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FLEX Draft Review and Superflex Strategies

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Super Flex drafts are becoming more and more popular in the fantasy football community. For those who are new to the format, it is basically a modified two-QB league. Instead of having to start two quarterbacks, you only have one mandatory QB spot. The second spot is a flex position that could be used on a QB, or with a RB/WR/TE like a regular flex spot. That spot is almost always used for a QB, but in case one is on bye or injured and there is no quality backup available, you can pivot and use another position. 

Although you technically only need one QB, the position is greatly pulled up the board so you can not wait on it like in a regular league. The emphasis on the QB position adds a whole other layer of strategy since you cannot simply wait and address the others in the early rounds. Do you take a QB in the first round? Do you take two early? How late is too late to wait on QB2? There are so many options you can take in this format, which only makes it all the more fun! 

I had the privilege of representing RotoBaller competing in the FLEX (Fantasy League of Experts) Superflex draft this past week with 11 of the sharpest minds in fantasy football. It was a ton of fun, but I also think a great chance to learn from players who do this for a living.

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!


Takeaways from FLEX Draft 

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For me, heading into any Superflex draft, I have the same priority: getting QBs and RBs early. But, one big caveat: every Superflex can be extremely different. Just a month ago I had the last pick in the Scott Fish Bowl (Mac Miller division), which is also a Superflex draft. By the time I got on the clock at 12 overall there were already eight QBs gone. At that point, I pivoted and focused on running back. But in the FLEX draft I was sitting at pick six overall and my thinking was hope for Lamar Jackson. But, much to my surprise, both Kyler Murray and Josh Allen were available when I got on the clock. I went with Murray, but couldn't have gone wrong either way.

In total, in this draft there were only four QBs taken in the first round, but 10 were off the board through two rounds. As I stated earlier, every draft can be very different. I would anticipate in most home leagues that are Superflex, you will see more QBs go in the first round, and would bank on most teams having one by the second or third round. Sometimes though, a fantasy manager will elect to completely wait on the position. That was not the case here though, as every manager but two had a QB through two rounds and the two that waited then nabbed their QB1 in the third round. 


Tackling Running Backs

Despite having to prioritize QBs early on, I will never ignore running backs early in any draft, Superflex included. I was not alone in this thinking in the FLEX draft. After taking Murray in the first, I selected Jonathan Taylor in the second and Joe Mixon in the third. Both of which to me are low-end RB1s and I was able to get them both because other positions tend to slide down the board when so many early picks are used on QBs. There were just three teams that did not have a running back on their roster after two rounds, and all three nabbed one in the third round.

Here's the thing - with everyone targeting QBs and RBs early, those positions thin out way quicker. Through three rounds, there were 18 running backs drafted, 12 quarterbacks, and just five receivers. Regardless of the draft, I am always emphasizing running backs early as the ones you can rely on to give consistent weekly touches and production thin out fast. I have it at around 18 RBs you can trust weekly and I was to have two of them on my team if possible. That means sacrificing on the elite talent at other positions, but as you can see in this draft, that was the right call and more often than not in Superflex receivers tend to fall well below ADP. 


When to Target Receivers

I did not nab my first WR until the fourth round and still ended up with Allen Robinson. Other receivers that went in the fourth round or later are A.J. Brown, Mike Evans, Terry McLaurin, CeeDee Lamb, Julio Jones, Chris Godwin and more. The RBs available in the fourth round or later included Mike Davis, Josh Jacobs, Miles Sanders, D’Andre Swift. All the RBs come with a lower ceiling and more risk than the WRs.

From the fourth round on the value at the WR position is just better than at the RB position. Think about it like this: teams routinely use two, three receivers and with passing being on the rise yearly, it is easier to sustain multiple receivers per team. But on the other hand, the workhorse RB is a dying breed and more and more teams are using multiple RBs, which makes it harder to sustain high-end production.

