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Quarterback Draft Rankings and Analysis

The quarterback has become the most overlooked position in standard fantasy formats. Players have gotten smarter over the years by realizing just how deep the position is, and the days of QB runs happening in the first couple of rounds in the draft are long gone.

Still, you're unlikely to be able to win a fantasy championship if you're trotting out the QB17 every week. It's important to nail the position. And even with so much depth, there's typically a league winner to be found at the position - think Kyler Murray last year or Lamar Jackson in 2019.

There's a ton of value to be found at the position all over the draft board. Let's take a look at how our experts at RotoBaller are ranking them.

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QB Draft Rankings

Pos. Rank Pos. Tier Player Name Overall Rank Overall Tier
1 1 Patrick Mahomes II 36 3
2 1 Josh Allen 43 4
3 2 Dak Prescott 56 5
4 2 Kyler Murray 60 5
5 2 Lamar Jackson 61 5
6 2 Russell Wilson 68 5
7 2 Justin Herbert 72 5
8 3 Jalen Hurts 76 6
9 3 Aaron Rodgers 80 6
10 4 Matthew Stafford 94 7
11 4 Tom Brady 96 7
12 4 Ryan Tannehill 98 7
13 4 Joe Burrow 100 7
14 4 Trevor Lawrence 109 7
15 5 Matt Ryan 122 8
16 5 Kirk Cousins 127 8
17 5 Tua Tagovailoa 129 8
18 6 Ryan Fitzpatrick 138 9
19 6 Baker Mayfield 141 9
20 6 Carson Wentz 143 9
21 6 Daniel Jones 148 9
22 6 Derek Carr 152 9
23 7 Ben Roethlisberger 160 10
24 7 Sam Darnold 172 11
25 8 Zach Wilson 180 11
26 8 Trey Lance 186 11
27 8 Justin Fields 189 11
28 9 Deshaun Watson 200 12
29 9 Jameis Winston 227 13
30 9 Cam Newton 230 13
31 9 Jared Goff 235 13
32 9 Taysom Hill 242 13
33 10 Teddy Bridgewater 285 15
34 10 Jimmy Garoppolo 292 15
35 10 Tyrod Taylor 318 16
36 11 Drew Lock 345 16
37 11 Andy Dalton 346 17
38 11 Mac Jones 347 17
39 11 Taylor Heinicke 348 18
40 11 Jordan Love 349 18

Tier 1

It's no surprise to see Patrick Mahomes at the very top of these rankings again. Entering his fourth season as the Chiefs' starting quarterback, Mahomes is well on his way to being one of the best quarterbacks to ever strap on a helmet in the NFL. He's already accomplished everything there is to accomplish in this league and was rewarded with the biggest contract in NFL history. He's just running up the score at this point.

From a fantasy perspective, Mahomes is about as safe a pick you can make at the position. He's finished top-five in points-per-game at quarterback in each of his three seasons under center. Last season, Mahomes led the league in fantasy PPG among quarterbacks who played more than five games. He'll still be slinging it to Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill this season.

There's no reason to expect anything less than a top-five finish for Mahomes, and there's good reason to expect at least a top-three finish from the former league MVP. Mahomes isn't likely to be available past the third round in most leagues - his current ADP is 26 - but he's the best chance you'll have at drafting the overall QB1.

Josh Allen comes in a few spots behind Mahomes as the second-ranked quarterback and the 46th-ranked player overall. In three seasons as the Bills' starting quarterback, Allen has always been a viable fantasy option due to his legs. He's run for at least eight touchdowns in every season he's been in the NFL. But things took a turn for Allen last season with the arrival of Stefon Diggs. Allen went from being a shaky passer who can make things happen on the ground to being a truly elite dual-threat option, throwing for over 4,500 yards and 37 touchdowns. His overall rushing yards took a slight dip as a result of his focus on passing, but he still put up a respectable 421 yards on the ground. His eight rushing touchdowns were the third-most among quarterbacks, and his 45 total touchdowns were the second-highest number behind Aaron Rodgers.

The Bills didn't make any meaningful additions in their backfield, so Allen is likely to remain a top red-zone option on the ground in 2021. Even if his passing numbers regress slightly, his rushing floor makes his ADP of 34 reasonable.

 

Tier 2

The top two quarterbacks feel like a no-brainer, so Tier 2 is where things start to get interesting. RotoBaller has five gunslingers in this group, ranked in order of Dak Prescott, Lamar Jackson, Kyler Murray, Russell Wilson, and Justin Herbert.

