Continue reading this article with a Season Long Pro subscription.
"Footballguys is the best premium
fantasy football only site on the planet."
Matthew Berry, ESPN
Jason Wood on Sep 8: Mahomes still has 50 touchdown upside, particularly with the Chiefs revamping their offensive line from top to bottom. The only quarterback worthy of a second-round pick in 12-team leagues.
Andy Hicks on Sep 5: Patrick Mahomes provides excellent week to week consistency and has the upside to reach and exceed 50 touchdowns. The only downside is that he may miss a couple of games at the end of the season if the Chiefs continue their great win rate. In Bestball he offers the highest floor you can expect from any quarterback in 2021 and his upside is as good as there is. If you have or can get him in dynasty leagues, congratulations.
Jason Wood on Sep 8: Some may forecast regression, but Allen's improvement over three seasons is nearly unparalleled in NFL history. Same coaches, same system, same supporting cast = no reason to doubt his bonafides.
Andy Hicks on Sep 5: It is hard to expect a replication of the numbers Josh Allen put up in 2020. 37 passing touchdowns, over 4500 passing yards and eight rushing touchdowns, That said, his rushing numbers have been consistent year to year and there is no other quarterback who can find the endzone with the regularity Allen does. I do expect the passing touchdowns to drop. In bestball leagues his floor is high with only two games last year being poor, with several monster efforts. As a dynasty option he is one of the best young players you can build your side around.
Andrew Davenport on Sep 10: A large part of Murray's fantasy success came courtesy of a ridiculous 11 rushing touchdowns, 10 of which came in the first 10 weeks of the season. He will still be an elite fantasy quarterback in 2021, but expecting the same level of rushing production isn't a good bet. He still has QB1 overall upside, but fits best at the bottom of the tier of the top five fantasy quarterbacks.
Jason Wood on Sep 8: Murray improved across the board last year, but he and his coaches say he ran too much. If he makes good on running less, he might be over drafted by a round or two.
Andy Hicks on Sep 5: Despite seemingly immodest stats, Kyler Murray has been improving in all areas of his game and this is the year he should make the leap to truly elite quarterback. His rushing numbers have room for improvement and additions at running back and wide receiver make his options even greater. In best ball leagues he is a phenomenal player to anchor your squad around and those in dynasty leagues should count themselves lucky. The only concern I would have is are the coaches good enough to develop him at this level.
Jason Wood on Sep 8: Lamar Jackson regressed as a passer last year, but the Ravens bolstered his receiving corps substantially in the offseason and OC Greg Roman has promised to open up the playbook more. Buy the dip.
Andy Hicks on Sep 5: How much longer can Lamar Jackosn rush for 1000 yards a season and dominate fantasy leagues with his rushing touchdowns? The Ravens have gone out of their way to upgrade their receivers. Sammy Watkins, Rashod Bateman and Tylan Wallace were added, while the departure of Mark Ingram and injury to Dobbins thins the ranks at Running Back. The team will pass the ball more. Jackson has a great passing touchdown to interception rate, but his passing yardage should expect improvement this season, highly likely at the expense of his rushing numbers. This will negate his fantasy worth.
Jason Wood on Sep 8: Prescott was on pace for more than 6,000 yards passing before his season-ending injury and returns healthy with an enviable trio of stud receivers, and a running game that will keep defenses honest. He's on a short list of potential No. 1 overall quarterbacks.
Andy Hicks on Sep 5: Dak Prescott finally got the monster contract he deserved. Now he has to earn it. Playing without Prescott last year the team finally realized how ugly their offense is without him. With a dynamic trio of receivers and a star running back, Prescott has options to make almost every other quarterback jealous. He does carry some risk if the offensive line continues to age. As a bestball option he is a great player to take once the top notch players are gone. In Dynasty leagues he is a great option, but i would advise getting a solid backup.
Jason Wood on Sep 8: He's coming off record completions, attempts, completion percentage, and touchdowns yet fantasy managers love to push him down. Always one of the better values at the position.
