Back-Up Quarterbacks to Keep an Eye on in 2-QB Fantasy Football Leagues

Eagles Backup QB Nick Foles
Eagles Backup QB Nick Foles
Aug 15 2013 Philadelphia PA USA Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Nick Foles 9 runs for a touchdown against the Carolina Panthers during the first half at Lincoln Financial Field Joe Camporeale USA TODAY Sports

You draft your quarterbacks in 2-QB fantasy football leagues hoping that you never have to bench them, minus bye weeks. No matter how much time we spend preparing for our fantasy drafts, we can never prepare for our starting quarterbacks to miss time, either due to injury or ineffective play. That’s just part of the game.

One option we have is to spend a draft pick on upside back-up quarterbacks, either as insurance to the stud quarterback in our starting line-up, or because we think they might eventually get a crack at the starting job.

Those of you last year that drafted or picked up Colin Kaepernick from the waiver wire in your 2-QB fantasy football league hit the jackpot when he was named the starting quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers mid-season, but for every Kaepernick or 2011 Tim Tebow, there’s going to be a 2011 era Shaun Hill, someone we think might have some fantasy value, but does nothing more than stand on the sidelines playing catch with the kicker.

There is risk involved when drafting a back-up quarterback, as you never know if they’ll see a meaningful NFL down, but the risk is mitigated by using nothing more than a late round draft pick to select them. If they don’t pan out, you can always cut them without worry. But if they do pan out, you might end up getting a valuable fantasy quarterback for the price of a kicker, if you still draft kickers in your league.

Below I’ve pinpointed some of the better fantasy back-ups that could become fantasy useful this year in your 2-QB league. The names mentioned are on the list, either because they are talented quarterbacks, are in a situation to potentially start, or both.

Late Round Pick Burners
Nick Foles
Chad Henne

  • These are the only two back-up quarterbacks worth drafting in the latter stages of your 2-QB fantasy football draft, mainly because they were the only two prominent quarterbacks to be in a battle for a starting quarterback job, but ultimately failed.
  • Foles and Henne are more appealing to the owners of Michael Vick and Chad Henne, but only Foles can truly be considered a handcuff fantasy quarterback. If you draft Gabbert, you don’t necessarily have to draft Henne, and the hope is that if you do have Gabbert on your team, he’s nothing more than your QB3.

Waiver Wire Speed Dial
T.J. Yates
Matt Moore
Matt Cassel
Drew Stanton
Jason Campbell
Matt Flynn
Chase Daniel
Mike Glennon
Charlie Whitehurst
Ryan Fitzpatrick
Bruce Gradkowski
Kirk Cousins
Josh McCown
Kyle Orton
Shaun Hill

  • Then there are quarterbacks we aren’t entirely sold on, because of the situation they are in, or their talent level isn’t all that high. Josh Freeman could be benched if he starts the season out on a cold note, and in that case, Mike Glennon would be the replacement. The same thing goes for Christian Ponder, with Matt Cassel backing him up.
  • It’s a good idea to know the real life back-up quarterback of your starting fantasy quarterback, in the event you might need a one week fill-in, so make sure you are up-to-date on the quarterback depth charts around the NFL. For some of the best NFL depth charts, is your go-to site.
  • Matt Flynn is on the list based on the assumption that Terrelle Pryor will be named the starting quarterback in Oakland. If Flynn winds up starting, move Pryor into the ‘Late Round Pick Burners’ category.

Be Careful What You Wish For
Matt Hasselbeck
Dominique Davis
Tarvaris Jackson
Luke McCown
B.J. Coleman

  • These quarterbacks, as of now, will not see much action in the NFL this season, and for good reason. They are all behind franchise quarterbacks, or potential franchise quarterbacks, without an extensive NFL injury history. Yet, injuries can happen to anyone, at any time, and it might be best to grab somebody like Tarvaris Jackson, if Russell Wilson were to go down, because of the situation around him. Not to mention that Jackson knows the offensive system well in Seattle, and wouldn’t have to play catch-up with the playbook.

For the most part, the names mentioned on the list shouldn’t be considered as draft worthy in your 2-QB fantasy football draft, but they should just be names to be aware of, based on the fantasy quarterbacks you do end up with on your team.

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