2-QB Fantasy Football Leagues: Value can be Found in Kevin Kolb

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fantasy football
Oct 14 2012 Glendale AZ USA Kevin Kolb runs the ball in the the second half against the Buffalo Bills at University of Phoenix Stadium The Bills defeated the Cardinals 19 16 in overtime Mark J Rebilas USA TODAY Sports

Who wants to be told to draft Kevin Kolb in fantasy football? Even if it is in 2-QB fantasy football leagues, right? The thing is though, in 2-QB fantasy football leagues, you have to consider not only starting quarterbacks, but back-up quarterbacks as well.

You never know when you might be sitting on a potential QB1 stashed away on your bench, ala 2012 Colin Kaepernick, and be able to unleash him into your starting line-up, or trade him to an owner desperate for quarterback help. That’s the allure of the QB3 in 2-QB fantasy football leagues.

At worst, you’re drafting a QB3 that will only see action in your line-up twice during the season, both times subbing in during your QB1 and QB2’s bye weeks.

The hope is that the starting quarterback tandem you drafted is good enough to not have to tinker with all season long, and you can let your QB3 chill on the bench while your starting quarterbacks take your team to the championship. Or you can trade that QB3 for a position of need—which is the other reason why QB3s are drafted.

When surveying the quarterback landscape in the NFL you have to dig deep to find QB3s that could, at some point, have value in your 2-QB fantasy football league—even if they don’t have any immediate value.

That’s where Kevin Kolb comes into play.

Yes, the once Philly quarterback wunderkind turned Cardinals quarterback saviour, and now assumed soon-to-be Bills quarterback scrapheap, is up for QB2/QB3 candidacy.

You might not believe it, but Kolb is a quarterback you’ll want to target late in your 2-QB fantasy football drafts. The main reason why is value, and his current 2-QB ADP of 126.2 (QB32). But, we’ll get to that in a bit.

Looking back on Kolb’s last season as an Arizona Cardinal, it was quite the spectacle. First he lost the starting quarterback battle to John Skelton in the off-season. Then he was pressed into action during the team’s opening week match-up against the Seattle Seahawks, where he led the team to a comeback victory, after Skelton was knocked out earlier in the game. Kolb then started the next five games of the Cardinals’ 2012 campaign, but got injured himself, in a Week 6 match-up against his current employer, the Buffalo Bills. Kolb never returned to the line-up after the Bills’ game, and was eventually placed on I.R.

It might be a small sample size, but if we look at Kolb’s five game stint as the Cardinals’ starting quarterback in 2012, through the eyes of a 2-QB fantasy owner, it was pretty decent. From Weeks 2 to Week 5, Kolb finished as QB19, QB14, QB11, QB20, and QB18, in standard scoring fantasy leagues. That’s four QB2 outings, and a QB1 performance. Basically, the five times Kolb started, he would have been a starting QB2 option in 2-QB fantasy football leagues, and he even would have put up a QB1 outing, to boot.

When Kolb signed with the Bills this offseason, the team hadn’t drafted E.J. Manuel yet, and the assumption was that the Bills brought in Kolb to be their short-term starting quarterback. Even with Manuel now in the fold, there still isn’t any guarantee that Manuel will be the team’s starting quarterback in Week 1.

New Bills head coach Doug Marrone and offensive co-ordinator Nathaniel Hackett are building a fast paced offense, and while the belief is that style of offense would be more suited to Manuel than Kolb, the offense can still be tailored to suit Kolb, if need be. That’s according to Pre-SnapReads.com’s Cian Fahey who wrote a must read write-up about what Marrone is putting together in Buffalo. When discussing Kolb in his article Cian said the Bills, “will still have an offense that can adapt to its surroundings and stretch defenses in a variety of ways.” That’s if Kolb is the starter.

One knock against Kolb has been that he’s taken a lot of sacks in his career. During his 15 games in Arizona, Kolb was sacked 57 times. In his final season in Philadelphia, out of 211 drop backs, Kolb took 16 sacks. That’s one thing you have to worry about with Kolb, and the Bills losing their best offensive lineman, Andy Levitre, to the Titans, doesn’t help. But Kolb, if named the starter, would also be surrounded by lots of talent, including C.J. Spiller, Fred Jackson, Stevie Johnson, Robert Woods, T.J. Graham, Da’Rick Rogers, Marquise Goodwin, Scott Chandler, and Chris Gragg. You have to keep that in mind when looking at potential QB2/QB3 targets in 2-QB fantasy football leagues.

