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One of the most exploitable inefficiencies in dynasty fantasy football is the difference between where players are selected in startup drafts compared to their 2021 projection. High-priced players are more long-term bets, so their 2021 projection is less significant than lower-priced players who have much lower long-term hit rates. For the later picks, in particular, players projected to outscore their draft position should be targeted. Below are quarterbacks who see a difference in their real draft position and 2021 Footballguys consensus projection.
Tom Brady is projected as a top-five consensus quarterback in 6-point passing touchdown leagues, with a real draft position of 24. Brady is likely in a year or two career length window, but a top-six finish in 2021 would make him a massive favorite provide more value to your roster than many younger quarterbacks selected ahead of him in startup drafts.
Recent trades in Superflex dynasty leagues involving Brady include:
- Tom Brady for Elijah Moore and a 2022 fourth-round rookie pick;
- Tom Brady for a 2022 second-round rookie pick; and
- Tom Brady for Ronald Jones II and a 2024 third-round rookie pick.
The dynasty marketplace has essentially written off Ben Roethlisberger’s dynasty career. Outside the top 30 in quarterback startup real draft position, Roethlisberger is at a crossroads entering the final year of his contract. The recent years have not been good as Roethlisberger’s elbow injury cost him a significant portion of 2019 before a disappointing 2020 season.
Roethlisberger has a good set of weapons in Diontae Johnson, Chase Claypool, JuJu Smith-Schuster, Eric Ebron, and Najee Harris, who could support a QB2 type seasonal finish. Like Brady, Roethlisberger is an option to pair with a developing young quarterback if your team is in a contending window but at a lower upside.
Recent trades in Superflex leagues involving Brady include:
- Ben Roethlisberger for a 2022 second-round rookie pick;
- Ben Roethlisberger and a 2022 fourth-round rookie pick for Zach Ertz; and
- Ben Roethlisberger for James Conner.
Like Brady and Roethlisberger, Matt Ryan is a veteran being overlooked by the market. In the past month, Ryan’s real draft position is QB21, while we project him to finish on the QB1/2 fringe in 2021. The impact of the Julio Jones trade will be important to watch in both his projection and his market cost, but Ryan is likely to continue as an underpriced option compared to his 2021 real draft position.
Ryan is potentially a longer range player than Brady and Roethlisberger, with a lower ceiling than Brady in 2021 but the possibility of contributing three to five years of productive seasons.
Recent trades in Superflex leagues involving Ryan include:
- Matt Ryan for a 2022 first-round rookie pick;
- Matt Ryan for James Robinson and DeVante Parker; and
- Matt Ryan and T.Y. Hilton for Jared Goff and rookie pick 2.12
In 2020, Ryan Fitzpatrick had his lowest time to throw since NFL Next Gen Stats began tracking the statistic in 2016. Unsurprisingly, Fitzpatrick also had his second-best yards per attempt (7.8) since 2016, despite a weaker supporting cast than prior seasons. Fitzpatrick’s 2020 completion percentage over expectation was also the best of the five-year period. Fitzpatrick’s move from Miami to Washington should see an improvement with Curtis Samuel, Terry McLaurin, Logan Thomas, and Antonio Gibson. Washington also chose not to address the quarterback position in the draft, so Fitzpatrick should be secure as the 2021 starter. He has top-12 upside this season and, with a good season, has 2022 starter upside. Fitzpatrick has frequently been traded for third-round rookie pick equivalence, one of the better upside, security, and cost combinations of the quarterbacks here.
Outside of rookies, the lone quarterback that sticks out as underperforming his cost is Justin Herbert. His top-six startup cost outpaces his low-end QB1 projection. Herbert’s rookie breakout season has fueled a first-round startup cost in Superflex drafts with the hope of long-term high-end production. At his cost, Herbert presents a big risk. If Herbert performs well, he is unlikely to move up much in startup drafts. The quarterback position is well stocked with young high-end performers, including Patrick Mahomes II, Josh Allen, Dak Prescott, Lamar Jackson, Kyler Murray, and Deshaun Watson (when on the field). In this climate, Herbert presents more risk than security. If he falters in his sophomore season, he could be surpassed by depressed price veterans like Russell Wilson and Deshaun Watson, along with young options like Joe Burrow and Trevor Lawrence. There are a lot of ways a selection of Herbert at this cost could go wrong, which presents a potential pivot opportunity before the season.