Late Round QB Draft Strategy in 2-QB Fantasy Football Leagues Part 1

Let’s say that for the majority of your fantasy football playing career you’ve predominantly played in 1-QB fantasy football leagues and that this year is the first year in your fantasy football playing career that you want to play in a 2-QB league.

Now, let’s also say that you’ve decided not only to play in a 2-QB fantasy football league but that you’ve also decided that you want to max out your foray into the world of 2-QB fantasy football leagues by playing in a 2-QB fantasy football league that awards 6 points, instead of 4, for each passing touchdown and 1 point for every 25 passing yards, which basically puts the fantasy quarterback position at a premium.

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On top of that you’ve also decided you want to play in a 12-team league instead of a 10-team league, which means even more QBs will be drafted and started on a weekly basis; 24 instead of 20. To recap the league you’re gearing up to play in is a 12-team 2-QB league where passing points have a high value attached to them when compared to standard scoring leagues.

Those are some pretty ambitious fantasy football shoes you’re putting on for your first 2-QB fantasy football league experience, and that’s especially true if you’re one of the smart fantasy footballers out there that has adopted the late round quarterback (LRQB) draft strategy.

For those of you unfamiliar with the LRQB fantasy football draft strategy, which has been championed by the LRQB guru himself, JJ Zachariason and his website The Late Round Quarterback, it’s a fantasy football draft strategy where you draft your starting quarterback late, usually later than every other team has already drafted their starting quarterback. This type of draft strategy in fantasy football is a sound one, as it allows you to stock up on other positions for the rest of your team. The LRQB draft strategy is all about getting as much value as possible for your fake team and is one that makes too much sense not to use in a 1-QB league but are you still able to employ the LRQB strategy in a 2-QB fantasy football league?

When you’re talking about drafting and starting the 12th quarterback, as long as no other team drafts a back-up fantasy quarterback before you do, then you don’t need to concern yourself all that much with the quarterback position in fantasy football. But when you’re doubling the amount of quarterbacks that are required to be drafted the value at the quarterback position shifts.

In a league where passing touchdowns are worth 6 points and interceptions are worth -2 points last year’s highest scoring fantasy quarterback, Drew Brees, outscored the 12th highest scoring quarterback, Andy Dalton, by 126.82 points, and the 24th highest scoring quarterback, Ryan Tannehill, by 224.72 points. In a 16 game season the points per game (PPG) differential between Brees and Dalton was 7.92, and the PPG differential between Brees and Tannehill was 14.05.

Of course, the LRQB strategy is all about value and drafting at the position that provides the most of it so let’s quickly take a look at the running back and wide receiver positions in a 12-team non-PPR 6-point passing touchdown league, where the starting line-up is made up of 1-QB/2-RB/3-WR for a total of 12 QBs, 24 RBs, and 36 WRs.

We already know the difference in points between the best scoring QB, Brees, and the worst starting QB, Dalton, was 126.82 points/7.92 PPG in a 16-game season. What about the best/worst scorers at the RB and WR positions?

The highest scoring running back last season, Adrian Peterson, outscored the 24th highest scoring running back, Danny Woodhead (RB24), who would be the worst starting running back, by 190.7 points/11.92 PPG. The highest scoring wide receiver last season, Calvin Johnson, outscored the 36th highest scoring wide receiver, who would be the worst starting wide receiver, Malcolm Floyd (WR36), by 109 points/6.81 PPG.

As you can see the largest discrepancy in points is between Peterson and Woodhead at 190.7 points, followed by quarterback at 126.82 points, and then wide receiver at 109 points. The numbers show us that it’s best to draft a running back early because the best starting running back is more valuable than the best starting wide receiver or the best starting quarterback over the worst starters at their respective positions.

Utilizing the LRQB draft strategy in a 1-QB league makes the most amount of sense because the 7.92 PPG difference between the best starting quarterback and the worst starting quarterback is less than the 11.92 PPG difference between the best starting running back and the worst starting running back. And at the wide receiver position it’s only a 1.11 PPG difference favoring the quarterback position.

