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Quarterback Best-Ball Tiered Rankings and Analysis

A lot has changed at the quarterback position since last year. While most of the names remain the same, there are some recent fantasy studs that are still without a home such as Jameis Winston and Cam Newton. We've also seen players like Teddy Bridgewater and Ryan Tannehill seemingly resurrected from the dead. This year's incoming rookie class is more talented than last year, which could lead to new starters in places like Cincinnati, Miami, and L.A. This makes drafting a best-ball team before the NFL Draft even more interesting.

Keep in mind that in best-ball leagues, you don't have the luxury of using waivers during the season. Bye weeks, injuries, and bad play must be accounted for during the draft. Rostering three QBs is not necessary but selecting the right backup can mean all the difference. Best-ball guru Shawn Siegele advises the following: "Historical win rates suggest 2-QB and 3-QB approaches yield similar results. In a 2-QB approach, grab at least one stud and try to take two relatively early." As far as who to pick and when, that's exactly what these rankings are for!

RotoBaller's best-ball rankers Phil Clark, Mike Riggall, and Pierre Camus have recently updated their 2020 Best Ball rankings in order to prepare you for early drafts. This is part of our commitment to helping you all season long. We will continue to update these rankings in Best Ball and every other format throughout the offseason. You can find the latest rankings here. Now, let's get to the quarterbacks.

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QB Best-Ball Rankings

Position Rank Position Tier Player Name Overall Rank Overall Tier Pierre Phil Mike
1 1 Lamar Jackson 38 4 44 32 50
2 1 Patrick Mahomes 39 4 45 43 41
3 2 Kyler Murray 60 6 55 67 59
4 2 Russell Wilson 69 6 73 60 78
5 3 Deshaun Watson 78 7 87 72 95
6 3 Carson Wentz 79 7 86 86 83
7 3 Dak Prescott 80 7 57 97 101
8 3 Josh Allen 82 7 69 98 89
9 3 Aaron Rodgers 85 7 84 73 110
10 3 Matt Ryan 93 8 65 105 124
11 4 Tom Brady 109 9 113 107 113
12 4 Baker Mayfield 113 10 88 141 111
13 4 Daniel Jones 119 10 89 154 112
14 4 Drew Brees 123 10 100 148 126
15 4 Ben Roethlisberger 125 10 106 121 152
16 4 Jimmy Garoppolo 127 10 130 125 130
17 5 Jared Goff 143 11 112 156 167
18 5 Ryan Tannehill 149 12 126 183 153
19 5 Teddy Bridgewater 150 12 184 #N/A 128
20 5 Matthew Stafford 157 13 120 195 175
21 5 Kirk Cousins 160 13 159 170 168
22 5 Cam Newton 162 13 136 166 201
23 5 Philip Rivers 163 13 157 175 172
24 5 Joe Burrow 166 13 181 140 189
25 5 Derek Carr 167 13 142 182 187
26 6 Sam Darnold 176 13 162 181 202
27 6 Drew Lock 212 14 170 243 230
28 6 Nick Foles 222 14 189 240 235
29 7 Dwayne Haskins 242 15 217 258 223
30 7 Jameis Winston 253 16 203 275 232
31 7 Tua Tagovailoa 271 16 319 174 #N/A
32 7 Gardner Minshew II 276 16 224 315 216
33 8 Mitch Trubisky 277 17 227 322 207
34 8 Tyrod Taylor 287 18 281 #N/A 233
35 8 Andy Dalton 288 18 296 179 297
36 9 Marcus Mariota 297 18 307 223 #N/A
37 9 Ryan Fitzpatrick 303 18 301 #N/A 234
38 9 Case Keenum 312 19 362 189 #N/A
39 9 Jacoby Brissett 349 20 305 #N/A #N/A
40 9 Joe Flacco 350 20 #N/A 306 #N/A
41 10 Jarrett Stidham 353 20 308 #N/A #N/A
42 10 Kyle Allen 371 20 #N/A 325 #N/A
43 10 Justin Herbert 373 20 326 #N/A #N/A
44 10 Taysom Hill 380 20 333 #N/A #N/A
45 10 Jalen Hurts 393 20 349 #N/A #N/A


Tier 1  

Lamar Jackson, Patrick Mahomes

Last year, Mahomes stood alone in the top tier. This year, he has company and has been displaced as the No. 1 QB. The comparison between each player's second NFL season is remarkable, especially when you realize that Jackson's passing numbers alone weren't far off from Mahomes.

