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Quarterback Best Ball Tiered Rankings and Analysis

On the field, quarterbacks are the most crucial position of all. In fantasy football, not so much. This may be especially true in best-ball leagues where the highest win rates don't usually associate with the best passers. This seems counterintuitive since there is no possibility to stream QB or pick up an injury replacement off waivers. Facts are facts, though, and below we'll examine which players are truly the best draft targets at their current ADP.

To that end, we're revealing our staff best-ball rankings at the quarterback position with analysis on each tier to help you through draft season. Of course, you can find our frequently updated best ball rankings for every position live on RotoBaller throughout the preseason.

After you're done here, catch up on RB rankings analysis part oneRB part two, WR part one, WR part two, and TE rankings for best-ball formats.

Be sure to check all of our fantasy football rankings for 2024 fantasy football drafts:

 

QB Best-Ball Rankings

Position Rank Position Tier Player Name Overall Rank Overall Tier
1 1 Patrick Mahomes 31 4
2 1 Josh Allen 40 4
3 2 Kyler Murray 48 4
4 2 Lamar Jackson 49 4
5 2 Dak Prescott 54 5
6 3 Aaron Rodgers 67 6
7 3 Justin Herbert 70 6
8 3 Russell Wilson 79 7
9 4 Matthew Stafford 89 8
10 4 Jalen Hurts 91 8
11 4 Tom Brady 95 8
12 4 Joe Burrow 103 9
13 4 Deshaun Watson 107 9
14 5 Ryan Tannehill 113 10
15 5 Trevor Lawrence 114 10
16 5 Matt Ryan 117 10
17 5 Baker Mayfield 126 10
18 6 Kirk Cousins 138 11
19 6 Carson Wentz 141 11
20 6 Derek Carr 147 11
21 6 Daniel Jones 148 12
22 6 Justin Fields 159 13
23 6 Jared Goff 163 13
24 6 Tua Tagovailoa 164 13
25 7 Trey Lance 173 13
26 7 Ben Roethlisberger 177 13
27 7 Jameis Winston 179 14
28 8 Taysom Hill 190 14
29 8 Sam Darnold 193 14
30 8 Zach Wilson 194 14
31 8 Cam Newton 211 15
32 8 Ryan Fitzpatrick 213 15
33 8 Drew Lock 224 16
34 9 Teddy Bridgewater 242 16
35 9 Jimmy Garoppolo 248 17
36 9 Mac Jones 272 18
37 9 Taylor Heinicke 274 18
38 9 Marcus Mariota 282 18
39 9 Andy Dalton 292 18
40 9 Davis Mills 296 18
41 9 Tyrod Taylor 298 18
42 9 Nick Foles 299 20
43 9 Kyle Allen 300 20
44 9 Mitchell Trubisky 301 20

 

Tier 1

We have a new young passer/runner joining Pat Mahomes in the top tier. Josh Allen's sudden breakout season places him in the conversation for top QB off the board, although you'll rarely see anyone other than Mahomes selected first. The difference in fantasy production was minuscule in 2020; Mahomes averaged 25 fantasy points per game and Allen came in at 24.8. Because of his far lower ADP that came in the middle rounds rather than Mahomes, who was 26th overall in FFPC leagues, Allen had the highest win rate among all QBs at 16.9% whereas the early selection of Mahomes resulted in a 10.1% win rate.

That makes Allen sound tempting and Mahomes is still a safe choice but consider that a fading Ben Roethlisberger posted a 10% win rate which was almost the same as Mahomes and higher than Kyler Murray at 9.9%. Eight different QBs, including Allen, came away with higher win rates than Mahomes in FFPC. Nine QBs came out higher than Mahomes in BB10s, including a tie with Kirk Cousins. Teddy Bridgewater, who isn't guaranteed to be a starter in 2021, was just behind them.

All told, this makes the case for taking a QB early pretty weak. Best-ball managers shouldn't sweat debating between Mahomes or Allen so much as which mid-tier QB has the best shot to be a league-winner instead.

 

Tier 2

The thing about Kyler Murray is that he isn't the most efficient quarterback but that is actually a good thing in best ball. PlayerProfiler has a nifty metric called Best Ball Points Added in which Murray ranked No. 2 at the position. The definition is as follows:

"In the best ball format formats, players must reach a weekly points threshold to qualify for the starting lineup each week. Total Best Ball Points Added aggregates a player’s total points scored above this quantified weekly threshold over the course of the season. This points system rewards weekly volatility, while discounting consistency."

Consistency is not inherently bad but without those boom weeks, you won't have a league-winning roster. Murray brings that with his 70 deep ball attempts that ranked fifth and his rushing ability. If you really want to secure a high-end QB without reaching for Mahomes or Allen, which we've established you shouldn't do, then Murray is the best option.

Which Lamar Jackson will we see in 2021? The addition of receivers Rashod Bateman and Tylan Wallace and coach talk of more snaps under center makes it sound like the Ravens are going to turn him into more of a passer, for better or worse. It's unlikely he suddenly changes his game, though. Jackson will once again be among the rushing leaders after back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons. Any improvement in his passing totals could bring him closer to the top spot for fantasy points among QBs. He is the consensus fourth quarterback taken in best-ball drafts just as he is in our rankings, so it will cost you an early pick to secure his services.

 

Tier 3

Aaron Rodgers' early ranking seems bullish. Our Scott "The King" Engel has no concerns about Rodgers sitting out the year and still has him as a top-50 overall pick. This author completely agrees with that sentiment, although my ranking is lower. A move to another team like Denver, which seems the only logical spot for a trade if one were even to happen, would boost his value. Another season in Green Bay means more of the same MVP-level play we saw last season.

