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How to Approach Superflex Fantasy Football Drafts in 2022

Aaron Rodgers - Fantasy Football Rankings, Draft Targets, NFL Injury News

Superflex is becoming a much more common format all across the fantasy football landscape and for good reason. When you think about it, the default 1QB format in fantasy football is the complete opposite of real life. In the real-life NFL, half of the league is beyond desperate for a quarterback upgrade and General Managers everywhere treat running backs like they are Vegas hotel rooms over a Bachelor Party Weekend.

As we saw with how the Deshaun Watson trade went down this offseason, almost a dozen teams were interested in giving up three first-round picks for a player accused of doing some bad things and expected to miss at least half of the season. That's how much having a quarterback matters!

One could argue that Quarterback is the most important position in all sports, yet it's mostly devalued in fantasyland. That shouldn't be the case. If you are new to the format or want to try it out for the first time, Superflex allows one additional all-flex position where you can start an additional QB, RB, WR, or TE. The math generally favors starting a QB in all formats at the Superflex spot, but we will get into that more later.

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What Really Makes A Superflex Draft Different

There is added emphasis on QBs in Superflex and generally a handful of them if not more will go in the 1st Round of your draft, a large contrast to the norm in fantasy. What makes it enjoyable is that every Superflex draft is completely different as some people will prioritize QBs and others will not, often to their detriment.

While the WR position has been pushed up the board more than usual at the beginning of 1QB drafts this year, in years past most drafts started with RB, RB, RB, RB, RB, RB, RB, RB before another position even went. Talk about boring! In the paragraphs below we will dive into Superflex leagues and what strategy might work best for you on draft day.

 

Takeaways from a Superflex Draft

Over the summer there was a 12-team SF Draft among some prominent members of the industry and their draft board is below.

As we can see, six quarterbacks went in the first round and thirteen in the first two rounds with 11 of the 12 drafters taking a QB in the first two rounds.

There isn't a right or wrong way to do a Superflex draft, but the key is to remain flexible throughout. Like Shermar Moore on an episode of S.W.A.T. telling his squad to "stay liquid" before heading out on a mission. Since quarterbacks are a limited resource in SF leagues, we have to almost un-train our brain to how it is normally wired to think when it comes to fantasy drafts.

In regular 1QB leagues, only half the league rosters 2 QBs at any given time and starting QBs can often be streamed weekly on waivers and there are QBs to pick up at any time. In Superflex this will not be a reality as most teams in your league will be rostering 3-4 QBs.

The hardest part about a Superflex draft is figuring out when to time the QB run and to use a tier-based drafting system for QBs, which I will outline in the next paragraph. There are times when you can start your draft QB-QB and have the position sewn up so you can attack the rest of your draft carefree, but that strategy can backfire if the rest of your league mates are punting on QB as the skill players available in the middle rounds will not be what they normally are in a Superflex draft. Typically when we draft a QB we want to see plenty of them go off the board before our next pick, which leaves more good skill players for us to draft.

In my Scott Fish Bowl 12 live draft that took place in early July in the Canton-3 Division, I picked at the 1.09. By the time it was my turn, seven QBs were already off the board! Seeing the run and knowing I had Lamar Jackson ranked higher than the other quarterbacks selected, I sprinted to the podium to turn in my draft card. However, once it was my next turn to draft at the 2.04, all of the QBs I was comfortable with were off the board except for Matthew Stafford. Seeing the opportunity to stack Lamar with Mark Andrews in a Tight End-premium format I opted not to take another QB and play the board instead. Here was how the draft shook out trying out a Bully TE build in a Superflex TE Premium format.

Personally, only four skill players should be in consideration in the 1st Round of Superflex Drafts besides Quarterback. These players are Jonathan Taylor, Christian McCaffrey, Justin Jefferson, and Cooper Kupp since the reality is all four of them are light years ahead of the other players at their positions. If you want to add Ja'Marr Chase to this list that is fine as well, but tier-wise there isn't much of a difference between Austin Ekeler and Saquon Barkley or Stefon Diggs and Davante Adams to warrant waiting too long on a QB.

2022 QB Rankings

Here are my QB tiers and rankings for 2022. Feel free to use this as a roadmap of sorts to help with your draft strategy.

