What to Expect from the Top Fantasy Football QBs in 2019
Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Deshaun Watson
- Our fantasy football experts break down the outlooks for the top quarterbacks in 2019.
Is Patrick Mahomes the clear QB1? What can you expect from Kyler Murray in Year 1? Will Matt Ryan return to his MVP form?
Our experts forecast what to expect from the top fantasy football quarterbacks in 2019. You can also get Sean Koerner’s, Chris Raybon’s and Matthew Freedman’s up-to-date rankings with our Fantasy Football Draft Kit, complete with stat projections for every starting QB and customizable cheat sheets.
Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs
Mahomes is coming off an MVP season in which he scored 52 touchdowns (50 passing, two rushing) and is likely to come back down to Earth in 2019.
The real question is: How much?
I have him projected to throw for “only” 36.5 TDs, and he’s still in his own tier atop my QB rankings. He has an elite floor/ceiling combo. — Sean Koerner
Get our experts’ projections for every starting QB with our Fantasy Football Draft Kit.
Deshaun Watson, Houston Texans
Watson finished a week among the top-five fantasy QBs at a 30% rate last season, and top-12 at a 70% rate, which means he hits his ceiling frequently. And if he gets a healthy Keke Coutee and Will Fuller for most of the season, Watson might even improve on his numbers from 2018.
Not to mention that his rushing stats suffered from Weeks 6-11, when he was banged up. Improved health could make him a serious QB1 threat. — Sean Koerner
Andrew Luck, Indianapolis Colts
Luck proved his shoulder injury is behind him. He might even find a way to improve on last season’s MVP-like numbers with more weapons.
The Colts drafted speedster Parris Campbell, signed red-zone threat Devin Funchess, and welcome chain-moving Jack Doyle back from injury. It would be real hard to wait on QB if Luck slips outside the top 75.— Sean Koerner
Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers
Rodgers played the entire 2018 season with an MCL injury he suffered in Week 1. He didn’t look himself, throwing only 25 TDs. But with Mike McCarthy gone and new head coach Matt LaFleur in town, expect Rodgers to bounce back in a big way.
Unfortunately, the market is anticipating this as he’s being selected as the third QB off the board, so there isn’t much “value” to be had. Still, it would be real hard to wait on QB if he slips outside the top 75. — Sean Koerner
Baker Mayfield, Cleveland Browns
Mayfield put together about as good of a rookie season as we’ve seen from a quarterback over the better part of the past two decades. There doesn’t seem to be much in his way for Year 2, especially considering the dizzying number of good to great offensive weapons around him.
Don’t be surprised if he and the rest of the Browns’ skill position players achieve fantasy stardom on a regular basis in 2019. — Ian Hartitz
Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons
We haven’t seen Ryan return to his MVP form since 2016, but even a lesser version of his best self was more than good enough to rank among the top-five quarterbacks in virtually every meaningful passing statistic last season. And there’s reason to believe he could keep on keeping on in 2019, thanks in large part to the Falcons’ cozy indoor schedule.
Ryan has one of the highest floor/ceiling combinations among fantasy quarterbacks heading into the season. — Ian Hartitz
Kyler Murray, Arizona Cardinals
Murray is the perfect quarterback to make Kliff Kingsbury’s Air Raid offense a fantasy-friendly reality this season.
Some injury luck across the offensive line coupled with continued development from the offense’s playmakers could lead to top-10 fantasy production from Murray in 2019 (and beyond).
And thanks to his dual-threat ability — which has historically produced a rare ceiling/floor combination — I’m more than willing to take him ahead of QBs like Carson Wentz, Russell Wilson and Drew Brees. — Ian Hartitz
Jared Goff, Los Angeles Rams
Goff’s underwhelming performance during the 2018 playoffs might’ve left a sour taste, but his body of work over the past two regular seasons deserves some credit.
- Passing yards: 8,492 (No. 5 among 39 QBs with 10-plus starts since 2017)
- Yards per attempt: 8.2 (No. 4)
- Adjusted yards per attempt: 8.5 (No. 3)
- Touchdowns: 60 (tied for No. 4)
- Touchdown rate: 5.8% (No. 8)
- Interception rate: 1.8% (No. 9)
- Quarterback rating: 100.8 (No. 6)
- Fantasy points: QB7
- Fantasy points per game: QB10
Of course, Goff’s lack of rushing ability is far from ideal. But fantasy football investors should heighten their exposure to Goff when he’s at home. Per our FantasyLabs NFL Trends tool, Goff has averaged 24.1 DraftKings points per game with a +6.8 Plus/Minus and a 68% Consistency Rating at home compared to 16.8 PPG with a -0.8 Plus/Minus and a 40% Consistency Rating on the road over the past two seasons. — Ian Hartitz
Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers
Targeting quarterbacks who are recovering from offseason shoulder surgery isn’t usually recommended, despite Andrew Luck’s success in 2018. Still, Newton’s ability to heavily influence games on the ground, combined with a plethora of playmakers capable of thriving in Carolina’s quick-hitting passing game, could make him a huge fantasy football bargain.
