Written by Chris Lemke
If you’ve been playing fantasy football for a while now, you’ve undoubtedly heard of “Superflex” and the option it gives you to start an extra QB, versus just a single QB… Or maybe your new to dynasty. Maybe it’s your first Superflex/2QB league and you are about to have your Startup Draft with no clue on what you’re getting into. Or possibly you’ve been playing for a while now and your QB situation in your current Superflex/2QB league is just a mess?
Regardless of what it is, I’m going to address all of these scenarios and what you can possibly do to remedy them.
Your league’s roster settings and scoring system are where you’re going to want to start. The most common variances are going to be whether it’s 10, 12, 14, or 16 teams, and whether it’s 4 or 6 points per TD Pass… and they make a difference! In general, you can somewhat group 10 & 12 team leagues together and 14 & 16 teamers together. The main difference between 4pt/TD Pass and 6pt/TD Pass leagues is how you will have to value the running QBs. Let me tell you why…
If you’re getting just 4pts per TD pass, the running quarterbacks’ value goes up simply because they’re getting those extra two points from a decent amount of their touchdowns. Conversely, the running stats (yards & TDs) get the same number of points in either scoring system, thus pumping the running quarterbacks UP the draft board, and the pocket passers DOWN the board.
Here’s a comparison amongst Top-12 QB point totals last year in two of my leagues (using avg/game), one is 6pt/TD Per Pass, the other is 4pt/TD Per Pass:
(6pt) Lamar Jackson 23.1, Jalen Hurts 22.8…Tom Brady 27.3, Matthew Stafford 24.5
(4pt) Lamar 19.6 Hurts 18.7…Brady 22.3, Stafford 19.6
As you can see, in the 6pt league, the pocket passers (Brady & Stafford) outscored the running QBs (Jackson & Hurts) 51.8 – 45.9 per game, by an average of 5.9 pts/game or roughly 100 points for the season. Conversely, in the 4pt league, they only outscored them 41.9 – 38.3, or 3.6 pts/game, which is only about 55 points for the season. I also ran the numbers in a different 4pt/Pass TD league that I’m in, but this one also gives 1pt/rush and receiving 1st Downs…and the Running QB duo (Lamar & Hurts) actually OUTSCORED the pocket passers (Brady & Stafford) by 4.5 ppg, which amounts to 72 points on the season! Be sure to check all of your scoring settings!
Now, in leagues that are Superflex, you are going to want to be starting QBs in that Superflex spot every week if possible (If it’s a 2QB league, you don’t have a choice). Even the back-end QB2’s are more consistent and valuable than a 3rd string RB or 4th or 5th WR would be.
Using the 6pt/TD Pass league settings I used in the previous example, here’s the PPG comparison of the 24th & 25th QBs versus the 36th & 37th RBs:
QB-Jared Goff 16.4, Tua Tagovailoa 16.3 RB-AJ Dillon 10.8, Tony Pollard 10.8
…in this league, D’Andre Swift averaged 16.1 – STILL below the back end QB’s numbers – and he finished as RB10! So, you can clearly see that UNLESS you’re planning on finding a way to draft 3 RBs in the Top-10 (and keep those RBs healthier than QBs) you are actually LOSING points by not starting pretty much any starting QB in your Superflex spot.
In 14 and 16 team leagues, this conundrum becomes even more pronounced than in 10 or 12 team leagues because there are only 32 teams in the NFL. Do the math… that means that in 16-team leagues, there’s only room for everyone to have 2 starting NFL QBs. In 14-teamers it still is rough, as 2 starting QBs/team puts you at 28 QBs off the board, leaving only 4 teams able to roster a starting quarterback as a backup for their team… and that’s assuming you don’t have any QB-hoarders in the league.
In 10 or 12 team leagues, the hardship isn’t quite so pronounced, but you still don’t want to get left “holding the bag” (or in this case, left holding an empty bag of QBs). 10-team isn’t that bad, as everyone should be able to roster at least 3 starting NFL QBs and the league would still have two left over. whereas 12-team formats will leave at least four teams without a 3rd-string (starting) quarterback. You DON’T want to be one of those four teams. Let me say that again…YOU DO NOT WANT TO BE ONE OF THOSE TEAMS. Nothing can derail a playoff run quicker than losing a QB to injury if you only had 2 QBs to begin with. Make sure to find depth at the position, it will be well worth it.
