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Quarterback Tiered Rankings and Analysis

Examining rankings for different positions is a good way to know who to target in fantasy drafts, even as far away as the season seems. At RotoBaller, we go a step further and provide you with tiers to help determine where the major breaks in production lie.

With this in mind, our updated consensus ranks and tiers for all league types are online to help make these determinations easier for you, our readers.

Below, you will find the tier position as well as ranks which have been computed using the beliefs of our great expert rankers. Following this, please find a highlighted player in each of the top tiers as well as a few late tier gems which may prove to be the next Patrick Mahomes from 2018 or Lamar Jackson from 2019.

 

QB Tiers and Rankings

Position Rank Position Tier Player Name Overall Rank Overall Tier
1 1 Lamar Jackson 18 3
2 1 Patrick Mahomes 27 3
3 2 Dak Prescott 49 4
4 2 Kyler Murray 51 4
5 2 Russell Wilson 54 5
6 3 Deshaun Watson 63 5
7 3 Josh Allen 66 5
8 3 Drew Brees 67 5
9 3 Matt Ryan 74 5
10 3 Aaron Rodgers 76 6
11 3 Carson Wentz 84 6
12 3 Tom Brady 86 6
13 3 Matthew Stafford 94 7
14 4 Ryan Tannehill 101 7
15 4 Baker Mayfield 106 7
16 4 Ben Roethlisberger 107 7
17 4 Daniel Jones 111 7
18 4 Jared Goff 122 8
19 5 Jimmy Garoppolo 135 9
20 5 Kirk Cousins 140 9
21 5 Philip Rivers 142 9
22 5 Drew Lock 148 9
23 5 Joe Burrow 150 9
24 6 Sam Darnold 158 10
25 6 Ryan Fitzpatrick 177 11
26 6 Teddy Bridgewater 180 11
27 7 Gardner Minshew II 181 11
28 7 Derek Carr 186 11
29 7 Tyrod Taylor 227 13
30 7 Jarrett Stidham 241 13
31 8 Dwayne Haskins 243 13
32 8 Mitch Trubisky 260 14
33 8 Nick Foles 268 14
34 8 Cam Newton 273 15
35 9 Justin Herbert 288 15
36 9 Tua Tagovailoa 292 15
37 9 Jameis Winston 315 16
38 9 Marcus Mariota 342 16
39 9 Andy Dalton 352 17
40 9 Jacoby Brissett 365 17
41 10 Kyle Allen 382 17
42 10 Taysom Hill 384 18
43 10 Jalen Hurts 450 18

 

Tier One

The players in this tier are well known. They are the last two NFL MVPs and they are currently the best quarterbacks in the game. Lamar Jackson has a clear advantage when it comes to rushing. On the other hand, Patrick Mahomes has the better overall offense. Mahomes also has a more sustainable skill and the ability to throw the ball to some of the best receivers in the NFL.

Lamar Jackson and his 1,100 rushing yards is nice. It is also far less of a sure thing to repeat itself than the yards and TD put up by Mahomes in Kansas City. In two full seasons as the starter for the Chiefs, Mahomes has put up 318.6 and 287.9 y/g passing. He has also passed for 76 TD to only 17 INT during those seasons. With Lamar Jackson having a historic season as it related to QB rushing yards, he is sure to regress a bit. For these reasons, Mahomes is the safer choice in drafts. His upside is just as high, but his floor is not near as low.

Saying this, if you want to get either one, it will cost you. That price will not only be a second or third-round draft pick. It will also cost you an elite asset at another position. This is a decision you as an individual player need to make. Whichever one you choose though, unless injury occurs, they will not cost you a season.

 

Tier Two

Not quite in the top tier but much less cost prohibitive are the trio of QB we have in the second tier. Each one has a great upside as well as concerns to look at. So, which one has the least warts?

Although many are going to be scared off by the dismal season had by Baker Mayfield in 2019 in the same scenario, for my money, Kyler Murray is the choice to come out on top of this grouping of talented QBs.

