2QB or Not 2QB: Week 7 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, as you’ll need to cover bye weeks. In Superflex, I still like to have at least three starting quarterbacks so I can play the 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 bit of a drop-off subbing in a regular flex player for a quarterback. That’s manageable though, unlike the goose eggs you’d get in 2QB leagues.
The Superflex slot can seem like it’s just 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 a weaker set of quarterbacks, whether it be by design or because of injuries. If your QB2 is outside the top 25 at the position, the Superflex slot takes its true form rather than being a de-facto QB2 slot. It depends on the roster settings/scoring setup as well as your depth at other positions. But starting just one quarterback will be viable in certain situations. Hell, I barely missed out on a championship last year, where Alex Smith was my only starting QB in a 14-team Superflex league.
Note: teams on a bye in Week 7 include Detroit and Houston.
Impact of PPR Scoring
The scoring rules of a Superflex league have a big impact on whether you’ll be faced with 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 7. 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.
A Look Back at Week 6
My projections had another solid performance in Week 6. I mentioned in that article that the QBs I had projected below 15 points actually scored under a dozen points a large majority of the time. That trend continued as only five of six such QBs scored less than 11 points (Jay Cutler with 13.9 being the exception). This group of QBs has still averaged 11 points, or nine points if you exclude Week 3 where my low-projected QBs exploded. While this is peanuts for quarterbacks, it shows that the weekly floor for QBs in general is still around that double-digit mark.
In half-PPR, I recommended starting a dealer’s choice of Larry Fitzgerald (22.8 points) or Demaryius Thomas (16.3) over QB options Jared Goff (10.86) and Cutler (13.94). While Fitzgerald and Thomas had higher projections in full-PPR, they trailed the QBs a bit in my half-PPR numbers. In previous weeks I may have prescribed Cutler, but the trend I described above (and last week) has influenced how willing I am to bench QBs in the 12-14 projected points range.
I want to thank everyone for not providing me with any other start/sit questions last week. It was nice to get my first perfect showing since Week 1. (Hey, 1-for-1 is still technically perfect). The QBs I was especially low/high on mostly fell in line with that as well. Eli Manning at Denver is still my lowest-projected QB of any week, and scored slightly less than that projection despite not turning the ball over. Deshaun Watson didn’t finish as the overall QB1 as I predicted, but he was only one spot away. I was worried about Ben Roethlisberger despite a strong matchup, and Antonio Brown barely brought him into the top-25 for the week with a great catch-and-run. I’m still concerned with Ben in general, but he’s a middle-of-the-pack play this week. Blake Bortles didn’t do quite as well as I expected against the Rams, but he did have a season-high in completions. Trevor Siemian was my bold call which looked shaky for most of the game, but he pulled out a top-10 performance.
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, unless you dip into the Superflex slot. That is especially true in Week 7. There are no wide receivers or tight ends projected to outscore any passers.
The first tier of running backs is Ezekiel Elliott in a class by himself, followed by a second tier of Leonard Fournette, LeSean McCoy, Todd Gurley, Le’Veon Bell, and Kareem Hunt. The bottom tier of quarterbacks follows them, consisting of C.J. Beathard, Eli Manning, and Joe Flacco. Other RBs in their range include Jay Ajayi, Mark Ingram, and DeMarco Murray (though it’s getting hard to trust Murray’s workload). Flacco has been awful so far and plays in Minnesota against a very tough pass defense. So other options like Devonta Freeman, Melvin Gordon, Jonathan Stewart, and Carlos Hyde are likely better plays this week.
Most weeks thus far, things haven’t changed much when we transition from non-PPR to half-PPR. We see several more running backs enter the mix, as well as a few primary pass-catchers. Wide receivers Antonio Brown, Julio Jones, A.J. Green, Michael Thomas, and Dez Bryant all come in above Flacco, with the first pair passing several other QBs. 2017’s elite tier of tight ends (Zach Ertz, Rob Gronkowski, and Travis Kelce) also leapfrog Flacco.
The bottom tier of QBs (not including Jersey Joe) can now be benched if you have enough RBs in the top-12 for Week 7. For backs to consider above Flacco, we add C.J. Anderson, Alvin Kamara, Jonathan Stewart, Jerick McKinnon, Jordan Howard, and Marshawn Lynch. There are several other backs who are close, but are contained to a third-down role or in seemingly even-split committees. If you have a RB fitting this mold but you think will see the bulk of the work, start them over Joe if you have the chance.
As always, we see a lot more actionable scenarios once receptions are worth a full point. The number of flex players projected to out-score the lower-ranked QBs ranges from 20 to 46. Wide receivers and running backs make up nearly all of that, but tight ends are a factor in this format as well.