Rank Tier Player Team
1 Tier 1 Josh Allen BUF
2 Tier 2 Lamar Jackson BAL
3 Tier 2 Jalen Hurts PHI
4 Tier 2 Justin Herbert LAC
5 Tier 2 Patrick Mahomes KC
6 Tier 2 Kyler Murray ARI
7 Tier 3 Joe Burrow CIN
8 Tier 3 Russell Wilson DEN
9 Tier 3 Trey Lance SF
10 Tier 3 Dak Prescott DAL
11 Tier 4 Tom Brady TB
12 Tier 4 Matthew Stafford LAR
13 Tier 4 Derek Carr LV
14 Tier 4 Aaron Rodgers GB
15 Tier 5 Kirk Cousins MIN
16 Tier 5 Trevor Lawrence JAX
17 Tier 5 Justin Fields CHI
18 Tier 5 Tua Tagovailoa MIA
19 Tier 6 Jameis Winston NO
20 Tier 6 Daniel Jones NYG
21 Tier 6 Matt Ryan IND
22 Tier 6 Ryan Tannehill TEN
23 Tier 6 Mac Jones NE
24 Tier 6 Baker Mayfield CAR
25 Tier 7 Marcus Mariota ATL
26 Tier 7 Zach Wilson NYJ
27 Tier 7 Carson Wentz WAS
28 Tier 7 Jared Goff DET
29 Tier 7 Davis Mills HOU

Waiting on a quarterback always sounds good in theory, but if you wait too long you will be fighting an uphill battle for much of the season due to the massive drop-off that usually happens at the position. Josh Allen finished as the QB1 in all of fantasy last season by averaging 24.56 points per game.  When you go down the list, the QB18 for 2021, Mac Jones, only averaged 14 points per game!

While Mac doesn't go anywhere near as high as Allen does, the disparity between grabbing an elite QB early versus taking one later can be a recipe for disaster as there was over a 10-point per game difference. Below are the point totals and weekly averages among QBs in the 2021 season.

In 2021, eleven of the top seventeen overall scorers in full PPR formats were quarterbacks and four of the top five were QBs as well. By having two elite, high-scoring signal callers in the fold we can essentially stick it to the rest of our league even if we aren't taking a skill player until Round 3.

Rank Player Team Points Games Avg
1 Josh Allen BUF 417.58 17 24.56
2 Justin Herbert LAC 395.76 17 23.28
3 Tom Brady TB 386.74 17 22.75
4 Patrick Mahomes II KC 374.22 17 22.01
5 Matthew Stafford LAR 346.74 17 20.4
6 Aaron Rodgers GB 336.3 16 21.02
7 Dak Prescott DAL 330.56 16 20.66
8 Joe Burrow CIN 328.24 16 20.52
9 Jalen Hurts PHI 321.16 15 21.41
10 Kyler Murray ARI 310.48 14 22.18
11 Kirk Cousins MIN 307.34 16 19.21
12 Ryan Tannehill TEN 282.36 17 16.61
13 Derek Carr LV 270.96 17 15.94
14 Carson Wentz IND 265.02 17 15.59
15 Lamar Jackson BAL 252.98 12 21.08
16 Russell Wilson SEA 248.82 14 17.77
17 Jimmy Garoppolo SF 239.5 15 15.97
18 Mac Jones NE 237.94 17 14.0
19 Taylor Heinicke WAS 236.86 16 14.8
20 Matt Ryan ATL 234.92 17 13.82
21 Ben Roethlisberger PIT 228.1 16 14.26
22 Trevor Lawrence JAC 216.04 17 12.71
23 Teddy Bridgewater DEN 209.68 14 14.98
24 Jared Goff DET 202.5 14 14.46

 

Know your League's Format

This cannot be stressed enough! Your strategy can vary considerably if you are in a full PPR, 3WR, or TE Premium league. In a full PPR, 3WR format with multiple flexes you can load up on QBs and WRs early on and make up for it later by drafting RBs who are pass catchers. If you are in a Superflex league that has 6-point passing touchdowns then you will undoubtedly want to get 2 elite signal callers early and put your league mates on the defensive!

In a half PPR league where only 2 WRs start, then it is not as beneficial to take a robust approach at the WR position as plenty of adequate wide receivers can be found in the middle rounds. In TE premium leagues where TE receptions are often worth 1.5x or even double normal receptions, players like Travis Kelce, Mark Andrews, Kyle Pitts, Darren Waller, and George Kittle can be a huge advantage due to the reality there are very few volume hogs at tight end currently. We may be able to include Dalton Schultz on this list, but he is just outside the elite TE window for now.