Andy Hicks on Sep 5: This was a crazy offseason for Russell Wilson. Whether this is his last year in Seattle or not remains to be seen. Concentrating on 2021 first, he has an even better group of receivers with Dwayne Eskridge drafted and Gerald Everett arriving in free agency, it is hard to see him declining from being a top six fantasy option. In 2020 he recorded highs in passing touchdowns, and also interceptions. Turning 33 I donâ€™t how much longer he can keep recording 500 yard rushing seasons. As a bestball option he is unlikely to disappoint, but his rushing numbers are likely to not be as dominant as the elite players. In dynasty leagues I would consider unloading him for premium value. His 2022 team may be different and his rushing yardage is unlikely to continue near the 500 yard a season mark.
Jason Wood on Sep 8: Brady's age wasn't a problem at 43 years old so why should 44 years old be a problem? He was QB7 last year in a new city with a new team and system, so a top-5 finish is hardly a stretch in Year 2.
Andy Hicks on Sep 5: There are rules for other quarterbacks and then there are a seeming lack of rules for Tom Brady. Recoding 40 passing touchdowns and 4500 passing yards when he didnt know the offense well and was getting to know his new environment portends to an excellent 2021, but realistically the aim is superbowl or nothing. To me that implies that regular season will be a grind that may drop his stats. Plus 44 years old.....seriously? At some stage the wheels come off, As a dynasty option, his aim of playing to 45 has now been moved to an improbable 50. Take it one year at a time. In bestball leagues I would get other options that complement his schedule
Jason Wood on Sep 8: Herbert proved the doubters wrong with an elite rookie season, and history has been kind to comparable quarterbacks. The only fly in the ointment is the coaching turnover; we don't yet know if Joe Lombardi is a good play caller.
Andy Hicks on Sep 5: It is fair to say that Justin Herbert over delivered in bis rookie season. Expected to be eased in, he was thrown in through an unusual medical issue to Tyrod Taylor, Herbert had one of the best fantasy rookie seasons from a quarterback ever. How did the team help him? By sacking the coaching staff and providing no upgrades at the skill positions. What he did in 2020 can almost be ignored depending on what the inexperienced new coaching group have planned, He carries risk heading into 2021 and beyond.
Andrew Davenport on Sep 10: With Rodgers returning to Green Bay for another year along with Davante Adams, he can safely be put inside the top 10 at the position. His 48 touchdowns in 2020 was an outlier, but he still has Adams, Aaron Jones, and a potent offense. He can once again be drafted with confidence as your QB1.
Jason Wood on Sep 8: After an acrimonious offseason, Rodgers and the Packers appear set to run it back for one more season, which makes him a no-brainer QB1 who should be off the board no later than 10th at the position.
Andy Hicks on Sep 5: We are entering unknown waters with Aaron Rodgers this year. This last dance stuff with Davante Adams portends to a possible lower floor if the season starts poorly or if Rodgers and Adams get too focused on 2022. As a dynasty option he looks like he has at least three good years left, but the cliff comes quickly for some In bestball I would advise some caution as there is almost certainly some dropoff from his awesome 2020 season.
Andrew Davenport on Sep 10: The concern with Arthur Smith leaving is a valid one, but all Ryan Tannehill has done the past two years is produce. He has an incredible knack for getting two touchdowns (or more) in every game he plays. Despite Smith leaving, the play action game will still work with stud Derrick Henry threatening defenses, and now Tennessee has added Julio Jones opposite A.J. Brown. This should once again have Tannehill contending for a Top 8 fantasy finish.
Jason Wood on Sep 8: Tannehill's outlook was trending down a month ago, but the Julio Jones trade re-establishes a floor as a top-12 fantasy quarterback. Assuming new OC Todd Downing can maintain the exemplary system Arthur Smith established.
Andy Hicks on Sep 5: Ryan Tannehill had his numbers boosted in 2020 by registering seven rushing touchdowns. The addition of Julio Jones and Josh Reynolds will help the passing game and the rushing game should be as strong as ever behind Derrick Henry. Expecting Tannehill to deliver reliable and consistent stats in 2021 is a risk for fantasy managers. One piece missing and this whole deck of cards could fall down, especially with Arthur Smith gone.