Prescott is the most interesting of the bunch - in five starts last season, he posted a league-leading 27.7 PPG. Most notably, he put together a three-game stretch with at least 450 yards and three total touchdowns before getting injured in Week 5. The Cowboys' offense remains loaded heading into 2021, and Prescott will be throwing passes to an established Amari Cooper and an emerging CeeDee Lamb. Assuming he'll continue to be motivated after receiving a contract extension and his ankle injury won't be a recurring thing - assumptions I will certainly be making - Prescott's ADP of 51 may be a bargain.

After a "down" year in which he still ran for over 1,000 yards, Jackson makes for an interesting bounce-back candidate. We know Jackson will get it done on the ground, but those looking to draft him around his current ADP of 49 will need to hope he can return to being the passer that he was in 2019. The Ravens are doing their best to make that happen by selecting Rashod Bateman in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft and by signing Sammy Watkins in free agency. If Jackson plays like he did in 2019, he'll be a steal at his ADP. But that's a big if for that high of draft capital.

 

Tier 3

Coming in at QB8 and 78 overall, Jalen Hurts is the first truly risky player featured in these rankings. We saw a lot of different things from Hurts in his four starts to end the 2020 season. In Week 15 against Arizona, Hurts put on a clinic on the ground and through the air, scoring 37.8 fantasy points and flashing his potential to be a truly dominant fantasy option. On the flipside, Hurts put up a horrifying 72 passing yards in a Week 17 loss to the Washington Football Team. But even in that abysmal showing, Hurts punched in two touchdowns on the ground.

The biggest question mark for Hurts is whether or not he's good enough to be a starter in the NFL. The good news for the QB is that he'll likely get the entire season to answer that question. The Eagles brought in Nick Mullens and Joe Flacco to shore up their depth chart, but it feels unlikely either would push Hurts for the starting job. The offense around him does have some upside as well - the Eagles have one of the best tight end rooms in the league if they don't move Zach Ertz, they drafted DeVonta Smith to add to a young receiver room, and they've got a pu pu platter of capable running backs with upside. With a current ADP of 97, Hurts feels like the perfect gamble for those waiting to draft a quarterback. Even if he doesn't play that well, his week-to-week floor feels reliable due to his rushing ability. And if he does play well, he has high-end QB1 upside.

The only other quarterback in this tier is Aaron Rodgers. As long as Rodgers is on the field somewhere in 2021, I'll have no problem starting him. A ranking of nine feels reasonable until we get an answer to that question (officially).

 

Tier 4

All anyone needs to do to justify waiting on a QB is to look at this tier. Matthew Stafford, Tom Brady, and Ryan Tannehill are RotoBaller's lowest-ranked starters for a 12-team league, and it's hard to imagine being disappointed with any of them. Both Tannehill and Brady averaged 21.9 PPG last year, good enough for QB9 among quarterbacks with over five starts. It was a 3.5 point difference per game between these two and Patrick Mahomes last season.

It's easy to sleep on Ryan Tannehill. He's not exactly an elite NFL talent, and he plays in an offense that feeds Derrick Henry like they're at an all-you-can-eat buffet. But clearly, Tannehill can produce QB1 numbers with Henry gobbling up touches and touchdowns, and the Titans are only getting better through the air with the addition of Julio Jones. Tannehill is unlikely to be the QB1, but he seems destined to be a QB1. He's someone I'll be targeting at this value.

Matthew Stafford is an obvious candidate to turn it up a notch in 2021. He moves on from a miserable Detroit offense to a shiny new one in Los Angeles. The Rams paid a premium to acquire Stafford, and they didn't pay that price so that he can hand the ball off every play. Stafford is going to get a chance to let it rip in 2021. Sean McVay was able to make Jared Goff the overall QB7 in 2018, which feels like a miracle after the last two seasons. If you believe in McVay, Stafford is a no-brainer selection at his current ADP of 90.

Rounding out the tier is the last two number one overall picks, Joe Burrow and Trevor Lawrence. Lawrence is RotoBaller's 14th overall quarterback, and his current ADP of 129 makes him an interesting target. We truly have no idea what an Urban Meyer offense in the NFL will look like. The skill players surrounding Lawrence have a ton of upside - Travis Etienne and Laviska Shenault Jr. specifically. If you're somebody who likes to wait on a quarterback and draft a couple, pairing a safe option like Tom Brady with an upside option in Lawrence feels like a wise move.

 

Tier 5

Matt Ryan and Kirk Cousins are two of the most uninspiring options at the position, but their ranking feels right. Both guys feel like safe bets to finish in the 15-16 range, which is where they're ranked. They're both reliable options for those looking to add a safe backup quarterback to their roster.

