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This article is about a 14-minute read.
The premise of a Pick-a-Player question is as follows:
- Three comparable players are available.
- The draft is at a stage where these players are usually drafted.
- You can take one of them or pass on all three for someone else.
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- 1 quarterback
- 2 running backs
- 3 wide receivers
- 1 tight end
- 1 superflex (QB/RB/WR/TE)
- 1 kicker
- 1 defense
And the winner is -- a mix of Mahomes and Barkley! See the percentages below.
None of the Three
Footballguys Shark Pool
Comments from the Staff
Given the depth at quarterback, I would still pass on taking a quarterback this early, which leaves me with either (A) Barkley or (B) going off the board and taking another player (likely a stud running back). I'll choose Barkley, as he is the driving force for the Giants' offense. I know that New York is still rebuilding and is likely a third-place team behind Philadelphia and Dallas, but Barkley has been a consistent contributor and thorn in the side of defensive coordinators across the league. The Giants have struggled to redefine their offense during the transition to a post-Eli Manning era, which led to Barkley being the biggest contributor to the offense. With Odell Beckham Jr gone and Evan Engram injured, the cupboard was bare in the passing game and defenses knew that if they stopped Barkley, they stopped New York - yet Barkley stepped up and still delivered. I trust him the most to continue doing just that this season, and that would be a great start to building a team with a top-notch running back option in all formats, including superflex.
I'm going quarterback here.
First off, unless the scoring really deflates quarterbacks, a superflex is the same as starting two quarterbacks to me. The difference in fantasy points at the position is just too good to ignore.
Second, there is only quarterback depth when you are only starting one of them each week. Once every team can trot out a pair of them each week, Gardner Minshew doesn't look so good.
Between Jackson and Mahomes, there probably isn't a wrong answer, but I'll take Mahomes. He has excelled for two seasons -- that's my tie-breaker.
Given that it is standard scoring and Barkley wouldn't get any points for his 50+ receptions, I think the pick should be a quarterback. It is very close between Mahomes and Jackson but I lean Lamar Jackson. I think he has a clearer path to blowing away the field at the position than Mahomes does because of how much most fantasy scoring systems favor rushing yardage over passing.
Most leagues give .04 points per passing yard and .1 point per rushing yard, which makes rushing yards 2.5x more valuable than passing yards. I think Jackson rushes for 1,000+ yards again, which adds the equivalent of 2,500+ passing yards to his total.
My pick is Patrick Mahomes II if he's not taken first overall. In a Superflex league, this decision is down to Mahomes or Lamar Jackson. The reason why Mahomes is my preferred pick is due to his high floor and potentially higher ceiling than 2019 where he missed two games. Lamar Jackson is an immensely talented player, but rushing yards for quarterbacks can take a turn for the worse with even a minor injury. If you remove that from Jackson's game, he is not as valuable as Mahomes, or probably several other quarterbacks. Defenses will also be more aware of how to keep Jackson bottled up in year two. Teams will review his playoff film where he is 0-2 in his career. The rushing yards are huge for Jackson, but a regression from last year's MVP season is likely. In my opinion, the safer pick for a top quarterback in this Superflex format is Mahomes.
At pick 1.02, I am terrified of a quarterback run in this format. Sometimes they happen straight away, sometimes you get a good choice coming back at you. With the choices available I am delighted with either Patrick Mahomes II or Lamar Jackson here but would select Mahomes because of his higher floor. It will be such an advantage to have two strong quarterback starters here and getting the best of the best is a real head start. You can look like a fool if only three quarterbacks are gone by your second pick, but it doesn’t take much for herd mentality to kick in as people aren’t excited at thinking about taking Teddy Bridgewater in the fourth round.
I'd love to see some Superflex ADP, as I don't see how a quarterback run would happen in Rounds 1-2. Too much talent at all the other positions. Mahome and Jackson will be gone by 2.11 for sure, as would a few more - but not 10+. Taking a stud RB followed by a quarterback in Round 2 and then the best player available would be my plan, but I really would want to see a viable Top 50-60 list to plan out my overall take.
