1. Patrick Mahomes
The only other argument for the #1 slot this year is Josh Allen. While Allen has a pretty good case, its Mahomes who tops the list this year. Its simple: the Chiefs love throwing and Mahomes is the most talented thrower in a pass-heavy league.
He’ll frequently launch a perfectly-thrown, absolute rocket of a pass to an open Tyreek Hill’s outside shoulder for a touchdown. Mahomes will often perform these miracles despite no torque from his hips, turn from his shoulder, or anything other than his arm to fling 60-yard bombs off his back foot.
THAT HAPPENED ⏰?
— Kansas City Chiefs (@Chiefs) September 20, 2020
The 25-year-old managed his third straight elite fantasy showing in 2021 as he ranked top 5 in pass attempts, passing yards, passing TDs, and YPA while also finishing 10th among QBs in rushing yards. After throwing 38 TDs to just 6 INTs in 2020, Mahomes will throw 40+ touchdowns if he’s healthy the entire season.
2. Josh Allen
Josh Allen silenced all the doubters last season by finishing as fantasy’s top scoring QB. Like Lamar Jackson just two years ago, it was Allen’s remarkable combination of passing talent and rushing prowess that led to his top finish. Allen managed to throw for over 4,500 yards and 35 TDs to just 10 picks while rushing for over 400 yards and 8 TDs.
2020 marked the third consecutive year Josh Allen scored at least 8 rushing TDs. In the red zone, the Bills constantly treat Allen as another goal-line RB, calling QB draws and other creative plays designed to maximize Allen’s strength and vision.
Buffalo had the NFL’s second pass-heaviest offense in 2020 (per ESPN) and that methodology won’t change this year.
3. Kyler Murray
Like the players sandwiching Murray in his slot (Josh Allen / Lamar Jackson), the key to Murray’s fantasy production is his legs. Kyler Murray has proved he’s as good as advertised before he was drafted by Arizona #1 overall. His awareness, quick decision making, elusiveness, and arm talent is a rare combination that NFL fans maybe haven’t seen before, especially from a QB his size.
Not only that, but to fantasy owners’ delight he repeatedly audibles for a designed QB rush or scrambles in himself near the goal line as he rushed for a whopping 11 TDs and over 800 yards.
He took a big step forward in 2020 and improved his TD total from 24 to 37 while leaping from 8th to 3rd in fantasy points.
Murray’s statistical trend indicates he could jump to #1 on this list by the end of 2021.
4. Lamar Jackson
Lamar Jackson is considerably undervalued this year based on his ADP. It was only a year ago that some owners were reaching for him in the first or second round, but his current ADP has him going rounds 6 or 7.
In case you haven’t noticed, the major trend with the top fantasy QBs is rushing ability since rushing yards/TDs are worth more points than passing in most leagues.
You want to talk about rushing ability? Lamar Jackson is the most talented rusher at the QB position in the NFL, and the leader of not only one of the league’s top offenses, but one of the league’s top rushing offenses.
In 2020, he rushed for over 1,000 yards for the second year in row, a feat Michael Vick, the NFL’s last 1,000-yard QB, had never even accomplished. The league’s premier rushing QB, Jackson has led the position in carries and rushing yards during all three of his NFL seasons.
It is worth noting Jackson regressed 1st first to 10th in fantasy points last season, but the return to earth was almost expected after his historic and unsustainable 2019 showing. Although, with the way the Ravens have built the offense around his skillset you can bet on Lamar to bounce back and rank in the top 5 QBs once again.
5. Aaron Rodgers
Some might question Rodgers’ placement as too low, while others likely would say this is too high. Here’s the thing: like the man just above him on this list, Rodgers has a chance to be the highest-scoring fantasy QB of 2021. There’s a reason he won the MVP last year and threw nearly FIFTY touchdown passes.
As a Rodgers owner in 2020 and as someone who watched a ton of Packers games, he’s a fantasy owner’s dream. He’ll change a play call at the goal line in favor of a pass habitually (likely a quick huck to Devante) because Rodgers don’t want no BITCHES wasting TDs rushing.
Seriously, it seems like that’s what he’s thinking half the time. The guy doesn’t give a single fuck when it comes to slinging the rock in the red zone.
Rodgers completed a league-best 71% of his passes and led the NFL with 48 passing TDs while throwing a mere 5 picks. In his 16th season, he finished top 5 in completion %, YPA, and TD% in 2020. He’s finished as a top-10 QB in every season in which he’s appeared in at least 15 games, so at the very least consider Rodgers a safe QB1.
6. Russell Wilson
Russell Wilson has always been a perplexing fantasy player. His game is similar to Kyler Murray’s in that his speed/agility, decision making, and consistent accuracy makes him one of the NFL’s elite QBs.
