Ranking The NFL’s Best QBs (2020 Fantasy Football)
We’re now under 75 days from the start of the NFL season, which means that football is right around the corner.
In celebration of how close football is to returning, I’m kicking off a four-part series highlighting the best players at each major skill position in the NFL heading into the 2020 season. And what better place to start than with the most important position in the sport?
I compiled and formatted this list based on several different traits and characteristics that culminates in a Madden-style rating. These traits include:
- Arm Strength
- Mental Processing
- Pocket Presence
After assigning a numeric grade for each individual player in every category, I sort them all to result in the list below; keep in mind that these are based on these players’ NFL ability and not specifically fantasy football, though I do provide fantasy outlooks for each player. Will you agree with my list? Probably not – but that’s all part of the fun.
And so here, for your reading pleasure, is my list of the top 35 quarterbacks in the NFL:
Taylor has been cast as a career backup in the NFL, but he’s going to get the chance to show if he can be more than that again in 2020. Taylor’s incredibly athletic and takes care of the football, but lacks the pure arm talent to carry an offense.
2020 Fantasy Forecast: Taylor is going to be the starting QB for the first few weeks in LA, at a minimum. With his rushing ability, he may be a streaming candidate right out of the gate.
Haskins was dealt a rough hand his rookie season with a coaching staff change in-season, being in and out of the lineup as the starter later on, and not exactly having the greatest supporting cast around him. However, he still managed to show enough to make me believe he can still be a fine starter in the NFL. All eyes will be on how he progresses in 2020.
2020 Fantasy Forecast: Haskins should have this starting job locked up, but he’s unlikely to be anything more than a streaming candidate in plus matchups this season.
Yes, Tua is already better than both Taylor and Haskins. He’s an incredibly polished QB and is going to be a terrific pro player as long as he can stay healthy. While this is a big question mark surrounding Tua, he has the talent and ability to ascend into top-10 QB territory sooner than later.
2020 Fantasy Forecast: Tua’s health is the main question regarding whether or not he’ll be the starter in Miami right away. If he’s healthy, I believe he’ll be starting Week 1 and he should develop as the season goes along. However, due to the weakness of the Miami offense, Tua may not move into streaming consideration until much later in the year…or even 2021.
— Alabama Football (@AlabamaFTBL) April 24, 2020
Winston is certainly reckless with the ball and the numbers back that up. However, he’s still one of the most talented throwers of the football in the NFL. He should find a starting job again in the NFL within the next year or two.
2020 Fantasy Forecast: Winston is nothing more than a high-end backup at this point. He’s a fine hold in 2QB/SF dynasty leagues, but other than that he’s not really worth owning in any formats.
Darnold hasn’t exactly been dealt the best hand over his first couple of seasons in the NFL. Yet, despite that, he has still shown the talent and ability that made him worth the No. 3 overall pick in 2018. He has a strong arm, great mobility, and pinpoint accuracy at all levels of the field. He needs to take the next step forward to be worth that No. 3 pick, but he has the tools to be great.
2020 Fantasy Forecast: Unfortunately, Darnold doesn’t exactly have the greatest supporting cast around him this season. This offense is most likely going to struggle again in 2020, so Darnold is nothing more than a streamer in good matchups.
Dalton was put in a tough situation last year where the team around him wasn’t exactly the greatest. Unfortunately, Dalton will now be a backup for the 2020 NFL season, but he still belongs in the top-32 QBs. We’ve seen flashes of his true talent several times throughout his career and I expect Dalton to have a starting job in the NFL again within the next season or two.
2020 Fantasy Forecast: Just like with Winston, Dalton’s a fine hold in deep 2QB/SF Dynasty leagues, but he’s probably not worth rostering in any other format.
Fitzpatrick led the Miami Dolphins in rushing yards in 2019 – at 36 years old. Fitzpatrick has been a career journeyman, but he’s still got plenty left in the tank at his age. He’s fun to watch on Sundays and he’ll be missed when he eventually decides to retire.
2020 Fantasy Forecast: If Fitzpatrick can hold onto the starting job, he’s an intriguing streaming option in good matchups.
Foles has proven that he can handle big-game pressure – and we’ve also seen how he can produce when everything’s clicking. Unfortunately, last season in Jacksonville didn’t go the way that he had hoped, but he’s going to get another shot in Chicago. Foles has a big arm and is able to quickly diagnose a defense. He’s fearless in the pocket and isn’t afraid to stand in to complete the big throw.
