If we’re being honest, quarterback is not the most important position when it comes to fantasy football. Almost no one in their right mind is going to use their 1st-pick on a quarterback. However, much like actual football, it may be the most talked about and debated position on the field.
Last season, several young quarterbacks burst onto the season and locked down starting jobs after being largely unknown quantities heading into the season. Now it’s time to see how those youngsters stack up to some of the more established quarterbacks in the league.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at where every starting quarterback ranks in terms of fantasy value heading into the 2019 season.
32. Whoever Starts for Redskins
Who starts at quarterback for the Redskins is still undetermined. Rookie Dwayne Haskins has the best chance if he can at least match what Case Keenum and Colt McCoy do in the preseason. With his arm strength, he would also have the biggest fantasy upside because there would at least be the possibility of throwing the deep ball.
However, regardless of who wins the job, fantasy points in the passing game could be limited. Tight end Jordan Reed is probably the top target, but he’s been injury-prone during his career. Josh Doctson is yet to emerge and the rest of Washington’s receivers are young and unproven, including a couple of rookies in Terry McLaurin and Kelvin Harmon.
Top Target: Jordan Reed
Secondary Target: Josh Doctson
31. Josh Rosen/Ryan Fitzpatrick, Dolphins
Fitzpatrick had some decent games in Tampa last year, but even if he wins the job to start the season, interceptions are inevitable and should eventually cost him the job. Meanwhile, we don’t know what to expect out of Rosen. He can’t possibly be as bad as he looked in front of Arizona’s dreadful offensive line last year. But that doesn’t mean he’ll be a competent fantasy option.
For what it’s worth, Miami’s receiving corps isn’t terrible. There’s no standout option, but there are a handful of guys who should be viable targets. However, they’ll need above-average quarterback play to excel, and the Dolphins aren’t getting that from either Fitzpatrick or Rosen.
Top Target: DeVante Parker
Secondary Target: Kenny Stills
30. Joe Flacco, Broncos
If he played all 16 games last year, Flacco probably would have ended up in the 18-24 range among fantasy quarterbacks. But it’ll be a stretch to get him in that same area this year. Outside of Emmanuel Sanders, Denver’s wide receivers are young and unproven, including a rookie tight end. He’ll also be with a new team for the first time in his career, so there could be some growing pains.
Perhaps more importantly, the Broncos are going to win games by running the ball and playing defense. They’re not going to let Flacco air it out unless they need to, so the fantasy upside just isn’t there.
Top Target: Emmanuel Sanders
Secondary Target: Courtland Sutton
29. Marcus Mariota, Titans
In what could be a make or break year for him, Mariota isn’t all that appealing as a fantasy quarterback, especially for someone who’s a capable runner. Injuries played a part of his struggles last season, but not enough to excuse a mere 11 touchdown passes in 14 games.
On the bright side, Corey Davis is a year older and Adam Humphries provides a nice option in the slot. There’s definitely room to grow with the receivers the Titans have. However, it’s not enough to keep Mariota as anything but a backup in deep leagues, especially when you consider the risk of injury.
Top Target: Corey Davis
Secondary Target: Adam Humphries
28. Eli Manning, Giants
Everything involving Manning and the Giants this season hinges on the offensive line. If that group holds up well, Manning can still throw the ball around and be a surprising fantasy option, at least as a backup. The problem is that if the offensive line struggles, there’s nothing Manning can do.
The receiver position is also a question mark for the G-Men after trading Odell Beckham Jr. It doesn’t help that Golden Tate will miss the early part of the season and Corey Coleman got hurt. That being said, Sterling Shepard, tight end Evan Engram, and eventually Tate are capable. Saquon Barkley should also help Manning rack up some yards on short passes.
Top Target: Sterling Shepard
Secondary Target: Golden Tate
27. Nick Foles, Jaguars
Foles has never started more than 11 games in a season, so it’ll be interesting to see what he can do over the course of a full season. Obviously, he’s capable of putting up big numbers, but can he do it week after week? That’s why he’s merely a fantasy backup at this point.
It’s equally important to note that Foles is working with a young group of receivers. Marqise Lee is still working his way back from injury, while the trio of Keelan Cole, Dede Westbrook, and DJ Chark all have two years or less of experience under their belt. There’s some potential there but no guarantees.
