The Evolution of 2QB ADP and Drafting Quarterbacks in 2QB Leagues
While perusing the May 2QB ADP data (redraft), I was immediately drawn in by the quarterback who had a first-round ADP: Cam Newton – 7.0 overall ADP. I took no issue with Cam himself being the only signal caller with a first round 2QB ADP, as opposed to someone like Aaron Rodgers or Andrew Luck holding down the top spot.
What I was really struck by was the fact Newton was the only quarterback going in the first round of 2QB drafts instead of seeing the usual number of multiple quarterbacks with a high ADP as we have in years past. Since we began tracking 2QB ADP during the 2013 fantasy drafting season, multiple quarterbacks tended to have a first round ADP.
The rule of thumb to dominate your 2QB draft was to take one, sometimes two, quarterbacks early, usually with your first or second round pick and then fill out the rest of your squad. It was how I used to build my rosters as well, until I came across JJ Zachariason and the Gospel According to LRQB.
JJ, along with other late-round QB enthusiasts and preachers such as CD Carter, showed me the streaming light and had the biggest influence on my fantasy playing ways. I probably wouldn’t be writing this article or have a voice in the industry if it weren’t for them.
Before I delve into the world of 2QB ADP, I wanted to note that the 2QB drafts we have been hosting at TwoQBs have been of the 10-team variety, but I wanted to talk about 2QB ADP data as if we were playing in 12-team leagues. Also, the 2016 ADP I’m referencing is from May, but we do have some updated June ADP on our site now.
How 2QB ADP Has Changed Since 2013 aka Hello LRQB
In 2013, five quarterbacks had a 2QB ADP of 12 or higher. In 2014 and 2015, the number was three, and in 2016 we had two quarterbacks picked within the first 12 picks, with a third throttling the line with an ADP of 12.1.
Below is a chart detailing the ADP changes by year from Mike Beers (@beerswater) of the QB1-QB9 tier (a QB12 chart will come a little later):
It might not seem like a whole lot, but two fewer quarterbacks on average going within the first round of a 12-team 2QB draft is significant. It shows a willingness in drafters to not feel pigeonholed into drafting a quarterback early, and instead using the depth of the position to their advantage to build a strong roster elsewhere while still being able to get productive fantasy passers later in drafts.
Nathan Powell recently wrote a superb guest piece on the site discussing how the most value a quarterback has in 2QB dynasty leagues is in startup drafts. It’s a well reasoned theory and an article I highly recommend you read. But, for the purposes of this article, we’re focusing on redraft leagues.
The early round 2QB ADP numbers starts to show a significant drop in the QB6-QB12 range, or the rest of the QB1 tier. In 2013, for example, the 12th quarterback off the board in 2QB leagues had an ADP of 26.3. In 2014 that number was 40.5. In 2015, it dropped to 49.2, and in 2016 it sits at 62.8.
Below is a chart detailing the ADP changes of the QB12-QB18 tier by year from Mike Beers (@beerswater):
Basically, the QB12 in 2013 cost you an early third round pick in 12-team leagues, but in 2016 you can net the QB12 in the sixth round; a three-round difference.
While ADP goes down, quarterback scoring has only gone up. In 2011, the overall fantasy QB12 (Ryan Fitzpatrick) scored 222.08 points. In 2015, the QB12 (Philip Rivers) scored 284.52. That’s a difference of 3.9 fantasy points/game. Fitzpatrick’s 2011 fantasy finish would have seen him end the 2015 campaign as QB22.
What about the QB2s?
What I also found interesting was how the gap from QB13 to QB24 caught up to each other. If you and your league mates bypass the QB1 tier of fantasy signal callers that means you’re competing for the respectable QB2s as to not miss out completely on the tier.
Below you can view the full 2QB ADP data of the top-36 drafted quarterbacks from 2013-2016:
|2013 ADP||2014 ADP||2015 ADP||2016 ADP|
*Update* Here’s how the chart looks with our updated ADP for June of 2016:
It’s one thing to say you’re not going to draft Aaron Rodgers in round one and wait to draft Marcus Mariota in the mid rounds. But it’s a completely different draft mentality to say you’re going to bypass the Mariotas of the QB2 tier and instead build your quarterback depth around Jared Goff in the later rounds.
It makes sense there’s not as large of a discrepancy in ADP data in the QB2 tier as there is in the QB1 tier, but in general, quarterbacks in this tier are still going later in 2QB drafts than they did four years ago. With only a ~18 pick difference between the 2013 QB24 and 2016 QB24 it’s not as alarming though.
Below is a chart detailing the ADP changes of the QB21-QB30 tier by year from Mike Beers (@beerswater):
What do these ADP trends mean for the future of 2QB leagues? It’s an interesting question. With the proliferation of the late-round quarterback strategy and its penetration into 2QB/Superflex worlld we will most likely continue to see the devaluation of elite QB1s, as long as the quality pool of quarterbacks is deep. And the gap could trickle down and impact the mid/late QB2 tier.
With the combination of quarterback depth and increased fantasy quarterback scoring, waiting on passers will continue to be a very appealing option in 2QB leagues. Not long ago, we wondered what would happen when the Peyton Mannings, Tom Bradys, and Drew Breeses of the fantasy world would no longer keep up their high fantasy scoring ways or retire.
Brady and Brees continue to produce, while the now-retired Manning was replaced by the likes of Cam Newton and Andrew Luck. Not to mention Aaron Rodgers, who is still around. With Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota making their mark last year, the QB1 well has been replenished.
As for the QB2 tier, the Alex Smith and Joe Flacco types — consistent and reliable QB2s with the occasional QB1 upside — will also be around and replaced with other “boring” options at the position. It’s hard not to envision LRQB rubbing off even more in 2QB drafts.
It remains to be seen how the incoming rookie class — Jared Goff, Paxton Lynch, et al. — will fit into the fantasy quarterback ecosystem. But with more NFL teams desperate to spend early round capital on the position and teams adjusting their offensive game plan to be more pass heavy, it’s hard to see any time in the upcoming future where there aren’t at least 20 or so fantasy quarterbacks worthy of your consideration.
Draft strategy in 1QB leagues became routine and mundane because of such a luxury in depth. Are 2QB leagues far behind? While it might not be time just yet to consider 3QB leagues or 2QB and a Superflex leagues, we can’t scoff at the notion outright. For now, take the time to study the 2QB ADP data from the past four years and come to your own conclusions.