How to Win Your Two-Quarterback Fantasy Football League
Fantasy football is an investment. You spend hours researching, reading, picking the minds of others in the industry and ultimately compiling different tiers of players you like and want to target in your draft. You’ve invested time of yourself and hope the players you eventually draft will perform up to your expectations.
To aid your research, you become familiar with your league settings. This involves knowing if you're in a point-per-reception league, or how many points each touchdown pass is worth.
And roster construction is just as important.
If your league happens to be a part of the recent swing towards two-quarterback or even “superFlex” leagues, it can really alter your draft strategy - more so than scoring changes. Quarterbacks are more of a premium in these leagues, and constructing your roster can occur in various ways. Let’s examine some of the risks of varying strategies of drafting for this challenging fantasy league format.
Note: The following is based off of a 12-team league with standard scoring that starts two running backs, two wide receivers, a tight end and a flex position in addition to starting two quarterbacks. While these tips can also be applied to larger leagues, please feel free to ask about more specific situations in our Questions section on the site.
Low-Risk Option: Drafting Both Quarterbacks Early
If you're new to this format or like to be risk averse in fantasy football, this strategy is more than likely perfect for you. Drafting a stud and following that up with another outstanding quarterback can net you a lot of points from week to week at the quarterback position. Depending on your draft slot, you could very well end up with a quarterback in our top tier from our Draft Kit such as Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers or Peyton Manning.
Executing this strategy still involves correct evaluation of players. You still target good values, and if the top three quarterbacks are not there right away, you may not want to reach for someone such as Cam Newton or Andrew Luck in the middle of the first round. Instead, scooping up a top-shelf running back or receiver will allows you to still target quarterbacks early, but consider replacement value at the same time. Replacing Matt Forte’s production could be more difficult than replacing the value of Luck or Matthew Stafford.
Replacing the quarterback position is still easier than replacing the production of elite running backs and receivers. Our projections show a 170-point difference between the QB1 and QB24; running backs have a similar difference with 160 points between RB1 and RB24. Receivers have the least amount of difference with only 80 points separating WR1 and WR24.
But if you still want to go in the direction of two quarterbacks early in your draft, I recommend selecting your second quarterback before the fifth round. The quality of production will start to drop among quarterbacks as this point. Our Draft Kit points out different tiers of quarterbacks, and only three players belong in the first tier – Brees, Rodgers, and Manning – as they are the only three that project with over 300 fantasy points. While others like Newton, Luck, and Stafford come close, they're grouped in with the likes of Tom Brady, Matt Ryan, and Jay Cutler, just to name a few.
There are actually 22 different players in our second tier of quarterbacks when you adjust for a two-quarterback league. Newton is projected to be the fourth-highest quarterback in fantasy, but is projected at 50 points less than Manning. It’s another 14 quarterbacks before you see the next 50-point separation. So don’t feel left out if you can’t get one of the elite three - you could easily have two quality quarterbacks from just the top half of our second tier. If one is enough from that second tier, you may want to consider the next strategy.
Medium-Risk Option: Grab One and Wait
If you can’t resist top non-quarterback talent falling to you like LeSean McCoy, Brandon Marshall, or Jordy Nelson, you could still grab a quarterback in the first two or three rounds. This strategy allows for the best of both worlds. You're able to take a two-quarterback draft and treat it like a regular one by grabbing elite talent to start, all while having a chance to grab a low-end QB1 such as Nick Foles, Philip Rivers or Russell Wilson. And unless a quarterback run starts off the first two rounds, you could probably nab one of – or a quarterback similar to – the ones above.
The basic idea behind this strategy is to stock your running backs and receivers like you would in any draft, or at least your starters. But instead of trying to find the late-round values at quarterback, you target a handful of guys in Rounds 4, 5 or 6. Ignore the quarterback position until the middle rounds and then you are able to stream your second quarterback spot by taking a couple late-round fliers. Having the mindset of selecting an additional flex position player helps me keep the flow of my draft so I can later stream my other quarterback position.
