Fantasy football rankings 2021: Top 20 quarterbacks in your draft

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·8 min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
This content is not available due to your privacy preferences.
Update your settings here to see it.

Fantasy football rankings 2021: Top 20 QBs in your draft originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

Want to win your fantasy football league in 2021? Drafting the right quarterback is a great place to start.

Not only is quarterback the highest-scoring position in fantasy -- the top 11 point-scorers last season were all QBs -- but it’s also one of the deepest.

Case in point: The two best players in fantasy in 2020, Josh Allen and Kyler Murray, had average draft positions of 82 and 59 overall, respectively.

Simulating Cam Newton and Mac Jones' stats with new-look roster

That doesn’t mean you should burn a first-round pick on a QB, though. It means that if you play your cards right, you can find a gold mine of fantasy points in the middle rounds by landing an elite QB.

So, which quarterbacks could strike it rich for your team in 2021? Here are our rankings of the top 20 QBs in fantasy heading into this season.

Fantasy Football quarterback rankings 2021
Fantasy Football quarterback rankings 2021

NBC Sports Boston Illustration

1. Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs (Bye Week: 12)

The Chiefs should boast one of the NFL’s best offenses in 2021 after getting Mahomes the help he needed on the offensive line. All of Kansas City’s explosive skill players are back. Mahomes has been a top-two fantasy QB in two of his three seasons as a starter, and there’s no reason why 2021 should be different.

2. Josh Allen, Buffalo Bills (Bye Week: 7)

Allen took a massive leap in 2020 with Stefon Diggs as his No. 1 target, racking up 4,544 passing yards and 46 total touchdowns (37 passing, eight rushing and one receiving) to finish as the leading scorer in fantasy. Allen’s passing stats might regress, but if he can cut back on the turnovers (nine in 2020), he’ll challenge Mahomes for fantasy QB supremacy.

3. Kyler Murray, Arizona Cardinals (Bye Week: 12)

Why is Murray in the top three after throwing just 26 touchdowns to 12 interceptions in 2020? Because he’s the best rushing QB in the business. Murray’s 819 yards and 11 TDs on the ground accounted for nearly half (44.6%) of his fantasy output last season. While injuries are always a concern, Murray’s legs give him an enticingly high floor.

4. Lamar Jackson, Baltimore Ravens (Bye Week: 8)

Speaking of high floors… Jackson had a down year across the board after his MVP campaign in 2019 but still was the 10th-ranked fantasy QB. He’s now rushed for at least 1,000 yards and seven touchdowns in two consecutive seasons and has two new pass-catchers to play with in Sammy Watkins and rookie Rashod Bateman.

5. Dak Prescott, Dallas Cowboys (Bye Week: 7)

There’s some risk in taking Prescott after offseason ankle surgery, but he averaged 26.8 fantasy points through five games last season and was the second-best fantasy QB behind Jackson in 2019. Expect the Cowboys offense to get back on track this season and Prescott to rack up the fantasy points.

6. Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers (Bye Week: 13)

Are you feeling dangerous? Then roll the dice on the 37-year-old QB who could deliver another MVP-caliber season in Green Bay, flee to a team like the Denver Broncos or quit football to host a gameshow. We’ll have a better feel for Rodgers’ value when we know what team he’ll play for, but there’s no doubt he’s still an elite QB.

7. Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks (Bye Week: 9)

Unlike Rodgers, Wilson put his beef with his employer behind him (for now) and appears poised to do what he always does. The most consistent QB in fantasy has thrown at least 30 touchdown passes in four consecutive seasons and has been a top-10 QB in all nine of his NFL seasons.

8. Justin Herbert, Los Angeles Chargers (Bye Week: 7)

Herbert was a fantasy monster as a rookie, topping 20 fantasy points in 10 of his 15 starts. A stud left tackle (Rashawn Slater) and a new offensive coordinator (Joe Lombardi) who was Drew Brees’ QB coach in New Orleans should only help Herbert’s cause. If his receivers stay healthy, there’s top-five potential.

9. Jalen Hurts, Philadelphia Eagles (Bye Week: 14)

While a four-game sample size as a starter isn’t much, Hurts looked like a top-10 fantasy QB in those contests, amassing eight total touchdowns (five passing, three rushing) while topping 300 yards twice. There’s a reason why Carson Wentz is in Indy, and it’s because Philly believes Hurts can be the centerpiece of an improved offense.

10. Tom Brady, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Bye Week: 9)

Turns out all Tom Brady needed after a nightmare 2019 season was the best group of skill players in the NFL. He may not throw 40 touchdown passes again, but the interceptions (12) should come down with a full season under his belt. All of the usual suspects are back on offense, so you can count on Brady as a low-end QB1.