The problem is the Seahawks are obsessed with running the ball (except from the one yard line in the Super Bowl with a top 5 power back in his prime). Russell Wilson made some noise last year about wanting to throw more and one day being considered among the GOAT QBs, but you can count on the Seahawks continuing to pound the rock to win games.
Despite the lack of volume, Wilson finds innovative ways to create big plays with his arm and his legs. It helps that he’s also got one of the best WR duos in the league to throw to in D.K. Metcalf and Tyler Lockett.
Russell Wilson has also placed among the top 11 fantasy QBs each of the past 9 years. Additionally, he’s finished top-3 in pass TDs each of the past 4 seasons. Time flies in the NFL, and even though Wilson is now 32 years old he manages to add significant value with his legs and finished 4th among QBs in rushing yards in 2020.
7. Tom Brady
Brady’s placement here is a simple argument: He deserves to be in the top 10 unquestionably due to his performance last year and his receiving corps, but he adds no value with his legs and is always risking a drop off in production at 44 years old.
In his first season with the Bucs, Brady managed to throw 40 TDs to just 12 INTs in addition to cracking 4,600+ yards.
He finished top 3 among QBs in pass attempts, passing yards, and passing touchdowns. 2020 marked his best fantasy campaign since 2017 when he finished 8th in fantasy points amongst QBs.
Despite his lack of any running threat, Brady’s place on this list should be unquestioned due to Bruce Arian’s throwing fetish and the fact that Brady gets to throw to the best WR trio in the NFL.
Anyone who watches football knows Mike Evans is a beast, Chris Godwin is one of the best young receivers (and it wasn’t that long ago he was the #1-ranked fantasy WR through nearly the first half of the season), and it was just a two years ago when Antonio Brown was still viewed by many NFL talent evaluators and fans alike as the league’s best receiver. Look for Brady to light up the scoreboard again in 2021.
8. Dak Prescott
Most pundits have Dak ranked much higher than this (ESPN has him ranked #4), but much like Ryan Tannehill, the player he’s just above on this list, Dak’s offense is unfortunately based off his running back. However, Zeke proved the past 2 years that you can’t base the offense completely around him without Dak managing the offense.
Dak’s command of the offense has improved markedly since his rookie year (which was already impressive for a rookie QB), and much like his counterparts on this list his combination of athleticism and genuine pro passing expertise is another example of what the next generation of QBs brings to the table.
Moreover, Dak Prescott has the luxury of one of the NFL’s best offensive lines, WR trios in the league, and RBs in the league (all arguably top 10). Many forget Dak totaled a career-high 33 TDs while finishing second in fantasy points among QBs back in 2019.
He on his way to a better season in 2020 with 12 scores and sitting on the #2 slot among QBs in fantasy points through four games prior to suffering a season-ending ankle injury in Week 5. He’ll bounce back in 2021 as long as he stays healthy.
9. Ryan Tannehill
Tannehill could surprise us all this year and place among the top 3 QBs in fantasy points. When he originally joined the Titans I have to admit, I thought he was washed.
I was laughing thinking what the hell the Titans were doing with Jake Locker 2.0. He’s made me eat my words since then, and his fantasy prospects were only bolstered by the Titans’ off-season activity with the addition of Julio Jones.
When healthy, Julio Jones might still be the best WR in the NFL. If Dak Prescott and Tom Brady have two of the best WR trios in the league, Ryan Tannehill undoubtedly has the best WR duo in the league with Julio Jones and A.J. Brown. While Tannehill is low on the top 10 due to the offense being based around Derrick Henry, Dhenn’s talent forces teams to respect the run so much that Tannehill has a phenomenal advantage when it comes to passing versus the average starting QB.
Tannehill has undeniable QB1 floor with top-3 ceiling, especially if the Titans decide to throw more or if they fall behind in games. In fact, since Tannehill took over as the Titans’ starting QB in Week 7 of the 2019 season, he’s been fantasy’s #3-ranked QB. (per ESPN)
10. Jalen Hurts
While Jalen Hurts doesn’t have Lamar Jackson’s speed, he does have his rushing vision and running-back mentality when it comes to facing a defender in the open field. There’s a reason he ran for 1,500+ yards in his final college season… while still managing to throw for over 4,000.
In addition, Hurts has better accuracy and arm strength than the average NFL would know/assume with a video game-like ability to throw effortlessly on the run. Jalen Hurts can make any throw on the field, is mobile enough to make up for the Eagles often horrendous offensive line, and is smart and quick enough to execute designed QB runs at a high level against even the best of NFL defenses.
Flat out, he opens up a team’s playbook in a way the Eagles may not have seen since Vick. In the three full games Hurts played, he outscored all but 2 QBs in fantasy points and his 13.8 YPC led all QBs. Not to mention, Hurts joined Vick as the only other QB in NFL history with 300+ passing yards and 50+ rushing yards in back-to-back games.