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XN Sports

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2-QB Fantasy Football: The RG3 Backup Plan

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.

Robert Griffin III is once again injured. Possibly for the year, but he might come back this season. There is no timetable for his return from his ankle injury at the moment.

What to do with RG3 in your 2-QB fantasy football league isn’t simple. I can’t just tell you to go pick up Kirk Cousins so I can go back to sipping virgin margaritas while watching True Detective reruns. As much as I wish I could. There’s a good chance Cousins isn’t available in your 2-QB fantasy football league, meaning we need to look at all options.

Unlike standard fantasy football leagues where only one quarterback is required in the starting lineup, we don’t have ownership numbers for 2-QB leagues. I can make assumptions (never a good thing), and my assumption is that Cousins is owned in all competitive 2-QB leagues. The former-backup-now-starting quarterback in Washington was either drafted by RG3 owners as a handcuff or as a QB3/QB4 what-the-hell lottery pick in 2-QB drafts.

Every week, dating back to last season, I put together a waiver wire piece dedicated to the quarterback position in 2-QB leagues. I never put much effort into highlighting Cousins on a weekly basis because he was a highly owned bench stash quarterback in 2-QB leagues

If you are a 2-QB owner that drafted Cousins and have a RG3 backup plan in place already you can most likely stop reading this article and give me the #DavisMattekNahWave, to signal your doneness with me.

For the rest of you, let’s figure out what to do with RG3 in redraft 2-QB leagues for the rest of the season.

As much of a RG3 fan that I am, and my RG3 dynasty shares can attest, fortunately/unfortunately, I only landed him in one redraft 2-QB league this year. And the only reason he found his way onto my team was because of his draft cost. It was the seventh round of a 10-team 2-QB draft. Russell Wilson was already drafted as my QB1 in the 4th round, as part of a Studs and Streaming strategy.

With RG3 still on the board I thought he posed too much value to pass up in round seven and took the plunge. So what do I do with that particular 2-QB team? Luckily for me I selected Geno Smith in Round 11 and Shaun Hill in Round 15 to round out my quarterback stable.

I’m confident enough in Geno Smith’s ability to return QB2 numbers (although the Eric Decker injury doesn’t help) that I don’t have to scramble for a trade to replace RG3. But not everyone is in the same position as me. With that in mind, let’s look at the options…

Wading Through The Waiver Wire

There’s a chance Kirk Cousins might be on the waiver wire in your 2-QB league. The first thing you need to do in the RG3 Replacement Plan is check. I’m sure you already have though.

Someone on Twitter asked me if they should pick up Cousins as their QB4 so I’m going to guess that he isn’t owned 100 percent across the board in 2-QB leagues.

If you’re a RG3 owner and Cousins is available, this is the number one move you make, regardless of your opinion about Cousins.

I understand how quickly fan bases can root against certain players, but the call for Cousins has never really been something I fully understood.

James Todd of RotoViz did a great job describing Cousins’ NFL career up to now:

“In his brief career, Cousins has been relatively underwhelming. A 1-3 record, 57.6 percent completion percentage, under seven yards/attempt, and a quarterback rating of just 74.3. Nothing special. The QB Sim App gives him a median per game projection of just 10.6 points/game.”

If you’ve been reading the reports on Cousins you can get a sense that the current coaching staff thinks he’s a better fit for the offense than RG3. From Mike Wise of The Washington Post:

“The dirty little secret in Ashburn is that Coach Jay Gruden actually thought Kirk Cousins was better suited to his offense, that Robert Griffin III wasn’t getting it and there was no way to delicately make a change at any point this season without causing major problems throughout the organization.”

Even if you don’t think Cousins is an adequate quarterback he has shown in the past he can put up respectable fantasy numbers in the right matchups. Sometimes that’s all you need.

The question to ask yourself when attempting to acquire Cousins shouldn’t be is he better than RG3, but rather is he good enough for fantasy purposes? The answer to the latter question is most likely yes.

In three NFL seasons Cousins has scored 17 or more fantasy points in a game three times, reaching the 20+ mark twice. Although, there is a major dud against the Giants last season when he scored only 1.06 fantasy points. Like any backup quarterback, you take the good with the bad.

If you desperately need a starting quarterback and Cousins isn’t available on your waiver wire then chances are slim you’ll find any viable signal caller on your waiver wire.

In this case, your options are to scour the waiver wire for quarterbacks in waiting and hope one of them pans out. A few names to consider: Mike Glennon, Blake Bortles, Teddy Bridgewater, Austin Davis, and Drew Stanton.

Take a Trip to the Trade Machine

If you strike out on Cousins or any other serviceable quarterback on the waiver wire your next option is to trade for a new quarterback.

Be warned, making a trade for an elite QB1 or halfway decent QB2 might end up costing you more than you’re willing to pay. The thought of replacing RG3 in a trade for a top-end quarterback talent like Aaron Rodgers sounds splendid, but the cost associated with trading for Rodgers will dash those hopes quickly.

The best route to take is to survey each team’s quarterback depth chart in your league and find the team with a QB3 that they rarely use. An owner hoarding Ryan Tannehill who starts Russell Wilson and Jay Cutler every week might be inclined to send Tannehill your way if you can provide them with a starting caliber player in return.

Think a WR3 or RB2. As an example, I was able to land DeSean Jackson last season in return for Alex Smith. Trades need to make sense for both sides, and if you can dangle a player they can start for a quarterback that is nothing more than a spot starter it’ll make sense for both teams.

Potential stashed QB3s to target in trade talks: Ryan Fitzpatrick, Ryan Tannehill, Derek Carr, and EJ Manuel. *Carson Palmer owners might be scared off by his current injury situation, which could lead to a small buy low window. It doesn’t hurt to at least send an offer out.*

So… Stash or Drop RG3?

Once you’ve settled on a RG3 Replacement Plan of action what do you do with RG3?

Do you hold onto him or drop him?

Washington won’t be putting the quarterback on IR, which means that even if you have an IR slot in your 2-QB league you can’t use it to stash RG3 consequence-free.

In leagues with shallow benches (think three or four bench spots) holding onto a player you have no idea when they will return is risky and hinders your ability to make moves. Even if a best case scenario is 6-8 weeks, by the time RG3 might come back we’re already looking at Week 8 or Week 10.

Navigating half a season with one less bench spot will hurt your team. Instead of being able to pick up a player like Knile Davis or Donald Brown, someone who you might start at least once during RG3’s absence, you’re just letting that bench spot go to waste. It’s tough to drop RG3, especially if you invested a high round draft pick in him, but in some cases holding on will hurt more than letting go.

However, In 2-QB leagues with large bench spots I’d consider holding on. There’s no guarantee you can drop him and then pick him up a week or two before (if) he returns because every other owner in your league will be thinking the same thing. If your team can make a playoff run while keeping RG3 on your bench it might come in handy the closer we get to the second season.

Either you get a returning starting quarterback (although a potentially rusty one) you can plug back into your lineup, or you can dangle RG3 as trade bait the closer you get to the trade deadline in your league to QB-needy teams holding out hope that a returning RG3 can salvage their team/season.

While it’s never easy replacing a QB1 in 2-QB leagues, hopefully you now have an idea of how to handle replacing RG3 in your 2-QB league and that your team can withstand the loss. Good luck!

*Stats used in this article courtesy of FantasyData and RotoViz