As we head into the third full week of NFL Preseason football, I've started to notice a new trend taking place amongst fantasy football drafts: Owners starting off the season with only one quarterback on the roster. While this isn't something new, I've seen this sparingly in the past while answering forum questions, it seems more and more owners are going with a single quarterback instead of your standard QB1 and QB2.
Since this is becoming a bigger topic than it used to, I'd like to give you some drafting advice and let you know one PRO and one CON of drafting just one quarterback before the start of the regular season.
PRO: You Allow Yourself the Ability To Create More Depth Elsewhere
Since most owners are already set with a starting quarterback like Drew Brees or Andrew Luck, taking away that extra spot for a backup quarterback gives the owner the ability to draft more depth at running back or receiver. There are a few running backs who have a strong handcuff behind them, so an owner who takes Arian Foster with their first pick would certainly feel more comfortable grabbing Ben Tate instead of Sam Bradford. Since many leagues don't offer large rosters, forgoing a QB2 for a handcuff makes even more sense.
Even if I draft a player who doesn't need a handcuff, using that extra spot for a player with sleeper potential gives my depth more solid ground going into the regular season. Once my QB1's bye week comes around, I can easily drop a player who has done nothing for my team for a lower-tier quarterback who has a good matchup. Even in twelve-team leagues, there are always a couple players to choose from if the matchup is right. Then once the bye week is gone, I can drop my QB2 for another player with potential.
Of course, in a perfect world everybody would do this and be able to sleep at night.
CON: If your QB1 Is Out For A Few Weeks Or The Season, You're Screwed
Fantasy Football is anything BUT perfect. We've already seen players like Danario Alexander and Dustin Keller get knocked out before the season even began. All it takes is one play. Imagine having drafted Tom Brady in 2008 and forgoing a QB2 back then? Brady starts against the Chiefs, gets knocked out by Bernard Pollard and BOOM.....you're left without a quarterback. Like I wrote above, picking up a lower-tier quarterback for one week is fine. But I couldn't imagine having to rely on someone like Josh Freeman or Philip Rivers for an entire year. Then it's a domino effect because you now have to pick up an even lesser-valued quarterback for that quarterback's bye week. Blaine Gabbert starting in Week Nine? I shudder at the thought. Give me Aaron Rodgers and an upside player like Jay Cutler instead. At least with Cutler, you stand a fighting chance of replacing some missing fantasy points after losing your QB1.
There are, of course, variables to the situation. Athletic quarterbacks like RG3, Russell Wilson and Michael Vick stand a higher chance of getting hurt because they take the ball and run. You also have those pocket-passing quarterbacks like Matthew Stafford who breaks a fingernail and is out for a month. And then you have guys like Rodgers who can play through almost any minor ailment.
This isn't a matter of the right way of drafting versus the wrong way. It's old traditional style of fantasy football drafting versus a new way of thinking. In the end, if you decide to forgo a QB2 and ride with one quarterback on your roster, you better hope that player you drafted in his place was worth it in the end.