Fantasy football: Draft QBs when the time is right with amNY’s guide

The first two amNewYork fantasy football columns focused heavily on the Flex positions — RB, WR and TE. Now, the …

The first two amNewYork fantasy football columns focused heavily on the Flex positions — RB, WR and TE. Now, the time has come to address the premier position in football: quarterback.

QBs are important in the two most popular scoring formats, but tend to take a backseat to the aforementioned positions. There are just too many talented passers to value most of them higher than a second WR or RB because, with 32 starters in the NFL and only 10-12 playing weekly in fantasy leagues, there’s often a useful passer on the waiver wire.

The logic changes in fringe leagues that utilize two starting QBs, however. Almost without exception, quarterbacks should be first- and second-round picks.

But for the majority of players, consider the following when contemplating QBs on draft day.

Rodgers, then Brady

Don’t get drunk on the Tom Brady (Patriots) Kool-Aid. Yes, he’s a good bet to defy his 40 years of age and perform like an elite passer yet again, but Aaron Rodgers (Packers) is the cream of the crop.

Start thinking about Rodgers around pick No. 45 or so, with Brady being a reasonable choice shortly thereafter.

Mixed nuts on next tier

After the top two, the rest of the passers present some more defined risks.

Drew Brees (Saints), not much younger than Brady, probably presents the least risk of the next set of passers because of New Orleans’ pass-heavy attack and his strong health history. Matt Ryan (Falcons) isn’t far behind as long as receiver Julio Jones is his top weapon, and Matthew Stafford (Lions) is consistent year-to-year.

Andrew Luck (Colts), who may miss Week 1, headlines the injury-marred options at this tier. Derek Carr (Raiders) and Cam Newton (Panthers) should be ready to start the season but were limited to this point by recovery from 2016 wounds.

While many will want to take Russell Wilson (Seahawks) in this range, resist the temptation. He burned plenty of owners last year and will surely be overdrafted. But if he slips to the last several rounds, then go for him.

Don’t bother with this level of talent until the draft reaches the middle rounds.

Who’s left?

Waiting until later in the draft — and paying close attention to the early-season waiver wire — can be a wise play if all the previously addressed QBs are gone.

Keep an eye out for Ben Roethlisberger (Steelers), Kirk Cousins (Redskins), Jameis Winston (Buccaneers), Andy Dalton (Bengals), Dak Prescott (Cowboys) and Marcus Mariota (Titans) — roughly in that order — around rounds 11-14. Even Eli Manning (Giants), Philip Rivers (Chargers) and Blake Bortles (Jaguars) could be worth a flier as a final pick before addressing defense and kicker.

But please, don’t carry more than two QBs. It’s a waste.

Scott Fontana