2020 Fantasy Forecast: Foles will be competing for the starting job in Chicago with Mitch Trubisky. If Foles wins the job, he’s someone that will most likely be in streaming QB consideration a couple of times this season. Since he isn’t the most mobile QB, he isn’t going to be able to rack up fantasy points as easily as some of the other players on this list.
We’ve seen time and time again that when a QB hits a certain stage of their career, it all falls apart pretty quickly. As QBs age, their arm strength simply isn’t what it needs to be to compete against NFL defenses and their production dramatically falls off. As Rivers is now 38 years old, it’s time to start talking about that possibility for the talented QB. When you factor in Rivers’ wonky throwing motion too and how that isn’t conducive to sustaining a NFL career, it’s quite possible that this could be the last year that we see Rivers as a starter in the NFL.
2020 Fantasy Forecast: It’s highly unlikely that we see Rivers enter into the streaming QB conversation at all this season. With Rivers’ high interception totals from last season, plus his inability to pick up yards on the ground, he’s unlikely to ever finish within the top-12 QBs in a given week.
16 electric seasons with the Chargers.
Philip Rivers starts a new chapter in Indy. pic.twitter.com/Eo6pD7cVO6
— NFL (@NFL) March 17, 2020
I’ve been a believer over the past couple of seasons that Bridgewater deserves to be a starting QB in the NFL. He’s accurate, poised, and is able to execute an offense efficiently. While he’s not going to scare defenses with a rocket arm or anything like that, he’s a perfect QB to plug into a timing based offense that can help keep everything on schedule.
2020 Fantasy Forecast: The Panthers are going to have to throw the ball a ton this upcoming season to keep up in games. While it’s unlikely that Bridgewater throws for more than 25 touchdowns, he’s got a pretty good supporting cast around him. Bridgewater will be in the streaming conversation more than a few times in 2020.
Nearly every QB in the NFL is looking at Lock’s receiving weapons and drooling. The Broncos are going all in with the talented, young QB in hopes that they have finally found their long-term answer at the position. Lock showed enough in his limited playing time last season to warrant this spot on the countdown.
2020 Fantasy Forecast: Lock has to take a big step forward in order for him to be considered a truly consistent option at the QB position for fantasy football. He certainly has the tools at his disposal to take that step, but he’s probably someone you should let go to the waiver wire to begin the season and see how he does before adding him to your roster.
In 2019, Minshew had 21 passing TDs and only six interceptions. He performed a lot better than what people expected from a sixth-round draft pick and is now the starter moving forward in Jacksonville. He has the tools to be a starter in the NFL and all eyes will be on him to see if he can build upon a solid rookie season in 2020.
2020 Fantasy Forecast: Minshew also ran for 344 yards last year, which will always help boost his fantasy value. He’ll be a fringe starter every single week and is currently a steal at his QB27 ADP price tag.
Jimmy G is perfect for what Kyle Shanahan needs in a QB for his offense. He’s smart, accurate, and is able to keep the offense on schedule. While he can’t take over a game himself, we’re still seeing Garoppolo develop into a starting QB in the NFL. Last season was his first full season as a starting QB and he helped lead his team to the Super Bowl. If he can continue that success, he certainly has the ability to move up this list next year.
2020 Fantasy Forecast: This 49ers team is still going to operate through their run game, which leaves Garoppolo in the camp of a streaming QB only in potential shootouts.
— NFL (@NFL) March 15, 2020
Goff has certainly shown that he can be a top-tier starting QB in the NFL, but has seemingly regressed over the past couple of seasons. Goff struggles to remain poised when he faces pressure up the middle, his accuracy falters occasionally, and he has struggled to take care of the ball recently. While he still has a great arm and can make all the throws, he has a lot to fix before he can move back up into the top-20 QBs.
2020 Fantasy Forecast: Goff was looking like a fantastic dynasty QB just a few seasons ago, but he may be nothing more than a streaming QB in plus matchups at this point.
Over the past two seasons, Jared Goff has thrown only four less interceptions than Philip Rivers.
