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Quarterback Best-Ball Tiered Rankings and Analysis

joe burrow fantasy football rankings NFL injury news DFS lineup picks

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, including constantly updated FFPC Best Ball rankings.

After you're done here, catch up on RB rankings analysis part one and RB part two for best-ball draft prep before the 2022 NFL Draft.

Featured Promo: Join the FFPC Main Event with a $1 million dollar grand prize and $5.9 million dollar total prize pool! It’s the world’s biggest event in season long fantasy football. All new sign-ups get $25 off any FFPC contest!! Sign Up Now!

 

QB Best-Ball Rankings

Position Rank Position Tier Player Name Overall Rank Overall Tier
1 1 Josh Allen 45 4
2 1 Patrick Mahomes 46 4
3 1 Justin Herbert 51 5
4 2 Joe Burrow 60 6
5 2 Lamar Jackson 61 6
6 2 Kyler Murray 62 6
7 3 Matthew Stafford 78 7
8 3 Russell Wilson 79 7
9 3 Deshaun Watson 83 7
10 4 Dak Prescott 93 8
11 4 Aaron Rodgers 97 8
12 4 Tom Brady 98 8
13 5 Justin Fields 103 9
14 5 Jalen Hurts 104 9
15 5 Trey Lance 107 9
16 5 Kirk Cousins 117 10
17 5 Derek Carr 118 10
18 5 Tua Tagovailoa 119 10
19 6 Ryan Tannehill 131 10
20 6 Trevor Lawrence 132 10
21 6 Zach Wilson 148 12
22 7 Malik Willis 159 13
23 7 Baker Mayfield 163 13
24 7 Marcus Mariota 172 13
25 7 Jared Goff 174 13
26 7 Carson Wentz 183 14
27 7 Mitchell Trubisky 184 14
28 7 Mac Jones 187 14
29 7 Davis Mills 189 14
30 7 Matt Ryan 190 14
31 8 Jimmy Garoppolo 203 15
32 8 Jameis Winston 213 15
33 8 Sam Howell 219 15
34 8 Matt Corral 220 15
35 8 Daniel Jones 241 16
36 8 Kenny Pickett 250 17
37 9 Sam Darnold 276 18
38 9 Cam Newton 277 18
39 9 Ryan Fitzpatrick 288 18
40 9 Taysom Hill 293 18
41 9 Gardner Minshew 295 18
42 9 Drew Lock 296 19
43 9 Teddy Bridgewater 297 19

 

Tier 1

Before getting to the player analysis, I need to reference excellent research by Michael Dubner of RotoViz on roster construction for best ball. Regarding quarterbacks specifically, he found that drafting your QB1 in the first five rounds produced the lowest win rate among various strategies over the past five years. Nabbing an "elite QB" just isn't worth it, which is why last year I warned against selecting Mahomes. It's different in Superflex leagues, of course, but that's a subject for another article. If you do find yourself in the position to select a premier passer, the choice is simple.

Josh Allen is number one, end of story. He's already accomplished that feat as the top-scoring fantasy QB for two straight seasons. Now, it's clear his main competition may take a step back (see below). This doesn't mean you should go out of your way to draft Allen in a single-QB league, though.

Pat Mahomes now becomes a fascinating player to project without Tyreek Hill as his WR1 for the first time in his career. The Chiefs will surely draft a wideout early and have added Marquez Valdes-Scantling to pair with JuJu Smith-Schuster and Travis Kelce. That's not the same as having Hill, but it's not as if this receiving corps will resemble the 2020 New York Jets - there is actually plenty of talent there. But as I mentioned in my detailed breakdown of the Tyreek Hill trade, the Chiefs offense had gradually been changing toward shorter passes as they had to learn to live without the deep pass as much. His excellent finish to the season put him back as a top-five fantasy signal-caller. Maybe now his ADP, which is bound to dip a bit, may actually make him worth selecting.

 

Tier 2

Joe Burrow leading tier two ahead of Lamar Jackson and Kyler Murray may seem like an overreaction based on recency bias (because he took his team to the Super Bowl). His ADP has skyrocketed accordingly, currently up to 56.4 overall, making him a negative value play in best-ball. In other words, it will be very hard to earn a positive return on investment for him as a top-five QB. That doesn't mean he doesn't belong there ranking-wise based on his production last season - he did finish as the QB7. But again, it's all about value and it simply isn't there when you take a quarterback this high.

 

Tier 3

We've moved Russell Wilson up to QB8 in our rankings after the trade to Denver. Surprisingly, his ADP hasn't moved much as he sits outside the top-10 at the position behind Matthew Stafford, Aaron Rodgers, and Dak Prescott, unlike our rankings. The reason is that Denver was primarily a running team last year, rankings 23rd in pass-play percentage and 25th in pass attempts per game in 2021 and 21st and 25th respectively in those categories in 2020. Of course, that was out of necessity. When your quarterbacks are Drew Lock and Teddy Bridgewater, you aren't airing it out too often.