Despite having just one WR through five rounds I still ended up with a receiver core of Allen Robinson, Cooper Kupp, Jerry Jeudy, Chase Claypool, Mike Williams and Curtis Samuel. The one key for me when waiting on the position is to grab players that come with upside. Any of the receivers I drafted, outside of maybe Robinson cause he is a premium, have the upside to outlive their ADP and really break out this season.

This is what I tend to do in all of my Superflex drafts. I ensure getting QBs and RBs early and then spend the middle rounds loading up on high-upside receivers. Not only does this give me the chance of having a breakout and make up for me missing out on much of the early-round WR talent, but it takes advantage of the depth that the receiver position brings. You cannot totally ignore it, but you can wait and grab the positions that tend to thin out much quicker and still be fine. 


QB2 Dilemma

One unique aspect of Superflex is figuring out when to grab your second QB. In the FLEX draft, many managers had two QBs through five rounds, with every team having two by the eighth round. I grabbed Tua Tagovailoa in the fifth as my QB2, he was the 17th QB drafted. I really wanted Trevor Lawrence who went one pick before me, but both fit my approach when it comes to a second QB. I tend to shoot for upside. Both Lawrence and Tagovailoa have the upside to finish as a QB1.

I also am a fan of targeting Justin Fields or Trey Lance as a QB2, but you need to grab a QB3 who will start early in the season. You have a number of different options with the second QB, depending on your draft preferences. You can take my approach and shoot for upside. I believe this is the best way to win a league, as if your second QB hits, you will then have two studs at the position. However, I will add that this typically works best if you have a proven QB1.

If you wait on your first QB then I would consider going a safer route with the second QB. Some like to play that position safe and grab someone like Kirk Cousins, Matt Ryan or Derek Carr. Those QBs are not going to suddenly break out and win you the league, but they will give you steady weekly production and you do not have to worry about them losing their job. You could also grab two high-end QBs in the first two or three rounds. I considered it as Russell Wilson nearly fell to me in the second round, but that strategy puts you behind at other positions.

To me, the perfect formula tends to be grabbing a QB early, then getting a second one somewhere in the round 4-6 range, particularly one with real breakout upside. It is important though to also grab a third QB in this format. I made the mistake of waiting too long and ended up with Tyrod Taylor as my QB3. That will work out if he ends up being the starter, but that is in question right now. Someone like Sam Darnold is a QB3 that I like a lot, as he has the job and still upside due to the talent around him. Zach Wilson, Jameis Winston, Carson Wentz were other late QB3s that I considered taking. 


What About Tight Ends?

Regardless of format, my tight end approach remains the same. I want one of the elite options, preferably Travis Kelce or Darren Waller, or I wait until much later. Once I took a QB in the first, I knew I was not getting Kelce. But Waller, who gives similar production but goes a little bit later, is who I really have been targeting in all my drafts. I was set to take him in round four, but he went just a couple picks before me. Once he went, I pivoted and decided to wait.

Here is an important tip if you wait on tight ends. Shoot for upside and grab two, as it just gives you a better shot at one breaking out. When it comes to tight end upside, much of the time you are talking about touchdowns. That is why I grabbed two tight ends that could flirt with double-digit touchdowns in Jonnu Smith and Gerald Everett. Not only could both provide touchdowns, but both have upside as they are good athletes, especially after the catch. So many times if you wait on tight end you end up streaming, which is why I had two QBs, three RBs and six receivers when I decided to finally target tight ends. I was lucky that I ended up with two of my favorite tight end sleepers, getting both outside the Top-12 too at the position. 

As in all drafts, defense and kickers are reserved for the last rounds. Kickers are not used in FLEX, but if they were, I would have taken one with my last-round pick. When targeting defenses, make sure to draft one with a Week 1 matchup that you like. That is why I took the Dolphins, who face the Patriots in the first game of the season. 

Super flex drafts are a lot of fun as they add another layer of strategy and help make the QB position a priority, rather than one you can simply wait on. These formats are becoming more and more popular and whether you are a seasoned vet or joining one for the first time ever, you can learn a lot from a draft like this! 

Make sure to follow Michael on Twitter, @MichaelFFlorio

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