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written by Jim Sannes on Aug 8th, 2014
Follow them at @JimSannes

Finding the Odds of a Quarterback Falling to You on Draft Day

Is there a perfect spot to draft your fantasy quarterback this season?

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NOTE: The Google Doc associated with this article was updated August 17th to reflect fluctuations in ADP. I'd recommend using that for best info. Click here to access that.

To draft early... or not to draft early. That is the question. Whether 'tis nobler to have the stability of Drew Brees or the erotic uncertainty of Johnny Manziel, a mere human may never know.

Whether you plan on spending an early pick on a signal-caller or you subscribe to the late-round quarterback theory, it helps to know when you need to snag your guy. This may be able to help you with that.

The most important thing with every single pick you make in your fantasy draft, outside of how many times they have willingly chilled with the Beebs, is value. If you take the best player in the draft, but you take him three rounds earlier than you could have gotten him, you have significantly lowered his value.

That's where game theory comes into snake re-drafting. Here's my attempt at explaining this strategy from my pick probability distribution column for running backs:

Basically, there are three players you can draft: Best, Okay, and Meh (incredibly convenient last names). Best has the greatest value in your mind with Okay being second and Meh being a last resort. However, Okay has a lower ADP than Best. So, you have a dilemma: should you take Okay first in the hopes that Best will fall to your next pick? Or should you go with Best and settle for Meh in the next round?

Obviously, the best case scenario here is that you take Okay with your first pick and hope Best is there next time around. However, how can you know whether or not he'll be there? Odds are extremely difficult to calculate on the fly, and you don't have time to do so in most drafts. So, I have made charts to try to help ease that pain.

Because of the varying schools of thoughts when it comes to quarterbacks, I thought this info would be especially pertinent for them. All of the data is from Fantasy Football Calculator, based on 12-team, standard-scoring drafts from August 5th and 6th. The probabilities are based on the assumption that the picks are normally distributed. Bell curves give my insides the tinglies.

The biggest difference between quarterbacks and what we found with wide receivers and running backs is that they have much higher standard deviations. The range of selections at which they could go is huge comparatively, which means you'll have to pay pretty close attention throughout the draft to know which quarterbacks have already been selected. If Peyton Manning goes first overall (lulz), then that will probably skew everything up a bit. If he goes 15th, the opposite is true.

By looking at these charts, you can see a few things. First, there are three very distinct tiers of quarterbacks. Manning, Brees and Aaron Rodgers are bunched at the top, then there are a bunch of dudes that will go from 45th-100th, and then there's the quarterbacks that are going 110th and later. This helps you in your draft because you know that after the top three are gone, people will (most likely) hold off on quarterbacks for a few rounds before they gobble those puppies up again.

Second, you can get some bomb-diggity broskis late in your draft. A little guy named Cam Newton, who has never finished lower than as the fourth-ranked fantasy quarterback, has a 55 percent chance at being available at 80 overall. My main boo Philip Rivers has an average draft position (ADP) of 108.4. Russell Wilson has finished as the ninth- and eighth-best fantasy quarterback in his first two years respectively, and you have a 76 percent chance of scooping him up with 105th overall pick. You can very easily stumble into Andy Dalton, last year's fifth-ranked fake quarterback, at 125 (not that anybody believes he'll reproduce that this year, but still).

With that, I present to you the charts. If you prefer, you can also see these in the form of a Google doc. I personally bump with the Google doc because I can see all of the players in one chart as opposed to several separate ones. Draft responsibly, ladies and gents.

Player5th10th15th20th25th
Peyton Manning86.38%45.15%8.99%0.52%0.01%
Aaron Rodgers99.59%95.53%77.48%42.52%12.88%
Drew Brees99.85%97.50%83.15%48.40%14.92%

Player35th40th45th50th55th60th
Matthew Stafford90.04%74.75%51.97%28.51%11.80%3.57%
Andrew Luck97.01%91.05%79.00%60.60%39.40%21.00%

Player60th65th70th75th80th85th
Tom Brady70.67%54.19%36.94%22.01%11.30%4.96%
Nick Foles74.12%56.23%36.94%20.51%9.45%3.56%
Robert Griffin III88.69%76.11%58.32%38.59%21.48%9.85%
Matt Ryan97.72%92.57%81.30%63.06%41.21%21.84%
Cam Newton97.36%93.14%84.99%72.09%55.37%37.63%

Player85th95th100th105th110th115th
Colin Kaepernick61.98%29.38%16.70%8.23%3.49%1.26%
Tony Romo77.94%40.90%23.27%10.93%4.18%1.29%
Jay Cutler88.22%61.82%44.37%27.96%15.23%7.09%
Philip Rivers99.10%91.21%80.19%63.44%43.58%25.25%

Player110th115th120th125th130th135th
Russell Wilson64.74%51.62%38.31%26.27%16.53%9.50%
Ben Roethlisberger92.90%82.84%66.53%46.27%26.94%12.81%
Andy Dalton92.38%83.46%69.63%52.19%34.32%19.42%

Player130th135th140th145th150th155th
Johnny Manziel77.34%66.62%54.34%41.62%29.73%19.70%
Eli Manning85.29%73.97%59.32%43.22%28.19%16.26%
Carson Palmer92.28%85.21%74.75%61.33%46.38%31.93%

Player140th145th150th155th160th170th
Josh McCown79.86%69.03%56.22%42.71%30.02%19.38%
Ryan Tannehill92.15%84.87%74.09%60.32%45.10%30.58%
Alex Smith95.96%90.92%82.28%69.72%54.24%38.08%

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In This Article

Aaron Rodgers
QB, Green Bay Packers

Alex Smith
QB, Kansas City Chiefs

Andy Dalton
QB, Cincinnati Bengals

Colin Kaepernick
QB, San Francisco 49ers

Drew Brees
QB, New Orleans Saints

Matthew Stafford
QB, Detroit Lions

Peyton Manning
QB, Denver Broncos

Philip Rivers
QB, San Diego Chargers

Ryan Fitzpatrick
QB, New York Jets

Tom Brady
QB, New England Patriots

Russell Wilson
QB, Seattle Seahawks

Johnny Manziel
QB, Cleveland Browns

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