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Quarterback Best-Ball Tiered Rankings and Analysis (April 2019)


If you are a veteran of the Best-Ball format, you know that every possible advantage helps in these early draft days. The NFL Draft is still a week away, so it's important to get an idea of how to value rookies before we know their landing spots if you are in the midst of a best-ball draft. Luckily, the ranking experts at RotoBaller have assembled tiered rankings in all major formats in order to help you prepare for your upcoming drafts, and improve your chances of winning your leagues in 2019. This includes our updated Best Ball rankings, which are designed to assist you in designing rosters that will accumulate the highest point total from Weeks 1-16 - which is the goal for anyone who embraces this increasingly popular format.

We are also providing a detailed breakdown of our Best Ball rankings at the most critical positions, including this analysis of quarterbacks. While none of these players will have their name called in the first round or two, it is still a position that can make or break your fantasy fortunes. It goes without saying that Pat Mahomes will be the top signal-caller drafted in nearly every league but those who choose to wait on QB may find it difficult to decide where the value truly lies and at what point to pull the trigger.

We will continue to update these rankings in Best Ball and every other format throughout the offseason, particularly in early May once the NFL Draft is in the books. You can find the latest rankings here. For a look at the wide receiver position rankings analysis by our own Phil Clark, check right here.

Editor's Note: Get any full-season NFL Premium Pass for 50% off. Our exclusive In-Season Lineup Tools, Lineup Optimizer and over 150 days of Premium DFS Research. Sign Up Now!

 

QB Best-Ball Rankings (April)

Position Rank Position Tier Player Name Overall Rank Overall Tier
1 1 Patrick Mahomes 34 4
2 2 Aaron Rodgers 65 6
3 2 Andrew Luck 68 6
4 2 Deshaun Watson 76 7
5 3 Cam Newton 86 7
6 3 Baker Mayfield 88 8
7 3 Russell Wilson 90 8
8 3 Drew Brees 91 8
9 3 Jameis Winston 94 8
10 3 Matt Ryan 98 8
11 4 Jared Goff 105 9
12 4 Ben Roethlisberger 107 9
13 4 Philip Rivers 108 9
14 4 Carson Wentz 109 9
15 4 Mitch Trubisky 110 9
16 4 Dak Prescott 116 10
17 4 Kirk Cousins 117 10
18 4 Jimmy Garoppolo 118 10
19 5 Tom Brady 128 10
20 5 Lamar Jackson 129 10
21 5 Josh Allen 131 10
22 5 Derek Carr 133 10
23 6 Sam Darnold 152 12
24 6 Matthew Stafford 172 13
25 6 Kyler Murray 179 14
26 7 Joe Flacco 191 14
27 7 Andy Dalton 196 14
28 7 Marcus Mariota 205 15
29 7 Nick Foles 216 15
30 8 Blake Bortles 230 16
31 8 Eli Manning 239 16
32 8 Josh Rosen 264 18
33 8 Tyrod Taylor 280 18
34 8 Case Keenum 285 18
35 9 Alex Smith 306 19
36 9 Ryan Tannehill 323 19
37 9 Teddy Bridgewater 347 20
38 9 Dwayne Haskins 391 21
39 9 Ryan Fitzpatrick 394 21
40 9 Taysom Hill 400 21
41 9 Nick Mullens 408 21

 

Tier 1

Patrick Mahomes

It's not just that Mahomes is the consensus QB1 - nobody else is even in the same tier. That tends to happen when you throw 50 touchdowns as part of the top-scoring offense headed by an offensive guru like Andy Reid. Now, it must be said that he'll surely experience regression just as every QB who has thrown 48 or more TD has gone through the following year. Peyton Manning dropped from 55 TD in 2013 to 39 the next year despite having the same offensive supporting cast. The year he threw 49 TD as a Colt, he fell down to 28 the next season. Tom Brady went for 50 in 2007 and never reached as much as 40 TD in a season ever since. Prolific passer Dan Marino tossed 48 TD in his second season as a pro but managed only 30 the next year (still enough to lead the NFL). The point is, Mahomes will almost surely see a sharp drop in production, but that doesn't mean he can't still be the best fantasy QB around. Then again, if Tyreek Hill gets suspended for a lengthy amount of time, that could change.

