2023 Fantasy Rankings: Top 10 QBs

By Chip Bayless (click Howie for more Chip)

 

 

 

1) Patrick Mahomes

As a generational talent and the most talented quarterback alive, it is no coincidence that Patrick Mahomes finished last season as fantasy’s top-scoring QB and is universally ranked as 2023’s top quarterback.

His combination of arm strength, accuracy, mobility, awareness, and creativity is something out of Madden. Mahomes rarely makes incorrect decisions (if ever), and often finds plays where there are none by running circles around defenders or by launching a ball into space or through a window only Mahomes could see.

He also proved last season that he’ll continue to put gaudy numbers without Tyreek Hill, and some other Chiefs playmakers stepped up and proved they are more than capable of carrying the additional offensive load.

In 2022, Mahomes ranked:

  • 1st in passing yards with 5,250 (no other QB even broke 4,800)
  • 1st in passing TDs with 41 (no other QB had more than 35)
  • 3rd in completions
  • 7th in completion percentage
  • 2nd in yards per attempt
  • 1st in QBR (per ESPN)

On a game-by-game basis, Mahomes’ numbers were equally insane.

Last season, Patrick Mahomes threw for 300+ yards in 60% of his games, averaged 2.6 total TDs per game, ran for at least 20 yards in 60% of his games, and had at least 200 passing yards in every game.

As a team, the Chiefs threw the pall an eye-popping 41% of the time on first down which led the league, and scored 61 total touchdowns which also led the NFL (per NFL.com).

It’s almost boring talking about how good Mahomes is, so I’ll end this rant by pointing out that Mahomes single-handedly resurrected the careers of Jerrick McKinnon, JuJu-Smith Schuster, and Kadarius Toney in addition to making Mecole Hardman look like one of the best #2 receivers in the league.

 

 

2) Jalen Hurts

While many would likely slot Josh Allen in here, the argument for Hurts is strong, especially considering the last two Philadelphia offseasons.

While adding A.J. Brown to pair with DeVonta Smith, the Eagles have also added offensive line help over the past two years in addition to acquiring D’Andre Swift and Rashaad Penny this offseason.

Given all these pieces, Hurts has the better receiving core (yes Diggs is phenomenal but no other Bills receiver comes close to Smith’s or Brown’s talent level if you’re saying one of them is the #2), the better offensive line, and the better running game to shoulder some of the load, prevent injury, and open up the passing game.

Furthermore, Jalen Hurts outscored Josh Allen and led all QBs in fantasy PPG last season (per ESPN) in addition to achieving the following 2022 QB ranks:

  • 1st in rushing TDs with 13 (no other QB had more than 8)
  • 3rd in YPA
  • 3rd in rushing yards with 760
  • 1st among all QBs in rushes for first downs and 3rd among all players to only Josh Jacobs and Nick Chubb (per ESPN)
  • 4th in passer rating (per ESPN)
  • 5th in yards per carry
  • 10th in passing yards

Game in and game out, Hurts also demonstrated remarkable consistency.



Hurts threw for at least 150 yards in every game, rushed for 50+ yards in 47% of his games, averaged over two total touchdowns per game, and threw for over 300 yards in just over a quarter (4/15) of his weeks.

Hurts’ decision making and pass accuracy took a significant leap forward last season, and when you combine those skills with his RB-like jukes and spins, you get possibly the best fantasy quarterback in the NFL with the exception of Mahomes.

As long as Smith and Brown stay healthy, Hurts is guaranteed to put up another MVP-caliber season like the U.S. is guaranteed to lead the world in military spending, prisoners per capita, and gun violence every year.

 

 

3) Josh Allen

Yes, most fantasy formats have Josh Allen ranked second as he scored 20 more fantasy points than Jalen Hurts last season; however, Jalen Hurts did outscore Josh Allen (and all other QBs) in fantasy PPG, so some of their 2022 statistical differentials can be attributed to the time Jalen Hurts missed.

My Hurts defense aside, you can’t go wrong with picking Allen or Hurts in either of these slots, as Josh Allen is one of the most elite QBs the NFL has to offer.

Much like Mahomes and Hurts, Josh Allen has unique mobility, arm strength, and accuracy for the position that opens up the playbook and forces the defense to defend every blade of grass or turf on the field.

Allen’s size and strength are also tantalizing for a quarterback. The fear in some tackles is blatantly obvious, especially among smaller defensive backs.

Among QBs last season, Josh Allen ranked:

  • 2nd to only Hurts in fantasy PPG
  • 6th in passing yards per game
  • 8th in YPA
  • Tied in 2nd for TD passes with Burrow, trailing only Mahomes
  • 2nd to only Mahomes in QBR (per ESPN)
  • 2nd in Average Completed Air Yards (per Next Gen Stats)

Game and game out, Allen delivered. Last season, Josh Allen ran for 40+ yards in 69% (nice) of his games, threw for 200+ yards in 81% of his games, and scored at least two total TDs in 88% his games.

