Even the casual fantasy football player is aware of the late-round quarterback strategy. In leagues that start just one QB, the relative difference between the best at the position and 12th at the position is unlikely to be significant. A big reason for that is opportunity — while we are often paying for RB/WR volume in both season-long and on DraftKings, all QBs touch the ball on every offensive snap.
All that said, randomly flailing at late-round quarterbacks in season-long and cheap ones on DraftKings is not the answer. Some will provide higher floor/ceiling combos than others. These are five with an ESPN Average Draft Position (ADP) of 120.0 or later I have my eye on.
1. Jameis Winston, Buccaneers
Winston has turned the ball over an ugly 38 times in his past 24 games, so his real-life reputation is in tatters. But in fantasy, he’s the kind of aggressive, vertical, risk-taking thrower we want. Winston was second in Average Depth of Target (aDOT) in 2018, second in 2017 and third in 2016. Enter Bruce Arians, a pass-centric offensive mind who schemes vertically as well. The Bucs’ talent pendulum leans heavily toward the air, with replacement-level RBs but an elite pass-catching trio of Mike Evans, Chris Godwin and OJ Howard. On top of all that, the Bucs bottom-of-the-barrel defense projects to put Winston into a lot of shootouts a la Patrick Mahomes in 2018.
2. Lamar Jackson, Ravens
The situation Jackson was dropped into last November almost wasn’t fair. The Ravens tried to go on the fly from the classic, pro-style Joe Flacco scheme to the exact opposite under Jackson. Of course Jackson still succeeded, going 6-1 as a starter while averaging 11.8 DraftKings points per game via rushing alone. He added another 159.1 passing yards per game and five passing TDs during that span. Now the Ravens and Jackson have had an entire offseason to prepare their scheme for his skill-set. They promoted Greg Roman to OC — the same Greg Roman who had successful years at the help of Colin Kaepernick and Tyrod Taylor offenses. And the Ravens also added tons of speed in the form of rookies Hollywood Brown, Miles Boykin and Justice Hill.
3. Jimmy Garoppolo, 49ers
Kyle Shanahan is a true talent-maximizer. I don’t think many coaches could have gotten 17.4 DraftKings points per game out of Nick Mullens and a bunch of JV weapons in eight starts last season. We’ll have to watch Garoppolo’s health as he comes off a September ACL tear, but all reports out of San Francisco are rosy right now. If that’s the case, he enters a rising offense that features George Kittle, Dante Pettis, Deebo Samuel and Tevin Coleman. A long-time #TeamPreseason superstar in New England, Jimmy G has averaged 282.5 passing yards and 1.63 touchdown passes per game in eight games with the Niners.
4. Mitchell Trubisky, Bears
There’s a lot trending in Trubisky’s favor this season. Most importantly for DraftKings purposes, we know he has spiked weeks in him — he had four separate games of 31+ DK points, including an outrageous 46.5-point outing in Week 4. We also know the Bears’ defense can’t sustain its insane turnover and sack rate from this past season (especially in the absence of Vic Fangio), which will create more opportunities for shootouts. On top of all that, the Bears have an elite offensive line, two difference-making pass-catchers in Allen Robinson/Tarik Cohen and a top-tier schemer in Matt Nagy. And while Trubisky isn’t Lamar Jackson or Josh Allen, he does come with a reasonable rushing floor. He’s averaged 25.7 rushing yards and 0.19 rushing TDs per game in his two-year career.
5. Kirk Cousins, Vikings
Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen are both clear-cut third-round picks and Dalvin Cook is a second-round lock at worst. Yet Cousins currently is the QB20 by ADP. He did stumble down the stretch last season, but he faced a brutal late-year schedule that included at NE, at SEA and vs. CHI in three of the final five weeks. This season, the Vikings have the fourth-softest pass defense schedule, per SharpFootballStats. Of course, Cousins is annually one of the most prolific passers in terms of raw yardage dating back to his time in Washington. He’s actually sixth all-time at 262.9 pass yards per game — more than Kurt Warner, Aaron Rodgers, Philip Rivers, Dan Marino, Brett Favre. And on DraftKings, the best part of rostering Cousins is the narrow target tree for stacking. Diggs and Thielen combined for an outrageous 49.8% target share last season.
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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is adamlevitan) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.