Fantasy football drafts are all about maximizing value at each spot, whether that means reaching for your guy or picking that stud who looks to be falling for no obvious reason. In this series, I’ve taken a look at groups of three players with similar current ADPs and have selected the one I’d be picking if it was me on the clock.
Which quarterback are you picking as your QB1 if you’re picking at the end of the fourth round: Kyler Murray (4.09), Lamar Jackson (5.02) or Dak Prescott (5.05)?
I’m drafting: Kyler Murray
Knowing when to cash your chips and pick the quarterback for your fantasy football team is one of the biggest questions in fantasy. Some fantasy players are adamant that there’s so much value available at the position, that they won’t pick their quarterback until the double digit rounds. Though this strategy allows you to focus on stacking skill position players, there are lessons to be learned from the 2020 season. Picking one of the high ADP quarterbacks last year proved to be a significant advantage.
If I’m going early on a quarterback and these three are on the board, I’m taking Kyler Murray.
I currently have Murray as my QB2 heading into the 2021 season, one place ahead of his current ADP of the QB3. The big reason I’m in on Murray is the huge numbers we were seeing before he suffered his shoulder injury in Week 11 last season.
Up to Week 10, Murray was averaging 28.6 fantasy points per game, with a whopping 12.7 of these points coming on the ground each game. Despite the slow down after the shoulder injury, Murray still finished with an overall improvement in his passing numbers in 2020, passing for more yards (3791 vs 3722) and touchdowns (26 vs 22) at a better completion rate (67.2% vs 64.4%), with his QPI rating increasing from 49.3% (21st) to 54.7% (17th).
Where Murray added huge value in fantasy however was as a rusher, as he led all quarterbacks in fantasy rushing with 147.9 points (9.2 PPG), thanks to 819 rushing yards (second to Lamar Jackson) and 11 rushing touchdowns (second to Cam Newton). With some new weapons added this off season and an off season to get back to full health, Murray has everything at his disposal to make another leap and push to be the top quarterback in fantasy in 2021.
QB leaders in non-passing fantasy points per game last year (.5PPR, per @PaddiCooper):
— NerdBall Fantasy Football (@nerdballff) July 14, 2021
I’m a big fan of what Dak Prescott can achieve in 2021 as he comes back from his devastating ankle injury. With arguably the best receiving corps in the league at his disposal, Dak has everything at hand to carry on where he left off in the first month of 2020, where he averaged 423 passing yards per game and 29.55 fantasy points per game.
With CeeDee Lamb seemingly poised to make a leap in year two, Amari Cooper a super consistent top-20 receiving option and Michael Gallup able to put up 800 to 1,000 receiving yards as a WR3 (plus Ezekiel Elliot good for a further 50+ targets), Dak could push to be the 9th quarterback to throw for 5,000 yards. If back to full health, Dak is also a sneaky strong runner, with 250 rushing yards and 5 rushing touchdowns a seemingly solid floor. The Cowboys may not be everyone’s favorite team, but Dak as your QB1 is worth serious consideration in 2021.
Lamar Jackson is coming off a slight down year after his sensational 2019 season but was still a QB1 option in 2020, finishing as the QB10 overall. Jackson’s rushing floor of 1,000 yards and 7 touchdowns feels a good place for him to start when projecting his 2021 season, but the question is can he get back to be the explosive passer he was in his MVP season.
The Ravens added more weapons to their receiving corps this offseason, with Sammy Watkins coming in via free agency, and then they drafted Rashod Bateman in the first round of this year’s draft to now have three first round receivers on their roster, with Watkins, Bateman and Hollywood Brown. I don’t have any of the receivers making any great fantasy impact, with Mark Andrews ranked as my fourth rated tight end my favorite to lead the team in targets. I can see Jackson as a top-5 fantasy quarterback, but he’ll be relying massively on his rushing to get there and is therefore more risky a pick than either Murray or Prescott.
Who would you pick if you were on the clock with Murray, Jackson and Prescott sitting there?