— Kyle Yates (@KyleYNFL) June 29, 2020
The Giants were mocked incessantly for selecting Jones with the No. 6 overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft. However, Jones came out last season and played very well for a rookie QB. He’s accurate at all levels of the field, can stand in the pocket under pressure, and picks up yards on the ground with his athleticism. He needs to drastically improve his ball security, but he’s got the tools to be a starting QB in the NFL for a very long time.
2020 Fantasy Forecast: Jones is going to be very relevant in 2020 with the supporting cast that he has around him. His ability to pick up yards on the ground certainly helps his floor and he should be fantasy relevant more often than he’s not this season.
Yes, Burrow is already better than Daniel Jones and Jared Goff. Burrow is coming off the most impressive QB single-season performance in CFB history and he did it against the best defenses that the NCAA has to offer. Burrow is incredibly polished and poised already and it wouldn’t surprise me at all to see him in the top-10 by this time next year.
2020 Fantasy Forecast: Burrow has a rough schedule to start out the season, but he’s going to be something worth starting every single week towards the latter half of the year. I’m expecting Burrow to finish within the top-12 QBs for fantasy football when it’s all said and done.
Only One Joe Burrow
The. Greatest. Ever. pic.twitter.com/bofb2R6GLN
— LSU Football (@LSUfootball) June 17, 2020
Carr gets a lot of blame due to the Raiders’ inability to put quality weapons around him. Yet, while he’s never going to be a QB that can take over a game with his pure ability, he’s a high-level processor and is extremely accurate at all levels of the field. He finally has weapons around him this season and it’s going to be interesting to see whether or not he can get back into the MVP conversation like he was in 2016.
2020 Fantasy Forecast: Carr isn’t necessarily worth drafting this season in 1QB leagues, but he’s someone to keep an eye on on your waiver wire in case there’s immediate chemistry with his new receiving weapons.
Mayfield burst onto the scene as a rookie and showed that he belonged in the NFL immediately. Unfortunately, the entire Browns team fell apart last season with Freddie Kitchens as the head coach and Mayfield’s production fell off a cliff. While he does need to improve in a lot of areas this season, Mayfield still has all the tools to be one of the better QBs in the NFL.
2020 Fantasy Forecast: This offense is going to be built around the run game, which limits Mayfield’s overall ceiling from a fantasy perspective. However, we’ve seen Kirk Cousins be fantasy relevant in certain matchups over the past couple of seasons and that’s around what we should expect from Mayfield this year.
Speaking of Cousins, he lands here at No. 17 in the countdown. Cousins doesn’t possess the overall ability as some of the guys towards the top of the list, but he’s an extremely underrated thrower of the football. He’s accurate, can quickly diagnose a defense after the snap, and has a strong enough arm to be a threat downfield.
2020 Fantasy Forecast: With Gary Kubiak now at OC, it’s going to be interesting to see just how much the Vikings run the ball in 2020. Cousins will be a fringe starter for fantasy football again this season.
Josh Allen certainly lacks the refinement that would put him in the conversation for one of the top QBs in the NFL, but he is absolutely exciting to watch. Allen has one of the strongest arms in the entire league and is an absolute threat in the run game. While he needs to improve on the finer nuances of the position, he’s enough of a threat in other areas to make up for it.
2020 Fantasy Forecast: Allen’s going to be a fantasy star again this season due to his rushing ability. He’s a factor on the goal line and those rushing TDs are fantasy gold for a QB.
— The Checkdown (@thecheckdown) January 4, 2020
Newton has now been signed and is a member of the New England Patriots. While he struggled the last time he was on a football field due to injuries, he’s supposedly fully healthy and should get right back to the player that we’ve come to love watching on Sundays. If Newton is fully healthy, he belongs in the top-10 of this countdown. However, the unknown in that department and the fact that he didn’t perform very well the last time we saw him drops him down the board a little bit here.
2020 Fantasy Forecast: If Newton is fully healthy, he’s a top-12 QB for fantasy football simply based on his rushing ability alone. The Patriots only signed Newton to a one-year deal, so it’s possible that we see them run him into the ground and let him walk in free agency next year. If that’s the case, Newton could see over 120 carries on the ground this year.
Tannehill was someone who was potentially on his way out of the NFL a year or so ago after his tenure in Miami. However, he’s finally landed in a system that works well for him and he’s flourishing because of it. Tannehill was outstanding last season and showed everyone that he has what it takes to be a high-level starter in the NFL. We’ll see if he can continue to build on his solid performance.
