Fantasy Football

Ranking the top 20 QBs in fantasy football for 2023

Is the gap growing between the Big Three and the rest of the field?

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Are we witnessing a shift in the fantasy football quarterback landscape?

It wasn't long ago that the position was stocked with players who could put up QB1 numbers, and that you could find an elite signal-caller in the later rounds while addressing your other needs first.

But consider this stat: Only seven quarterbacks averaged more than 20 fantasy points per game in standard-scoring leagues last season, compared to 10 in 2021 and 11 in 2020.

Our point? The QB position is starting to consolidate, with a growing gap between that "elite" tier and quarterback middle class. That means it might make sense to prioritize the position earlier in your draft, or be extra sure you're landing the right middle-tier QB if you prefer to wait out the market.

Let's dig into this year's QB rankings, with projected rounds for each player.

1. Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs (Bye Week: 10)

Mahomes was the best player in fantasy football last season and is in prime position to defend that title. While he'll miss JuJu Smith-Schuster, Mahomes doesn't need elite wide receivers to thrive -- 31 of his 41 touchdown passes in 2022 went to running backs or tight ends, the most in a single season in the Super Bowl era. Add in Mahomes' underrated rushing ability -- he ran for a career-high four touchdowns last season -- and you have a fantasy juggernaut.

Projected draft round: Third

2. Josh Allen, Buffalo Bills (Bye Week: 13)

Allen will remain a top-three QB as long as the Bills keep putting their entire offense on his shoulders. The 27-year-old has rushed for at least 760 yards and six touchdowns in back-to-back seasons and is a virtual lock for 4,000-plus passing yards and 30-plus touchdown passes if he stays healthy. There's some mild injury risk here given his heavy usage, but Allen shows no signs of slowing down.

Projected draft round: Third

3. Jalen Hurts, Philadelphia Eagles (Bye Week: 10)

Hurts is here because of his legs: The NFL MVP runner-up scored 13 rushing touchdowns in 2022, five more than the next-closest QB (Justin Fields). Hurts also benefits from one of the league's best group of weapons, and if he can keep the turnovers low again in 2023 (just six interceptions last season), he's a safe bet for a top-five finish.

Projected draft round: Fourth

4. Lamar Jackson, Baltimore Ravens (Bye Week: 13)

Jackson might be the riskiest pick in the top five considering he's missed 10 games over the past two seasons and exposes himself to injury in the running game. But he's a legitimate candidate to finish as fantasy QB1 if he stays healthy, especially after the additions of wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. and new offensive coordinator Todd Monken, who led a dominant offensive attack at the University of Georgia.

Projected draft round: Fifth

5. Joe Burrow, Cincinnati Bengals (Bye Week: 7)

If you're looking for a safer bet, Burrow is your guy. The 26-year-old threw multiple touchdown passes in 11 games last season, and his uber-talented supporting cast should ensure Burrow keeps racking up the fantasy points in 2023. He also added five TDs on the ground to finish as last year's fantasy QB4. Burrow is a high-floor, set-it-and-forget-it QB1.

Projected draft round: Sixth

6. Justin Fields, Chicago Bears (Bye Week: 13)

After a slow start, Fields was the second-best QB in fantasy football over a nine-game stretch from Week 4 to Week 12. He made a killing in the running game, racking up 810 yards and seven TDs on the ground during that span. Fields essentially is a quarterback and running back rolled into one, giving him immense value thanks to his high usage.

Projected draft round: Sixth

7. Justin Herbert, Los Angeles Chargers (Bye Week: 5)

Herbert might be the best QB in fantasy who isn't a threat in the running game. What Herbert lacks in rushing ability, he makes up for in sheer passing volume, ranking second in the NFL in passing attempts in both 2021 and 2022. He topped 200 passing yards in every game but one last season and has a relatively low interception rate, making him a great option as a QB1 in the middle rounds.

Projected draft round: Eighth

8. Trevor Lawrence, Jacksonville Jaguars (Bye Week: 9)

As expected, Lawrence made a significant leap in Year 2 under new head coach Doug Pederson, and the arrow is still pointing up for the No. 1 pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, who cut down his interceptions from 17 as a rookie to eight in 2022. He's also a willing and capable runner who racked up five rushing TDs in 2022, putting him firmly in the QB1 conversation for 2023.

Projected draft round: Eighth

9. Dak Prescott, Dallas Cowboys (Bye Week: 7)

Now we're getting into the riskier bets. Prescott was the second-best QB in fantasy in 2019 and the seventh-best in 2021 but regressed significantly last season, with 25 touchdown passes to a career-high 15 interceptions. Perhaps head coach Mike McCarthy can get more out of Prescott as a play-caller than departed offensive coordinator Kellen Moore, but Dak is far from a sure thing.