11. Matthew Stafford, Los Angeles Rams (Bye Week: 11)

There’s always a chance Stafford’s body falls apart after 12 seasons of abuse in Detroit. But head coach Sean McVay is well-equipped to maximize Stafford’s talents, and he should get along quite well with Cooper Kupp, Robert Woods and Tyler Higbee. We wouldn’t bet against another 4,000-yard season.

12. Ryan Tannehill, Tennessee Titans (Bye Week: 13)

Tannehill has been a consistent top-10 QB since taking over in Tennessee but just lost two of his top three targets in Corey Davis and Jonnu Smith and his offensive coordinator in Arthur Smith. It’s unclear what new offensive coordinator Todd Downing will bring to the table, but Derrick Henry is still the focal point of this offense.

13. Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons (Bye Week: 6)

Ryan doesn’t really move the needle and is a regression candidate if the Julio Jones trade comes to fruition. But he’s still a safe bet for 4,000 yards and 25 TDs. You could do a lot worse than Ryan as your QB2 in two-quarterback leagues.

14. Joe Burrow, Cincinnati Bengals (Bye Week: 10)

The arrow is pointing up for Burrow. He’s already on the practice field after surgery to repair a torn ACL and MCL and is putting in extra work with former college teammate Ja’Marr Chase. We’re still concerned about Cincinnati’s offensive line, though, and returning from such a serious injury is no picnic. 

15. Trevor Lawrence, Jacksonville Jaguars (Bye Week: 7)

Murray and Herbert both were top-10 fantasy QBs as rookies, and Lawrence has more than enough talent to join that club. There’s just not enough talent around him. Unless the Jaguars’ mediocre offensive line improves, Lawrence will be in for a rocky rookie campaign.

16. Kirk Cousins, Minnesota Vikings (Bye Week: 7)

You can put Cousins in the Matt Ryan category of QBs who will put up decent numbers on a consistent basis but aren’t going to win you many matchups by themselves. Justin Jefferson’s emergence helped Cousins finish as the 11th-best QB in fantasy last season, but he’s still more of a QB2.

17. Baker Mayfield, Cleveland Browns (Bye Week: 13)

Draft Mayfield at your own peril. Even with Kevin Stefanski calling the shots, Mayfield attempted fewer than 30 passes in nine of his 16 starts last season and only topped three touchdown passes in a game twice. Unless the Browns are a lot worse than we expect and are forced to air it out, there’s a volume-based ceiling for the former No. 1 pick.

18. Carson Wentz, Indianapolis Colts (Bye Week: 14)

On the subject of wild cards... Wentz is reunited with the coach who helped him finish as the sixth-best player in fantasy in 2017. With a solid offensive line in front of him, there’s a chance Wentz returns to 2017 form instead of the backup-level QB who tossed 15 interceptions through 12 games in 2020. Our guess is he’ll be somewhere in between.

19. Tua Tagovailoa, Miami Dolphins (Bye Week: 7)

Tagovailoa was an uninspiring fantasy QB as a rookie, topping 20 fantasy points in just two of his nine starts. But he cracks the top 20 because the Dolphins are committed to him and just hooked him up with former Alabama teammate Jaylen Waddle. QB1 might be a stretch, but Tua can be a solid QB2 this season if his hip holds up.

20. Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers (Bye Week: 7)

It’s possible the indestructible Roethlisberger throws for 4,000 yards and 30 passing touchdowns in a revived Pittsburgh offense. It’s also possible the 39-year-old’s body finally gives out on him in his second season since reconstructive elbow surgery. If you’re in two-QB league, he’s still worth a late-round flier for the possibility of the former scenario.

Honorable mentions: Cam Newton and Mac Jones, New England Patriots

Newton was a top-20 fantasy QB in 2020 thanks to his 12 rushing touchdowns, and his passing numbers should improve in 2021 with two talented tight ends (Hunter Henry and Jonnu Smith) and a pair of serviceable wide receivers in Nelson Agholor and Kendrick Bourne.

The issue? We don't know if Newton will have a job this season. Jones easily could supplant the 32-year-old veteran midway through the season if Newton struggles and/or Jones excels in the preseason. For that reason alone, you can't justify drafting either Patriots QB unless you know something Bill Belichick doesn't.

Editor’s Note: Get an edge on draft day and throughout the whole season with our premium Draft Guides and Season Tools for NFL, NBA, MLB and NHL - available in our EDGE+ Roto tier for $3.99/mo. (annually) or $9.99/mo. (monthly) – and gain access to immense value with rankings, trade evaluator, start/sit tools, and much more. Use promo code WELCOME10 to get 10% off. Click here to learn more!