Melvin Gordon may come back at a discount since there aren't many teams lining up to dish out a contract for his services. That gives them a formidable duo in the backfield but Wilson will be the leader of this offense, no doubt. Courtland Sutton and Jerry Jeudy are a pretty damn good pair of receivers who just haven't had the chance to thrive. Wilson won't have deep-ball buddy Tyler Lockett anymore but K.J. Hamler will be back after a year lost to injury and Tim Patrick is an underrated player. Despite missing three and a half games and not being 100% through the second half of the season, Wilson put up seven QB1 games last year. Take the discount if he falls past pick 75, as it starts to get risky after that point.

If there's a format to favor Deshaun Watson, it's best-ball. We don't know whether he'll miss games based on the everything that has happened and is still pending but that risk gets mitigated if you draft another QB in the same range who is a good bet to play a full season at a high level. The sweet spot for QB roster construction is two players selected between rounds 8-12. If Watson is your first choice, make Kirk Cousins, Derek Carr, or Tua Tagovailoa your other signal-caller.

 

Tier 4

I can't speak for my fellow ranker, the venerable Phil Clark, but despite the fact Tom Brady is back in Tampa coming off a season where he led the NFL with 5,316 passing yards, I'm not putting him in the top couple of tiers just yet. There's a very real chance that Rob Gronkowski retires (again) or simply chooses to play elsewhere. Chris Godwin was retained but he's coming off a late-season ACL tear and may not be ready early in the season. Russell Gage was a nice addition but he's not exactly an identical replacement for Antonio Brown. This all seems like nitpicking when we're talking about the ageless GOAT but I prefer to temper expectations and "settle" for him if I'm last to take a QB.

Truth be told, I'll probably slide him up over Aaron Rodgers if the Packers don't make a splash at receiver before the draft and Watson too if he is slapped with a multi-game suspension. Brady is currently going sixth among quarterbacks and 60th overall according to FFPC ADP. Filtering just the past week's worth of FFPC ADP, he is the QB4. I doubt he'll move much in draft position but that doesn't mean he won't in our rankings. After all, draft rankings are ever-evolving creatures. I'm not drafting him that high, though.

 

Tier 5

Here's where the hype lives. Second-year QBs Trey Lance and Justin Fields will finally have the starting job to themselves from the jump and a full offseason to develop chemistry with their receivers.

What's better for Fields is that he has a new coaching staff working with him. OC Luke Getsy was passing-game coordinator for the Packers and worked closely with Aaron Rodgers the last couple of years. If he managed to survive that, he may be a miracle worker. Allen Robinson is gone as expected and they've only signed Byron Pringle and Equanimeous St. Brown, so they need to spend one of their second-round picks on a pro-ready receiver if we are to fully jump on board the Fields hype train.

Lance may not need to wait for a Jimmy G trade to happen before being declared the starter. John Lynch seems bent on having his way and he reportedly will. ESPN's Jeremy Fowler reported as such:

"Trey Lance has gotten the full impression behind the scenes that he will start in 2022."

I typically try not to bake behind-the-scenes impressions into my projections so this is being taken with a grain of salt. His upside is nearly unmatched and this is the same draft price that was paid for Lamar Jackson in 2019, Josh Allen in 2020, and Joe Burrow in 2021. Someone in this tier is likely to be a league-winner. My money is on Lance over Fields at the moment, but it could also be another passer who has seen his support cast talent go from local community theater to Broadway level in a heartbeat.

Tua Tagovailoa now gets to choose between Tyreek Hill, Jaylen Waddle, Cedrick Wilson Jr., or Mike Gesicki when he drops back. Or he could dump it off to Chase Edmonds while Terron Armstead and Connor Williams protect him. Yeah, the Dolphins offense will be a little different this year. Instead of defensive-minded Brian Flores, they have offensive guru Mike McDaniel at the helm. All the pieces are in place, but the undue skepticism of Tagovailoa for concerns over arm strength, which are largely misguided, leaves him all the way down at QB20 in terms of ADP. As mentioned earlier, he is the perfect QB2 in best-ball due to his high floor and newly-expanded ceiling.

 

Tier 6

I've developed an odd affinity for Zach Wilson in early best-ball leagues lately. For all his struggles (we all remember that four-INT game), he should be cut some slack. First off, he's still just 22 years old. His two worst games were the second and third of his NFL career and they came against two really good defenses in New England and Denver. He ended on a bad note, completing seven out of 20 passes for a whopping 87 yards in the season finale but that was a road game in Buffalo. It's not like he had much help, with his two main receivers sidelined. I love the idea of Corey Davis and Garret Wilson on the outside with Elijah Moore in the slot for him to target. There's no guarantee the Jets take a receiver early but they could wait until round two and still get a quality player at the position. He isn't going to get to QB1 level but he has intriguing upside as a backup.

