Transitioning to 2QB Leagues

Transitioning to 2QB Leagues

When I played in my first 2QB league I was lost. Adding an extra quarterback to the starting roster didn’t seem like a big deal. … I figured my previous years of playing in non-2QB leagues would be enough to get me by. I was wrong. There was a learning curve I needed to master before I found any success in 2QB leagues, and newcomers to the format should be prepared for a shift in fantasy football philosophies. With that in mind, I thought it would be beneficial to pass along some words of wisdom to those making the switch from traditional 1QB leagues to 2QB leagues. To do that, TwoQBs.com reached out to some of the more respected analysts in the fantasy football industry, as well as contributors from our site, to share advice they have on transitioning to 2QB leagues.

We asked them the following question:

With more and more fantasy players making the switch from traditional start-one only quarterback fantasy football leagues to 2QB or superflex leagues what kind of advice can you offer for making the transition as seamless as possible?

You can find their answers below…

Anthony Amico – TwoQBs/RotoViz/FantasyInsiders Contributor – @amicsta

Do not be afraid of the quarterback run. Your league is going to start twice as many quarterbacks as they did the year before, and that increases the demand greatly, but do not make a bad selection just because you are afraid you will get locked out of the position.

A big run is going to come at the position. When it comes is probably dependent upon your league-mates, but it will certainly come. If you do not love the quarterbacks available when it is your turn to pick, don’t just take one to have one.

That demand should come down after a long run, and you should feel comfortable waiting for the right time to select a signal-caller. If you end up behind at quarterback, that just means you are ahead elsewhere. Don’t leave yourself short everywhere by reaching.

JJ Zachariason – numberFire Editor-In-Chief – @LateRoundQB

Don’t automatically assume quarterback becomes twice as important.

The fact is, the quarterback landscape in the NFL is incredibly deep, meaning there are plenty of options even in two-quarterback leagues. Waiting for a passer in a single-quarterback league is now accepted as the norm, but you can get away with lagging behind at the position in two-passer leagues, too.

And the other side to this is predictability — of the four main positions in fantasy football (running back, tight end, wide receiver and quarterback), the signal-calling position is most predictable. In other words, going into a given week, it’s easiest to project how a passer is going to perform versus the other positions.

So, with that knowledge, drafting a platoon of quarterbacks can oftentimes be just as advantageous as getting two above average ones. Rather than playing those same two quarterbacks each week, you’re able to play matchups.

You’re able to take advantage of the predictability.

Rich Hribar – TheFakeFootball/Rotoworld/RotoViz Contributor – @LordReebs

2QB and Superflex leagues are all about balance. That’s why they exist in the first place, to bring relevancy and life into a position that owners have found a way to manipulate in a traditional sense.

If and when you do convert over to these leagues, make sure you’re not over-weighting the new life the position receives. Just because the initial quarterback supply and demand is shrinking, don’t be overwhelmed with the added pressure of missing out. It’s still a game largely centered on balance, so you’ll have to pick your spots in context with your current draft and league settings beyond the quarterback position.

Always be cognizant of your starting roster spots and roster limits. If you still start three wide receivers, you’re still going to need more of them on your roster than any other position. If you’re adding flex spots, even more than that. Even while making the position (and in turn more players) viable, many of your traditional rules of team building still apply, so don’t throw out everything you’ve put on your fantasy Bat Belt up until this point.

C.D. Carter – Draft Day Consultants, Inc. Owner – @CDCarter13

I would say, first and foremost, to remember that the replaceability of quarterback production doesn’t change, even when the demand does. Upwards of 50 quarterbacks are going to post top-12 quarterback numbers at least once every season. That can be lost in the heat of a 2QB or Superflex draft, in which fantasy players are scrambling to pick up a couple of decent signal callers, if they don’t go all in and sacrifice mountains of draft capital for elite quarterbacks.

I’d also caution gamers to avoid getting cute in a 2QB or Superflex league. Skimping at the position and ending up with only two starting quarterbacks on your roster opens you up to a world of hurt unless you’re ready and willing to be ultra aggressive on the waiver wire. Going nuclear with waiver adds can work, if you pick and choose your spots.