Allen also never threw for less than 140 yards in any game, and he scored at least once whether it was through the air or on the ground each week.

The system Josh Allen plays in is perfectly built for his skillset, and in 2022 the Bills were 4th in total scoring and threw the 4th-most on first down of any team (per NFL.com).

If Mahomes, Hurts, and Allen all play 15-17 games in 2023, it is an absolute dice roll as to who will come out as 2023’s top fantasy QB anyways, and that is a testament to just how talented the NFL’s current generation of elite QBs is.

 

 

4) Joe Burrow

The main reason Burrow comes in over Fields, Herbert, and Lamar comes down to health and the fact that he outscored all of them in both fantasy points per game and total fantasy points.

The Bengals gave Burrow enough offensive line help to keep him healthy, and it helps that he gets to possibly the best trio of receivers in the league in Chase, Higgins, and Boyd.

Burrow’s insane arm talent and decision-making enabled him to achieve the following rankings among last year’s QBs:

  • 4th in total fantasy points and fantasy PPG
  • 2nd in completion percentage
  • 5th in passing yards
  • Tied for 2nd in passing TDs with Josh Allen, trailing only Mahomes
  • 6th in QB rating
  • 2nd in Time To Throw (per Next Gen Stats) to only Tom Brady

Joe Burrow’s fantasy floor last season was also incredible. He had 200+ total yards and at least one touchdown in every game in addition to throwing for three touchdowns or more in over a third (38%) of those games.

The Bengals were also relatively pass-happy last season, throwing the ball the 8th-most on first down of any team and coming in at 8th in scoring.

With Burrow, Chase, Higgins, and Boyd all improving every season, the sky is the limit for this team and their quarterback as long as they can keep improving from a pass protection standpoint too.

 

 

5) Justin Herbert

Justin Herbert might have the most insane list of passing weapons of any quarterback in this list, and it is truly mind-boggling when one considers what defensive coordinators have to game-plan against.

At receiver, the Chargers have two Pro-Bowlers in Keenan Allen and Mike Williams, and they also have Josh Palmer and spent their first round pick on a hulking receiver who can absolutely fly, Quentin Johnson out of TCU.

Throw in Austin Ekeler and Gerald Everett and the Chargers offense presents a true “pick your poison” situation for all opposing teams.

His weapons aside, Herbert’s sheer athleticism and arm talent are elite traits in themselves.



Herbert throws the long ball with accuracy and ease, and has no trouble throwing a bullet or a perfect touch pass depending on what the situation calls for.

He frequently has seemingly forever to sit in the pocket or rollout and plant, or fire a pass on the run to one of the aforementioned outside weapons at his disposal.

Check out how Herbert stacked up against 2022 QBs:

  • 11th in fantasy points
  • 3rd in completion percentage
  • 2nd in passing yards to only Mahomes
  • Tied for 8th in passing TDs
  • 11th in QBR

Herbert’s hellacious talent combined with the talent of his playmakers resulted in an eye-popping fantasy floor last season.

In 2022, Herbert had 200+ total yards in every single game, threw for two TDs or more in 41% of his games, and threw for at least 250 yards in 65% of his weeks.

While Herbert was 11th in fantasy points among QBs last season, that number can only improve as long as he stays healthy considering the two stud receivers the Chargers drafted out of TCU this year, and considering the Chargers already have three (maybe five if you count Everett/Palmer) other offensive studs in their own in Mike Williams, Keenan Allen, and Austin Ekeler.

 

 

6) Justin Fields

Regardless of what detractors have to say about Justin Fields’ capabilities as a passer, the bottom line is this: last season he finished as fantasy’s 6th-highest scoring QB and scored more total fantasy points than Justin Herbert, Tom Brady, Lamar Jackson, Aaron Rodgers, Trevor Lawrence, Tua, Derek Carr, Dak Prescott, Kirk Cousins, and Kyler Murray.

He barely outranks Jackson for me due to his youth, and due to the fact that he rushed for over 1,000 yards last season.

His insane rushing stats alone – as we’ve seen with Michael Vick and Lamar Jackson – instantly vaults him into elite fantasy QB territory, anything Fields does through the air is just icing on the cake.

Fields’ vision as a ballcarrier is possibly better than Lamar Jackson’s, and his quickness and creativity in the open field is just flat-out fun to watch.

