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Fantasy Football Draft Strategy, Rankings & Tiers: Quarterback (2024)

Let’s dive into quarterback fantasy football draft strategy. We’ll take a look at my strategy and advice for 1QB and superflex leagues as well as my rankings, tiers and targets for the quarterback position as you prepare for your fantasy football drafts.

2024 fantasy football draft kit

Quarterback Fantasy Football Draft Strategy

There’s little I enjoy more than having dinner with family or friends at a top-notch restaurant. I’m not talking pizza or tacos (although I love both). I’m talking Michelin star, “Top Chef”-caliber restaurants with amazing and innovative dishes, washed down with enough wine to put Cersei Lannister under the table.

Except I almost never eat at those types of restaurants because they’re way too expensive.

Fine dining is a rare treat simply because I can’t afford to frequent snazzy restaurants on the regular. Well, I could eat more meals at the great restaurants of Chicago, my home city, but it would require sacrifices elsewhere, like canceling all of my TV streaming services or not sending my kids to college. As much as I enjoy lavish dinners, I’m not willing to make those sacrifices.

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Fantasy Football Draft Strategy: When to Draft a Quarterback

That’s also how I feel about quarterbacks in 1QB redraft leagues. Sure, I’d like to have the best, but the top quarterbacks are hella-expensive and would require sacrificing an early-round pick that could be better spent on a player at another position.

Don’t let yourself be underpowered at the WR position in any league with a PPR component — particularly in any league that requires you to start three wide receivers instead of two. And it’s generally not a bad idea to get a foothold at the RB position by drafting at least one running back in the early rounds.

The key term is “opportunity cost.” At what point do we get an affordable opportunity cost for drafting a quarterback rather than a player at another position?

That point most certainly isn’t in the second round, which is where Josh Allen lands in the FantasyPros Expert Consensus Rankings and in our consensus ADP. (More on Allen in a bit.) Nor is that point in the third, fourth or fifth rounds, where there are impactful receivers and high-usage running backs still available.

The sixth round looks like a sweet spot for drafting a quarterback in a 1QB league in terms of opportunity cost. There are a handful of appealing RBs and WRs with sixth-round ADPs: Terry McLaurin, Rhamondre Stevenson, James Conner. But the sixth round is also home to several quarterbacks with high floors and top-five ceilings: Joe Burrow, Jordan Love, Dak Prescott and Kyler Murray.

There are some interesting quarterbacks with ADPs in the seventh round or beyond, including Brock Purdy, Trevor Lawrence and rookies Caleb Williams and Jayden Daniels. But not everyone will feel comfortable with the floor/ceiling outlooks for those players.

Fantasy Football Draft Strategy: Targets & Avoids

Not everyone will agree with my take on the QB position for 2024. Some fantasy managers are habitually spendy at the QB position. Some are QB misers who refuse to draft a quarterback until the draft reaches the double-digit rounds.

To accommodate various QB philosophies, I’m going list quarterbacks to target and avoid at three different price levels and explain why I’m in or out on these players.

High-End Quarterbacks

Target: Patrick Mahomes
Here’s how many fantasy points per game Patrick Mahomes averaged over his first five years as an NFL starter: 26.1, 20.9, 25.4, 22.0, 25.2. Last year, Mahomes averaged 18.4 fantasy points per game, ranking 12th in that category. Blame the drop-off on the Chiefs’ wretched WR situation. Rashee Rice was effective, but it was heavily manufactured, catch-and-run production. Rice had fewer than 500 air yards last year, and his average depth of target was 4.8 yards. Mahomes didn’t have a wide receiver who could reliably make plays downfield. Kansas City has since added the speedy WR duo of Hollywood Brown and Xavier Worthy. Expect a rebound in Mahomes’ passing-game productivity.

Avoid: Josh Allen
After seeing how hamstrung Mahomes was by last year’s WR shortage, shouldn’t we be concerned that a lack of firepower at wide receiver could cut into Allen’s productivity? The Bills traded away Stefon Diggs, who averaged 111 catches, 1,343 receiving yards and 9.3 touchdowns during his four years in Buffalo. They also let Gabe Davis walk in free agency. Davis is no star, but he’s been a dangerous vertical threat for Allen. Keon Coleman is an intriguing rookie, Khalil Shakir is a promising third-year man, and Curtis Samuel is a useful free-agent addition, but Buffalo’s WR corps is a mystery box. If Coleman and/or Shakir don’t pan out, Allen’s productivity is going to suffer. Also, Allen had 15 TD runs last year — six more than his previous single-season high. A second-round ADP for Allen is far too pricy.

