If fantasy football was a Saturday Night Live skit, Salvatore Stefanile (@2QBFFB) of the Sports Jerks Network would undoubtedly be Christopher Walken in the Behind the Music feature chronicling Blue Oyster Cult. Only instead of clamoring for additional cowbell, Sal’s “gotta have more quarterbacks!” Indeed, if you’ve read any of Sal’s work, or follow him on Twitter, you already know his heart lies in the world of multi-quarterback fantasy football. This includes both superflex leagues, where you can start up to two signal callers, as well as 2QB leagues, which operate exactly how they sound.
As a veteran of multiple superflex leagues myself, I can both understand and relate to Sal’s passion. As such, I want to probe the mind of the master, and further delve into the psychology and strategy of these pass-happy formats. For those who haven’t yet partaken in multi-quarterback leagues, or are on the fence regarding a format transition, this should serve as great primer.
Let’s get started!
DLF: Sal, thanks for taking the time to answer some questions. Here at DLF, we strive to give our readers the full spectrum of information, and your expertise in 2QB and superflex leagues will unquestionably prove invaluable. Before we get down to the nitty-gritty though, why don’t you tell us a little bit more about yourself and what you do.
Sal: Hey Eric! First off, thanks for reaching out, and talking 2-QB fantasy football with me. Can never turn down such an opportunity. Especially with the DLF crew. DLF and Coleman Kelly (@coleman_ff) of Sportswunderkind/rotoViz are my go-to dynasty sources.
To answer your first question, I’m a Canadian, who chose football to be my sport of choice over hockey, so I think my passport might be getting revoked soon. Other than that, there’s not much to me. I spend most of time working on freelance writing projects, perusing Twitter (which can be a job in and of itself) and devouring as much fantasy football information as possible.
DLF: How did you get involved with the Sports Jerks Network, and which fellow writers helped pave the way for your ascension into the title of “2QB Rock Star?
Sal: First off, the title of ‘2-QB Rock Star’, while flattering, isn’t something I believe belongs to me. I’m just a guy that likes to talk about 2-QB fantasy football. Nothing more, nothing less.
How I got involved with Sports Jerks, which has now rebranded itself as XNSports (@XNSports), is a pretty simple story. I created a 2-QB fantasy blog (2QBornot2QB.com) and created a Twitter account, to follow the best fantasy analysts out there. Just like any fantasy analyst does, they promote their work on Twitter, and one of the first people I started following, the hair master himself, Denny Carter (@CDCarter13) sent me a Direct Message, telling me to contact the owners of Sports Jerks, to see if they would be interested in posting some 2-QB content.
I then immediately emailed the XN Sports masters (@tfitzpeace and @lavurty), and they posted a few 2-QB articles of mine. Eventually over time they became my 2-QB home of choice.
As you can tell from that story, Denny paved the way for me, and then J.J. Zachariason (@lateroundqb) gave me a shot on his website, lateroundqb.com, so those are the two guys I really owe my fantasy football writing career to.
DLF: Okay, let’s talk football! When did you first start doing 2QB leagues? Did you bridge your way there via a superflex format, or just dive in blindly?
Sal: I can’t remember the exact year of my first ever 2-QB league, but I will say that I dove straight into the belly of the 2-QB beast, with my first ever 2-QB league being a 14-team 2-QB league. I hated it. I wasn’t familiar with the format, and I was being forced to take QBs early. Not the fantasy football I was used. Eventually though, I studied the format, came to learn how to attack a league with double the amount of normal QBs in the starting line-up, and I’ve enjoyed the ride ever since.
DLF: Do you still do any “regular” leagues, or are such things now considered the Natty Light of fantasy football to you?
Sal: While 2-QB leagues are my preferred format of choice, I do partake in leagues where you only start one quarterback. The main reason being that my best friend created a 1-QB PPR league, and asked me to split a team with him. Then, through Twitter, where I met some awesome fantasy writers, like DLF’s Chad Scott, Fakepigskin’s Regan Yant, and the guy that writes for every site, Charles Murphy, I got asked to take part in a league with fellow writers. I jumped in, not knowing at the time it was a 16-team dynasty team. Those are just a couple of examples of my non 2-QB leagues.
DLF: Let’s dig into some strategy. In either superflex or 2QB formats, are you in trouble if you don’t have multiple quarterbacks after the first three rounds?
Sal: If you have zero quarterbacks in such a format, you’re going to be left behind, struggling to keep up. It all depends on league size though, but in general, if you have at least one QB1 after the first three rounds, you’re off to a good start. League size, format, scoring settings, and league history will dictate how many QBs you should draft early.