During Fields’ breakout campaign, among 2022 quarterbacks he finished:

  • 6th in total fantasy points
  • 1st in rushing yards and YPC
  • 2nd in rushing TDs to only Hurts
  • 8th in Average Completed Air Yards (per Next Gen Stats)
  • 10th in Average Intended Air Yards
  • Tied for 16th in passing TDs

Fields didn’t only lead all NFL QBs in yards per carry (YPC) last season, he led all NFL ball-carriers in YPC, was tied with Derrick Henry for 2nd in carries for 20+ yards (per ESPN, trailing only Nick Chubb), and was tied for 4th in carries that resulted in first downs (65).

Fields had 60 or more rushing yards in 60% of his weeks, 200+ total yards in 80% of his weeks, and at least two total TDs in 47% of his weeks.

Finally, much like the Ravens and Lamar Jackson, the Bears being a running team actually works in Fields’ favor due to rushing yards and touchdowns being worth more fantasy points than passing yards/TDs in most formats.

And wouldn’t you know it, the Bears led the NFL in rushing yards last season with a staggering 3,014, and were second to only the Falcons in rushing attempts.

The Bears also ran the ball on first down the eighth-most of any team.

Fields undoubtedly has massive room for improvement as a passer as any Bears fan would even be willing to admit, the addition of a legitimate pass-catcher in D.J. Moore should help, as Fields hasn’t had anything close to a true #1 receiver throughout his time in Chicago.

 

 

7) Lamar Jackson

Unfortunately for fantasy owners, Lamar Jackson has consistently missed games for a few years in a row now, which is the main reason why the former NFL MVP ranks outside of the top-5 in 2022.

Jackson ranks well inside the top-10 however because he has unique athleticism for the QB position that we truly hadn’t seen since Michael Vick, he’s made great strides each season as a passer, and the Ravens have given him more help at the receiver position (drafting Zay Flowers and acquiring Odell Beckham) than he’s arguably ever had before.

Throw in the fact that Lamar is starting to make some amazing throws on the run like he’s Patrick Mahomes, and you’ve got a QB with dangerously-high fantasy upside.

If he can somehow manage to stay healthy despite the injuries that have plagued him the past few years though, Jackson could make a push for fantasy football’s top QB.

Despite missing basically a quarter of the season (played 12 games), Jackson did manage to achieve the following QB rankings:

  • 7th among eligible (more than 40 total pass attempts on the season) QBs in fantasy PPG (per ESPN)
  • 2nd to only Justin Fields in rushing yards and yards per carry
  • 9th in QBR (per ESPN)
  • 11th in Average Intended Air Yards (per Next Gen Stats)
  • Tied for 16th in passing TDs

Due to Jackson accounting for a significant amount of Baltimore’s rushing attack year in and year out, and due to an effective rushing attack opening up more space for Jackson in both the passing and the running game, the fact that the Ravens run the ball like their my drunk dad smashing the same button on Madden actually lifts his fantasy status.

In 2022, the Ravens were second to only the Bears in rushing yards and ran the ball on first down the most of any team (per NFL.com).

When Lamar has the ball in his hands he’s as fun to watch as any player in the league, and opposing tacklers often find themselves watching in awe as well as his spins, jukes, and pure speed often leave hapless defenders diving at air.

It’s all about health in 2023 for Jackson, and if he misses games again he’ll likely finish the season outside of the top-15 fantasy QBs; however, if he manages to play at least 15 games he will undoubtedly finish within the top-5.

 

 

8) Geno Smith

You read that right. Much like my Fields take, this seemingly shocking ranking comes down to the bottom line: Geno Smith was fantasy football’s 5th-highest scoring quarterback in 2022, and the offense around him is young and only improving.

While ESPN and many other sites currently rank Deshaun Watson (have fun talking yourself into supporting that rapist @Browns fans), Trevor Lawrence, Dak Prescott, Kirk Cousins, Daniel Jones, Tua, Aaron Rodgers, and even Russell Wilson ahead of Geno Smith, Smith outscored every single one of those quarterbacks last season in terms of total fantasy points.

He also outscored Justin Fields, Justin Herbert, Tom Brady, and Lamar Jackson.

While some of those names are the result of Smith’s healthy season, it’s worth noting Smith outscored most of those names on a weekly basis as well: his fantasy PPG was higher than Herbert, Brady, Tua, Trevor Lawrence, Kirk Cousins, Dak Prescott, Russell Wilson, and Aaron Rodgers.

In his impressive 2023 campaign, Smith compiled the following stats among QBs:

  • 9th among eligible (more than 40 total pass attempts) QBs in fantasy PPG
  • 5th in total fantasy points
  • 8th in rushing yards
  • 1st in completion percentage
  • 8th in passing yards
  • 9th in passing yards per attempt
  • 4th in passing TDs
  • 5th in passer rating (per ESPN)

Geno Smith’s fantasy floor was as mouth-watering as his season totals. Last season he had 200+ total yards in every game while throwing for 2+ TDs in 70% of his games.

