The BEST and WORST Fantasy QBs | Leveraging the Sport’s Most Important Position for Fantasy Production

by Joel Ybarra · Featured
Best Fantasy QBs

The quarterback position is the most important position in sports. An NFL team’s signal caller can make or break a franchise and win and lose people jobs. NFL franchises understand the QB is the centerpiece of the team and offense. He either facilitates production for all the other offensive pieces or he doesn’t. QBs don’t always have the same importance in fantasy, however. Hence, the rise of late round quarterback drafting and the proliferation of superflex leagues, which lend more value to the position. Here, we identify what makes the best fantasy QBs – the high-producing QBs we want to roster and those who simply facilitate production for all the other players on their teams. Some of the best fantasy QBs are ones you don’t necessarily want to roster. They facilitate production for the other fantasy assets in their offenses but are not monster point-getters themselves.

Below, we differentiate between QBs that are elite producers at the position themselves and which are the best facilitating fantasy production for others. We also identify some pass-catchers who have been connected to less than stellar QBs and will experience a bounceback when they get a new QB this offseason. QB play matters.

The Best Fantasy QBs to Roster

What makes a great real life QB is not necessarily what makes a great fantasy QB. Some QBs are great faciliating production for their weapons, but are not necessarily the highest points scorers at the position themselves. In this Best Offenses of 2023 article, we identified that we want to target the weapons on teams with a competent facilitator at QB. Think Jared Goff, Kirk Cousins. We don’t necessarily want to roster those QBs. In all cases, we need to have a proper evaluation of the QB position in real life to help us identify which offenses and weapons to target in fantasy.

Find Rushing Production

The top points scorers at the QB position itself are those who add rushing production. The top-three fantasy QBs in PPG this season – Josh Allen, Jalen Hurts and Lamar Jackson – added significant production on the ground in addition to their production as passers.

Occasionally, a pocket passer like Aaron Rodgers or Tom Brady slides into one of the top spots, but most of the time, the QBs who produce the most fantasy points themselves add something on the ground. They rush for 300-plus yards rushing and/or six-plus rushing touchdowns. Rushing QBs are a much safer bet to show up at the top of QB scoring by end of season. Those are the QBs we want to roster in fantasy.

The Best Fantasy QBs You Don’t Want to Roster

Some of the most valuable QBs in fantasy are ones you may not want to even roster. They are not monster points-getters themselves, but they facilitate premium production for the weapons in their offenses. We want to pay attention and have an accurate evaluation of QBs as facilitators because they can create dramatic shifts for offenses. Joe Flacco stepped in for the Browns in Week 13 this season and made Amari Cooper and David Njoku look like two of the league’s best pass catchers. Flacco may not have been able to keep it up for a full season, but in a short stint, he was far better for the pass catchers than anyone else who took snaps for the Browns this season, including Deshaun Watson. Flacco was the QB the Browns’ offense needed.

Mason Rudolph stepped in under center for the Steelers at the end of the season and unlocked George Pickens. Yes, it is another small sample size. The point is that the QB matters greatly to the overall production of the offense and the pieces’ fantasy production. We need to keep tabs on starting QBs in the league and their impact on the offense and the pass catchers. A replacement under center can tank the weapons’ production, but also maximize their potential. In that spirit, let’s identify some pass catchers dragged down by poor quarterback play this season. They are going to get a QB upgrade this offseason and will see an uptick in their production. They are also players with suppressed values in Dynasty, making them acquirable at lower prices.

Wide Receivers with QB Upgrades Coming

Davante Adams – Raiders

We got used to Davante Adams being a top-6 WR with Rodgers and even Derek Carr throwing him passes. The Raiders’ Alpha experienced a significant step down at QB when the team moved on to Jimmy Garoppolo and Aidan O’Connell this season. Adams will turn 32 years old during the 2024 season, and Dynasty gamers will be thinking he is headed off the age cliff.

Adams is still a surgical route runner, however. His Route Win Rate was actually higher this season – 50.0-percent (No. 29) – than the previous two seasons (43.9-percent, No. 26 in 2022 and 46.4-percent, No. 14 in 2021). He just needs a QB who can deliver him the ball. Target Accuracy on passes thrown to Adams in 2023 was down at 6.6 (No. 60) after it was 7.0 (No. 69) with Carr last season and 7.3 (No. 38) with Rodgers in 2021. The Raiders will move on from O’Connell this offseason. Even with a mid-level QB, Adams will return to his customary high-end production. The Raiders have him contracted through 2026. He carries $40.4M and $15.7M dead cap hits the next two seasons. Adams’ price in dynasty is as low as it has been for quite some time – for at least two more years of Alpha production.

George Pickens – Steelers

George Pickens has played a majority of his two-year career with Mitchell Trubisky and Kenny Pickett at QB. Pickens has had his moments with them, but when the team named Mason Rudolph its starter to close out the season, Pickens logged the two highest yardage totals of his career in Weeks 16 and 17. He also scored two touchdowns in Week 16.

Rudolph is not the Steelers’ long-term answer, but now we know what Pickens can do with a quarterback who can deliver the ball to him deep and with some degree of accuracy. It also tells us Pickett is not the answer in Pittsburgh. Rudolph opened up the offense, and the Steelers won three in a row after losing three straight with Pickett as the starter. Dynasty gamers will value Pickens more highly when the Steelers get a solid answer as to their QB of the future.

Jordan Addison – Vikings

Jordan Addison was great with Kirk Cousins captaining the Vikings’ offense. Cousins is the quintessential point guard at QB. In Cousins’ full games this season, Justin Jefferson was the WR1 in PPG (Weeks 1 through 4 before being injured in Week 5). T.J. Hockenson was the TE3 and Jordan Addison was the WR19 even while taking a goose egg in Week 4. With Kevin O’Connell at the helm and the talented roster they have online, the Vikings cannot afford to rotate through QBs or take a big step back at the position. They will either re-sign Cousins or bring on another capable distributor. Addison will play a large role on an ascendant offense in 2024.

Drake London – Falcons

The Falcons have to make a move at quarterback this offseason. Drake London’s QB Rating Per Target for the last two seasons with Marcus Mariota, Desmond Ridder and Taylor Heinicke at the helm was 81.4 (No. 67) in 2022 and then 82.3 (No. 73) in 2023.

London still had a Yards Per Route Run number of 2.40 (No. 11) last season and 1.95 (No. 33) this season. When the Falcons land a QB in the offseason, London’s stock will go soaring. If the Falcons fire Arthur Smith, London will become nearly untouchable in Dynasty.

Editor’s Note: This article was written prior to the announcement of Arthur Smith being fired as head coach of the Atlanta Falcons. 

The Offseason QB Market

The 2023 NFL season is coming to a close and teams are already planning their offseason moves, none more important than securing a quarterback. The QB is the piece that makes the whole offense tick, making or breaking the team in real life and determining the fantasy success of their offensive weapons. We will continue to monitor the QB moves made this offseason and identify the offenses that will ascend in 2024.