It has come to my attention recently that 0 QB is gaining steam within C2C leagues thanks to our friend Austin (@devydeets) promoting the concept. Last year, if you drafted DJ Uiagalelei or Spencer Rattler in, you probably think this strategy is a god-send and a way to avoid falling into a trap, especially in SuperFlex leagues.
Although I think this is a legitimate strategy and one I deploy myself on the NFL side in SuperFlex, I don’t think it works as well on the college side where hit rates are substantially lower. It’s easy to pick and choose quarterbacks that failed this season and last at the top-end, and I think it invokes a visceral reaction not exactly backed up by ADP data. One caveat here is that we don’t have extensive ADP data going back multiple years (yet), so we’re looking at where we ended the last offseason.
Hit Rates from 2021
Looking back at ADP and raw hit rates, I selected ADP from August as it represented our most-informed sample before the season kicking off and chose the top 12 rounds of ADP (mostly because that’s partially where it moves from devy-heavy to C2C production). From a high-level perspective, hit rate by position broke down like this:
- Quarterback: 17 of 33 (51.5.5%)
- Running Back: 22 of 54 (40.7%)
- Wide Receiver: 23 of 50 (46.0%)
- Tight End: 3 of 7 (42.9%)
Within the C2C format, it’s hard to define hit and miss, so I’ll admit part of this is subjective. Again, for this article, I’m defining it as – this player performed well, and you were happy you drafted them OR they are seeing a value spike over their value from draft time in August.
To dig a little bit deeper, here’s out it breaks down by rounds:
What can we learn from this?
First, early-round RBs are hitting at a reasonable rate. This year it included Breece Hall, Isaiah Spiller, Bijan Robinson, TreVeyon Henderson, and Tank Bigsby. Whether or not these players become successful NFL assets is a different story. Still, it is essential to note that all maintained value or provided valuable production this season. After the first round, only 12 of 48 RBs can be considered hits (25%).
Second, mid-round quarterback either hit or maintained value better than any other position. This was the most unexpected learning from this data. Players that were considered hits here include Tyler Buchner and Drake Maye. I think this is an interesting conversation. If you drafted either of those players, you’re likely happy. Especially given the next group of picks in order were Kamarro Edmonds, Joe Ngata, Zonovan Knight, Noah Cain, Wan’Dale Robinson (hit), Jalen McMillan, and Jaden Walley; you’re likely happy you drafted Maye at that spot.
Based on the chart above, the two groupings of players, you’re likely happier with a production-heavy quarterback like Sam Howell or Desmond Ridder, with those types of players accounting for 30% of quarterback draft picks. However, most unproven freshmen quarterbacks that came in gained value., making up 7 of those 33 picks, making that bucket, the safest bet. As mentioned above, this is the Tyler Buchner-type player who operates somewhat as a mystery box prospect but still maintains their value over time.
Finally, WRs aren’t a bad bet if they are young or unproven. The successful players are early producers (solid Weighted Dominator or Yards Per Team Pass Attempt in year one or two) or are entering good situations with a high rating coming in.
The biggest takeaway for me is that QBs hit or maintain value higher than any other position, especially in the mid-rounds. A key reason for this is the “mystery box” approach. We haven’t seen many of these players in extended roles this season, and although most were high-end QB recruits, they are still holding steady at their value from last season or rising. There were misses (Sam Huard will lose value with his poor performance against Washington State and Brock Vandagriff fell of the map), but for the most part, this group of unproven freshmen was some of the best investments at their respective draft slots.
How should this influence your draft strategy?
Based on this data, I join the “fade QB early” crowd in situations where a player is largely unproven. Last year, Sam Howell was a good pick, but Spencer Rattler was not. Rattler had been benched in the prior year and was inconsistent while seeing Howell produce for two straight years. Bryce Young fits as a player I would draft early, as is CJ Stroud. However, I am likely staying away from Caleb Williams (who has a lot of questions in general), and Quinn Ewers, who is a first-round pick in startups based on hype only. The value still has to make sense here. I am likely leaning running back at those spots or higher-end WRs like Kayshon Boutte or Jaxon Smith-Njigba. Runningbacks in the first few round are by far the best value, hitting at a 71% hit rate, at least 12% higher than both quarterbacks and WRs.
Likewise, this year, I will likely draft freshmen QBs and QBs with NFL upside over middling assets in the middle rounds. To be specific – I love Drew Allar, Cade Klubnik, and to a lesser extent, a dominant true freshman like Seth Henigan. In one mock thus far, I drafted Henigan over Corey Kiner, Frank Gore Jr., Jack Bech, and Jadon Haselwood. I expect a year from now I’ll be happy with that choice. Looking at our data above, quarterbacks are by far the best pick in rounds 5-8 where this type of group lies. With a 67% hit rate, QBs are hitting at nearly a 37% higher rate than runningbacks and 20% higher rate than WRs in that same draft round.
As we garner more ADP data for the site, I plan to explore this trend a little more over the next few years and provide more actionable strategies and approaches to drafts. For now, I think this is the best approach when attacking a Campus2Canton startup.