The 2016 NFL preseason is over, which means we shift our focus from drafting 2QB teams to weekly in-season management. What a ride, eh? … There are still a few 2QBers drafting this holiday weekend through the start of the season, but I wanted to focus this week’s 2QB Things We Learned blog on one key 2QB team management aspect.
2QB Things We Learned: Week 4
1. Know Your “Duds”
Experienced 2QBers know how important backup quarterbacks are in the NFL. Injuries or ineffective play can thrust a backup or third-stringer into the prominent role of QB1. Knowing the quarterback depth chart landscape is key to surviving 2QB leagues. You might not think it matters to know who the QB4 in Houston is or who’s backing up Alex Smith in Kansas City, but it does. Last season saw 53 different quarterbacks start at least one game and 15 teams started at least two quarterbacks in 2015. That’s almost half the league. Below is a screenshot of the quarterbacks each team started last season:
If you’re new to the world of 2QB or Superflex leagues the above graphic image should give you an idea of what you’ve signed yourself up for. Welcome. Now that we have relived the memories of seeing Jimmy Clausen start for two teams in one season let’s focus on a few backup quarterbacks we should keep an eye on during the 2016 season.
- Green Bay
Brett Hundley/Joe Callahan
- New Orleans
Luke McCown/Garrett Grayson
Each of these teams are home to elite fantasy QB1s. If Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees, or Russell Wilson were to miss time their backups would be put into favorable situations to succeed. They might not become automatic fantasy starters, but in the right matchup you could stream them in your QB2 slot.
Only an injury away…
Josh McCown/Cody Kessler
RG3 flashed glimpses of his rookie self this offseason, scrambling (and sliding!) and unleashing deep bombs to Terrelle Pryor and Josh Gordon. This offense should be fun to watch and have some fantasy value, but we have to worry about his past injuries. Josh McCown would be next man up, while Kessler is an insurance play on both/someone to watch if the Browns have a brutal season and want to see what the future has in store.
Nothing left to lose…
- San Francisco
Colin Kaepernick/Christian Ponder
Payton Lynch/Austin Davis
- Los Angeles
Sean Mannion/Jared Goff
Each of these three teams are in situations were it wouldn’t be a surprise to see multiple quarterbacks start during the season. In the Case of Los Angeles, Jared Goff is the future QB of the franchise (we think), but his preseason performance has pushed him down the depth chart. Unless the Rams end up becoming a competitive team, all three quarterbacks should start.
San Francisco is in the same boat. Blaine Gabbert is not the future in San Fran, and Chip Kelly is surely intrigued to see how his offense would look under Kaepernick. Ponder impressed enough to make the 53-man roster that it wouldn’t be out of the question to see him get a start if both Gabbert and Kapernick falter.
Denver and Trevor Siemian is the most interesting situation of this bunch, and as the defending Super Bowl champions they actually have everything to lose. The Broncos defense should be good enough to keep them in games, and as long as Siemian doesn’t fall flat on his face he could end up starting all 16 games. However, if he does underwhelm, the team brought in veteran Austin Davis (yes, Austin Davis is now considered a veteran presence) and have first-round rookie Paxton Lynch waiting in the wings.
Sam Bradford musical chairs…
Shaun Hill/Sam Bradford
Carson Wentz/Chase Daniel
Until both of these teams announce their QB plans we have to be prepared for any scenario. Rumors swirled today that if Carson Wentz is healthy enough he’ll start Week 1. That would move the veteran Chase Daniel to the bench, and the only way he will see any playing time will be because of a Wentz injury.
Even though they traded a future first-round pick for Sam Bradford, reports state the Vikings will start Shaun Hill the first week to give Bradford more time to learn the offense. A Week 1 matchup puts Hill in the QB2 streaming consideration, but he’ll be nothing more than a fantasy QB3 once Bradford is up to speed. However, we’ve seen how many games the former Ram/Eagle QB has missed over the years, so don’t be surprised to see Hill be fantasy viable later in the season.
Break in case of a Dak-mergency…
Tony Romo is out for 6-10 weeks and in his place steps up the hyped up Dak Prescott. The rookie fourth-round pick has wowed the football watching audience this preseason, but we need to see him do it in the regular season to discern whether he’s for real. The Cowboys were lost last season when Romo was out and would rather not repeat that. With the veteran Mark Sanchez now in town it would not be out of the question if they turned to him if Prescott struggles.
Clever category name TBD…
We’ve seen how viable quarterbacks can be under Bill O’Brien (Brandon Weeden put up a fantasy QB1 week in this offense last season) and Brian Hoyer can put up stats in the right situation. If Cutler goes down with an injury or his DGAFing ways get him sent to the bench, Hoyer would be walking into a situation throwing to Alshon Jeffery, Kevin White, and Zach Miller. I wouldn’t hesitate to add and start him during the season if that were to happen.
Dak Prescott got all the preseason hype, but former fourth-round pick Tom Savage impressed the coaching staff enough in Houston to get the nod at QB2 over Brandon Weeden. During the preseason, Savage completed 57% of his passed for 437 yards and 4 touchdowns (to zero interceptions). The Bill O’Brien fantasy bump is real and the weapons in that offense (DeAndre Hopkins, Will Fuller, Lamar Miller, Braxton Miller) make for a welcoming fantasy environment.
2. The LRQB Revolution Has Taken Over the 2QB Universe
If you’ll recall from earlier in the offseason, I studied 2QB ADP data from 2013 to 2016. The pattern saw quarterbacks drafted later and later each season. With our mock drafts now done I wanted to quickly update the data and quarterbacks were drafted even later.
It’s pretty astonishing how we went from five first-round quarterbacks in 2013 to only two in 2016, or how the QB6 went in the middle of the second round four years ago and this year you could get the sixth quarterback off the board roughly at the end of round four. Or how about the QB12 going ~42 picks later in 2016 than 2013?
The numbers fascinate me. I understand they are small sample sizes and that causal home 2QB leagues still tend to draft quarterbacks early, but we did host 52 mock drafts this offseason. The mock drafts weren’t full of industry analysts who espouse the virtue of waiting on quarterbacks either; they were littered with casual and veteran 2QB drafters alike and those drafters told us a story in our ADP. A story of how waiting on quarterback has become the value draft play because of the depth of the position and the way quarterback scoring has exploded across the board.
With LRQB creeping into the 2QB landscape it will be interesting to see ADP patterns next year.
3. Thank You For Being a 2QB Friend
This post officially concludes our 2016 offseason 2QB content. It’s been a crazy ride since starting this site back in February. We went from five full-time staff members, scrambling to publish consistent content on a daily/weekly basis to a team of 13 in-season contributors with an in-season content schedule of 13 planned articles (plus two podcasts). It’s more than we ever could have imagined back when the idea to start this site percolated.
We (myself, Greg Smith, and Joshua Lake) wanted to build a 2QB community that 2QB/Superflex aficionados and newcomers could call home. Via listening to our podcasts, reading our articles, engaging with us on Twitter, or participating in mock drafts, we have seen our vision come to fruition thanks to your overwhelming support.
Starting next week, we will focus on providing you with quality in-season content to help you manage your 2QB team and win your league. We also have a dedicated team of 2QB DFS writers who will hopefully help you become a profitable DFS player. From the TwoQBs family, thank you for your support.