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How Many Quarterbacks and Kickers Should I Draft?

How Many Quarterbacks and Kickers Should I Draft?

By Steven Van Tassell (@SteveVT33)

It’s time to get back to looking at Dynasty Owner start-up drafting after a couple of weeks highlighting Free Agency moves and contracts. To recap what we’ve looked at already, we used the data from all of the 2020 Dynasty Owner drafts to review several measures. These initial measures were designed to help Dynasty Owners in a 2021 start-up draft to think ahead to their 2021 Draft Day. In the first article (https://dynastyowner.com/2021/02/how-to-draft-a-dynasty-owner-championship-team-part-i/), we analyzed data on three measures that didn’t involve individual players, positions or salaries (type of league, when to draft and what draft position to get in your start-up draft).

The second article showed that Dynasty Owners who picked a player with a lower salary in the first round were more likely to win their League title than those who drafted higher salary players (https://dynastyowner.com/2021/03/how-to-draft-a-dynasty-owner-championship-team-part-ii/). Dynasty Owners who drafted players in the first round with salaries under $5 million were also more likely to overcome having that player miss a significant portion of the season or not play as well as projected than Dynasty Owners who drafted a player in the upper salary ranges with the same obstacles to overcome.

In the third article, we moved on to figure out which individual players were the best ones to draft in 2020 (https://dynastyowner.com/2021/03/how-to-draft-a-dynasty-owner-championship-team-part-iii/). We discovered that Alvin Kamara was the best player to take with your first round selection, followed by Patrick Mahomes. Kamara also appeared near the top of the list of players who were drafted by the most league winners, with Jonnu Smith taking the top spot. Interestingly, only one QB (Josh Allen, not Mahomes) was among the Top 12 players drafted by the most Championship winning teams. Finally, we also crowned the “worst” player to draft in 2020. These may not be the individual players to draft in 2021 since Kamara, Mahomes and Smith all have new increased salaries. However, the information can help Dynasty Owners determine the type of player that helped the most teams win in 2020.

Today, we are going to start to review two recommended draft strategies from 2020 and find out if either one worked. These are similar strategies taken from my 2020 draft tips article (https://dynastyowner.com/2020/05/draft-tips-2020/). They are:

  • Draft at Least Three Starting Quarterbacks
  • Draft Three Kickers

All draft data listed are from the 2020 Dynasty Owner season.

Should I Draft At Least Three Starting QBs?

There are only 32 starting QBs in the NFL and 12 Dynasty Owner teams per league. As a result, not all teams will get three starting QBs in their draft. It’s just not possible. Even if we expand our pool of starting QBs in 2020 to include multiple players on a single team, such as both Tyrod Taylor and Justin Herbert for the Chargers (in case people forgot, Taylor was the projected starter and in fact did start for the Chargers in Week 1 before he got injured and Herbert took over), there still aren’t enough starting QB to go around. That’s because, overall, we’ll count 35 players as starters in 2020 with three teams having two starters (Chicago Bears with Mitchell Trubisky and Nick Foles, Los Angeles Chargers with Taylor and Herbert, and Miami Dolphins with Tua Tagovailoa and Ryan Fitzpatrick). So, in theory, every Dynasty Owner team per league except one could have drafted three starting QBs in 2020. But did they?

The data show that nearly seven in ten (69%) of our League Champions drafted at least three QBs overall with over half (53%) drafting exactly three.

QBs Drafted% of Winners% of Top 25% of Non-Top 25
11%0%1%
229%40%26%
353%44%56%
414%12%14%
5+3%4%3%

A closer examination of the data identifies the fact that a lower percentage of the Top 25 teams in the Chase for the Ring (60% of them) drafted at least three QBs. So, this draft strategy isn’t necessarily the way to the top.

However, these are QBs drafted. We haven’t eliminated QBs who were clearly backups coming into the 2020 season such as Jacob Eason, Jalen Hurts, Jameis Winston, and Jordan Love. All of them were still drafted in 100% of Dynasty Owner leagues, so some of the winners may have drafted one of them or another rookie QB. Other Dynasty Owners may have gone a different route and drafted three QBs, but taken the backup as a handcuff to the starter. This would be Dynasty Owners who drafted Lamar Jackson and then also took Robert Griffin III later on. As we can see, when we limit the analysis to only those 35 starting QBs, it shifts pretty dramatically.

