*This series will cover the 0 QB strategy in depth by breaking down each individual piece of the ideal 0 QB draft to help you optimize your start-ups this offseason. Volume IV helps you finish up your campus starting lineup. You can find Volume I here, Volume II here, and Volume III here.
When people hear zero QB, they panic. Superflex has become the de facto standard setting for dynasty leagues and Campus 2 Canton leagues, in particular. The thought of punting the most important position seems suboptimal, to put it kindly. But what if I told you that not only could you build a stronger team by completely skipping the quarterback position early in your Campus drafts, you would also be using the optimal team-building strategy as we approach the 2021 college football season?
You read that right. And it’s the truth.
In this series, I’ll give you a look deep into how I’m drafting this offseason. These articles will cover all aspects of the draft, including early non-QB targets, late-round stashes, the NFL upside QBs I am targeting in the middle rounds, and how to marry together with this QB-less college roster with an NFL team to create a bigger championship window for you.
By now, we should have some high-end devy assets on our rosters along with some CFF studs to help round out that side of things. But we’ve only completed 15-20 rounds of our draft by this point, and most C2C start-ups last at least 45. It is now time to complete our team!
Plenty of questions rush to the forefront at this step. What kind of players should I be looking for? Should I focus on certain positions? How do I balance stashing players v filling out a useful bench? These are all great questions, and I’ll attempt to give a cursory response to each.
QUESTION 1: What type of players should I be looking for?
This will be a mix of devy and college fantasy players. Any and all options should be explored. My only pieces of advice? Don’t overload at tight end, they are unpredictable and are not likely to score you many college points. And make sure you have enough startable QBs for now AND the future. One area that players don’t exploit enough is QB stashes in strong offenses.
QUESTION 2: Should I focus on certain positions?
This one gets a big old “it depends.” Roster construction should be something that you are always keeping in the back of your mind when you are drafting, but there are several factors that should impact your decisions in this regard. First, if you’ve already drafted your NFL squad (as some leagues do), you likely have a better idea of what your dual squads look like. Give an honest assessment of potential weaknesses or if you have some aging players that may need to be replaced. We are into the deep cuts by round 20, but there are still gems to be had and it can help you prioritize.
Second, check to see what your campus roster looks like. If you’ve noticed, throughout this series I have yet to tell you to balance your squad based on positional need. We’ve identified dead spots, positionally speaking, at certain areas, so you’re probably loaded up on WRs at this point and lacking at QB/TE. I’m not advising that you load up at those positions, but be cognizant of runs at those positions and where value may lie.
QUESTION 3: How do I balance stashing players v filling out a useful bench?
This is an excellent question and completely depends on your current roster construction. Did you draft some devy stashes that are unlikely to contribute over the next year or two? Maybe you lean toward some CFF producers. The flipside is also true. It is also important to note that there’s no single correct way to round out a roster. Take players you’re comfortable with and you should be fine.
THE QB OPTIONS
This is such an enormous tier of players and team needs will dictate a large portion of the late-round draft strategy. I am providing a few names of late-round QB selections here, both those that are starter material and some that are a look to the future. I’ll also share some of my favorite end-of-roster stashes at other positions.
Jayden de Laura
By this time next year, Washington State’s Jayden de Laura may look like the most obvious steal for owners. In limited action last season, the true freshman averaged over 200 yards per game and made some truly impressive throws. Current Cougar HC Nick Rolovich has a history of big fantasy seasons for his starting quarterback, and de Laura may be the most talented guy he’s had to work with.
De Laura’s ADP has slipped this offseason due to a DUI arrest in February that landed him in the doghouse. Reports suggest he’s exited that purgatory and should contend for the starting spot on opening day. Remember, his main competition is Tennessee transfer Jarrett Guarantano, who was poor during his four years with the Vols. In true Guarantano fashion, he even threw a pick-6 on the first play of the spring game. A full season of him at the helm could cost Rolovich his job. Draft de Laura this offseason and thank me later.
We discussed my three favorite QB targets in the previous volume of this series (Eleby, Hutchinson, and Armstrong), but Pratt is another guy I tend to gravitate towards in Zero QB builds. A second-year player at Tulane, Pratt possesses good size at 6’2″ and 200 pounds and has an NFL quality arm. He needs to clean up his footwork to truly unlock his NFL potential, but you get at least two years of college production in the meantime. Look for Pratt to improve on his yardage numbers, while still maintaining a solid TD/INT ratio.
Cornelious Brown IV
Although his name sounds more like a polo player than a collegiate quarterback, Brown should not be underestimated. In his first year as a full-time starter in 2020, Brown put up impressive numbers both through the air and on the ground:
Brown has some weapons around him at Georgia Southern and Sun Belt defenses aren’t often athletic enough to deal with his dual-threat ability. Brown has top-10 upside at the position in 2021.
Carson Strong is still the quarterback at Nevada, so why would I suggest drafting his backup? It’s all about the system! Nevada employs a vertical offense that requires a big-armed QB that isn’t afraid to take risks. That perfectly describes Carson Strong, and it also describes his freshman understudy. Millen gets to learn the offense for a year before taking the reins from Strong. He also won’t be lacking any weapons, with WRs Tory Horton and Marquis Spiker expected to feature in 2022. Toss in a weak defensive conference, and you have the makings of a future CFF star! Millen is my favorite current QB stash.
Another true stash, McCulley was a 4-star QB in this year’s class. He’s a big kid at 6’5, 200, and does his best work outside of the structure of an offense. He will have to reign that in a bit at the collegiate level, but Indiana is the type of program that should allow him to work through that stage of development. 2021 should be Michael Penix Jr.’s final season with the Hoosiers, and it’s unlikely Indiana will recruit over McCulley. He should be considered the clear heir to the job there and possesses a rushing upside that can’t be ignored.
Adrian Martinez & Sean Clifford
In leagues that require you to start more QBs or have more teams, don’t be afraid to dip into players disappointed in the past. People have been burned by QBs like Martinez (Nebraska) and Clifford (Penn State) in the past, but both should be startable fantasy options in 2021.
STASHES TO CONSIDER
As mentioned previously, there are myriad directions one can take your roster. Here are just a few late-round targets that I find myself drafting repeatedly at each position, sans analysis.
If looking for Devy stashes, Deshun Murrell (UCLA), Caleb Hood (UNC), Jabari Small (Tennessee), Raheim Sanders (Arkansas) are all options that should be available in this range.
If looking for CFF production, Cam Porter (Northwestern), Emani Bailey (Louisiana-Lafayette), D’Vonte Price (FIU), La’Darius Jefferson (Western Michigan) are all solid options.
Receiver devy depth guys Jaden Bray (Oklahoma State), Michael Jackson III (USC), Da’Wain Lofton (Virginia Tech), and Keyshawn Smith (Miami).
CFF producers that can be found late include Jyaire Shorter (North Texas), Tory Horton (Nevada), and Kalil Pimpleton (Central Michigan).