Personally, my approach to drafting running backs is not as robust as others in the industry. I mostly subscribe to a Hero-RB approach (as long as the format warrants it of course) which means that I will take one RB early in the first 3-4 rounds of a Superflex Draft to shore up the position and then wait even until Round 10 (depending on the league) to draft another one.

This approach is not for the faint of heart and will require experience to pull off, but generally, the belief in this approach is that RB2 can be sorted out during the season by drafting everyone else's backups, late-round RBs on good teams who are pass catchers, and with FAAB. As we have seen in recent years, traditional bell-cow RBs are becoming fewer and farther between, and running back is the most injury-prone position.

By taking plenty of WRs early you can also stack your QBs with 1-2 of their pass catchers and increase your weekly upside even more! While this approach is optimal in Best Ball formats, it is still valuable to do in Superflex as long as you aren't reaching for the WRs just to get the stacks.

If you are in a league with 1QB, 2RB, 3WR, 1TE, 1 Superflex, and 2 Flex then RB only makes up 2 spots. When you are in a 1QB or even Superflex league with 2WR, and 0-1 Flex, running back is more important because it makes up a larger chunk of your starting lineup. In a full PPR format where you start 10 offensive players per week, you can punt on your RB2 and load up your roster elsewhere while everyone is drafting RBs in the dead zone that generally should be avoided.

If you are going to target later RBs in your drafts, here is who you should be targeting especially in full PPR:

The QB2 Conundrum

One of the most difficult aspects of playing Superflex is knowing when you should be taking your second QB. Generally, I prefer to pick in the middle at 1.06 or 1.07 in Superflex drafts due to the reality that I am less prone to position runs. When you are picking at the 1.01 or the 1.12 you have to be more pre-emptive in your draft strategy as there is a longer wait between your next pick. Waiting on a QB can be detrimental to your hopes if there is a giant run on the position and you are stuck helplessly watching it all happen.

When you are picking in the middle, often values at RB, WR, or TE will fall to you when there at QB runs. By having one to two elite QBs locked up early, we can sit back and play the board at the other spots and build a great team.

Some of your strategy on draft day will come from your own beliefs and rankings on quarterbacks. If you see a possibility that Trevor Lawrence, Justin Fields, Tua Tagovailoa, Mac Jones, or even Davis Mills has a breakout season then you don't need to possibly start with a QB-QB approach. If you are terrified at the thought of having Daniel Jones or Baker Mayfield as your QB1 and QB2 then it's best to just get two signal-callers you like early on and not have to stress over it.

If you take an elite signal caller early, but then wait until much later to draft your second QB often you can negate the early advantage that you had by selecting Josh Allen, Lamar Jackson, Patrick Mahomes, Kyler Murray, Justin Herbert, or Jalen Hurts. As you can see from the chart in the prior paragraphs that showed the QB scoring from 2021 if you have two QBs who are scoring 20+ PPG each week in Superflex you have a big advantage on your league mates since QB is the highest scoring position.

Looking back at some data from 2021, 31 QBs averaged 16+ points per game. Only 10 RBs, 13 WRs, and 2 TEs did so, which means you are 99% of the time going to want to start a QB in your Superflex spot!

Another tip is to not ignore your QB3. In a 12-team SF League, 4 teams will leave their draft without a starting QB and their seasons can quickly go sideways if there is an injury to one of their signal-callers. By grabbing a third QB that you feel comfortable with, you have a solid starting option for two different bye weeks, and some important depth. This is not insinuating to start your draft with QB-QB-QB, but to keep a watchful eye on the board after you draft your second QB and to grab your third just before the position finally dries up.

 

Conclusion

Superflex can take some getting used to but it's without a doubt my favorite format. Why? Because every draft is a unique experience and if you are a seasoned player who knows how to navigate the choppy waters of a Superflex draft, you can steer your ship into the harbor much easier than other players.

It is a format that new players will have to get used to and you won't become a maestro overnight. If you are going to try and play in a tournament like the Scott Fish Bowl or Warrior Bowl next season, just know that both of them are Superflex.

By having a sound strategy ahead of time, you can be better prepared for your league's draft. One of the hardest things about doing automated mock drafts for Superflex is that they often remove the human element that involves players panicking and taking a QB just to stop the bleeding. It's a relative phenomenon that takes place in SF drafts and many experienced players have often been on the winning and losing ends of it.

Best of luck with your drafts! Once you take the plunge playing Superflex you won't be able to go back.

If you enjoyed this article make sure to follow Kyle on Twitter, @LuckIsMadeFF



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