How to Start a 2QB League

How to Start a 2QB League

You want to start a 2QB fantasy football league? You’ve come to the perfect place. TwoQBs.com is the only site dedicated to the two-quarterback experience. We firmly believe that starting two quarterbacks each week is the best way to play fake football and this springboard piece is designed to promote a clean entry as you dive into the format…

Let’s start with the basics:

2QB Roster Settings

If you’re used to single-quarterback formats, there isn’t all that much to change aside from adding the namesake second quarterback position to your existing setup (and maybe a bench spot or two). With that said, your league size makes a difference in terms of how you implement that second passer into your league’s starting rosters.

For 10-team leagues and smaller, you can form a true 2QB league. Generally, each team in your league will need two starting quarterbacks and one backup to cover bye weeks and act as injury insurance. If your league has 10 teams, that’s 30 quarterbacks. Luckily, the NFL features 32 teams, each with their own starting QB. There are logistical issues I’ll tackle later regarding how to deal with the overvaluing and hoarding of quarterbacks, but for now let us accept that for 10-team leagues or smaller, we can use starting lineups that look something like this:

2 QB, 2 RB, 2-3 WR, 1 TE, 1-2 RB/WR/TE flex spots, 1 K, 1 D/ST

What about a 12-team league or larger? If each team wants to carry three QBs, that’s a minimum demand of 36 signal callers in a league that only features 32 starters. Enter the Superflex position. A Superflex is just like a standard RB/WR/TE flex except is also accommodates QBs. For 12-team leagues or larger, we can update the starting lineup above to use a Superflex instead of the second QB spot:

1 QB, 1 Superflex (QB/RB/WR/TE), 2 RB, 2-3 WR, 1-2 RB/WR/TE flex spots, 1 K, 1 D/ST

In general, all owners will still want to start two quarterbacks every week, but in the event of bye weeks and injuries, the Superflex spot allows owners to sub in a non-QB when lacking a viable QB2. Thanks to trades and the waiver wire, those situations should be few and far between, but the Superflex spot prevents the potential feel-bads of an unfilled QB2 position.

Whether you play true 2QB or Superflex fantasy, the demand for quarterbacks will soar. All starting QBs and even some backups will be drafted, so you’ll need extra bench spots for owners to hold those players. For the above configurations, six bench spots is the minimum I’d consider, but my preference would be somewhere in the seven to nine range.

2QB Scoring Settings & General League Rules

Tailor your league’s scoring as you see fit, but here at TwoQBs.com, we assume the following standard settings:

  • Passing
    • 4 points per pass TD
    • -2 per interception
    • 1 point per 25 passing yards (1 passing yard = 0.04 points)
  • Rushing/Receiving
    • 6 points per pass/rush/fumble recovery TD
    • 1 point per 10 rushing yards (1 rushing yard = 0.1 points)
    • 1 point per 10 receiving yards (1 receiving yard = 0.1 points)
    • 0.5 points per reception
  • General:
    • -2 points per fumble lost

We encourage all leagues to use fractional scoring (to discourage ties) and negative scoring (to encourage fantasy-related agony/schadenfreude).

For kickers and defense/special teams, the boilerplate settings tend to be fine. I personally prefer increasing the values of safeties and blocked kicks to around 4 points, while reducing the value of 40- to 49-yard field goals from 4 points to 3 points. With that said, some leagues don’t use K or D/ST positions at all, so we won’t dwell on those scoring settings in this piece.

Beyond scoring settings, a good waiver system is critical for two-quarterback formats. Because the demand for signal callers is so high, your league shouldn’t allow first-come, first-serve roster additions during games. When a quarterback is injured or benched, his replacement will often be a top waiver target in 2QB leagues. A blind-bidding free agent acquisition budget (FAAB) is the best way to do waivers, but a more traditional rolling priority list or reverse-standings priority list can also work.

