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2021 Fantasy Quarterbacks Tiers

With fantasy football drafts coming up, here are my quarterback tier rankings for the 2021 NFL season and who you should take in your draft.

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Fantasy Football QB Rankings
Josh Allen Fantasy Football

Realistically, there is no offseason in fantasy football, but draft season is here. This is when people are scheduling their home leagues, scrambling to do some last-minute research, and tuning into their favorite podcast. This is the first of four installments in which I will tier every position for fantasy purposes. These tiers are based on re-draft, PPR scoring.

Tier 1 – Elite Fantasy

  • Patrick Mahomes – Kansas City Chiefs
  • Josh Allen – Buffalo Bills
  • Lamar Jackson – Baltimore Ravens
  • Kyler Murray – Arizona Cardinals

This is the elite quarterback tier. These four guys are just as dangerous with their legs as they are their arms, making them the ideal fantasy quarterback or, as many like to call them, “The Konami Code.” Each of these QBs had over 30 total touchdowns (passing and rushing) in the 2020 season, with three of them (Allen, Mahomes, Murray) having over 4,500 all-purpose yards.

If you really want to nit-pick, you could break this tier up, as I do feel, based on talent and the team surrounding them, that Allen and Mahomes may belong in a tier of their own. However, having any of these guys on your roster will be an advantage at the end of the day.

Justin Herbert MVP?

Tier 2 – Upper Echelon

  • Dak Prescott – Dallas Cowboys
  • Aaron Rodgers – Green Bay Packers
  • Justin Herbert – Los Angeles Chargers
  • Russell Wilson – Seattle Seahawks

These four guys will still give you a weekly advantage at the QB spot. Dak and Herbert are close to entering the next tier, but I need to see Herbert do it again one more season. He has a good offense around him and a big arm to do it, but he does lack a bit in the rushing category, which could keep him out of the first tier.

Dak is the closet in this group that could move up. If he was fully healthy right now, I think he is tier 1. He started the 2020 season on fire before his devastating ankle injury knocked him out for the year. Cedee Lamb and Amari Cooper are both elite pass catchers, and Zeke Elliot is a premier rusher. All three will help Dak rebound, however he’s currently is getting his shoulder looked at, and if that comes back clean, look out!

Matthew Stafford Fantasy Football

TIER 3 – The Rest of the QB1s

  • Tom Brady – Tampa Bay Buccaneers
  • Matt Stafford – Los Angeles Rams (That still feels weird to me)
  • Ryan Tannehill – Tennessee Titans

Here in Tier 3, you know what you are getting. You are getting a reliable guy, who throws a lot of touchdowns, and does not make too many mistakes. The glitz and glam of the first two tiers may not be there, but production certainly is.

I absolutely love the fit for Matt Stafford in LA. He has never been in an offense like this, and he finally has a coach who will suit the passing attack for him. Despite losing Cam Akers for the season, he still has Cooper Kupp, Robert Woods, Desean Jackson, and Tyler Higbee to throw the ball to.

Tannehill, I admit, was hard to rank. I like the upgrade at WR with Julio Jones. Pairing him opposite AJ Brown is scary for opposing DBs. What I struggle with is at the end of the day, they are a run-first team, taking away from Tannehill’s fantasy production. Having Derrick Henry also means less opportunities for Tannehill in the red zone.

Joe Burrow Comeback?

Tier 4 – Caught in the Middle

  • Jalen Hurts – Philadelphia Eagles
  • Joe Burrow – Cincinnati Bengals
  • Trevor Lawerence – Jacksonville Jaguars
  • Carson Wentz- Indianapolis Colts
  • Baker Mayfield – Cleveland Browns

This tier can go either way. These guys bring QB1 potential to the table, but they also have a lot of baggage (Hurts) or injury history (Wentz, Burrow) that may knock them down.

Joe Burrow, if his knee is ok, may be the one that jumps out of this tier. The Bengals have done what they could to surround him with talent (Tee Higgins, Jamarr Chase, Tyler Boyd), but the offensive line is still in shambles. If Burrow has the time to throw, his numbers could pop.

Putting Trevor Lawrence in this category is risky. However, he may be the most NFL-ready QB out of the group of 2021 rookies. Urban Meyer will not rush him if he is not ready, but pairing him with Lawrence was one of the key factors that brought Meyer to Jacksonville. He has the chops to be a QB1 in fantasy, but only time will tell.

Kirk Cousins Fantasy Football

Tier 5 – The Savvy Vets

  • Matt Ryan – Atlanta Falcons
  • Kirk Cousins – Minnesota Vikings
  • Derek Carr – Las Vegas Raiders
  • Ryan Fitzpatrick – WFT
  • Ben Roethlisberger – Pittsburgh Steelers

This crew has been around the block and back. I am comfortable with these guys on my bench or a bye-week fill-in, but I do not think I would want them as my weekly starters.

Each guy in this tier has their flaws. For example, Matt Ryan may not have a run game and lost Julio Jones. Derek Carr lacks weapons outside of Darren Waller. Ryan Fitzpatrick is a gunslinger, but you have to live with the inviable interceptions, and Big Ben looked lost at times last season coming off a major injury.

Fitzy, because of the offense he’s in, would not be my choice from this tier. Instead, I’d go with Kirk Cousin. Cousins is supported with an excellent run game in Dalvin Cook. Along with, the explosive Justin Jefferson, who’s coming off an amazing rookie season, and the always reliable Adam Thielen.

Justin Fields Fantasy Football

Tier 6 – Lottery Tickets

  • Justin Fields – Chicago Bears
  • Trey Lance – San Francisco 49ers
  • Daniel Jones – New York Giants
  • Tua Tagovailoa – Miami Dolphins
  • Deshaun Watson – Houston Texans

I like to refer this crop of quarterback as late round lottery picks. These QBs have the potential to explode on the seen and win you a fantasy championship.

Fields and Lance, as of right now are not the starters, but come mid-season they may be turned to to give their teams a jumpstart.

Daniel Jones and Tua both have the potential, but it has yet to be reached. Both organizations went out in the offseason and spent draft capital and free-agent money to help their offenses. The time is now for these two.

That leaves Watson. There is so much uncertainty about where he will play, if he will play at all this year, and how his legal battle will play out. Despite all of this, he is worth the roster spot later in your draft. He is the definition of a lottery ticket. If he was not going through what he is, he would be in tier one.

The last question that remains is when to take a quarterback. There is no right answer to this. Every draft is different. You have to feel it out as it unfolds. One of the most important things is to know the scoring format of your league. If throwing touchdowns is only worth four points instead of six, it makes sense to wait on a QB and not jump on one early. Either way, if you want a guy, go get him. It is your draft when it is all said and done, so draft the guys you want to watch and root for, and have fun with it! As always, feel free to reach out to me with fantasy questions you may have!

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