The Great Fantasy Football Reset – Planning For My First Superflex Draft
Editor’s Note: Check out part one of this series from Anthony about his first 2QB fantasy football adventure before immersing yourself in the second installment.
With 2QB and Superflex leagues changing the way I view the quarterback position, I’m taking a hard look at how I’ll draft mine this fall. Developing a solid draft strategy finally feels like a priority again since, in recent years, my position rankings have looked a lot like this:
…and so on…
While I think the increased value of quarterbacks in 2QB formats will affect my draft strategy for all positions, I’m spending the early part of my fantasy offseason deciding on a quarterback strategy for my first Superflex dynasty.
Creating My QB Tandem
For the past few seasons, the idea of drafting a quarterback early has repulsed me. Now, the most important position in the NFL is, at least arguably, the most important position in 2QB leagues. Armed with the basics of how starting two quarterbacks will impact the scoring economy of my league, I want to give my thoughts on the major 2QB draft strategies I’ll be considering this summer.
Stud and Stream
This is my target for 2017. Stud and Stream feels like a great jumping-in strategy because it offers the best of both worlds. I feel an obligation to note that draft day can sometimes be a chaotic mess. Even the most thought-out, well-intentioned draft strategies are susceptible to the owners around us. Barring an early and epic run at the quarterback position, I’m confident that I’ll be able to land what I consider a stud QB somewhere between the fourth and sixth round. In a two-keeper league like mine, I think it’s reasonable to suspect that players like Ben Roethlisberger, Drew Brees, or Tom Brady could be drafted in this area — especially with plenty of receiver talent available and the admirable fantasy year running backs put up.
From there, I hope to skip three or four rounds before grabbing my QB2. My expectation would be to see quarterbacks of the Blake Bortles variety here — and I’m okay with that. And if my Bortles as QB2 experiment fails I can always fall back on streaming, as the name implies.
The thought of using this strategy in a 2QB or Superflex league just warms my soul. Sticking with LRQB was the instant, gut reaction I had to approaching a 2QB draft and, if I’m being honest, it’s still pretty tempting. It would be a massive double down in the face of the quarterback position’s increased value and would give me an even greater opportunity to hoard players at other skill positions. And if I’m “okay” with Bortles-esque results for my hypothetical Stud and Stream QB2, why not try it at both spots and supplement the talent everywhere else? I mean, it’s worked for Jacksonville, right?
If doubling down on LRQB is my secret dream, then drafting my QB1 and QB2 early is my nightmare. Landing a combination like Aaron Rodgers and Cam Newton would be great – especially since Newton’s near 35 percent drop in points from 2015 to 2016 may worry other owners – but I’m not interested in trying to recoup talent across three positions in subsequent rounds. By using Stud and Stream or Late-Round Quarterback, I’ll be primarily focused on drafting wide receivers and running backs in the early and mid-rounds of my draft. This leaves me, at worst, slightly deficient in only the quarterback position. ERQB may be desirable for some, but I’m in no way planning on this being an approach I’ll use.
Where Do Rookies Fit In?
I’ll be blunt and say rookie quarterbacks aren’t really on my radar. Despite prepping for a dynasty startup, I don’t think the volatility of a rookie QB performance is worth the potential price. Some will disagree and say that landing an exceptional rookie should be a top priority in dynasty formats of the Superflex variety. While I could see this point of view, I think finding the “right” first-year quarterback is a little problematic.
2012 was a great year for rookie quarterbacks. The often cited big three of that season — Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III, and Russell Wilson — each finished in the top-10 of fantasy scoring that year for their position group. And in seasons where Luck and Wilson played in at least half of their team’s games, they’ve finished in the top-10 a combined eight-of-nine times.
Subsequent rookie classes were nowhere near as prolific. As a result, my heart goes out to anyone burnt by the likes of Geno Smith or Johnny Manziel as options in any format.
The 2016 quarterback class was headlined by Jared Goff and Carson Wentz. Goff didn’t see full-time action until Week 11 and Wentz finished 24th in QB scoring, despite a start to the season that earned him a Pro Football Focus grade higher than any of his 2012 counterparts through the first three weeks of their respective rookie seasons. Goff would only break double-digit points once in his seven starts and Wentz, despite the hot start, finished at the bottom-end of the QB2 spectrum. The rookie campaigns of Goff and Wentz were by no means failures, but they encapsulated everything that worries me about relying on rookie quarterbacks.
With plenty of veteran talent available, and an average-at-best rookie crop for 2017, I think the smart move is to focus on drafting quarterbacks already familiar with the NFL stage. And if my heart happened to be particularly set on the upside of young quarterbacks, paying a premium for the Marcus Mariotas or Jameis Winstons of today feels like a more beneficial strategy than trying to hit on the rookie signal callers that will be touted in future offseasons.
What It All Means
How you approach drafting quarterbacks in 2QB or Superflex leagues is up to you, and may depend a lot on how you valued that position in previous formats. While certainly not forgetting the value of quarterbacks in this new format, it’s hard for me to let go of previous biases. If my league drafted today and I found myself in a LRQB situation, I think I’d be fine with that. However, experience and research have changed my mind in the past, and I’m sure that this will hold true as my scouting and mock drafts ramp up for the 2017 season.
*FantasyData.com was referenced for the writing of this article