Not only does he have arguably the best WR in DeAndre Hopkins to go along with a suddenly good run game behind Kenyan Drake. Murray also has something which Mayfield did not - an offensive line that was not just pieced together last minute but was in fact improved in the offseason. The re-signing of D.J. Humphries and the drafting of Joshua Jones from Houston is a big upgrade. It is set to allow Murray to make plays with his arms as well as his legs.

With an improved line in 2020, look for Murray to excel further as a runner too. Behind a less than stellar line in 2019, Murray still scampered for four TD while averaging 5.8 rushes and 34 rush yards/game. He also has a rocket of an arm which allowed him to throw for 3,722 yards as a rookie. Only one season after another rookie in Josh Rosen managed only 2,278 yards.

Larry Fitzgerald is older but still a good slot receiver with great hands and Christian Kirk along with Andy Isabella and Hakeem Butler bring a younger dimension. This wasn't present last year for the rookie wideouts as Isabella only caught nine passes in 15 games as a rookie and Butler missed his initial season with a hand injury. Although risky for sure as a top-five QB selection, Kyler Murray is a solid play to leap into the tier one conversation for 2021 and beyond.

 

Tier Three

We could talk about Deshaun Watson and how this may be too high for him. Especially after losing his best weapon, only to be replaced by a broken-down RB who would have been given to the team for free if asked. Instead, we are going to talk about Drew Brees.

Brees is coming off a season in which he was on pace to have 40 TD and only four INT had he played all 16 games. He now also gets some new weapons to play with in the final phase of his career.

Alvin Kamara was a shell of himself last season. Although he managed 82 receptions for the third straight season to start his career, his TD production dropped from 14 all the way to five. As it was evident, he was playing through injury. With Kamara back healthy leading the charge, the running game will be back among the best.

In the passing game, everything was sent through Michael Thomas as shown by his 149 receptions in 2019. He will still be the Alpha this season and he will easily get the 12 receptions needed to break the record for any player in their first four seasons. Only now, he does not have to do it all by himself.

Emmanuel Sanders arrives from San Francisco to provide the best complement Thomas has had since taking over the number one role with the trade of Brandin Cooks. The 26% share Sanders achieved in the pass game with the 49ers will likely not repeat itself in New Orleans. Just the threat of him on the other side though, will open things for Thomas as well as Jared Cook. This will allow Brees to find open receivers more often. As the most accurate QB in NFL history, this is something Brees and your fantasy team will feast doing.

 

Tier Four

What a difference a year makes. Last season, Aaron Rodgers was in the conversation for the number one overall QB. This season, he barely cracks the top 10 at the position. The Packers did not give him any help either with their “unique” draft strategy of no WR in a historically good WR draft.

With a limited receiving group to throw to, one even more depleted by the injury to Davante Adams for four full weeks, Rodgers still managed 4,002 pass yards and willed the Packers to a 13-3 record and a number two seed in the NFC playoffs. With Adams hopefully healthy for a full season, he can return to the player he was from 2016-2018 in which he had 12 TD each season while averaging 135.3 targets and 86.7 receptions.

The real question is what we can expect from Rodgers in 2020? Are we going to see the determined, mad-at-the-world Rodgers who can put up 40 TD? Or will we see someone who is checked out on the season due to the team's apparent dismissal of him going forward? The former is much more likely knowing Rodgers' attitude.

 

Tier Five

Matthew Stafford was the QB2 in fantasy before injuries forced him out last season. In those eight games, Stafford managed 19 TD to only five INT while averaging 312.4 yards.

He still has a strong supporting cast that could keep him in the QB1 fantasy conversation. Kenny Golladay came into his own last season with 65 receptions and 11 TD while averaging 18.3 yards/reception. In the absence of Marvin Jones, with a lineup of bad backup quarterbacks throwing to him, he finished as the WR six for fantasy while also reaching his highest snap share of his career at 87%. Kerryon Johnson is a good RB. He is unfortunately injury plagued so the Lions solidified the position by using their second-round draft pick on D'Andre Swift, a multi-faceted back out of Georgia.