Top Target: Dede Westbrook
Secondary Target: Marqise Lee
26. Andy Dalton, Bengals
Let’s be honest, the injury to A.J. Green takes away any hope of Dalton being a starter in any fantasy league. Green won’t miss the entire season, but Dalton and the Bengals aren’t doing much damage in the air without him on the field.
If the Cincinnati offense is at full strength, Dalton could be a viable backup. The Green-Tyler Boyd tandem can be dangerous, especially if tight end Tyler Eifert can finally stay healthy and be a viable no. 3 option. However, it’s tough to get too excited about Dalton as a fantasy quarterback until we know Green is back at full strength.
Top Target: A.J. Green
Secondary Target: Tyler Boyd
25. Lamar Jackson, Ravens
Jackson is intriguing because he’ll score some rushing touchdowns and rack up plenty of yards on the ground. But defenses will do a better job of containing that part of his game than they did a year ago. Ultimately, he’ll have to throw the ball if he wants to score points in real life and in the fantasy realm.
Baltimore’s receiving corps is also a huge question mark heading into 2019. Veterans Willie Snead, Seth Roberts, and Michael Floyd are uninspiring options. The Ravens will be relying on youngsters like Marquise Brown to make an immediate impact. Also, the Baltimore offense will be focused on running the ball with Mark Ingram and Gus Edwards, which makes it hard to imagine Jackson being a consistent fantasy player week-to-week.
Top Target: Willie Snead
Secondary Target: Marquise Brown
24. Josh Allen, Bills
Some could argue that Allen is a potential sleeper with high upside. After all, there are few quarterbacks in the league with more arm strength and he proved last season that he has good athleticism and mobility, so he’s capable of scoring points with his legs. In fact, Allen was a top-20 fantasy quarterback in some leagues last year despite only playing 12 games.
However, Buffalo’s receiving corps isn’t exactly an impressive group. The Bills also need to provide Allen with more protection than they did a year ago. Those are two big red flags. At best, you can take him in the late rounds on the off chance he blossoms.
Top Target: John Brown
Secondary Target: Cole Beasley
23. Mitchell Trubisky, Bears
Trubisky proved last year that he can win with a good defense and a strong running game to support him. But he’s not yet proven he’s a good fantasy quarterback. Some people are expecting a big year out of him in 2019, but we may want to pump the brakes on the hype train.
Chicago is still going to focus on running the ball and playing good defense. Allen Robinson will give Trubisky one reliable receiver and Taylor Gabriel is a nice complementary piece. But until youngsters like Anthony Miller and Riley Ridley emerge, Chicago’s passing game won’t be that dynamic and Trubisky won’t be anything special as a fantasy option.
Top Target: Allen Robinson
Secondary Target: Taylor Gabriel
22. Matthew Stafford, Lions
Say what you will about Stafford’s chances of taking the Lions to the playoffs, but the guy can sling it. His numbers took a little dip last season, and so his fantasy stock is down. But he’s more than capable of having a bounce-back season and becoming a viable starter if you want to start the season with him on your bench.
A lot will depend on what he gets from his receivers with a couple of key guys coming back from injury. When healthy, the trio of Kenny Golladay, Marvin Jones, and Danny Amendola are good enough for a quarterback with Stafford’s arm talent to put up some impressive numbers.
Top Target: Kenny Golladay
Secondary Target: Marvin Jones
21. Sam Darnold, Jets
If you want to take a chance in the later rounds, considering drafting Darnold. He flashed enough potential last season that it’s not impossible to see a breakout season. The Jets will obviously be looking to run the ball a little more with Le’Veon Bell, but Bell will also catch plenty of passes and add to Darnold’s passing totals.
The caveat with Darnold is his interceptions, which nearly matched his touchdowns last season. He was turnover prone in college too, so it’s a problem that could always follow him around. You also have to decide how you feel about the receiving trio of Robby Anderson, Quincy Enunwa, and Jamison Crowder. It’s not the most formidable group, but it could be enough to help Darnold rack up some fantasy points.
Top Target: Robby Anderson
Secondary Target: Le’Veon Bell
20. Jimmy Garoppolo, 49ers
Garoppolo is another quarterback that’s tough to rank because we’ve yet to see him for a full season. In theory, he’s a guy that could rack up 300-plus yards in any given week. However, he only had seven touchdown passes in his six-game stint late in the 2017 season. He’s also been turnover prone during his time at San Francisco.
