In his second lesson of the 2023 Underdog Workshop, Shawn Siegele proposes a combination of Elite QB and Hyperfragile RB. He starts by pulling up the Underdog Advance Rate Explorer for a look at the intersection of stacking, price, and points added as it relates to QB value.
Over the last couple of weeks, we’ve been discussing Elite QB after Michael Dubner got the ball rolling with his great look at this provocative question: Should We Chase QBs Up the Draft Board or Has Elite QB Jumped the Shark?
If we look at pure elite QB results, 2022 offered explosive hits balanced by disappointing results.
Lamar Jackson was injured for the second consecutive year, while Justin Herbert offered the bad combination of a ceiling price and a healthy floor outcome.
When we look at the Window QBs, we get lights out scores from the breakout options and devastating results for the boring veterans.
Our four priority targets were Jalen Hurts, Joe Burrow, Trey Lance, and Justin Fields – three hits and a nightmarish Lance injury that took out a bunch of teams. The Hurts/Burrow combination gave you almost as many points added as a hypothetical Allen/Mahomes pairing, and it’s no surprise that combo featured in King Kap’s regular-season champion squad.
Hurts, Burrow, and Fields all join the Elite QB tier for 2023, in all likelihood adding to both the league-winner and landmine categories. There are a lot of upside options with seven QBs going in the first five rounds. As Michael adroitly noted, most drafters may step on mines, but it will be difficult to beat the QBs who hit. In many ways this is similar to the argument for Anchor RB and Elite TE. The survivors are almost always going to tilt the field.
The best way to play QB will always be to find the next versions of Hurts, Burrow, Fields, Tua Tagovailoa, and Trevor Lawrence, but despite being a fervent adherent of the Window QB philosophy, I’m open to a partial conversion in 2023.
You’ll note that all of the 2022 stars were second- or third-year breakout (or secondary breakout) candidates who took a meaningful step. This is what the 2023 Window looks like.
The Current 2023 QB Window
You can make a decent case for most of these QBs individually. Deshaun Watson, Anthony Richardson, and Daniel Jones all offer hybrid value. Lawrence and Tagovailoa are favorably priced after their breakout seasons. Kirk Cousins, Geno Smith, and Jared Goff are solid passers with interesting stack options. Dak Prescott occasionally looks like an All Pro and Aaron Rodgers isn’t that far removed from a couple of (undeserved) MVPs.
But as a group these QBs look a lot like the Window busts from a year ago. There are intriguing second- and third-year breakout candidates in 2023, but the specific names carry so much risk that they fall to the end of drafts.
In most seasons, my approach is almost exclusively based around Window QBs, but in 2023 I will likely be more evenly split between Elite QB, Window QB, and Yolo QB.
If we’re going to draft a cohort of Elite QB teams, we have to come up with creative and effective ways to pursue it. In Lesson 1 from the Underdog Workshop, I looked at 5 Components That Supercharge Your Elite QB Roster. One of those components focused on the necessity of a top weapon hitting.
Playoff Advance 2022
|w Top Receiver||w/o Top Receiver|
In each case, the stack was about 13 points better than the QB in isolation. It’s tempting here to believe that the playoff advance rates are still quite good without the pairing, but unless you have a method to only draft the hits, then we have to include damage from the busts also sprinkled into our portfolio.
You need a massive QB scoring season to offset these price tags in 2023, and that assumes a big season from the WR1 from multiple perspectives. But a big one is this: we need the amplification from a successful stack to make it worth the risk. In 2021 where we were already in the Elite QB Era, none of the top-six QBs by price posted a season with a QB+WR1 stack with an advance rate above 25% where you wouldn’t have been better off just to have the receiver. And that’s despite much better prices than we get this year. (I know, that gives a lot of pause about chasing these current prices.)
Making the move for an Elite QB is even more about playoff upside than regular season advance. Be sure to check out Ross Durham’s A Humility-Based Approach to Stacking for Tournament Wins.
In Lesson 1 we use the Underdog Roster Construction Explorer to break down these concepts in a lot more depth. Today, we’re going to build on that by asking if we can deploy the fashionable-but-risky Elite QB with an unfashionable-and-risky approach to create an unstoppable tournament juggernaut.
The Broken Rules Draft – Elite QB with Hyperfragile RB
Conor O’Driscoll’s Why the Third WR Slot Is So Important in Underdog: Lessons from Win the Flex was one of our most popular articles from 2022. It’s a simple but pivotal concept and reader feedback suggested it changed the way subscribers looked at drafting. It’s a great foundation piece to understand where we’re going today.