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Superflex Startups: Using QB Tiers and Dynasty ADP to Beat the Runs

With one of original RotoViz dynasty leagues growing stale, we decide to reboot under the leadership of Funniest RotoVizian Alive, John Solis. Our new league is Superflex, as all leagues should be in 2019. In many cases it’s difficult to get good Superflex ADP, but the Dynasty ADP tool from Mike Beers allows you to pull in dynasty superflex ADPs from FFPC and MFL. Today we’ll look at how to maximize your startup value through managing runs at quarterback.

The FFPC Draft Grid

The Dynasty ADP tool is extremely flexible, with features that allow you to look at overall ADP, visualize player movement, and quickly pull out the risers and fallers.

The dashboard allows you to break down the draft by positions, by date, and even by roster management styles. But my favorite tool may be the Draft Grid. This allows you to visualize ADP as though it were an actual draft. The current early-round ADP for FFPC dynasty superflex looks like this.

FFPC ADP is also helpful because they employ a scoring device many leagues, including the RDL 2.0, now prefer: TE premium. Even though Travis Kelce and Zach Ertz are already 29 and 28 respectively, they go in the first two rounds. While you are presented with plenty of yearly options to make up points at the other positions, you simply can’t do it at tight end, which is one of the reasons Elite TE has been so succcessful in best ball. Much of that same dynamic carries over the dynasty, where we have a gap to the three young, potential studs in O.J. Howard, Evan Engram, and Hunter Henry. After this top-five, we’re confronted with ADP where David Njoku is next – despite not having impressed through two seasons and now facing brutal target competition – and then two rookies.

By contrast, the QB position keeps getting deeper. Even with the multitude of options, the Roster Construction Explorer taught us not to undervalue the benefits of rostering two top-20 passers. This applies even more clearly to a format where both QBs start every week. The key to superflex is managing the QB runs and yet rostering multiple quality options.

Where Are The QBs Going?

Twenty-three QBs come off the board in the first seven rounds, and we can verify these overall trends by cross-checking with MFL, where 24 QBs are drafted by pick 84.

Tier One – Young and Superhuman

Patrick Mahomes, Andrew Luck, Baker Mayfield, Deshaun Watson

Luck is a stretch in the young category, but with QBs playing into their 40s, any star still this side of 30 could have a long career ahead of him. Mahomes, Luck, and Watson all have seasons averaging more than 27 PPG, and Mayfield hit 22 as a rookie. These are your locked-in stars.

Target: All

Tier Two – The Franchise Quarterbacks

Aaron Rodgers, Russell Wilson

Rodgers is 35 and coming off of a couple of down seasons, and Wilson doesn’t throw frequently enough to reach the Luck range. Still, these franchise icons are going to be second- and third-round picks in most formats.

Target: Both

Tier Three – The Rising Stars

Kyler Murray, Carson Wentz, Jared Goff

If Murray fans have their way, he’ll be RG3 in Year 1 and Mahomes the rest of the way. It’s hard not to imagine him as an impossible mix of Mayfield and Lamar Jackson. Should Kliff Kingsbury’s offense work as intended, he’ll be battling the Chiefs star at QB1 for the next decade.

Wentz and Goff overcame questionable rookie campaigns to blow up in Years 2 and 3. Goff doesn’t add the rushing points and struggled down the stretch last season, pushing his ADP to the edge of this tier.

Target: Murray, Wentz

Tier Four – The Boring Value Team

Matt Ryan, Cam Newton, Dak Prescott, Jimmy Garoppolo, Jameis Winston, Kirk Cousins, Drew Brees

Ryan and Newton post top-five seasons like clockwork, but fail to inspire early picks due to concerns about their arms. Ryan’s simply isn’t very good, and drafters have a hard time buying the unsexy option, even with those weapons, even in the dome. Newton always appears on the verge of physical collapse, and owners annually shy away in Gurley-esque fashion. With Amari Cooper in tow, Prescott may be a poor man’s version of both, arguably superior as the overall hybrid.

Garoppolo and Cousins are too boring even to profile, while Winston and Brees reside at the opposite ends of the spectrum. Winston is the exciting-but-terrible version of Ryan, a player drafted for his surrounding cast and willingness to force the ball into coverage. Brees is the safest fantasy QB of a generation but now nearing the end at age 40.