For me, the VBD of RB2 vs. what should be there at 2.11 is greater than waiting until 2.11 for my QB1. My third pick would be an interesting question (which is where I'd want the ADP list).
It's odd seeing a superflex league that's also standard scoring, I don't think that's a common format. But, based on the setup, it has to be a quarterback. I think both Lamar Jackson and Patrick Mahomes II are justifiable second-round picks in a 1-QB league this year, given the likelihood they significantly outscore QB3 and beyond by a wide margin. So in a superflex league, either is justified as the first overall pick. I personally rank Jackson higher than Mahomes, but I don't think you can go wrong with either.
In non-PPR, I'm probably going off the board and taking Ezekiel Elliott here. Quarterbacks are worth more in this format than a standard league for sure, but I'd still rather gain an edge at a tougher roster spot to fill, and address quarterback in the second round or later, depending on how the draft plays out.
Elliott gets the slight edge over Barkley since receptions don't count, Dallas' offense will provide more scoring chances, and he's been a picture of durability, which is rare for a running back.
I will take Saquon Barkley rather easily. While the elite quarterbacks will be gone by the late Round 2 range for this draft position's next selection, the position goes 20-25 players deep with comfortable options. My goal is three sturdy options even if waiting beyond the first 10-12 before acquiring my QB1. Barkley is poised for a career year soon considering his early production and historically rare prospect profile paired with his high-Round 1 pedigree.
I took the liberty of setting up these league settings in the Draft Dominator, so here's the Top 30 draft list:
- RB Christian McCaffrey - Car/13
- QB Patrick Mahomes II - KC/10
- QB Lamar Jackson - Bal/8
- RB Saquon Barkley - NYG/11
- RB Ezekiel Elliott - Dal/10
- RB Derrick Henry - Ten/7
- RB Nick Chubb - Cle/9
- QB Kyler Murray - Ari/8
- QB Deshaun Watson - Hou/8
- RB Dalvin Cook - Min/7
- RB Josh Jacobs - LV/6
- WR Tyreek Hill - KC/10
- RB Alvin Kamara - NO/6
- RB Joe Mixon - Cin/9
- WR Michael Thomas - NO/6
- QB Dak Prescott - Dal/10
- WR Davante Adams - GB/5
- RB Aaron Jones - GB/5
- QB Russell Wilson - Sea/6
- RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire - KC/10
- RB Miles Sanders - Phi/9
- TE Travis Kelce - KC/10
- WR Julio Jones - Atl/10
- RB Kenyan Drake - Ari/8
- QB Drew Brees - NO/6
- QB Tom Brady - TB/13
- QB Carson Wentz - Phi/9
- WR Chris Godwin - TB/13
- WR Kenny Golladay - Det/5
- WR DeAndre Hopkins - Ari/8
While the DD suggests taking a quarterback, it also suggests that running backs are very valuable with non-PPR and taking one at 1.02 does not cripple your team at quarterback, with Drew Brees, Tom Brady and Carson Wentz all available at 2.11.
So the debate comes down to your second overall running back and Brees, Brady or Wentz to start (possibly both with 3.02, else a strong WR) vs. Mahomes/Lamar Jackson at 2.02 and Kenyan Drake as your RB1 (with similar considerations at 3.02).
I'd rather have Brees and Brady with Barkley (Killer B team).
A big reason running backs are so valuable in typical leagues is because they're so scarce. There are maybe 40 running backs in any given week who will be relatively involved in a team's game plan, and many fantasy leagues will start 24-30 of them, meaning as many as 70% of viable options will be in play at any given time.
By contrast, there are 32 quarterbacks in any given week who will be relatively involved in a team's game plan, and most fantasy leagues will start 12 of them, or 37.5%. Why are there good quarterback options available on waivers but no good running backs? Because a lot of leagues are starting 70% of the viable running backs but only 37.5% of the viable quarterbacks.
