Narrative Street: How ‘safe’ are the top-drafted QBs?

Two quarterbacks went in the top 10 of this year's draft. Tyler Loechner investigates how reliable such QBs are for fantasy purposes.

| 2 weeks ago
Mitch Trubisky

(Elsa/Getty Images)

Narrative Street: How ‘safe’ are the top-drafted QBs?

We recently examined how often skill-position players (running backs, wideouts, and tight ends) drafted in the top 10 of the NFL draft turn into elite fantasy players — and how often they are complete duds.

The 2017 NFL Draft was fascinating from a fantasy perspective because it featured five skill-position players going in the top 10 — the most since 2005.

This year’s draft also saw two quarterbacks go in the top 10, and while that’s not a rare feat (this is the third straight year in which it happened), we wanted to finish off the study by putting quarterbacks under the spotlight.

The narrative: Top-10-drafted QBs are hit-or-miss for fantasy, but much safer than later draftees

So how much can you expect out of Mitchell Trubisky (second overall, Chicago Bears) and Patrick Mahomes (10th overall, Kansas City Chiefs)? And what about Deshaun Watson, who went 12th overall?

Let’s find out.

The research

With the help of PFR, I took a look at all quarterbacks drafted in the first two rounds of the NFL draft over the past 20 seasons. This gave me a list of 67 quarterbacks — 30 of whom were drafted in the top 10, and 37 who went between picks 11 and 64. These quarterbacks combined have played in over 5,000 games throughout their careers.

To look at this purely from a “how much did you do for my fantasy team” perspective, I looked at fantasy points per game over the course of a career.

“Elite” quarterbacks scored at least 40 percent more fantasy PPG than any quarterback taken in the first two rounds over the past 20 years. “Bust” quarterbacks scored only 80 percent as many points as any other quarterback. “Average” players were anywhere in between.

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Tyler Loechner is a lead writer at PFF Fantasy. He has played fantasy football since 1999 and has been a part of the PFF Fantasy staff since 2010. Tyler was also previously a fantasy football featured columnist at Bleacher Report.