2019 Fantasy Football Draft Prep: Quarterback Tiers 3.0 and strategies

Last year, the top-12 quarterbacks averaged 23.4 Fantasy points per game. It's the most I've recorded from the No. 1 passer group EVER.

Patrick Mahomes' season for the ages had plenty to do with that, but so too did Matt Ryan's huge campaign, Ben Roethlisberger's blowout bonanza and Andrew Luck's comeback season. They all averaged over 24 Fantasy points per game. In total, NINETEEN quarterbacks averaged over 20 Fantasy points per game, including part-time starters like Lamar Jackson, Carson Wentz and two guys on the same team (Jameis Winston and Ryan Fitzpatrick)!

To say the position is deep is wrong. It's saturated. It's overflowing with really good players.

So setting a goal of landing a quarterback who can find you 20 Fantasy points per week isn't enough. You need to be greedy.

Now that you know that, and once you know your lineup requirements and scoring system, you can answer these questions:

  • Do you think Mahomes will have another 5,000-yard, 50-score season?
  • What's your risk tolerance for drafting quarterbacks?
  • Does your league chase quarterbacks early or do they wait for them?
  • Are you interested in streaming quarterbacks?

If you think Mahomes is going to throw for another 5,000-and-50, you're delusional. Those numbers are super rare. However, if you think he can come up with 80 percent of those numbers — some equivalent of 4,000 yards and 40 touchdowns — then you should target him. Not only is that well within his range of outcomes, but it would make him a top-3 Fantasy quarterback again.

But he's not the only one who could come up with those numbers. Andrew Luck has the best supporting cast of his career. Aaron Rodgers has a lot of proving to do and an emerging group of receivers around him. Deshaun Watson is healthy again, as are his wideouts. Ryan and Baker Mayfield should uncork a slew of big plays behind good O-lines (Ryan's is better). A case can be made for all six of these quarterbacks to find ridiculous numbers.

This is why falling all over Mahomes isn't the way to go. If the other five quarterbacks listed above don't finish ahead of him, they'll be close behind. They're all in line for 24-plus Fantasy points per game on average and are therefore differentiators at their position.

This is where strategy comes into play: Your goal should be to get one of these six quarterbacks at a supreme value. It should feel like you're stealing. Mahomes in Round 4 is a steal, as is Ryan or Mayfield in Round 7. I've drafted Luck in a bunch of analyst leagues in Round 6 and I love it.

Granted, most leagues don't see quarterbacks fall that far. Mahomes could end up being a first-rounder in your league. If so, let him and any other passer taken in the top-40 go. It's not a big deal because the position's depth is better than it's ever been before. If they're gone, they're gone, but there are plenty of others with 24-point-per-week upside. That's what the third tier is for, and it's plenty deep.

Frankly, waiting longer for a quarterback isn't such a bad alternative. Carson Wentz, Kyler Murray and Jameis Winston have ridiculous upside. Drew Brees, Russell Wilson and Jared Goff offer great stability. Even in a draft where Mahomes, Luck, Rodgers and Watson are taken in the top-40 picks, you could easily wait until Round 8 or later to get one of these signal-callers and rip off your opponents! Doing this is basically the original plan of waiting for a quarterback steal and taking advantage of your rivals' eagerness to take a quarterback.

What about drafting two quarterbacks? This is a move you might consider if you speculate on Murray, Winston or Jimmy Garoppolo. You'll want to have another passer ready to go in case they stumble or get hurt, but keep in mind that unless everyone in your league drafts two quarterbacks, there will be someone good enough to start available on waivers. It's not a must.

What about SuperFlex and two-QB leagues? In these cases, the strategy changes. Spending a top-40 pick on a quarterback is encouraged. But don't take two early — take advantage of the depth unless there's a quirk in the scoring system that favors the position, or specific types of quarterbacks like those who pick up rushing numbers. It's a safe bet that most of your rivals will gravitate toward hoarding quarterbacks when the other positions begin thinning out. That might happen around 45th overall in non-PPR leagues and 55th overall in PPR leagues. Plan accordingly. Additionally, make it a point to get three good quarterbacks — you'll need a third arm for bye weeks, injury replacements and trade bait. 

Quarterback Tiers

ELITE

EXCELLENT

ROUND 5

ROUNDS 6, 7

Patrick Mahomes

Matt Ryan

Andrew Luck

Baker Mayfield

Aaron Rodgers

Cam Newton

Deshaun Watson

Carson Wentz


Kyler Murray


VERY GOOD

LOW-RISK, HIGH REWARD

NEXT QB UP

ROUNDS 8, 9

ROUNDS 10+

NO. 2 QBS

Drew Brees

Philip Rivers

Tom Brady

Russell Wilson

Dak Prescott

Josh Allen

Jared Goff

Ben Roethlisberger

Kirk Cousins

Jameis Winston

Lamar Jackson

Sam Darnold



Jimmy Garoppolo

Derek Carr



Mitchell Trubisky

Matthew Stafford

Senior Fantasy Writer

Dave Richard has spent nearly his entire career covering the National Football League. Beginning with NFL.com at the boom of the Internet, Richard was that site's first Fantasy Football writer before transitioning... Full Bio

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