DLF: So suffice it to say, when it comes to multiple-QB leagues you can just throw the “consensus” Top-200 rankings out the window?
Sal: Oh yes. They’re a good resource to study, of course. As is your general 1-QB targeted ADP. But you have to focus more on the positional rankings, rather than the overall rankings. Every 2-QB league is going to be different, and if you’re looking over a Top-200 for your 2-QB league, it’s going to be out of whack, because the way QBs are valued in 1-QB leagues, they aren’t going to be the same when compared to a 2-QB league.
DLF: For both superflex and 2QB formats, how does your strategy change with increasing league size? Will you draft differently in a ten-man league versus a 16-team league?
Sal: Yes, yes, and yes. I find league size to be the biggest influence of 2-QB drafting strategies. If you’re in a 2-QB league the size of 8 or 10 teams, I feel that it’s a bit easier to wait on drafting your QB(s) early. That’s especially true when compared to a 12-team or 16-team 2-QB league.
We did a 16-team 2-QB re-draft mock a few weeks back, and if you didn’t get a QB in the first round, or bypassed your QB1/QB2 slots entirely, the best QB options were guys like Philip Rivers, Brandon Weeden, Mark Sanchez.
There’s just such a long wait in between picks, especially if you’re picking at the turns, in leagues of at least 12 teams, and that’s going to play a large impact on how to target the QB position.
DLF: How many quarterbacks will be drafted in the first two rounds of a 16-team superflex league? How about for a 16-team 2QB league?
Sal: Going back to that 16-team 2-QB mock, 22 quarterbacks were drafted in the first round. You can take that number, and deduct it by a few if you’re in a 16-team superflex league, because some teams would rather start a top RB/WR over a middling QB2 option, especially in full-point PPR leagues.
DLF: I know you’re more of a re-draft guy, but let’s bring you into our world for a second. Knowing that you could keep these players for as long as you wanted, which quarterbacks would get a first-round grade from you in a 2QB dynasty league?
Sal: I mentioned earlier about the dynasty league with fellow fantasy writers, and I enjoyed that league so much, that I created a 2-QB dynasty league. And, if drafting today, these would be the QBs I’d target in the first round of a 2-QB dynasty league: Robert Griffin III, Andrew Luck, Aaron Rodgers, Cam Newton, Colin Kaepernick, Russell Wilson, Drew Brees, Matt Ryan, Matthew Stafford and Tom Brady.
DLF: In dynasty leagues, we fulfill our yearly draft cravings through rookie-only drafts. In a 2QB or superflex dynasty league, are either EJ Manuel or Geno Smith worth consideration for the number-one overall rookie pick?
Sal: I actually just did a study on the value of rookie quarterbacks in 2-QB leagues for XN Sports, and found there is value to be had in rookie quarterbacks in 2-QB leagues. In dynasty rookie leagues, Manuel could be in the running for first overall pick. It will all depend on who holds that pick though, but if you’re in need of a quarterback, drafting somebody like Manuel first overall in a 2-QB rookie draft would make sense. Geno Smith not so much, at the moment.
DLF: What non-quarterback positions tend to fall the hardest in multi-QB formats?
Sal: This year, the answer would be wide receiver. Just because it’s so deep already. But in general, all positions tend to fall, in 2-QB leagues, because the quarterbacks being drafted will push the other positions down. And if you’re not drafting a QB early in 2-QB drafts this year, you’re drafting a running back.
DLF: If you felt your team wasn’t going to compete in a 2QB or superflex dynasty league, would you overtly tank for the right to draft Louisville’s Teddy Bridgewater next year?
Sal: Does that happen in fantasy football? This is my first year in a 2-QB dynasty league, so I’m not sure if a ‘Tanking for Teddy’ campaign occurs in the world of 2-QB dynasty leagues. My answer would be no, because I’m always going to compete, whether my team is in the running for first place or last place. It’s just fair to your fellow league members to try hard every week. Also, just because Bridgewater might be one of the top QBs right now in college football, that doesn’t mean he’ll be the top rated rookie QB when it’s time for your dynasty rookie/start-up draft. Who thought E.J. Manuel would be the first, and only, quarterback drafted in the first round this time last year?
DLF: A little birdy told me you’ve recently forayed into the world of dynasty football. Are dynasty 2QB drafts any more intense than those in re-draft formats?
Sal: I think so, just because you’re in a race to secure at least one really young quarterback that will anchor your team, for hopefully the next ten years or so. I might have taken things a little too far, grabbing Luck/RG3 back-to-back, but I think they’ll be two of the top quarterbacks for years and years. Also, having Manuel as my QB3, will allow me to target other positions in rookie leagues.