If a low 2-QB ADP, talented pass catching weapons, and five 2012 starts isn’t enough to convince you of Kolb’s fantasy potential in 2013 2-QB leagues, what about projections? Specifically, projections using the magnificent rotoViz QB Custom Similarity Scores App?

When plugging Kolb’s name into the app and using only his five starts, out of the 20 comparable seasons, seven names came up with comparable full 16-game seasons. You’ll find those seven quarterbacks below, with where they ended that particular season, in terms of fantasy quarterback ranking:

Donovan McNabb actually appeared on the list three times. Seems Kolb just can’t get out of that man’s shadow anywhere he goes.

Of the seven comparable 16-game seasons, only two of the quarterbacks appeared in a full slate of 16 games the next season: 2008 Garrard, and 2001 Rich Gannon. You can already see from the above list that Garrard’s 2008 QB11 season was followed up by him finishing the 2009 fantasy season as the QB13. That’s one QB1 fantasy performance, followed by an almost second QB1 fantasy performance.

But, Rich Gannon’s fantasy season in 2002, following his top-3 2011 fantasy quarterback season is even better. In 2002, Gannon ended the season as the highest scoring fantasy quarterback in standard leagues. Yes, Kevin Kolb’s five games he started as the Arizona Cardinals’ quarterback in 2012 had a next season comparable projection of not just a fantasy QB1, but THE fantasy QB1 in 2002. That’s not to say that Kolb is the next Rich Gannon though, and that his 2013 season in Buffalo will see Kolb finish the season as the highest scoring fantasy quarterback. But it does make you feel a bit more comfortable in taking Kolb as your QB3, with the potential for him to be a QB2.

On the flip side, the rotoViz projections also compared Kolb’s numbers to Matt Cassel in 2008, the Tom Brady injury year, and Cassel’s next season, as a Kansas City Chief, saw him finish the season as fantasy’s QB20.

Another interesting aspect of the rotoViz similarity app is that it provides a projection summary chart for both 4-point passing touchdown leagues and 6-point passing touchdown leagues. Below I’ve taken the fantasy points per game (FPG) projections for Kolb, and extrapolated them over a 16 game season, and in brackets you’ll see where those fantasy points would have ranked Kolb in 2012 fantasy quarterback rankings:

4 points per passing touchdown fantasy points projection
Low: 11.4 FPG x 16 games = 182.4 fantasy points (2012 QB25)
Median: 15.3 FPG x 16 games = 244.8 fantasy points (2012 QB14)
High: 16.6 FPG x 16 games = 265.6 fantasy points (2012 QB12)

6 points per passing touchdown fantasy points projection
Low: 13.6 FPG x 16 games = 217.6 fantasy points (2012 QB24)
Median: 17.9 FPG x 16 games = 286.4 fantasy points (2012 QB14)
High: 19.8 FPG x 16 games = 316.8 fantasy points (2012 QB11)

Based on the rotoViz projections, Kolb is projected to have a 2013 season that would see him finish the season anywhere from a high-end QB3 in standard scoring leagues to a low-end QB1 in heavy passing touchdown leagues. Doesn’t that sound like a fantasy quarterback you want on your 2-QB fantasy team? Especially if he’s drafted as a QB3?

The main reason you want a share of Kolb in 2-QB fantasy football leagues can be attributed to how he’s currently being drafted in 2-QB mocks. Kolb’s current 2-QB ADP, based on, an admittedly small sample size of 12 2-QB mocks, is 126.2, or QB32. That’s QB3 territory. If you can draft a QB2, but with a QB3 price tag, how can you say no?

Even if Manuel wins the starting quarterback job there’s no guarantee he’s going to keep it all year long. We’ve seen Kolb come in relief before and play relatively well. Being able to draft and stash a quarterback in 2-QB leagues who has any value is a desirable asset in 2-QB fantasy football leagues. If the cost of a Kolb, as your QB3, is an 11th round draft pick, the return on investment—if Kolb hits—will yield a considerable return on your initial investment.

*Stats used courtesy of Pro-football-reference.com, 2QBornot2QB.com, TheFakeFootball.com, NFLData.com, and rotoViz.com

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 XNSports.com.