 

Tier 2

Aaron Rodgers, Andrew Luck, Deshaun Watson

Aaron Rodgers is the most likely to challenge Mahomes for the top spot, especially now that he won't be battling with coach Mike McCarthy over what play to run. With Randall Cobb heading to Dallas, Rodgers officially has a new generation of receivers to target. Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Equanimeous St. Brown have a year of experience under their belt, Geronimo Allison will hopefully stay healthy, and Davante Adams has established himself as one of the top receivers in the league. Rodgers himself has to stay healthy, but this is shaping up to be a promising bounce back year for the 35-year-old. If you want to secure a QB early, it might be better to grab Rodgers a round or two later than Mahomes and find yourself with comparable, if not better value.

Speaking of rebound seasons, Luck was a league-winner for many who snagged him in the 10th round or later last year. The Colts won't make any major changes to their offense, so expect similar results. By that token, don't overpay either. Luck is currently being taken 72 overall in BB10s, seven spots ahead of Rodgers.

Watson might reward owners in this format more so than head-to-head leagues because of his tendency to be boom or bust. He put together five 300+ yard passing games but also failed to reach 215 yards on six occasions and only threw more than two scores once all year. He is best paired with a steady high-floor QB later on in the draft.

 

Tier 3

Cam Newton, Baker Mayfield, Russell Wilson, Drew Brees, Jameis Winston, Matt Ryan

Cam Newton is our fifth-ranked quarterback but he is currently going as the ninth QB off the board in best-ball drafts. Why the big discrepancy? Surely, his depressed ADP is related to health concerns. He was shut down at the end of the season and didn't look 100% at any point in 2018. If we thought this would factor into his 2019 value, he would be ranked accordingly. An entire offseason to rest and rehab should be enough for Newton to get right. The team has moved on from disappointing TE turned WR Devin Funchess and may add another receiver in the draft to complement D.J. Moore and Curtis Samuel. The team has done a nice job drafting at the WR position ever since the failed Funchess project and Greg Olsen returns for one more year alongside promising Ian Thomas at tight end. This team is loaded enough that Newton's high floor gives him the edge over the rest of this tier, with one possible exception.

I love Baker Mayfield. Not personally, just in fantasy mind you. This was the case even before they acquired Odell Beckham and Kareem Hunt. Now, it seems as if Cleveland is poised to have one of the best offenses in the entire league. Mayfield is a gunslinger and has the full support of his coach and mentor Freddie Kitchens, so he should be given the liberty to pass at will and easily surpass last year's 34.7 pass attempts per game. You'll have to pay up for his services though. Mayfield has an ADP of 91 as the fifth QB off the board in current best-ball drafts. He just might be worth it.

There are many concerns over Russell Wilson as a fantasy QB1 now that he plays in the most run-heavy offense of all. That's not going to change after he signed a four-year deal to stay in Seattle. We recently discussed his dynasty value in the wake of this contract but the same idea might apply for re-draft and best-ball leagues. The perception is that he is less valuable because of lower passing volume and a decrease in rushing numbers. His crazy efficiency and propensity for the big play still gave him plenty of big weeks in 2018, as he finished as the QB10 in standard scoring. That was with a banged-up Doug Baldwin and lack of depth at receiver. The Seahawks will almost surely add a WR on draft day, so Wilson remains a solid starter who may be undervalued in some drafts. If nothing else, he's certainly worth taking over Cam Newton and Drew Brees.

 

Tier 4

Jared Goff, Ben Roethlisberger, Philip Rivers, Carson Wentz, Mitch Trubisky, Dak Prescott, Kirk Cousins, Jimmy Garoppolo

A disappointing (to say the least) end to the season with an ugly offensive performance against the Pats in Super Bowl LIII is the last thing we remember about Goff and the Rams. That shouldn't take away from his impressive regular season where he threw for 4,688 yards, fourth-most in the NFL, and 32 touchdowns which were sixth-most. The big question mark is the health of Todd Gurley, who makes that offense tick. In some cases, a lesser running game forces teams to pass more often and can lead to better fantasy numbers. In this case, the play-action threat and receiving ability of Gurley are critical to Goff's value. If he falls far enough, potentially as low as the 15th QB off the board in some instances, he becomes a must-draft based on ceiling.

We know what Big Ben and Old Man Rivers bring to the table but what will happen with Carson Wentz or Jimmy G coming off serious injuries? Garoppolo has shown us an eight-game sample of what he can do in San Francisco's offense and it's good but not great. He averaged 253 passing yards per game with a 12/8 TD/INT rate. That's far from QB1 territory in a passing league. Wentz, meanwhile, posted a 21/7 TD/INT rate with 279 YPG in a "disappointing" season. We only have Garoppolo about 10 spots lower in our overall ranks, alongside inconsistent Kirk Cousins but it seems that Wentz's upside is worth a pick one round sooner.

