Fantasy Football Strategy: 4 Ways to Draft QBs in Superflex & 2QB Leagues
Every year, more and more leagues are switching to the “Superflex” setting. In a Superflex, league, owners start the traditional QB position, but they can also start a second QB in the Superflex position. Where a traditional flex position is limited to RB, WR, or TE, the Superflex position throws QBs into that mix. Based on the points typically scored by QBs compared to the RB, WR, or TE, most owners will want to start that second QB every week.
Single QB Strategy History
Not long ago, the “wait on QB” strategy was an obscure strategy for those crazy people who were trying to buck a trend. In 2012, three QBs had first-round ADP’s and eight in the first five rounds. After a terrible year for QBs, 2013’s first two QBs came off the board in the mid-third round, but still saw eight drafted by the end of round six. Since then, QB ADPs have slowly declined as more and more owners are buying into the “wait on QB” strategy as they recognize that the QBs available later in drafts are just as viable as starters as the mid-round QBs. In early 2019 ADP data, only two QBs are being drafted inside the first five rounds; Patrick Mahomes (3.04) and Andrew Luck (4.10). As more owners bought into waiting to draft a QB, an even more obscure strategy came out: streaming QBs. This strategy focuses on drafting a QB strictly for Week 1 and then using the waiver wire as your QB bench each week to pick up the QB with the best matchup for that week. With current ADP, you could forgo drafting a QB until the last rounds of the draft and still roster top-5 upside QBs like Ben Roethlisberger (11.06), or Kirk Cousins (12.01). For more insight on drafting QBs in a 1-QB league, check out Kyle Borgognoni’s 5 Ways to Draft QBs article!
Late-Round QB Backstory
I like to consider myself a bit of a forerunner for the wait on QB strategy. I recognized early in my fantasy career, as early as 2006, that a good enough QB could be drafted late. I’ll never forget my very best wait on QB moment: August 30th, 2008. For those that forget how quickly times change, the very first iPhone was released in June 2007. In August 2008, the adoption of smartphones wasn’t yet in full swing, and fantasy sports information was not being pushed out to phones as quickly as the Rotoworld blurb writer hit submit. However, ESPN had a newsfeed text messaging system, and I was tuned in. Draft day for my main league was that memorable Saturday. By random draw, I was assigned the first overall pick, and I was fully intent on waiting to draft a QB towards the end of the draft. Roughly halfway through, my phone buzzed with an ESPN alert: Cardinals name Kurt Warner Week 1 starter. I coyly smiled and tucked my flip-phone back into my pocket. I bit my lip, hard, when another owner selected his “breakout QB of the year,” Matt Leinart. To add insult to the league, I chose to select a defense in round 14 and a kicker in round 15. With the 160th and final pick of the 2008 draft, I selected our leagues Mr. Irrelevant, Kurt Warner. I was mocked, especially by the guy who drafted Leinart, for only drafting one QB who wasn’t even his team’s starter; or so they thought. Warner finished 2nd in the NFL in passing yards (4,582) and 2nd in passing TDs (30).
Why Consider Switching to a 2-QB or Superflex Format
I shared that long intro story because I’ve long been a firm believer that 10 and 12 team leagues should consider switching to a format that utilizes two-QBs. There is upwards of 24-26 fantasy-worthy starters each week, yet most leagues only require half (10-12) of them to be started. Considering players like Matthew Stafford and Jimmy Garoppolo are tied for QB23 in Andy, Mike, and Jason’s rankings (as of 5/19/2019), and you can see why we need to use more QBs in our weekly lineups. Most “normal” 1QB leagues will see roughly half the league only rostering one QB. That means The weekly waiver wire would have names like Stafford, Garoppolo, Cousins, Trubisky and Dalton all available to pick up and stream. Over the past few seasons, the 2-QB formats have gained more popularity as leagues recognize that half their league is waiting until the last few rounds to draft QBs and a couple of owners are streaming weekly. In a 2-QB or Superflex league, it’s common to see all 32 starters drafted along with a few back-ups or rookies who might not be starting until later in the season. While this setting is still a niche setup, more leagues are making the change, and you need to be prepared if your league takes the leap.
There are two different setups that are often lumped together as they, typically, have a similar effect of increasing the draft value of the QB position in fantasy leagues. A full-on 2-QB league is just that; each team is required to start two QBs each week. The other version is the Superflex setup, where you can start a second QB in a flex position, but are not required to do so. The benefit of the Superflex league is allowing flexibility during the bye weeks or in the unfortunate situation of injuries; the owner can plug in an RB, WR, or TE instead of the second QB. In a full-on 2QB required league, you will see QBs hold a bit more draft value as teams will roster at least 3 and often 4 QBs. In a Superflex league, owners may press their luck a bit more as they can utilize a hot waiver wire RB or WR in that spot if necessary.
