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How to Adjust Quarterback Value for Superflex

With so many people joining superflex leagues, the “market” for quarterbacks in fantasy football is in flux: newcomers often have difficulty valuing the position correctly, which tends to result in player values having a wide range across different leagues. This article is to serve as a sort of introductory primer for valuing quarterbacks in a Superflex (or 2 QB) league. It is by no means meant to be definitive, but rather a resource with which to use to identify, value, and acquire players in a superflex/2QB league.

Productive Value: In standard point-per-reception (PPR) leagues, 28 of the top-100 players in 2018 were quarterbacks for total points in weeks 1-16. However, when looking at “1 QB” ADP data from August 2018, only 7 quarterbacks were drafted in the top 100 in 1QB leagues. Obviously, the QB value-flux that many newcomers to superflex feel when first joining a league is warranted: it is clear from sheer point totals that QBs just score more points. 

Not only do quarterbacks just score more points, but they also do it more consistently. This is in part due to the fact that there is almost a guaranteed production share. Think about it: in most cases, the quarterback is on every offensive snap; barring injury (or a weird situation like the Ravens last year), that quarterback is going to be solely responsible for the team pass attempts each game. This by itself gives a quarterback a higher floor than most other positions. 

Another factor that makes quarterbacks valuable is their “shelf life”. According to statista, the average NFL quarterback has a career length of 4.44 (compared to wide receivers [2.81] and running backs [2.57]). This number changes with a variety of factors–such as health, draft pedigree, and actual skill–but it can’t be ignored. Truly elite quarterbacks have the realistic potential to last 15 or more years in the NFL, which dramatically outpaces that of even the most elite wide receivers. Identifying and acquiring unique quarterbacks like Tom Brady and Drew Brees at a young age will allow owners to spend the next several seasons focusing on other positions of need. 

“When should I draft a quarterback in superflex?” 

Startup drafts

As much as ADP data can assist in answering this question, it will ultimately come down to the unique nature of every league. Some startup drafts see quarterbacks being taken slowly and sparingly, allowing owners to wait until the 5th or 6th round before making their first QB selection. Others see owners begin drafting quarterbacks in the first round, which causes a run and leaves very little available by round three. Even looking at the spread last year between the QB1 (Patrick Mahomes, 399.74 in PPR) and QB25 (Josh Allen, 167.6), owners could assume that the need for a top-end QB is absolutely necessary. 

However, deeper considerations must be made. In 2018, Mahomes produced at an average of 26.65 points per game–nearly 5 points per game more than the QB2, Ben Roethlisberger. The spread between Big Ben and Josh Allen is much more palpable–especially given the context that Josh Allen gradually improved over the season (to the point of actually being the QB2 in weeks 12-16–higher than Mahomes at QB5). While it’s ok to keep the quarterback position prioritized on draft boards, owners should be willing to be flexible to move them around depending on the behavior of their specific draft.

Owners should be very wary of reaching in all cases, however. Because elite quarterbacks consistently have a high floor and last for several years, the best strategy is to not be the first person to select a quarterback

Am I telling you not to draft Patrick Mahomes? Yes. Yes, I am. 

Don’t get me wrong. Patrick Mahomes is elite. As mentioned, he outproduced the QB2 by almost five points a game in 2018. That’s stunning, no matter how you look at it. However, regression should be anticipated. Will Mahomes be a top-5 quarterback in 2019? I’d bet on it. But to acquire him, owners would need to either trade for him or draft him earlier than he “should” go–both of which would require giving up premium production value elsewhere. Realistically, Mahomes will likely be a 20-point-per-week player–and that’s something that can be had later in the draft: in fact, the QB2 last year, Big Ben, is currently going as the QB19 in drafts. While he can realistically retire in the next 2-3 years, his productive value is hard to pass up.  

Rookie Drafts

In general, I believe that quarterbacks drafted in the first round and expected to be starters at some point in year one should be considered to be top-6 rookie picks. Historical data tells us that teams that invest day one draft capital in quarterbacks often give them a chance to start earlier. In addition, a quarterback of this draft capital will often have a longer leash before teams are willing to give up on them (sorry, Paxton Lynch and Josh Rosen). 

In the same turn, superflex dynasty owners should be on the lookout for starting quarterbacks in rookie drafts. As a personal strategy, I always try to draft at least one of the round one QBs during the rookie draft, as I believe it is the cheapest point you will ever acquire them. Given their high production and trade value, you can never have too many quarterbacks: I advise owners to roster three starters at all times. In most cases, this will mean some teams have two or less; in bigger formats, this can not only give you an advantage during your QB’s bye weeks but also cripple your league mates during theirs. 

Conclusion: Superflex causes the fantasy value for quarterbacks to skyrocket, but cautions should be made to avoid overspending and chasing points when first joining a superflex. Through the patient process of identifying production over hype and continually being ready to invest in the future, novice owners will put themselves on the path to success. 

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