The returning Stafford clearly has an improved set of skill players around him. This will be important as the NFC North is becoming more offensive focused and less focused on the defenses of past years. If Matthew Stafford can find the magic, he had only a season ago before injury, he could be the highest finisher at QB in this division. But whether he gets into the top five at the position again or not, a late-round flier is not much collateral to use to find out.

 

Tier Six

Last season was not great for Philip Rivers. He had only 23 TD to go along with 20 picks for the Chargers as they crumpled to a 5-11 record. This led the team to release the iron man veteran in favor of Tyrod Taylor and rookie Justin Herbert.

As sad as it was to see Rivers leave Southern California, he landed in a great spot in Indianapolis. Not only does he still have a solid returning RB in Marlon Mack, he also got the best RB in the draft in Jonathan Taylor as well. Add this to playing behind what could be the best offensive line in the NFL and things are coming up roses for a bounce back season. One that could get even better if he gets 2,091 yards to move ahead of Dan Marino into fifth place on the all-time pass yardage list.

If T.Y. Hilton can come back into form after a 2019 where he only played in 10 games with 45 receptions, Rivers could have the WR1 he has been used to with Keenan Allen. Incoming rookie Michael Pittman Jr. can provide a solid threat as well as a big-bodied red zone player at 6’4 and 225 pounds.  Jack Doyle may not be the athlete of Hunter Henry or Antonio Gates. But we know the reliance Rivers places on the tight end position. This makes Doyle a dangerous play at a mediocre position. If the team can get anything out of second year slot receiver Parris Campbell, this would be an added and somewhat unexpected bonus.

While it may be difficult for Rivers as his off-season preparation has obviously been detoured. Not only is he a veteran and able to adjust, he is also headed into a system of familiarity. He worked with Frank Reich in San Diego for three seasons before he moved on to Kansas City.

Do not sleep on veterans in your fantasy draft. Not only are there going to be good values like Rivers in the double-digit rounds. Some of them have also improved their position based on new teams. It also leaves your early round picks free to attack more important positions like grabbing an elite RB or WR.

 

Late-Tier Fliers

If it were a certainty Cam Newton would find a team, he would be an easy pick to talk about this low in drafts. With his future employment uncertain, we need to turn in another direction for a flier.

There are a few candidates we could talk about. Some like Teddy Bridgewater while others think he is set to be a one-year bridge QB. So, let us take him out of the mix as well. With P.J. Walker coming in from the XFL, Matt Rhule may turn to him if things start going bad quickly in hopes of landing that coveted top pick for Trevor Lawrence.

What about Jarrett Stidham? Sure, he only played sparingly in 2019, a stint where he did not show well. And yes, he is taking over for a legend in Tom Brady, a situation that rarely turns out well for the next man up. Still, something is there. Bill Belichick sees it and he showed his belief with his actions during the draft and the off season. Or we should say his inactions. They brought back Brian Hoyer as a backup because he knows the system and is a great mentor for the young Stidham. But he poses no real threat to him.

The weapons for sure leave a lot to be desired in New England. Julian Edelman is getting older although still a top 24 player at the position. Sony Michel has been a relative disappointment. With James White and Rex Burkhead also there, the run game will be solid enough to help the young QB progress. Even in the season when Brady tore his ACL, the team was able to ride Matt Cassel, a player who had not started a game since high school, to an 11-5 record. With Stidham having a full season behind Brady, not to mention the trust of Belichick, He could be a flier worth taking with the last pick of your fantasy draft.

There are not any clear cut late-round fliers like we have seen in recent years. Both players in our top tier Lamar Jackson and Patrick Mahomes come to mind. Even Mr. Late Round QB himself, J.J. Zachariason. has stated that fliers at the position are getting harder and harder to count on as rushing QBs continue to make their mark. This means taking a shot this late, on any player, is a crap shoot.

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