Is starting a running back or wide receiver instead of a second quarterback in a Superflex league a viable option? League scoring certainly plays a factor, but what’s your initial thought?
No, right? Me too.
It’s a question worth exploring. Rather than mindlessly selecting and starting a second QB, we should look at the numbers to see our true options in the Superflex slot.
There are a million ways to count fantasy football points. For this article, I am using the Fantasy Football Players Championship (FFPC) scoring system. It is PPR with four-point passing touchdowns, a fairly common Superflex scoring option. It also gives tight ends a boost with 1.5 PPR.
To get a decent sample size, I averaged the last three seasons (from 2014-2016) for QB, RB, WR, and TE to see how they would have faired as Superflex options.
First Observation – Dream Scenarios
- If you can somehow start a High QB1 in your Superflex spot the advantage is tremendous. The average High QB1 scored 89 more points than High RB1 (5.6 PPG) and 69 more points than High WR1 (4.3 PPG) on average.
- In 2016, with a little luck in drafting, starting Andrew Luck and Dak Prescott or Matt Ryan and Kirk Cousins on a weekly basis was a possibility. All four finished as High QB1s.
- But starting David Johnson and Le’Veon Bell in your RB slots and Demarco Murray, a High RB1, as your Superflex…well, just send me a screenshot if you did it. Their ADP alone would have made that scenario, especially from a redraft perspective, nearly impossible.
- At the WR position, where commonly three can be started, running out Antonio Brown, Mike Evans, and Odell Beckham Jr. while leaving room for Julio Jones, a High WR1, as your Superflex could only happen if your league was passed out drunk during the first four rounds.
- Even if you’re dealing with TE Premium scoring (1.5 PPR) as shown above, occupying the Superflex spot with a TE, even an elite TE, just isn’t a winning strategy. The gap between the average High QB1 and High TE1 from 2014-2016 was 148 points (9.25 PPG).
Key Takeaway: A “dream scenario” starting an elite option at Superflex is both the most lucrative and possible at the QB position.
Second Observation – The Realistic Choice
- If only owning one QB, the average fantasy gamer would likely start an RB3 or WR4 at Superflex. I’m giving us the benefit of the doubt and saying our third RB is an RB2 and our fourth WR is a WR3.
- The above comparisons are probably the most realistic options to fill the Superflex slot in most leagues. Deciding whether to draft (or start) a second QB or continue piling on quality RBs and WRs is often the choice at hand.
- Low QB2 options are generally un-sexy names but still easily outscored optimistic options at High RB2 (by 64 points/4 PPG) and High WR3 (by 60 points/3.75 PPG) in 2016.
Key Takeaway: While drafting Carson Wentz or Sam Bradford in the mid-rounds doesn’t feel as nice as clicking Tevin Coleman or Terrelle Pryor, the correct choice (with an empty QB2 slot) is clear.
Third Observation – The Really Bad QBs
- In most drafts, when I see names like Trevor Siemian or Ryan Tannehill my instinct is to run and hide. But if you’ve punted QB round after round, it is better to snag a QB3 you know will start rather than throw another dart at the RB board. It’s a closer call between a QB3 and a WR3, but QBs are easier to project, giving them a slight edge.
- I’ve heard many people say they only draft two QBs in Superflex leagues because scouring the QB3 barrel isn’t profitable, and tons of talent at other positions remain in the late rounds. But if your rosters are deep enough to justify it, picking up a QB3 late that has the upside of a High RB2 or WR3 is a good move.
Key Takeaway: If you’ve waited and waited to draft a second QB in a Superflex league, you’re better off plugging your nose and drafting the lowliest of starting QBs rather than swinging for the fences searching for an RB or WR that you hope will produce similar fantasy points.
Fourth Observation – Different Scoring Systems
- The fantasy points above assume 4-point passing TDs and PPR, which may not be your preferred scoring system.
- If either non-PPR or 6-point passing TDs were considered, the gap between QB and RB/WR scoring would be more dramatic, emphasizing the importance of a QB in the Superflex slot even further.
Key Takeaway: Unless your league dramatically (and I mean dramatically) inflates RB, WR, TE scoring or decreases QB scoring, a QB at Superflex is your best option to score more fantasy points and win your league.
As fantasy footballers, we are often encouraged to zig while everyone else zags. Getting contrarian is a way to separate yourself from the pack and hoist that trophy at the end of the season. From a simple numbers standpoint, in the vast majority of Superflex leagues, zigging in the form of drafting just one QB or starting an RB or WR in the Superflex slot is not a league-winning strategy.
2-QB leagues are often referred to as a more hardcore version of Superflex leagues, but as far as I can tell, you must have (and start) a second QB in both formats to give yourself the best chance to win.