Target: Ryan, Newton, Prescott

Tier Five – The Breakouts

Mitchell Trubisky, Lamar Jackson, Sam Darnold, Josh Allen

Trubisky isn’t surrounded by the same weapons as Goff, but Chicago’s scheme positions him to have the same type of secondary breakout. With his running prowess, he has more upside than the Rams QB. In fact, rushing ability supercharges the breakout potential for this entire tier.1

Jackson led the position in Expected Points as a runner, and the rest of the group slotted in at Nos. 5, 8, and 11 respectively. It’s possible all of them will pull back on a per snap basis, but Jackson and Allen are likely to play more total snaps, while Darnold shouldn’t fall so far below expectation again.2

Target: All

Tier Six – The Red Flags

Ben Roethlisberger, Philip Rivers, Matthew Stafford

Quarterback is a position you can lock up in the startup draft for a long time, so you don’t want to get caught with 37-year-olds, especially when those signal-callers have either lost their superstar WR or play in a low-volume passing offense. Volume is also the question for Stafford, a passer who has seen his attempts decline in six of the last seven years.

Target: None

How to Manage Runs – The Draft

We can use what we know of the ADP tiers to help manage the runs. Because each of the first five tiers have players to target and because Tier 5 provides the best opportunity for our picks to ultimately outperform ADP, we can continue to focus on our other starters as the draft develops. This is what RDL 2.0 owners did in our reboot draft, waiting for the inevitable run to materialize while vacuuming up value at WR and TE.

As we wait for the pick at 8.11, 41 WRs have been selected and 28 RBs, but only 15 QBs.

QuarterbackSF ADPRDL 2.0
Patrick Mahomes1.031.05
Andrew Luck1.082.09
Baker Mayfield1.111.12
Deshaun Watson2.022.12
Aaron Rodgers2.095.04
Russell Wilson3.014.06
Kyler Murray3.053.10
Carson Wentz3.066.11
Jared Goff3.077.08
Matt Ryan3.127.06
Cam Newton4.015.07
Jameis Winston4.078.04
Jimmy Garoppolo4.09Not Selected
Dak Prescott4.10NS
Kirk Cousins5.05NS
Drew Brees5.06NS
Lamar Jackson5.118.01
Mitchell Trubisky5.12NS
Josh Allen6.01NS
Sam Darnold6.047.03
Ben Roethlisberger6.06NS
Philip Rivers7.04NS
Matthew Stafford7.05NS

In terms of an overall draft approach, my picks at RB, WR, and TE are not particularly spread across leagues. Outside the first two rounds, the vast majority of players are such poor value at ADP that they’d need to fall multiple rounds to even be a consideration. As you can see from the liberal target designations above, the same isn’t true at QB, and this helps us manage runs without reaching.

You can manage runs in superflex simply by selecting a couple of middle round options, or you can employ a slightly more specific attack. Ideally, I want to grab a faller from Tier 2 or Tier 3. This protects against a worst-case scenario later and gives me a legitimate QB1 option. If QBs selections are more aggressive and I’m near the turn, I want to snag two QBs from Tier 5, even if that means reaching slightly.3

In this draft, I was able to do a little of both, selecting Aaron Rodgers at 5.04 and Lamar Jackson at 8.01.

QB Will Become Very Expensive After the Draft

While the top priority is to select upside players at a value relative to ADP, this particular construction also allows for the selection of a third QB if the run never materializes. QB values may vary wildly within a draft – Devin McIntyre aptly described it as “a game of chicken” in discussing the sliding QBs – but they’ll be extremely expensive at its conclusion.

Over the last several years, I’ve had the pleasure of participating in several Kitchen Sink leagues, deep superflex leagues that also feature TE premium. The QBs are extremely expensive in those auctions, and only become more costly at their conclusion.4 In order to build a superflex dynasty, you must play a QB in the superflex slot. Managing runs in your startup draft will allow you to start two quality options while not losing out on the elite talent at other positions.

Image Credit: Jordon Kelly/Icon Sportswire. Pictured: Patrick Mahomes.

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  1. Keep an eye out for an upcoming The Wrong Read on Year 2 Breakouts By Young QBs.  (back)
  2. We do want to be aware that Allen and Trubisky are unlikely to create quite as many highlight runs again next season.  (back)
  3. These QBs are undervalued, so the reach doesn’t hurt as much, and waiting for this tier allows you to prioritize other positions.  (back)
  4. As a result, some owners will load up at the position, protecting themselves and hoping to ultimately dominate the trade market. I don’t necessarily recommend this, as most owners would prefer to simply lose than be extorted. Plus, taking more QBs than you can realistically play has a very real cost in depth at other positions.  (back)
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