Average Draft Position Impact
What impact does a 2-QB or Superflex league setting have on ADP and your draft? Comparing ADP, a league using a 2-QB setting will cause QB ADPs to rise by an average of 4 rounds! The increased draft cost of the QBs also drives down the ADP for the RBs, WRs, and TEs. Players who typically hold an ADP in rounds 5-10 could see an ADP drop of 2-3 rounds. What you’ll also see that certain QBs are valued differently; players who are perceived to be boom/bust but hold more weekly upside, like Mitch Trubisky, can see a tremendous ADP increase (7 rounds!) as owners may not feel comfortable with him as their primary weekly option in a 1QB league, but want that week-winning upside in a format that allows a second QB starter.
|PLAYER||1-QB ADP||2-QB ADP||ROUND VARIANCE|
Below is an outline of four strategies for drafting QBs in these formats, along with the pros and cons of the strategy. The idea is always to be flexible, or water, as the Fantasy Footballers often say on the podcast. If a few picks go off-script, you must be able to recognize the opportunity to jump at values at the other positions and change your strategy on the fly to build the best roster possible.
1. Two Stud QBs
This first strategy is pretty straight forward. Your goal is to land two studs to anchor your team. According to Fantasy Football Calculator, current 2-QB ADP shows up to two QBs with first-round ADP: Patrick Mahomes (1.02) and Andrew Luck (1.11). Rounds two and three see three QBs in each for a total of eight QBs drafted in the first three rounds. Your goal with this strategy is to land two studs in the first two or three rounds, giving you a positional advantage.
– Perceived positional advantage each week
– No weekly worries; set it and forget it
– May start a QB run amongst the other owners
– Missing out on the top RB/WR talent
– Cost of drafting early QBs may not replace the lost value of top RB/WR
2. One Stud, One Middle Tier
This will probably be the most common strategy for your competition. The owners using this strategy are going to target a top 5-10 QB in Round 2 or 3, and then wait for a few rounds to draft a second QB in the 15-20 range in Rounds 6-8. The goal is to land a QB like Matt Ryan (3.06) to pair with an upside-type QB like Mitch Trubisky (6.03).
– Still rolling with an every week starter and a high-upside second starter
– Able to draft high-end RBs/WRs in the early rounds
– Most owners will use this strategy, and an ill-timed position run can derail your plan
– No differentiation of roster construction from the league
3. Two Middle Tier QBs
This strategy is going to appeal to the “wait on QB” crowd. You know that those later QBs can be just as effective on a weekly basis, so why use early draft capital? The key to this strategy is not waiting too long to get your QBs. It’s impossible to predict exactly how each league will draft, but you’ll have to commit much earlier than a normal 1-QB league. Where you would normally wait until round 10, you’ll be drafting QBs in Rounds 5-7. The goal of this strategy is to load up early on the RB/WR value that falls due to the increased number of QBs being drafted, while still rostering two QBs in the Philip Rivers(6.03), Kirk Cousins (6.10), Dak Prescott (7.03) tier. This strategy often sees owners drafting both QBs back-to-back in those middle rounds.
– Your RB/WRs should be stronger than your competition
– Still able to draft QBs capable of multiple top-5 weeks
– Confidence that the QBs you’re drafting will have a starting job for all 16 weeks (barring injury)
– This tier of QBs has plenty of ups and downs. There may be weeks of low production
– Committing to this strategy means you must pass on some enticing mid-round RB/WR value that falls to make sure you secure your QBs of choice
– Wait too long or skip the second QB for another positional value and you’ll miss out and forced into the final strategy
4. Streaming QBs
In a normal league, streaming QBs requires weekly waiver wire add/drops at the QB position to play the best possible matchups. In 2-QB/Superflex league, the waiver wire will be devoid of QBs as every starter will likely be rostered. So how can you stream QBs? Draft and roster 3-5 of the lowest ranked QBs. In leagues with deep benches, some owners will draft five or more QBs. With this strategy, you’re focused on building a stellar team of RB/WR/TE, then playing the two QBs with the best matchups each week. Players that are often found on a team built like this would be; Derek Carr (7.12), Sam Darnold (8.02), Nick Foles (9.07), Marcus Mariota (11.08). It’s also not uncommon to see someone draft both QBs from a tenuous situation, such as rostering both Ryan Fitzpatrick (11.09) and Josh Rosen (13.08).
– Ability to take advantage of the lowered draft cost of the RB/WR, rostering more high-end players than your competition
– Possibility of hitting on a late-round stud QB and having a weekly starter
– Committed to rostering so many QBs reduces the number of RB/WR you can roster
– These lower ranked QBs are often on a short-leash, forcing you to scramble if your QB loses his job
– Two lower ranked QBs are likely to tank at the same time a few weeks
– Every week can present tough start/sit decisions
2-QB and Superflex formats are gaining steam and are extremely fun to play in. If you have not yet played in one, I highly recommend it. If you are in a 10 or 12 team league and think it’s time to spice up the league, I suggest moving to Superflex*. The format is supported on all major platforms. Much like PPRs’ ascension to mainstream usage, 2-QB formats will continue to gain popularity, and you need to be prepared to dominate and win that #FootClanTitle!
*Commissioner’s note: If your league uses 6pt passing TDs, it is highly recommended to reduce them to 4pts when converting to Superflex. This reduces the disparity between the QB and RB/WR/TE scoring enough to make using a non-QB player in the Superflex position a viable option and not a huge disadvantage.