Equally concerning is a lack of competent receivers. Tight end George Kittle remains the most reliable pass-catcher the 49ers have. The hope is that Jordan Matthews can stay healthy and become a reliable receiver for Garoppolo. Finally, there are high hopes for youngsters like Dante Pettis, Deebo Samuel, and Jalen Hurd, but few guarantees that those guys will help Garoppolo reach his fantasy potential in 2019.
Top Target: Dante Pettis
Secondary Target: George Kittle
19. Tom Brady, Patriots
If you want to win a Super Bowl, Brady is your guy, but fantasy-wise, he’s not necessarily an elite option. To be fair, he’s probably a safer pick than some of the other quarterbacks who are higher than him on our list. But the upside isn’t necessarily there now that he’s in his 40s.
The bigger issue could be his receivers. Rob Gronkowski is no longer around, so outside of Julian Edelman and New England’s pass-catching backs, there are questions about who will be catching balls from Brady in 2019. Unless an outside receiver emerges, Brady will be lacking big plays down the field that yield high fantasy points in a single play.
Top Target: Julian Edelman
Secondary Target: Phillip Dorsett
18. Kyler Murray, Cardinals
What in the world are we to make of Murray in a fantasy sense? Will he end up doing more running than passing? Will Kliff Kingsbury’s air-raid offense work in the NFL? Can the undersized Murray stay healthy for 16 games?
There are no easy answers to these questions, which is why it’s tough to rate his fantasy potential. However, he has a quality running back in David Johnson, a Hall of Fame receiver in Larry Fitzgerald, and unreal amounts of athleticism and arm strength. At a certain point in your fantasy draft, you have to take a chance on Murray on the off chance he takes the lead by storm as a rookie.
Top Target: Larry Fitzgerald
Secondary Target: Christian Kirk
17. Dak Prescott, Cowboys
Prescott’s passing is still a little too inconsistent to consider him an automatic starter in most fantasy leagues. He’ll do some damage as a runner, but he still had less than 4,000 yards passing last year. That means he’s prone to weeks when the fantasy points just don’t come.
In fairness, the Dallas offense picked up last season when Amari Cooper came aboard. The emergence of Michael Gallup, the addition of Randall Cobb, and return of Jason Witten also give Prescott a lot more options than he’s had in the past. It’s still hard to put complete faith in him, but he remains an intriguing fantasy option if you don’t mind taking a little bit of a risk.
Top Target: Amari Cooper
Secondary Target: Michael Gallup
16. Jameis Winston, Buccaneers
At his best, Winston is easily a top-10 fantasy quarterback, and potentially top-5. The problem is that his career has spiraled the past couple of seasons. The fact that Bruce Arians is now the head coach in Tampa means there’s a chance he can get the best out of Winston, making him a risky fantasy selection, but one with plenty of upside.
Keep in mind, the Bucs couldn’t run the ball last season and their defense had plenty of problems. That means Winston will have plenty of opportunities to throw the ball with the Bucs likely playing from behind. Just remember that deep threat DeSean Jackson left Tampa and Winston can be turnover-prone at times, making him the definition of high risk-high reward.
Top Target: Mike Evans
Secondary Target: O.J. Howard
15. Cam Newton, Panthers
Newton would have been a top-10 fantasy quarterback if he had played the last two games of the season. In theory, he’s still capable of being that caliber of player, but the uncertainty surround the health of his shoulder makes him a risky pick unless he drops to the later rounds. Carolina’s receiving corps also has some questions outside the aging Greg Olsen and running back Christian McCaffrey.
The good news is that Newton’s shoulder trouble doesn’t take away his abilities as a runner, which is a big reason why he has a lot of fantasy upside. But he still needs to be able to throw the ball, so fantasy owners should proceed with caution if they want to draft Newton.
Top Target: Greg Olsen
Secondary Target: D.J. Moore
14. Derek Carr, Raiders
Carr was outside the top-20 in most fantasy leagues last year. But he’s the perfect candidate to have a bounce-back season. If he drops to the middle or late rounds, he’s a potential steal, even if he starts the season as your backup.
There’s no doubting his talent, and he should be a little more comfortable with the offense in Jon Gruden’s second season. There’s also the Antonio Brown factor, not to mention the Raiders also added Tyrell Williams and J.J. Nelson over the summer. As long as Carr can develop some chemistry with his new receivers, his fantasy numbers should see a considerable improvement from last year.
