Whether I liked it or not, this most recent C2C best ball draft turned into an experiment—an attempt at a strategy few have tried, a strategy few have even talked about, the rarely spoken about, and also never executed Late-Round Quarterback draft strategy.

Here, I am going to reflect on how this strategy turned out and what my post-draft thoughts are now that it’s all said and done. The only other time I have seen this done is with Mike Bainbridge earlier this year. Feel free to reach out to him on X, as I know he loves engagement on social media.

Positional Flexibility Matters

With a late-round QB draft strategy, you’ll need to roster more than the typical 6 quarterbacks and instead roster 8-9. This means that you’ll have to stray away from the typical 6 quarterback, 10 RB, 10 WR, 4 TE roster build. In this draft, I took 9 quarterbacks, 10 RBs, 8 WRs, and 3 TEs. Every roster spot matters, so why not stack the deck a little by rostering players who can cover multiple positions?

Dalvin Smith – Courtesy of WKU Herald

The TE position has the majority of multi-position players, with guys like Dalvin Smith and Holden Willis leading the way. Those two are unique targets, though, in that they’re both top 5-10 TEs, thus costing you decent draft capital. I would have no issue targeting those guys but would also add Corey Dyches (Cal WR/TE), Ben Brahmer (ISU WR/TE), and Michael Harrison (SDSU WR/TE) into the mix as later options that have value in this draft strategy.

The RB/WR combos that are super intriguing to me are Jamal Haynes (Georgia Tech), Jacquez Stuart (Toledo), Chris Tyree (UVA), and Justin Marshall (Colorado State). Each comes at varying levels of cost, but it provides more value to us here utilizing this strategy than in a normal draft. 

Draft a Stud TE

I took a stud (Oronde Gadsden) because I wanted the ability to only have to take three thanks to what should be a big year from the Syracuse TEITO. When we’re crunching roster numbers, it gets a whole lot easier to draft 8-9 QBs when you don’t have to draft 4-5 TEs. By taking Gadsden, I open up a roster spot to use at QB. Considering the position and just how bad it can get so quickly, adding a fourth TE at the end of the draft likely does nothing for your overall standing in the league. 

Who You Take at QB Matters

What an enlightening thought, Chris. Yes, who you take at QB matters. You do have to have a strategy behind who you actually take at QB here. I’m a firm believer that you need to almost “pair up” QBs when installing this late-round strategy.

I love older QBs who are locked into their roles on their respective teams because I think they can provide us a decent enough floor with potential that one or two can blow up. Then I like the idea of adding the big upside guys that could crack the top 24 QBs by season’s end but aren’t being drafted that way due to the low likelihood of it happening. We can take that risk because we’re taking 8-9 QBs (3-4 of those being high upside high-risk guys).

EJ Warner Courtesy of Temple News

Examples of the older solid floor guys include DJ Uiagalelei (FSU), EJ Warner (Rice), Mikey Keene (Fresno State), Hudson Card (Purdue), Tucker Gleason (Toledo), and Graham Mertz (Florida). I’d be willing to bet that one of those guys will average 26-27 fantasy points per game in 2024.

Examples of the high-upside, high-risk guys include AJ Duffy (SDSU), Aidan Chiles (Michigan State), Blake Shapen (Mississippi State), Donovan Smith (Houston), Bert Emanuel (CMU), Behren Morton (Texas Tech), Devon Dampier (UNM) and Tyler Shough (Louisville). Each of these guys could go for 26-27 FPPG, or they could lose the QB job by Halloween. I’m fine with this, though, as I have already created a decent floor with the above boring old guys like DJU and Warner.

Attack Receivers Early

It’s quite possible that you can draft running backs early and often and be just fine here, but with our limited exposure to this strategy and its ins and outs, I lean towards a receiver-first strategy here. We’re crunching numbers, and it’s just so much easier to use positional flexibility to help with WR rather than RB, as I discussed above.

In this draft, I took Tet McMilan, Joey Hobert, and Tez Johnson to start. These are three guys I have in my personal top ten WR rankings and would imagine will be in the best lineup each week 75% of the time or better. I then took a long string of RBs to make up for the lack of a superstar RB at the top of the draft.

It does help that I feel better about the WR position from a later round value standpoint. I like many WRs that land in the mid to late teens and thus can round out my group of WRs confidently. Some of these names that I personally like include Xzavier Henderson (Cincinnati), any Colorado WR not named Travis Hunter or Lajohntay Wester, Xavier Townsend (UCF), Washington State WRs, Tyrin Smith (UTEP), Kobe Prentice (Alabama), Jaylin Noel (Iowa State), and Devin Voisin (South Alabama). 

In Conclusion

The quarterback position has the most upside and potential when entering the draft. So, it’s no surprise that we, as drafters, want to feel confident about the group of guys we select.

Coming out of a draft with DJU as our top signal-caller isn’t going to instill confidence in how our team will perform, but I do think that we can be smart about how we attack drafts if we want to go this route. In the case of my draft here, I almost felt forced into this strategy with how the first 8-9 rounds went. Many of my favorite targets were taken, and thus, I threw myself into this strategy. Hopefully, the thoughts above can help you if you find yourself in the same predicament I did in the last Campus2Canton best ball draft.

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