Avoid: Jalen Hurts
Hurts went from 8.0 yards per pass attempt in 2022 to 7.2 yards per attempt in 2023. He threw 15 interceptions last year, third-most in the league. Hurts averaged 1.35 TD passes per game. Those are noteworthy drop-offs in Hurts’ first year without mentor Shane Steichen, who became the Colts’ head coach last year. It’s also fair to wonder if Hurts will extend his streak of three consecutive seasons with double-digit TD runs now that center Jason Kelce has retired and the Eagles’ goal-line “tush push” might not be as effective.

Mid-Level Quarterbacks

Target: Dak Prescott
Dak has finished top five in fantasy points per game among QBs in three of the last five years. He’s coming off a magnificent season in which he led all NFL quarterbacks in touchdown passes (36) and completions (410) and finished QB3 in fantasy scoring. Among quarterbacks with at least six starts, he ranked second in completion percentage (69.5%), second in passer rating (105.9) and sixth in yards per attempt (7.7). The Cowboys appear to be weak at RB, and their defense probably won’t be as good as it was in 2023, so we could see heavy passing volume for Dak in 2024.

Avoid: Justin Herbert
Herbert has averaged fewer than 18 fantasy points per game the last two years, putting him outside the top 10 in that category both years. Now he’s going to play in what figures to be a run-heavy offense with John Harbaugh in charge and Greg Roman calling the plays. Even if rookie WR Ladd McConkey is as good as advertised, the Chargers are still likely to have a below-average collection of pass catchers. There’s no more Keenan Allen, no more Austin Ekeler, no more Mike Williams. And while Herbert provides some value as a runner, his single-season rushing highs are 302 yards and five touchdowns.

QB2 Range

Target: Jayden Daniels
Expect Daniels’ ADP of QB17 to climb as drafters come to their senses and enthusiasm for Daniels builds. Sure, Daniels is a rookie, and we can’t even assume he’ll start in Week 1. But he’ll be starting early in the season, and Daniels’ rushing ability will be a needle-mover in the fantasy realm. The reigning Heisman Trophy winner ran for 1,134 yards and 10 touchdowns at LSU last year. He also averaged 11.7 yards per pass attempt last year while playing in college football’s toughest conference, the SEC. Daniels will be playing under Commanders offensive coordinator Kliff Kingsbury, who milked a QB7 fantasy season out of the mobile Kyler Murray in Kyler’s rookie year.

Avoid: Aaron Rodgers
He’s 40, he’s coming off a torn Achilles, his offenses always play at a snail’s pace, and the Jets’ top-notch defense won’t provide Rodgers with many shootout game scripts.

Fantasy Football Draft Strategy: Superflex Leagues

Quarterback draft strategy is a whole new ballgame in superflex leagues, which allow you to start a second quarterback in one of your flex spots. Quarterbacks generally score more points than players at other positions, so in a league where you’re able to start two of them, and where everyone is rostering more quarterbacks than in a 1QB league, the position becomes hugely important, just as it is in the NFL itself.

You’ll typically see 8-9 QBs selected in the first round of a superflex startup draft. Once the draft is over, good quarterbacks will be expensive in the trade market.

The consequences of punting the quarterback position in a superflex league are daunting. It’s hard to win games when you’re starting Baker Mayfield and Geno Smith, and your opponents are throwing Mahomes/Purdy and Murray/Love combos at you.

Ideally, you’ll draft an anchor quarterback in Round 1 or Round 2. Beyond the first two rounds, things get more complicated. The goal is to draft opportunistically at the QB position in order to maximize value, but also to not get left out in the cold. It’s a difficult balancing act, because quarterbacks are almost always overdrafted from Round 2 on in superflex leagues. You may be forced to abandon value-seeking principles when addressing the QB position.

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Fantasy Football Draft Strategy: Quarterback Tiers

Here are the top 30 quarterbacks in my redraft fantasy football draft rankings, sorted into tiers, with thoughts on some of the players from each tier.

Tier 1

I talked about the appeal of Patrick Mahomes earlier. What’s nice is that he has an ADP of QB3 and could be available in the fourth round of your draft.

Lamar Jackson finished QB3 in fantasy points per game among quarterbacks who made at least six starts last season. He did that despite averaging the fewest rushing yards per game (51.3) since his rookie year and despite playing only 10 games with star TE Mark Andrews.

Tier 2

Anthony Richardson scored 21.9 and 29.6 fantasy points in the only two games he started and completed as a rookie, good for weekly fantasy finishes of QB4 and QB2. Richardson averaged 19.4% more fantasy points per snap than Josh Allen, who led all QBs in fantasy scoring. And Richardson didn’t get to play with Jonathan Taylor, who opened the year on IR. The threat that Taylor poses as a runner should open things up for A-Rich in the passing game.

