News & Analysis

Fantasy football mock drafts: When to pounce on a QB in superflex

Nov 13, 2017; Charlotte, NC, USA; Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton (1) plays around on the sidelines in the fourth quarter against the Miami Dolphins at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

If there’s one thing I could recommend to any readers looking to mix up their home fantasy leagues this year, I’d suggest selling your leaguemates on a superflex league. This is hands-down the best way to bring back relevance to the quarterback position while adding a new wrinkle to drafting strategy. Three of the four dynasty leagues I’ve joined this offseason were superflex. I convinced my home league to finally switch to this format. And now, I’m pitching it to you as well.

For those unfamiliar with the term superflex, it’s an additional flex spot that allows you to use either a QB/RB/WR/TE in that slot. It changes the whole dynamic of the draft with quarterbacks surging in value as a QB2 often far outscores traditional flex points accrued from an RB3/WR4.

There are several tried and true methods to drafting in these types of leagues, and the PFF Fantasy staff got together to test our mettle against one another in this battle of wit. Instead of going round-by-round recapping picks, I think it’d be more interesting to look at the drafting methods some of our drafters utilized in this for Superflex format. Let’s get started.

Early QB method

Scott Spratt (Aaron Rodgers – 1.03; Cam Newton – 2.10)

Scott Spratt's Roster
Position Player Team Pick
QB Aaron Rodgers GB 1.03
QB Cam Newton CAR 2.10
RB Kenyan Drake MIA 4.10
RB Alex Collins BAL 4.03
RB Mark Ingram NO 5.10
RB Marlon Mack IND 8.10
RB Aaron Jones GB 11.03
RB Kenneth Dixon BAL 12.10
RB Kalen Ballage MIA 15.03
WR Davante Adams GB 3.03
WR Will Fuller HOU 9.03
WR Robby Anderson NYJ 10.10
WR Chris Godwin TB 13.03
WR John Ross CIN 14.10
WR Danny Amendola MIA 16.10
TE Evan Engram NYG 7.03
K Mason Crosby GB 18.10
DST Baltimore Ravens 17.03

Scott Spratt wasted no time at all addressing the quarterback position. He selected Rodgers with the third overall pick and then doubled down on the position by drafting Newton in the second. Two of the first five quarterbacks are now rostered by Spratt. He then went the entirety of the draft without thinking about the quarterback position again. That’s the luxury of double-dipping with the early-QB method. While this strategy forces you to forego the stud wideouts and bell-cow backs, it provides you the peace of mind with “set and forget” quarterbacks.

While others began selecting their quarterbacks later, Spratt was able to pick up some of this year’s best “value” plays. I love the play he made drafting Davante Adams and pairing him with Rodgers. This stacking method creates a lower floor if both players have a poor outing, but if both hit they can make for a very strong weekly performance for your team. Investing in a perennial offensive powerhouse like the Packers for this strategy was a shrewd move. Spratt was also able to finds several early RB2s that should have scattered RB1 weeks with Kenyan Drake and Alex Collins. Evan Engram is sure to lose some of the volume he saw last year (115 targets), but the tight end position is practically wide-open after the first two big names. Aaron Jones (11.03) and Chris Godwin (13.03) were two other particular value picks that stood out to me.


Tyler Buecher (Drew Brees – 3.04; Blake Bortles 8.09; Case Keenum 9.04)

Tyler Buecher's Roster
Position Player Team Pick
QB Drew Brees NO 3.04
QB Blake Bortles JAX 8.09
QB Case Keenum DEN 9.04
RB David Johnson AZ 1.04
RB Derrius Guice WAS 4.09
RB Ronald Jones TB 6.09
RB Isaiah Crowell NYJ 12.09
WR Keenan Allen LAC 2.09
WR JuJu Smith-Schuster PIT 5.04
WR Sterling Shepard NYG 10.09
WR Kenny Stills MIA 11.04
WR Allen Hurns DAL 13.04
WR Ted Ginn Jr. NO 14.09
WR Christian Kirk AZ 15.04
WR John Brown BAL 16.09
TE Greg Olsen CAR 7.04
K Justin Tucker BAL 17.04
DST Atlanta Falcons 18.09

The “Studs-n-Duds” method is by far my favorite way to attack superflex leagues. It allows you to invest one of your first three rounds in a top-tier quarterback and net two high-quality fantasy starters in the process. Brees had a very down year in 2017 from a volume standpoint, but it was by no means an early sign of regression. He set the single-season record for completion percentage last year (72.0) and was our No. 2 graded quarterback, trailing only Tom Brady. If we see any type of positive regression for Brees and the Saints offense going back towards their pass-happy tendency, he could easily see himself climb back into top-five fantasy QB contention.