When you play in a 2-QB fantasy football league and you factor in having to start 24 quarterbacks instead of 12 the LRQB strategy might not be the way to go. When you see the huge discrepancy in points between Brees (QB1) and Tannehill (QB24) of 14.05 PPG would the LRQB strategy even be feasible in a 2-QB fantasy football league?

Luckily for you that’s exactly what I’m here to help you find out. In a 12-team 2-QB league a minimum of 24 quarterbacks will be drafted and started on a weekly basis and if the majority of owners are going to do their best to grab two quarterbacks early and you do end up using the LRQB strategy in your 2-QB league that will leave you with the option to chose whichever player(s) you want early at other positions and that in turn will allow you to wait on the quarterback position.

For example, with the running back position in fantasy football now back in vogue you might try your best to go with a RB-RB draft strategy while other owners in your league draft a QB or two early. Or you might try a RB-WR, WR-RB, WR-WR, or RB-TE draft strategy, just to rattle off a few options for you.Let’s now go back to the make believe 2-QB fantasy football league that was discussed earlier, which was the 12-team 2-QB 6-point passing touchdown league to see how the LRQB strategy would turn out for you. In a league like this it’s not out of the ordinary to see a bunch of quarterbacks drafted in the first round and I have taken things to an extreme, as you’ll soon see with some mock draft examples.

In a league where the rest of your league mates are veterans of the 2-QB fantasy football league format, they will more than likely draft a QB in the first round, and draft both of their starting QBs by the end of the third round. That’s just the way it tends to go in 2-QB fantasy football leagues when points are so high at the quarterback position. The story of course is different in standard scoring 2-QB fantasy football leagues where passing touchdowns are worth 4 points, not 6, and I’ll have more information about using the LRQB draft strategy in a standard scoring league in a separate article. This article is long enough as it is.

Instead of talking more about the LRQB draft strategy how about I show you how it works? Below I posted a spreadsheet showing the first four rounds of two mini snake style mock drafts in which the LRQB draft strategy was used by the team drafting last (12th). Drafting last in a snake draft gives you the opportunity to draft two high quality players on your team before anybody else and I figured that would be a good spot to unleash the LRQB draft strategy.

You’ll have noticed in the above spreadsheet that there were two different mock draft results. One implements the LRQB strategy in which the LRQB drafting team takes its QB1 and QB2 in succession of every other owner, which means it winds up with QB12 and QB24 as its two starting quarterbacks. The other draft takes the LRQB draft strategy to heart by not drafting either its QB1 or QB2 until after every other team has drafted both of their starting QBs, meaning its starting QB tandem consists of QB23 and QB24.

Underneath each of the mock drafted teams is the projected points total for that team based on Mike Clay’s 2013 fantasy points scoring projections from Pro Football Focus from March 7th. The number in brackets for each team’s projected points is the combined points total for each team’s drafted quarterback duos. As for the drafted players and where they were drafted I used March 7th 12-team ADP results from for the picks, as I didn’t want my bias towards certain players to factor into where players got drafted and where they went. For instances in which ADP didn’t make sense I just went with the ADP of a different position for a more balanced team.

Before I delve into the numbers I want to point out that teams consisting of only four players doesn’t show you the whole picture and is only just a small sample size but I just wanted to take a brief look at what a LRQB team in a 2-QB league could potentially look like.

Once we do look at the mini mock drafts and the numbers you’ll see that the LRQB team that wound up with QB12 and QB24 ended up with 11th highest scoring QB tandem but the 3rd highest scoring team overall.

The extreme LRQB team that left the draft with QB23 and QB24 as its starting quarterback combination had the worst scoring quarterback duo but the 4th highest scoring team overall.

When comparing the LRQB team and the highest projected scoring (Team 2) team the difference in points is 26 points. The difference in points at the quarterback position is 87 points. Those two points totals are relatively close to one another, especially when you look at it from a points per game differential point of view, in which case the difference in overall points is 1.63 PPG and at the quarterback position (Brees/Roethlisberger versus Romo/Locker) it’s 5.44 PPG. Both those numbers give you hope that not being one of the teams to draft a quarterback early in a 2-QB league won’t ruin your season and in the end you’re still going to have a top-12 fantasy quarterback on your team which does make a difference.