C.J. Stroud had a jaw-droppingly good rookie season, and now the Texans have added Stefon Diggs to an already formidable group of pass catchers. Just realize that modest rushing production could cap Stroud’s ceiling.

Joe Burrow got off to a slow start in 2023 due to a calf injury he sustained in training camp, then went on injured reserve in mid-November with a wrist injury. Four games into the 2023 season, Burrow was QB31 in fantasy scoring, averaging 8.4 fantasy points per game. Then he caught fire, averaging 296.0 yards and 2.4 TD passes over a five-game stretch from Week 5 to Week 10 in which he was QB4 in fantasy points per game. That’s the Burrow we hope to see in 2024.

Over his first nine starts of 2023, Jordan Love was averaging 223.2 passing yards per game, with 14 TD passes, 10 interceptions, a 58.7% completion rate and an average of 6.7 yards per attempt. Over his last eight starts of the 2023 regular season, Love averaged 268.8 passing yards per game, with 18 TD passes, one interception, a 70.3% completion percentage and 7.7 yards per attempt. Then he went out and picked apart a good Dallas defense in the playoffs, going 16-of-21 for 272 yards and three TDs. Love adds some value as a runner and has a deep group of young pass catchers.

Tier 3

Brock Purdy led all NFL quarterbacks in yards per attempt (9.6) and passer rating (113.0) last season, and he finished QB7 in fantasy scoring. Purdy benefits from a top-drawer ecosystem, with Kyle Shanahan as his playcaller and Christian McCaffrey, Deebo Samuel, Brandon Aiyuk and George Kittle as his pass catchers.

No. 1 overall draft pick Caleb Williams steps into a great situation with the Bears, who now have a loaded WR group with D.J. Moore, Keenan Allen and Rome Odunze. Rookie hiccups are inevitable, but Caleb figures to have some big games, too.

Over the first eight weeks of 2023 season, Tua Tagovailoa was QB5 in fantasy scoring, averaging 302.0 passing yards and 2.3 TD passes per game. From Week 9 on, Tua was QB20 in fantasy scoring. Reasons to buy in: Tua has an excellent WR corps with Tyreek Hill, Jaylen Waddle and Odell Beckham Jr., and the Miami defense lost several key players in the offseason, which could thrust Tua into more high-scoring shootouts in 2024.

Tier 4

Jared Goff averaged 17.8 fantasy points per game last season, the most he’s averaged since putting up 19.4 per game with the Rams in 2018. Just realize that Goff adds nothing as a runner, and that he finished outside the top 12 in fantasy points per game despite finishing second in pass attempts (605).

It seems unlikely that Deshaun Watson will ever again finish as a top-five fantasy scorer, as he did in three straight seasons with the Texans from 2018 through 2020. A suspension and injuries have limited Watson to 12 games with the Browns over the last two years, and he’s basically been a shell of his early-career self. Frankly, it’s hard to tell what to make of Watson at this point. When in doubt, best to observe from a safe distance.

Tier 5

Will Levis is an interesting case. He has a rocket launcher for an arm, he’s mobile, and the Titans have surrounded him with a nice group of pass catchers that includes DeAndre Hopkins, Calvin Ridley and Tyler Boyd. If everything clicks, Levis could follow the Josh Allen path to stardom. But after throwing four TD passes against Atlanta in his first NFL start, Levis threw just four TD passes in his last eight starts of the season and fumbled seven times. He’s a boom-or-bust flyer.

Daniel Jones‘ rushing ability gives him low-end QB1 upside, as we saw in 2022, when he finished QB9 in fantasy scoring. But Jones has never averaged better than 6.8 yards per pass attempt over a full season, and he’s been turnover-prone for most of his career. WR Malik Nabers, the No. 6 overall pick in this year’s NFL Draft, could very well be the best pass catcher Jones has ever played with. On the other hand, a bad start could prompt Giants head coach to give Jones a quick hook and replace him with backup Drew Lock.

If you believe that Dave Canales is a magical QB whisperer, you might have some interest in Bryce Young as a late-round dart throw in deeper leagues, and you’re probably fading Baker Mayfield, who had a nice rebound season under Canales in 2023. The hope is that Canales can resuscitate Young after a dismal rookie season, but it might be more of a long-term project than a quick fix.

Fantasy Football Draft Rankings: Quarterbacks

Here are my updated quarterback fantasy football draft rankings. And here are our Expert Consensus quarterback fantasy football draft rankings.

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