RC Intro: Leonard LaPadula is the founder of Advanced Sports Logic, and a long-time friend and colleague of mine. You may know his work as the creator of the DFS Optimizer (that uses FFM for number projections) or way back with the ahead-of-its-time Dynasty/Fantasy software 'The Machine' (which is planned for a comeback/redesign upgrade in the near future! Good news for 'Machine' fans!). Leonard was one of the FFM original customers back in FFM's infancy and has been with FFM for all his Dynasty/Fantasy teams for over a decade. Leonard has some unique, data-driven thoughts about how to manage his Dynasty teams and he shares them in published articles from time-to-time. He thought this report might be of interest to the FFM community, so I'm glad to post his thoughts/data here.
The Importance of having a Top-6 QB
I have always considered having a top-6 QB the most important priority for my dynasty fantasy football team. QB is the highest scoring position, and has greatest longevity after kicker in the NFL. So I consider getting that cornerstone top-6 QB locked down as top priority for my dynasty fantasy team.
Why a top-6 and not just a QB1? We start only one QB in my league, so starting the 12th best QB sets me up to be in 12th place in my league. If I want a fantasy playoff-caliber team, I want a top-6 QB. I consider a top-7 to top-12 QB as a good backup for by-weeks and injuries. My goal is to have my cake and eat it too.
But it is impossible for everyone in the league to have a top-6 QB, let alone a top-6 QB and a top-12 QB, right? Yep, exactly - and not everyone can win the championship. This is called winning. Not everyone can win. My strategy cannot be possible for all other team managers to accomplish. But to accomplish my goal I need an advanced strategy - more than just making good picks, but being more efficient at making good picks than anyone else in my league. I want more than just great NFL prospect knowledge - I want the power of math and statistics on my side.
I am planning for my draft, and I have Jalen Hurts on my team already. My RB corps is mediocre at best, but adding a QB1 to my roster is still my top priority. How many fantasy players say they lost because their top guy got injured in Week 14. Their whole season came crashing down because their super star got injured. Nobody that wants to win their league's championship should have their whole season riding on one player - and this mistake is made with the QB position more than any other position. There is no excuse if you lose your top-6 QB going into the playoffs and you don't have a viable QB1 lined up and ready to go if that happens. So I just want to find that QB1 (top-12) QB to be my back-up incase Hurts is injured or declines and for his bye week.
Last year 1/4th of the NFL’s starting quarterbacks were injured in the first six weeks of the season: Tua Tagovailo, Jameis Winston, Mac Jones, Trey Lance, Dak Prescott, Zach Wilson, Baker Mayfield and Teddy Bridgewater.
Introduction of the Study
This year, based on my strategy for stock piling draft picks (which could be the topic of another article), I have the 1.07, 1.09, 2.03, 2.05, 2.12, 3.09 and 3.09 pick in my draft (after coming in 3rd last year). FFM / R.C. is my favorite source for player evaluations and that enters into my draft plan, but first-and-foremost I am a numbers and math guy. I want to crack the code without needing to be or to rely on an expert NFL analyst. If I can do that, then with the addition of great player analysis, I can have a championship caliber team year after year.
So I have done a little homework regarding the success rate of drafting QBs versus average draft position (ADP). And whether you are desperate for a QB or, like me, just trying to increase your meaningful depth at the position, I believe what I discovered can help anyone use their draft picks most efficiently for building their QB position. (Notice I used the word “building”, not “filling” – anyone can fill a position – but we are building a position – improving it – making it stronger – we aren’t looking for one player, but we are looking for the overall strength of a position on our roster.)
This year I would really like to add Anthony Richardson to my team – I mean I really want this guy – he can run – he can throw – he could play linebacker. It might take a year or more for him to grow into his potential – but all the pointers for Richardson are positive. I thought this about Joe Burrow, Andrew Luck, Kyler Murray also. I didn’t get Burrow. Murray worked out for a few years, but is now on the decline. I got unlucky with Luck and lucked into Hurts, getting him in a trade for only a 2nd round pick.
For a while it looked like Richardson would fall to the 7th overall pick. It could happen in my league – but current ADP has him as the 4th overall pick, so it isn’t likely I will get him at 1.07, especially with most of the teams drafting before me in rebuild mode. Should I try to move up to 1.03 to grab him? What are the real chances he will be a difference maker, what are my other options?
So in planning for my draft, I went through the last 9 years of ADP data to see where quarterbacks were drafted and correlated that to being top-6 and top-12 performers for fantasy.
Historical ADP Information
First, based on historical ADP information, this is where quarterbacks were drafted over the last 9 years:
Patrick Mahomes and Josh Allen are the steals of the last decade, and they were drafted in the bottom of the 2nd and in the 3rd round. You cannot trade for them efficiently now, so they are untouchable for all practical purposes. We will come back to why some of the players have colored boxes around them, but let's go to the next nugget of information from my study.
Success Rate vs Years of Experience
I wanted to see how these players panned-out since being drafted. What I did was that for every year they were a top-6 QB I gave them 1 point and for every year that they were a top-7 to top-12 QB I gave them 0.5 points. Then I took the integral of all their results and got this chart:
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