 

Tier 5

Tom Brady, Lamar Jackson, Josh Allen, Derek Carr

Reports of Tom Brady's demise are... pretty much accurate, at least from a fantasy perspective. Brady may have led his team to another Super Bowl trophy ($#&*@^) but the regular season was simply OK for his standards. Brady threw for 272.2 yards per game, eighth-best of his career. It's a number that has been going down each of the last four seasons, however, and put him as the QB14 for fantasy purposes. Plus, Gronk isn't around any longer and the Pats have leaned more toward the running game. He's a decent late-round QB but may not give you enough upside to win a league without the right complement to back him up.

Jackson is all about floor, which isn't necessarily a bad thing in best-ball formats. In seven starts, he only went over 200 passing yards once (204) but that game was also the only time he failed to run for at least 65 yards. The addition of Mark Ingram and subtraction of all experienced wide receivers other than Willie Snead might lead one to believe that Jackson's performance could suffer a bit. No argument here - I'd rather pull the trigger on Josh Allen and rely on his ability to chuck the ball 50 yards down the field to John Brown and Robert Foster.

 

Tier 6

Sam Darnold, Matthew Stafford, Kyler Murray

A strong argument could be made for Darnold at the fifth tier, if not the lower end of tier four. It depends how bullish you are on the presence of Le'Veon Bell helping Darnold's development. It certainly gives him a nice outlet receiver on plays where the downfield coverage is tight, as well as a credible running threat to ease the threat of pass rushers who previously could pin their ears back and go full steam at the rookie passer. Some weeks, it was just Elijah McGuire and Trenton Cannon in the backfield, which didn't exactly scare opposing defenses. Darnold is still developing as a passer and may not need to pass as often, so there are enough reasons to doubt he'll have huge fantasy stats even if the real-life numbers are more efficient.

How did Kyler Murray sneak into here? We still don't know whether he'll be battling Josh Rosen for the starting job in Arizona, sitting on the bench to learn behind Eli Manning, or getting a full dose of QB Camp from Jon Gruden in... wherever the Raiders are playing these days. No matter where he winds up, it's almost certain he'll start the year as a backup but like all the first-round rookie QBs from last year's class, he'll get his foot in the door soon enough. The breakaway rushing ability (he ran for 1,001 yards and 12 TD at Oklahoma last year) makes him a desirable best-ball pick as long as your first QB is relatively safe.

 

Tier 7

Joe Flacco, Andy Dalton, Marcus Mariota, Nick Foles

The last group of likely QB starters, at least to begin the year, does have some value to it. Andy Dalton missed five games to end the 2018 season and now enters a make-or-break year where the Bengals will have to decide whether they extend him or move forward with a different QB in next year's draft. Speaking of moving on, Dalton finally gets to show what he can do without Marvin Lewis calling the shots. 35-year-old head coach Zac Taylor may be light on experience but he is a former QB coach coming from a high-powered offense in L.A. that helped Jared Goff perform like the top overall pick. Dalton's ceiling has never been that high but he could be in store for a major comeback, assuming A.J. Green also stays healthy.

Mariota also could be on his last legs as a starter unless he has a breakthrough season. The team signed unexciting but capable Ryan Tannehill to back him up. The hesitancy to pull Mariota despite injury or ineffectiveness in the past was more due to not wanting to rely on Blaine Gabbert than anything. Tannehill could provide a steady presence to manage the game for an already run-heavy team if Mariota falters. He likely isn't worth the gamble even as a second quarterback.

 

Tier 8 and lower

If you want to take a gamble on Rosen or Manning having a rebound season, now's the time to pounce. Both have depressed ADPs because their teams are widely expected to draft a quarterback of the future to replace them. That sounds a little funny in Rosen's case since he was the Cards' quarterback of the future just one year ago. Rosen is worth a late pick as a third quarterback if you previously took someone with a questionable health record like Wentz or Garropolo and don't want to be left with just one QB. Without OBJ, Manning will be hard-pressed to even match last year's disappointing stats (21 TD, 11 INT), but somewhere, someone will take him in each league...

The best value of all just might be Fitzmagic. He is in line for a starting job in Miami, a team that probably won't draft a signal-caller this year in order to tank build for the future and take their guy in the 2020 draft. The situation isn't great, but for a team that is bound to be behind most of the time, the volume should definitely be there.

More Best-Ball League Strategy


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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