I'm sure you're tired of hearing from Fantasy analysts the importance of waiting on quarterback. Don't worry, the season starts soon. But while I have you, you should definitely wait on quarterback. One look at training-camp buzz tells you why. After the silly 'competition,' Bill Belichick is raving about Cam Newton. Our Pete Prisco said on CBS Sports HQ that Gardner Minshew has had some of his best practices ever and has quickly taken to Jay Gruden's system. Joe Burrow is getting some serious buzz, and Ben Roethlisberger's throwing the ball as well as he ever has. What do all these quarterbacks have in common? None of them are being drafted as top-12 quarterbacks, and they're all available in the double-digit rounds.
While we've jam-packed all the re-draft information we can into one article, you'll have to settle for links for the Dynasty content. Our Dynasty quarterback rankings are here and our Dynasty Tiers can be found here.
Before we get to the potential league-winners, it's probably worthwhile to take a quick look at the state of the position. We say it every year, but quarterback is deep. Veterans like Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Matt Ryan and Aaron Rodgers are still hanging on toward the bottom of the top 12, but they've been supplanted at the top by a more mobile crew. Nine of the top 10 Fantasy quarterbacks in 2019 ran for at least 200 yards. Half of the top 10 topped 300 rushing yards. For reference, just five years before only two of the top 10 Fantasy quarterbacks ran for more than 300 yards.
The funny thing is, even with the young mobile guys up top, and some of the GOATs right behind them, there are still a lot of late-round options to be had. Ryan Tannehill was the No. 2 quarterback in Fantasy after he became the Titans starter. Matthew Stafford was No. 6 before he got hurt. Joe Burrow was the No. 1 overall pick and has a phenomenal supporting cast. That's why, even with all their upside, you shouldn't be drafting the very best quarterbacks in the first two rounds. Speaking of draft strategy ...
Quarterback draft strategy
This varies wildly depending on league, but we'll try to fit it all in a couple of paragraphs. In a one-quarterback league, the preferred strategy is still to wait. Don't draft any quarterback before Round 3 at the very earliest. Assuming that means you've missed Mahomes and Jackson, you should wait until at least Round 5 or 6. If Dak Prescott, Russell Wilson or Deshaun Watson are still there that's a fine time to take the plunge. Otherwise, wait until Round 10 and select one of Carson Wentz, Josh Allen, Brady, Rodgers, Ryan or Brees. All those guys gone? You'll be fine pairing two of Roethlisberger, Minshew, Daniel Jones, Newton or Jared Goff.
In a league where you can start two quarterbacks? That makes Mahomes and Jackson first-round picks. It bumps that second tier up to the second round. If you miss those first two tiers, the move really depends on where you're drafting. If you're in the middle of the round you can wait until around 12 quarterbacks are off the board then use your next two picks on the position. If you're on either end, you need to go a bit sooner just because of how quickly they can fly off the board in this format.
Now let's take a look at the breakouts, sleepers and busts. As a reminder, sleepers and busts are heavily influenced by ADP, and for this version we're using CBS ADP.
Kyler Murray QB
ARI Arizona • #1
Age: 24 • Experience: 3 yrs.
Murray is a polarizing player, but in this section we'll just focus on the positives. He averaged better than 20 Fantasy points per game as a rookie despite below average passing efficiency. He should improve in the red zone in Year 2 and the Cardinals added DeAndre Hopkins. Murray's upside looks like 4,000 passing yards, 500 rushing yards and more than 30 total touchdowns. Only three quarterbacks have ever done that in a season, and they all finished top five in Fantasy that year.
Josh Allen QB
BUF Buffalo • #17
Age: 25 • Experience: 4 yrs.
Allen was actually better than Murray on a per-game basis last year, despite another poor year as a passer. The positive is that he improved in his second year, and another small step could vault him into the top five because of what he does with his legs. If his efficiency improves as much in 2020 as it did in 2019, we should expect an additional 400 passing yards and seven more passing touchdowns assuming the Bills loosen the reins a little more. The addition of Stefon Diggs should certainly help in that pursuit.
HOU Houston • #4
Age: 26 • Experience: 5 yrs.
So this may not make much sense with Watson losing DeAndre Hopkins, but the fourth-year quarterback should be expected to set career highs in passing yards and passing touchdowns in 2020. The loss of Hopkins hurts, but the addition of Brandin Cooks, Randall Cobb and David Johnson gives Watson one of the deepest (and most diverse) set of weapons in the league. The Texans' porous defense should make sure Watson throws plenty, and he's averaged more than 80 Fantasy points per 16 games with his legs. It should not surprise anyone if Watson is one of the top two Fantasy quarterbacks at the end of the season.
PHI Philadelphia • #10
Age: 25 • Experience: 3 yrs.