Another aspect of league construction to consider is how the league will play out. Weekly head-to-head match-ups are still the way to go, in our opinion.  Nothing beats the strategy and rivalry of one-on-one contests. With that said, you can always implement other rules to reduce the variance associated with head-to-head play. If you league has prize payouts, you can allot rewards for the team that finishes with the most total points and/or the team outside of the playoff with the most total points. I’ve played in leagues where the single highest weekly score for the entire season gets a prize.

If you want to go deeper, you can award extra wins each week for the top half of scoring teams. Similarly, you can adopt the Apex two-game format where you play against a leaguemate head-to-head and against the league average each week.  In the end, find the setup best attuned to your fantasy football sensibilities and run with it.

Let’s wrap up league settings talk with a few quick-hitters:

  • Under no circumstances should your league play meaningful match-ups in Week 17.
  • Winning the league playoffs should be every team’s ultimate goal, but the best team(s) from the regular season should also be rewarded if there are prizes on the line.
  • Find a way to discourage tanking and late-season inactivity.  Using my home leagues as an example, the last place team must pay the next season’s buy-in for the non-playoff team with the most regular season points.

The Joy of 2QB and Combating the 2QB Naysayers

Constructing a 2QB league’s roster and settings is simple enough. The more difficult task is convincing others to abandon the one-quarterback status quo and join your expedition into fantasy football’s exciting new frontier. Here’s my sales pitch from a piece I wrote for TheFakeFootball.com in 2014:

2-QB leagues are the future of fantasy football. We have universally played in leagues where all the NFL’s starting running backs are picked in fantasy drafts. Why shouldn’t that be the case with quarterbacks too, especially in the golden age of passing the football? Using the full slate of QBs (and handcuffing with some back-ups) brings the scarcity of QBs to a respectable level, on par with that of running backs in standard leagues. This deviation from the norm presents drafters with legitimate decisions between all three of our game’s premier positions in virtually every round of the draft (or all four positions if you want to make tight ends more valuable, too). In standard leagues, 95% of experienced players are going to take a running back or a wideout in the first round. Isn’t it more interesting if quarterbacks enter that mix as well? I think so.

Essentially, the level of quarterback play outside of the top-12 or top-15 at the position is too high for those lower-tier players not to matter in fantasy football. Because quarterback production has largely become replaceable (39 different quarterbacks had a top-12 weekly finish in 2015), there is no incentive to spend meaningful draft capital on signal callers in one-QB formats, often making the QB position a boring afterthought in standard leagues for experienced fantasy players. By adding a second quarterback position, we increase the demand for passers, which adds new layers of depth to draft strategy and in-season roster management. All in all, two-quarterback leagues offer a more interesting and skill-testing experience than traditional one-quarterback leagues.

Convincing owners to try a new format is one thing, but what about convincing owners who have had negative exposure to or heard negative things about the format? What follows is a short list of common complaints about two-quarterback leagues and how we at TwoQBs.com respond to each:

1. “There aren’t enough quarterbacks to go around in-season.”

Part of the challenge of 2QB leagues is ensuring you’re set up at quarterback from week to week, but it is possible for nefarious owners to hoard back-up QBs and hope to corner the market when injuries occur. This will typically work out poorly for the QB hoarder because he or she will give up roster flexibility at other positions in the process, but the fear of not fielding a full roster can sometimes be too daunting for other owners. The easy response to this criticism is to use a Superflex instead of a second QB roster spot. The tough-love response requires owners to stay ahead of the game, making waiver claims and trades to ensure they’re ready for QB turmoil resulting from injuries and bye weeks. Either way, it is always possible to create a league where there are enough QBs to go around through use of Superflex and/or smart roster management.

2. “A devious owner can ruin the draft by picking too many QBs.”

