Superflex-Files: The 2QB Format and What’s Next
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In preparing for the very first Superflex-File, Josh Smith (@j422smith) sent a mailbag question I thought deserved a little more attention than just a brief response from yours truly. For this addition of SF-F, Josh and I discussed the current state of the 2QB format, where it’s headed, and what we can do to make sure it becomes a cornerstone of the fantasy community.
For reference, here is Josh’s original mailbag question: “What do you think the community as a whole can do to push Superflex or 2QB formats into the mainstream more, turning them into the standard format for redraft and dynasty leagues?”
THE 2QB FORMAT AND WHAT’S NEXT
Anthony Spangler: I remember the first time someone in my home league suggested we change our league to a Superflex. This was probably five years ago and I was repulsed by the idea (my, how things change).
Back then I thought of QBs as the drummer of a band. There should only be one. Admittedly, I barely gave it a thought beyond my initial displeasure. As it typically goes with long-running home leagues, especially those made up of high school friends who hardly keep in touch, I was hesitant to shake things up for fear of having to find replacement owners. Things are much different for me now and I can’t imagine ever playing the single-quarterback format as my primary game ever again.
I think back to that moment quite a bit, actually. And if I’m being honest, I’m a bit disappointed in myself for not being more open-minded. I think a full-scale assault on the fantasy industry has to take place on a few different levels and the ground-level, and our home leagues is just the start. Josh, how were you first introduced to Superflex/2QB? Did you have the same tinge of apprehension that I did?
Josh Smith: My experience was somewhat similar to what you described above, it started in a home league with some push back. One owner made the classic argument that there’s only one quarterback on the field in real life and that we should keep it that way in the league.
My close friends and I formed a league in 2005, but with only eight owners. It was pretty informal for the first few years but, around 2008, owners started seriously getting into fantasy football. The following year we voted to move to a 2QB format and add extra flex positions since the waiver wire was overloaded with talent. Shortly after, we became a two-keeper league and allowed trades with future picks involved. In 2012, I stumbled upon dynasty leagues and in 2013 we converted the league to a 2QB dynasty league and expanded the startup draft to 10 owners.
Since finding dynasty football and moving to 2QB leagues, I have steered away from redraft and single-quarterback leagues. I participate in one redraft league for work and I have one dynasty league that is single-quarterback, which we are trying to push to a Superflex or 2QB.
I’m curious to know why people do not join 2QB leagues. Is it because they don’t mirror real life football enough? Are they afraid of not knowing how to properly value the QB position against the other positions?
Anthony: For the casual fantasy player – who participates in one or two season-long leagues and maybe dabbles in DFS, I think the key would be for the more mainstream sites to offer easily accessible 2QB/Superflex options.
This offseason, Yahoo announced that they’ve added a flex position (at the cost of a mandatory third WR) and made 0.5 PPR standard for their leagues. I don’t want to bash the platform or the change, because I’ve played all my redraft leagues there for years and appreciate all the hard work of that team, but it felt like that move came about five years too late. And still, when you go to create a new league on Yahoo it gives you easy-to-select yes/no options for high-level league settings like PPR and flex positions. ESPN has a similar feature at the early phase of their league creation process and it seems like it would be relatively easy to add a “Superflex” or “2QB” option for league commissioners to pick from.
For fantasy players and commissioners already aware of the growing popularity of the 2QB format, I think what might be holding them back is the same thing we each discussed: Fear of a fundamental shift in the fantasy football meta.
Making changes to scoring settings and swapping in or adding flex positions are B-level changes in my opinion. They’re mostly inconsequential to the overall theory behind building a single-quarterback team. The option of a second starting quarterback, however, does represent the type of meta-altering change that can make an owner take a step back and have to think more about how they’ll attack a draft. And if they’re not generally receptive to change, then the 2QB format might seem absurd because it’s too different — not because they can’t comprehend a strategy change. It then becomes an issue of “do I want to bother?” versus “can I handle this change?”
That said, I think the free sites already do a great job of making fantasy football accessible and the first one to streamline the 2QB setting, and really shakeup the status quo, will have a special place in my heart.
Josh: If there’s going to be a push for Superflex or 2QB leagues to be more of the standard, or brought more into the mainstream, it needs to start with the seasoned vets or the hardcore fantasy players. If that contingent can move over then it may make the switch for the casual players easier. I think there are a good amount of people who join an office league or a family league just to be social and would shy away from the 2QB experience unless the opportunity was provided to them in that more mainstream manner.
