Back in 2019, the then-DFF team wrote a dynasty startup strategy guide. That guide holds up well even now, and I would highly recommend going back and reading it. However, I feel like the guide needs a 2020 update. So much has changed in the dynasty universe since March 2019, especially dynasty startup strategy, and I want to address that before the 2020 season. Recently, I wrote an updated, free 1QB startup strategy guide. In that guide, I went through both general and specific positional strategies to help you through dynasty startups in 2020. Everything I said in that article will still apply to this superflex startup strategy guide, so take a look at that story first before moving forward with this one.
What Is Superflex?
First, let’s break down what exactly a dynasty superflex league is. Unlike a normal 1QB league, you can start an extra quarterback in a superflex slot. As quarterbacks score more fantasy points than any other position, it is almost always beneficial to start a second quarterback if possible. There are only 32 starting quarterbacks at most in any given week, so there is an inventory scarcity at the quarterback position. Therefore, quarterbacks carry extreme value in superflex leagues compared to 1QB leagues. That value shift causes superflex startup strategy to differ significantly from 1QB startups.
Why did dynasty owners start playing superflex leagues over 1QB leagues? Great question. As I discussed in the 1QB guide, quarterbacks are an afterthought in 1QB formats. There are only 12 teams in a typical dynasty league, but there are about 20 usable fantasy quarterbacks. Quarterbacks are the most important position in real-life football, but they carried no trade value in dynasty leagues. Changing to the superflex format provided more options to trade and just made dynasty leagues more fun.
Ranking Quarterbacks in Superflex vs 1QB Leagues
There is a key difference in valuing quarterbacks in superflex leagues versus valuing them in 1QB leagues. In 1QB leagues, the upside is far more important. As only 12 quarterbacks play each week, safe, high-floor quarterbacks like Kirk Cousins carry little value. On the other hand, a high-upside option like Cam Newton provides some more intrigue, even though his floor is non-existent.
In superflex leagues, having a locked-in, guaranteed starting job in the NFL is the primary driver of dynasty value. Players like Cousins or Jared Goff have multiple guaranteed years remaining on their contracts, which means they will start for their teams if healthy. Any quarterback starting games has value in superflex leagues, and those guys will do just that for a few seasons.
I also downgrade quarterbacks that have uncertain futures more in superflex leagues than I would in 1QB leagues. Some examples include Drew Lock and Gardner Minshew. Both players lack first-round draft capital, and if they fail in 2020, could be replaced in 2021. Generally, looking at contracts, draft capital, and team situations are far more vital to superflex planning than in 1QB dynasty formats.
The General Strategy Approach
When playing in a superflex league, all of my previous advice around running back, wide receiver, and tight end still applies. While the importance of some of the other positions might shift down a bit as quarterbacks move up the rankings, the same general ideas continue to apply to running back, wide receiver, and tight end. Also, my same strategy theories retain their relevance in superflex leagues.
Even though there are some changes to rankings within the quarterback position from 1QB to superflex leagues, the more important question is how to value quarterbacks within a superflex startup. There are some very loud, confident, and misguided voices in the fantasy Twitter community that advocate two inferior superflex startup strategy approaches.
The first group suggests fading quarterbacks, which is the worst possible mistake you can make in a superflex startup. The second group also will lead you astray, as they suggest selecting quarterbacks no matter what, ignoring the principles of value. I’ll quickly break down what these two groups say, and then go into my preferred approach.
The Death Sentence – Fading Quarterback
There is a group of people and “so-called analysts” that recommend that you should fade quarterbacks in superflex dynasty leagues. They will often cite the “late-round QB” approach popular in 1QB redraft leagues as evidence to support their claims. Unfortunately, these people think that because quarterbacks are abundant in redraft 1QB leagues, the same principles apply to superflex dynasty leagues.