Ryan Weisse on Jun 10: Itâ€™s hard to imagine Tannehill not finishing as a top-10 QB and you can get him as the QB11. While that doesnâ€™t initially sound like value, a Top 5 season is possible this season. The addition of Julio Jones, along with the growth of AJ Brown, should help him add to what was already an impressive 2020. He finished last season as the 7th best overall fantasy quarterback, with just over 3800 yards and 33 touchdowns. Both of those numbers should go up and Tannehill is going to outplay his ADP.
Jason Wood on Sep 8: Not for the faint of heart given his limited playing time as a rookie and substandard accuracy as a passer. But his mobility can offset a lot of questions about passing inefficiency, at least while he stays healthy.
Andy Hicks on Sep 5: Itâ€™s easy to be an optimist when ranking Jalen Hurts, but caution may be the wise move. First, there is a new coach. History isnâ€™t kind to young quarterbacks learning a second system in their second year. Next, we have the supporting cast. This side is rebuilding. The offensive line has struggled to hold up. If that continues this year, we donâ€™t have a quarterback scrambling. We have one getting annihilated. How much is the regime in love with Hurts? Are they just dating this season and looking elsewhere next year for their guy? They seem to be looking others like Gardner Minshew before this season even starts. Losing isnâ€™t going to help the long term cause for Hurts should he play. I can even see the team pulling the pin if they have wanted to have a look at another quarterback on their roster.
Victoria Geary on Jun 24: Jalen Hurts will be this year's Josh Allen and Kyler Murray, as he possesses tremendous rushing upside and his ADP remains a screaming value in drafts. His point total of 37.8 in Week 15 was 2020's sixth-highest single-game score from a quarterback, and that is exactly the type of ceiling you want in your lineup each week. When Hurts took over Weeks 14-16, the Eagles jumped to first overall in total yards per game and fourth in rushing yards per game. His 52% completion percentage will scare some off, but the context will show he was not afraid to chuck the ball downfield. 46% of his passing attempts were thrown 10 or more yards - the highest rate in the NFL. With a healthy offensive line, the addition of Heisman Trophy winner DeVonta Smith, and a sub-par defense, the formula for a top-5 fantasy finish is set for Jalen Hurts.
Jason Wood on Sep 8: Stafford has elite potential this year if he proves the key to unlocking Sean McVay's system. But his age and inconsistency, not to mention lack of mobility, warrant drafting as a high-upside QB2 instead of your starter.
Andy Hicks on Sep 5: It is widely expected that Matthew Stafford will elevate this team and that he is an upgrade over Jared Goff. I am not convinced. Stafford burnt through 3 head coaches and never won a playoff game. Goff at least took this team to a Superbowl. I would also need convinced that the coaching scheme is flexible enough to adapt. Best case scenario he outplays his draft slot. There is considerable risk however that it doesnt work out
Victoria Geary on Jun 24: The narrative that Stafford will be playing with the most talented offense of his career has forced his ADP to skyrocket in recent months. If you are drafting him anywhere from QB9 to QB12, you are likely taking Stafford at his absolute ceiling. In his 12 seasons as an NFL quarterback, Stafford has only thrown 30 or more total touchdowns twice, the most recent season being 2015 when he was still throwing to superstar Calvin Johnson. In addition, the Rams were tied for the second-most rushing attempts in the red zone in 2020, which does not bode well for Stafford's ceiling.
Jason Wood on Sep 8: Burrow has the potential to approach 700 pass attempts in a 17-game season given the Bengals defensive questions and coach Taylor's uptempo system. With a young trio of stud receivers and a healthy Joe Mixon, Burrow has more upside at his ADP than downside.
Andy Hicks on Sep 5: Cincinnati has one of the highest upside young group of wide receivers in the NFL. All can remain with Joe Burrow for the next three years. Burrow is a promising quarterback and was knocked around and tore his ACL primarily due to lack of protection up front. He is not guaranteed to start in week one. Even if he does, his mobility may be limited. It would be a better move to watch Burrow develop in 2021 for a breakout next season as his receivers gain experience rather than expect starting-level fantasy production this year. In dynasty leagues Burrow still represents excellent long term value. This year may be rocky, but the future looks bright In best-ball, Burrow should have his best games at the end of the season so pairing him with a strong starter may be wise.
