2019 Fantasy Football Draft Prep: Updated QB tiers in wake of Andrew Luck's retirement

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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)!

The position isn't just deep, it's saturated. 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:

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% of those numbers — some equivalent of 4,000 yards and 40 touchdowns — then you should target him. Not only is that a pretty strong possibility, but it would make him the top Fantasy quarterback again.

But he's not the only one who could come close to those numbers. Aaron Rodgers is no slouch and has a lot of proving to do with 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). Cam Newton's throwing motion is more compact, his receiving corps appears on the brink of a breakout and he'll still run around a little. Carson Wentz has the best supporting cast of his career. A case can be made for all these fellas to find ridiculous numbers.

This is why fawning all over Mahomes isn't the way to go. All of the others listed above should finish, or come relatively close to finishing, in the top five. They're all in line for a 24-plus point-per-game average and are therefore differentiators at their position.

Your goal should be able to get one of these quarterbacks at a supreme value. It should feel like you're stealing. Mahomes in late Round 3 or Round 4 is a steal, as is Ryan or Mayfield in Round 7-plus. I've drafted Newton and Wentz in a bunch of analyst leagues in Round 7 or 8, and I love it.

Now you know as well as I do that 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 30 go. Taking one early is too risky. There are too many great players at other positions worth taking over a quarterback when you can take a great quarterback later on. Read that sentence again. Commit it to memory. 

If Plan A is to pick up a big bargain with a top seven Fantasy quarterback, Plan B is to wait a little longer ... and do the exact same thing. Luck's stunning preseason retirement leaves the position a little less deep, but there are still plenty of options. Jared Goff, Jameis Winston, Russell Wilson and Kyler Murray either offer ridiculous upside or significant stability (Wilson has both). You could make a similar case for Lamar Jackson. Even in a draft where Mahomes, Rodgers and Watson are taken in the top-40 picks, you could easily wait until Round 9 or later to get one of these signal-callers and rip off your opponents. Take them to the cleaners! Doing this takes advantage of your rivals' eagerness to take a quarterback. And, the risk is lower because you're spending a later pick on one of them. 

Old school versus new school: A lot of youth is being served at quarterback, pushing names you know like Drew Brees, Philip Rivers, Ben Roethlisberger and Tom Brady not just to the later rounds, but into Fantasy free agency! Is it warranted? Given the warts these "old" guys have, I think the ADP is about right. But that doesn't mean they'll be bad. Each of them ranked outside of the top seven in game-to-game consistency (yes, even Roethlisberger) and only Big Ben averaged over 24 Fantasy points per game (with Antonio Brown on his side). These folks are clearly great quarterbacks, but there's more upside in other choices. 

What about drafting two quarterbacks? This is a move you might consider if you speculate on Murray, Winston or Jackson. 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. 

Tiers 6.0
Quarterbacks
Round 3
Mahomes!
Rounds 4-5
Not-Quite Mahomes!
Rounds 7-8
Top-5 Upside
Rounds 9-10
Very Good

So what Fantasy Football sleepers should you snatch in your draft? And which RB2 can you wait on until late? Visit SportsLine now to get 2019 Fantasy Football cheat sheets from the model that called Andrew Luck's huge 2018, and find out.

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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