The same issue mentioned for Josh Allen above applies to Herbert. He had a spectacular rookie season and was one of the smartest late-round picks in 2020. Now, his ADP shoots him into the top 10 and his relative value plummets. This year's version of Herbert could be one of Trey Lance, Zach Wilson, or another young passer ready to make a big leap. Herbert will be fine and could post numbers close to his 4,336 yards and 31 TD, if not a little better. The problem is that you're paying for it now and anything less will lead to a negative return on investment. Pick Herbert for security rather than upside.

Russell Wilson isn't a trendy pick heading into 2021. Rumblings he was unhappy in Seattle and the lack of any noteworthy additions to the receiving corps have fantasy managers concerned that his performance may suffer. Plus, the return of a healthy (for now) Chris Carson and Rashaad Penny could lead the team to lean on the running game more which means less cooking for Russ. True, the team won't be as aggressive as they were over the first few weeks of 2020 but they could be more efficient. If anything, a more effective running game helps the offense as a whole.

The perception that Seattle was simply bombing away in the first half of the season and suddenly stopped doing so is false. Other than a Week 7 shootout with Arizona where he attempted 50 passes, Wilson only exceeded 40 pass attempts one other time in the first half and did so four times all year.

Wilson's 2020 was a tale of two halves but it wasn't due to volume after all, it was extreme TD efficiency. After Week 3, he was the best player in all of fantasy football but that gradually petered out and led to a late-season slump that has stuck in many fantasy managers' minds.

Wilson doesn't project to see his statistical output increase for any reason which makes him an unexciting draft pick. The best case for drafting Wilson is a drop well below his current ADP of 70 in FFPC and 75 in Fanball.

 

Tier 4

Here we go. Who will be this year's Allen or Herbert? At this range, it has to be Jalen Hurts. For all the talk of the Eagles possibly drafting a quarterback or trading for someone like Deshaun Watson, they stood pat with Hurts and only veteran Joe Flacco backing him up. Ignore the preseason talk about him having to earn the job - actions speak louder than words.

Across four starts, Hurts averaged nearly 27 fantasy points per game (four points per passing TD) which would have ranked top-five. That includes a shameful Week 17 where Doug Pederson inexplicably pulled him in the second half. Add Heisman winner DeVonta Smith into the mix and Hurts' ceiling is that of Lamar Jackson circa 2019.

His ADP keeps creeping up and now places him as QB8 in FFPC leagues. Our rankings don't quite reflect that optimism but this author has Hurts pegged as a top-eight QB and potential league-winner.

 

Tier 5

On one hand, it makes sense why Trevor Lawrence is going after 13 other quarterbacks. We have no idea what Jacksonville's offense will look like under Urban Meyer or how smoothly his transition to the NFL will go. Then again, top picks Joe Burrow and Kyler Murray have had no problem making an instant impact the last two seasons. Lawrence brings dual-threat ability and arm talent that can carry a team, both in reality and fantasy. He is the type of QB to target for those who are willing to play the waiting game.

With Julio Jones moving from Atlanta to Tennessee, Ryan Tannehill and Matt Ryan switch places in our rankings. Ryan should still be a safe QB2 based on volume; he's attempted at least 529 passes each of the past 11 seasons and gone over 4,000 passing yards for the past 10. Atlanta doesn't have enough juice in the running game or on defense to make those numbers go down. He's the perfect complement to a risk-reward QB1 like Hurts or Lawrence and allows you to skip drafting a third QB.

Ryan Tannehill will see his ranking rise along with his ADP as the summer goes on. He was eighth in Best Ball Points Added in 2020 and now has Julio Jones as a target.

I can't come up with a compelling reason to draft Baker Mayfield but especially in best ball. He ranked 26th in fantasy points per game last year, yet is being drafted 21st in FFPC leagues. His QB17 rank is too high for my taste. Mayfield showed he is best served as a game manager, averaging 227 passing yards and two touchdowns per game in their victories with even worse numbers when they lost.

 

Tier 6 and Lower

FFPC drafters are bullish on Justin Fields and Trey Lance, who are being selected on average as QB19 and QB20. There's a better chance Lance sees the field early on than Fields. The Bears' brass has said Andy Dalton is definitely starting Week 1 and they are in no rush to put Fields out there. This is believable because head coach Matt Nagy and GM Ryan Pace are on thin ice and will do whatever it takes to keep their jobs. Starting a rookie over a vet with years of experience wouldn't work in their favor. If Fields is taken as a second quarterback, selecting a third later on is a prerequisite.

Conversely, the Niners paid handsomely to move up and acquire Lance in the draft. The only reason Jimmy Garoppolo is still on the roster is his contract. We've heard glowing reviews about Lance already throughout mini-camp and many analysts feel he is the perfect fit in Kyle Shanahan's system.

Expect Lance to be starting opposite Dalton in Week 7 when the 49ers and Bears square off.

It's astounding how quickly people are jumping off the Tua Tagovailoa bandwagon. For a player with nine NFL starts under his belt after coming off major hip surgery, maybe another chance is in order. The addition of Jaylen Waddle and Will Fuller work in his favor but a new pair of co-coordinators on offense are just as important. The Dolphins' offense will revolve around Tagovailoa and play to his strengths. It's astounding that he's going after Ryan Fitzpatrick in terms of ADP, although we don't have confidence in Fitz finishing the season as the starter and rank him far lower than the industry.

Ben Roethlisberger finished with 33 touchdowns and 3,784 yards (16th) last year. However, he was 32nd in yards per attempt and should see his volume decrease now that the team invested a first-round pick on Najee Harris. He might be suitable as a backup in redraft leagues but doesn't have enough appeal in best ball.



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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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