Ryan Weisse on Jun 18: It's not hard to understand the optimism for Burrow this year but drafting him as a top-12 QB feels like a trap. Yes, he's got an arsenal of weapons that would make some militaries jealous. Last year, with most of this same group, he averaged just 17 fantasy points per game. That ranked as the QB18. Is Ja'Marr Chase replacing AJ Green really moving him up 6+ spots? Can he protect Burrow's surgically repaired knee? The 8th round of your fantasy draft is not the time to answer these kinds of questions.
Jason Wood on Sep 8: Ryan was overvalued before the Julio Jones trade but is now grossly mispriced. Arthur Smith isn't going to run a pass-happy offense is he can help it, and Ryan should be viewed as a low-ceiling committee quarterback to use only when the matchup is friendly.
Andy Hicks on Sep 5: Matt Ryan had his contract surprisingly extended by the new management. Losing Julio Jones will be devastating, especially when their new playmaker in Kyle Pitts is likely to have his best years with Ryan gone. What the team intend to do with Ryan is a mystery. They are stuck with him due his salary cap numbers, but want to start afresh. He has always been fantasy reliable, without being elite. His downside this year is more likely than any possible upside
Victoria Geary on Jun 24: We have all seen Matt Ryan struggle when Julio Jones is out of the lineup. Now that Jones has been traded to the Tennessee Titans, Ryan is being drafted at his ceiling and is not worth the high price. He needed over 625 pass attempts last season to finish as the QB12 overall and was the QB13 in points per game. Ryan was also lacking week-to-week consistency, as he scored in the top-10 quarterbacks only five times on the season. Newly added tight end Kyle Pitts isn't enough of an upgrade to make us reach for Ryan at his current ADP.
Jason Wood on Sep 8: Trevor Lawrence is a prototypical quarterback with as bright a future as anyone to enter the league in years. But his rookie year should be volatile given the roster turnover, new system, and new coaching staff. Lawrence's mobility is underappreciated and could give him a top-15 floor.
Jason Wood on Sep 8: Cousins is the new Philip Rivers. No one wants to draft him and yet he puts up top-12 numbers at the season's end.
Jason Wood on Sep 8: Tagovailoa had a disappointing season by his own admission. Miami's front office made aggressive moves to ensure any failure to improve this year would be solely Tagovailoa's fault; there are no more excuses.
Andrew Davenport on Sep 10: Carr's 2020 season is very much under the radar for fantasy owners. He finished the year with 30 total touchdowns against just 9 interceptions. Quietly, Carr has hooked into Jon Gruden's system and is better than most drafters will give him credit for. Plus, their two young wide receivers will have another year to mature, and the Raiders added another perennially underrated guy in John Brown to replace Nelson Agholor. The Raiders need their offensive line to gel as they've had significant turnover, but Carr should provide solid value as a QB2 if they are reasonably proficient.
Jason Wood on Sep 8: Derek Carr's box scores read better than his reputation as a passer. He's hyper-accurate and has a cadre of offensive options yet to peak.
Jason Wood on Sep 8: Major shoulder surgery, age, and a less-than-stellar physique all lend doubt to Roethlisberger's relevance as a weekly fantasy starter.
Jason Wood on Sep 8: Mayfield is always going to be volatile because his instincts are to be a gunslinger, but he took well to Kevin Stefanski's coaching and learned how to play within the system in 2020. He's a viable option, particularly as part of a late-round QB committee draft approach.
Andy Hicks on Sep 5: When looking at the season-ending numbers, it is easy to surmise that Baker Mayfield is just a game manager that lets the run game dominate. It is well established that once Mayfield played within Cleveland's scheme, he looked great. It was a true season of two halves. Once he played within himself and allowed others to do the work, his numbers were astonishing. In the five-game stretch between weeks 12 and 16, he averaged 303 yards passing with two touchdowns a game. There was only one interception. He was the master of his domain. Now should you take him as your starter? Absolutely not, but his floor is very high and should you want to dominate at other positions, he is a great safety option to match with a high upside quarterback.