START-UP DRAFT STRATEGY:
So where do all these analytics lead us? None other than back to the start-up draft. QBs in Superflex/2QB leagues will NEVER be cheaper than they are in the initial start-up draft. Having been in multiple Superflex Dynasty leagues over the past 20 years, I cannot emphasize this enough.
Most trades involving QBs in years following the start-up draft involve giving up a QB in return in order to receive one and whoever is improving at the position is almost always paying a premium. Guys in the Top-Tier at QB (Josh Allen, Patrick Mahomes, and Justin Herbert) are essentially untradeable. And the guys in the near-elite next tier at QB (Jackson, Joe Burrow, Kyler Murray, Dak Prescott, and Deshaun Watson) are nearly as hard to acquire as well. The mix of production and youth for these Top-8 QBs makes them backbones for Dynasty Rosters for the foreseeable future.
It is extremely difficult to project things out 5-10 years from now. Heck, it’s difficult to project 2-3 years out, and generally, that’s the max you want to look out into the future in Dynasty. That being said, I think it’s pretty safe to say that Allen & Mahomes should be very productive 5-10 years from now, barring some catastrophic injury. You can’t say that at any other position in fantasy. The rules in the NFL are catered now for QB longevity. What used to be an “old” QB at ages 34-35… well, now you can see many guys playing until they’re pushing 40 years old. For what it’s worth, Tom Brady basically had an entire careers-worth of success and numbers BEFORE Rob Gronkowski even entered the NFL. Aaron Rodgers just signed a 4-year extension at the ripe age of 38. Trust me, the QB position is the MOST important position for your Dynasty roster’s consistent, maintained success. And that’s all you can really hope for, is to compete and get into the playoffs each year. More often than not, the number one team in a fantasy regular season doesn’t end up winning the Championship. There are simply too many variables involved so build as solid of a roster as you can and enjoy the competition.
So, I’ve pointed out how important it is to land your quarterbacks, but does this mean you HAVE to draft 2 QBs back-to-back in the 1st and 2nd Rounds of a startup? No, it does not. First of all, you have to read the room. Are your league mates a bunch of Superflex Dynasty newbies that don’t understand this QB importance (and are used to the “Late-QB” strategy of redraft)? Maybe, but maybe not. With all the resources out there now, it’s likely that they at least somewhat understand it and will address QB at least once in the first 3 Rounds. That said, IF you can grab 2 of those top-8 QBs I’ve listed in my top 2 tiers, DO IT. You’ll be set at the most important position for years.
How long do I wait for my 3rd QB? You have to see how the draft goes. Ideally, you want a 3rd QB to be a solid veteran that you can trust (think Kirk Cousins or Derek Carr). I thought I was set a couple of years ago in one league where I had drafted Drew Lock as my 3rd QB in the 9th round… well, look where we are with him now. I could have (and should have) drafted a more solid and stable veteran, like Cousins or Carr, but I fell victim to the Lock hype that off-season.
Let’s say you get just one of those Top-8 QBs in the 1st couple rounds. If that’s the case, you may want to grab a solid upper-tier veteran, like Rodgers, Stafford, or Russell Wilson as your QB2. If you want to go younger and shoot for the stars, guys like Tua Tagovailoa, Justin Fields and Trey Lance all possess tremendous upside. However, tread lightly with this tactic because they haven’t exactly proven anything yet and their jobs aren’t as secure as those QBs on their 2nd+ contracts. You better make sure to grab a real solid vet as your QB3, or you can find yourself in a world of hurt pretty quickly.
