Ten Backup Quarterbacks You Should Consider Rostering In Superflex Dynasty Leagues

Justin Taylor

In Superflex leagues, quarterbacks are the top asset to own on your team, but acquiring top-level QB talent can be tough and costly. A cheaper way to cover yourself and set up your team for success is to look for quality backups who could possibly see the field for multiple reasons. An injury to the QB1, a demotion for bad play, or just a change in order to spark the offense are some of the reasons a backup could find himself in the starting lineup whether temporarily or for the rest of the season.

Backup quarterbacks change teams frequently in today’s game, so sometimes it is difficult to identify which backup quarterbacks you should be looking to acquire either through trade or as a pickup off the waiver wire. The number of backup QBs rostered in your league can depend on scoring, the number of teams in your league, and especially the number of roster spots available on your bench.

As a dynasty manager, here are my top priorities for rostering backup quarterbacks: Talent, Opportunity, Quality Offense, and Insurance. The following backup QBs are the ones I’m rostering according to the categories stated above.

TALENT

Justin Fields, QB PIT

After fizzling out in Chicago and with the Bears having the top pick in the 2024 NFL Draft – they selected quarterback Caleb Williams – Fields found himself expendable. He was traded this offseason to Pittsburgh, which seemed like a perfect place to revamp his career, but the Steelers also signed former Super Bowl Champion Russell Wilson.

Early reports are that the QB1 job is Wilson’s to lose. Even if that is the case, Fields is just too talented not to be owned in dynasty leagues. Fields could still be the long-term option as QB1 in Pittsburgh. But if he isn’t re-signed after this season, it is hard to see Fields never getting another chance to start somewhere at some point. Even though he is listed as a backup, Fields still isn’t cheap to acquire. He is likely to cost at least a second-round pick in rookie drafts and possibly more.

The risk is definitely real with Fields, but I’m willing to take it with a player who has so much fantasy upside. The rushing ability alone sets Fields apart from most fantasy quarterbacks. Is there a chance Fields rides the bench all year and is later cast aside to finish his career as a lifelong QB2? Yes. But there is just as much of a chance that Fields gets a chance to start for the Steelers at some point and completely revives his career. I’m willing to bet on the latter scenario happening.

OPPORTUNITY

Jacoby Brissett, QB NE

These days, whenever a quarterback is taken in the first round of the NFL Draft, they are expected to start right away or at least at some point during their rookie season. Drake Maye was selected by the Patriots with the third overall pick in April. If he indeed starts, Brissett will be a nice backup to have in case the young gun struggles. There are also whispers that Brissett might get the first crack at the starting job. In either case, Brissett is a QB I want to roster.

Sam Darnold, QB MIN

Darnold is in basically the same situation as Brissett. The Vikings selected J.J. McCarthy with pick 10 in the draft. Will Minnesota trust McCarthy from the jump? Is he even ready to start in the NFL? These are questions the Vikings will have to answer. Darnold has proven to be a decent starter in the NFL when given the chance. If he starts, bonus, if not, he will be nice to have on the roster in case anything bad happens with McCarthy.

Drew Lock, QB NYG

Lock has been mostly a career backup during his four seasons in the league. He was originally a second-round pick by the Denver Broncos. He was later traded to Seattle in the Russell Wilson deal. Lock has only played in 28 career games, but the guy can sling it. His biggest issue has been his career TD-to-INT ratio. Lock has 28 TDs and 23 INTs.

But luckily for Lock, he is now the backup to Daniel Jones in New York. The Giants picked Jones fifth overall in 2019, the same draft class as Lock. Jones has struggled with turnovers throughout his career and is coming off a season-ending neck injury last year.

Jones could have a short leash this season with Head Coach Brian Daboll. If Jones struggles out of the gate or suffers another injury, Lock has the ability to come in and rack up some stats for a Giants team that is expected to play from behind a lot this season and no longer has running back Saquan Barkley to lean on.

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drew lock | credit: joe nicholson

Mason Rudolph, QB TEN

Last year’s second-round pick Will Levis will be the starter for the Titans. They will use this season to evaluate what they have in the former Kentucky product.