The “duds” part of my method led to me selecting Bortles (8.09) and Keenum (9.04) with back-to-back picks in the later rounds. Bortles was last year’s fantasy QB12 and Keenum was slightly behind him at QB14. Both were drafted as the QB24 and QB25. Brees will be locked into my starting quarterback spot, and I have no qualms with rotating between Bortles and Keenum based on matchup as my superflex.

This method of drafting also let me get several studs to anchor my lineup around in David Johnson (1.04) and Keenan Allen (2.09). Johnson is one of a very few backs capable of going for 1,000 rushing and 1,000 receiving yards in a season and Allen could be a potential darkhorse candidate for leading the league in targets. I later added three other potential workhorse backs and then threw as many dart throws as I could at wide receiver, getting a few of my draft favorites in Kenny Stills and John Brown. If Greg Olsen doesn’t have any setbacks from his Jones fracture, he could potentially post his fourth 1,000-yard season in five years.

Late-round QB

Tyler Loechner (Alex Smith – 7.09; Derek Carr – 8.04)

Tyler Loechner's Roster
Position Player Team Pick
QB Alex Smith WAS 7.09
QB Derek Carr OAK 8.04
QB Joe Flacco BAL 14.04
RB Joe Mixon CIN 3.09
RB Derrick Henry TEN 5.09
RB Nick Chubb CLE 9.09
RB Ty Montgomery GB 12.04
RB D'Onta Foreman HOU 13.09
RB Latavius Murray MIN 15.09
RB Austin Ekeler LAC 16.04
WR Odell Beckham Jr. NYG 1.09
WR Michael Thomas NO 2.04
WR Brandin Cooks LAR 6.04
WR Julian Edelman NE 10.04
WR Dez Bryant DAL 11.09
TE Travis Kelce KC 4.04
K Harrison Butker KC 17.09
DST Tennessee Titans 18.04

Tyler Lochner waited until the seventh round of our draft before addressing the quarterback position with back-to-back picks. He was able to net Smith at 7.09 and Carr at 8.04. Smith finished last season as the overall fantasy QB4 and has become a steal this year in drafts with few interested in giving him much of a bump. Carr had a disappointing 2017 campaign with numbers down across the board. He still makes for a very serviceable superflex option considering his locked-in job security. Loechner also took Joe Flacco late in the draft (14.04) to help with bye weeks. Flacco should retain the starting role heading into the season and makes for a safe “cover” for Smith’s early Week 4 bye. Rostering a second quarterback in the flex is highly recommended and Loechner set himself up to do exactly that.

His delay in addressing the quarterback position also helped give him a hefty jumpstart on the competition at other positions. Start/sit lineup decisions won’t be an issue often for Loechner. He can confidently start Mixon/Henry at running back, Beckham/Thomas/Cooks at wide receiver, and Kelce at tight end. That leaves a lot of flexibility for his final flex spot, which will likely be taken by Edelman when he comes back from his four-game suspension. I wanted to highlight Lochner’s team specifically because it shows that even if you wait on the quarterback position in a superflex league, you can still win at the other positions and rotate traditional “streamable” quarterbacks based on matchups. Quarterbacks remain the most predictable position week-to-week and Loechner utilized that to his advantage in this draft.

Other takeaways

  • Five of the 12 teams in this draft elected to only take two quarterbacks. I personally think this is a rather risky move considering the lack of options on the waiver wire. I’d prefer to have three quarterbacks leaving the draft given the scarcity of the position and to account for bye weeks.
  • Tight end tiering is starting to take shape as we get closer to September. Rob Gronkowski and Travis Kelce are generally taken within the first three rounds (four here given the superflex setting). Zach Ertz is on an island after them. Then there’s the Engram/Olsen through Delanie Walker/Trey Burton tier. After that, it may be best to just wait until the end of your draft and throw some late-round darts at guys like Benjamin Watson or Ricky Seals-Jones.
  • The superflex wrinkle adds creates an abundance of variety in roster construction. Our league saw several different strategies utilized based on draft position.
    • Early drafter Scott Barrett loved the advantage as an early drafter, securing Todd Gurley (1.01), A.J. Green (2.12), and Jerick McKinnon (3.01) before addressing the quarterback position at the Round 4/5 turn.
    • Adversely, our editor Daniel Kelley didn’t like drafting late at the end of the round. He went Julio Jones (1.12) and Tom Brady (2.01) back-to-back to ensure top-end QB production and not risk missing out on quarterbacks due to a potential “run” at the position.
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