2-QB Waiver Wire Future Planning: Week 1

Eagles QB Nick Foles

Aug 15, 2013; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Nick Foles (9) runs for a touchdown against the Carolina Panthers during the first half at Lincoln Financial Field. Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

The waiver wire in 2-QB fantasy football leagues is treated differently than the waiver wire of traditional leagues that requires only one starting quarterback in the line-up, and, of course, the difference revolves mainly around the quarterback position.

If you drafted poorly when it came to quarterbacks during your 2-QB fantasy draft the waiver wire isn’t going to be of much help. At least not in the early part of the season.

In some cases a quarterback or two might have fallen through the cracks, like a Blaine Gabbert or Christian Ponder. Or your 2-QB draft could have taken place early enough in the off-season that a once back-up-turned-starter, like Terrelle Pryor, was available for the pickings. It happened last year with Russell Wilson, for instance.

Usually though, all of the relevant fantasy quarterbacks are drafted, and stashed on benches. Especially if you’re playing in a 2-QB league with at least 12 teams. With that being the case, you have to monitor the quarterback situation of most teams, and keep tabs on certain back-up quarterbacks that you think might have a chance to be fantasy relevant. Even if they won’t be of much use in the immediate future.

For example, 2-QBers that stashed Colin Kaepernick on their bench last year were rewarded when he was named the starting quarterback in San Francisco.
The point of this 2-QB ‘Waiver Wire Future Planning’ series will be about trying to find the next Colin Kaepernicks of the 2-QB fantasy football landscape, so that you won’t have to fight the rest of your 2-QB league mates in a waiver wire bidding war. It’s always good to be one step ahead, rather than one step behind.

If you’re a smart fantasy football player you’ll already be reading about waiver wire pick-ups at other positions from some of my fellow fantasy football writers on XN Sports like Igor Derysh, so they have you covered there. For all you 2-QBers, this is the place to come when scouting potential QB3 bench stashes for your 2-QB fantasy football team.

With that out of the way, let us go ‘Waiver Wire Future Planning’ for Week 1:

Nick Foles/Chad Henne
The first two names on the list should be obvious as to why they’re there. With Foles, we’re still taking a wait and see approach in regards to Michael Vick‘s fantasy prospects this year, even if some fantasy writers are a little bit higher on him than others.

Keeping an eye on how Vick plays will go hand in hand with monitoring Foles on the waiver wire of your 2-QB fantasy football league, if he’s still on it. For those of you that own Vick, and are worried about him losing the starting quarterback job in Philadelphia, or going down with an injury, it might be best to stash Foles now. If you don’t, and Vick does miss game action, by the time you submit your waiver claim, it might be too late.

Henne is on the list mainly because he might be starting sooner, rather than later for the Jaguars. Even though Blaine Gabbert won the starting quarterback job in Jacksonville, he’s been dealing with a thumb injury, which hasn’t fully healed yet. The latest reports had Gabbert taking a majority of the reps in Friday’s practice, but he’s still listed a questionable, and could be a game time decision.

Chances are you aren’t relying on Gabbert in your 2-QB fantasy football league this week, but if you are, Henne should be a top priority, as you don’t want to start Gabbert, only to find out he’s not starting in Week 1 against the Kansas City Chiefs.

To make you feel a little better about Henne/Gabbert this week, if you have to start either, according to Yahoo’s Fantasy Points Against stats, the Chiefs gave up an average of 17.68 fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks last year, 6th worst in the league. Even better, the Jaguars’ opponent in Week 2,  is the Oakland Raiders, and they were even more giving to opposing fantasy quarterbacks last year, coming in 7th worst, giving up an average of 17.65 fantasy points  against fantasy quarterbacks in 2012.

Ryan Fitzpatrick
Ryan Fitzpatrick might be rostered in your 2-QB league already, especially if it’s a deep 2-QB league, but if he’s not, it wouldn’t hurt keeping a close eye on how Locker performs this week in Pittsburgh. Our own Denny Carter has the Steelers fantasy defense at #3 overall, so it could be a rough outing for the Titans quarterback.

Locker hasn’t showcased his talents much this off-season, but we know he needs to work on his throwing accuracy. He does have some believers though, such as Greg Cosell, who named Locker the most improved player he’s seen this summer, saying:

“What they’re doing with Locker is all play-action, boot-action, defining the reads, get the ball out quick. If he doesn’t see it, he’ll run, which is a lot better than then trying to make improvisational plays and throwing picks.”

As well, Patrick Thorman of Pro Football Focus Fantasy went more in depth on Locker, detailing how a controlled Locker, with more time to thrown, could help him grow as a quarterback in the NFL, which would also be a boon to his fantasy prospects. It doesn’t hurt that Locker also has Chris Johnson and a run game to rely on, reliable pass catching options such as Kendall Wright and Kenny Britt to throw to, and an above average offensive line to protect him.

If Locker is able to turn things around, and become a viable NFL quarterback, we won’t have much use for Fitzpatrick in 2-QB fantasy football leagues this season. However, if Locker were to miss time, or desperate Titans head coach Mike Munchak has had enough of Locker’s erratic play, he might not hesitate to look Fitzpatrick’s way.

The most talented NFL quarterback, Fitzpatrick is not. But, he has produced in the past, in less than ideal situations, posting fantasy seasons of QB20, QB12 and QB19, the past three seasons in Buffalo.  It’s not out of the realm of possibilities that Fitzpatrick could put up QB2 numbers again, if thrust into the role of starting quarterback in Tennessee.

Matt McGloin
The last name on the list, Matt McGloin, might be an interesting, yet unfamiliar, name to you. As Terrelle Pryor fever sweeps the fantasy nation, and ‘The Cheat Code’ is in full force, we can’t forget that while Pryor beat out Matt Flynn in Oakland, to be the Raiders’ starting quarterback, Pryor himself is still an unknown commodity.

There was an NFL.com Around The League article written by Dan Hanzus this week that insinuated not all Raiders brass are in line with Pryor being the team’s quarterbacking answer. It could be that Pryor is the starter by default, and that if the Raiders had any better option, Pryor would still be on the bench, working on his passing mechanics.

Fantasy football owners looking to cheat the fantasy scoring system by utilizing running quarterbacks might not want to hear it, but in Hanzus’s report, NFL.com’s Mike Silver threw out the notion that some in the Raiders organization feel that McGloin might be the best option at quarterback.

If you’re wondering who McGloin is, that’s a good question. The Raiders signed McGloin as an undrafted free agent, after he finished a three year stint as the starting quarterback for the Penn State Nittany Lions. At the time of the signing, there weren’t much expectations that anything would come about from the signing, but McGloin impressed in OTAs, banishing 4th round rookie quarterback draft pick Tyler Wilson to the practice squad.

It’s not pretty in Oakland, and we’ve already seen Pryor unseat lucrative free agent signing Flynn for the starting job, and McGloin take over the third string quarterback role from a more heralded fellow rookie quarterback. When it comes to the Oakland Raiders, anything can happen. For now, McGloin is nothing but a deep 2-QB waiver wire watch list candidate.

*Stats used in this article courtesy of NFLData.com

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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.