Fantasy Football 2021: Quarterbacks

It’s that time again. Just a quick reminder, I tend to play in PPR optimal lineup leagues with high roster limits. 10 team Cutline leagues that go 26 rounds. 12 team Draft Champion leagues, with no free agency, that go 35 rounds. Some of the depth players I try to draft in every league are guys you will likely have to just keep on your radar if you’re in a typical league with 20 man rosters.

Quarterback isn’t that tricky in fantasy football. The best players are often obvious. The most important thing is to try and land good value no matter who you choose. I usually find myself passing up the first few quarterbacks because the top RB and WR on the board are just too hard to ignore. In some leagues, you’ll find everyone waits a bit on quarterback. In those cases, be prepared to jump on strong value when the opportunity arises. I haven’t gone into any draft trying to land Josh Allen, who is typically gone in round three or four this year, but he slid to my pick @ 6/52 in one draft and I was very happy to get him.

Patrick Mahomes ADP is 28 currently, which means drafting him over elite WR options. If he were to slide to about 38, then I could see myself maybe picking him.

Josh Allen, Kyler Murray and Lamar Jackson tend to be the next three QB off the board. They’re all very strong options after round five, but I am very leery about drafting Jackson given his backwards attitude about the vaccine.

Dak Prescott would have been right in the thick of the top five but I see him as undraftable as a QB1 right now. Shoulder problems can linger and get worse, especially in a sport where getting slammed down onto said shoulder is not an unlikely event. Maybe he’ll be fine and his owners will love the discount, but I’m not buying this headache.

Russell Wilson is sending a lot of mixed messages lately. Always undervalued in fantasy, I can understand a bit of the hesitancy this year. Last season, he was on a league and fantasy MVP pace the first nine weeks, then everything cratered. Brian Schottenheimer’s regressive offense was completely shut down and the “Let Russ Cook,” slogan was abandoned as Wilson was the QB12 down the stretch. New OC Shane Waldron has arrived to supposedly push the pace on offense, but I’ll be surprised if they stop being a run first team, especially with a healthy Chris Carson and a strong stable of backup runners. Seattle gets a couple laughers, but also face an excessive number of strong pass defenses.

I think we all agree that Aaron Rodgers is pretty good. Regression seems likely, though. His 9.1% TD rate was nearly double 2019’s mark. This type of efficiency has proven to be historically unsustainable. The running game has also never been better, with the Jones/Dillon 1-2 punch being as good as any in the NFL. Rodgers will be great again, but probably not 2020 great.

I’m probably in the minority, but I find Justin Herbert far more likable than his predecessor and I think he’s liable to have a better career as well. They told this guy an hour before week two that he was starting and then he went on to set the rookie TD record and throw for over 4,300 yards. I have a high tolerance for drafting players from rival teams. If you do decide to bite the bullet and go with Herbert, know now that he faces the Broncos in the championship week.

Matt Stafford is poised for success. Two excellent WR and a blossoming Van Jefferson at his disposal. A schedule littered with weak secondaries. A head coach who is deeply invested in his success. He’s a rock solid QB1 or a dynamite QB2.

Nobody should have any lingering doubts about Ryan Tannehill. 55 TD passes against 13 interceptions the last two seasons. Derrick Henry’s hulking presence didn’t prevent him from chipping in another 11 TDs on the ground. His schedule is super easy early, but quite treacherous in the playoff rounds.


If you haven’t drafted a starting quarterback by now, you probably should have. The next few guys are the bottom of the QB1 pile.

Jalen Hurts floor on a weekly basis is higher than most suspect. His legs will always give him a solid baseline. This is true for most quarterbacks with upper end mobility. I believe DeVonta Smith will wind up being regarded as the best WR to play for the Eagles since Terrell Owens. Hard to overstate how huge an upgrade this was to a perpetually underachieving position group for Philly.

Joe Burrow has tons of upside and some solid weapons in Cincy. Tee Higgins and Tyler Boyd are outstanding receivers, although Ja’Marr Chase is having a bumpy transition to the NFL and is now beset by domestic violence accusations. The O line is just marginally better. Burrow will probably be inconsistent week to week and is only a borderline QB1 for now.

Matt Ryan is aging pretty gracefully. Kyle Pitts will absorb most of the targets Julio is vacating and Calvin Ridley is a fine place to deposit the rest. Ryan is durable and consistent and is a safer option than Burrow, though his ceiling may be slightly lower.

We’re now in the land of the QB2’s.

Kirk Cousins is a much better QB in fantasy than he is in real life. Unless he infects your entire QB room because he was raised by an idiot. The other issue is the Vikings like to run the ball a lot. Like Tannehill, his schedule starts out easy and ends murderous. Don’t stack these two.

Tua Tagovailoa seems to be in position to succeed and his performance in camp this summer has been very encouraging. Tua needed to get physically stronger. He has, but he’s still a slender guy with a fairly extensive history of mostly leg injuries. The upside here is substantial if he can stay healthy. His anticipation, which was his best trait in college, has translated to the NFL and it’s the key to his success.

Baker Mayfield would almost certainly be a QB1 in a QB friendlier scheme. As long as Cleveland is content bashing teams with Chubb and KHunt, Baker is nothing but a QB2 who is particularly attractive in optimal lineup leagues.

Ben Roethlisberger’s overall numbers were solid, but he put up multiple stinkers after week five and his O line hasn’t been this bad in over a decade. The Steelers are still bristling with weapons on offense. Easy schedule. What else? Oh yeah, he’s a disgusting creep, but still rosterable in a pinch.

Whoa, ho, ho
Fitzmagic you know
Never believe it’s not so  

Or maybe you should since he’s been benched a zillion times. On the positive side, he’s never had a receiver as Scary as Terry McLaughlin, nor one that fit his skill set quite so well. His schedule is absolute cake down the stretch. Can he hold off Tyler Heinicke long enough to get there?      

Derek Carr has fairly good job security in an offense that would probably like to throw the ball more than they did in 2020. The schedule isn’t bad. Cons: He’s a Raider who thinks Jesus will hate him if he says “fuck.”  

Teddy Bridgewater will be commanding a promising offense. His pros and cons have been well detailed on this board.     

Jameis Winston will put up numbers in that offense and nobody really wants to draft him. QB2 with top five QB potential if everything breaks right. Taysom still lurks, though, and much of the fan base prefers him.

Carson Wentz is being reunited with the coach he loves and Indy has some young weapons on offense, including an under the radar tight end group, which is right up his alley. Hurt a lot and hurt already. He will have to wash off the stink of 2020 before I give him another chance.

Sam Darnold and Jared Goff are starters who should hold their jobs all year, but I don’t trust them in a QB2 role until I see improvement. Keep tabs on Darnold, though. Underrated offensive weapons beyond CMC.

Daniel Jones should be benched. Fumble machine Throws short and inaccurately. Pull the plug already.

Rookie quarterbacks are not generally a great idea in fantasy football. I think Lawrence, Wilson, Lance, Fields and Jones may all be rosterable at some point this season, I would be hesitant to consider any of them for a QB2 role. Monitor these situations.

My plan is to discuss tight ends on Friday and running backs and wide receivers early next week.