Why stream your second quarterback position? Well, there were 44 different quarterbacks who scored a top-12 performance in fantasy football last year. If you reach into the middle of our second tier to grab your first quarterback, there will be plenty of options week to week to stream your second quarterback spot. This not only helps you manage the waiver wire well, but keeps you from watering down your roster at other positions. This is a common strategy in two-quarterback leagues, as it strikes a nice balance from the first strategy and the riskiest one, mentioned below.
High-Risk Option: Quarterback-By-Committee
Let’s go back to the idea behind 44 startable quarterbacks last season, and let it sink in for a moment. That means 12 different backup quarterbacks were able to put up at least one top-12 week at the position. It’s deeper than most realize, allowing for continued streaming at the position.
There were also 81 running backs that put up at least one top-24 weekly performance, and 110 receivers that did the same. While this may be the riskiest proposition in a two-quarterback league, letting quarterbacks getting drafted while you grab your RB4 and WR5 in the middle to late rounds isn’t a bad strategy if carried out properly.
Being risky does have its rewards. If you draft McCoy as your RB1, you probably can land Doug Martin, Giovani Bernard, or Alfred Morris as your RB2. Or if you went with two wideouts to start your draft, it might net you Calvin Johnson and Alshon Jeffery. Waiting on the quarterback position could also mean getting Michael Crabtree as your second receiver instead of praying you have a chance to draft him as the top receiver on your team.
Going back to the idea of tiers in our Draft Kit, remember we have 22 quarterbacks in our second tier. Many of those could be there for the taking in the later rounds. However, the tiers at the running back and receiver positions aren’t as strong until you get to the fourth and fifth ones. Using the tiers allows for building great depth and having options as flex positions. Taking two quarterbacks in the first three or four rounds might not be worth missing out on the elite or nearly elite backs and receivers.
Building this quarterback committee can get tricky though, so it's important to target the right ones. Begin watching the position around Rounds 8 or 9, after you’ve been able to draft two quality starters and build depth among your running backs and receivers. You're best served with grabbing three if not four quarterbacks late if your roster size allows for it.
Our projections value Ryan Tannehill, Carson Palmer, Joe Flacco, Jake Locker, and E.J. Manuel as eighth-round picks in two-quarterback leagues, and you could likely get most, if not all, of them even in the ninth round depending on how your draft is going. Even though these five quarterbacks had 17 weeks combined finishing as a QB1, they are usually considered bottom-of-the-barrel when it comes to quarterbacks in fantasy football. But if last season is any indication, they are capable of putting up weekly top-12 fantasy points depending on the right matchups.
However, we need to dig deeper to truly form a committee of our liking. The above are just some options to solidify your first quarterback spot. In order to keep your chances high of finding the right matchups, you want more depth at the position and there are still plenty of options. While the following teams’ success may be murky, the Texans, Raiders, and Vikings have somewhat favorable conditions.
Matt Schaub is just three years removed from finishing in the top 10 of fantasy quarterbacks two years in a row. Ryan Fitzpatrick should flashes of brilliance in fantasy football last year in Tennessee. With Matt Cassel, the Vikings offense could be sneaky good as well. Geno Smith, Josh McCown and Brian Hoyer could reward you if you stick with a late round quarterback mentality – even if they aren’t sexy quarterback picks.
Whether you take a risky or conservative approach in fantasy football though, two-quarterback leagues offer new challenges. You have multiple ways to approach your draft and no strategy is truly greater than the other. Are you willing to take risks in hope of big dividends? Or do you wish to sit and stare, waiting for your returns to slowly grow?
One last piece of advice: Don’t go into a draft stuck with one and only one strategy – be flexible. What if Drew Brees is available at the start of the third round, but you’re planning on targeting just our second tier of quarterbacks? You could miss out on a great opportunity for value if you continue to pass him up. Looking for value should be your biggest objective when drafting, not a pre-determined mindset. Use this as a starting point of preparation for your next two-quarterback league draft so you are ready for whoever falls your way.