Geno is coming into his second season in Seattle as the unquestioned starter, and he once again gets to throw to two of the league’s premier receivers in D.K. Metcalf and Tyler Lockett, and the franchise clearly believes in Smith as they even spent their first round pick in this year’s draft on receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba, a speedster some phenomenal college tape.

Additionally, the Seahawks system is more favorable for Smith than it might appear on the surface, as throughout last season they threw the ball the ninth-most of any team in the NFL on first down and were 10th in scoring (per NFL.com).

Last season, we saw Smith rise from the ashes as he made perfect decision after perfect decision, often hitting Metcalf or Lockett in stride for long gains while still completing a staggering percentage of his passes.

There were countless times last season where Smith completed incredibly long bombs in tight windows that truly left fans questioning how he zipped the ball right into his receiver’s chest.

His touch combined with his mobility was impressive and resurgent, reminiscent of the mobile West Virginia quarterback that had media pundits and Eagles fans alike believing he could be a fit to bring Chip Kelly’s Oregon system to Philadelphia back in the 2013 NFL Draft (holy fuck does anyone remember debating E.J. Manuel or Geno Smith? my god).



If Smith plays with the confidence and deadly accuracy he played with last season, he’ll make every fantasy owner and “expert” alive questioning why they ranked him outside of the top-15 QBs despite him finishing in the top-5 just a season ago.

 

 

9) Kirk Cousins

A major factor in Kirk Cousins’ ranking this season is the fact that he gets to throw to possibly the best receiver in the NFL in Justin Jefferson, and he targets him incessantly.

Furthermore, while I don’t love Kirk Cousins’ arm talent (or awareness at times), he undoubtedly possesses top-10 accuracy, touch, and anticipation.

With rumors swirling that Dalvin Cook will be either released or traded before the season starts, we could see the Vikings transition into an even more pass-heavy team than they were last season.

In 2022, Cousins ranked (among quarterbacks):

  • 8th in total fantasy points
  • 4th in passing yards
  • Tied for 5th in passing TDs
  • 7th in Average Air Yards Differential (per Next Gen Stats)

One could even make the argument that Kirk Cousins is underrated as far as fantasy football is concerned coming into 2023 considering he had more passing yards than Joe Burrow, Josh Allen, Geno Smith, Trevor Lawrence, Jalen Hurts, Aaron Rodgers, and Tua.

Cousins also had more passing TDs than Herbert, Brady, Rodgers, Jalen Hurts, Lamar Jackson, Justin Fields, and Tua.

Finally, at the end of the day he also outscored Herbert, Brady, Rodgers, Lamar, and Tua in total fantasy points.

The story of Cousins fantasy season last year was consistency. He threw for 250+ yards in 59% of his games and threw for 2+ TDs in 53% of his games.

The Vikings offense gives Cousins plenty of scoring opportunities too, as Minnesota ranked seventh in total scoring and in their percentage of passes on first downs.

As long as Justin Jefferson stays healthy in 2023, Cousins will probably break the top-10 in terms of fantasy points among quarterbacks once again.

 

10) Trevor Lawrence

The former #1 overall pick finally showed up last season, displaying the mobility, awareness, and pure arm talent that made him talked about as a generational, can’t-miss talent for nearly three college football seasons in a row coming out Clemson.

Here’s how Lawrence stacked up against other 2022 QBs:

  • 7th in total fantasy points
  • 10th in rushing yards
  • Tied for 5th in rushing TDs
  • 13th in completion percentage
  • 9th in passing yards
  • Tied for 8th in passing TDS
  • 10th in passer rating
  • 4th in average Time To Throw (per Next Gen Stats)
  • 9th in Expected Completion Percentage (per Next Gen Stats)

Lawrence’s ability to throw on the run and improvise is amazing at times, as he frequently lofts or fires perfect passes on the run to hit receivers just before the run out of bounds or out of the back of the endzone.

Finally, with a competent O-line and receiving core Lawrence got to actually use his pinpoint accuracy and supreme arm strength.

He’s truly the kind of quarterback that can complete any throw on the field, opening up the playbook and enhancing the creativity of any offensive coordinator.

The Jaguars offense is also getting better each season, and they were finally non-laughable in 2022 as they finished 11th in total scoring and threw the ball the 12th-most of any team on first down.

Now with Christian Kirk, Calvin Ridley, and Travis Etiene, Lawrence has more help than ever before – so shouldn’t the young QB only improve in 2023?

 

 

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