Tua Tagovailoa had a unique rookie year, to say the least, taking over the reins from Ryan Fitzpatrick mid-season while being benched for Fitzpatrick multiple times as the starter. It's not hard to imagine Tagovailoa making a leap in his sophomore season and becoming a solid NFL quarterback, but it does feel hard to imagine him being a high-end weekly fantasy option in 2021. He doesn't feel like a guy who's going to throw 40 passes a game and he doesn't have enough upside on the ground. I'll pass on Tua this year - there are more interesting dart throws down the board.

 

Tier 6

It's been three seasons since the Washington Football Team has had a quarterback with any fantasy relevancy, but Ryan Fitzpatrick may change that. Fitzpatrick has been a viable fantasy option multiple times in the past few years. Washington added Curtis Samuel in free agency and Dyami Brown in the draft to bolster their receiving corps. The biggest issue with Fitzpatrick is that he simply never has any job security. He'll always be a solid streaming option in plus matchups, but I'm not trusting him as a week-to-week starter - and when we're this deep in the draft, I'd rather take a shot on somebody who has more upside.

Ranked at 20 and 21 respectively, Carson Wentz and Daniel Jones feel like high-ceiling options. Both guys are a bad season away from being relegated to a backup role. For Wentz, he's in a new situation with a solid group of supporting players on a roster that just made the playoffs with an aging Philip Rivers. It's not hard to imagine him walking in and shining from day one. If you believe in Wentz as a player, taking a shot on him around his ADP of 161 feels like something you should be writing in sharpie. For those who don't believe, it's not hard to pass on him here.

As for Jones, the Giants are supplying him with a war chest of weapons to prove himself. The addition of Kenny Golladay and the return of Saquon Barkley are massive improvements to the Giants' offense. Jones was also being pegged as a breakout quarterback in 2020 - if you believed in him then, what's stopping you from believing in him now? A quarterback in a prove-it year with a loaded offense around him is the kind of dart throw I'm looking to make at the end of my drafts. With an ADP of 193, I really like Jones's value, and he's somebody I'd rank higher than where our experts have him.

 

Tier 7

Hard pass.

Tier 8

Trey Lance and Justin Fields are in great situations to produce. But when will either one see the field? Both the Bears and the 49ers sound committed to rolling with their mediocre starting quarterbacks in 2021 rather than let the rookies loose. There's a chance it's all just coach speak, but who knows? The issue with drafting either of these guys is you're wasting a roster spot on players who may not even play this season at a position flooded with viable options.

If Trey Lance were to get the nod at quarterback this season, there's a good chance he winds up being a low-end QB1. But with all the question marks, is it really worth holding a roster spot for him? I'd rather take a gamble on some of the options later on.

 

Tier 9

The fact that guys like Derek Carr and Sam Darnold are ranked ahead of Deshaun Watson should tell you that he should be avoided like the plague in drafts unless we hear definitively that he will be on a football field in Week 1.

It's true that Deshaun Watson is an All-Pro quarterback who's a surefire QB1 if he's on the field. It's also true that Watson requested a trade from the Texans and is unlikely to play another snap for the team. And even if he did want to play, would the NFL even let him? He's currently being sued by 22 different women due to sexual assault allegations. Regardless of the outcome of the cases, the NFL is not going to just let him trot out onto the field in Week 1. There's no doubt they are taking this situation seriously. I think there's a better chance we see Andrew Luck take a snap in 2021 than Deshaun Watson. He's not worth a roster spot.

I understand why Jameis Winston is ranked 29th considering the team hasn't officially named him the starter yet. But I also don't care. Winston finished as the QB3 in 2019 despite throwing 30 interceptions and assuming he does become the starter, he's walking into a situation where the corpse of Drew Brees averaged 18 PPG. I'll be all in on a Famous Jameis redemption season if he's the Saints' Week 1 starter. He'll have plenty of weapons and will be playing in an offense that has historically been very QB-friendly. I'll bet the house on him being a low-end QB1 if he wins the job. For me, Winston is a better gamble than any player past Tier 5.

If you try to talk yourself into Jared Goff as some kind of garbage time warrior, just don't. This is a guy who finished as the QB7 in an offense surrounded by Todd Gurley, Robert Woods, Cooper Kupp, and Brandin Cooks. If he could only finish as the QB7 in that offense, why would you bank on him being a fringe QB1 with the likes of Tyrell Williams and Breshad Perriman? He may have some streaming potential some weeks, but he is not worth a draft pick.