The two players practically tied in terms of fantasy production from those two seasons, with Mahomes posting 417.08 points and Jackson 41.568. The difference, of course, is that Mahomes' magical season came two years ago and he dropped by 130 points in 2019, mainly due to the fact he missed a pair of games and the Chiefs' offense suffered a myriad of injuries.

Jackson was a stud every single week and sustained a win rate above 14% all season long, ending with a 20.7% rate that naturally made him the best QB for best-ball. Using RotoViz's Best Ball Win Rates Tool, you can see just how consistently dominant he was.

It would be ludicrous to assume that Jackson will repeat last season's numbers, but he always brings a high floor due to his rushing ability. On the other hand, one could posit that Mahomes is the safer pick because he isn't as reliant on positive game script, seeing as how the Chiefs are never hesitant to pass regardless of the scoreboard. These two players are 1A and 1B in my book, whereas our other two rankers are split in their opinions. Either way, if you own one of these passers, you are set at the position early and will only need one backup QB later on.


Tier 2

Kyler Murray, Russell Wilson

The addition of DeAndre Hopkins assures that Murray will now be one of the top-five quarterbacks selected in drafts of all types this year. It's hard to argue against that. Murray finished with an adequate 3,722 passing yards and 20 touchdowns as a rookie but should take another step forward in his second NFL season. An offense like the Air Raid depends on the quality of its receivers. While Christian Kirk is solid and Larry Fitzgerald is a Hall of Fame player, Larry Legend is simply a chain-moving possession receiver at this point and Kirk has missed seven games in his first two seasons due to injury. Players like Damiere Byrd, Pharoh Cooper, Trent Sherfield, rookies KeeSean Johnson and Andy Isabella were the other options. Nuk will demand attention from the defense and open things up to the rest of the offense.

Murray was ninth in pass attempts last season at 542. His output could jump into the 4,000-yard range in addition to the 300+ yards he brings with his legs. The Cards need to address their offensive line in the draft in order to reduce the league-leading 48 sacks that he took. If that happens, Murray belongs among the top quarterbacks. That said, there isn't a need to reach for him with a top-50 pick, as a Lamar Jackson-type season isn't necessarily in the books.


Tier 3

Deshaun Watson, Carson Wentz, Dak Prescott, Josh Allen, Aaron Rodgers, Matt Ryan

Watson's positioning at fifth among quarterbacks is right where Phil has him ranked, while Mike has him seventh. I'm by far the most skeptical of post-Nuk Watson, ranking him 10th behind every other QB in this tier and barely ahead of Mayfield and Jones. Seeing as how the Texans don't own a first-round pick in the upcoming NFL Draft and the biggest-name free agent receivers still available are Taylor Gabriel and Ted Ginn, there isn't a likely scenario in which they upgrade at the position. A quartet of Will Fuller, Kenny Stills, Randall Cobb, and Keke Coutee is decent in terms of talent, but the mix of two slot receivers with two deep threats leaves the team without a legitimate red-zone threat or a big-bodied receiver.

If David Johnson somehow flashes back to his 2016 form, which is very unlikely, then that could open things up for the whole offense and provide another reliable pass-catcher. This is undoubtedly what Bill O'Brien had in mind when dealing away DeAndre Hopkins. Watson's rushing ability, especially his propensity to take it himself in the red-zone which led to seven rushing scores in 2019, are always present. Still, the current circumstances as they stand leave me hesitant to select Watson unless he comes at a bargain price, closer to pick 100. Even then, I would feel the need to pair him with a high-upside backup a couple of rounds later.

Dak Prescott had the third-highest win rate among all quarterbacks last year in best-ball leagues at 12.1%. That is mainly due to the fact he was drafted past round 10 in most leagues, so those teams could focus on other positions first. He is now being treated as an upper-tier fantasy QB with an ADP of 58, making him the sixth QB drafted on average. He won't come at a discount, but he could still pay dividends if Mike McCarthy's offense favors the passing game as it did in Green Bay.

Speaking of Green Bay, we might need to do a Discount Double Check with Aaron Rodgers. Last season, he was the third QB off the board in best-ball at the 82nd overall pick. This season, he barely ranks as the QB9 in early best-ball drafts, one spot ahead of Drew Brees. If the Packers draft a receiver early, that could help erase the memories of what could have been with the 2018 class of Equanimeous St. Brown, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, and J'Mon Moore. As it stands, his ranking is about right. He is a high-floor pick who will deliver some huge weeks and some duds along the way.


