Most Vikings fans probably don’t feel great about drafting Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers on their fantasy football teams.

Before you call out his name or click a button on your phone or computer, there’s likely a twinge of pain that runs down your spine. Perhaps the room gets dark and shrieks can be heard in the distance. Your league mates then proceed to make fun of you for the rest of the draft, but you do it in the hopes he will provide you with sweet, sweet fantasy victory.

Perhaps this will give you some respite as you prepare for your fantasy drafts in 2018: Don’t draft Rodgers — or any quarterback — early in your drafts.

This isn’t to knock Rodgers’ talent. As long as he’s healthy, he is in line to put up MVP-type numbers. But don’t be tempted to take him on your team. Rodgers is currently going in an average draft position (ADP) of 24.8 in ESPN fantasy drafts. That makes him a third-round pick in both 10- and 12-team leagues.

But unless you’re in a league where you play two quarterbacks, that is too high to take Rodgers. It’s also not a good idea to take Tom Brady where he is going (pick 32.8).

Rodgers and Brady might very well end up the top two quarterbacks in terms of scoring by the end of the season. But will they be that much better than the quarterbacks you can select after them? Would you be better off taking another running back or wide receiver in the third or fourth round and let Rodgers and Brady slide to someone else? Likely so.

Quarterback is a deep position this season from a fantasy perspective. For example, you can grab Philip Rivers, the eighth-highest-scoring quarterback of 2017, according to Pro Football Reference, around pick 119.

In ESPN drafts, Rivers is currently 19th in average draft position among quarterbacks. He scored only 78 fewer points last season than the No. 1 fantasy quarterback, Russell Wilson.

If you go over to the running backs, however, Todd Gurley scored 125 more points than the No. 8 running back, Leonard Fournette, in standard non-point-per-reception scoring.

Because in most leagues you only have to start one quarterback but have to start at least two running backs and receivers, you need to come away from your draft feeling good about those latter positions, especially running backs.

The difference between the No. 1 and No. 20 running back is steep. Last season Vikings running back Latavius Murray was No. 20 with 143 points, less than half of Gurley and still over 100 points behind the No. 2 back, Pittsburgh’s Le’Veon Bell.

Over on the quarterback side, No. 10 Ben Roethlisberger was only 87 points behind Wilson and only 38 points behind Brady at No. 2.

You’d be in better shape using your third-round pick to grab another running back, somebody who might be a threat to finish near the top, such as former Viking Jerick McKinnon (especially in a PPR league), who is now with the 49ers, or Bears running back Jordan Howard, who is a part of a revamped offense in Chicago.

Both McKinnon and Howard have an ADP a few picks after Rodgers. Grab one of them and shore up your quarterback position later with somebody such as Rivers, Roethlisberger or the Falcons’ Matt Ryan.

They might not score quite as much as Rodgers, but your running backs should more than make up the ground — and you won’t feel any pangs of guilt.

 

Chris Hine is the lead writer for North Score, the Star Tribune’s sports analytics beat. startribune.com/northscore E-mail: chris.hine@startribune.com