Starting QBs Drafted% of Winners% of Top 25% of Non-Top 25
115%16%14%
258%56%59%
326%24%27%
41%4%0%
5+0%0%0%

Only one-quarter (27%) of League Champions drafted three starting QBs, with no difference between Top 25 teams and those who won their League, but finished outside of the Top 25. Nearly one in six (15%) League Champions only drafted one starting QB while the majority (58%) drafted two of them.

In case people are wondering if there was a QB who stood out as being the best one to draft as your only starter, the answer is No. There was no consensus on the single starting QB picked. Out of the teams who won their League but only drafted one starting QB, a dozen different QBs were the solo drafted starter for those teams.

The fact that not a lot of teams drafted three starting QBs isn’t surprising when you recall that several big name, high-salary starting QBs, such as Ryan Tannehill, Jared Goff, Derek Carr, Ben Roethlisberger and Kirk Cousins, were drafted in fewer than one-quarter of all 2020 leagues. In addition, both Phillip Rivers and Jimmy Garoppolo were selected in more than one-quarter, but less than half of drafts.

As a result of this analysis of League Winners, we can officially set aside the recommendation to “Draft at Least Three Starting Quarterbacks” and not include it in the 2021 draft tips article.

Should I Draft Three Kickers?

The second draft strategy involves everyone’s favorite position – kicker. The recommended strategy was that Dynasty Owners should draft three kickers to their 25-man roster. The reasoning was that because Dynasty Owners need a Starting kicker plus one for the Bench, they should draft three to account for bye weeks and injuries.

It appears that a majority of Dynasty Owner League Winners did not heed this recommendation as three-fifths (60%) drafted only one or two kickers.

Kickers Drafted% of Winners% of Top 25% of Top 10
16%8%0%
254%44%30%
339%48%70%
41%0%0%

However, the teams that finished in the Top 25 in the Chase for the Ring were more likely to have drafted three kickers. The results were nearly evenly split with 13 of the Top 25 teams (52%) drafting just one or two kickers, while 12 of them (48%) drafted three. This trend is even more pronounced among Top 10 teams as seven out of ten (70%) drafted three kickers.

While it looks like we should get rid of this recommendation based on the overall data, the higher percentage of top teams drafting three of them leaves me to believe that the verdict is still out. The fact that more Top 25 teams and even more Top 10 teams followed this recommendation makes it unclear if it should be set aside completely or merely modified after further examination.

Conclusion

For every 12-team Dynasty Owner league, there are 12 different draft strategies. Dynasty Owners appear to have their own ideas and thoughts about how to draft in our unique format. That’s not surprising, since there are millions of ways that a Dynasty Owner draft could go, and everyone needs to be flexible and react to how the draft actually occurs.

Recommendations from last season that Dynasty Owners draft at least three QBs and three kickers appear to have not been followed broadly. This is not to say that you shouldn’t draft three starting QBs or three kickers in your 2021 Dynasty Owner start-up draft. It is merely to point out to new and returning Dynasty Owners that those strategies do not have to be followed to find success in this format.

Are there any other draft strategies that worked? Perhaps, but we will need to review the 2020 draft data further and probably examine salaries to know for sure. As we saw in the earlier articles, draft slot and position drafted didn’t matter overall, but when salaries started to get factored in, things changed.

We are less than three weeks away from the NFL draft and soon after that, rookie drafts for everyone who is in a league started in 2020 will commence. There will also be 2021 start-up drafts beginning soon afterwards as well. The season is getting closer!

My articles and videos on getting you ready for your 2021 Dynasty Owner start-up league team will be out on Fridays throughout the off-season. Keep an eye out for new articles from the rest of our team of Dynasty Owners writers as well. On Mondays, Nate Christian (@NateNFL) will break down rookies in his Prospect Preview. Matt Morrison – The Jerk (@Dynastyjerk) is back for another year and will do a deep dive into contracts on Wednesdays. Jay Pounds (@JayPoundsNFL) looks at how to rebuild your Dynasty Owner roster on Thursdays.

Please read all of their articles and follow the four of us plus Dynasty Owner (@Dynasty_Ownerr) on Twitter. Thanks, and have a great day!

Follow us on Twitter: @SteveVT33 and @Dynasty_Owner

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