I agree with you that Yahoo and other free sites should have been quicker to move to some version of PPR and adding flex positions as the normal 3-5 years ago to encourage the movement across the general population of leagues. The PPR movement to the “standard” Yahoo league isn’t much of a change since most commissioners probably change the settings to half or full PPR when constructing the league. I do think the flex replacing the third WR is a bigger move overall, but an out-of-box option to make leagues Superflex or 2QB wouldn’t be a heavy lift for the sites.
I’m curious to see if a site like Fanball or PlayDraft offering a standard 2QB option would help. Now that Fanball handles MFL10s I think that it would be a good way to ease players into a set it and forget it format with 2QB leagues. It would change the dynamic of the MFL roster construction, but if the 2QB option were to drop D/ST, and keep the same roster sizes, owners would be able to devote more of the overall team to the QB position without making drafts longer.
Anthony: Let me just say that if PlayDraft rolled out a 2QB/Superflex option it would destroy my finances and, subsequently, my marriage. I’d be all over those drafts.
Aside from overhauling the way major fantasy sites market and allow users to quickly create leagues, there’s still plenty work to be done, on the ground level, in spreading our format. You’ve certainly done your part with all of the Superflex and 2QB mocks you’ve ran on behalf of TwoQBs.com. Have you noticed whether the folks participating are new to the format and are testing it out via your mocks? I’d imagine that’s how many people get their first bit of active exposure to the format, aside from reading about them.
I wasn’t that savvy when I first started playing 2QB/Superflex. I didn’t even bother to look for a free league of some kind because of how excited I was for change at the time. It didn’t become an issue for me because I ended up loving the format and haven’t looked back. But for the more casual fantasy football player, a free season-long league might be needed to get their feet wet and really prepare them for how big of a change it can be (especially if they’re on a budget).
Fantasy football players are strategic by nature and, in many ways, I think newcomers to 2QB/Superflex are trying to be strategic in how they enter the arena. Whether its exposure via mocks, or thinking carefully about how to spend their personal fantasy budgets, I think they’re trying to make informed decisions about making the switch. And honestly, this bodes well for the future of the format.
Josh: I started running the mock drafts for TwoQBs.com last season and have noticed a few things throughout the last 15 months. There are a good amount of seasoned 2QB vets that join mocks and come back multiple times. Looking quickly, about 30 percent of the people who join the mocks come back and join multiple mock drafts. On the other end of the spectrum, many people sign up for the mocks and reach out with a ton of questions as if it’s their first exposure to 2QB leagues. I also hear from first-time 2QB players who are nervous about what’s to come. Sometimes they’re concerned making bad picks or valuing positions correctly, and some just ask if they can have a link to a current mock to follow along.
I think the strategic nature of first-time mockers bodes well for the format and shows that newcomers want to be completely prepared for just a mock draft. I believe that the Superflex and 2QB formats, in both redraft and dynasty, are starting to get a solid amount of exposure on websites like TwoQBs and DLF (who now put out monthly Superflex ADP) and podcasts like 2QB Experience, Superflex Supershow, Trade Addicts Pod, Afterburners Pod, and Dynasty Trades HQ.
The biggest league in the industry, the Scott Fish Bowl, is Superflex, and even some of the trade calculators have incorporated Superflex/2QB into their data now. I hope this exposure continues to grow and flourish which should push the format to the forefront of season-long and dynasty leagues.
Anthony: There’s a lot to be excited for with this format. You’re right, too, saying the format is growing fast. I feel like more and more I’m seeing people specifically say when their league format is NOT Superflex or 2QB when they post a trade poll on Twitter — and that gets me pumped.
Needless to say, I like where things are and where I think they’re headed for the 2QB format. But once our people take over, what will be the next frontier? 2-TE?
- No mailbag questions or 2QB reader feedback for this SF-F, due to the extended discussion with Josh. Questions and feedback for case #003 can be submitted here or by hitting me up on Twitter.
- I gave the higher-end rookie RBs a pretty heavy fade this offseason and targeted who I view to be pure handcuffs, in guys like John Kelly and Chase Edmonds. Given injuries to Derrius Guice and Rashaad Penny, I’m feeling pretty lucky to have done so. Where did you get lucky this offseason?
- I’m excited to see where first-year wideouts like Calvin Ridley, DJ Moore, and Michael Gallup perform in the first quarter of the season. All project to be their teams’ No. 2 WR (with Moore having upside to top Devin Funchess), so it will be interesting to evaluate how landing spots end up impacting our future opinions of a “bad” wide receiver class.
- The September edition of my 2QB Dynasty Top-200 will be dropping soon, so be on the lookout for another opportunity to skewer me over where I ranked members of this year’s QB rookie class.