Fantasy Football Mailbag: Monday 8/15/16

If we're in a league in which quarterbacks receive six points per passing touchdown, should we greatly alter our quarterback-drafting strategy?

Fantasy football research never stops, and offseason news can really complicate things, especially when coaches talk up second- and third-string players. That's why we're starting up a fantasy football mailbag.

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Now, let's answer some questions.

Thankfully, somebody much smarter than me when it comes to quarterbacks in fantasy has already tackled this question for us. numberFire's JJ Zachariason wrote back in July of last year that your draft strategy shouldn't change when touchdowns are worth more. You should give the piece a read, but the line of thinking is pretty easy to follow.

Obviously, formats like this are going to allow elite quarterbacks to have a larger edge over their less-efficient counterparts, but Zachariason found that this didn't have a significant effect on weekly performances. Because of this, that edge wasn't as grotesque as you may have assumed it would be by looking at season-long totals. For this reason, it's best to take a similar approach to what you'd usually do in such a draft.

Of course, you do still have to react to your individual draft. If your leaguemates get a bit crazy at quarterback and start scooping dudes up left and right, you may have to take a quarterback earlier than you usually do. Still, in this case, your relative cost at quarterback will be less than that of your leaguemates, which is the main intent behind waiting at the position.

As for the 0.25 points per carry caveat, it should affect which players you favor, but it shouldn't alter your strategy as a whole. There were only five quarterbacks in the NFL last year who had more than 60 carries, meaning only five quarterbacks would have netted at least 15 additional points from the carries alone. There were nine quarterbacks who had between 32 and 38 carries, meaning after you get past that top tier, there's not a whole lot of separation. This will give more viability to guys like Tyrod Taylor, Alex Smith, and Ryan Fitzpatrick who run with decent regularity, but it's not something around which you should change your entire thought process.

Those are all superbly fun options about whom we can get pretty excited entering this year. Let's look first at what numberFire's customizable draft kit says before breaking things down a bit more in depth.

When we plug in those specific scoring rules, the draft kit suggests valuing Jordy Nelson highest, followed by Allen Robinson, Alshon Jeffery, and Brandon Marshall. However, the difference in FireFactor (our in-house metric that considers both projections and value over replacement) between those four players is not large. Nelson leads the way at 123.3, and last place Marshall is at 108.09, meaning you can sort of tailor the rankings to your own preferences.

Let's say, for example, that you start the draft by getting A.J. Green in the first round. Green has a history of being a phenomenal fantasy asset, and he should see a bump in his target market share this year with Marvin Jones and Mohamed Sanu finding new homes. He's a safe asset, allowing you to take a bit more risk with your second-round pick. Considering Nelson is still a bit banged up, he certainly qualifies as a riskier investment. Getting Green's floor can allow you to stomach that, though, and aim for Nelson's ceiling.

Things change a bit if you go with a lower-floor player in the first. A guy who would fit that mold is Todd Gurley. We all know how stupidly talented he is, but you can't deny the risk involved with a run-first running back on a potentially bad offense. That's not the safest asset to own, necessitating a bit of a pivot in the second round.

In that instance, it would likely be best to stay away from Nelson in case his injury woes persist. Both Robinson and Jeffery are the unquestioned top receivers in their respective offenses, giving them the volume we desire, and Marshall has been a top-six receiver each of his past three healthy seasons. This is where you look if you're favoring floor after the first.

This diversification of assets is also just a general strategy to deploy at all times in your fantasy drafts. If you wind up with all risky assets, then the advantage you get when one player hits his ceiling may be nullified by another player hitting his floor. Additionally, if you draft exclusively for floor, your team will lack the upside necessary to win a league. Catering your teams to include players from both bins is the most prudent way to attack things, even if it means deviating slightly from your rankings in the process.

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