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SuperFlex: Strategy 101

SuperFlex

The National Football League has been going through an air revolution for over a decade now. There have been 11 quarterbacks in NFL history who have passed for more than 5,000 yards, 10 since 2008. And of the 58 season-long performances with over 4,500 yards, 43 of them have come since 2008. Despite the numbers, fantasy players haven’t seemed to catch on as the SuperFlex format just hasn’t become the norm.

Today, regular re-draft leagues will likely tell you to wait on the fantasy quarterback. Looking at the top quarterbacks in 2018 (not including Mahomes) 3 fantasy points per game separated #2 and #11. Taking a look at 2018 ADP numbers, only Deshaun Watson was being drafted as a top 5 QB and finished as one. Patrick Mahomes (15th QB taken in 2018) finished #1, while Matt Ryan (13th) and Big Ben (14th) finished 2nd & 3rd respectively. This data shows that waiting for the right QB to draft is usually a sound strategy.

SuperFlex Leagues are seemingly flipping the switch. Early numbers show Mahomes, Luck, and Rodgers all being drafted in the first two rounds. Ten more QBs are being drafted in the first 50 selections. But what is a SuperFlex League? And how do you manage the expectation?

First, let’s take a deeper look into what SuperFlex leagues really are and why they are so popular. Then we can break down the strategies to manage them and become successful SuperFlex fantasy football players.

What is a SuperFlex League?

Like the passing renaissance, SuperFlex Leagues are sweeping the nation. A SuperFlex league takes the excitement of two-QB leagues and puts the emphasis on the flex position. This allows for teams to make a decision to use a second QB or not. SuperFlex won’t penalize players who chose to stream QBs either. By giving them the option to play other positions in the spot you’ll never have to worry about the production.

These leagues give value to the players who otherwise would never play a down in fantasy football. While guys like Josh Rosen, Andy Dalton, Blake Bortles, or Marcus Mariota had jobs on Sunday, you probably weren’t making them a focal point of your fantasy roster. If you were, we’re sorry to hear that. These are the guys that rank in the bottom half of the league and would remain on waivers week in and week out. But now, thanks to you, they have a home.

Now that we know what a SuperFlex is, let’s look at some strategies to think about on draft day.

Supply & Demand: Skill Position Drop Off Can be Devastating

Too often with SuperFlex leagues, fantasy players make the mistake of jumping at the top guy at the QB position. They seem to overvalue the QB because of the number of times they touch the ball. While that is true, the number of skill position players that scored 200 fantasy points is significantly lower than QBs. Nearly two-thirds of the quarterback player pool scored 200+ fantasy points last year (23). Of the 61 running backs that played 25% of their teams snaps only 26% of them scored 200+ points. For wide receivers that number drops down to 17%.

For example, let’s say you have the 5th overall pick. The first four all go running back with Zeke, CMac, Kamara, and Saquon all coming off the board. You sit at this mid-round selection with the decision to take Patrick Mahomes (431 fantasy points) or you can go with David Johnson (248), DeAndre Hopkins (337), or DeVante Adams (327). If you went with the skill position players you are now in the market for a QB later.

Let’s say you decided to stockpile skill position players and you waited on the QB spot. Roethlisberger in the 6th round can still net you 350+ fantasy points. Of these players being drafted in the 6th round, only Tarik Cohen scored 210+ fantasy points last season. If you drafted Hopkins in the first, and Ben in the 6th you’re netting about 700 fantasy points. Meanwhile, the team with Mahomes and Cohen (if they are lucky) sit at 660 fantasy points.

The running back position is significantly more volatile than any other. More than 200 fantasy points separate the #1 RB and the #24 RB. In comparison, the wide receiver position is no different. With more than 175 points separating WR1 and WR36 the drop off can be remarkable.

This proves the fantasy production a skill position player can supply is significantly lower than the overall demand. Playing a Zero HB or Zero WR strategy in SuperFlex leagues could crush your season before it even begins.

SuperFlex Quarterback Lives Matter, But Not the Way You Think

In 2018, there were 34 different quarterbacks that scored more than 30 fantasy points in a single game. However, only nine quarterbacks had more than one of these performances with Patrick Mahomes leading the pack at four. Of the 34 thirty point+ games, five of them came from QBs who went undrafted (according to FF Calculator) and only 10 of them came from QBs being drafted in the top 10.

To put that into contrast, there were only 39 running backs and 36 wide receivers to top 30+ points. It is obvious that the Quarterback matters for fantasy football. They gain the most yards, score the most touchdowns and have the ball in their hand on every snap. But the percentage of QBs to score 30 or more points vs. other positions on the field is significantly higher.

In traditional leagues, you’ll find it difficult to find teams that have two quarterbacks. And you’ll likely never see a team with three unless one of them is on IR. But in a SuperFlex league, you add to the value of a QB substantially. This makes guys like Eli Manning, Matthew Stafford or Derek Carr fantasy relevant. Their lives do matter it’s just how you use them that will make the biggest difference.

Be That Guy; Draft as Many QBs as You Can

Although it is still a good idea to wait on the QB position as noted above. It cannot be a bad thing to stockpile as many as you can. Often times teams fail to truly grasp the seriousness of having a QB in SuperFlex leagues. Which sounds crazy, but it happens a lot more than you think. Streaming QBs can work when you play in traditional leagues. With only one starting spot needed you can just drop in whoever is available when needed.

As we can see from the data above, this can be a sound strategy as there are plenty of players available with 30+ point upside. However, in a SuperFlex league that just isn’t the case. Each team will have at least two QBs and most if lucky will have three. If even 50% of your 12 team league has three QBs there are just two remaining starting QBs available. The odds that one or both of them can provide you with 30+ point upside is a bit of a stretch.

So draft three, heck draft four, be that guy. Make sure YOUR team is set for the season because no one else is responsible for your roster. No one else is going to win your championship. The name of the game is to score more points than your opponent. If you can make it difficult for other teams to put up points then you’re already on the right track.

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