In past years, savvy Fantasy Football players have used the first two rounds of their draft to get running backs that will pile up points for their fantasy teams. Last year, however, eight of the top ten fantasy point’s scorers were quarterbacks. Is this a trend that is continuing on in the next few seasons? I think that there are a few factors that will help continue this trend.
The first factor is that most teams are now employing a two running back attack. Last season less than half of the teams had a 1,000 yard rusher. Even the Denver Broncos who led the league in rushing as a team with over 2,600 yards were led by a rusher who had less than 1,200 yards. (Their second leading rusher was their quarterback) Using a two back attack also keeps a fresh running back in the game which provides more pressure on the defense. This is a trend that most teams are moving to and not away from. Even drafting running backs in the first round of the NFL draft has declined. Only 3 were drafted last year and two of them were taken in the final two picks of the first round.
The second factor is that most teams are taking to the air to move the ball. Last season 20 quarterbacks threw for over 3,000 yards while as recently as 2006 only 14 quarterbacks threw for that much. In fact a residual effect of the aerial assault is that 4 receivers were in the top 21 of fantasy points last season.
The final factor is rules changes that the National Football League has made in recent years. They have increased the definition of defenseless players to include receivers who have caught the ball but have not had a chance to protect themselves. This takes the blow that defensive players used to use to separate the ball from the receiver. Also the rules that have put in place to protect the quarterback in the pocket have helped to make them feel more comfortable throwing the ball.
These factors all lead to the conclusion that you need to seriously look at drafting a quarterback in the first round of your fantasy draft. Take into account when drafting your players as to their team situation, their age and their skill set. Also take a serious look at quarterbacks in the first and second rounds.