on the waiver wire in a 10 team. I love the value of the pocket 3 and 4 guys also and find them on a bunch of my teams so far. The goal of this article is to be a guide for the readers who havent mocked or drafted yet to have a better understanding of where QBs are currently going and let them form a plan for how they want to attack the position in their drafts based on the pockets. Nothing is worse than when you go on tilt in your draft because someone sniped your target! I want the readers to know that even if they want Stafford but get sniped they can still look for the others in that pocket.
Your plan of going with pocket 3 or 4 guys is absolutely a viable one! Load up on those skill guys and then smash one of those QBs that you like. I will never tell anyone they need to pay up at a premium to draft a top tier QB. You and I will get ours later and beat those guys!
Thanks again for reading and have a great season!!
True, that…tilt is a bad place to be. And I get that more seasonal players (I start drafting best ball in March, so I don’t really have a season) can have a hard time wrapping their heads around the value that’s out there. But once you do it opens up so much more room for getting a solid RB/WR core early.
Just curious…do you think a healthy Roethlisberger belongs as low as tier 6, or is that an adjustment for injury risk? If healthy all year, I’d think he’d at least be a 5, not?
Boy, loaded question Bob! Haha. A HEALTHY Roethlisberger absolutely would be in a higher pocket. Even Ben coming off a regular injury may be a pocket higher. But a Ben coming off surgery after tearing 3 tendons off the bone in his throwing elbow Im uncertain about. Im just not sure he returns to the Ben were used to. I cant put trust in a gunslinger quarterback coming off an unprecedented injury without seeing it first.
Fair enough. I don’t really know what to make of him either. Thanks for your thoughts on it.