Panic at the 2-QB Fantasy Football Disco: What a QB Heavy 12-team 2-QB League Draft Looks Like

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Redskins QB Robert Griffin III

Aug 19, 2013; Landover, MD, USA; Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III (10) on the field before the game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at FedEX Field. Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Way back when I first started writing about 2-QB leagues for XN Sports the website used to go by the name Sports Jerks.

We’ve come a long way since then, and while my main 2-QB writing revolved around 12-team 2-QB leagues in the early going, I came to find, rather quickly, that many 2-QBers out there play in 2-QB leagues of all shapes and sizes. 8-team 2-QB leagues, 10-team 2-QB leagues, 14-team 2-QB leagues, 16-team 2-QB leagues, etc.

I haven’t broached the world of 12-team 2-QB leagues in a while, and thought with 2-QB draft season in full swing, it was time to take a look at how to prepare for 12-team 2-QB league drafts. To do this, I want to take you into the draft rooms of two very different 12-team 2-QB leagues.

Part 1, this article, will focus on a QB heavy drafted 12-team 2-QB league, and Part 2 will delve into a much different 12-team 2-QB league environment.

I completed my main 12-team 2-QB league last weekend, and this is one of the QB heaviest leagues you’ll come across. Passing touchdowns are worth 6 points, interceptions cost two points, and we even added .5PPR to the mix this year.

What makes this such a QB heavy league is that quarterbacks are always being drafted early, and if you don’t keep up with how the draft goes, you’re going to come away with a quarterback tandem you might not like.

For the past month and a half, since I found out I would be drafting out of the 10 hole, I’ve been scheming up different strategies of how I would approach my draft. Would I go QB/QB? Would I go RB/QB? Would I go RB/RB? Would I go RB/WR?

No matter how many scenarios I would play around with, or how many mock drafts I would do, I knew that if Robert Griffin III would fall to me, he’d be my pick. If you’ve seen my QB tiered rankings geared towards 2-QB leagues, or checked out my 1-QB standard rankings with my fellow XN fantasy crew, you’ll notice that I have RG3 ranked as my QB4.

I think we’ve been able to draft RG3 at a discount this off-season, and that his ADP has taken into account his recent injury history. We’ve seen what he did last season, and even with a reduced slate of designed runs, he’s going to produce. Will he produce a top-5 fantasy season? The jury is out on that, but I like to believe that he’s done it before, and could do it again.

That’s why I’ve been on the RG3 bandwagon, and I was praying that he would somehow make his way onto my team in this particular 2-QB league. We all have that one league we care about more than any other, and for me, it’s this league. It’s the one I get to play in with my friends back home, my best friend is the commish, who introduced me to 2-QB leagues back in the day, and it’s the league that trash talks the most. I love it. As you love yours.

If you know me, follow me on Twitter, or ask me about quarterback rankings, you probably know the drill of how I preach flexibility. I’m fine with about 14-15 quarterbacks as my QB1, and in general, I’m always willing to take the last of the QB1 tier that falls to me.

However, RG3 was my one and only QB1 target in this league, since I knew I really had no shot of any of the other top fantasy quarterbacks falling to me, and I strongly considered going all late round quarterback on this draft, if he wasn’t there.

You know how it feels sweating out one pick after another in your draft, hoping, praying, that your ‘guy’ makes it back. That was me in this league. One by one, the quarterbacks fell off the board.

Now, I’ve also said this many times before, but every 2-QB league is different. If you’ve been in a 2-QB league that drafts QBs intermittently in their draft, then you know if you should take a quarterback in the early part of the draft, or stock up on other positions.

Knowing your room and feeling out the draft are two of the most important rules of drafting in a 2-QB league. For instance, the history of this 2-QB league shows that quarterbacks go fast, and they go early. That was exactly the case this year, and probably the main reason why I would avoid the LRQB strategy, if it ever came down to that.

It might sound weird to even some of you die hard 2-QBers, but this draft saw nine quarterbacks in the first nine picks. I know Mr. LRQB is shaking his head in shame right now. Sorry, JJ. But, that’s how this league rolls, and I immediately adapted to it after not falling in line during my first draft go around in this league.

So, there I am, in the live Yahoo! online draft room, watching as each of the top quarterbacks go off the board. Drew Brees, Peyton Manning, Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, Matt Ryan, Cam Newton, Russell Wilson, and Colin Kaepernick were the first eight picks.