Superflex dramatically changes this equation. In any given week, a league will be starting 22-24 players from the pool of 32 available quarterbacks, a usage rate very similar to that of running backs. Suddenly quarterbacks are as scarce as running backs, and their value rises commensurately.
Beyond scarcity, the value of a position in the draft hinges on predictability. One of the (many) reasons not to draft a defense high is the fact that the 10th defense off the board is historically about as likely to be a top unit as the first defense off the board.
Quarterback (especially in recent seasons) has been a lot less predictable than running back. The top fantasy quarterbacks have often not been among the first ten players drafted at the position (2019 Lamar Jackson, 2018 Patrick Mahomes II, 2016 Matt Ryan, 2015 Cam Newton and Carson Palmer, etc). This is a knock on quarterback value even in superflex leagues, where you can more easily get top production without investing top-of-market value.
But Patrick Mahomes II, to me, is a different animal entirely. I'm really, really, really confident that he is tremendously talented, playing for an innovative and quarterback-friendly coach in a hyper-productive system. Perhaps it's hubris, but in this case, I'm more confident that paying top-of-market prices will result in top-of-market production.
(A similar argument could be made in favor of Lamar Jackson, whose rushing production is both uniquely predictable and uniquely valuable.)
So this is all a long-winded way of saying that I think all three players are very reasonable selections here, but I'd take Mahomes.
My selection would not be Lamar Jackson. That's because 9% touchdown rates regress, and that is not something I want to invest in this early in a draft. The selection comes down to Patrick Mahomes II and Saquon Barkley. I do not think there is a clear wrong answer. Mahomes is like the three in basketball. He's the great equalizer and can cure a lot of ills on the rest of your roster in Superflex. In dynasty, I'd take him 1.01. But in redraft, I think there are enough bargains later at quarterback to warrant passing and selecting Barkley. Barkley was RB2 as a rookie behind Christian McCaffrey. Without a McCaffrey touchdown pass that season, Barkley would have finished as RB1. His upside is enormous and I would take him here with a focus on quarterbacks later.
I am going to come down on the side of the Mahomes backers on this question. I think you can make an argument for Jackson too, but I'm not as interested in the running back in a standard format. I do recognize the value of running backs in this situation, but I'm not very excited about Barkley this year for the uncertainty of what happened in the red zone with Daniel Jones at quarterback last year. If I was to go running back at the 1.02 I would want to take Ezekiel Elliott because of his touchdown floor.
But, even so, I think in a superflex I want Patrick Mahomes II. Jackson's touchdown rate last year has been mentioned, and I think it matters, but he's still going to be a fantasy points machine again in 2020. My main tiebreaker is the body of work. For Jackson I still have faith in him as a player and fantasy producer, but if you were to pick a player who has a bigger chance to disappoint I would easily pick Jackson to regress and put up more "normal" numbers. His stat line from 2019 is incredible but it has the feel of being an outlier that he may never reach again. Mahomes, on the other hand, got injured and was limited in quite a few games and still threw a touchdown on 5.4% of his attempts. I agree with Adam, he's just different, and in a superflex rostering the best player at one of the most important positions doesn't have to be any more complicated than that. Give me Mahomes.
Like others, this comes down to Mahomes or Jackson for me, too, and it's like splitting hairs. I've had them projected so close to each other throughout the summer trying to find a reason to differentiate one from the other. If push comes to shove, I'm probably going with Mahomes.
I've been an ardent back for Lamar making bullishly strong statistical cases for him last spring only to back down feeling I might have been a little over my skis. While I anticipate regression, like everyone else, I'm not sure it's going to be a lot. He's such a uniquely talented player, like Mahomes, that the means they'll regress to is quite different than even the other upper-tier players at the position.
All of this to say, when push comes to shove, I am probably taking Mahomes here by the slimmest of margins only because I perceive him as slightly safer than Jackson. Both have upside that extends well beyond the rest of their peers, while Mahomes can get to that peak without putting himself in as many compromising positions.