Top Target: Antonio Brown
Secondary Target: Tyrell Williams
13. Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers
Roethlisberger was one of the top fantasy quarterbacks in the league last year. But don’t assume that he’ll be able to remain at that level. Losing Antonio Brown is huge, and while JuJu Smith-Schuster can fill his spot as the no. 1 receiver, the Steelers don’t have an obvious replacement as the no. 2 receiver.
Unless Donte Moncrief can step up or second-year receiver James Washington takes a big step forward, the Steelers won’t be creating as many big plays in the passing game this year. Roethlisberger is a solid option, but he’s no longer in his prime and he doesn’t have elite weapons around him anymore.
Top Target: JuJu Smith-Schuster
Secondary Target: Donte Moncrief
12. Drew Brees, Saints
With his high completion percentage and low interception rate, Brees is one of the safest fantasy picks at quarterback, especially if you want to wait until the middle rounds. But don’t expect the 40-year-old to be one of the top fantasy quarterbacks this year. He may not even reach the top-10.
It’s worth noting that this has almost nothing to do with Brees. The Saints are just better on defense than past years and are also capable of running the ball effectively. They don’t need Brees to carry them. He didn’t even reach 4,000 passing yards last year, a first since coming to New Orleans. He’ll be great for the Saints but average at best for your fantasy team.
Top Target: Michael Thomas
Secondary Target: Ted Ginn
11. Kirk Cousins, Vikings
The beauty of Cousins is that he’s usually better for fantasy owners than Vikings fans. He has two elite receivers in Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen, as well as a solid tight end target in Kyle Rudolph. On top of that, Minnesota’s defense has taken a step back from a couple of years ago and their running game is a little iffy too, creating more opportunities for Cousins to throw the ball.
The key for Cousins will be Minnesota’s offensive line. They allowed far too many sacks last year, allowing Cousins to take a lot of heat. The Vikings have addressed the issue over the summer, and if that unit improves, Cousins boasts plenty of fantasy upside.
Top Target: Stefon Diggs
Secondary Target: Adam Thielen
10. Philip Rivers, Chargers
Some people are down on Rivers, but he still looks like he has plenty left in the tank. Even with the Chargers scaling back what they ask of him, he still tossed 32 touchdown passes and threw for over 4,300 yards last year.
There’s no reason to expect anything different from Rivers this season. In fact, if Melvin Gordon’s holdout stretches into the season, Rivers will throw the ball even more than expected. If Mike Williams can take a big step forward, he and Keenan Allen could form quite the tandem and make it that much easier for Rivers to post big fantasy numbers.
Top Target: Keenan Allen
Secondary Target: Mike Williams
9. Carson Wentz, Eagles
After sitting out the end of last season with a back issue, there are some injury questions surrounding Wentz heading into 2019. Admittedly, that makes him risky to take too early in your fantasy draft. But if he’s healthy, he’s poised for a big season.
Remember, he would have been MVP in 2017 before his knee injury. Philadelphia’s receiving corps could be even better than it was then. DeSean Jackson is back and Zach Ertz was incredible last season. Throw in Alshon Jeffery, Nelson Agholor, and promising rookie JJ Arcega-Whiteside and Wentz and the Eagles could be flying high in the passing game this year.
Top Target: Zach Ertz
Secondary Target: Alshon Jeffery
8. Russell Wilson, Seahawks
For the Seahawks, Wilson is a quarterback who isn’t all that flashy but is remarkably consistent. He’s the same kind of fantasy player. He may not have a lot of 300-yard performances, totaling less than 3,500 yards last season. However, he limits his turnovers, averaged over two touchdown passes per game last year, and will provide a few points as a rusher every week.
One concern with Wilson this year is whether or not Seattle did enough to improve an atrocious offensive line. The Seahawks are also betting on rookie DK Metcalf making an instant impact. However, one way or another, Wilson will find a way to get the job done.
Top Target: Tyler Lockett
Secondary Target: DK Metcalf
7. Jared Goff, Rams
Goff emerged as a top-5 fantasy quarterback last season, so it’s a safe bet that he’ll at least be a top-10 fantasy option this year as well. Assuming Cooper Kupp comes back healthy, the Rams will have the same trio of receivers along with Brandin Cooks and Robert Woods, making life easy for Goff.
