Updated Best-Ball QB Tiers

John Daigle
Rotoworld

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Tier One

 

Patrick Mahomes (QB1) -- Many questioned whether Mahomes could sustain otherworldly production following 2018's 50-touchdown breakout, and he responded with 21.5 fantasy points per game in 13 healthy starts, including 23.5 over his last 10 upon returning from knee and ankle injuries. His 24 postseason scrambles highlight an easier path to trumping Jackson for the crown at their respective position in 2020.

Lamar Jackson (QB2) -- Jaw-dropping 9.0 percent touchdown rate in Jackson's runaway MVP campaign is bound to regress, but his average 10.8 rushing points per game in 15 starts last year arguably keeps his floor as safe as any ahead of his second full season under intuitive OC Greg Roman.

 

Tier Two

 

Dak Prescott (QB3) -- Prescott's 21.1 fantasy points per game vaulted him to an overall QB2 finish in Kellen Moore's first year as the team's play-caller. Obvious upgrade in adding CeeDee Lamb aside, fingers crossed Dak's dip in production (17.6 fantasy points, 280.2 passing yards per game) over Dallas' last six contests were due solely to his dinged shoulder.

Kyler Murray (QB4) -- Murray faced the league's fourth-toughest passing schedule (per Warren Sharp) with few weapons to speak of in his first year and still escaped as the overall QB8. DeAndre Hopkins' arrival adds a salivating ceiling to go along with Murray's already enticing rushing (93/544/4) floor.

Russell Wilson (QB5) -- Averaged 20 fantasy points per game (20.5) for the fourth time in his illustrious eight-year career, but Wilson's underwhelming production (15.5 per game) over the Seahawks' last seven outings is further proof Pete Carroll's kitchen isn't open every Sunday.

Deshaun Watson (QB6) -- Merely 17.4 fantasy points per game in five starts without Will Fuller last year, but Watson's magician-like qualities have kept him afloat as the overall QB4 in back-to-back seasons. Pivoting from Bill O'Brien's garden variety play-calling to Texans OC Tim Kelly's bag of tricks offers a unique and fresh approach the organization hasn't experienced since 2016. Unfortunately for Watson, so does DeAndre Hopkins' absence. Rock bottom is suddenly in the former's range of outcomes as he has yet to play a single game (let alone an entire season) in his career without Hopkins.

Josh Allen (QB7) -- Allen's 7.1 carries per game through 27 regular season starts are second only to Lamar's ridiculous 13.4 the past two years. The Bills also have 11 carries inside the five-yard line unaccounted for ahead of the new league year — a plus for 23-year-old Allen since he's quietly totaled 22 carries and 13 rushing scores as Buffalo's true red zone back inside the 10-yard line since 2018.

 

Tier Three

 

Carson Wentz (QB8) -- The primary beneficiary no matter who breaks out among the team's new additions (Jalen Reagor, Marquise Goodwin, John Hightower) at receiver. It's an incredibly small sample size, but Wentz's lone performance with DeSean Jackson last year also resulted in a season-high 25 fantasy points and 8.03 yards per attempt from under center.

Matthew Stafford (QB9) -- Quietly paced for 4,998 passing yards, 38 touchdowns, and 20.8 fantasy points per game in his first year under OC Darrell Bevell before a broken back derailed Stafford's production altogether. Detroit's most notable addition on offense was a pass-catching back, D'Andre Swift, who recorded 73 receptions and 9.1 yards per catch during his three seasons at Georgia.

Matt Ryan (QB10) -- 16 starts and/or 4,000 passing yards in 10 consecutive seasons makes Ryan's eventual production one of the easiest projections of the summer. The veteran's weekly ceiling remains intriguing after moving on from Austin Hooper and Devonta Freeman to Hayden Hurst and Todd Gurley.

Drew Brees (QB11) -- Forced to undergo surgery to repair a torn thumb ligament in Week 2, 40-year-old Brees still miraculously bucked all narratives in averaging 24.3 fantasy points per game across 10 healthy starts. More than capable of loitering for a handful of week-winning performances inside the Superdome, Brees is an acceptable fade in Best-Ball formats if attempting to stay ahead of his aging curve (and Taysom Hill's vulturing) altogether.

