Utilizing a Zero-QB Draft Strategy in 2016 2QB Leagues

Utilizing a Zero-QB Draft Strategy in 2016 2QB Leagues

Salvatore Stefanile takes a look at the Zero-QB/LRQB draft strategy in 2QB leagues for 2016 to determine if waiting on quarterbacks is a winning move. …


We’ve been running 2QB mock drafts all summer long in order to create a dependable set of ADP data 2QBers can use as part of their draft day preparation. In one of the most recent mocks that ended I experimented with a Zero-QB/LRQB draft strategy.

If you’ll recall, last year’s Zero-QB target darling was Tyrod Taylor. Drafters who took a late-round flier on Taylor were rewarded with a top-7 fantasy QB (based on points per game). That type of value makes waiting on quarterback worth it, as you can dedicate early-round draft capital on attacking the RB/WR/TE positions.

You’re not going to hit on a Taylor or Kirk Cousins or Ryan Fitzpatrick every year, and applying a late-round QB strategy in 2QB leagues is different than doing so in a traditional start-one QB league. But the depth of the position and explosion in QB scoring makes it a more viable strategy than in years past.

If you look at our current 2QB ADP, you see a glut of useable quarterbacks available in the mid-to-late rounds…

RankADPName
QB17.4Newton, Cam
QB210.1Rodgers, Aaron
QB316.4Wilson, Russell
QB417.5Luck, Andrew
QB523.7Brees, Drew
QB639.2Roethlisberger, Ben
QB746.8Palmer, Carson
QB848.7Brady, Tom
QB954.5Bortles, Blake
QB1057.8Manning, Eli
QB1159.4Rivers, Philip
QB1263.2Carr, Derek
QB1366Winston, Jameis
QB1477Taylor, Tyrod
QB1579Cousins, Kirk
QB1681.1Romo, Tony
QB1783.2Stafford, Matthew
QB1884.2Dalton, Andy
QB1985.8Mariota, Marcus
QB2099.2Ryan, Matt
QB2199.5Tannehill, Ryan
QB22106.2Fitzpatrick, Ryan
QB23106.3Flacco, Joe
QB24113.5Smith, Alex
QB25123.2Cutler, Jay
QB26128.3Osweiler, Brock
QB27129Bridgewater, Teddy
QB28139.1Griffin III, Robert
QB29141.3Bradford, Sam
QB30143.3Goff, Jared
QB31144.3Kessler, Cody
QB32146.3Gabbert, Blaine
QB33146.7Kaepernick, Colin
QB34149.7Garoppolo, Jimmy

The 12th quarterback (Derek Carr) off the board is being selected on average at the end of round six. Everyone’s comfort level at quarterback varies, as does the level of risk you’re willing to take playing the waiting game at quarterback, but I would feel comfortable grabbing two or three options between Eli Manning (57.8 ADP) and Jay Cutler (123.2 ADP).

How Zero-QB/LRQB Looks in 2016 2QB Leagues

While Cutler’s early 13th round ADP might be too late for some, it shows just how deep the quarterback position is this year, making a LRQB or Zero-QB strategy enticing. A strategy based on waiting to draft quarterbacks might be for you if you like the thought of loading up at RB/WR and are willing to put in the time necessary to research quarterback matchups each week.

Below is the LRQB/Zero-QB roster from the mock draft I mentioned at the beginning (from the 1.04 slot):

Zero-QB 2016

Waiting until rounds 10 and 11 to draft quarterbacks allowed me to stack up on running backs and wide receivers. This strategy leads to a weekly starting lineup looking like this:

QB1 — Alex Smith
QB2 — Joe Flacco
RB1 — Ezekiel Elliott
RB2 — Adrian Peterson
WR1 — Demaryius Thomas
WR2 — Jeremy Maclin
WR3 — Doug Baldwin
TE — Travis Kelce
Bench: Jamaal Charles, Duke Johnson, Larry Fitzgerald, Marvin Jones, Kamar Aiken, Zach Miller, Theo Riddick.