This complaint is similar to #1, but a little trickier to deal with. Auction drafts should self-correct against this based on supply and demand, but there are scenarios in a snake draft where certain owners could be denied a viable QB3 based primarily on draft position. Again, Superflex is your friend if you’re worried about these scenarios, but there are other ways to combat them as well. As with #1, you can take a tough-love approach that promotes covering one’s backside in the draft and incentivizes trades during or after the draft to make up for QB deficiencies. In true 2QB leagues, I prefer adopting a simple rule to prevent QB hoarding in the draft: owners may only draft quarterbacks from up to four different NFL teams. This rule allows owners to exceed four total passers by handcuffing QBs they’ve already selected, but it prevents them from branching out too far and snaking other owners’ potential starters or handcuff targets.

3.  “Starting two quarterbacks makes the game all about QBs and makes other positions unimportant.”

This is simply false. Adding a second quarterback spot to rosters does nothing to affect the scarcity of running backs, wide receivers, and tight ends. If your league is set up properly, the non-QB positions will be in similar demand. No matter the season, there are only a handful of elite talents to go around at each position. The relative values isolated at each position do not change. A healthy Adrian Peterson or Le’Veon Bell is still worth a lot more than the 15th-to-20th running backs drafted, and two-quarterback fantasy owners must still account for those value drop-offs. As an individual owner, you will need to weigh those drop-offs at quarterback against those of other positions. Yes, if you select Aaron Rodgers in the first round of your draft, you’re likely passing on Le’Veon Bell and Antonio Brown to do so, but all of your opponents have similar choices to make. The owner who drafts Brown does so at the expense of his quarterback and running back talent. The non-QB positions don’t become unimportant in 2QB leagues. Instead, the quarterback position becomes similar or equal in importance to other positions.  

4.  “Sure the other positions will still matter, but 2QB requires me to take QBs in the first and/or second round.”

This common perception of 2QB formats is also false. There are plenty of different ways to draft in a 2QB league. Starting your team with two quarterbacks in the early rounds is only one methodology. You can also implement a Star-and-Scrubs or Late-Round-Quarterbacks approach. This site’s strategy articles will illustrate plenty of potential angles you can take in your 2QB drafts, many of which involve bypassing quarterbacks in preliminary rounds.

5.  “Fantasy football should mirror real football and NFL teams only start one quarterback.”

This is a more philosophical argument, but it doesn’t hold much water. Do real NFL teams get to start up to three or four running backs simultaneously using flex positions? Not really. If you want a fantasy football league that tries to duplicate real football, you should play in a salary-based dynasty league with individual defensive players, offensive lineman, and punters. That sounds like an interesting league setup for an unemployed economist, but it’s much too involved for the average fake footballer. As football fans, we’re familiar with the majority of starting NFL quarterbacks, probably more so than any other position. Two-quarterback and Superflex leagues make all those QBs matter, which creates deeper draft strategy than standard setups while remaining more fun and engaging than overly complex fantasy formats.

6.  “I just don’t know how to play in 2QB leagues,” or “There isn’t enough 2QB fantasy analysis out there to help new players like me.”

TwoQBs.com to the rescue! Not only is this site 100% dedicated to 2QB and Superflex formats, but the fantasy football industry as a whole is beginning to realize that this is the best way to play. Based on demand from the fantasy community, most fantasy platforms now offer at least some amount of 2QB draft analysis every season. That coverage will continue to grow as more people embark on and promote the 2QB experience. It all starts right here.

Other 2QB Resources

Hopefully, this piece has given a strong foundation for your two-quarterback aspirations. If you have any further questions on how to get started, everyone here at TwoQBs.com is here to help. Bounce around the site and soak up knowledge from the fantasy community’s finest 2QB analysts. Otherwise, feel free to sound off on our 2QB Q&A page or in the comments below and we’ll do our best to guide you on your journey.



14 thoughts on “How to Start a 2QB League”

  • Great article…Thinking of starting an 8 team 2QB redraft league and this was helpful. I assume that the rosters listed under the roster settings are the number of starters for each team. What about the size of the bench? What are your thoughts on the use of roster limits by position to prevent hording?