Jason Wood on Sep 8: Joe Brady is one good season from Sam Darnold away from his pick of NFL head coaching vacancies. The Panthers roster is stacked with talent, and Darnold can't be judged on his tenure in New York given the toxicity of the coaching and ownership.
Andy Hicks on Sep 5: Sam Darnold has strong weapons at his disposal in D.J. Moore, Robby Anderson, Terrace Marshall Jr, and of course, Christian McCaffrey. He has a coaching staff dedicated to playing to his strengths. All that is his upside. The downside is the ghost of Adam Gase. If he starts the season with confidence, you have yourself a fantasy steal. If the Jets experience has ruined him, we will find that out soon enough when real NFL defenses attempt to rattle Darnold
Jason Wood on Sep 8: Ryan Fitzpatrick is capable of molten hot streaks, but he always follows them with ice-cold stretches. His aggressive nature should provide the supporting cast with more boom weeks, but the busts are still going to hurt.
Victoria Geary on Jun 24: Fitzpatrick gives the Washington offense a semblance of continuity after they went through a carousel of quarterbacks last season. In 2020, he finished with a QBR of 76.9, good for fifth-best amongst all quarterbacks and the best rating of his entire career. Fitzpatrick is now surrounded by capable playmakers in wide receivers Terry McLaurin and Curtis Samuel, as well as breakout running back Antonio Gibson. The Washington Football Team has a middling strength of schedule, and their defense will need help from Fitzpatrick to keep them in games. He has the potential to outperform his ADP by a large margin this year.
Andrew Davenport on Sep 10: Wentz's surgery went well enough that he should be able to get on the field in the first quarter of the season. He still shouldn't be targeted in one quarterback leagues, but he should be moved back up into the bottom of the QB2 discussion. His and Quenton Nelson's successful surgeries pave the way for the Colts offense to be back on track by October.
Jason Wood on Sep 8: Coming off a disastrous season, Wentz landed in the best spot possible for a reclamation. Frank Reich knows Wentz's strengths and weaknesses better than anyone. But the Colts offensive line faces as many questions as the Eagles M.A.S.H. unit from a season ago.
Andy Hicks on Sep 5: Carson Wentz has seen his ADP slide following news of his foot surgery. While he does not have a great track record with injury, he does present a very high upside should it all come together in 2021. Despite being at rock bottom last season with the Eagles, Carson Wentz was still a borderline fantasy quarterback for the first 12 games of the season. With the receiving unit significantly better in Indianapolis, a strong running game, and a good offensive line, Wentz will find it difficult to underachieve again in 2021. Add in a coach who believes in him and no threat from any backup, Wentz is primed to easily exceed his draft slot for the year.
Jason Wood on Sep 8: Winston won the starting job, which is great news for the Saints' skill players, but not necessarily great news for Saints fans given Winston's propensity for turnovers.
Andy Hicks on Sep 5: Jameis Winston is capable of being an elite fantasy quarterback. Lost in the 30 interception season of 2019 was exceeding 5000 passing yards and 30 passing touchdowns. His arm talent is special. This is it, though. He has to take the job and hold it. Taysom Hill is limited, but he wonâ€™t lose the game. Hill is better suited to the jack of all trades role. Winston can propel this offense in an explosive direction. High upside, but early-season-cut downside too
Victoria Geary on Aug 19: Winston is just one year removed from an overall QB3 finish, scoring 21 fantasy points per game. Many believe it may be Taysom Hill at the helm due to his rapport with head coach Sean Payton, but Hill's versatility as a weapon from anywhere on the field makes the offense much less predictable than if he were their starting quarterback. Running back Alvin Kamara, the heart and soul of the New Orleans' offense, tallied just six total targets from Hill in Weeks 11 through 13 after averaging nine targets per game with Drew Brees. Winston's past experience as a starter and the ability to absorb the playbook throughout a full offseason should leave no doubt for the coaching staff when making the ultimate decision on starting quarterback.
