Unless you’re drafting one of the obvious top talents at the position (Patrick Mahomes, Jalen Hurts, Josh Allen, Lamar Jackson), chances are that it’s never going to feel like the right time to take a quarterback in your draft. Sure, you can target Joe Burrow, but he comes with a hefty 4th round price tag. But if you wait until later and draft a guy like Jared Goff or Derek Carr, your upside could be limited despite a cheaper price tag, even if that player produces at a consistently solid level.
The question quickly becomes: when is the best time to draft a quarterback for fantasy football? The answer certainly depends first and foremost on the format of the league you’re playing in. For the sake of this argument, we’ll assume that we’re playing in a 1QB, full PPR format. Certain experts will tell you to nail down an elite started early in the draft, while others will champion the low positional advantage and advocate for taking one later. There’s no true correct answer, but the way that I like to build out my team, the QB sweet spot for me has settled in the 7th, 8th, and 9th rounds of drafts.
The talent that falls in this range for fantasy offers the full spectrum of quarterback archetypes - and all at affordable prices. You want a rushing quarterback? Look no further than Anthony Richardson (QB11, 9th Round). Or how about a quarterback with upside to finish Top-5? Deshaun Watson (QB9, 7-8 Turn) might be your guy. Maybe you want to shoot the moon a bit on a high volume passer with two elite weapons - Tua Tagovailoa (QB10, 8th Round) has Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle, and was one of the best fantasy QBs when he was healthy last year. Or maybe you don’t want to take on any risk and have a quality starter week in and week out – Dak Prescott (QB12, 9th Round) or Kirk Cousins (QB12, 10th Round) might be exactly your cup of tea.
Taking a quarterback in this nice middle ground allows you to fully flesh out your skill positions (RB, WR, TE) without the lingering worry of having to use a premium pick on a quarterback. You could draft four RBs and 3 WRs to open your draft, or vice versa, or even grab an elite tight end like Travis Kelce or Mark Andrews and still have time to take 3 RBs and 3 WRs before you take a QB!
You’re also able to assess the amount of risk you want to take at QB once the rest of the board has fallen and you can gauge the amount of risk that’s already present in your roster. If you drafted up players like Calvin Ridley, DeAndre Hopkins, and Josh Jacobs early, you might want to consider balancing some of that risk with the available security at QB in rounds 7-9 (Dak Prescott, Kirk Cousins, and Daniel Jones all make sense in that scenario). But if you’ve checked all your boxes with safe producers at your skill positions (such as Nick Chubb and Keenan Allen), you might have the flexibility to roll the dice at QB and shoot for upside with players like Tua and Deshaun Watson – or even Anthony Richardson!
Don’t get it twisted though – there’s nothing wrong with grabbing a Patrick Mahomes or a Jalen Hurts in rounds 2 or 3 of your draft. They’re going to produce at an elite level at the end of the day. And you can get by, too, drafting up QBs later in drafts – Justin Fields last season was a case in point. But in my draft experience, and assessing the value up and down the QB board, the best spot to draft your quarterback is in the middle of the draft, between rounds 7 and 9.