Going Old School QB-QB in 2016 2QB Leagues
Salvatore Stefanile takes a look at the old school 2QB draft strategy of going QB-QB to start and whether or not it works in 2016. …
If you’re a hardcore believer in the strategy of going QB-QB to start your 2QB or Superflex draft and are adamant it’s the league-winning move then you will need to focus the rest of your draft on roster construction at running back and wide receiver.
It’s understandable wanting to lock up both your starting quarterback slots with elite options since you start two each week. A whopping 18 quarterbacks last season scored 300 or more fantasy points, with two more in the 290s.
Twenty-four quarterbacks scored more points last year than the highest scoring RB (Devonta Freeman – 247.9) and WR (Antonio Brown – 246.2). Rob Gronkowski led all TEs in fantasy scoring with 183.6 points, which would have been only good for QB27.
QB-QB and Opportunity Cost
So, yes quarterbacks dominate the fantasy scoring landscape, but that doesn’t mean you need to build around them and use two early round picks on the position. When it comes to roster construction in 2QB leagues you need to worry yourself with opportunity cost.
By going QB-QB you lose out on elite WR1s and RB1s, two positions that don’t offer a plethora of high scoring options later in drafts like quarterback does. Let’s pretend for a moment we’re drafting in a 10-team 2QB league that starts: 2QB/2RB/3WR/1TE. At least 20 QBs, 24 RBs, 36 WRs and 12 TEs will start each week.
Now, using the scoring settings from FFToday, the fantasy QB20 last year scored 19.5 points per game, the RB24 scored 8.3, the WR36 put up 7.1 PPG, and the TE10 scored 6.5. Why did I focus on those specific players? Because they’re the bottom of the barrel at each respective starting position.
There’s a reason why Cam Newton goes in the first round and this year’s QB20 is going at pick 100, but the QB20 last year immensely outscored the RB24, WR26, and TE12. Scoring is usually skewed towards the quarterback position, but that’s what makes waiting on quarterback the usual optimal strategy as quarterback scoring is up across the board. It’s also why early-round running backs and wide receivers are valuable, since their lower-round counterparts don’t score as much as they do.
QB-QB With a Zero-RB Twist
Still, there are a number of QB-QB diehards in 2QB leagues. If you consider yourself a part of this group, your best bet is to also utilize a Zero-RB strategy. Below is a recent 2QB mock I participated in that was a hybrid QB-QB/Zero-RB strategy:
Our 2QB ADP shows four quarterbacks drafted within the first 20 picks: Cam Newton, Aaron Rodgers, Russell Wilson, and Andrew Luck. Drew Brees at QB5 is close (23.7 overall ADP). Ben Roethlisberger, Carson Palmer, and Tom Brady round out the top-end QB1 tier drafted within the first 50 picks.
Employing a QB early draft approach entails dedicating two of your first five picks to the position, and your first two selections if taking QB-QB to the max.
League size and draft tendencies of your league mates will shift actual draft cost from draft-to-draft, but based on our ADP the above mentioned eight are going within the first five rounds.
Back to my QB-QB roster. Of all the quarterbacks with an early round ADP, Ben Roethlisberger scares me the most. Our own Anthony Amico laid out the reasons why you should avoid Big Ben at his costly ADP. The main reasons being his dip in production without Martavis Bryant (Roethlisberger scores three fantasy points less/game) and that he’s had only one season of top-6 fantasy production in the last five years.
Going off the board at QB6 is a price too rich for my blood when it comes to the Steel City signal caller, but for the purposes of this draft experiment it was either him or a four-game suspended Tom Brady to man the QB2 slot.
With the first picks designated to the quarterback position, I then turned my attention to wide receiver. Eddie Lacy, Doug Martin, Mark Ingram, and LeSean McCoy were the best remaining RBs, but Shady is the only RB I’d be comfortable using a high pick on. This forced me to focus on WRs and go Zero-RB.
A wide receiver group led by Keenan Allen, Brandin Cooks, and Demaryius Thomas is one you can work with. They each have the potential to finish the season as top-12 scoring WRs. Allen in the third-round helped ease the pain of missing out on the elite WR tier of Antonio Brown, Julio Jones, and Odell Beckham.
