Over the last couple of years the NFL has become more of a pass-happy league and in fantasy football this translates to more value being emphasized on quarterbacks. In fact, some fantasy leagues have now become two quarterback formats or have added an offensive utility/flex spot where a fantasy owner can start a quarterback like in one of the leagues I participate in. When joining such leagues, there is a different type of strategy needed heading into the draft and fantasy owners need to make adjustments and adapt to this format quickly or you will find yourself in a bad spot in the mid-late rounds. In a standard/PPR one quarterback league you won’t see a quarterback taken until the late second or early third round in most instances. However, in leagues that you can start two quarterbacks you will see a minimum of six to eight quarterbacks taken in the first round (in a 10 team league). Many times the first overall pick is a QB. One thing I would suggest if you’re thinking of joining such league is; not to join a two-QB league with more than 10 teams. Why, you may be asking? Simple, if you’re forced to start two quarterbacks each team should have at least three on their roster. Ten times three is 30, there are only 32 teams in the NFL and if you do a 12 team league there will not be enough quarterbacks in the draft to allow each team to have three. So you have to ask yourself, what will happen on bye weeks or if one of your quarterbacks gets hurt? These two QB leagues are fun and high scoring but preparing for this draft is different than any other draft. Below are ways to approach a two QB league and a one QB / Flex or OP slot (where you can put a QB in).
In this format fantasy owners MUST start two quarterbacks every single week. The way to approach this league is simple, every team must have a top 10 quarterback on their roster, no questions asked. So basically the first 10 picks of this draft would likely be a quarterback. Once you get your QB, make sure to take advantage of the value at running back and wide receiver position. If you’re in a 10 team league and have the eighth or ninth pick, I’d suggest you take the top running back at that spot (Jamal Charles) and get your QB in the wrap. This only applies for fantasy owners in snake drafts. Even if one of the teams behind you drafts two quarterbacks, the difference between the No. 10 and No. 11 ranked QB in fantasy points was one point in 2013. As far as your number two quarterback, I wouldn’t mind waiting around a couple of rounds to select him. My approach would be to benefit from all the other value at every other position. Now don’t get me wrong, if you see a run of quarterbacks in a specific round, then it may be time for you to get one.
Here’s a fun fact, the difference between the 11th ranked QB and the 20th ranked QB was just five and a half points per game if your league plays a 13 game season. If you draft well and wait for your second QB then you can definitely make ground on those five and a half points. As long as you are wary of the quarterbacks left in the draft and their potential this strategy should be effective. Some of last year’s quarterbacks that finished below the 20th spot that should finish much higher are Aaron Rodgers, Eli Manning and Jay Cutler. This year in particular waiting around for your number two QB is not a problem. The position is deep and there are always those quarterbacks that play above expectations. For example Philip Rivers, Nick Foles and Andy Dalton in 2013. With that said, fantasy owners should feel good with their team as long as you ensure yourself at least one top ten QB.
One QB and One Flex or OP Slot (can use QB in flex or OP slot)
This type of league has become trendy nowadays and for the most part this league plays like a two quarterback league. However, my approach for this type of league is different than the league above. Most people would suggest drafting a top 10 quarterback early on to ensure you get a No. 1 QB. But if I have a mid-late pick in the first round and have players like Jamaal Charles, LeSean McCoy, Matt Forte, Adrian Peterson and Calvin Johnson still there, I’m not taking a quarterback. I’ll go ahead and let other owners go quarterback happy and take complete advantage of all the players they are passing on to get their quarterback. While you are loading up elite players at other positions, the others will be getting the 7-10th ranked quarterbacks. If you look below the difference between a seventh ranked quarterback and the fifteenth ranked quarterback is 29 points which is about two points per game. Now, when you look at the top running back last year compared to the number 10 running back the difference in points is 120 points in standard leagues. So while you lose out in two points per game at the quarterback position you gain nine points per game at the running back position and it gives you a +7 variance in your favor.
Fantasy owners must be aware that they will have to draft a couple of the middle tier quarterbacks if they decide to skip on a top QB in the early rounds. You will be getting great value at running back and wide receiver early, but you’ll have to "reach" for those middle tier quarterbacks a round or two early. Determining what round is completely draft dependent. Always remember that in this format you ONLY NEED ONE quarterback in your starting lineup and while having two studs is a luxury, taking two quarterbacks too early in this format can hurt your value and the balance on your team. You can always plug in a running back or wide receiver in the flex/OP that can produce quality numbers. Balance is the key to this type of format. Fantasy owners keep in mind, I’m NOT suggesting that you don’t start two quarterbacks every week; I just don’t feel it’s as important to have a top 10 quarterback in this format as the format above simply because you have an option in the flex and you are not forced to start two quarterbacks. I’ve been fortunate to be runner-up three times in six years in this type of format and my approach has always been the same. In the least two seasons our two champs have taken this approach and have found success.
These types of leagues are very popular now and the way fantasy owners approach these drafts are utterly different than any one quarterback league. Make sure to follow the above guidelines and you’ll be just fine. Good luck to all this season and I hope you crush your drafts.
By: Armando Marsal