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Thursday, July 26, 2012

The Backup Quarterback

A new tactic for you to consider...  The quarterback handcuff.  I know it's a strange concept, but hear me out.

Normally fantasy football players take their starting QB anywhere from round one through round seven and then grab a backup QB in the area around rounds 10-12.

I've seen a few different ways to approach this including back-to-back quarterbacks, no backup on the roster, and now this idea of the quarterback handcuff.  Let's discuss:

No Backup - There are people in the industry that I respect who are completely sold on this concept.  What you do is invest in one of the top 5 QB's and then completely avoid drafting a QB2.  Why waste a roster spot on a QB2 when you are going to start your stud every single week?  Got it.  Makes sense.  You could grab your high-upside longshot at RB6 with that spot.  Maybe he hits and you've got lightning in a bottle.  It is better to give yourself a chance at that then to burn a roster spot on a boring QB2 that is like the 16th best guy in the league.  On the bye week you just grab the best guy off of waivers who has a decent matchup.  Easy as that.

Back-to-Back Quarterbacks - This is a theory that I tend to lean toward with certain exceptions.  This tactic involves loading up on RB's and WR's with your first six picks and then taking two QB's in rounds 7 and 8.  The idea here is that by playing the matchups week to week you end up with production that is worth about what the #5 QB is supposed to provide.  At the same time you even out your production, you have a great bye-week replacement, you insure yourself against injury, and you're using those high picks on the positions that are the most scarce. Boom.

QB Handcuff - A lot of people handcuff their RB's, but you almost never see the QB handcuff.  When they handcuff their RB's they are drafting the clear-cut real-life backup to the RB that they drafted in the 1st or 2nd round of their fantasy draft.  That insures them against injury and locks in that RB1 role on the fantasy squad.  Now, when you draft one of the 3 or 4 best QB's in the 1st or 2nd round, why not handcuff them?  QB's almost always have a clear-cut backup and that backup QB in a great offense might be better than the typical QB2 you would take... The 16th best guy that you would draft in round 12 of your fantasy draft.  Your stud QB's real-life backup can almost always be had in the last round of your draft, and no one will want him but you.  In fact, you could probably not draft him at all and pick him up right before the season.  And, how about this - consolidate value on your team with a 2-for-1 deal to free up that roster spot.  Can you trade your 8th and 12th round picks for like a 6th rounder before the season starts?  You can certainly do something along those lines.  Is that better than spending a 12th rounder on a lame QB2 who won't play for you except in the case of injury anyway?  Uh, yeah.  You end up with basically the same situation except you turned your 8th rounder into a 6th rounder.  The clear downside is that you don't have a bye week replacement, but think of it this way: This is like the no-backup strategy except for the bonus that you already know who you are dropping.  You drop your real-life backup QB for your best bye week guy, then you reverse the process the following week.  No one will burn a roster spot on the real-life backup to your QB1, so you can do this completely safely and predictably.

I've never attempted the QB Handcuff before, but it is a strategy that I'm liking the more I think about it.  The only problem is that most people can't name the backups to Tom Brady, Drew Brees, or Aaron Rodgers.  That means they don't have much of a pedigree or track record, which is the thing that makes this a risky strategy.  Proceed with caution.


  1. This is a consistantly great blog!

  2. Thank you! We aim to please. Let me know if there are any additional topics that you would like to see covered in this space.