Shifting our focus to the more extreme LRQB mock draft and the numbers tell us a different story though. The extreme LRQB team finished 55 projected points behind the highest projected team (Team 1), which isn’t that surmountable of a lead. However, when you compare the quarterback situations of the two teams it paints a much bigger picture. The difference in points between the extreme LRQB duo of Schaub (QB23) and Locker (QB24) and the highest scoring QB duo of Rodgers (QB1) and Romo (QB12) is 219 points. That’s a 13.69 PPG difference.

The difference at the non-QB positions between the extreme LRQB team and the highest projected scoring team is 164 points, in favor of the extreme LRQB team. When you subtract the points difference at quarterback (219) and the points difference at the non-QB positions (164) the extreme LRQB team comes up 55 points short.

The difference in projected points between Romo and Schaub is 79 points and me telling you to draft Romo over Schaub is something you will already know to be the smart pick.

In a 2-QB league you’re better off not bypassing a top-12 quarterback because even though there is depth at the position you’ll still need to have a difference maker on your team. However, would you be better off drafting a low-end top-12 quarterback over one of the top running backs like Arian Foster? It seems like the numbers would say yes, as the difference in projected points between Romo and Foster, in this format, is 65 points, in favor of Romo. And that’s what makes a 2-QB league so unique, particularly one in which quarterback points are higher than a standard league.There are many factors that will come into play though, as not every team will draft a quarterback in the first round and not every team will have drafted two quarterbacks by the end of the third round but a lot of 2-QB fantasy football leagues that award 6 points for each passing touchdown have a mindset in place to draft quarterbacks earlier than any other type of league, which is why I went with such an extreme style of fantasy football mock drafting.

Of course you can also make up the points by drafting better late in the draft or by taking another skilled position before taking your QB2. The risk with that strategy is that eventually you’ll be running out of potential QB2s to draft, even though there are still the likes of Alex Smith and Carson Palmer still available, plus incoming rookie QBs that could be useful in fantasy football. However, you will then also have to worry about teams drafting a QB3 before you draft your QB2, which would leave you having to decide between the Brandon Weedens, Christian Ponders and Mark Sanchezs of the fantasy football world. If you’re willing to roll with somebody like Weeden as your weekly QB2 then using the extreme LRQB strategy in regards to your QB2 as well as your QB1 could be something to consider.

You might be saying to yourself, ‘Okay you showed us how the extreme LRQB strategy would work if you drafted 12th out of 12 teams but what about if you were to draft first, fifth or tenth?’ Good question and below you’ll find three spreadsheets showing mini-mock 12-team drafts for the extreme LRQB draft strategy at each draft slot. Again, the draft picks were made based off of ADP results and the projected points totals are based on Mike Clay’s 2013 PFF projections, both from March 7th. For instances in which ADP didn’t make sense I just went with the ADP of a different position for a more balanced team.

The mocks and projected point totals show you that the best LRQB drafted team was the one that had the 12th and 8th pick, as they both finished in 4th place, and then there was a four way tie for the worst LRQB drafted team, as the LRQB drafted teams that drafted out of the 6th, 7th, 9th and 10th slot all finished in 9th place.

Here are the extreme LRQB draft strategy results for each draft slot:

1 – 8th place
2 – 8th place
3 – 8th place
4 – 8th place
5 – 7th place
6 – 9th place
7 – 9th place
8 – 4th place
9 – 9th place
10 – 9th place
11 – 5th place
12 – 4th place

Not a single top-3 finish for any of the LRQB drafted teams should tell you that drafting a quarterback too late in a 2-QB fantasy football league that is touchdown heavy is something you’ll want to avoid if possible.  I’ll delve more into why as I look at the LRQB draft strategy in standard scoring leagues in part two of this series.

Stats used in this article courtesy of TheFakeFootball, MyFantasyLeague, ProFootballFocus Fantasy and NFLData.

author avatar
Salvatore Stefanile
Salvatore Stefanile is a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association and believes that 2-QB fantasy football leagues will be the future of fantasy football. You can read about his 2-QB fantasy football opinions and analysis at