DLF: Your list of dynasty 2QB rankings goes 60-deep. Would you expect that many signal callers to be drafted in a 2QB or superflex dynasty league?
Sal: You never know really. But it doesn’t hurt. Our 12-team 2-QB dynasty start-up league drafted 40+ QBs. That’s with a QB max of 4/roster limit. It’s better to have a deep QB rankings, and prepare yourself for everything. If you take a look at that list, which hasn’t been updated since July, somebody like Pryor would jump up in my rankings from 41 to somewhere in the mid 20’s. That’s the benefit of really digging deep in dynasty rankings, as you never know when you might unearth a hidden gem.
DLF: Do owners get so caught up in the format that they eschew talent at other positions in order to fulfill the 2QB requirement (or luxury, in superflex leagues)? If so, name some quarterbacks you routinely see overdrafted.
Sal: Every 2-QB league is different. I just finished drafting in my main 2-QB league, which is 12 teams, and awards 6 points/passing TD. I know this league always values quarterbacks highly, so I have to adjust to my surroundings, and in this case, the first ten picks were QBs, 11 of the first 12 picks were QBs, and 17 went in the first two rounds.
Every quarterback that has any sort of value will get drafted, and everybody values the QB positions differently, but guys that are being overdrafted, to me, are Chrisitan Ponder, Philip Rivers, and Jake Locker. I just want no part of them this year. Josh Freeman is also an interesting case, because he has the talent to be a top quarterback, but he’s just so inconsistent.
DLF: True or false: Blaine Gabbert will be selected within the first five rounds of a deep, 2QB dynasty league.
Sal: False. Everybody has a limit. Even in 2-QB leagues.
DLF: I participate in multiple superflex leagues, both dynasty and re-draft, of varying shapes and sizes. Convince me to take the jump into the world of 2QB goodness.
Sal: If you’re already in a superflex league, isn’t that basically a 2-QB league? Why worry about deciding between a quarterback or a running back in your superflex spot, and just slot in an extra quarterback starting roster spot. That will free up your flex decision, for one. Plus, 2-QB leagues make me have to research and prepare even more than I do for standard fantasy leagues, which is part of the fun. I don’t know about you, but I enjoy learning about the back-up quarterback, or the history of new coaches in new cities, to see how that might impact a quarterback that upcoming season. For example, how does Kelly Holcomb’s past play a part in Brandon Weeden’s future? That’s a question you wouldn’t be asking if you didn’t play in a 2-QB league. The more time spent studying fantasy football, the better, right?
DLF: Give me three quarterbacks who you think are ready to break out in 2013.
Sal: Brandon Weeden, EJ Manuel and Drew Stanton. No wait, not Drew Stanton. I’ll go with Ben Roethlisberger instead.
DLF: What is one piece of advice you have for an owner participating in his or her first 2QB draft?
Sal: Be prepared for anything. Honestly, if you’re in a first time 2-QB league, your league will either overdraft QBs, or treat it like a regular 1-QB league, leaving you scrambling as how to approach. It’s best to go in with a plan, a back-up plan, and at least five other back-up plans. Also, be flexible. Don’t stick to a draft strategy because you thought that it would be the best way to draft. If you aren’t willing to adapt to your 2-QB draft as it unfolds, you’re only going to hurt your chances of winning.
DLF: What resources are out there for those interested in superflex and 2QB leagues?
Sal: Well, aside my from my work at XNsports.com and 2QBornot2QB.com, there’s twoqbs.com, TheFakeFootball, and FFOasis. John Fortes (@JB4tes) Joshua Berger (@BergerTwoQBs) Joshua Lake (@LakeTwoQBs) Paul Grossman (@PGrossman31) and Joe Sinischalchi (@Joe_Siniscalchi) are all guys that love talking 2-QB fantasy football, and are approachable on Twitter.
DLF: Is there anything I haven’t covered that you’d like to mention? Any shout-outs or plugs you’d like to give?
Sal: I think that about says it all. If you’re drafting in a 2-QB league, the one thing you need to make sure you are able to do is read your draft room. The feel you have for your draft will determine if taking a QB with your first round pick is the smart play, or if you can wait until the second or third round. Also, just have fun. Playing fantasy football is fun, it’s a game, and sometimes we forget that.
DLF: Sal, I really appreciate you taking the time to let us pick your brain about the world of multi-quarterback fantasy football. I look forward to reading more of your work in the near future.
Sal: Thanks again for getting in touch, and I appreciated being able to talk 2-QB fantasy football with you, Eric. Good luck with all of your fantasy football leagues this year!