Fantasy Football Dynasty Quarterback Tiers: Patrick Mahomes, Deshaun Watson and Lamar Jackson at the top
There's a clear top tier in the quarterback Dynasty rankings. Then it gets interesting.
I expect there's a pretty good consensus about who is in the top tier at quarterback. Patrick Mahomes set records in his first year as a starter and won a championship in his second. Deshaun Watson has been one of the best young passers the game has ever seen while also running for 1,200 yards in his first two and a half years. Lamar Jackson just posted the first 3,000-1,000 season, and arguably the greatest Fantasy season ever.
You can put those three in whatever order you like, but it gets a lot more interesting at No. 4. Not so much in how we decide on No. 4, but in how we start grouping quarterbacks together in tiers. All tiers are more interesting than rankings, but especially Dynasty tiers. The combination of age, past performance, perceived ceiling and floor, contract length and environment makes it difficult to group the quarterbacks together, but I made my best effort below.
The following seven tiers encompass my top 28 passers in Dynasty leagues. You won't see Joe Burrow in there yet (you will in May) but you will see fun things like Drew Brees, Gardner Minshew and Ryan Tannehill grouped together in one tier. I also gave a short blurb after each to tier to discuss what I find most interesting about group.
This is the first time we've attempts this at CBS, so if you have thoughts on what you'd like to see from this piece in the future or any Dynasty coverage requests, send them to me on Twitter.
Having Jackson third is sure to draw some criticism. Mahomes and Watson are just much better passers, and every piece of history we have suggests Jackson will have to have more success through the air as his career progresses. I wouldn't argue too much if someone wanted to put Jackson over Watson, but I won't entertain anyone but Mahomes at No. 1.
This is admittedly an odd trio. Russell Wilson is 31 years old and Kyler Murray won't turn 23 until August. But the key word here is "should". Dak Prescott should be able to build on his breakout 2019, especially with Kellen Moore returning. But Mike McCarthy has struggled to give up offensive control in the past. Wilson should have at least another five years of elite production left if recent history is any indicator, but he does run more and take more sacks than any of those guys who have done it lately. Murray should be the next young breakout quarterback, but he still has size and weapon concerns and Kliff Kingsbury didn't exactly light the world on fire in 2019. Any of these guys could make a strong argument for No. 4. I hedged with the guy who is on the right side of 30 and has already shown his upside over a full season.
I guess I could have called this the "Big QBs from Northwest colleges" tier. I think we all know what Allen's upside could be, and we're all willing to wait at least one more year to see if he improves enough as a passer to reach it. Wentz is a little bit more confusing. He's now given us two partial seasons that were very good and two full seasons that were uninspiring. You can find excuses (rookie year, injured receivers), but Year 5 is looming large in how we view Wentz in both Fantasy and the NFL. It wasn't that long ago the consensus had him as a top-four Dynasty quarterback.
Matt Ryan and Aaron Rodgers bookend this tier and share short-term upside and long-term uncertainty. I feel much less certain about their value in three years than I do Wilson's and I'm not sure they have as much upside in 2020. The question marks about the other three are pretty obvious, but I'd guess I'll be one of the high guys on Cam Newton. It is worth remembering his upside. He has been a top-five quarterback every time he's played 16 games and finished top-12 in 2018 despite playing just 14 games. If he's fully healthy this summer, I'll be very interested. I'm trying to buy super cheap right now.
Would I be that surprised if one of these guys was a top 10 Dynasty quarterback as early as 2021? Not really. But any of the three could be outside of the top 20 as well. Jones has the most upside of the group because of his rushing ability but he's also in the worst situation and has proven the least as a passer. Garoppolo has been phenomenal in terms of efficiency and could really take off if his pass volume increased. Like most of America, I still don't have a great grip on what Jared Goff's future holds.
This is oddest grouping yet with three unproven signal callers and a couple of veterans coming off hyper-efficient seasons. To be honest, I don't have a great amount of hope for long-term success from anyone in this group, but it's also easy to overlook the positives, especially with Dwayne Haskins. His perception has cratered because of seven bad starts as a rookie when almost all rookies are bad as passers. But he also has great pedigree, Terry McLaurin to throw to and Alex Smith to learn from. He should make a leap in Year 2.
This very much a tier of "maybe you could start them" guys. I mean, as of Feb. 5 we don't know where Tom Brady, Ryan Tannehill and Philip Rivers will be playing and we don't know if Drew Brees will play at all. Mitchell Trubisky and Gardner Minshew are young enough that they could have long-term value, but Trubisky will have to get back to running and Minshew will have to prove 2019 was no fluke (and beat out Nick Foles). Those are the only two guys from this tier I could see making a big leap in 2020.
Expect a second installment of these tiers, with rookies, shortly after the NFL Draft.
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