Editor’s Note: This guest post was written by Nathan Powell. Follow him on Twitter @NPowellFF. Read his dynasty fantasy work at DynastyLeagueFootball. …
The late-round quarterback movement is very real. … You may see Cam Newton or Aaron Rodgers go in the first two or three rounds of your more casual home leagues, but in leagues with industry writers or readers of their work, the top few quarterbacks don’t go off the board until the fifth round or later in start-one quarterback formats. Many of the strategies used in traditional redraft leagues have seeped their way into Superflex and 2QB dynasty leagues, and I feel many players are oversimplifying the complex draft strategy around the quarterback position. In this guest spot for TwoQBs, I will highlight why I’m always targeting the top passing options in dynasty leagues with multiple starting quarterbacks.
There Is No Stream
In the average 12-team Superflex/2QB dynasty league, 45-50 quarterbacks are rostered entering the season. Only 32 quarterbacks will start each week (not counting weeks with byes). Last season, 50 different passers surpassed 30 fantasy points for the whole season, with a few of those passers earning those points in relief appearances which couldn’t have mattered for fantasy football.
The increased number of roster spots that dynasty leagues provide compared to redraft makes it easier to stash quarterbacks who are not currently starting for an NFL team, so while you may “stream” between three to four quarterbacks for your two weekly starter spots, it is extremely rare to find an NFL starting quarterback on the waiver wire when injuries and bye weeks hit. On the rare occasion that it does happen, mediocre players like Jimmy Clausen, Matt Schaub, and Michael Vick usually become starters. So while any starting NFL quarterback can be put into a 2QB dynasty lineup and have some value, starting someone like Matt Schaub in Week 13 is less than inspiring.
Build Your 2QB Dynasty Team for a Ceiling, Not a Floor
This is more of a philosophical game theory difference that I have with fantasy players who advocate for late-round QB in Superflex/2QB dynasty. One of the first things people talk about when arguing for the late-round QB strategy is the difference between top QBs vs replacement-level QBs and top RBs/WRs vs replacement-level RBs/WRs. The strategy makes sense if you never plan on building the best possible team at each position by making trades. When trying to acquire a quarterback versus a similarly scoring wide receiver, the quarterback will nearly always be more expensive in a two-quarterback format. If you build your teams prioritizing positions other than quarterback, acquiring a top quarterback may be too expensive once the rest of your team has been built to compete as a top team and you will be stuck streaming the bottom-tier quarterbacks that you acquired in the startup.
When I am building my dynasty teams, I build from the top down, acquiring the most expensive assets first and continuing from there, filling in with cheap assets along the way to keep my team competitive now while still building toward a future. In one-quarterback leagues, this is a popular way to build a dynasty team, building team up at wide receiver, running back, and tight end, then acquiring a veteran quarterback cheaply. This isn’t nearly as easy in Superflex/2QB. With quarterback being the most expensive position to acquire in trade, I prioritize quarterbacks and wide receivers with my premium assets and acquire cheap/veteran running backs and tight ends to fill out my roster in an effort to compete immediately.
Mid-Tier and Bottom-Tier QBs Are Extremely Overvalued
Whether it is during the startup or at various points throughout the off-season, there will be moments of panic for the owners without top quarterbacks as opening night approaches and their starters are on par with Brock Osweiler or the trio of Browns quarterbacks. This causes teams to scramble and acquire similar players for in-season streaming or reach/overpay for a more expensive quarterback. Evidence of this can be found in the latest 2QB dynasty ADP at TwoQBs. Valid arguments can be made for each of the top 9 quarterbacks in the top 30 of startups (Cam Newton, Andrew Luck, Aaron Rodgers, Russell Wilson, Jameis Winston, Ben Roethlisberger, Blake Bortles, Marcus Mariota, & Derek Carr). I think top 30 overall may be a hair high for Derek Carr and Blake Bortles, but if you are going to reach for a quarterback in 2QB dynasty, it should be quarterbacks in young and emerging offenses like those two.
Between picks 41 and 97, 21 quarterbacks are selected and I am not a fan of any of their values. This bunch of quarterbacks is filled with players whose careers are heading towards their twilight (Drew Brees, Tom Brady, & Carson Palmer), players who have proven to be nothing more than QB2s (Teddy Bridgewater, Joe Flacco, & Alex Smith – sorry Sal), or they are unproven players who are more risky than their early-round counterparts (Brock Osweiler, Jared Goff, & Carson Wentz). When a quarterback you selected in the middle rounds of a startup stops being productive due to age, retires, or busts completely, it is more costly than any other position because, like I’ve said several times, quarterbacks are always the most expensive items on the trade market.
I Love Cheap Stashes as Much as Top QBs
Spending significant capital at quarterback with the likes of Luck, Roethlisberger, and Mariota does not stop me from adding other quarterbacks as stashes and possible trade assets. Cheaper quarterbacks can earn starting jobs in a variety of ways: by injury, poor play from a teammate, roster changes, or just proving to be the better passer. For example, one of my favorite stashes in 2QB dynasty right now is Buffalo Bills quarterback Cardale Jones. The Bills have yet to sign Tyrod Taylor to a long-term extension and they could be considering Jones in that capacity. If Jones is ever named the starter, he will graduate from the cheap/free tier of backup quarterbacks to the tier of overvalued middle-to-bottom-tier quarterbacks going in the top 100 of startups. That’s essentially all I’m looking for in my cheap quarterback stashes — will the player have an opportunity at a job in the near future? If so, that QB is a great stash. Cardale Jones, Christian Hackenberg, Blaine Gabbert, Mike Glennon, and Geno Smith all have legitimate shots to make NFL starts in the next two seasons and all are being selected after pick 150 in ADP.
If there is a type of stash that I do avoid, it’s the player with little or no shot at starting in the next two seasons. Things change quickly in the NFL, but players like Connor Cook, Jimmy Garoppolo, and AJ McCarron not only cost the draft pick you are spending on them, they also cost the spot they will occupy on your roster. Furthermore, there is always the potential they are supplanted as backups within that time span.
To sum up: draft Luck, draft Cam, draft a few backups, get people to overpay for said backups when they become starters, and log out.
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