The rest of my roster features a who’s who of Zero-RB all-stars, as well as an elite TE in Greg Olsen, plus a couple of upside late-round WRs. Using a tenth round pick on Tyrod Taylor gave me one more elite option at quarterback to pair with Rodgers and Roethlisberger. Be warned, Taylor might not last until the tenth round of your 2QB home league.
The final roster would be one I’d comfortably trot out weekly:
QB1 – Aaron Rodgers
QB2 – Ben Roethlisberger
RB1 – Dion Lewis
RB2 – Melvin Gordon
WR1 – Keenan Allen
WR2 – Brandin Cooks
WR3 – Demaryius Thomas
TE1 – Greg Olsen
Flex – DeAngelo Williams or DeSean Jackson
Bench: Tyrod Taylor, Rashad Jennings, Corey Coleman
The four-game suspension to Le’Veon Bell vaults DeAngelo Williams into the RB1 tier for the early part of the season, providing the Zero-RB strategy a late-round boost.
So You Like Your QB-QB Team, But…
Here’s the thing, even though I went into the draft with a hardened QB-QB mentality to see how the strategy would play out I kind of like this team. It’s not perfect, by any stretch of the imagination, but if Roethlisberger lives up to his cost and Rodgers performs at the overall fantasy QB1 level of 2014, I could potentially start two top-five quarterbacks every week. The receiving corps is strong and I should be able to patch together a weekly starting running back duo.
However, we need to go back to what I mentioned earlier and the concept of opportunity cost. Yes, Rodgers and Roethlisberger might be the most formidable starting QB duo in this league. But look at what I lost out on by investing early draft capital in the position.
Rather than go QB-QB, I could have went Julio Jones and Dez Bryant. Or David Johnson and Jamaal Charles. Or some combo of WR/RB. With the plethora of late-round quarterback options available like Kirk Cousins (round eight), Andy Dalton (round nine), Tyrod Taylor (round ten) or Ryan Fitzpatrick (round ten) I could have bypassed QB early and still ended up with startable options.
Below are a few different versions of what could have been if I didn’t go QB early:
|QB Early||RB Early||WR Early||RB/WR Early|
|QB1||Aaron Rodgers||Tyrod Taylor||Andy Dalton||Andy Dalton|
|QB2||Ben Roethlisberger||Marcus Mariota||Tyrod Taylor||Tyrod Taylor|
|RB1||Dion Lewis||David Johnson||Dion Lewis||David Johnson|
|RB2||Melvin Gordon||Jamaal Charles||Melvin Gordon||Dion Lewis|
|WR1||Keenan Allen||Keenan Allen||Julio Jones||Julio Jones|
|WR2||Brandin Cooks||Brandin Cooks||Dez Bryant||Keenan Allen|
|WR3||Demaryius Thomas||Demaryius Thomas||Keenan Allen||Brandin Cooks|
|TE1||Greg Olsen||Greg Olsen||Greg Olsen||Greg Olsen|
|FLEX||DeAngelo Williams||Dion Lewis||Brandin Cooks||Demaryius Thomas|
Regardless of your feelings on Taylor/Dalton/Marcus Mariota, it’s hard to deny their value in the later rounds. Taylor was a top-7 fantasy QB based on PPG, Dalton started 2015 with six straight QB1 (top-12) finishes and was the QB10 in PPG, and Mariota was a top-12 fantasy QB in five of his 11 full games. According to our ADP, all three are going off the board between the mid-eighth and mid-ninth rounds.
Wide Receivers, Quarterbacks, and No Running Backs, Oh My.
If forced to choose, taking a WR early approach coupled with Zero-QB would lead to the most well rounded and highest upside team thanks to the depth at QB and the availability of solid RB options late. If you take the WR early squad from the above examples you’re looking at a squad with three high-end WR1s, two potential top-10 QBs and a back in Dion Lewis last year who finished in the top tier of RBs in PPG scoring.
There’s no one way to build a roster in 2QB leagues, but the opportunity cost associated with going QB-QB is too high based on what you’re missing out on at WR/RB in the early rounds and the number of startable quarterbacks available late. However, if your mind is made up on QB-QB it makes sense to team it up with a Zero-RB strategy.
*Stats used in this article courtesy of FFToday and FantasyData