How to Work the Waiver Wire in 2-QB Fantasy Football Leagues Part 1

When playing in a 2-QB fantasy football league you have to look at the league you play in differently in every aspect. Your draft rankings, draft strategy and waiver wire strategy will all be different from how they would normally be like in a league where you start only one quarterback.

Last season when Week 1 of the NFL season rolled around the Dallas Cowboys took out the defending Super Bowl champions at the time, the New York Giants, to open up the season. While you might not remember what the final score of that game was (24-17) you probably remember which player fantasy football owners were scrambling to pick up after the game was over.

Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Kevin Ogletree
For a brief time Kevin Ogletree fever swept fantasy football nation Greg Bartram USA TODAY Sports

Yes, for one week in the world of fake football in the early part of 2012 Cowboys wide receiver Kevin Ogletree fever swept the nation. After hauling 8 catches on 11 targets for 114 yards receiving and 2 receiving touchdowns the Dez Bryant hype train was derailed, replaced with Ogletree as its new conductor.

The hope for fantasy football players putting in a waiver claim for Ogletree, or picking him up outright as a free agent, was that he would turn out to be the next Laurent Robinson, who for the Cowboys in 2011, as the team’s primary slot receiver, had a career year in catches (54), receiving yards (858), 100+ receiving yard games (3) and receiving touchdowns (11).

Alas, that was not meant to happen as most fantasy footballers jumped off the Ogletree train, many by the end of Week 2 after he followed up his “breakout game” with a 1 catch for 26 yards/1 rushing attempt for 5 yards performance. We all know how the story of Ogletree’s 2012 season ended: 32 catches, 436 yards receiving, and four receiving touchdowns.

Would Ogletree have been the primary waiver wire claim in a 2-QB league? Of course it would depend on the need(s) of the team in question but the primary focus in 2-QB leagues, just as it seems to be in the real world NFL landscape of today, is on the quarterback position.

When surveying the waiver wire of 2-QB fantasy football leagues you need to look at the quarterback position first and foremost to see who’s available and then go over your quarterback depth chart to see if you can improve upon it.

In a 10-team 2-QB league 20 quarterbacks at a minimum will be drafted and in a 12-team league that number jumps up to 24, which represents 2/3 of the number of starting quarterbacks there are in the NFL. Factor in teams that draft a QB3, or even a QB4, and you’re more than likely not left with much (Russell Wilson being the lone exception) at the quarterback position on the waiver wire in 2-QB leagues once drafts are over.

That’s certainly the case immediately following the draft in a 2-QB league, and continues to be that way for the early part of the season.

Between that Cowboys season opening win in Week 1 and the Week 2 Thursday night match-up between the Bears and Packers names claimed off the waiver wire in a 2-QB league of mine included quarterbacks Brandon Weeden and John Skelton, among the likes of non-QBs such as Danny Amendola, Kendall Wright, James Jones, New England D/ST, Owen Daniels and Austin Collie. Guys like Wright, Daniels and Amendola were probably the highest priorities, alongside Ogletree, in 1-QB leagues.

In any 1-QB league there was probably no way in hell you would put a waiver wire claim on the likes of Kolb and Weeden. Their Week 1 performances weren’t awe-inspiring in any way that screamed “MUST PUT IN WAIVER WIRE CLAIM” and if you played in a 1-QB league you probably added a note beside both their names saying “DO NOT EVER PICK UP” that was bolded and underlined, just the way I did, for dramatic effect.

Look at their Week 1 numbers if you need reminding, but do so quickly because you’ll go blind if you stare at them, especially Weeden’s, for longer than five seconds…

Brandon Weeden vs. Philadelphia Eagles: 12/35 for 118 yards passing, 0 passing touchdowns, 4 interceptions, and 2 rushing attempts for 25 yards rushing. He also had 2 fumbles.

Kevin Kolb (in place of the injured and immortal John Skelton) vs. Seattle Seahawks: 6/8 for 66 yards passing, 1 passing touchdown, 0 interceptions, 0 fumbles, and 1 rushing attempt for -1 yard.

So, okay, Kolb’s numbers were kind of impressive, against a Seahawks defense that would eventually finish the season as one of the more dominant defensive units, in both real and fake football, but Kolb ultimately proved to be a tease in 2-QB leagues in the long run.

Putting a claim on Kolb in a 2-QB league was justifiable, at the time, because there was no guarantee that Skelton would be back soon or that he would even be given his starting job back once he did return. So, suddenly, on the waiver wire in a 2-QB league was a viable weekly starting quarterback available in Kolb, which is rare in most 2-QB leagues. Plus there was the fact that Kolb would have Larry Fitzgerald to throw to, which was quite the appealing thought as a 2-QB fantasy football owner.

As for Weeden though, well his Week 1 numbers tell the complete story. There was nothing to like about Weeden’s NFL regular season debut but he had one thing going for him in a 2-QB league, which was that he was a real life starting quarterback. Don’t mistake that as me saying he’s a fantasy starting quarterback though.

In 2-QB leagues being a real life starter is more than enough to warrant a roster spot in the world of fantasy football though, as you never know when you might hit on a fantasy quarterback. And even if Weeden didn’t turn out to be a viable starting fantasy quarterback on a weekly basis in 2-QB leagues at the very worst you had a QB3 that could fill in for the weeks your QB1 and QB2 were on byes or went down with an injury. It might be hard to believe after watching Weeden play all year long and reading his Week 1 stat line but he did put up two (Weeks 2 and 7) top-10 fantasy QB performances in standard scoring leagues in 2012. But he only finished as the 26th fantasy scoring quarterback overall, which was good enough for QB3 status.

Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Chad Henne
Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Chad Henne Rob Foldy USA TODAY Sports

What you’re looking for from the quarterback position on the waiver wire/free agency list in your 2-QB league is a quarterback that will either be a QB3 bye week fill-in or a potential starter the rest of the season after a team’s starting quarterback misses time due to injury or is replaced. Think Chad Henne last season, who upon relief of Blaine Gabbert in Week 11 put up a top-3 fantasy QB scoring performance that game. Of course, Henne didn’t have any game as good as that one the rest of the season but for Gabbert owners Henne provided the relief they needed when looking for a replacement QB2 in their line-up—and Henne did have some decent fantasy games, points wise, last season.

Check back later for part two of this series of How to Work the waiver Wire in 2-QB fantasy football leagues when I discuss how injuries at the quarterback position impact your waiver wire thought process, as well as what hitting the Colin Kaepernick jackpot meant in 2-QB leagues.

Stats used in this article courtesy of: ESPN.com, NFLData.com and MyFantasyLeague.com

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