There was plenty of concern at the beginning of the year that Jacksonville might try to replace Minshew, or at least give him some competition. Maybe that explains why Minshew was being drafted outside of the top 24 quarterbacks in March. But it makes absolutely no sense in July. Minshew was within a point of Murray on a per-game basis, and his situation looks quite a bit better than it did in 2019. His new offensive coordinator is Jay Gruden, who led Andy Dalton and Kirk Cousins to three consecutive top six Fantasy finishes. The Jaguars also added Laviska Shenault, Tyler Eifert and Chris Thompson in the past few months. While none of them are superstars, they should all be upgrades for Minshew. He's an excellent No. 2 quarterback with legitimate top-eight upside due to the volume we expect.
Cam Newton QB
NE New England • #1
Age: 32 • Experience: 10 yrs.
Every time Newton has played 16 games he's been a top-five quarterback, and he was No. 12 in just 14 games as recently as 2018. If he's fully healthy, he'll quickly dispatch Jarrett Stidham and be a borderline top-12 option. If Josh McDaniels uses Newton as the red-zone rusher he has been in the past, there's no reason to think Newton can't be top five again.
Tyrod Taylor QB
HOU Houston • #5
Age: 32 • Experience: 11 year
This is more of a 2QB sleeper, but as you'll see below we don't hate starting Taylor Week 1. Now confirmed to start Week 1 over Justin Herbert, and the Chargers team around Taylor is good enough to make a push for the playoffs. In other words, Herbert may have a hard time getting on the field this year. With Taylor's running ability and a great cast of weapons, there's top-12 upside here available at the end of the draft. Taylor is best suited for leagues that reward four points per pass touchdown but he could be a starter in any format.
BAL Baltimore • #8
Age: 24 • Experience: 4 yrs.
No one wants to call Jackson a bust. But just like with Mahomes last year, it's the right thing to do. You should not draft a quarterback in the first round. But you definitely shouldn't draft a quarterback with Jackson's regression profile in the first round. You should expect he'll lose at least 10 passing touchdowns from his 2019 campaign and upwards of 300 rushing yards. Even if he finishes as the No. 1 quarterback again, he won't separate himself from the field as he did in 2019. Draft a running back or a receiver or Travis Kelce instead at this spot.
Numbers to know
- 9.0% -- Lamar Jackson's 2019 touchdown rate. That should fall below 6.0% at the very least, which is the biggest reason why Jackson's 2020 production will regress.
- 25.4 -- Matthew Stafford's Fantasy points per game before he was injured. Only Jackson scored more.
- 9.6 -- Ryan Tannehill's yards per attempt in 2019. That's 33% better than Tannehill's career average and 21% better than Russell Wilson's career mark. Wilson is the active leader in yards per attempt. Don't expect that to continue.
- 596 -- Dak Prescott's pass attempts in 2019. The Cowboys were much more pass heavy in Kellen Moore's first season as a play-caller.
- 1,834 -- The difference between Jameis Winston and Tom Brady in air yards last season. Either Brady or Bruce Arians will have to make significant changes in 2020.
- 17 -- Josh Allen's rushing touchdowns in his first two seasons in the league. There's some regression risk, but he's looking more and more like vintage Cam Newton in the red zone.
- 67.9% -- Cam Newton's completion percentage in 2018, in case anyone tells you he's just a runner.
- 4.4% -- Aaron Rodgers' touchdown rate for the past two seasons. That's close to league average but well below his career rate of 6.0%. That could either be a sign of coming regression or Rodgers' skill deterioration.
- 400.9 -- Ben Roethlisberger's Fantasy points in 2018 when he was a top-four quarterback. Jackson was the only quarterback to top 400 Fantasy points last year. Don't forget about Big Ben.
Draft to stream
Cam Newton Week 1 vs. Miami, Week 2 at Seattle
If Newton is his old self, you can probably forget about draft to stream. You may even have a top-five quarterback. But even if he's not, a Week 1 matchup against the Dolphins is pretty fantastic. In fact, the Patriots don't play a definitively good pass defense until October.
Tyrod Taylor Week 1 at Cincinnati, Week 2 vs. Kansas City
The Bengals defense should be bad enough to propel Taylor to a good start to the season, and the Chiefs offense should have him in catch-up mode. Taylor has the best set of weapons he's ever had and should get off to a blazing start.
Teddy Bridgewater Week 1 vs. Las Vegas, Week 2 at Tampa Bay
The Raiders and the Buccaneers were both in the bottom third of the league when it came to Fantasy points allowed to quarterbacks last year. In his start against Tampa Bay last year, Bridgewater threw for 314 yards and four touchdowns. The Panthers' porous defense should ensure Bridgewater's pass attempts are high.
Which players are poised for breakouts, which sleepers do you need to jump on, and which busts should you avoid at all costs in your Fantasy football league? Visit SportsLine now to get early rankings, plus see which WR is going to come out of nowhere to crack the top 10, all from the model that out-performed experts big time last season.