If you listen to their advice, you will not win anything in dynasty superflex leagues. You must leave your startup draft with a minimum of two starting quarterbacks. I’d prefer to have three, but two is the bare minimum. If you fail to do so, you will have to start another position in the superflex slot each week. The 24th-best quarterback in fantasy PPG scored 14.6 PPG in 2019, equivalent to the RB16 and the WR24 in PPR scoring. Essentially, the worst superflex starting quarterback outscored any flex option at either running back or wide receiver.
Also, if you only end up with one starting quarterback, what do you do when that player has his bye week? There are no starting quarterbacks available on waivers in superflex leagues. I did an entire series on superflex backup quarterbacks alone: part 1, part 2, part 3. Backup quarterbacks carry value in superflex dynasty leagues, and I recommend rostering plenty of them. Therefore, most backups are already on someone’s roster, and you won’t just be able to pick up a quarterback and slot him into your lineup.
As a final warning, if you listen to this horrible advice, you will pay for it dearly. Other owners will see that you’re desperate and rake you over the coals for a quarterback. Do not make this horrific mistake and screw your team over. Trust me when I say that many dynasty orphans result from superflex leagues where the original owner ignored the quarterback position. Those teams often take years to fix and have a dearth of value for a significant period. I’m not overstating the danger here, as fading quarterbacks in superflex leagues is the worst error a dynasty owner can make.
A Mistake – Blindly Overvaluing Quarterback
While undervaluing quarterbacks will get you steamrolled, it’s also dangerous to overvalue quarterbacks. Some particularly loud voices in the Twitter community suggest that you should only worry about quarterback in superflex leagues. They recommend starting your draft with a minimum of three or four quarterbacks in the first five rounds, and they often want to leave a draft with five, six, or even seven quarterbacks no matter what.
These people forget that you start other positions in fantasy football, with most dynasty leagues having a minimum starting lineup of two running backs, two wide receivers, and two flex spots. Yes, value is essential, and yes, quarterbacks have much more value in superflex leagues than in 1QB leagues. With that said, replacement-level quarterbacks are not worth a second or third-round startup pick.
Outside of a few studs, I don’t recommend paying a premium for quarterbacks. Patrick Mahomes, Lamar Jackson, Dak Prescott, Kyler Murray, and Deshaun Watson belong in the first round of a superflex startup. Each of them presents a top-five upside for multiple seasons, which is worth the substantial investment. I’m also comfortable with Russell Wilson in the second round, but after him, I believe in focusing on other positions in the early rounds.
If you stack your team with quarterbacks, make sure you did so at the appropriate value. Let’s say you happened to start with Mahomes and Wilson in the first two rounds and then took some running backs and receivers in the third through the fifth round. If solid starting quarterbacks remain on the board in rounds 6-9, go ahead and grab four more quarterbacks. You’ll have drafted six quarterbacks, but you found value. I’m totally fine with that approach. Just avoid blindly selecting quarterbacks at the top of your draft, as it doesn’t maximize the value of your dynasty team.
The Correct Approach – Value, Value, Value
The correct approach to superflex startup strategy is what I would recommend for any startup draft. Know your league settings and make a full value board with at least 200-250 players before the startup draft. Slot in quarterbacks where you’re comfortable drafting them, and then draft based on your chart.
If you find yourself in a position to take another quarterback based on value once you’ve already selected at least three starters, use your trade skills to move down the board. There’s almost always value in moving down in a startup, and superflex leagues are no different. That way, you don’t get overloaded with quarterbacks, and you don’t give up dynasty value.
The most significant difference in superflex leagues is that there is one exception to the value mindset that I always preach. As I mentioned above, you must leave the startup draft with at least two quarterbacks. I’m okay with taking a value loss to do that, especially on a later round quarterback.
As long as you come into the draft prepared, you will succeed in superflex leagues. Just be smart and don’t listen to the loud voices that I mentioned. As usual, a measured approach is best, and I hope you’ve gained a new perspective and learned something from reading this piece.
Thanks for reading this article about superflex startup strategy. You can find me on Twitter at @DFF_Karp. I love to interact with anyone in the community, so reach out at any time! I take fantasy questions and help with all formats, so keep sending those questions my way.
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