The weekly starting requirements for this draft are fairly shallow, but if this league featured a flex spot I’d be able to start Jamaal Charles in the flex, which would only strengthen the starting lineup.

In Defense of Alex Smith and Joe Flacco

An Alex Smith and Joe Flacco starting quarterback duo might not be for everybody, but I’ve made my cases as to why both are draft targets this year.

Smith is a perennially underrated fantasy option because of his legs. Thanks to his rushing prowess, Smith has averaged an additional 47.43 fantasy points/season since joining the Chiefs, which has helped him finish two of his last three seasons as a top-15 fantasy signal caller.

As for Flacco, before suffering a season-ending ACL injury in 2015, he was the overall fantasy QB10 and finished 50 percent of his games as a weekly fantasy QB1. Flacco returns to an even more loaded group of pass catchers than last season and to an offensive coordinator in Marc Trestman who has averaged the highest percent of pass plays in the last ten years of all active coordinators at 63.1 percent (h/t to TJ Hernandez for the stat nugget).

No matter how formidable of a fantasy squad you build on draft day, we must remember that this game we play is done so on a weekly basis. Smith and Flacco last year proved to be two of the more consistent fantasy scorers, combining for 12 weekly QB1 (top-12) finishes. Out of a possible 26 games, they combined to finish outside of the QB2 (top-24) tier of weekly scoring only three times. While not sexy, Flacco and Smith make for a steady QB duo to anchor a Zero-QB squad in 2QB leagues. Of course, they’re not the only options and you can play around with your own Zero-QB combos in mock drafts and through our ADP.

Going Zero-QB Means Taking Three QBs

If you’re going to wait on quarterbacks in 2QB or Superflex drafts you should leave the draft with three passers; advice I didn’t head in this draft. Rather than select Kamar Aiken as a WR6 I could have added Jay Cutler in the QB3 slot. He’s a late-round QB target of mine this year because of the safety attached to playing in an offense with a high-end/target hog early-round wide receiver.

Unlike 1QB leagues, where you can literally wait until the last round and still come away with an Andy Dalton or Ryan Tannehill, you aren’t afforded such a luxury in 2QB drafts. That means having to be acutely aware of your draft surroundings and keeping a running tabulation of when and where quarterbacks go off the board in your league, and to which owner(s). Maybe round eight is the sweet spot, where you plan your attack and go QB-QB-QB. Or if a ton of quarterbacks have been drafted you might look to start the process in round six and go from there. Each 2QB draft is unique.

Zero-QB is Not a Literal 2QB Draft Strategy

Taking the term late-round QB or Zero-QB to heart could result in disaster. So be careful with this strategy, as it could leave you scrambling and winding up with a combination of Brock Osweiler, Sam Bradford and Blaine Gabbert.

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If you play it cool and are willing to test your risk-taking boundaries by waiting and waiting and waiting some more to draft quarterbacks, while the rest of your league mates pick apart the position, you could be rewarded handsomely in the end with a juggernaut of a squad full of elite RB1s and WR1s. It might not be easy to sit back and see the quarterback pool dwindle, but knowing how deep it is and taking advantage of weekly production that comes from late-round quarterback options could lead to building an unstoppable team.

*Stats used in this article courtesy of 4for4 and FanasyData

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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3 thoughts on “Utilizing a Zero-QB Draft Strategy in 2016 2QB Leagues”

  • I unexpectedly fell into this strategy. I spent big money early on Zeke Elliot,43 OBJ,51 Mike Evans,26 and Matt Forte,21 and ended up with qbs Teddy Bridgewater, 7 Marcus Mariota, 10 and Matt Stafford, 13. What do you think about those 3 passers?

    • Hey Richard,

      Mariota is someone I can see breaking into the QB1 tier, Stafford is a dependable QB2 who has been a QB1 multiple times in his career. I think you’re fine with those two as your starting duo. I’m not sold on Teddy, but as your QB3 you should be fine. Solid job loading up on studs and still getting a few QBs.

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