The only chatter I had heard in regards to RG3 was from the owner picking 8th, who was rumored to perhaps take RG3. That was the one pick I kept waiting to see be made, and when the name Colin Kaepernick showed up in the just drafted queue, I felt that maybe, just maybe, RG3 and I would be reunited again.

You might think I’m a little crazy when it comes to RG3, but I was thisclose to taking him in first-round of this league last year, but talked myself out of it, after seeing how high numberFire.com was on Matt Ryan, and having faith I’d be able to snag RG3 later in the draft, which happened to be the case, as I took him as my QB2 in the third round.

That’s another part of drafting that some people forget, which is that even if you have a certain high grade on ‘your’ player, not everybody else does, so there’s no need to reach for a player if you think you can draft him later.

Now, with the draft going 8 for 8 at the QB position in the first round, I felt confident RG3 wasn’t going to be drafted 9th. Mainly because the owner of that team is a huge Cowboys fan, and Tony Romo was on the board. Well, Romo didn’t go, but neither did RG3, as Matthew Stafford went off the board.

I couldn’t hit that DRAFT button beside RG3′s name fast enough, and was content taking my #4 ranked QB, as the draft’s 10th quarterback selected.

Now, this is where the tricky part comes into play. You saw that the first nine picks were quarterbacks, and that the QB depth pool was depleted fairly quickly. This is the point in the draft where knowing your league, and feeling out the room plays a large part. I had to decide if I was going to follow up my RG3 pick with a second quarterback, or draft a top RB, and take the risk of a QB2 falling to me in the 3rd/4th rounds.

After I selected RG3, Romo was the next pick, making it 11 straight quarterbacks. You might be thinking to yourself that this is the time you zig, instead of zag, and the owner of the 12th team decided that was the case, taking Adrian Peterson/Arian Foster back-to-back.

That was a ballsy move, because with him picking 12th, there would be another 22 picks made until he was on the clock again in the 3rd/4th rounds. A lot can happen in 22 picks, and if the first 11 picks were quarterbacks, that’s a trend/warning sign in this league. Yet, when the top running backs on the board are staring you down, it’s hard to say no to them. Especially when that QB1 pool is dwindling.

And to be honest, if RG3 wasn’t on the board with my 10th pick, I probably would have gone the same way, and loaded up on RBs/WRs. With it being a .5PPR, and two flexes in the starting line-up. I’ve talked myself into enough later round QB options, to take the risk and play the LRQB game, even in a 12-team 2-QB league.

After AP ended the first round, and Foster started the second round, Andrew Luck was drafted, marking the first QB-QB start of the draft. Regardless of your feelings of Luck this year, in 2-QB leagues, he’s in the QB1 discussion, and team 11, came away with two QB1s to start his draft. Grabbing two QB1s is a goal many 2-QB owners have with their draft, and in heavy 12-team 2-QB leagues, the closer you are to drafting at the end of the round, the better the chance you are that will come to fruition.

The cost of going QB/QB when you’re drafting near the end of the first round in a 12-team 2-QB league this QB-crazy is missing out on a top RB/WR, when it’s time to pick in the 3rd round. Knowing that, you then have to decide what’s more important, a top QB2, or a top RB1/WR1?

If I was picking in the middle of the draft, perhaps 5th/6th, instead of 10th, I would have felt more comfortable taking CJ Spiller/Doug Martin/Jamaal Charles with my second pick. Those are my top three running backs, but in a 12-team 2-QB league, quarterbacks tend to go pretty quickly, especially when compared to 10-team 2-QB leagues, and with passing touchdowns being worth 6 points in this league, the priority placed on quarterbacks is even more emphasized.

The question I was faced with was what to do at 2.03? QB2 or RB1? I’ve stressed a studs and streaming approach to drafting in 10-team 2-QB leagues, but that’s because I feel comfortable in getting two good QB2 options in a league of that size. In this 12-teamer, there would be a slim probability of me being able to stock up on RBs/WRs and then grab one or two QB2s in the mid rounds, because some of the streaming QB2 options, would more than likely be drafted as weekly QB2 options in this draft.

The value play, and the smart play in this scenario was to take a QB2, and clutch the rosary beads, hoping that another QB run takes place in the 2nd/3rd rounds, allowing for some RBs/WRs to fall to me with my third round pick.

