2QB or Not 2QB: Week 13 Superflex Decisions
For the most part, 2QB and Superflex leagues are one and the same. There is more urgency to secure a solid QB3 in the former, accounting for bye weeks. In the latter, I still like having at least three starting quarterbacks so I can play matchups, have injury insurance, and leverage that depth in trades. However, you can still succeed if you end up with just a pair of starters. During your bye weeks at the position, you’ll see a small drop-off subbing a non-quarterback for a quarterback. That’s manageable though, unlike the goose eggs you’d lay in 2QB leagues.
The Superflex slot can seem like a built-in safety option for byes and injuries. That’s not all it needs to be, though. If your signal-callers are Drew Brees and Marcus Mariota, then sure, set it and forget it until their bye weeks (or injuries) come around. However, many of us end up with weaker quarterbacks, whether by design or because of injuries. If your QB2 is outside the top-25 at the position, the Superflex slot takes its true form, no longer a de-facto QB2 slot. It depends on the roster settings and scoring setup, as well as your depth at other positions. But starting just one quarterback is viable in certain situations. Hell, I barely missed out on a championship last year, where Alex Smith was my only starting quarterback in a 14-team Superflex league.
Impact of PPR Scoring
The scoring rules of a Superflex league significantly impact whether you should consider starting a flex player over a quarterback. The tables below show how many flex players are projected to outscore each starting signal-caller in Week 13. These are my personal projections, which assume 5 points for a passing TD, and -2 points for interceptions. They are broken down into non-PPR, half-PPR, and full-PPR; all other scoring rules are typical of standard leagues.
The bottom portions of these tables show how stark the influence PPR scoring has, when it comes to the positional advantage that (non-elite) quarterbacks have over the flex positions.
Visualizing the Matchups
In general, the Superflex position should almost always be filled by your QB2 in a non-PPR format. The exception is if you have a monster set of running backs and can’t start all of them without dipping into the Superflex slot. In Week 13, no tight end projects to outscore the starting passers. Antonio Brown again is in a tier by himself as the only primary pass-catcher slotting above the bottom QB tier.
The top tier of running backs includes Melvin Gordon, Leonard Fournette, Le’Veon Bell, Todd Gurley, and Jordan Howard. The second tier features Mark Ingram, LeSean McCoy, and Carlos Hyde, followed by a third tier of Kareem Hunt, Christian McCaffrey, and Carlos Hyde.
The third tier of RBs should start over Jacoby Brissett, DeShone Kizer, and Joe Flacco — my red flag QBs for the week. The yellow flag QBs include Jimmy Garoppolo, Tom Savage, Geno Smith, and Jay Cutler. These passers should be sat in favor of the second-tier RBs and possibly those from the third tier.
DeMarco Murray, Alvin Kamara, and Alex Collins make up the fourth tier of running backs. They’re close enough to the red flag QBs to merit consideration there as well.
The Jaguars defense has looked somewhat mortal lately, yet are still a frightening matchup for QBs and WRs. Their opposing QB this week, Brissett, has a solid floor thanks to his legs. That coupled with most of the bottom-level QBs having good matchups means there are no truly nightmare matchups this week.
Most weeks thus far, things haven’t changed much when we transition from non-PPR to half-PPR. That is mostly true here, but several pass-catchers enter the mix.
The top three tiers of RBs listed above (now including Jerick McKinnon) can now be played above the yellow flag QBs. The fourth tier of RBs can be played over red flag QBs. Others to consider include Devonta Freeman, Lamar Miller, Dion Lewis, Joe Mixon, Latavius Murray, and Alfred Morris.
The clear top tier of wide receivers include Antonio Brown, A.J. Green, DeAndre Hopkins, Keenan Allen, and Julio Jones. Other WRs startable above the red flag QBs are Michael Thomas, Mike Evans, Adam Thielen, and Alshon Jeffery. The third tier includes Davante Adams, Tyreek Hill, Brandin Cooks, and Dez Bryant. These guys can be considered if you’re desperate, but none of them have a high enough floor for me to outright recommend.
The elite TEs (Rob Gronkowski, Zach Ertz, and Travis Kelce) have decent matchups this week. They are the only players at the position you should consider for the Superflex slot in half-PPR formats. If you have a pair from that group with no standard flex spot, fire them up instead of the red flag QBs (maybe Garoppolo and Savage as well).
As always, we see many more actionable scenarios when receptions are worth a full point. The number of flex players projected to out-score the lower-ranked QBs ranges from 22 to 47. Wide receivers and running backs make up nearly all those spots, but tight ends play a small role as well.