The biggest question, of course, is the health of Todd Gurley. Goff got plenty of passing yards on short passes that Gurley turned into big games. If Gurley isn’t fully healthy, the Rams won’t be the same unstoppable force they were at times in 2018. But even if Goff’s numbers dip a little, he’s still a top-10 quarterback, no questions asked.
Top Target: Brandin Cooks
Secondary Target: Robert Woods
6. Baker Mayfield, Browns
Mayfield did just enough as a rookie to warrant a massive amount of hype heading into his sophomore campaign. It also helps that the Browns added Odell Beckham Jr. over the offseason. To be fair, he’ll have to show considerable improvement to be a top-5 fantasy quarterback, but considering his moxie and supporting cast, Mayfield has tremendous upside.
It’s not just the addition of Beckham that will help. Mayfield has a steady slot receiver in Jarvis Landry and a quality tight end in David Njoku. Turnovers could be a problem that holds him back, but Mayfield and the Browns are bound to make plenty of big plays in the passing game.
Top Target: Odell Beckham Jr.
Secondary Target: Jarvis Landry
5. Aaron Rodgers, Packers
Even in a down year, Rodgers is easily a top-10 fantasy quarterback, so he’s among the safest picks at his position. Even if there are some growing pains in Matt LaFleur’s offense, Rodgers will be happier now that Mike McCarthy is gone. Also, no matter the offense, he has pinpoint accuracy, which leads to consistent point totals.
The X-factor with Rodgers is his receiving corps. Beyond Davante Adams, there are some questions about who will be catching passes and making players. But quarterbacks like Rodgers always make their receivers better, so a no-name group of receivers won’t stop him from being a top-10 fantasy quarterback, at minimum.
Top Target: Davante Adams
Secondary Target: Geronimo Allison
4. Matt Ryan, Falcons
It’s amazing how little credit Ryan got for having such an amazing season last year. His team may have faltered, but he had nothing to do with Ryan, who could have a serious MVP candidate if Atlanta had won a few more games. It’ll be tough replicating those numbers, but not impossible.
Ryan has largely the same supporting cast around him. Julio Jones is still a big-time playmaker and Mohammed Sanu remains a nice complementary target. The X-factor is Calvin Ridley, who was made some amazing plays last year but struggled with consistency. If he takes another step forward this year, Ryan will have a great trio of receivers around him to help make him a top-5 fantasy quarterback.
Top Target: Julio Jones
Secondary Target: Calvin Ridley
3. Andrew Luck, Colts
Luck is back in a big way, showing no ill effects of the shoulder problems that caused him to miss the entire 2017 season. He still has one of the best offensive lines in football in front of him, giving him plenty of time to pick apart defenses and rack up fantasy points week after week.
As always, TY Hilton will be his primary target, but the addition of Devin Funchess could help boost Luck’s productivity. Funchess is a big target who could be key in the red zone. Even after tossing 39 touchdown passes last year, that total could improve in 2019, allowing Luck to make a push for the top fantasy quarterback in the league.
Top Target: TY Hilton
Secondary Target: Devin Funchess
2. Deshaun Watson, Texans
Watson was close to being a top-5 fantasy quarterback last season. Keep in mind that happened despite getting sacked 62 times and only having Will Fuller for half the season. Watson was also coming back from the torn ACL that ended his rookie season early.
In what will be just his second full NFL season, the sky is the limit for Watson. He’ll have both Fuller and DeAndre Hopkins at his disposal, as well as another promising receiver in Keke Coutee. Watson is also a threat with his legs, especially if the Houston offensive line is better and he’s running for pleasure rather than running to save himself. All things considered, he might have the highest fantasy upside of any quarterback.
Top Target: DeAndre Hopkins
Secondary Target: Will Fuller
1. Patrick Mahomes, Chiefs
First of all, don’t expect Mahomes to match the 50 touchdown passes and over 5,000 passing yards he had last season. The league has spent all summer looking for ways to slow him down. That being said, there was such a big gap between him and every other quarterback last season that he will surely be the first quarterback selected in nearly every fantasy draft.
However, that doesn’t mean he’s worth taking before you would usually select a quarterback. The gap between him and the rest of the league won’t be quite as big. Obviously, you should draft Mahomes if you can, but keep in mind that there are plenty of quarterbacks with nearly as much potential that can be drafted a round or two after he comes off the board.
Top Target: Tyreek Hill
Secondary Target: Sammy Watkins