Now, I have absolute faith in RG3 and his abilities, which is why he’s at the top of my quarterback list, but I can’t say the same thing for many of the QB2 options that were available. The goal of your QB2 is to either draft a second QB1, like Team 11 did, pairing Luck with Romo, or to draft a QB2 you think has the potential to finish the season as a QB1, such as Andy Dalton in 2012.

With 12 quarterbacks gone, my choices were down to Eli Manning/Ben Roethlisberger/Michael Vick.

The fantasy football landscape is always changing, and you have to change with it, if you plan on keeping up with your fantasy surroundings. For the longest time, Eli and Big Ben would have been my QB2 choice, as I had them in my QB1 tier, but ever since Vick officially became the starting quarterback in Philadelphia, things started to change. There’s more upside to drafting a Vick type, than Eli/Big Ben, and with upside, you’re banking on it coming through, because if it does, you could be the recipient of a 2010 Michael Vick fantasy season.

I decided to take the plunge, and risk associated with Vick, to make him my QB2. All week long I was finding ways to either talk myself into drafting Vick or talk myself out of drafting Vick. I really do think he’ll either win a lot of people their 2-QB leagues this year, or lose them. Of course, for me, now that he’s my QB2, I hope Vick will be on the #winning side of 2-QB fantasy football teams in 2013. This is how Matthew Berry must have felt in 2011.

After I pulled the trigger on Vick, it was time to play the waiting game, and fill up my draft queue, hoping/praying, one of my top RB/WR targets would fall, and justify my faith in forgoing Martin/Spiller/Charles for Vick.

The upside of going QB/QB in 2-QB leagues is that your QB starting tandem has been filled, and you won’t have to worry about the quarterback position for a very long time; the drawback is that you will bypass a ton of RB1/WR1 options.

Slowly, the draft went on. Eli and Dalton went back-to-back, making it four straight teams to go QB-QB. I could only imagine how Team 12 felt with AP/Foster and no quarterbacks. Lynch went next, but that was only a brief lull in the QB craze, as Cutler and Big Ben were the next picks. To end the second round, we had Martin/Calvin Johnson/Ray Rice/LeSean McCoy. That’s the running back run fear I had happening, with a dash of Megatron sprinkled in.

If you’re counting at home, that’s 17 quarterbacks drafted, with 6 teams taking the QB-QB route, and we’re only two rounds in! Round three was going to be the make or break portion of my waiting on RB/WR strategy. Martin/Spiller/Charles were the three options I had foregone in Round 2, and with Martin being the only one selected, there was a brief hope, as there were still five teams needing a QB2 that were drafting in front me.

And those teams all went QB: Bradford, Schaub, Alex Smith, Joe Flacco, and Christian Ponder were selected by the teams that didn’t go QB2 in the second round. In the midst of those five quarterbacks, two non-QBs were selected: Matt Forte and CJ Spiller.

So, there we are, middle of Round 3, and the second of my two RB1 targets was off the board. By that time, I figured Charles wasn’t going to last until my next pick, as there were still two picks to go until mine, after the Ponder selection. But the two teams decided to decline getting an RB1, and went the WR route, perhaps influenced by the .5 PPR setting, leaving me to draft Charles, who I would have been ecstatic taking in the 2nd round, but wound up with him in the 3rd.

After three rounds were in the books, 22 quarterbacks were selected, with every team but one, having drafted their QB1/QB2 combo.

It’s like the first three rounds were a separate quarterback supplemental draft, and round 4 was when things would go back to normal, at least for eleven teams. Seeing what Team 12 was going to do was the interesting part and with the best quarterbacks available, according to my rankings, being Josh Freeman, Carson Palmer, Matt Schaub, EJ Manuel and Brandon Weeden, I would go LRQB the rest of the way and grab three of those QBs. Knowing that 11 teams have two quarterbacks, and you have none, gives you leeway to go about things different, as no other team will be looking to draft a QB3 anytime soon.

Hopefully I was able to impart some lessons that you will be able to utilize in your 12-team 2-QB draft, specifically about how important it is to know your league, and being able to read your draft room. Because no matter how prepared you think you are for your 2-QB draft, anything can happen.

I’ll be going over a 12-team 2-QB draft that was the complete opposite of this draft in the upcoming part two of this article.

Salvatore Stefanile 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 XNSports.com.
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