Early-Round QBs

*The article is from the 2015 2QB Draft Season and is republished from 2QBFFB.com*

**Click here to read the 2016 updated version of the Early-Round QB strategy**

Early-Round QBs

2QB draft strategy should be simple, right. Draft.Quarterbacks. Nothing else matters. Isn’t the whole point of playing in 2QB fantasy football leagues to bring back prestige to what is considered the most important position in both fake and real football?

That line of thinking makes sense. Especially when you look at the fantasy points quarterbacks keep amassing. Last season alone 17 quarterbacks scored at least 300 fantasy points, according to FFToday. Up from 16 in 2013, and 14 in 2012.

Only one other non-quarterback in standard scoring leagues last season was able to score 300+ points, and that was DeMarco Murray. His 2014 fantasy output would have put him at QB18, right in between Cam Newton and Andy Dalton. That’s kind of ridiculous if you think about it, and should force us to consider only one 2QB draft strategy: QB-QB.

But is drafting quarterbacks with both of your first round picks the dominant league-winning move in 2QB drafts?

If you walk away from your draft with a combination of Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady or Drew Brees and Eli Manning there’s a good chance you’re going to congratulate yourself over outsmarting your league-mates. Suckers, you might even call them, for letting you commit grand theft robbery of walking away with two high-end QB1s.

Not so fast…

Yes, two elite quarterbacks will give you an advantage in the quarterback scoring column in your weekly head-to-head matchup, but at what cost? Something not every 2QBer takes into account is draft capital. The price you pay to acquire two top-tier QB1s has to come at the expensive of another position on your team.

Going QB-QB means forging a RB1 or WR1 in your draft.

If you’re picking at 1.05 and go with a quarterback in the first round that means bypassing the likes of Le’Veon Bell/Eddie Lacy or Dez Bryant/Antonio Brown.

Doubling up on a quarterback in round two likely means saying goodbye to any chance you have of drafting CJ Anderson/Jeremy Hill at running back or Demaryius Thomas/Calvin Johnson at wide receiver. That’s the real cost of selecting quarterbacks with your first two picks.

It’s difficult to consider what you’re missing out on at other skill positions when you’re busy focusing on drafting Aaron Rodgers, Andrew Luck, or Russell Wilson early. The allure of the early-round quarterbacks in 2QB leagues is real.

A Twitter follower asked me to start a mock draft by taking Ben Roethlisberger and Eli Manning with the first two picks, drafting out of the 1.05 slot. Not my preferred start, but one I went through with anyway. Below is a screenshot of the draft…

The color-coded draft board gives you a visual idea of what I was referring to earlier in regards to draft capital. There’s Roethlisberger and Eli sitting pretty at 1.05 and 2.06. And then there’s CJ Spiller, Doug Martin, and Chris Ivory battling it out as my top running backs.

Don’t get me wrong, all three are draft targets of mine this year, but preferably as RB2 options, not the top running backs on my team. For a Zero-RB/QB-QB squad it’s a pretty appealing team overall. The wide receiver depth could prove to be scary, and Travis Kelce is someone I’ve come away with a lot in recent mocks.

But it’s clear selecting Roethlisberger/Eli back-to-back cost me a shot at drafting at least one top-tier running back. Instead of going into the third round with the two early signal callers it could have been Le’Veon Bell and CJ Anderson or Dez Bryant and Demaryius Thomas.

I honestly don’t think there’s one surefire draft strategy in 2QB leagues. Whether you like to go QB-QB, Studs+Streaming, or use a semi-LRQB approach, there’s more than one way to draft in 2QB leagues.

It’s just kind of hard to use a high draft pick or two on elite quarterbacks when I can attempt to make up the production by pairing late-round quarterbacks or drafting two mid to high-end QB2 types like Ryan Tannehill, Philip Rivers, Tom Brady, or Cam Newton.

Even later than that tier you can target Sam Bradford, Joe Flacco, Teddy Bridgewater or Carson Palmer. Each of those signal callers can finish as a QB1 this year, or provide multiple QB1 performances. I’m not sure we can say the same thing about mid-to-late round running backs or wide receivers compared to their early-round drafted counterparts.

If you’re okay not having a top running back or wide receiver (or are a believer in the middle and late-round running back and wide receiver tiers) and would rather be comforted with the security that an Aaron Rodgers or Peyton Manning brings with them then by all means invest high draft picks at quarterback in 2QB leagues. Just be cognizant of what you’re missing out on by going that route. For those of you looking for a more balanced squad you might want to consider not drafting two quarterbacks early, or taking a down-the-middle approach with a ‘Studs+Streaming’ draft strategy.

Rich Hribar said it best this offseason in his Kings of Consistency piece when talking about fantasy quarterbacks:

“One thing about quarterbacks for fantasy football is the position is driven by matchups and volume more than real individual talent more than ever before and owners sometimes have a hard time separating real football performance to fantasy performance because of the way the position is scored relative to the others.”

Remember, 17 quarterbacks scored over 300 fantasy points last season. We should also note that 41 quarterbacks had at least one QB1 performance, and 19 quarterbacks accomplished the feat at least five times in 2014, according to Mr. Hribar.

You can cobble together high-scoring weeks from your quarterbacks even if they’re not drafted in the first round, and that’s the biggest reason why I don’t envision myself willingly investing two high picks on quarterbacks. Yes, even in 2QB fantasy football leagues.

*Stats used in this article from FFToday and XN Sports*