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100 Fantasy Football Tips in 100 Days, Day 16: Pay attention to rookie draft slots. | The DC Times

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100 Fantasy Football Tips in 100 Days, Day 16: Pay attention to rookie draft slots.

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Today’s tip is to really pay attention to rookie draft slots when analyzing first and even second/third-year players. From my new book Fantasy Football for Smart People: Lessons from RotoAcademy (Volume 2.0):

You might think that small-school quarterbacks get selected much later than big-school quarterbacks, but that’s not actually the case.


No conference has had quarterbacks selected higher, on average, than Conference USA. Part of that is due to a small sample, but in Byron Leftwich, Kevin Kolb, and J.P. Losman, the conference at least had three highly drafted (and largely unsuccessful) quarterbacks.

Overall, the average round for a BCS quarterback is 3.40, compared to 3.74 for non-BCS passers. That’s 0.34 “rounds,” or just under 11 picks in the draft. Eleven selections separate the typical BCS rookie quarterback from the small-school guys.

There have been more big-school quarterbacks in the first round, however.


Over one-third of all BCS quarterbacks drafted since 2003 have been in the first round, compared to just over one-in-five for small-school passers. Note that the non-BCS quarterbacks have been far more prevalent in the second round, however.

Plus, the non-BCS quarterbacks to get selected in the first round—Ben Roethlisberger, Alex Smith, Byron Leftwich, and J.P. Losman—have seen mixed results. As mentioned, only Roethlisberger produced as a rookie (although Leftwich was moderately effective with 16 touchdowns and 16 interceptions), and Roethlisberger has really been the only one to sustain long-term success.

Buy the book here.

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One Response to 100 Fantasy Football Tips in 100 Days, Day 16: Pay attention to rookie draft slots.

  1. Jonathan, interesting point on small-college QBs. Think back to 1999 when the Vikings drafted Daunte Culpepper out of Central Florida. Did nothing his rookie year, but totally rocked it his second year with Randy Moss. Never did quite as well after that, but still had some reasonably productive fantasy seasons. Let’s see how some of this year’s rookie QBs shape up…

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