Greg Smith – TwoQBs Co-founder – @gregsauce

Above all else, I advise keeping an open mind when it comes to your draft strategy for two-quarterback formats. Many fantasy football pundits shortcut their analysis and blindly advocate drafting quarterbacks in the early rounds of 2QB and Superflex leagues. While that strategy is certainly viable, it is not the be-all, end-all of 2QB philosophies. There is quarterback value to be found later in drafts, so feel free to grab rushers and receivers early if it suits your drafting sensibilities.

My other primary piece of advice is to familiarize yourself with quarterback depth charts around the NFL. Knowing the relevant back-ups will help you handcuff your quarterbacks during the draft, hack potentially valuable backups from other drafters, and prepare you for the mayhem of a two-quarterback league’s waiver wire. Knowledge of crappy quarterbacks is power.

Lastly, be prepared to forget everything you learned about quarterback values from one-quarterback formats. When every team has incentive to start two passers each week, trade values skyrocket at that position.

In 2015, for example, I traded Doug Martin for Tyrod Taylor in a 2QB league. I wasn’t thrilled about the deal, but I needed a quarterback and had running back depth to burn. Doug Martin blew up, but solidifying my QB2 spot at the time was absolutely necessary. One case study doesn’t define a format, but these are the types of quarterback value shifts you can expect to see in 2QB and Superflex leagues.

Pat Thorman – Pro Football Focus Fantasy Lead Writer – @Pat_Thorman

If you’re dipping your toes into the 2QB/Superflex waters, congratulations. Your fantasy football experience is about to become deeper and more rewarding now that the quarterback position – the NFL’s most important position – will be more than a roster construction afterthought.

The good news is the resources at your disposal are growing as the 2QB/Superflex format becomes more widely accepted – even PFF is introducing 2QB rankings this offseason. And if you’re reading this, you already know there is no better source for 2QB guidance than what Sal and his team of sharp football minds provide at TwoQBs.com.

Beyond getting your information sources lined up, the best thing you can do is know yourself and, if possible, your league mates. What kind of fantasy player are you? Chances are you are more than a casual player if you’re interested in the 2QB/Superflex format, but it’s still a question worth asking.

If you don’t enjoy or have the time to continually farm seeds of your quarterback depth chart, then you may want to prioritize two or even three locked-in starters. If you enjoy analyzing NFL teams’ second and third quarterbacks, taking more of a “streaming” stance to your second and/or third quarterback is for you.

Figuring out where your competitors stand on when to draft quarterbacks in a 2QB or Superflex league is a tougher question to answer, especially if it’s everyone’s first time doing it. In that instance, teams often tend to draft quarterbacks heavily in the early rounds. That’s good if you want to wait on quarterbacks and offers something of a reprieve if you don’t, as the first round or two are so quarterback heavy it’s not a disadvantage to go with the flow. As with all leagues, having a firm grasp of current ADP trends is a plus, but the ability to be flexible – especially with a new format – is equally important.

Dennis Esser – Fantasy Coach Podcast Host – @CoachEsser

The whole idea of switching to a 2QB or Superflex league is to put some importance back on the quarterback position in fantasy football. After all, it’s the quarterbacks that get paid all the money and win all the awards, so why not put a little more scrutiny on the position as a whole?

If you’re coming from fantasy baseball leagues that use 2-Catcher set ups then you already know how to rearrange your rankings based on putting more emphasis on a position that is usually a second thought after the top guys. If you haven’t, then the best advice I can give you is to study all the potential QB2s (ranked 12th and later in standard rankings) and really break down their potential for the upcoming year.

Are they consistent, are they streaky, do they play well against poor defenses, did they get new weapons this year, did they get a more pass friendly offensive coordinator, and my personal favorite, did they help out their O-line (That’s really the toughest to gauge)? You want to look for what can make them stand out and give you an advantage over your league mates.

There are QB1s that may miss a little. Like Matt Ryan or Andrew Luck last year, but the real difference is picking a guy like Blake Bortles in 2015, or Andy Dalton in 2014. Lots and lots of articles are only going to break down the top eight or so quarterbacks in fantasy football so it will be really important to look to new voices, such as those here at TwoQBs, to learn about all the lower-tiered quarterbacks and how they may make all the difference.

Joe Siniscalchi – TwoQBs Contributor – @Joe_Siniscalchi

In my opinion, it’s about the preparation. 2QB and superflex leagues are becoming so common we’re starting to see many sites run frequent 2QB mock drafts or simulations for curious minds to play around with.