2020 Fantasy Forecast: Due to the lack of pure passing volume in this offense, Tannehill’s unlikely to be a consistent fantasy option in 2020. While Tannehill was excellent for fantasy last season, he did that on the back of incredible efficiency and that’s hard to project forward again this season.
Big Ben may go down as one of the most underrated pure throwers of the football in NFL history. There are very few QBs in the NFL that can spin it like Ben and he should still have enough in the tank for one or two more solid years of production. While there are concerns about his arm coming off of his injury, I’m expecting him to bounce back and have a good year in 2020 with these receiving weapons.
2020 Fantasy Forecast: Ben’s currently being drafted outside the top-12 QBs, but he has an extremely favorable matchup in Week 1 against the Giants. Having missed most of 2019 due to injury makes his value a major a question mark right now, but taking a shot on him could pay off in a big way right out of the gates.
Brees is widely considered one of the all-time greats at the QB position. The numbers that he’s put up in his long NFL career are going to be hard to surpass and he looks like he’s prepared to play another couple of seasons, which will only make those records harder to reach. At this point though, Brees has shown signs that he’s nearing the end of his career. His arm strength simply isn’t what it used to be and his mobility decreases each year. He’s still capable of executing an offense though, but he drops down the list here slightly due to the concerns regarding his age.
2020 Fantasy Forecast: Brees is no longer a viable locked in, every-week starter for fantasy football. He’s going to be someone that you can plug in to play in certain matchups, but it’s unlikely that he ever wins you a week single-handedly at this point.
Murray is certainly one of the most exciting QBs to watch in the NFL and he’s electric when he’s on the move. Very few QBs are as quick and shifty as Murray in the open field, but that’s not all that he brings to the table – he also has a cannon of an arm. He went through his rookie struggles last season, but I believe he’s on the edge of breaking out in a big way in 2020.
2020 Fantasy Forecast: With the addition of DeAndre Hopkins, plus Murray’s rushing ability, there’s a very real possibility that Murray finishes as a top-5 fantasy QB in 2020.
— The Checkdown (@thecheckdown) September 8, 2019
I’m a firm believer that if Stafford played for a more successful team, we’d be talking about him as one of the most talented QBs in the NFL. But the Lions have dwelled in mediocrity for the majority of Stafford’s career and his reputation has suffered because of it. Stafford has an incredibly strong throwing arm, he’s accurate, and he excels at navigating the pocket. If Stafford can stay healthy this season, he’ll most certainly climb up this list next year.
2020 Fantasy Forecast: Stafford was on fire before his injury last season and was a solid fantasy option. He’s currently being drafted as the QB13 and should easily return that value in 2020.
Wentz proved that he belongs in the Top-10 QBs last season with that performance. After seeing essentially all of his receiving weapons go down with injury, Wentz still played spectacularly and helped carry the Eagles into the playoffs. He’s coming into his own and should continue building upon the success he saw last season with a revamped wide receiving corps.
2020 Fantasy Forecast: Wentz has a ton of playmakers at his disposal now and this offense should be much better than what we saw last year. Wentz is a solid candidate to finish in the top-10 for fantasy football again when it’s all said and done.
The @Eagles needed Carson Wentz magic to make the playoffs.
— NFL (@NFL) February 20, 2020
Just like Stafford, I believe that Ryan is one of the most underrated QBs in the NFL. He’s able to make any throw on the football field, he excels at reading a defense, and he’s incredibly accurate. He’s proven that he can lead a team to the highest levels of competition and he absolutely deserves to be in the top-10.
2020 Fantasy Forecast: This Falcons team is going to be airing the ball out in 2020. With that in mind, plus the weapons he has at his disposal, a top-10 fantasy finish for Ryan isn’t out of the question.
Rodgers might top the list of greatest pure passers of all time by the time his career is done. His ability to take over games with his talent and ability is unparalleled and he’s a big reason why the Packers have been as successful as they have during his career. With that being said, we’re approaching the back end of his career here and there are questions surrounding which version of Rodgers we’re going to see in 2020. Will he come out on fire due to the fact that the Packers traded up in the first round to draft his replacement? If so, my ranking him here at No. 7 overall is going to look very foolish by the end of the season.
