It may not be mock draft season just yet, but for those fantasy football players looking for an edge this season, we’ve got the content for you.
The quarterback position in fantasy football has been debated for years among amateurs and experts alike, mainly on when to take a signal caller in the draft and how to ensure the team has enough depth and talent around that player.
FantasyPros Average Draft Position (ADP) data from 2022 shows that four quarterbacks were drafted in the first 50 picks based on a consensus of the major websites.
Josh Allen (21), Patrick Mahomes (30), Justin Herbert (34), and Lamar Jackson (41) were popular early selections, but taking them meant sacrificing a top skill-position player within the first two to four rounds. Selecting what feels like a sure thing at quarterback feels good on draft night and can pay off over the season, as Mahomes and Allen were the top two fantasy scorers during the 2022 season.
On the other hand, players like Trevor Lawrence, Justin Fields, and Geno Smith were drafted much later, if at all, and also finished among the top ten fantasy players. Not that it’s easy to predict which mid-tier or young quarterback will make the leap to fantasy stardom, but it proves that patience on draft night can pay off.
While teams are still waiting for the start of offseason workouts, we are already looking ahead to late summer, when making a quarterback draft pick will be top of mind for our fantasy football seasons. We preview this year’s rankings at the position just ahead.
|Kansas City Chiefs
|Los Angeles Chargers
|New York Giants
|New York Jets
|San Francisco 49ers
|Los Angeles Rams
|New England Patriots
|Green Bay Packers
|New Orleans Saints
|Tampa Bay Bucs
|San Francisco 49ers
|Tampa Bay Bucs
|Las Vegas Raiders
|San Francisco 49ers
According to ESPN, four quarterbacks were among the top 50 players who appeared on the most championship-winning fantasy rosters last season. Despite being the high-scoring player, Mahomes finished second on this list behind Christian McCaffrey, making it onto 22.2% of champion fantasy teams.
One of the NFL’s new $250 million players, Philadelphia’s Jalen Hurts, led all players in fantasy scoring through the regular season (Weeks 1-14) and still appeared on 18% of winnings rosters despite missing two games late in the year. Allen (15.2%) and Cincinnati’s Joe Burrow (12.1%) were the final two quarterbacks in this category.
We mentioned that Allen and Mahomes were the first two quarterbacks off the board, and both lived up to that billing. Hurts and Burrow were drafted 55th and 56th, respectively, in the middle of the fifth round for 12-team leagues.
They also finished as the third- and fourth-highest scorers in all of fantasy football, giving those managers more opportunity for depth at running back, wide receiver, and tight end in the meantime. It’s no surprise they were common names on title-winning rosters.
ESPN’s Mike Clay released an updated list of quarterback rankings after the Aaron Rodgers trade to New York was confirmed on April 24. Allen, Mahomes, Hurts, and Burrow makes up the top four, with Lamar Jackson listed as the fifth. In this recent NFL MVP odds preview, two of those five QBs are among our best bets to take home the top individual honor in 2023.
Jackson is the wild card of this top group, although the massive question of his status for 2023 has now been answered. Baltimore signed him to a $260 million contract over five years, avoiding the scenario where they need to find a replacement for Jackson. Tyler Huntley stood in for him from Weeks 13-17 last year, averaging 10.6 fantasy points per game.
Fields, Lawrence, and New York’s Daniel Jones are expected to be top ten quarterbacks this season after making massive strides in 2022. Fields and Jones both set career highs in rushing, with Fields tallying 1,143 yards to finish seventh in the NFL.
Only Jackson, during his 2019 MVP season, has rushed for more yards at the position during a season in NFL history. Jackson is also the only QB to rush for 1,000+ yards twice.
Herbert, Smith, Dak Prescott, Tua Tagovailoa, and Kirk Cousins all averaged better than 17 fantasy points per game a season ago. For Herbert and Prescott, it marked significant declines from their 2021 performance when Herbert finished as QB2 and Prescott QB7. Cousins has posted 17+ points per game in seven of the last eight seasons and is consistently drafted in the 12-15 range at his position.