Jason Wood on Sep 8: Wilson has a clear path to playing time, and the new Jets coaching staff is committed to getting him experience in 2021 to build on in future years.
Jason Wood on Sep 8: Daniel Jones finally has a difference-making No. 1 receiver in Kenny Golladay. Is that enough to salvage his status as an NFL starter? I'm doubtful.
Jason Wood on Sep 8: Mac Jones was the better quarterback this summer and the Patriots did the smart thing, naming him the Week 1 starter while jettisoning Cam Newton.
Jason Wood on Sep 8: It takes an optimistic bent to expect Goff to perform well in his new town. The Lions have no discernible No. 1 receiver, a coaching staff that's hard to be excited about, and most of us vividly remember how awful Goff looked before he had Sean McVay in his earpiece every snap.
Jason Wood on Sep 8: Justin Fields could be an every-week fantasy starter later in the season, but it's not clear he'll be given an opportunity to win the starting job right away.
Jason Wood on Sep 8: The 49ers spent a fortune to move up in the draft for Trey Lance. While he won't start in Week 1, there's no doubt the team wants Lance to be the starter exiting the season.
Jason Wood on Sep 8: Outside of a 4-game stretch in New Orleans two seasons ago, Teddy Bridgewater has been too conservative to win in today's NFL. He has the arm strength to push the ball downfield but doesn't have the stones.
Jason Wood on Sep 8: Taylor is the Week 1 starter, but history hasn't been kind to the veteran. He's a placeholder on a bad team.
Jason Wood on Sep 8: Garoppolo needed a great preseason to hold onto his job, and that didn't happen. While he appears safe for the Week 1 start, Trey Lance is going to be the starter soon.
Jason Wood on Sep 8: Andy Dalton will be the starter in Week 1, but the clock is ticking as Justin Fields looks like the real deal.
Jason Wood on Sep 8: Taysom Hill should never have been a serious contender for an NFL starting job, and when Jameis Winston beats you out, it's time to start rethinking your value.
Jason Wood on Sep 8: Teddy Bridgewater won the Week 1 starting job, and Lock needs a minor miracle to return to relevance.
Andrew Davenport on Sep 10: The closer the season approaches with no break in the civil suit stalemate, the closer Watson is to not playing a down in 2021. There may be a settlement still to come, but until such time as the criminal investigation is concluded and the civil cases are settled, it is best not to bet on Watson for this season except as a late flier as a QB2 in drafts.
Jason Wood on Sep 8: A number of teams remain interested in acquiring Watson, but his legal situation clouds the potential for 2021 relevance.
Andy Hicks on Sep 5: When all the starting fantasy quarterbacks are gone, you want to find guys who are not only capable of reaching that level but ascend to the elite fantasy level. What if I told you that this year there is a guy available in Deshaun Watson who has been ranked fourth twice and fifth in the last three years? Of course, there is not only the issue of which team he plays on but if and how much he plays at all. Who knows how the landscape changes, even over the next few weeks. Rumors of a trade will play out, For now, Watson is a fantastic value when people are considering defenses and kickers. In dynasty snap Watson up while you can. Once he has done whatever punishment, if any, he should be very productive. In best-ball he is an excellent late get. If he plays he should be a starting week to week play.
Jason Wood on Sep 8: Heinicke almost pulled off a playoff miracle last year, and shouldn't be counted out in Washington given Ryan Fitzpatrick's historical pattern of huge highs and abysmal lows.
Jason Wood on Sep 8: The Packers front office is trying hard to justify the Jordan Love experiment, but he needs to show it on the field before fantasy managers should buy the hype.
Jason Wood on Sep 8: Allen doesn't have a clear path to playing time, and may not even win the No. 2 job over Heinicke. But if he does break camp as the backup, he could end up starting a handful of games given Ryan Fitzpatrick's volatile history.
Jason Wood on Sep 8: Cam Newton was awful last year as a passer, and his legs saved his fantasy value. Another up-and-down summer combined with a stellar showing by Mac Jones led to Newton's release.