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Tiered QB Rankings for 2-QB Fantasy Football Leagues (June)

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.

The thirst is real, as my good friend, and fellow XN Sports scribe Rich Hribar likes to say. It seems redraft fantasy football owners are gearing up for their leagues earlier than usual.

Now seemed like a good time to polish off the first batch of my preseason tiered quarterback rankings for 2-QB leagues. I’ll be following the same format as last season, when I divided the quarterbacks up into three groups: QB1, QB2, and QB3.

This seemed to me the best way to tell you how I view the fantasy quarterback landscape, which will hopefully help you out during your 2-QB draft preparation. You’ll find the tiers don’t sync up with your traditional 10 or 12-team 2-QB league starting requirements though.

The QB1 tier, for instance, has 13 quarterbacks listed. What that means is I would be okay with any one of those 13 signal callers to lead my 2-QB team. If you’re the same way, it might give you a chance to wait to take your first fantasy signal caller in your 2-QB draft.

That’s one way to look at the deep quarterback position this year in fantasy. Below you can see my tiered rankings, with a few notes about the tiers.

Tier 1: QB1 (13)
Aaron Rodgers, Peyton Manning, Drew Brees, Matthew Stafford, Robert Griffin III, Nick Foles, Jay Cutler, Andrew Luck, Tony Romo, Cam Newton, Matt Ryan, Russell Wilson, Tom Brady

Tier 2: QB2 (16)
Colin Kaepernick, Carson Palmer, Philip Rivers, Ben Roethlisberger, Alex Smith, Johnny Manziel, Andy Dalton, Jake Locker, Ryan Tannehill, Geno Smith, Eli Manning, Josh McCown, Joe Flacco, Sam Bradford, EJ Manuel, Teddy Bridgewater

Tier 3 QB3 (13)
Chad Henne, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Matt Schaub, Michael Vick, Blake Bortles, Brian Hoyer, Matt Cassel, Mike Glennon, Derek Carr, Thaddeus Lewis, Shaun Hill, Brock Osweiler, Kirk Cousins

QB1 Tier Notes

There’s not much difference between the top-three of Rodgers, Manning, and Brees. They’re in a tier of their own, and that won’t change for me. If you want either one of them, you’re more than likely going to have to spend a first round pick.

Who’s next after the top-three in the QB4 spot is a discussion being had in all types of fantasy football leagues. The case can be made for a number of quarterbacks, and tends to come down to personal preference. I settled on Matthew Stafford because the Lions offense looks to be much improved with the additions of free agent wide receiver Golden Tate, rookie tight end Eric Ebron, and new offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi.

The former Saints quarterback coach was in New Orleans when Drew Brees set a number of passing records and put up some staggering numbers. Kyle Wachtel of Footballguys.com did some number crunching and had some #FunWithNumbers…

Will Stafford become the next Brees? Probably not, but I’m willing to give it a shot.

QB2 Tier Notes

Even though the QB1 tier ends with Tom Brady, you can make the case to include Colin Kaepernick, and possibly Carson Palmer as well. Even Philip Rivers, after a resurgent 2013 season, could be thrown into the QB1 tier.

Why Palmer though, you might ask? Doesn’t he play the NFC West six times a year? Yes, he does. That’s a strike. Although, he did put up at least 14 standard fantasy points in each of his NFC West divisional games last season, minus the two against Seattle.

XN Sports’ own C.D. Carter used the RotoViz Games Split App to look at some streaming quarterback options to see how they fared against top-10 pass defenses vs. all other defenses they went up against.

Palmer’s numbers were encouraging, in that he was only 11 percent better vs. pass defenses outside of the top-ten. If you’re worried when Palmer plays against the NFC West, you can grab a QB3 with a favorable schedule during those weeks. Or grab insurance just for when Palmer plays the Seahawks in Weeks 12 and 16. Josh McCown could be that guy (Week 12 vs. Chicago Bears/Week 16 vs. Green Bay Packers).

There are a lot of interesting names in this tier, and if you’re a proponent of the late-round quarterback theory in 1-QB leagues, you could play around with it in 2-QB leagues by grabbing a trio of QB2s from this tier and playing the match-up game. It might not sound sexy, but an Alex Smith, Jake Locker, and Geno Smith combination is an example of how that could work. The tricky part is working the draft room right so you can acquire all three.

QB3 Tier Notes

Just as I was writing this up, Patrick Thorman of PFF Fantasy makes me question my ranking of Ryan Fitzpatrick. Read this fresh-off-the-press article he wrote to see the case he made for Fitzpatrick.

Here’s a small sample: “During the 11 weeks that Fitzpatrick played last season, he was the 10th highest scoring fantasy quarterback. He supplemented his totals with 3.7 fantasy points per game on the ground, an unheralded aspect of his game.”

That doesn’t sound like a guy who should be ranked 31st, and I will probably revisit this ranking in the future, but make sure to keep tabs on Fitzpatrick in your 2-QB draft.

The fear I have with FitzMagic is the Texans could perform really poorly on the field, whether it’s the quarterback’s fault or not, leading to the team wanting to see what the other quarterbacks on the roster are capable of.

As for the rest of this tier, it’s the unsexy back-ups. And Chad Henne. And Matt Schaub, who is the fantasy quarterback this year I’m having trouble being talked into. The Raiders offense looks like it could be one of the worst in the league, and with rookie Derek Carr already passing The McGloin Bar is he that far off from scoring well on The Schaub Bar?

Keeping an eye on the back-ups of certain teams is never a bad idea, so that you’re ready in case the next Scott Tolzien era is upon us in 2-QB fantasy football leagues.

Breaking down your quarterback rankings into tiers will help you visualize drop-offs at the position, which should help play a part in honing your 2-QB draft strategy.