The third and fourth tier RBs now slot in anywhere from the mid-to-late QB tiers. The backs compared to Flacco in the last section can now be considered instead of QBs in the tier above him. The count of RBs projected within a point of Flacco or better is now 25. Some of those at the back-end may be low confidence plays, but feel free to fire up the likes of Tevin Coleman and Buck Allen over my lowest-projected QB play.
For wide receivers, I’m going to assume you’ll have to start at least three (including regular flexes) before considering a wide receiver in the Superflex slot. The best set of Week 7 wideouts realistic in redraft leagues is A.J. Green, Jordy Nelson, DeAndre Hopkins, Tyreek Hill, and Rishard Matthews. I have this quartet of receivers in my top-8 at the position, which locks them in above the bottom-three QBs, and are in consideration with the second-to-last tier of passers.
That group of wide receivers (or something similar) is certainly possible, but maybe you need to start at least four wideouts before using one as your Superflex. If you have five top-24 WRs for Week 7, start them all over Flacco. Even some WR3-types are viable, such as Cooper Kupp, Marqise Lee, Devin Funchess, or even Mohamed Sanu if we hear he’s fully ready to go.
The top-tier tight ends climb above the bottom seven or eight quarterbacks. If you have a pair from Ertz, Gronk, and Kelce, I’d start both over any QB in the bottom third. Delanie Walker and Jordan Reed also leapfrog Flacco, but Jimmy Graham and Austin Seferian-Jenkins are the only others close behind. If you can’t justify starting Flacco whatsoever, maybe you can scoop Zach Miller off the waiver wire and plug him in. I wouldn’t blame you, but I’d still roll with the inherent floor advantage that comes with even the worst QB plays.
What is He Doing There?
There aren’t too many glaring surprises when I look at my projections, so here is a pair of quick hits plus my featured QB of the week:
- Jacoby Brissett has a brutal matchup with the Jaguars defense, but he still checks in as a low-end QB2 for me. His rushing floor keeps him out of the basement for me, but this will be a telling game in regards to how much we can trust Brissett.
- Jared Goff as the QB11 may seem generous. My projection for him is barely beat by his last two games combined, however he played two of the toughest pass defenses in Seattle and Jacksonville. Plus, he gets the Cardinals this week, a team that has given up 23+ points to QBs four times already.
Marcus Mariota as my overall QB2 didn’t seem crazy to me at first, but he’s currently the consensus QB9 amongst 51 FantasyPros rankers. All but one have him in the top-12, with the most optimistic ranker being the NumberFire projections at QB4. He hasn’t had a breakout game yet and his limited mobility stemming from his hamstring injury showed last week, so I get the concern. However, Mariota has scored 14+ points in every game so far, even against some tough defenses. So have all six quarterbacks to face Cleveland, despite the Browns facing a light QB schedule thus far. Mariota has the highest floor of Week 7 passers, and the ceiling is up there, too. Signal-callers playing the Browns are seeing an average boost of 9.6 points per game.
In a non-PPR league, there’s typically little possibility you can have a better option at Superflex than your QB2. A monster group of running backs and a weak QB option can bear that out:
- Joe Flacco can be sat in favor of a top-12 RB for the week.
In a half-PPR league, the situation is similar to above. A few more RBs are Superflex-worthy, and some wide receivers and tight ends climb above Jersey Joe:
- You have three RBs in the top-10, can only start two outside the Superflex slot, and your QB2 is projected below 15 points.
- You have four RBs in the top-18 for the week, and Flacco is your only QB2 option.
- You have two TEs in the elite tier, Flacco is your QB2, and you don’t have a standard flex spot.
In a full-PPR league, we see a lot more players at flex positions projected 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 and often:
- You have four RBs in the top 12-15, and you have a QB2 in the bottom-6 at the position.
- Your RB4 for the week is in the top-24, and Flacco is your QB2.
- You have two top-tier TEs (Ertz, Gronk, Kelce), don’t have a standard flex spot, and your QB2 is projected for less than 15 points.
- You have two top-5 TEs, don’t have a standard flex spot, and your QB2 is Flacco.
- Your WR4 is a top 10-15 option at the position, can only start 3 WRs outside the Superflex slot, and your QB2 is in the bottom tier (below 14 projected points).
- You have five top 30-ish WRs, and Flacco is your only QB2 option
My projections used here included 5 points for a passing touchdown. If your league differs from that, adjust the signal-callers up or down accordingly. Also, my assumptions on which sets of RBs/WRs are viable were 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 that I didn’t lay 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. However, even if 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 decision you might face in setting your lineup. If not, drop me a line on twitter (@Slavin22), and good luck in Week 7!