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Top 3 Superflex Quarterback Handcuffs

QB is King in the Superflex format. @ReflipeWThenuz brings you his top three handcuffs for this format. Who knows, they might just prove to be league winners.

The idea of a handcuff in dynasty fantasy football is a divisive topic. Some managers love to roster the potential fill-ins for their top-end assets. Still, other managers prefer to grab players who would benefit from someone else’s misfortunes.

No matter your position, QB handcuffs can significantly increase in value under the right circumstances. In this article, I will highlight my top three Superflex handcuffs. Without further ado, let us jump in. 

Justin Fields, PIT

As a Chicago Bear

Heading into the 2024 season, Fields is one of the most intriguing handcuffs in Superflex leagues. The former Chicago Bears starter came into the league as a ballyhooed prospect, and the Bears traded into the top 12 to select. Despite plans to slowly bring him along, Fields was forced into the lineup early in his rookie season.

The Cleveland Browns brutalized the signal caller in his first start, sacking him nine times! This set the tone for his term in Chicago, as the team struggled to surround him with weapons or get him to deliver the ball quickly. 

Despite his struggles with the Bears, which saw him amass a 10-28 starter record, he offers a tantalizing upside. Fields is one of the most physically talented players ever to play the QB position. Had it not been for the coaching staff deciding to rest him in a meaningless game, Fields would have broken the single-season rushing record for QBs.

However, precisely this physical talent has caused some of his biggest issues. Fields regularly holds the ball far too long and takes unnecessary sacks. It has been a carousel of feast or famine as he makes amazing or negative plays. 

Heading into the 2023 season, the Bears had an opportunity to move on from Fields and reset their organization. There was much debate about whether the team would choose to move in a different direction. GM Ryan Poles and HC Matt Eberflus were not the team that had traded up to select Fields a few years before. Despite the opportunity to choose their own quarterback, they eventually traded the pick and gave Fields one more opportunity. Poles pulled off one of the biggest heists in league history when he sent the first overall pick to the Carolina Panthers. 

Despite Fields’ struggles in 2023, the Bears were again allowed to reset their franchise as the 2024 first the Panthers had traded became the first overall pick. Once Poles and company decided to select Caleb Williams and move on from Fields, it became necessary to trade Fields. Determined to do what was best for Fields and ease the tensions in the locker room over the departure of the beloved team captain Poles, Fields was reportedly allowed to have a major hand in selecting his eventual destination. That new home ended up being the Pittsburgh Steelers. 

Future as a Steeler

The Steelers have struggled to find a successor to future Hall of Famer Ben Rothlisberger. Their former first-round pick, Kenny Pickett, struggled to take over the team and was eventually benched for long-time backup Mason Rudolph. As a result, Pickett was sent packing, and the team acquired former Super Bowl-winning quarterback Russell Wilson. Despite bringing in Wilson, the team also acquired Fields from the Bears. 

Heading into the 2024 season, Russell Wilson is the presumed starter, and Fields is given a chance to compete in camp. With this in mind, Fields is one of the most intriguing handcuffs in the league. If the former Ohio State star can snatch the job from Wilson, he could be a long-term starter in Pittsburgh. He offers league-winning upside as an uber-talented duel-threat QB.

The Steelers are one of the most stable organizations in the league. Head Coach Mike Tomlin has never had a losing season during his tenure in the Steel City. They also boast an exciting combination of skill players. With the ability to rack up fantasy stats like the ones below, Fields is an excellent target in superflex leagues.

Michael Penix Jr., ATL

Penix is an interesting case when it comes to dynasty football handcuffs. The former University of Washington star was only recently made a top-ten pick by the Atlanta Falcons. Under normal circumstances, I would not consider a high-end pick to be a handcuff. However, this is not normal. The Atlanta Falcons also brought in the biggest free agent quarterback on the market, handing former Minnesota and D.C. signal caller Kirk Cousins a massive deal.

If we look at the surface level, this looks like a terrible move by the Atlanta Falcons. Why would you invest such a high draft pick in a QB when you just gave Cousins a four-year deal? But you will find an out in the deal when you dig into the contract. According to Spotrac.com, the Falcons can get out of the deal after the first two seasons with a minimal penalty.

So what does this mean for us dynasty managers? The closest mirror to this situation was just a few short years ago when the Green Bay Packers selected Jordan Love. They took him in the first round while they still had Aaron Rodgers under contract. As a result of Rodgers still being in town, you could acquire Love at a massive discount relative to his potential upside for the first two years of the deal. The team eventually moved on from the four-time MVP, and anyone who invested early in Love was rewarded when he finally got his shot and proved to be a QB1 for the dynasty.