Drafting the right quarterback for your fantasy team depends on your priorities. If you have a loaded roster across the board and you’re looking for someone to score 15 points per game, there are plenty of options versus a team that relies on their quarterback to carry the scoring burden for their players.
Jared Goff, for example, was 27th at QB in last year’s ADP. He finished as QB10 while averaging 17.1 points per game for a resurgent Lions franchise. Geno Smith went undrafted for the most part and was QB6 when all was said and done. He accomplished that feat during his age-32 season.
Derek Carr is now in New Orleans after a record-setting nine seasons with the Raiders. It’s worth seeing if a change in scenery will do him some good. After all, he goes from facing the Chiefs, Chargers, and Broncos twice a season to the NFC South, a division won by the 8-9 Tampa Bay Buccaneers last year.
Kyler Murray was the fifth QB taken in fantasy drafts last season and averaged 18.9 points per game, but he was plagued by injuries that kept him out for six weeks. He’s now missed nine games in two seasons after playing all 32 games in his first two years in the league. Murray will play under a new system with rookie head coach Jonathan Gannon and first-year coordinator Drew Petzing taking over in Phoenix.
Justin Herbert in 2020 was the last rookie QB to finish inside the top ten fantasy players at that position. This year, three quarterbacks were taken in the first four picks of the NFL Draft: Bryce Young (Alabama) went first overall to Carolina, followed by CJ Stroud (Ohio State) at #2 to Houston, and Anthony Richardson (Florida) to Indianapolis with the fourth pick.
Will Levis from Kentucky slid into the second round after being projected to go early in the first round with that trio. We covered the buildup to draft night in our 2023 Draft Preview and dug deeper into some value props in this DraftKings Draft Specials piece.
The combination of a developing quarterback in a rebuilding franchise with a new head coach typically doesn’t lend itself to consistent high-scoring fantasy production. Still, several rookie QBs may start all or most of their team’s games in 2023. So even if it’s just for a keeper or dynasty league, make sure you don’t overlook the rookies.
Whether you're new to the world of fantasy football or just want some general advice on when to take a QB in your draft, you'll find this section helpful. These frequently asked questions and answers will help you find the right QB in 2023. Best of luck!
Most fantasy football experts wouldn't advise you to pick a QB until the 4th or 5th rounds. However, it can sometimes make sense to go against conventional wisdom, especially if you can draft a QB with lots of rushing ability like Jalen Hurts or Justin Fields.
The number of quarterbacks you should draft in fantasy football depends on your league's scoring system and roster requirements. In most standard leagues, you only need to start one quarterback each week, so you typically only need to draft one quarterback. However, in leagues with more starting roster spots or leagues that allow you to start two quarterbacks, you may need to draft multiple quarterbacks.
In general, it's a good idea to have a backup quarterback on your roster in case your starter gets injured or has a bye week. So even if you only need to start one quarterback, you may want to draft a second quarterback in the later rounds of your draft as a backup.
Ultimately, the number of quarterbacks you should draft will depend on your league's specific requirements, as well as your own preferences and draft strategy.
Most fantasy football owners prioritize running backs and wide receivers over quarterbacks because running backs and wide receivers typically score more fantasy points than quarterbacks. This is due to the nature of the game - running backs and wide receivers have more opportunities to accumulate yards and touchdowns, while quarterbacks are more reliant on passing yards and touchdowns.
Drafting a rookie QB in fantasy football can make sense in certain situations, but it's generally considered a risky move.
Rookie QBs can provide value in fantasy football if they have a high ceiling and are expected to start for their team right away. If a rookie QB is in a situation where they have talented receivers and a favorable schedule, they may be worth taking a chance on.
However, it's important to remember that rookie QBs often have a steep learning curve in the NFL and may struggle with consistency and turnovers. Additionally, if a rookie QB is on a team with a strong running game, they may not be relied upon to throw the ball as much, which could limit their fantasy production.
Ultimately, drafting a rookie QB in fantasy football requires careful consideration of the player's situation and potential, as well as an understanding of the risks involved. In most cases, it's safer to draft a more established QB with a track record of success, especially in the earlier rounds of the draft.
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