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2-QB Fantasy Football

How to Handle the 2-QB Conundrum of Starting Quarterback Bye Weeks

Chiefs QB Alex Smith
Chiefs QB Alex Smith

Aug 16, 2013; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith (11) warms up before the game against the San Francisco 49ers at Arrowhead Stadium. John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports

You’ve heard it said many times before but what I’m about to say doesn’t make it any less true. Your fantasy football draft isn’t won in the first few rounds.

We spend so much time obsessing over figuring out if we should draft Aaron Rodgers over Drew Brees in the first round of a 12-team 2-QB league, for example, that we sometimes tend to forget that there really isn’t that much of a difference between the two.

Rodgers and Brees are both going to put up outstanding fantasy numbers this year and if you have either one of them on your 2-QB fantasy football team you’re probably going to be okay, depending on the rest of your roster.

What we really need to be focusing on is the middle and late portions of our 2-QB fantasy football drafts, such as determining which QB3 we should target. That’s one question you need to be asking yourself and the only way you will find the answer is if you put the time and effort into researching all aspects related to fantasy football.

In a 2-QB fantasy football draft, if you’re of the mindset that you want to come away from your draft with a QB3 that you will play as a bye week fill-in, and hopefully nothing more, you’re going to have to be very particular about which QB3 to target and when to target that specific QB3.

Everybody in your 2-QB league is more than likely going to want a QB3 as well but there just aren’t that many of them to go around. If you don’t want to be stuck with a back-up such as Nick Foles or Drew Stanton as your QB3, you’re more than likely going to have to reach for somebody such as Alex Smith or Matt Schaub.

If we take a look at the 2-QB ADP data and focus on QBs 20-30 for 10-team 2-QB leagues, and QBs 24-32 for 12-team 2-QB leagues, you’ll see that the pickings are pretty slim for potentially reliable QB3 options. That’s quite evident in 12-team 2-QB leagues.

After the first two tiers of starting quarterbacks are taken in 10-team 2-QB leagues we’re left with the following QB3 tier:

For 12-team 2-QB leagues that QB3 tier looks like this:

The QB3 tier for 10-team 2-QB leagues isn’t as bad as it is when you look at who your options are in 12-team 2-QB leagues. At least in 10-team 2-QB leagues, each of the options listed are current NFL starters, minus Geno Smith, who might still wind up winning the starting job in New York. And if you read my breakdown of the value rookie quarterbacks provide in 2-QB leagues, he’s somebody you’re going to want to consider.

The same can’t be said for the 12-team 2-QB QB3 tier though, as four of the players listed are back-ups, if you include Kevin Kolb, who might be an early season starter if E.J. Manuel starts the 2013 NFL season on the injury list.

The purpose of this article isn’t to rank the QB3 tier. If you want to know how I view the quarterback position in 2-QB fantasy football leagues, this updated tiered rankings will do the trick. The goal of this article is to match-up QB3s with starting QB1/QB2 combinations to find the ideal QB3 bye week fill-in.

In order to do that I’ve put together a few charts that will hopefully come in handy when having to plan around the bye weeks of the quarterbacks in Tier 1 and Tier 2, based on the current 2-QB ADP data available.

The first chart has every relevant quarterback and their bye week listed:

2013 QB Bye Weeks

2013 QB Bye Weeks

Once you have the bye weeks associated to the QB1 and QB2 tiers, next it’s time to determine which QB3 target is right for you in your upcoming 2-QB draft.

To do that, I used the very handy customizable projections tool kit from Pro Football Focus Fantasy. I created two leagues that would provide me customized projections for the quarterback position.

The scoring settings for quarterbacks in league one are:

  • 6 points/passing TD
  • -2 for interceptions
  • 1 point for every 25 yards passing

The scoring settings for quarterbacks in league two are:

  • 4 points/passing TD
  • -2 for interceptions
  • 1 point for every 25 yards passing

I wanted to account for both standard scoring leagues and leagues that award 6 points/passing touchdowns.

Once the leagues were created and the PFF projections provided, I went through each set of projections, on a week-to-week basis, and looked for the scoring projections of each QB3, from Weeks 4-12.

Below you’ll see four different charts that shows how many fantasy points each QB3 is projected to score during Weeks 4-12, in both standard scoring, and 6 points/passing touchdown leagues. The charts are also broken down into QB3 targets in 10-team 2-QB leagues, and 12-team 2-QB leagues.

10-team 2-QB standard scoring QB3 Bye Week Options

10-team 2-QB standard scoring QB3 Bye Week Options


12-team 2-QB standard scoring QB3 Bye Week Options

12-team 2-QB standard scoring QB3 Bye Week Options


10-team 2-QB 6 points/passing TD QB3 Bye Week Options

10-team 2-QB 6 points/passing TD QB3 Bye Week Options


12-team 2-QB 6 points/passing TD QB3 Bye Week Options

12-team 2-QB 6 points/passing TD QB3 Bye Week Options

Now that you’ve gotten a chance to go over the bye weeks, and seen the projections for each of the QB3s, that should give you some insight as to which QB3 to draft, based on the starting QB1/QB2 tandem you wind up with in your draft.

I’ve mentioned this before, but Alex Smith could be the key to your 2-QB fantasy football team this year, and if you look at his projections, he would make for a respectable QB3, especially if Tom Brady isn’t your QB1/QB2, as that’s the only top fantasy quarterback Alex Smith shares a bye week with.

That’s just one example for you, and one way to show you how to use the PFF Fantasy projections to help you find a QB3 bye week replacement. Another example would be to avoid Christian Ponder as your QB3, if your starting quarterbacks are a combination of Robert Griffin III, Ben Roethlisberger, or Josh Freeman, as all four share the same Week 5 bye.

Also, if you’re willing to pay the price and select Ryan Tannehill early to be your QB3, you could be rewarded. He has some nice projected scoring weeks and only shares a bye with Matt Ryan.

Play around with the PFF Fantasy projections in the chart and the try to find suitable matches for the bye weeks of QB1s and QB2s you’re targeting in your 2-QB draft. It could come in handy during your draft when deciding between specific QB3 options.

Two notes about the PFF projections before you leave:

PFF projects E.J. Manuel to be out on until Week 5, meaning the projected Week 4 points are based on Kevin Kolb playing.

PFF also projects that Blaine Gabbert will lose his starting QB job after Jacksonville’s Week 8 performance. The Jaguars have a bye Week 9, meaning that the projected points from Week 10-12 are based on Chad Henne starting for the Jaguars.

*Stats used in this article courtesy of Pro Football Focus Fantasy

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