Editor’s Note: The guest post below you’re about to read was written by Justin Bedi. Follow him on Twitter @JB_trade.
The NFL has 32 starting quarterbacks. … In two-quarterback leagues a minimum of 20 of those quarterbacks will be rostered at all times, assuming a ten-man league. That theoretically leaves 12 “starting” quarterbacks up for grabs, but realistically speaking, many teams in your league will opt for having a backup or two on their roster, further cutting down the amount of available QBs. Yes, a lot changes in 2QB leagues, and by the very nature of them you need to pay more attention to the quarterback position. One strategy to doing this effectively means grabbing as many of them you can.
An often-understated fact about building a roster in fantasy football is that it’s really all about supply and demand. There is a finite supply of top-tier running backs, wide receivers, and quarterbacks; at the tight end position, there is literally only one top-tier player (Rob Gronkowski) to satisfy demand for an entire league.
The QB Supply and Demand Shift in 2QB Leagues
In standard fantasy leagues, demand for quarterbacks is low; you only need to play one and the variation between second tier-QBs isn’t all that significant. However, in 2QB leagues the supply and demand for quarterbacks is closer to equilibrium — that is, the point where they equally match each other, with 32 available quarterbacks and 20 necessary positions at the very minimum. As mentioned above, the number of quarterbacks that will actually be rostered, when accounting for starters and backups, likely shoots up to 25 or 26. In 12-team leagues you get even closer to equilibrium.
Assuming that, at a minimum, the top 25 quarterbacks are off the board in your draft, that would leave a few of the following options on the waiver wire: Alex Smith, Ryan Tannehill, Jay Cutler, Robert Griffin III, Teddy Bridgewater, and Brock Osweiler. On the one hand, these players are unlikely to be all-world league winners for any team, and if you wait too long to draft your starting two QBs, these players could end up playing week in and week out for you, for good or bad. On the other hand, there is definitely some potential here.
All of these quarterbacks have good-to-great opportunities ahead of them this upcoming season: Alex Smith is getting Jamaal Charles back and another season to build chemistry with a healthy Jeremy Maclin and Travis Kelce, Tannehill is getting a healthy DeVante Parker and a new QB-friendly head coach in Adam Gase, RG3 has a huge chip on his shoulder for a coach who finally believes in him, Bridgewater is going into his third-year with an improving stud in Stefon Diggs and another year’s worth of experience, and Osweiler was just given the keys to the kingdom in Houston (it also doesn’t hurt that he has DeAndre Hopkins to throw to). The point is that it can’t hurt you to roster one or two of these quarterbacks on your bench as insurance, or as valuable trade chips.
Numbers Never Lie
The numbers don’t lie: according to ESPN, quarterbacks last season set all-time highs in single-season scoring with 8,300 fantasy points, which is 464 points more than the previous record set in 2013 (7,836). Moreover, 17 different quarterbacks scored at least 240 fantasy points (which requires an average of at least 15 points a game) and 21 scored at least 200 points, which matches the record originally set in 2012.
In fact, according to data from FFToday, at least 19 QBs have scored 200+ points since 2012, a significant improvement from previous years (2008 only had 11!). All-in-all, there were 152 games by quarterbacks that resulted in at least 20 fantasy points last season — meaning there was plenty of firepower coming from different QBs.
One only needs to look back at Week 4 of last season, when Sam Bradford, Josh McCown, and Kirk Cousins were top-five QB performers, or Week 15 when Bridgewater, Cousins, and Osweiler finished in the top-five. Even if a QB doesn’t have your full faith, you simply can’t bet against them week after week after week — they will have a great match-up that sets them up to shine, and they will face highly-burnable defenses.
Injuries and Poor Play Happen Every Year
The reality is that at some point each of the quarterbacks mentioned above will likely make for excellent spot-starters during great match-ups or bye weeks, and in case of injury to your starting QBs. To illustrate how important it is to have backup QBs, here’s a graph showing the quarterbacks who missed the most games last season (Source: Rotoworld):
This is the NFL and the next injury is just around the corner. Savvy fantasy players know this and will take steps to be prepared in the event that one (or both) of their starting QBs go down (Editor’s Note: 53 different quarterbacks started at least one game in 2015). Just imagine if your starting quarterbacks last season were Andrew Luck and Tony Romo — were there good enough options on the waiver wire for you to replace their production?
Turn Your QB Depth Into Trade Assets
In addition to being prepared for injuries and bye-weeks, the other advantage of stockpiling quarterbacks is the war chest of trade chips you’ll have at your disposal. Let’s come back to supply and demand. You’ll recall that in a 10-team, 2QB league where each team has three quarterbacks on their roster, supply is much closer to equaling demand than in standard leagues. As soon as a few teams in your league lose their quarterbacks to injury or need to bench their starters for a string of bad match-ups or poor play, all of a sudden the league is out of equilibrium. Now, demand exceeds supply. And the winner here is whoever had the foresight to stock up on QBs.
Sure, teams could go for their quarterback’s back-up or the lowest-tier options on the waiver wire, but that’s not going to help them win the league. No, they’re going to have to trade with you, hBolder of the QBs. Oh, and the thing when demand exceeds supply: it’s a seller’s market. Now you have options — let your competitors who neglected to shore up the quarterback position fall out of the playoff race while you ascend, or trade them one of many QBs you have on your roster for a premium player at another position. And don’t worry, they’ll have to come to you — after all, you have all the quarterbacks.
Ultimately, it’s the players you deploy that will determine how you do each week, and you should not neglect studs at other positions; however, in terms of managing your team and putting yourself in the best position to take advantage of the forces of supply and demand in 2QB leagues, I strongly suggest grabbing as many starting-level quarterbacks as you can. Sooner or later, it’ll pay off.
Justin Bedi is an experienced sports writer and fantasy player. Located in Canada, he’s leading the change to two-quarterback leagues and isn’t looking back. You can follow him for more insights on fantasy sports on Twitter at @JB_trade.
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