2020 Fantasy Forecast: All indications right now are that the Packers want to build their team around the run game and take the ball out of Rodgers’ hands. It’s asinine, but that appears to be their plan for this season. Because of that, we could see Rodgers’ overall pass attempts diminish, which puts a ceiling on his fantasy output this season.
— NFL (@NFL) February 10, 2020
Dak has absolutely exceeded expectations since being drafted in the fourth round of the 2016 NFL Draft. He’s grown into one of the most talented QBs in the NFL and is a threat to carve a defense up through the air or on the ground. He’s an incredibly smart QB and has every tool in the toolbox to compete in any matchup. The Cowboys need to do everything they can to make sure Dak remains a Cowboy for a very long time.
2020 Fantasy Forecast: Dak finished as the QB2 last year for fantasy and the Cowboys just added CeeDee Lamb to this offense. Dak’s a solid candidate to finish within the top-5 again in 2020.
Tom Brady shows absolutely no signs of slowing down anytime soon, despite the fact that he’s now 42 years old. Brady still has enough arm strength to throw it around the field and his mobility in the pocket hasn’t dropped off considerably up to this point. He’s the most poised QB we may have ever seen and until we see the G.O.A.T call it quits, he belongs in the top-5.
2020 Fantasy Forecast: Brady finished as the QB12 last season while throwing to guys like N’Keal Harry and an aging Julian Edelman. He now has Chris Godwin, Mike Evans, Rob Gronkowski, and OJ Howard to throw to in Tampa Bay, making him a solid candidate to finish in the top-12 QBs for fantasy football again this season.
This is the area of the countdown where we get to the most exciting playmakers in the league. While Watson can certainly be included in that conversation with the guys above him on this list, there may not be a more clutch QB than Watson. The Texans will never be out of any game with Watson behind center and he’s absolutely deserving of being ranked as the No. 4 overall QB in the league.
2020 Fantasy Forecast: Even without Hopkins, Watson is going to be just fine for fantasy due to his rushing and playmaking ability. His overall ceiling will take a hit without Hopkins present, but he’s still going to be a safe option to roll out every single week.
— The Checkdown (@thecheckdown) May 15, 2020
If Wilson was in a more dynamic offense, I believe we’d be talking about him as the best QB in the NFL instead of Patrick Mahomes. Wilson is an incredibly dynamic playmaker and has the unexplainable ability to drop a 50-yard pass downfield into the receivers outstretched hands every single time. He’s accurate, has a rocket arm, and is able to extend plays with his legs like few other QBs in the league.
2020 Fantasy Forecast: Wilson may have more potential this season than he’s had in other year due to the uncertainties at the running back position for the Seahawks. Rashaad Penny seems destined for the PUP list to begin the season, while Chris Carson is recovering from his own injury. If the Seahawks aren’t able to run the ball as effectively as they have in previous seasons, we may see Wilson throw the ball more than he’s had to before. Wilson has an expensive price tag right now, but he may be worth it when it’s all said and done.
While I believe Jackson still has areas where he can dramatically improve as a pure passer, there’s no denying his playmaking ability. Jackson is the most exciting player in the NFL to watch right now and defenses just simply can’t stop him. The Ravens have built this offense around his strengths and I believe we’re going to be watching Jackson terrorize opposing NFL defenses for a very long time.
2020 Fantasy Forecast: Jackson’s going to have an absurd price tag this draft season, but the crazy thing is…he actually might be worth it. Jackson’s rushing ability is a cheat code at the QB position and he has the potential to single-handedly win you a week because of it. Jackson should be off the board as either the first or second QB drafted.
— The Checkdown (@thecheckdown) January 7, 2020
Did you really think any other QB was going to be No. 1? Mahomes is one of the greatest QBs the NFL has ever seen – and he’s just getting started. There’s still more room for improvement from the young QB to learn how to quickly diagnose a defense, how to understand coverages, and simply lean more into this offense. Mahomes has only been starting for two seasons and he’s nowhere near as comfortable understanding what a defense is giving him pre-snap as some of the other veteran QBs on this list. He’s mostly relying on pure God-given ability and he’s already nearly unstoppable. Can you imagine what’s going to happen when he can recognize what a defense is going to do before they even do it?!
2020 Fantasy Forecast: Draft Mahomes as either the first or second QB off the board. It’s that simple.