 

Tier 7 and Lower

After all the dominoes fell from the Watson decision and the Falcons were left with nothing, Marcus Mariota was traded to Atlanta to replace Matt Ryan. Honestly, that shouldn't make too big of a difference in his value. He will presumably be the starter in Week 1, but I'm willing to wager that the Falcons draft a quarterback in the first round now that they own a pair of third-round picks as well as two second-rounders where they can bolster their defense. Their team needs are endless but they can add depth at other positions later. Expect Mariota to be the placeholder for either Matt Corral or Malik Willis the first few games of the season but nothing more.

If you weren't high on Andy Dalton last year, you shouldn't be high on Mariota this year. Then there's the fact that nine out of 10 NFL fans couldn't name any of Atlanta's wide receivers currently on the roster (remember that Calvin Ridley isn't playing in 2022). This offense will be a dumpster fire all around and whoever is playing QB there shouldn't have fantasy relevance.

Matt Ryan might be the least exciting pick you can make at QB this year but he's going to be undervalued. If a 39-year-old Philip Rivers could finish as QB20 two seasons ago in this offense, 37-year-old Matt Ryan could do just as well if not better.

I'm avoiding Jameis Winston, even in best ball. We're tantalized by his deep-ball ability and the thought of him chucking it around the dome to Michael Thomas but it's not that simple. Suppose Thomas is healthy, motivated, and plays a full season. The rest of the receiving corps consists of Marquez Callaway, Deonte Harris, Lil'Jordan Humphrey... The Saints finished dead last in passing offense in 2021 and that was with Winston as the starter for half of the year. They also won't have Sean Payton leading the way, Terron Armstead on the line, Alvin Kamara might be suspended. Oh, don't forget Winston is coming off ACL surgery. Give me Davis Mills over Jameis Winston every time.



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Fellow RotoBallers, we present our updated 2022 fantasy football quarterback rankings. We have been updating our fantasy football rankings all throughout the preseason, and will continue until the season kicks off. Our quarterback fantasy football rankings are put together by Nick Mariano, Pierre Camus, Scott Engel and Brandon Murchison. Below you will also see recent fantasy football... Read More


Christian McCaffrey - Fantasy Football Rankings, NFL Injury News

Unique Ways To Determine Your Fantasy League's Draft Order

The most wonderful time of the year has arrived! No, not Christmas. It's fantasy football draft season! The time to hang out with loved ones as you draft the team that is going to decimate each and every other one in your league. The time to trash talk your opponents and make them feel worthless.... Read More


Kyler Murray - Fantasy Football Rankings, NFL Injury News, Draft Targets

Must-Have Fantasy Football Players To Draft - Ellis' Essential NFL Picks for 2022

It’s flag-planting season! Just like last year, I’m coming at you with my essential fantasy football players to draft in 2022. Last season was definitely a mixed bag with standouts like Ja’Marr Chase and the Rams passing attack, but also hot takes on Calvin Ridley and Lamar Jackson. Whoops. This season, I’m hoping to be... Read More


D.J. Moore - Fantasy Football Rankings, NFL Injury News, DFS Lineup Picks

7 Bold Predictions for the 2022 Fantasy Football Season

Everyone likes bold predictions. Whether that’s because they like glancing at unexpected, but technically possible outcomes or because they like getting worked up over the absurdity of the bold predictions, I have no idea. If I were a betting man, which I am, I lean towards the latter. With that mindset, I fully embrace the... Read More


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Kenneth Gainwell - 2022 Fantasy Football Draft Sleeper and Undervalued Running Back

There is a ton of hype surrounding the Philadelphia Eagles entering the 2022 season, especially on the offensive side of the ball. The Eagles acquired A.J. Brown via trade from the Tennessee Titans in the offseason, leading many to believe that we'll see a breakout season from Jalen Hurts at the quarterback position. Besides Hurts,... Read More


Fantasy Football Breakouts, Busts, and Locks - Washington Commanders 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 Washington Commanders. With Carson Wentz under center, what will we see from this Commanders team this season? Can they be a surprise contender in the... Read More


Drake London fantasy football rankings rookies draft sleepers NFL draft

Fantasy Football Injury Report for NFL WRs: Preseason Updates on Drake London, Jameson Williams, N'Keal Harry, Jakeem Grant

Below you will find our latest fantasy football injuries report for wide receivers throughout the second week of August. As the NFL preseason continues, the injury statuses remain murky for various NFL receivers, including Drake London, Jameson Williams, N'Keal Harry, and Jakeem Grant. With peak fantasy football draft season soon approaching, these are some key... Read More


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