Drafting a QB / RB Combo
So you’re willing to get creative to produce a roster that maximizes the plays on the field. Drafting a valuable QB/RB combo is one of the easiest ways to ensure that every point is wrung from the towel that is fantasy scoring.
Skip the Early Rounds
I’d argue that drafting a duo over the first four rounds is foolhardy, as it requires you to either reach for a player to ensure you get them, or overlook a player who may be much more valuable. Pairs like Aaron Rodgers and Jordy Nelson are a perfect example as they’re both being drafted in the 2nd round. Do you really want to spend a first round pick on either of them? The same goes for Brady and Gronk; it’s just too hard to organize your targets to ensure you get them both.
I’m not saying that if they fall to you don’t take them; hell you’d be insane not to take advantage. But you’re playing a game of chicken that you’ll lose more often than not.
First Round WRs
Looking at current draft data, it appears that the easiest way to secure a potent duo is to select a stud WR in the first round. Here’s the first round receivers and their corresponding QB.
- Antonio Brown, PIT (Ben Roethlisburger, ADP 89)
- Julio Jones, ATL (Matt Ryan, ADP 45)
- Odell Beckham Jr, NYG (Eli Manning, ADP 130)
- A.J. Green, CIN (Andy Dalton, ADP 148)
- Mike Evans, TB (Jameis Winston, ADP 93)
As you can see, all five projected first round WR’s can be paired with their starting QB without much effort. Of course, maybe one of these duo’s features a player you loathe, or maybe you draft at the end of the first and you feel that you missed your chance. I’d argue that the real value of the strategy is in the meat of the draft
Middle Round Finds
If you’re like me, you see a draft with maybe a dozen safe backs and a wealth of top end talent at WR. So you want to draft a RB in the first and piece together your roster later? Not a problem, there’s even more valuable combinations to be had outside of the first round.
Amari Cooper – OAK, ADP 24 – So you drafted to RB’s and you’re looking to add a WR. Amari Cooper is one of those young, high volume WR’s that commands the ball. Having him on your roster is a boon, especially considering that Derek Carr is being drafted currently in the 9th round. Sure, you may have to stab a bit early, but with his upside, there’s very little risk and the reward could be fantastic.
Doug Baldwin – SEA, ADP 30 – Now we’re in the fourth round and you find yourself drafting the under valued Baldwin… great, he’s a wonderful fantasy asset. So is his starting QB. Russell Wilson is being drafted criminally late; current ADP data shows him going in the 8th round. Not bad when every catch counts double for your team.
Terrell Pryor – WAS, ADP 48 – There’s some questions surrounding the former QB, but his athleticism and ability to read a defense makes him an intriguing WR1 for the Washington Redskins. Kirk Cousins seems to be perpetually in a contract year so drafting him between rounds 8-10 serves up some serious upside when these two are clicking. Expect some huge weeks.
Golden Tate – DET, ADP 54 – Tate continues to be viewed with skeptisism even after he proved when he’s on the field he’s every bit the number one receiver Detroit envisioned when Calvin Johnson retired. He’s also a great option if you like to wait on your QB’s considering that, despite off-season praise from owners and coaches, Matt Stafford (and his 600+ attempts) are being drafted as late as the 12-13th rounds!
I’d caution against hitching your wagon to QB/WR combo’s for teams that don’t consistently produce through the air. While the options above feature offenses built around their respective stars, there are several teams that don’t offer much in terms of added value. Chicago, the Jets, Houston, or Cleveland are all obvious choices to avoid.
As always, do your research and think as abstractly as you can; it’s important to adjust on the fly and not be too dialed into any strategy going into the draft. Do you agree with our pairs above or have a different strategy that’s worked for you? Well feel free to let us know; leave a comment or send us an e-mail. As always, happy drafting!