Now, let’s go back to the current situation with the Falcons. As a result of his draft position, Penix is currently going off the board during the second round of dynasty rookie drafts. That is a massive potential value if he pans out down the road.

Given his situation, he is best viewed as a 2026 first-round pick. He will surely get his shot within the next three years. Given the Falcon’s quality skill group, Penix is one of the most valuable handcuffs in the league, as he could potentially take over the reins of the team at any moment. If he plays well, he may never give the job back, no matter how much money Cousins makes. 

Aidan O’Connell / Gardner Minshew, LVR

For my last Superflex handcuff, I will throw a curveball and say whoever doesn’t lock down the starting job in Las Vegas. At this point, I would bet that Minshew will come out of camp as the day-one starting quarterback of the Las Vegas Raiders. However, it is possible that O’Connell could pull off the upset and steal back the starting job from the Pro Bowl QB.

With O’Connell as Starter

As a fourth-round pick in last year’s draft, O’Connell was never intended to be the starting quarterback for the Raiders. However, due to injury and poor play by Jimmy Garoppolo, O’Connell was thrust into a lengthy stint as the team’s starter last year. While he didn’t light the world on fire, he managed to play some competent football. He ended the season as the QB28 overall despite only playing in 11 games. You can see his numbers below. 

O’Connell has decent arm talent and pocket awareness. However, he will never be confused with Mike Vick, as he is essentially a stationary target in the pocket for defenders. He has something of a poor man’s Joe Flacco to his game. Another thing that O’Connell brings to the table is an extremely affordable price. When searching the Dynasty Nerds trade browser, I could not find a single trade involving the former Purdue star.

Despite offering limited upside, O’Connell has an opportunity to steal a starting spot in the NFL for the 2024 season. He could refine his game and take it to the next level in his second year. Despite not having the same level of experience as his competition, O’Connell will bring a familiarity with his teammates that you cannot ignore. While I feel he will be the backup, this situation could be where he outplays his competition and ends up as the starter in Sin City. 

As I mentioned above, there is a chance that O’Connell could win the job out of camp and enter the season as the starter in Vegas. If that happens, my handcuff would shift to the newly acquired Minshew. The Raiders brought in the former Washington State star on the heels of his Pro Bowl season last year with the Colts. In 2023, Minshew was thrust into action when Indianapolis first-round pick Anthony Richardson was injured. He managed to keep the Colts in the playoff hunt all the way to the finish line, narrowly missing out on postseason play despite having a winning record. 

With Minshew as Starter

Minshew had shown flashes of starter potential since his rookie season in Jacksonville when he forced out former Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles. Despite some in the media anointing Aidal O’Connell as the starter ahead of camp, I cannot see the team going out and getting Minshew only to turn around and not give him a legitimate chance at playing time. Last season, he finished with better numbers than O’Connell, coming in at QB21. 

As you can glean from his numbers above, Minshew has been a quality NFL starter despite his struggles in the win/loss column. He boasts a quality QBR and a better than 2-1 TD to INT ratio. Another area that Minshew brings to the table that O’Connell does not is his ability to move. While nobody will confuse Minshew with Justin Fields or Lamar Jackson, he can move fluidly in the pocket and, when necessary, has the inclination to pick up yards in the passing game.

Suppose somehow O’Connell manages to hold off Minshew. In that case, I would still fully expect the Mustash to make several starts in 2024 and, as such, provide some excellent value to your Superflex dynasty squads. 

Final Thoughts

When playing in Superflex leagues, it is essential to remember that QB is king. No position consistently puts up the points that the QB position does. Even a lower-end QB2 play like Minshew will outscore an NFL team’s WR1. It is always a good idea to stash some high-end backups. There is always the chance they gain some relevance in the season. You could then either sell them or start them.

Some of these players, like Fields and Penix, have a chance to lock down starting jobs of their own. Still, others like Minshew can become a modern version of Ryan Fitzpatrick. In the end, we, as dynasty managers, need points, and QB is the best spot to find those. There are the top three handcuffs for me in dynasty ahead of the 2024 season. Perhaps you have some others. Do yourself a favor and stash a few QB handcuffs if you have the room. They might pay off in spades. 

Thank you for reading this article! Please join the #Nerdherd, so you don’t miss out on any of the amazing things we offer @Dynastynerds.com. Use my promo code DynastyHolliday for a 15% off discount. You will get rankings, extra podcasts, and access to our rookie film room. For just a couple more bucks, you can get access to our revolutionary DynastyGM tool. So much for so little; why miss out on all the fun? Also, you absolutely must check out our new mock draft tool. Find it in your Apple & Android app stores. Follow me @ReflipeWThenuz for more dynasty content and other musings.

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