Fantasy Football is a game, but like the real sport we love it is constantly evolving and being analyzed from a variety of perspectives. As part of our 2013 Fantasy Football Draft Guide, I dialled in a few folks from around the industry to pick their brains and see if we can’t further bring you another valuable resource to aid in your fantasy football preparation.
I’ve been extremely fortunate to be able to discuss fantasy football with and in some cases work alongside these folks. The fantasy football community is welcoming and filled with both innovative and dedicated people who love talking about it.
After a few days off we’re back with another edition in the 2013 Fantasy Football Interview Series. Today we’re shifting gears slightly and discussing 2-QB Fantasy Football Leagues with Sal Stefanile. Sal is a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association and believes that 2-QB fantasy football leagues will be the future of
fantasy football. You can read about his 2-QB fantasy football opinions and analysis at SportsJerks.net.
2013 Fantasy Football Interview Series: 2 QBs with Salvatore Stefanile
I have noticed a lot of praise for 2-QB Leagues over the past few months and as someone who has played in them off and on for over a decade, I get it. But, why do you think they’re beginning to become more popular and what are the best selling features of 2-QB Leagues?
To tell you the truth, I don’t think I have an honest answer for that. Like yourself, I’ve been playing in 2-QB leagues for a while now, and have always preferred them to your standard 1-QB league.
If I had to guess why 2-QB leagues are starting to become more popular, I would have to say it’s probably because the depth at the quarterback position in 1-QB fantasy football leagues has led to a draft strategy that doesn’t involve a whole lot of strategizing.
JJ Zachariason of lateroundqb.com, and now numberfire.com, is the one that coined the term late round quarterback, and it’s a strategy you must utilize in 1-QB fantasy football, if you want to maximize value. There’s not much of an advantage to drafting Aaron Rodgers in the first round when plenty of fantasy signal callers can be had much, much later.
However, it doesn’t work that way in 2-QB leagues, as most experienced 2-QBers know, and for those looking to try out something different, 2-QB leagues provides such an alternative. Instead of seeing fantasy quarterbacks like Carson Palmer or Joe Flacco go undrafted, as they sometimes do in 1-QB leagues, that’s not the case in 2-QB leagues.
Your draft strategy alters in the world of 2-QB fantasy football leagues, and I think perhaps that has played a large part in more and more fantasy players turning to 2-QB leagues this year.
Also, they’re really fun, and 2-QB proponents like Micah James, who has hosted a bunch of 2-QB mocks this off-season, has led to many experiencing first hand the fun that comes with playing in a fantasy league with double the normal required starting quarterbacks.
If I had to pinpoint a selling feature of why playing in a 2-QB league is something one should consider, I would have to say it’s the challenge. When you have to think about QBs like Blaine Gabbert and Christian Ponder, and what their fantasy value is, you know you’re in for a challenge. I personally like that aspect of 2-QB leagues, and is a sentiment shared by others that play in 2-QB leagues.
The first lesson in all fantasy sports is to know your settings and league format first and foremost, which is clearly critical here, but what is the next piece of advice you’d recommend in a 2-QB format? Is their an old adage, or mantra that owners should stick to?
You pretty much hit the nail on the head, when talking about settings and league formats. Whenever I get any 2-QB related questions the first thing I ask back is, ‘how many teams?’ To me, that’s the biggest factor when it comes to preparing for a 2-QB draft.
The difference in philosophy when it comes to 8-team, 10-team, 12-team, 14-team or 16-team 2-QB leagues is huge. The range in weekly starters in those leagues goes from 16 to 20 to 24 to 28 to 32.
The priority you place on fantasy quarterbacks in an 8-team 2-QB league shouldn’t be as high as it would be in a 12-team 2-QB league, and you need to alter your mindset accordingly.
I don’t think there’s any one piece of advice you can give to 2-QB fantasy footballers that unlocks the secret to winning your 2-QB league, but one mantra I do find myself repeating is that you need to get at least one top tier QB. If you can anchor half of your starting quarterback tandem with a top QB1 option, you’ll have an easier go of managing your roster.
The QB position is often neglected in the early rounds of Standard Fantasy Football Leagues based on it’s perceived depth, but does that depth change in a 2-QB League? Furthermore, are you targeting a specific tier for your first QB and when should owners expect middle tier options like Eli Manning and Joe Flacco to start coming off the board?
The depth at fantasy quarterback is completely altered in a 2-QB fantasy football landscape, as opposed to your standard 1-QB league. In terms of where they are drafted overall, there’s a big difference between when and where quarterbacks are drafted.
For instance, if you take a look at a guy like Eli Manning, whom you mentioned, you would see in a 1-QB fantasy football league, his current MyFantasyLeague.com ADP is 103.38 (QB13).