POST START-UP STRATEGY:
Let’s say you’ve been in a league for a few years and your strength at the quarterback position is all but diminished. Maybe you had Ben Roethlisberger for the last decade, and you’ve relied on him ever since. Hopefully, you planned for Big Ben’s retirement already and got out before he hung it up, but hey, I won’t judge. You don’t want to be FORCED into chasing a rookie QB in your rookie drafts. Remember Josh Rosen? How about JP Lousman, or Christian Ponder? There are more busts at QB in the 1st Round than there are hits. Remember how Trevor Lawrence was the best prospect since Andrew Luck and Peyton Manning? Meanwhile, you’ll find a Zach Wilson later on in the draft, or a guy like Dak in the 3rd or 4th round that’ll come out of nowhere to be solid NFL Franchise QBs. The point is you don’t want to force yourself into reaching for a rookie quarterback. You’ll miss out on some solid players and be taking an unnecessary risk by taking one too early in your rookie draft.
Getting back to Lawrence, I am definitely not saying that he is a complete bust yet. Doug Pederson will be a much better influence on him than Urban Meyer was last year. But I am saying that you don’t want to put your eggs in the basket of having to trust a rookie as your QB2 (or worse QB1). Think about it, Lawrence wouldn’t have lost you your season last year if he was just your QB3. And that’s what my point is. Ideally, you want the quarterbacks that you’re selecting in rookie drafts to be your backups, and once they’ve proven themselves, that’s when you can consider moving on from a veteran you’ve had ahead of them in your QB room hierarchy. If you’re drafting a rookie quarterback to be a year-one starter for your dynasty squad, there’s a half-decent chance that you won’t be a legitimate contender, and that’s exactly what we’d like to avoid.
A guy in one of my leagues last year won it with Justin Fields…as his QB3. He had Rodgers and Burrow ahead of him, so he only had to play Fields a couple times last year. At this point, Burrow has surely passed Rodgers as his QB1 in terms of dynasty value. But in essence, he’s set for the foreseeable future with Burrow, Rodgers, and Fields, and he can choose to get out from Rodgers as soon as he feels comfortable with Fields as his QB2.
There’s no exact way of doing it, but essentially, you have to get out from your quarterback before their retirement is imminent. There’s too much lost value if you ride them off into the sunset. Ask any Tom Brady owner about the panic that they had felt when he surprisingly hung it up in February (*Editor’s note: I was the guy with Brady and can confirm that the panic was real, and it sucked*). Here they were, figuring they’d squeeze at least one more Top-10 season from the GOAT and BOOM…gone in an instant.
It was even worse for Andrew Luck owners, but in all fairness, that was something that nobody was expecting. In Brady’s case, you could have traded him anytime IN-season during the last 5 seasons to a QB needy team and squeezed at least a 1st-round pick out of them. I emphasized “IN” because timing is everything when dealing or acquiring quarterbacks. It is one position that I don’t have a problem with buying “high” on because there is generally so much insulated value involved with being the starting QB of an NFL Franchise.
Now, if you’re talking about a QB with less stability, like say Mitch Trubisky or Marcus Mariota, these are guys who are good to get out from before they inevitably lose their starting gigs to rookies. Sure, both may play well enough to hang onto their jobs for most of the entire season, but these guys weren’t given 5-year 250-million-dollar deals and are definitely going to be on a short leash. Keep things in perspective and follow the money. Whatever QBs Pittsburgh and Atlanta draft this year (and it does seem likely that they will draft some) are likely to get their opportunities sooner rather than later. So RIGHT NOW is a good time to be shopping both Trubisky and Mariota, before the actual NFL Draft starts. Unless you’re desperate at your QB2 spot, see what kind of value you can get for these guys. Let someone else in your league deal with those headaches.
One more quick set of analytics as far as longevity is concerned in Dynasty: If Brady puts up 300+ points this year he will have outscored LaDainian Tomlinson, and Adrian Peterson COMBINED in career fantasy point totals (4pt TD pass scoring and a full ppr scoring). If you want a more middle-of-the-road example… Stafford had already outscored Tomlinson prior to last season with his career in Detroit. Stafford is also currently only 100 points behind Peterson and Christian McCaffrey’s career combined point totals. Just a couple of fun facts to really stress the importance of nailing those quarterback selections and trades.
In conclusion, there isn’t one exact strategy to take at quarterback in Superflex other than “BE STABLE”. Much like real NFL Franchises, roster stability begins at the QB position. Good QBs will keep you competitive and GREAT QBs will win you titles!
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