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Check out all of RotoBaller's fantasy football rankings. Staff rankings are updated regularly for all positions and include standard formats, PPR scoring, tiered rankings and dynasty leagues.




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The NFL 2022 season is here. That means it is time for your season-long fantasy football drafts. But more important, right now, it is time to get back into our daily fantasy groove. In this article, I will be providing you with daily fantasy football picks on DraftKings and FanDuel for the slate on Saturday,... Read More


Treylon Burks - Fantasy Football Rankings, NFL Rookies, Draft Sleepers

Preseason NFL Depth Charts Analysis: Interesting Trends for Fantasy Football

Now that we've reached the point in the year where NFL teams are playing preseason games, we've also reached the point where teams are putting out their unofficial preseason depth charts. On one hand, these are unofficial. But on the other hand, it can be fun to read into things. So, let's do examine some... Read More


Chris Olave - Fantasy Football Rankings, NFL Rookies, Draft Sleepers

Fantasy Football Breakouts, Busts, and Locks - New Orleans Saints 2022 Outlook

Welcome to our fantasy football Breakouts, Busts, and Locks, a series on RotoBaller where our writers look at three key players on each NFL team. Today, we're talking about the New Orleans Saints. With a new head coach for the first time in years and with a (presumably) healthy Jameis Winston under center, what can... Read More


Jahan Dotson - Fantasy Football Rankings, NFL Rookies, Draft Sleepers

Is Jahan Dotson Worth Drafting? Fantasy Football Rookie Outlook

The Washington Commanders used their first-round pick (No. 16 overall) in the 2022 NFL draft to select Penn State wide receiver Jahan Dotson. Dotson stands 5'11" and weighs 183 pounds and will team with Terry McLaurin to give new Washington quarterback Carson Wentz two talented receivers to target. Dotson was the RotoBaller consensus rookie WR8... Read More


Najee Harris - Fantasy Football Rankings, NFL Injury News, DFS Lineup Picks

Fantasy Football Injury Report For NFL RBs: Preseason Updates On Najee Harris, Antonio Gibson, J.K. Dobbins, Gus Edwards, James Robinson and Kenneth Gainwell

Below you will find our updated fantasy football injuries report for running backs in the 2022 NFL preseason as of Friday August 12th. The injury statuses for various NFL running backs are up in the air during training camp, including Najee Harris, Antonio Gibson, J.K. Dobbins, Gus Edwards, James Robinson, and Kenneth Gainwell. With peak draft... Read More


Quarterback Fantasy Football Sleepers - 2022 Later-Round Draft Targets

Today I'm here to discuss some quarterback fantasy football sleepers and value picks. Identifying undervalued players in the late rounds of fantasy football drafts is one of the best ways to give you a better shot of winning your fantasy leagues year in and year out. This is especially true with the quarterback position, as... Read More


Jauan Jennings - Fantasy Football Rankings, NFL Injury News, DFS Lineup Picks

Sophomore NFL Wide Receivers Set to Bust Again - Fooled Me Once, Not Again!

Adjusting to the speed and the rigors of the NFL can be tough, and not every player will do it effectively as a rookie. And that's okay! Plenty of players struggle in their first year but then breakout later. But not every player. Some struggle as rookies and then follow that up with more struggles.... Read More


Darrel Williams - Fantasy Football Rankings, Draft Sleepers, NFL Injury News

Darrel Williams: 2022 Fantasy Football Draft Sleeper and Undervalued Running Back

Arizona running back James Conner is currently being drafted as the RB16 in the third round of PPR redraft leagues. This price is certainly understandable. Conner finished as the RB5 last year, racking up 18 total touchdowns in the process. He also demonstrated his ability as a pass-catcher with 37 receptions on 39 targets. These... Read More


tony pollard fantasy football rankings NFL DFS lineup picks

Running Backs Targets for Zero-RB Fantasy Football Drafts (2022)

There are so many different fantasy football draft strategies nowadays, but no other strategy comes with as much scrutiny and judgment as the zero-running back strategy. For the longest time, the running back position was widely accepted as the most important position in fantasy football. For some, that’s still very much the case. However, with... Read More


Noah Fant - Fantasy Football Rankings, Draft Sleepers, NFL Injury News

Must-Have Tight Ends for 2022 Fantasy Football Drafts

Tight end is a fun position in fantasy football. There's a clear top group of tight ends, headlined by Travis Kelce. The top-five tight ends all count as "must-have" tight ends because of positional scarcity, but it's boring to suggest you draft the following names: Kelse, Mark Andrews, Kyle Pitts, George Kittle, and Darren Waller.... Read More


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