His ADP in 2-QB fantasy football leagues is still QB13, but his overall ADP rises to 37.7. That’s a difference from a late round QB to an early round quarterback, depending on the size of your league.
While 1-QB fantasy footballers look at Eli as a guy they can get late, and not worry much about if they miss out on him, 2-QBers are strategizing when exactly they should grab a guy like Eli, and what to do in case they miss him.
It’s been said over and over, but the quarterback position in fantasy football is deep this year. Even for 2-QB leagues. If you’re flexible like me, you’ll be happy with any one of the top-12 fantasy QBs this year. I like to extend that 12 to 14, and include Eli and Ben Roethlisberger, but not everybody is on board with that.
The QB2 tier this year in 2-QB leagues could make or break your fantasy season, and Eli finds himself on the high end spectrum of the 2-QB heap. When looking at your QB2 option, you want to draft a QB2 that can put up QB1 numbers. If you look at the 2-QB ADP that we have, which, I freely admit is based on a small sample size, the QB2 tier (QB13-QB24) has an ADP range of 37.7 (Eli) to 90.1 (Alex Smith). What rounds to target your QB2 will depend on the size of your 2-QB league, but you’re looking at anywhere from as early as rounds 3/4 to around rounds 6/7.
When are you targeting your first QB Sal? Is it advisable to sacrifice your running backs and wide receivers in the early rounds to secure an elite QB? When are you beginning to target your 2nd QB? Obviously the position isn’t deep enough that there aren’t going to be some unmentionables like Christain Ponder starting for some teams. Also, how do you deal with Bye Weeks?
If I’m playing in a 12-team or higher 2-QB league, I’m looking to grab my first quarterback within my first two picks, and usually in the first round. I don’t want to miss out on a QB1, and that could easily happen in a 2-QB league when I’m going up against 11 other owners. You have to put QBs on par with top RBs/WRs in 2-QB leagues, and the size of your league will play a large part in just how close in value the tops QBs are to the top RBs.
In an 8 or 10-team 2-QB league, I don’t mind waiting, as I’m flexible with the QB1 tier, and will generally start to look at the position once there are about 3-4 of the top tier of QB1s left. In 10-team 2-QB mocks I’ve participated in, the third round seems to be about my personal waiting cut-off point as to when I take a QB1.
League size again will play a factor in when I grab my QB2. If I’m drafting in a 12-team 2-QB league for example, I could easily find myself going QB-QB. I think completing the first three rounds of a 2-QB draft of that size and walking away with two quarterbacks would be a good start, so going QB/RBorWR/QB is another option, if you don’t want to use your first two draft picks on QBs.
When it comes to bye weeks, grabbing a QB3 becomes important. You want to target a QB3 that doesn’t have a bye week the same weeks as your starters do, so having a bye week cheat sheet handy during your draft will be key.
If you want to take things further, take a look at the QB Matrix that 4for4.com’s John Paulsen put together, that shows which QBs match up well in terms of schedule. PFF Fantasy’s Pat Thorman also has an excellent breakdown of fantasy defenses, as well as a handy chart showing how certain QBs match well each week of the season.
If your QB1 and QB2 are secure, reaching a round to grab a QB3 could be worth the investment.
Who are 3 QBs you’re specifically trying to avoid on Draft Day and who are some high upside options that can be secured later in 2-QB drafts?
I don’t think there are too many QBs I try to avoid on draft day in 2-QB leagues, because every quarterback is going to have some value. Yes, even Blaine Gabbert. But, if I had to choose three QBs that I would prefer not to be on my fantasy 2-QB team this year they would be Mark Sanchez, Matt Flynn, and Philip Rivers.
I probably won’t have to worry too much about Sanchez, as it looks like rookie Geno Smith has a chance at being the starter in New York. We don’t really know what Flynn has to offer the fantasy community yet, and I’m not avoiding him because I think he’s a terrible quarterback, but more so because it’s no guarantee he’ll finish the season as the Raiders’ starting quarterback. Terrelle Pryor is knocking on the door, and we have to account for him in the QB battle in Oakland. Rivers was actually a QB I had on my draft day targets list, but the recent injuries to Danario Alexander and now Malcom Floyd, in addition to his weak o-line (hello, King Dunlap), has left me worried.
Those five QBs I mentioned will either be drafted in the QB2/QB3 range of many 2-QB fantasy football drafts, and have the potential to out produce their draft day ADP. Manuel has the most “upside” of the three, because of his youth and rushing skills, but somebody like Alex Smith might prove to be the most valuable because of the potential ease of his schedule, especially if you can secure him as your QB3 this year.
It’s been great to be a part of this interview series, and for those of you looking to learn more about the 2-QB fantasy world, make sure that you’re following the likes of @JB4tes, @BergerTwoQBs, @PGrossman31 and @LakeTwoQbs on Twitter, as they are great 2-QB resources.