Tier 4

Tom Brady, Baker Mayfield, Daniel Jones, Drew Brees, Jimmy Garoppolo, Ben Roethlisberger

On a personal note, Tom Brady's move to Tampa Bay might just earn me some cash after I selected him in the 14th round of my first BB10 of the year. He may not be vintage G.O.A.T. but having Mike Evans and Chris Godwin as targets, not to mention two talented pass-catching tight ends, is a big upgrade from the revolving door of the Patriots receiver room. I don't necessarily suggest targeting him as your QB1 (my pick was more out of necessity than anything), but he looks like an ideal

Let's not forget about Big Ben returning to a Steelers team which, despite ranking 31st in passing offense last year, had ranked second, third, sixth, third, and second in the previous five years. JuJu Smith-Schuster is entering his age-23 season and should be healthy to start the year. Pittsburgh may not play at the same level they did when the Three B's were on the field (Bell, Brown, Big Ben) but Roethlisberger is still a good bet to deliver a strong return on investment at an ADP of 156.


Tier 5

Jared Goff, Ryan Tannehill, Teddy Bridgewater, Matthew Stafford, Kirk Cousins, Cam Newton, Philip Rivers, Joe Burrow, Derek Carr

To see Goff down in the fifth tier as the 17th quarterback is surprising at first glance but ultimately understandable. The Rams offense is no longer outsmarting opposing defenses, as the league has caught up to Sean McVay's act. The departure of Todd Gurley won't help, even if it was the team's decision to release him, and Brandin Cooks could be on the way out too. Goff doesn't earn any points with his legs either, running for a sparse total of 40 yards over 16 games. It's doubtful the team will turn to him at the goal-line any time soon, seeing as how he has six rushing touchdowns compared to 35 fumbles in his four-year career.

The Rams could go to a more conventional 12 offensive scheme more often this year, featuring their tight ends more often and using a committee at running back. That would make Goff a less-exciting fantasy option. The biggest factor is the defense, though. Despite all the big-name talent on that side of the ball, the Rams finished 17th in team defense. If they shore up that side of the ball under new defensive coordinator Brandon Staley (so long, Wade Phillips), then don't expect Goff to lead the league in pass attempts again. He can't be considered a QB1 regardless of how long you wait, although I still consider him a better choice than the other players in this tier.

It may be more surprising to discover that Cousins finished as a top-12 quarterback in terms of win rate last year, tied for 11th at 8%. I tend to think has more to do with the late-round QB philosophy paying off than anything Cousins did. He threw for 3,603 yards, which is his lowest in five seasons as a full-time starter. He did limit turnovers with just six INT, but the ceiling wasn't there most weeks. He broke 300 passing yards on four occasions and failed to register multiple touchdowns in half his starts. An increased focus on the running game in Minnesota along with the loss of Stefon Diggs knocks Cousins down another notch.

The most interesting names here come at the end with Newton and Burrow. It's all but official that Burrow will be donning Bengals orange and black in 2020. How quickly he adjusts to the pro game is the million-dollar question. If you land a solid starter early on, feel free to peg him as a high-upside backup but hedge your bet with a third QB later on.

Newton is still without a home and should remain that way until after the NFL Draft. It doesn't seem as if New England is a likely destination, so the best bet is that he rejoins Ron Rivera in Washington or enters a position battle somewhere like Oakland or Jacksonville. None of those scenarios are ideal for fantasy production, which is why avoiding him this season might be best.


Tier 6 and lower

If you do indeed draft a third quarterback then it's worth taking the rest for a high-upside passer without a home like Jameis Winston or Tua Tagovailoa. Playing it safe won't win you any weeks. We know what Winston can do in terms of putting up points and even if he earns a backup job somewhere, he is an injury away from becoming relevant again. We don't know where Tua will wind up (ahem, Dolphins) but it would be shocking if he doesn't see the field midway through the season.

If you simply waited a long time to nab a backup because you landed Mahomes or Jackson early and are relying on a late-round option as your bye-week and emergency replacement, you must think differently. Drew Lock is somewhat risky but should be set to play a 16-game schedule as long as he's healthy. Many project the Broncos to grab a receiver in the draft to complement Courtland Sutton, along with new RB Melvin Gordon. He is undervalued as the 25th QB off the board.

Gardner Minshew and his 233 passing yards per game for a team that wants to have a run-first offense isn't exactly the stuff that gets your blood boiling. The 2020 Jaguars won't be the Tiger Kings of the NFL (that would be Joe Burrow and the Bengals naturally), but Minshew could take a small step forward and provide a nice floor for that one week you need it.

I'm not dead set against taking a chance on Trubisky. The signing of Nick Foles could light a fire under him and it's not as if the offense is lacking weapons. Sam Darnold on the other hand... I'm not touching him until the day Adam Gase is fired.

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.