Daniel Jones (QB12) -- Four finishes with at least 28 fantasy points last year highlights Jones' potential ceiling, which is perfect for Best-Ball formats. All bets are off if Saquon Barkley, Sterling Shepard, and Evan Engram can actually stay healthy for a full 16 games.

Tom Brady (QB13) -- Brady's production expectedly plummeted with the "weapons" surrounding him in New England, forcing him to finish as a top-12 quarterback just twice from Week 7 on. The 42-year-old's floor remains safe in Tampa Bay, but his complete lack of mobility renders him a borderline QB1 competing with those who actually offer fantasy points with their legs.

 

Tier Four

 

Baker Mayfield (QB14) -- Mayfield arguably lost a year of his career working with ex-coach Freddie Kitchens as the 25-year-old's completion rate under pressure dipped from 51.7 percent (16th-overall) as a rookie to 45.5% (24th-overall) last season. Cleveland's revamped coaching staff, play-calling, and upgraded 12 personnel give Mayfield a fighting chance to right the ship before it's too late.

Ben Roethlisberger (QB15) -- The questions are certainly there for Roethlisberger as he'll be coming off elbow surgery in his age-38 season, but the ceiling he offers as a mid-range QB2 is all too enticing to gloss over. Still concerning we haven't seen the results of a full season sans Antonio Brown since 2010.

Jared Goff (QB16) -- Goff admittedly closed the year strong, tossing multiple touchdowns in each of Los Angeles' five December games, but was a sunken cost with five single-digit fantasy performances leading into that stretch. Coach Sean McVay's perpetual journey to improve the team's play-calling should still allow Goff to save face despite his dicey decisions outside of structure.

Aaron Rodgers (QB17) -- The 36-year-old's underwhelming 17.4 fantasy points per game last year included four top-three performances to hide the stench of disappointment. Even if Rodgers were to settle in as a conductor for what projects to be a run-oriented attack, fantasy players would be starting from behind in blindly betting on efficiency over play volume.

Ryan Tannehill (QB18) -- While potentially a fluke, Tannehill's seventh-year renaissance included leading the league in passing yards (1,157) and passer rating (144.4) from play-action — a sustainable model after Tennessee put the band back together for one more run under emerging OC Arthur Smith.

Kirk Cousins (QB19) -- The masses called for Cousins' head following a poor start to open the year, but he entered MVP discussions with 25.6 fantasy points per game in October before losing both Adam Thielen and Dalvin Cook to injuries. Stefon Diggs' absence is a knock against this offense but Minnesota's secondary (or lack thereof) will likely force Cousins' foot on the gas, anyhow.

Teddy Bridgewater (QB20) -- Bridgewater's success in New Orleans primarily hinged on yards after the fact, as shown by his deflated 6.1 depth of target (and 17.1 fantasy points per game) in five wins for Drew Brees. The Panthers, however, offer the arsenal (Christian McCaffrey, D.J. MooreCurtis Samuel) to flip the field and cater to his high completion rate from behind the line of scrimmage. Carolina's singed net of a secondary will also keep the team's offensive play-calling on its toes, creating weekly opportunity by necessity.

Joe Burrow (QB21) -- Athens' own won't be empty-handed in his first year with the Bengals as the organization expects to have A.J. Green, Tyler BoydTee HigginsJohn Ross, and  Auden Tate all readily available for Week 1.

Philip Rivers (QB22) -- Whether it's Indianapolis' progressive coaching (Frank Reich, Mike Groh), receiving options (T.Y. Hilton, Michael PittmanParris Campbell), a myriad of unique runners (Jonathan TaylorMarlon Mack. Nyheim Hines), sure-handed safety valve underneath (Jack Doyle), or exquisite blocking in the trenches, Rivers undeniably landed in the perfect destination for his age-38 swan song.