Plus, his ridiculous rushing ability will always be an issue for defenses, and he’s a problem that’s nearly impossible to solve when he’s also at his best as a passer. — Ian Hartitz
Carson Wentz, Philadelphia Eagles
Wentz finished 2018 as the QB17 in fantasy points per game (min. eight starts) after finishing 2017 as the QB2.
He isn’t exactly free at his current average draft position as the QB9, but his enhanced weapons and recent history of elite fantasy play makes his ceiling much higher than similarly-valued quarterbacks like Philip Rivers and Jared Goff.
This should be a make-or-break year for Wentz. — Ian Hartitz
Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks
It was a miracle that Wilson was able to finish last season as the QB9 with only 427 pass attempts and zero rushing touchdowns. There’s almost no way he can maintain that efficiency, but any regression he suffers there, he might be able to salvage with an increase in volume.
It’ll be a bit of an uphill battle as Pete Carroll/Brian Schottenheimer clearly want to be a run-heavy team. But if the defense takes a step back, it could force their hand and Wilson could end up somewhere between his 2017 and 2018 seasons, where he put up the second-highest percentage of weekly top-five finishes at the position with 37.5%. — Sean Koerner
Jameis Winston, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Winston finished last season as the QB9 in fantasy points per start despite having to constantly look over his shoulder at a flaming-hot backup and a coaching staff that was actively trying to keep its jobs.
A better culture and overall offense under Bruce Arians could help Winston smash his current average draft position as the QB13. The Bucs’ loaded group of wide receivers and tight ends should also help his chances of finally taking his game to the next level. — Ian Hartitz
Dak Prescott, Dallas Cowboys
Prescott is once again being undervalued in fantasy football.
His ability to consistently find the end zone as a rusher, combined with improved efficiency as a passer, makes him one of 2019’s premier late-round quarterback options. There’s little debate that he’s been a better quarterback with Amari Cooper, and Prescott’s unique ability on the ground once again makes him a good bet for fantasy production. — Ian Hartitz
Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers
It might be time to curb our expectations for Roethlisberger as a high-end fantasy football quarterback.
He no longer has Antonio Brown, which means we should probably expect a dip in Big Ben’s efficiency and volume. His 675 pass attempts in 2018 were the fourth-highest mark in a single season ever, and this coincided with the first time that he managed to play all 16 games since 2014.
Still, his ability to dominate at home makes him worthy of investment for managers who prefer to wait on a quarterback and rotate multiple signal callers. — Ian Hartitz
Mitch Trubisky, Chicago Bears
Trubisky was one of only seven quarterbacks who managed to rush for at least 30 yards per game in 2018. He converted his 68 rush attempts into 421 yards (6.2 yards per carry) and three touchdowns. It’s reasonable to expect that he’ll continue to find success on the ground considering how many additional weapons the Bears have on offense. Further improvement from Trubisky as a natural passer could make him a league winner sooner than later. — Ian Hartitz
Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints
Brees hasn’t finished lower than ninth in fantasy points at quarterback during a single season since heading to New Orleans in 2006. And there’s little reason to expect things to get significantly worse in 2019.
I have my money on him performing at his usual level for at least another season or two before we see him resemble anything other than elite. With that said, Brees is the QB8 in average draft position in a season that features 20-plus fantasy-relevant signal callers, so I’ll be looking to draft my fantasy quarterback in the later rounds thanks to the position’s overall depth. — Ian Hartitz
Josh Allen, Buffalo Bills
Even Josh Allen’s most optimistic supporters couldn’t have predicted he’d resemble Michael Vick as a rusher. Allen rushed for 767 yards and 12 touchdowns in 17 career games at Wyoming … then converted 89 carries into 631 yards and eight touchdowns in 12 games as a rookie for the Bills.
While he deserves credit for being special as a runner, he looked like the opposite of special as a passer, ranking among the NFL’s least efficient signal-callers in virtually every metric. He did suffer from the Bills’ lack of reliable pass catchers, though, and he’ll have a more capable group to target this season.
Allen has a high ceiling for a late-round quarterback and a fantasy-friendly combination of deep-ball volume and rushing ability. — Ian Hartitz
Lamar Jackson, Baltimore Ravens
Lamar Jackson is an extreme dual-threat quarterback.
His 147 carries were the most in a single season at the QB position in the history of the NFL, while his 170 pass attempts were the fourth-fewest since 2000 for a quarterback that started seven games. A lack of passing upside certainly doesn’t help, but there’s also something to be said for a QB with a strong fantasy floor.
Recent and long-term history tells us that Jackson is fully capable of providing immense and consistent value at his current price point as the QB22 in average draft position. — Ian Hartitz
Jimmy Garoppolo, San Francisco 49ers
Garoppolo has put up the stats of a pretty great quarterback over his 10 starts, helping his offenses average an impressive 27.1 points per game over that sample size. And it’s not out of the question that Kyle Shanahan’s offense could help lift a fully-healthy Garoppolo to great heights over the course of a 16-game season.
Still, Jimmy G is a prime example of just how deep the quarterback position is in today’s NFL. I wouldn’t go out of my way to draft him, but you can certainly do worse.
Long live late-round quarterbacks. — Ian Hartitz