Comparing overall rankings among the different league types is helpful, too, so you can see how each tier of quarterback is valued in the new format compared to 1QB leagues. Following the 2QB community on Twitter is a great way to see important facts and discussions take place that can help put you in the 2QB mindset.

We’re a pretty engaging community as well, so anytime you have questions you can go to just about anyone for an opinion. My last piece of advice would be to remember to enjoy it and not stress out! 2QB leagues are fun because you can get creative with crafting your formula for a winning team.

Joshua Lake – TwoQBs Co-founder – @LakeTwoQBs

I have only once transitioned a league from 1QB to 2QB. My home league made the change in 2005, and we have never looked back. The owners all embraced the change quickly, and we had little frustration. But I know that experience isn’t true for everyone. My advice would be first to build consensus. Your league mates will resent you if you make such a drastic change before getting them on board; make sure they see the benefits of a 2QB/Superflex league, so see yourself as an advocate first. Learn the benefits and extra fun of 2QB leagues, then share them with your league mates.

Mike Clay – ESPN Fantasy Football/NFL Analyst – @MikeClayNFL

First off, my advice to league commissioners would be to go with the Superflex rather than adding a second QB slot. Although the second QB slot would be fine most weeks, it creates major headaches during bye weeks and when injuries strike. You don’t want a league where an owner has to leave a starting spot empty. That’s no fun. The superflex format allows flexibility. From there, I think the transition would be seamless. Teams are passing more than ever, which has allowed a deep tier of QB2 options. Even in 12-team leagues, owners won’t have trouble finding serviceable options with some upside even after the top 20 passers are off the board.

Scott Fish – Dynasty League Football Senior Writer/Developer – @ScottFish24

If you are transitioning your dynasty league from start-one quarterback to starting two-quarterbacks, the water can be choppy. I’ve done this in several of my leagues and the one hard fast rule is to give at least a full season and two off-seasons for the transition.

This gives your league two rookie drafts and at least 18 months for teams to make preparations with their roster and transactions. At that point, I preach depth, depth, depth. Grab as many as you can and as many fliers as you can. You never know when one will become a starter and become valuable.

If you are merely transitioning your redraft league, this can be done immediately… just know that during the draft your strategy will change. Quarterbacks now become valuable assets that can actually be traded for value at other positions, which is a stark contrast to traditional start-one quarterback leagues.

In your draft, you can still employ a late round quarterback strategy. However, you must go in realizing that the “late round” will come much sooner. If you wait too long you will find yourself in an uphill climb all season. Quarterbacks are not easily found on the waiver wire in-season in start-two quarterback leagues. It does happen, but you will have to spend a lot of your budget to acquire them and many will be after them. Realize that the value of the quarterback in start-two quarterback leagues makes them an asset like any quality starting running back or wide receiver as opposed to just an afterthought and you should be fine.

Salvatore Stefanile – TwoQBs Co-founder – @2QBFFB

Outside of the standard ‘know your league settings’ rule, the biggest piece of advice I can give fantasy footballers transitioning to a 2QB league is to not be afraid of the “garbage” quarterbacks.

You might become enamored with the Aaron Rodgers’ or Andrew Lucks, but there’s a small percentage you’ll wind up with two elite QB1s. Signal callers such as Joe Flacco or Alex Smith as aren’t elite in real life, but in the world of 2QB leagues they’ll do just fine.

They are not only valuable, but usually easier to acquire. Familiarize yourself with each team’s depth charts and be prepared to start a Smith, Flacco, Tyrod Taylor, or Ryan Fitzpatrick. If you can tailor your mindset early in your 2QB career to accept these lesser-tiered passers the quicker you will adapt to 2QB leagues.

Eric Hardter – Dynasty League Football Senior Writer – @EDH_27

The best advice I can give isn’t my own, but instead one of the most well known and well regarded sayings of our age – ‘don’t lose sight of the forest for the trees’.

In a 2QB or Superflex startup, signal callers will stand tall like metaphorical redwoods. As such, it can become easy to fixate, and let the rest of your surroundings fade to the periphery. That would be a mistake, as even the smaller positional arbor has the potential to grow and blossom just as magnificently.

And the fact is you’ll need just as many, if not more, of the other positions, and as the redwoods are vigorously chopped down the value will lie elsewhere. Make sure that you don’t ignore it, and lose sight of the fact that the goal remains to build the best overall roster, not stockpile a single position simply because everyone else is. Owning those redwoods will mask many a deficiency from a top-down viewpoint, but beneath the canopy the limbs will lie barren.

