What If Quarterbacks Didn’t Show Up to a Superflex Party?


As many of you are likely keenly aware, the “superflex” format has become a favorite of many within the dynasty community. This is due to it refocusing the spotlight back onto the quarterback position which had become devalued in recent years due to a lack of clear performance breaks within the position across the league.

Essentially, dynasty owners could wait on a quarterback until late into a startup draft and even in subsequent rookie drafts – even though franchise quarterbacks often require a significant amount of draft capital to acquire in the NFL, with those players often falling out of the first round. Even though quarterbacks often score a larger percentage of points than any other position, the difference between any two quarterbacks is often negligible and, as such, brought down the value of the position since they became essentially interchangeable.

Now before going much further, I think it is only fair to outline to the uninitiated what a superflex league is, and what it is not. The idea behind superflex leagues is that it allows owners to start two quarterbacks, or in some cases more, should they choose to do so. Owners are not required to start two quarterbacks; they are simply provided the option should they choose.

If they have two quarterbacks on their roster, and one is injured or on a bye, they can opt to start, or flex, another position in that lineup spot. A similar, and often confused, format to superflex is the 2QB, or start two quarterbacks, format. In this format, owners are required to start two quarterbacks, rather than provided the opportunity to do so, the key difference being opportunity versus requirement. For the purposes of this article, we will strictly be examining the superflex format, and not the 2QB format.

So, great, that’s superflex. What about it?

Well, with the format increasing in popularity, many leagues have explored the idea of transitioning their leagues from standard flex league to a superflex format. I have been a part of many leagues looking to make such a change. Let me stress, the change is daunting, and is often poorly executed in an effort to simply “get there”. This often results in the needs and designs of one or more teams being ignored or discarded to appease the league as a whole, further resulting in some owners leaving or being relegated to, what amounts to, a rebuild of sorts.

No one wants to have a team put a significant amount of work into building shut off competing due to a shift in how the league is played. It is akin to the world deciding that wealth is now calculated by the number of 20 dollars bills you own, not any other denomination. If you spent your life collecting any bill you came across to build your wealth, you would be rightfully upset by this change in the world’s economy, just as how dynasty owners might be upset that they have been drafting for value as it was outlined in a league prior to the decision to shift to superflex. I saw just such a discussion take place when the DLF offense-only staff league elected to change to a superflex format and part of the discussion is exactly what inspired this article.

Now, if a league has made the decision, as a whole, to move to superflex, that is only a small part of the process. Some teams are bound to be better positioned than others at the quarterback position. Some may have had a single quarterback on their roster but won the championship the prior season while others might have as many as four or more starting quarterbacks on their roster but came in last place. A decision to shift a league to superflex could have sudden and immediate ramifications for such a league, with fortunes changed essentially overnight.

It is at this point that many leagues begin to understand how daunting such a change is. Proposals to make such a change often include having a quarterback-only draft, capping the quarterback position to two or even three players, reducing quarterback scoring, or phasing in the change gradually to give owners time to acclimate. All these solutions have some merit to them and address such a shift in the dynamics of a league in various ways. However, one measure I failed to mention in the previous sentence, paired with one measure I did mention, could make a shift to superflex much less painless than many leagues make it.

What so many people focus on is the ability to start two quarterbacks and how great that is. However, what if the counter option was presented at the same time? What if, teams could opt to start zero quarterbacks as well so long as the scoring didn’t overwhelmingly favor the position to make such a starting lineup restrictive to coming away with a win? Such a proposal would, of course, require quarterback scoring to fall within the realm of normal scoring for other positions. Put another way, if the quarterback position is overwhelmingly represented in the top 25 scorers from the prior season, your league may want to consider bringing it back in line with other positions, otherwise, no team in their right mind would start zero quarterbacks.

By bringing quarterback scoring in line with other positions and providing the option to start zero quarterbacks, a league could essentially make the shift to superflex immediately. Ironically, by providing the ability to start zero quarterbacks, a league is introducing more options to owners in building their team, not less. That championship team with one quarterback I mentioned earlier in this piece, that owner could still continue to compete with the team they built. The last-place team with four quarterbacks, they, too, now have more options at their disposal to start. Teams could continue to pursue the strategy they had followed in building their team prior to the superflex switch without having to pivot. Additionally, it doesn’t require dismantling team structures or placing caps on positions that didn’t exist before.

Superflex is a very interesting solution to a complicated problem. That said, the format brings a host of challenges both to the league in transitioning to the format, and to individual owners as they navigate the ins and outs of the format. However, such a change should not favor one position over others, instead, leagues considering such a change should focus on increasing the options available to owners, not funneling them into one narrow path towards success.

Best of luck to any leagues moving to superflex. Hopefully this proposal gives your owners something additional to consider when making such a move.