Select Comments from The Shark Pool
Went with Barkley, though there is no real wrong pick. There is such a scarcity of safe every-down running backs that I would rather go running back here and quarterback in the second round than the opposite. In my superflex league, the first two rounds tend to be about 50% running back, 25% quarterback, and 25% wide receivers and tight ends. There will always be a decent quarterback at 2.11, there is a risk of the best running back available being someone like Ekeler which I feel has some risk as your RB1 without PPR.
I'm leaning toward Mahomes even with a four-point touchdown pass. The main decision point for me is the ability to start two quarterbacks. Without knowing who's in the league with me, I don't have any knowledge of my opponent's draft strategy. I play in a super-flex league with the four-point touchdown pass. This league has been going on for at least 10 years and quarterbacks go fast. I am basing my judgement upon the draft history of that league.
I never want to be without a great quarterback in Superflex ever again, though wiser might wait until later.. Give me Mahomes.
Johnny B. Goode
Mahomes for me. It’s a cheat code
This is why I won’t play in a two-quarterback league, but you have to pick Mahomes.
I’m taking Saquon here as getting a top running back in non-PPR is critical, and even with superflex, there won’t be much left as top line on the next turn.
That said, I’d say this is one where you need to know your league. If everyone is going to go massively crazy for a quarterback (i.e. 6-8 gone before next pick) then taking a quarterback is the best move.
None of the options are wrong. All are worthy of the 2nd pick overall.
Since it's a non-PPR league, 12 teams, and a superflex, I think the right choice is Mahomes. I fear a lot of regression coming for Jackson. In a 12-team superflex, you NEED two quarterbacks and you really should want three, with only a few teams having 3 decent options. And quarterbacks in this format will go quickly, maybe just as fast at running backs. So picking Mahomes at 1.02 ensures that I have an elite starter and gives me flexibility with my 2nd and 3rd round picks. If you take Saquon, then I think that you're boxing yourself into taking two quarterbacks with the next two picks....because I would hate to wait until pick 4.11 to get another quarterback. I wouldn't be surprised to see 20+ quarterbacks off the board by that time.
That said, I would go Barkley if it were a PPR league or if it were a 10-team superflex. But having 12 teams makes a big difference to how fast quarterbacks go.
Hot Sauce Guy
I tend to downgrade Lamar Jackson due to his play style.
For dynasty, longevity comes strongly into consideration & RBs who throw well don’t tend to last as long as quarterbacks who run well.
Jackson is a much better running quarterback than many we’ve seen in the past, but he is still a running quarterback, so I’m weary of his injury potential.
And yes, Mahomes already hurt his knee, lending a little irony to my response, but it also illustrates my point: quarterbacks take hits and get hurt. Mahomes was hurt on a sneak when a bunch of big dudes fall on him.
Jackson goes off running and will likely take more big hits in the open field.
For dynasty, I easily have Mahomes ahead of Jackson.
Select Comments from Facebook
Superflex? Never drafted in one and the fact it is a non-PPR league I would take Lamar Jackson. He is more consistent than Mahomes IMO.
Barkley. He will still get 1500 yards and 10+ touchdowns. Position scarcity. Even in a superflex, I’d pass on these stud quarterbacks early first round. Good conundrum and choices though.
I would consider Barkley a little more if it were PPR. I'm leaning towards Mahomes but it's close. Throw Zeke in the mix too
Barkley. I am very intent on going RB-RB this year.
Barkley. He's on the field for 90% of the snaps. Just like Christian McCaffery. Get a quarterback later.
Barkley. Even with a superflex, which our league uses, a stud-RB is of great value. You can still grab a top quarterback at 23 or 26 and get a value quarterback a few rounds later. With the amount of passing in the NFL, along with all the running quarterbacks, there is a pretty big selection of quarterbacks who will put up numbers.
Supply and demand has me looking at Barkley in any format for the most part.
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