    • Dan: For an 8-team league, I would add extra RB, WR, and/or TE flex spots. With fewer teams, you should make the rosters deeper. As far as bench spots go, I mention this in the piece, but I’d use 6-9, depending on how strong you want the free agent pool to be. Regarding positional limits, I’m against them. Hoarding should never be a problem in an 8-team league, assuming all the owners are properly engaged.

  • Planning on starting a two qb dynasty league. Adding the dynasty factor should it just be a super flex or is 2 QB still a solid way to go since it adds in drafting younger players who could potentially take over?

    • @Ryan: I don’t think dynasty vs. redraft should affect whether you want to go 2QB or Superflex very much. I think the decision between your two options should have more to do with the number of teams in your league. If you are at 10 teams, you should probably just go 2QB because a 10-team Superflex league will essentially act as a 2QB league anyway if the owners know what they’re doing.

      At 12 teams, the choice is a little tougher. 2QB is a fun challenge with 12 teams and it encourages trading when certain owners can’t fill both QB spots for a given week. On the other hand, that potential for empty roster spots can be a feel-bad for some owners, making Superflex the safer choice at this particular league size.

      For 14-team leagues or larger, you should definitely opt for Superflex over 2QB.

  • I’m switching my 12-tm redraft lg to 2QB this year (starting 1QB and 1Superflex). Should I cap the number of QBs drafted at three per team to prevent hoarding? If I do then have a cap during the draft, should I then continue that throughout the season, so that no team may roster more than 3 QBs at any point during the season?

    • @Pete: I don’t like to cap the number of QBs teams can draft because drafters should be allowed to take handcuff quarterbacks if they want. I mention this in the article, but if you have a cap, I prefer it to be a cap on the number of teams that owners can draft QBs from (usually 4 teams max.). That way, a player can draft Cam Newton, Kirk Cousins, Ryan Fitzpatrick, and Blaine Gabbert, but still have the opportunity to handcuff the shakier guys with Colt McCoy, Geno Smith, and/or Colin Kaepernick if they want.

      After the draft, I prefer not to cap the number of QBs owners can roster. It can be difficult to enforce such a rule and I hate limiting in-season roster flexibility.

      With all that said, I don’t think there’s any need to cap QBs drafted in a Superflex league. Hoarding QBs only really works if you can strong-arm other owners in having empty spots in their lineup and take advantage of trades. 1QB and 1 Superflex makes it pretty impossible to do that. Owners should always have at least one active quarterback for the QB spot and any other player can fit the Superflex spot, so the incentive to hoard is very low because other owners won’t ever be in situations where trading is mandatory.

  • I want to add the superflex position to our 10 team league, but that option isn’t available on ESPN. The only flex options they offer are RB/WR, WR/TE or RB/WR/TE. We can go to a 2 starting QB format, but I want to avoid possible empty slots during bye weeks. Is there a way around this that I’m not thinking of? Or am I worrying too much…..

    • Are you sure you can’t add a superflex option? I’ve played in a superflex league on ESPN before. It should be in the settings. Maybe look for Offensive Player flex that included QB.

      There really isn’t much of a difference between superflex and 2QB leagues so you can go full 2QB. There might be an odd week here or there where a team doesn’t have two starting quarterbacks, but through proper draft and in-season management active and smart owners will be field weekly competitive teams.

  • I’m thinking of proposing a 2nd qb slot for my 12 team 2 keeper league. When is best to implement those rules, and what should I do about qbs being kept as keepers? Currently our league devalues QBs heavily so guys who would definitely go in rounds 1-2 in a 2 QB league, were drafted much later or not at all. Currently our keepers work like this: keep 2, give up 2 rounds higher than they were drafted the previous year, no one in the top 3 rounds can be kept.

  • I always find it difficult to transition a current keeper/dynasty league that isn’t 2QB to 2QB/Superflex. QB values are altered drastically when you are forced to start a second and previous drafts/keeper values were not geared for 2QB. My personal suggestion is to start over if you want to go 2QB, so everyone is on a level playing field.

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