Rudolph comes to Tennessee after spending the first four years of his career in Pittsburgh after being a third-round pick in 2019. Rudolph could never take hold of the QB1 job, but he did help the Steelers win the final three games of the season last year to help the team make the playoffs. Rudolph was 53 for 71 passing for 716 yards and three TDs with zero interceptions in those starts. Rudolph can throw the ball downfield. He has talent but has been inconsistent throughout his career. If Levis falters, I can see Rudolph getting an opportunity.

QUALITY OFFENSE

Sam Howell, QB SEA

In his second season in the NFL, Howell started 17 games for the Washington Commanders. But the team decided to move on from Howell, trading him to the Seahawks, and selecting quarterback Jayden Daniels with the number two overall pick. Howell threw for almost 4,000 yards last season, but also had 21 INTs to go with 21 TDs. He was also the most sacked QB in the league.

Howell is not going to beat out incumbent Gino Smith for the starting spot. But if Smith suffers an injury, Howell is the type of player who can step in immediately and produce for a very good Seahawks offense that features wide receivers DK Metcalf, Tyler Lockett, and Jaxon Smith-Njigba.

Jameis Winston, QB CLE

Famous Jameis, the former number one pick, has sat on the bench for the past four seasons in New Orleans after starting for five years in Tampa Bay. Winston has been a turnover machine throughout his career, but he has also put up some pretty great fantasy numbers over the years including 5,000 yards, 33 TDs, and 30 INTs during his last season with the Buccaneers.

Starter Deshaun Watson has only played in 12 games over the last two seasons since signing with Cleveland. He has suffered through multiple injuries and has yet to regain the form he showed in Houston to begin his career. Joe Flacco showed us last season that this Browns offense can be explosive. The veteran Flacco was signed during the season and eventually started the final five games of the year. Flacco threw for over 300 yards in four of those five games and added 13 TD passes. If Watson gets hurt again or struggles, Winston could be fantasy gold in what has become a pass-friendly offense with a ton of weapons.

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jameis winston | credit: stephen lew

INSURANCE

Joe Flacco, QB IND

As stated earlier, Flacco came in for the Browns last season and lit it up. So much so, that he was named NFL Comeback Player of the Year. After Gardner Minshew was signed away by the Raiders with a chance to start this season, the Colts turned to Flacco. Second-year quarterback Anthony Richardson was spectacular for fantasy in his limited action last season before a season-ending shoulder injury knocked him out in Week 4. Richardson’s rushing upside is what makes him such an intriguing fantasy asset. But with all that running comes risk. He was knocked out of two different games last season after taking big hits on running plays.

If I’m a Richardson owner, I’m picking up Flacco or trading for him. I don’t want to get left empty-handed if Richardson has another injury riddled season. Flacco has shown he still has something left in the tank. If he is thrust into action, he should be able to help ease the blow of losing Richardson in your lineup.

Mike White, QB MIA

Starter Tua Tagovailoa played all 17 games last season for the first time in his four-year career. His injury history has been well documented, including multiple concussions. He missed six games in his rookie season and four games each season after that. The Miami offense is explosive, and with the injury history of Tagovailoa, I’m making sure to roster White on every team I have Tua.

White has had some big games in his career when given the chance to start. He is obviously a downgrade at QB, but he still has solid ability with an offensive-minded head coach and talent around him. He can ease the pain if Tagovailoa misses any time.

Jake Browning, QB CIN

The Bengals proved last season that it is a good idea to have your franchise quarterback’s backup on your roster. Many fantasy seasons went belly up last year when Cincinnati starter Joe Burrow went down in Week 11 and was lost for the season. But those owners who already had backup Jake Browning on their roster or quickly picked him up off the waiver wire still had a shot at making the playoffs.

Browning showed last year that he could be a competent starter when needed for fantasy. It might be too late to grab Browning off waivers, but if you own Burrow, you might want to try to acquire him just in case another nightmare occurs.

justin taylor