Projected draft round: Ninth

10. Daniel Jones, New York Giants (Bye Week: 13)

Would you be surprised if we told you that Jones was one of just five QBs who rushed for at least 700 yards in 2022? While his passing volume is low, Jones thrust himself into the QB1 conversation last year with a surprisingly good running game. The question is whether that outburst was an aberration, and whether Jones can be trusted to throw enough (just 15 touchdown passes in 2022) to warrant QB1 status.

Projected draft round: Ninth

11. Kirk Cousins, Minnesota Vikings (Bye Week: 13)

Cousins often gets overlooked in fantasy drafts, but he was the QB7 in 2022 while finishing fourth in the NFL in passing yards and third in attempts. The Vikings love to throw the ball -- you would too if you had Justin Jefferson on your roster -- and could be even more pass-happy this season following Dalvin Cook's departure. Waiting out the QB market and drafting Cousins in Round 9 or 10 isn't a bad strategy.

Projected draft round: Ninth

12. Deshaun Watson, Cleveland Browns (Bye Week: 5)

Watson is one of the biggest wild cards in fantasy. He was average at best for the Browns in 2022, throwing seven touchdown passes with five interceptions in six games after serving an 11-game suspension. Watson was the fifth-best QB in fantasy with the Houston Texans in 2020, and he has top-10 upside based on his arm talent and athleticism. But Cleveland's run-heavy attack limits his ceiling and makes him a fringe QB1 at best.

Projected draft round: 10th

13. Tua Tagovailoa, Miami Dolphins (Bye Week: 10)

Speaking of wild cards... Tagovailoa literally led the NFL in passer rating last season and put up some monster fantasy performances while airing it out to speed merchants Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle. But the reality is that Tagovailoa suffered (at least) two concussions in 2022 and has legitimate injury concerns entering 2023. You could be landing a top-10 QB if he stays healthy, but have a Plan B ready.

Projected draft round: 10th

14. Geno Smith, Seattle Seahawks (Bye Week: 5)

Past performance doesn't always predict future success. Smith surprised everyone in 2022 by finishing as fantasy's QB5 and earning NFL Comeback Player of the Year honors, but we're expecting a regression as teams improve their game plans to stop the 32-year-old QB. Still, Smith is a solid bet to finish in the top 15 with a strong receiving core of DK Metcalf, Tyler Lockett and rookie Jaxon Smith-Njigba.

Projected draft round: 10th

15. Aaron Rodgers, New York Jets (Bye Week: 7)

Rodgers is two seasons removed from an NFL MVP award, but he was also fantasy's QB13 last season and will be thrown into the gauntlet of the AFC East, where the Bills, Dolphins and Patriots all have above-average defenses. He'll have his moments, to be sure, but expect some bumps in the road as Rodgers adjusts to life in the Big Apple.

Projected draft round: 10th

16. Anthony Richardson, Indianapolis Colts (Bye Week: 11)

Feel like rolling the dice? Take a chance on Richardson, Indy's dynamic but raw No. 4 overall pick. Richardson is a legitimate rushing threat -- 653 yards and nine touchdowns on the ground at Florida last season -- who could yield Justin Fields-like returns, but there's also a good chance veteran Gardner Minshew is starting in Week 1 as the rookie gets acclimated. Richardson is a high-upside QB2 play.

Projected draft round: 11th

17. Russell Wilson, Denver Broncos (Bye Week: 9)

The pieces are in place for Wilson to have a bounce-back season under offensive-minded head coach Sean Payton and new offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi. But Wilson set the bar so low last season -- 16 touchdown passes and 11 interceptions in 15 games -- that it's hard to see him being any more than a QB2 at best.

Projected draft round: 11th

18. Jared Goff, Detroit Lions (Bye Week: 9)

There's some sneaky upside here: Goff finished sixth in the NFL in passing yards last season in a potent offense led by talented o-coordinator Ben Johnson. His non-existent running game limits his ceiling a bit, but Goff is a strong candidate to eclipse 4,000 passing yards, making him a fine QB2 option in the later rounds.

Projected draft round: 12th

19. Matthew Stafford, Los Angeles Rams (Bye Week: 10)

Stafford had already regressed to a barely-playable QB2 before his 2022 season ended in Week 11, and the Rams did little to upgrade their offense in 2023. Stafford's ceiling earns him a spot in the top 20 -- he was fantasy's QB5 just two seasons ago -- but it's not realistic to view him as a QB1 at this stage of his career.

Projected draft round: 12th

20. Derek Carr, New Orleans Saints (Bye Week: 11)

Carr has ranked somewhere between No. 10 and No. 20 in fantasy scoring in each of his nine NFL seasons. The Saints are hardly an upgrade from Davante Adams and the Raiders, and Carr is coming off the highest interception rate of his career (2.8 percent). A change in scenery could help, but he's firmly in the QB2 conversation, and at the lower end.

Projected draft round: 12th

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