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

Colin Kaepernick

If you read part one of this series then it must mean you’re interested to find out more about my thoughts on how to work the waiver wire in 2-QB fantasy football leagues, which you can find below, where I touch upon how quarterback injuries and taking a chance on potential changes your 2-QB waiver wire mindset.

Chicago Bears quarterback Jason Campbell

Chicago Bears quarterback Jason Campbell. Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

Injuries are important to keep an eye on in any type of fantasy football league but even more so in 2-QB leagues. If one of your two starting quarterbacks goes down with injury and you don’t have a QB3 on your roster you’re going to have to put a waiver claim on his back-up because chances are there aren’t going to be any other worthwhile starting quarterbacks available. For example if one of your two starting fantasy quarterbacks was Jay Cutler you needed to pick up Jason Campbell as a spot starter because there would be no other option in a competitive 2-QB league after Cutler had to miss Week 11 due to a concussion. However, in a 1-QB league you could probably have found somebody like Joe Flacco still toiling away on the waiver wire in your league and not give a second thought to picking up Campbell, where he would just rot away on the waiver wire. Just check out some of the quarterbacks C.D Carter was able to use during the course of the season where he went with a quarterback streaming strategy in a particular 1-QB league and it will become even more apparent how different the quarterback position is in 1-QB leagues when compared to 2-QB leagues.

The main difference when it comes to the waiver wire in 2-QB leagues is that you don’t have that safety net where you can go and pick up any ole’ fantasy quarterback off waivers and plug them into your line-up for the rest of your season, as you can in 1-QB leagues, in case one or both of your fantasy starting quarterbacks get injured or weren’t as good as Duck Dynasty patriarch Phil Robertson back in his heyday.

Really, there was only one legitimate fantasy quarterback that became a difference maker in 2-QB fantasy football leagues this season and that was, who didn’t get the starting quarterback gig in San Francisco until Week 11. In a 1-QB league, unless you owned Alex Smith, you probably didn’t have to rush out to put a claim on him and you probably were able to pick him up from your free agency list. In a 2-QB league though if Kaepernick wasn’t already a QB3 on somebody’s team, as rumors of Alex Smith’s short grip on the Niners starting quarterback job swirled, he would certainly not be on the waiver wire for much longer after his very solid Week 11 performance against the Bears.

The other replacement QB in that game, the aforementioned Campbell, could immediately be dropped the moment Cutler came back in Week 12, as Campbell’s showing against the Niners that week didn’t leave any optimism that he would make for an attractive QB3.

Kaepernick eventually put up five top-10 fantasy quarterback performances, out of just the seven weeks he started, in standard scoring fantasy football leagues and he was never worse than the 18th highest scoring fantasy quarterback from Week 11 trough Week 17, which means Kaepernick was basically a QB1 from the moment he became the Niners fulltime starting quarterback. Week 13 was the only time in a standard scoring league where he wasn’t a QB1, but he still was a QB2. You don’t find too many QB1s in 2-QB leagues on the waiver wire or free agency and when you do it’s like hitting the jackpot; see Tim Tebow circa 2011.

Colin Kaepernick

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick. Kyle Terada-US PRESSWIRE

There’s a reason why guys like Tebow, Ryan Tannehill, Matt Moore, and Gabbert got drafted in some 2-QB leagues last year and that’s because the potential was there for one, or more, of them to turn into a fantasy quarterback jackpot. We saw what Tebow did last season once he was the Broncos starting quarterback and Tannehill, who was being drafted as the 31st quarterback on average and who had a lower ADP than the likes of Michael Vick and Alex Smith, did end up as the 24th highest scoring fantasy quarterback this past season, which would have made him a weekly QB2 starter in 12 team 2-QB leagues.

In 2-QB leagues your mindset has to be all about the quarterback position when it comes to the waiver wire and then your attention can shift to the rest of your team. You take a quick glance at your QB1, QB2, QB3, etc., to see if you’re okay or if you need to pick up another QB, and there might not even be one available. If your quarterback situation is solidified you can do without worrying about picking up a quarterback and look at the other top waiver wire targets of the week and act accordingly. But if you’re dealing with an iffy quarterback depth chart in a 2-QB league and quarterbacks like Henne, Matt Hasselbeck or Kirk Cousins, pop up, even if they are just one-week wonders (or duds) you have to roll the dice on them because of how important the position of quarterback is in 2-QB leagues.

And even if you are fine at the position and somebody like Kaepernick does come along it doesn’t hurt to use up a bench spot on him, if you can afford to give up the real estate, and see what happens. At worse you have a QB3 you never start but once we saw what he was capable of all of a sudden you have another QB1 on your team, but more importantly, you took away a potential QB1 from your leaguemates, which is a double victory.

So, remember, just because a quarterback like Nick Foles, Henne or Campbell might elicit bloodcurdling screams that make you not want to play fantasy football anymore you have to adjust your waiver wire strategy accordingly in a 2-QB league because the lessened supply after your draft has been completed demands it. Of course, that doesn’t apply to John Skelton. You’re better off taking a 0 at QB2 than having to rely on Skelton getting you any points, as he did have two weeks with negative fantasy points in standard scoring leagues last year.

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

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