Sam Darnold (QB23) -- Connor McGovern, Greg Van Roten, and No. 11 overall pick Mekhi Becton at the very least create competition among an O-line that only trailed the Dolphins (3.17) in Football Outsiders' Adjusted Line Yards metric (3.80) last year. A healthy cast including Le'Veon Bell, Chris Herndon, Jamison Crowder, Breshad Perriman, and Denzel Mims offers sneaky late-round stack appeal.

Jimmy Garoppolo (QB24) -- Slyly finished as the overall QB14 despite struggling with the 22nd-most fantasy points per game (15.5) at his position. Undesirable ceiling for Best-Ball formats due to San Francisco's top-four run play rate (47%) in neutral game script.

Drew Lock (QB25) -- Fantasy's QB22 > QB8 > QB31 > QB20 > QB20 behind 13.6 fantasy points per game (30th-overall) in his five starts to close the year. Broncos clearly made it a priority to surround him with weapons in his sophomore campaign, but Lock's non-existent rushing floor devalues him as a borderline QB2.

Gardner Minshew (QB26) -- The overall QB10 with mobility (5.1 carries per game) to boot in his first eight starts before being benched for Nick Foles. Opens the year as the team's unquestioned starter no matter the veteran eventually added behind him.

 

Tier Five

 

Derek Carr (QB27) -- Even a three-year high in fantasy points per game (15.3) couldn't squeeze Carr into the top-15 at his position under coach Jon Gruden. Raiders GM Mike Mayock created a friendlier environment in adding Alabama speedster Henry Ruggs, Kentucky chess piece Lynn Bowden, and South Carolina sleeper Bryan Edwards, but none fit Carr's skillset. As with every name listed among this tier, the 29-year-old is a long-shot to survive all 16 games in Sin City.

Tyrod Taylor (QB28) -- Taylor previously orchestrated Anthony Lynn's league-leading rushing offense in their time together with the Bills in 2016. Jury's out on what the two can accomplish using that same approach nearly four years later, but Taylor, 31 in August, at least brings a career 4.8 carries per game to the table for however many starts he staves off No. 6 overall pick Justin Herbert.

Ryan Fitzpatrick (QB29) -- Fitzpatrick took down fantasy championships as the overall QB2 in Miami's last 11 games but remains nothing more than the veteran bridge between Tua Tagovailoa (see below). Eyeing the 37-year-old in three-quarterback builds isn't the worst food for thought given the rookie's plausible redshirt situation.

Tua Tagovailoa (QB30) -- Miami reportedly passed all of Tua's medicals in March, but there's still a chance he simply sits for the final year of Fitzpatrick's contract. Situation completely up in the air.

Cam Newton (QB31) -- Newton's eventual destination and outlook are anyone's guess following offseason surgery (and no open facilities). The sheer upside he provides as a Hail Mary flier, however, isn't normally available at the tail end of drafts.

Dwayne Haskins (QB32) -- No legitimate competition to remove Haskins from under center no matter how he fares in his sophomore follow-up.

Nick Foles (QB33) -- Foles is familiar with Chicago's offense stemming from his time working with OC Bill Lazor (2013), quarterbacks coach John DeFilippo (2017, 2019), and coach Matt Nagy (2016). Don't be fooled. There is no "competition" in Chicago.

Justin Herbert (QB34) -- Coach Anthony Lynn has thrown his unbridled support behind Tyrod Taylor to start the year, but anything's possible if the veteran goes off the rails after a strong offseason that led to the Chargers fortifying their offensive line (Trai Turner, Bryan Bulaga) and defense (Chris Harris) in a win-now approach.

Marcus Mariota (QB35) -- Barring an unprecedented seventh-year change in downfield risks from Derek Carr, Mariota logically projects to take over at some point to accommodate Las Vegas' rookie skill player additions. Reminder the 26-year-old castoff was previously ranked as GM Mike Mayock's No. 5 overall player in the 2015 draft before inking a two-year deal with $7.5 million guaranteed.

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