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Two-Quarterback League Strategies

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In 2QB leagues Andy Dalton becomes relevant, just like a third tier wide receiver in any other league. Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images.
In 2QB leagues Andy Dalton becomes relevant, just like a third tier wide receiver in any other league. Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images.


Fantasy football has evolved as the game has grown. Not so many years ago PPR leagues were far from the norm. Now they are nearly everyone’s preferred format. Why has the format grown in popularity? Because in a non-PPR league the wide receiver position is vastly undervalued.

The same can be said about quarterbacks in traditional start-one leagues. In the last couple of years the effect has been magnified. There are so many viable quarterbacks out there that unless you’re in an exceptionally large league you can wait until the later rounds and grab Jay Cutler, Philip Rivers, or Russell Wilson and be just fine. Two-quarterback leagues change all of that. All of a sudden quarterbacks are scarce.

Draft strategy changes dramatically in 2QB leagues. You can’t simply wait to take someone, you need to actually think about how to address the position. There are three basic strategies:

Studs - This is pretty straightforward, in this scenario you want to spend on quarterbacks early. You’re most likely going to use your first two picks to get players like Peyton Manning, Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers, Cam Newton, etc. The logic is that with two of the top players you will have a major advantage, not unlike selecting Jimmy Graham in a league where tight ends receive a PPR premium. The downside is that you may miss out on the top “bellcow” running backs. This is my preferred strategy, but more on that later.

QBBC - quarterback-by-committee means you wait. You can’t wait nearly as long as in other formats, but you can wait until the fifth or sixth round to grab your first quarterback. You then make sure to have three quarterbacks that you can rotate on a weekly basis based on matchups. The logic behind this is that you’re able to scoop up some of the position players that are falling as a result of everyone else chasing the QBs. The downside of course is that you end up with less-productive quarterbacks and may pick the wrong two.

One + One - This is a more conservative approach than the other two. You use an early pick on a stud and then wait to grab your other quarterback a little bit later.

As I said above, I prefer going with the studs. Why? Because it works. Quarterbacks go fast in 2QB drafts and getting the position out of the way early frees you up to look elsewhere for a long while after and keeps you from missing out on legitimate starters. If you go with the QBBC approach, you risk missing out on viable every week starters by waiting. It also gives you a positional advantage. Being able to comfortably start the same two QBs every week regardless of matchup is huge. Having to pick two of Rivers, Andy Dalton, and Alex Smith can be very, very tricky. It can come back to bite you in a huge way.

In any of the three strategies you need to draft a solid third quarterback for your roster. You can’t forget that you need a quarterback to fill in for two bye weeks now, not just one. They also command a hefty price in the trade market. Injuries and poor planning inevitably make more than one owner desperate at some point, having a good backup pays dividends down the road. If Jake Locker is your QB3, you’re in trouble.

Besides actually drafting a second starter you need to adjust your draft strategy to compensate for everyone else taking one too. Quarterbacks get pushed way up the board which means that other positions get pushed down to some degree. The unfortunate thing about this still being a niche format is that there isn’t too much reliable ADP data available. A good rule of thumb is to bump every quarterback up several rounds while bumping everyone else down a round or two. This obviously doesn’t apply to every player, Jamaal Charles, LeSean McCoy, and Calvin Johnson are all still going to be first round picks. But someone like Jay Cutler who may have otherwise lasted until the 10th round will now probably be gone by the end of the fifth. While a wide receiver like Andre Johnson who would have gone in the third or fourth will now be around until the fifth most likely.

Along with shoddy ADP data comes useless mock drafts. This should be obvious. Unless you can find a 2QB mock, don’t waste your time. Everyone else will be going into it with a different mindset. Whatever team you end up with will not accurately reflect how your actual draft will go.

This is a great format and easily my favorite. Everyone should give it a try at least once. It’s definitely been growing in popularity of late; a trend that will hopefully continue into the future. Any of the three strategies I mentioned are perfectly legitimate ways to approach your draft. I prefer to get two studs and eliminate worrying and roster tinkering, but when executed correctly any of the three can win you that coveted championship.