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Backup Quarterbacks To Stash in Superflex Leagues - 2024 Fantasy Football Analysis

Justin Fields - Fantasy Football Rankings, Draft Sleepers, NFL Injury News

Backup quarterback: The best job in all of sports.

The fans love their unseen potential as they relax on the sideline and collect checks, free from menacing pass rushers and downhill middle linebackers. When the starter struggles, fans clamor for QB2.

It's also a position not often given a second thought in fantasy football, at least in single-quarterback leagues. In Superflex and 2QB leagues, however, keeping tabs on a reserve signal-caller may be the key to capturing fantasy glory.

Editor's Note: Our incredible team of writers won two writing awards and received 12 award nominations by the Fantasy Sports Writers Association. A big congrats to our very own Byron Lindeque (Golf) and Jordan McAbee (NASCAR) for both winning Writer Of The Year awards! Be sure to follow RotoBaller's analysis and advice all year long, and win more. Win More With RotoBaller!

 

Joe Flacco, Indianapolis Colts

Don't put that evil on me, Ricky Bobby! Don't you put that on us!

Anthony Richardson is an injury concern, plain and simple. Avoiding talking about it isn't going to solve the problem. It doesn't matter whether the second-year quarterback is prone to injuries or his style of play is susceptible to bumps and bruises.

Richardson has endured a pair of AC sprains in his shoulder, two concussions, a torn meniscus, plus a handful of minor hamstring ailments since he stepped on campus at the University of Florida. He played just two full games in his rookie season and appeared in four total. From Week 6 through the end of the season, Gardner Minshew was the QB17. It's not pretty, but that production is worthy of a roster spot in Superflex and 2QB leagues.

The Colts let Minshew depart to Las Vegas in the offseason and nabbed veteran Joe Flacco to serve as the backup to Richardson. The 39-year-old and reigning Comeback Player of the Year took the league by storm in just five starts in 2023. Flacco was the QB2 from Weeks 13 to 17, topping 300 yards four times while tossing three touchdowns three times.

With a new uniform and offensive system, adjust Flacco's expectations. Plus, again, he's turning 40 next year. His magic may have already run out. But if it hasn't, he'd be thrust into action on an offense full of weapons. A steady diet of Jonathan Taylor will keep defenses honest, opening up play-action passes to Michael Pittman Jr., Adonai Mitchell, and Josh Downs. Richardson is a consensus top-10 fantasy football quarterback, in part, due to the pieces around him (although the biggest reason is his rushing production). Flacco should be serviceable in his stead if he's called upon.

 

Justin Fields, Pittsburgh Steelers

NFL franchises don't view Justin Fields as a starting-caliber quarterback. The Bears circled the trade market over and over again until finally sending their former first-round pick to Pittsburgh for a 2025 sixth-round pick. There's a noticeable difference in how the fantasy football community views Fields.

He is, and likely won't ever be, a polished passer. But he is electric with the football in his hands.

Fields averaged 50 rushing yards per game in 2023, a figure down from the absurd 76.2 yards he averaged the year prior. For fantasy purposes, that's essentially an extra passing touchdown every game. Mike Tomlin and offensive coordinator Arthur Smith have historically relied on strong rushing attacks to move an offense.

Fields also happens to be a part of a roster that doesn't have many reliable weapons in the passing game. George Pickens shows promising development as a wideout, but the rest of the room is barren. The team traded Diontae Johnson in the offseason. As much as some (including myself) like Roman Wilson as a prospect, depending on a third-round wide receiver to be the second option is a lot to ask. Van Jefferson, Quez Watkins, and Calvin Austin III won't be demanding targets. Injuries contributed to a regression season for tight end Pat Freiermuth.

Russell Wilson was also acquired in the offseason and will be the Week 1 starter, barring unforeseen circumstances. If he struggles early and the team drops winnable games, there will be calls to start Fields because of how the average fan views him. The Steelers also have a history of winning seasons, even if the roster doesn't stack up with the rest of the league's elites. The fans and front office won't appreciate a losing season.

From Weeks 13 through 18, Fields was QB13, just outside the QB1 range. Lean on the rushing advantage and keep Fields on rosters in case he becomes the starter sometime during the season.

 

Sam Howell, Seattle Seahawks

Geno Smith revitalized his career in Seattle, winning Comeback Player of the Year following the 2022 season and two consecutive Pro Bowls (although the second was a replacement selection). The former second-round pick by the Jets will turn 34 this year, however, and didn't play particularly well for most of last season. A restructured deal keeps Smith under contract for the next two seasons. Still, the Seahawks wanted to snag a backup and potential heir apparent, especially after letting Drew Lock sign with the Giants in free agency.

Sam Howell was acquired for a handful of swapped draft picks, a relatively inexpensive cost for a quarterback who started all 17 games last season as a member of the Washington Commanders. The 2022 fifth-round pick threw for nearly 4,000 yards but registered an even one-to-one touchdown-to-interception ratio and led the league in sacks taken (65).

There's a new coaching staff in the Pacific Northwest, which may or may not be sparking a fake debate about who the Seahawks' starting quarterback will be (spoiler alert: It's still Smith and has been confirmed by both head coach Mike Macdonald and Smith himself).

A change of scenery may be the key to unlocking Howell as a full-time starter in the NFL. The offensive line in Washington was nothing to write home about, but Howell takes some blame for holding on to the ball too long in the pocket. A new offensive scheme and beefy boys up front can change an above-average quarterback's career trajectory. Remember, Howell is just entering his third NFL season and was once regarded as a first-round NFL prospect. The physical tools and competitive nature are there. Now, he needs the right fit and supporting cast.

The skill set gap between the two quarterbacks isn't very wide, plus Howell can do more with his legs. He's worth stashing in Superflex leagues this season and could become the long-term starter in Seattle if the cards fall in his favor.



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