Third-tier RBs now approach QBs like Matthew Stafford and Mitchell Trubisky. The fourth tier of backs slot in among the yellow flag QBs and are fine plays there. Red flag QBs can be benched (or at least considered) for guys like Jerick McKinnon, Danny Woodhead, Ty Montgomery, Doug Martin, Isaiah Crowell, Kenyan Drake, and Samaje Perine.
For wide receivers, I’m going to assume you must start at least three (including regular flexes) before considering a wide receiver in the Superflex slot. The 13 WRs listed above are viable plays over yellow flag QBs.The next tier includes Cooper Kupp, Devin Funchess, Larry Fitzgerald, and Doug Baldwin. These guys should be played above the red flags and considered with the yellow flag QBs. All top-24 WRs are fine plays over the basement-level passers.
Gronk, Ertz, and Kelce leapfrog the yellow flag passers and among the tier above that. After those elite guys, only Delanie Walker and Jimmy Graham are locks over red flag QBs. Others such as Greg Olsen, Jared Cook, Jack Doyle, Hunter Henry, and Evan Engram are playable as well, but lack the floor I like to start over a QB.
What is He Doing There?
Matthew Stafford and Mitchell Trubisky are right next to each in the lower-mid tier of QBs. Both stuck out to me because of that. Trubisky has a great matchup at home against the 49ers, who have somehow given up the most points to both quarterbacks and running backs this season. The problem with setting expectations for Trub this week is we haven’t seen him in this situation yet, as he’s faced mostly tough pass defenses with a couple exceptions. The good news is that his two best games came in the only plus matchups he’s had so far, scoring 15.46 against the Lions and 16.88 versus the Packers (both at home as well). So projecting him for 15-17 points is a reasonable expectation with a higher ceiling because of the elite matchup. However, since he’s been awful in his other five games and hasn’t sniffed 20 points yet, it’s hard to bet on Trubisky over better QBs (even those with poor matchups).
Stafford’s situation is completely flipped compared to Trubisky’s. He has a really poor matchup in Baltimore, but he’s been great so far. Despite not scoring 25+ points since the season debut, Stafford comes in as the QB7 in overall points thanks to his consistency. Outside of a 10-point game in Minnesota, Staff has scored at least 15 points in his other 10 games, including some tough matchups. It’s weird to say this about the QB25 in my projections, but you can start Stafford with confidence if your QB situation requires it. You can surely bench him if you have other reliable options or are looking for a ceiling play, but Stafford’s floor is more appealing than poor QBs in good matchups.
In a non-PPR league, there’s typically little possibility you will have a better option at Superflex than your QB2. A monster group of running backs and a weak QB option can bear that out:
- Running backs in the third tier can be played above the red flag QBs and considered if you have a yellow flag quarterback as your QB2 this week.
- Fourth-tier RBs can be played at the Superflex spot if you feel confident in their role or just want to avoid Brissett or Kizer’s poor matchups.
In a half-PPR league, the situation is similar to non-PPR. A few more RBs are Superflex-worthy, while some wide receivers and tight ends enter the mix:
- Third-tier RBs can be started in favor of yellow flag QBs.
- Fourth-tier RBs and top-12 WRs should now be played ahead of red flag QBs.
- Elite TEs (Gronk, Ertz, Kelce) are locks over the red flag QBs, and viable plays over Garoppolo and Savage.
In a full-PPR league, a lot more players at flex positions project to outscore QBs. However, many of those were early-round draft picks, so actionable scenarios are still mostly contained to teams that loaded up at a flex position early:
- Top-12 running backs can be considered over QBs projected below 15 points.
- Top-15 RBs and top-12 WRs should start over yellow flag QBs.
- Top-20 RBs and WRs should start in favor of red flag QBs, with several more in consideration for Brissett.
- For TEs, the elite tier of Gronk, Ertz, and Kelce can be played above QBs outside the top-24 or so. Otherwise, the top-8 TEs are merely red flag considerations if you have confidence in a particular guy.
My projections used here award 5 points per passing touchdown. If your league differs, adjust the signal-callers up or down accordingly. Also, my assumptions for which sets of RBs/WRs are viable are based on a redraft league with a standard snake draft. If you’re in a dynasty league or have an auction instead of a draft, it is more likely that you can build a monster group at RB/WR. If so, you may have a situation not laid out above, but you should be able to glean what you need from the unlikelier scenarios I did touch on. I had a 12-team league in my mind for this as well. While a shallower league means you’ll have better options at the flex positions, you’ll also be less likely to have a weak QB2.
Hopefully, I was able to shed light on any lineup decision you might face. If not, drop me a line on twitter (@Slavin22). Good luck in Week 13!