When you create your team, be it snake or auction, dynasty or redraft, prune the player pool instead of hacking at it with a QB-fueled chainsaw. This will ensure all branches of your roster grow equally, both with talent and with value.

Michael Beller – Sports Illustrated Lead Fantasy Sports Writer – @MBeller

I really don’t think you need to alter your typical draft strategy too much when you move to a two-QB or Superflex league. Yes, quarterbacks are more important. No one is winning a two-QB format with Jay Cutler and Teddy Bridgewater. You’re going to need at least one quarterback who you can bank on every week on your team.

However, I’ve found the greatest success in two-QB leagues when I’ve been able to secure three of the quarterbacks I rank between, say, about eighth and 22nd. That typically means I’m using my first two, and potentially first three, picks on non-quarterbacks. You’re not going to get Aaron Rodgers if you take this tack, but you are going to have an excellent foundation of flex players, and you’ll likely have three attractive quarterbacks to choose from every week.

While that’s my favorite strategy, I’m not above going for one of the top quarterbacks. You have to remain open to every idea, especially in a draft where you have less control over events than you do in an auction. There comes a point where everyone has to dive into the quarterback pool, and it’s entirely possible that your draft slot will dictate you go for Rodgers or Cam Newton, rather than your first quarterback being the eighth or ninth one off the board.

Still, just last year, we saw guys like Andy Dalton, Carson Palmer and Blake Bortles surge from the back-third of the ADP rankings to great fantasy seasons. It’s not like any of the three was that hard to see coming, either. The merits of waiting on a quarterback in one-QB formats still hold in two-QB ones, but you can’t afford to be as flippant with respect to the position the way you can in a one-QB league.

Salvatore Stefanile

Salvatore Stefanile is a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association (FSWA) and has been playing fantasy football since his high school days. He is a proponent of 2QB fantasy football leagues and his work has been featured on XN Sports, RotoViz, and Rotoworld. His writing on 2QB fantasy football leagues earned him the FSWA award for 'Best Fantasy Football On-Going Series' in 2013. He earned a second FSWA nomination in 2015. You can follow him on Twitter @2QBFFB

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6 thoughts on “Transitioning to 2QB Leagues”

  • Hey, my league is transitioning from 1qb auction format to 2qb auction. We allow 2keepers from previous years’ roster, whose value is set at how much was spent to acquire them plus incremental year fee (e.g. a year one keeper is plus 10, year 2, plus 20, etc).

    The question is how should we set keeper value for QBs as we transition, as they are seemingly very undervalued, e.g. Cam was picked up for $5 in 2015 1QB draft. In 2016 2qb, if he was on the market, hed probably go for $50+. Allowing his previous owner to keep him for $15 (2015 value [$5] + year one keeper fee [$10]) seemingly disrupts league balance. We’ve considered adding extra +$20 to all keeper QB values, or not allowing QBs as keepers, or doing nothing and letting damage balance out over course of this season or next.

    What is best way to proceed ?

    Thanks.

    • Hey Cham,

      Although I don’t write for 2QBFF, I would love to respond here and add my take. I’ve been writing for PFF Fantasy for a few years now and I focus on auction when I can. Also, maybe next time I’ll get in on an auction roundtable discussion with Sal, Josh, and the 2QB guys.

      From experience with a similar situation (transitioning in a 12-team auction keeper with one-year max keepers and 1 qb (aka qb prices VERY low), the best way to do this is to NOT allow QB keepers. This will reset the market at that position and lead to fair values going forward. I have tried it the other way, and it has led to problems (big ones). I haven’t actually tried the “league reset don’t allow QB keepers” plan, but based on how poorly the other side of this worked out, I would strongy suggest it. Good luck man!

      • Thanks Dan. I tend to agree with you, the hurdle in our league is that guy with Cam and others feel like they are getting screwed, by losing their prime keeper prospects.

        Related, what good auction qb2 online articles can you suggest? Most stuff on twoqbs.com and elsewhere seems to reference snake rather than auction. While the snake Adp and mocks can somewhat be translated into auction values/results –and while the dynamic nature or auction makes it hard to mock or learn from others mocks–still be cool to see more info on auction qb2.

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