When delving into the world of 2-QB fantasy football leagues, one of the prevailing thoughts, especially from newcomers to the world of multiple starting quarterback fantasy football leagues, is that they must draft two of the top fantasy quarterbacks.
Dreams of starting 2-QB fantasy line-ups consisting of both Aaron Rodgers and Peyton Manning, for example, tend to be just that, dreams. For the most part, you’re not going to be able to get two top QB1s on your team. And if you do, it’ll probably be at a cost to your RB/WR depth.
Of course, every 2-QB league is different, and it’s not out of the question to come away from a 2-QB draft with two top fantasy quarterbacks on your team. The opposite of that is also true, and the more reasonable outcome is that you wind up with at least one QB1 anchoring your 2-QB line-up each week, while you play the match-up game and stream your QB2.
I advocated for a ‘Studs+Streaming’ approach to 10-team 2-QB fantasy football leagues earlier this off-season, where you draft one top QB1, and then grab at least two QB2/QB3 types to stream in your roster’s QB2 slot. Each week the deciding factor of your QB2 decision will be based on which QB2 option has the better fantasy match-up. Other aspects will also play a part, such as recent play, history against a certain team, surrounding talent, etc. But the match-up is what you want to focus on.
If you wound up going the ‘Studs+Streaming’ approach during your 2-QB draft, and are looking at which QB2 to start, this will be your go-to weekly column, as I’ll take a look at the QB2/QB3 tiers, and rank them, based on match-up difficulty.
This isn’t a foolproof method though, as we still haven’t seen any regular season NFL action yet, so we can only go on what we know. For now, I’m relying on the excellent work done by Patrick Thorman of Pro Football Focus Fantasy, and his thorough breakdown on which fantasy defenses you should play which fantasy quarterbacks against.
Going on the last set of 2-QB ADP from August, below is the QB1 tier we won’t be focusing on:
You’re not going to be benching any of those guys, unless you have another stud QB1 option ready to take their place. Once the top 12 QB1s are eliminated from the equation that leaves us with 20 quarterbacks as ‘QB2 streaming By Committee Match-Up Game’ options. Here’s how I rank them for Week 1:
Michael Vick versus Washington
Eli Manning versus Dallas
Ben Roethlisberger versus Tennessee
Matt Schaub versus San Diego
Andy Dalton versus Chicago
Joe Flacco versus Denver
Alex Smith versus Jacksonville
EJ Manuel versus New England
Jay Cutler versus Cincinnati
Carson Palmer versus St. Louis
Terrelle Pryor versus Indianapolis
Brandon Weeden versus Miami
Sam Bradford versus Arizona
Josh Freeman versus New York Jets
Philip Rivers versus Houston Texans
Ryan Tannehill versus Cleveland Browns
Jake Locker versus Pittsburgh Steelers
Geno Smith versus Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Blaine Gabbert versus Kansas City Chiefs
Christian Ponder versus Detroit Lions
Out of the 20 listed, minus Joe Flacco, who already played Thursday night, throwing for 363 yards, two passing touchdowns and two interceptions, 11 of the quarterbacks listed have match-ups against “soft” fantasy defenses. Those players have been highlighted in blue. The quarterbacks with the toughest match-ups are Bradford and Dalton. The rest are playing defenses that could provide a challenge.
What to do with the rankings above is to help you determine which fantasy quarterback should be slotted into your lineup to be your team’s QB2.
If you’re deciding between Michael Vick and Ben Roethlisberger, for example, both of their match-ups are good, so that’s a tie. What else you might want to factor in is the offense around them, how they might be utilized, and also look to see how their opposing defenses fared against fantasy quarterbacks last season.
For instance, Washington, Vick’s opponent, allowed fantasy quarterbacks to score an average of 17.62 fantasy points per game in 2012, while Roethlisberger’s Week 1 opponents, the Titans, gave up 17.11 last year to opposing fantasy quarterbacks.
Both numbers are pretty close, so the tiebreaker might go to Vick, if you’re in a standard league, that favors rushing quarterbacks, or Roethlisberger, if you think the lack of a running game in Pittsburgh will mean the Steelers will be a more pass heavy offense.
Where the ‘QB2 By Committee Match Game’ rankings will play a deciding factor, is when you have two quarterbacks that are even in every category but the match-up. In Week 1, if you had to choose between Matt Schaub and Andy Dalton, for example, Schaub would win out because he’s facing a potentially easier defense. Of course, you shouldn’t let these rankings be the sole factor in making your QB2 streaming decision, but just let them be one of many other factors.