Stop looking past the upper-tier of quarterbacks in fantasy football drafts

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The worm has turned, so to speak, in the fantasy football community, as the pundits’ cry to wait on drafting quarterbacks is being silenced by the emergence of so many mobile signal-callers. 

The position itself is still plenty deep, and with currently running fantasy drafts seeing so many running backs off the board early, drafting your quarterback late is still a viable strategy, but the decision to do so is more of an either/or scenario than the gospel according to fantasy. 

Patrick Mahomes remains a cut above most, according to recent ADP data, but many names are trending north right now, and you would be remiss to ignore certain names. 

Five years ago, there were only a small handful of mobile quarterbacks, and few, if any, were worthy of a high draft pick in fantasy. Today, in addition to Mahomes, we’ve seen the likes of Lamar Jackson, Josh Allen, Kyler Murray and Dak Prescott creep up draft boards. Even Russell Wilson, with the Seahawks’ new-look offense, is starting to garner more early attention in drafts as the “Let Russ Cook” cries get louder. 

Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes
USA TODAY Sports

High-end running backs are still the rage, but just like we’ve seen at the tight end position with Travis Kelce and Darren Waller, there appears to be a distinct advantage to drafting one of these top quarterbacks in the early rounds. 

Last season, Jackson, Murray and Cam Newton all had more than 130 rushing attempts. Jackson led the group with 1,005 yards, but it was Murray and Newton who posted double-digit touchdowns. With their rushing totals, drafting Jackson and Murray last season gave you a distinct advantage over your competition, as each threw for 26 touchdowns as well. 

Murray’s advantage was even more dominant with nearly 4,000 yards through the air. Yes, they cost you a draft pick within the first five rounds, but given their totals, the juice was definitely worth the squeeze. 

Keep in mind, it’s not all about adding rushing yards. In fact, Mahomes had just 308 yards and two rushing touchdowns last year. It is about his ability to avoid sacks, maneuver around the field and extend plays with his legs that makes him so valuable. Without the ability to scramble, those 4,740 yards and 38 touchdown passes seem a lot less likely. Wilson and Allen are both cut from this cloth as well, and we may even see more of this from Justin Herbert and Jalen Hurts. 

In this era of a pass-happy NFL, the depth at the wide receiver position continues to grow in fantasy. Drafting your running backs may still be the top priority, but it is time to stop looking past the upper-tier of quarterbacks. Draft early and draft with confidence. You and your team will be happier in the end. 

Howard Bender is the VP of operations and head of content at FantasyAlarm.com. Follow him on Twitter @rotobuzzguy and catch him on the award-winning “Fantasy Alarm Radio Show” on the SiriusXM fantasy sports channel weekdays from 6-8 p.m. Go to FantasyAlarm.com for all your fantasy football advice. 

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