The stages of Fantasy Football QBs


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If you’re like me, you’ve spent most of the summer thinking about who you want on your fantasy football teams. Here for the next few weeks Purple PTSD, we will be examining each group of positions for the upcoming season. As we do so, we will be dividing each group into layers to determine where you should select them in your designs.

Level 5: Substitute

January 22, 2022; Green Bay, Wisconsin, USA; San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo (10) in action against the Green Bay Packers during an NFC divisional playoff football game at Lambeau Field. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports
  • Kenny Pickett/Mitch Trubisky (PIT)
  • Ryan Tannehill (TEN)
  • Marcus Mariota (ATL)
  • Sam Darnold/Baker Mayfield (Car)
  • Jared Goff (DET)
  • Jimmy Garoppolo (SF)
  • Drew Lock/Geno Smith (SEA)
  • Jacoby Brissett (CLE)
  • Carson Wentz (WSH)

This is the group I would leave off the draft boards. There are just better players to choose from, and if you get to the point where you need to pick one of these guys as your regular starting QB, then you’re in trouble.

Keep an eye on these guys on the Waiver line throughout the season. For example, if you have Matthew Stafford or Lamar Jackson as your weekly starter, they’re both goodbye for week 8. The Carolina Panthers play the Atlanta Falcons this week; a defense that probably ranks among the bottom of the league. It might be worth picking up Baker Mayfield for this week, assuming he wins the starting job in Carolina.

Tier 4: Draft and Stash

Dec 12, 2021; Green Bay, Wisconsin, USA; Chicago Bears quarterback Justin Fields (1) warms up before the game against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports
  • Davis Mills (HOU)
  • Justin Fields (CHI)
  • Desmond Rider (ATL)
  • Zach Wilson (NYJ)
  • Trevor Lawrence (JAX)
  • Mac Jones (NE)
  • Trey Lance (SF)

When my fantasy draft comes around, I try to pick at least one of the younger, high-headed QBs and bank them on my bench to see how the season plays out. In recent years, I’ve benefited from the final weeks of rookie Lamar Jackson in 2018 and third-year breakout Josh Allen in 2020.

This season, I’m eyeing Trevor Lawrence from Jacksonville. The Jaguars have a stable system under Doug Pederson, they’ve spent money on offense and given him an intriguing group of pass catchers.

If Lawrence goes off the board early, keep an eye on Desmond Ridder outside of Atlanta. Marcus Mariota looks like the Week 1 starter at the moment, but the Falcons might want to check out Ridder sometime this year. He and Kyle Pitts could make a dynamic duo, and shots should be plentiful when Atlanta plays a lot from behind.

Stage 3: Boom or Bust

10/10/2021; Landover, Md., USA; New Orleans Saints quarterback Jameis Winston (2) gestures before the Saints game against the Washington Football Team at FedExField. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
  • Matt Ryan (IND)
  • Jameis Winston (NO)
  • Tua Tagovailoa (MIA)
  • Deshaun Watson (CLE)
  • Daniel Jones (NYG)

There is no way of telling what you will get out of this group week after week. You might get 30 points one week and five the next. Also, the likes of Jameis Winston and Daniel Jones have injury histories to consider.

Keep an eye on both Matt Ryan and Tua Tagovailoa outside of this grouping. Ryan joins a run-heavy offense with Jonathan Taylor in the backfield, but talented receivers like Michael Pittman should provide throwing opportunities. Tagovailoa has one of the fastest receiving duos we’ve seen in Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle and he benefits from an attacking head coach in Mike McDaniel. If ever there was a year when it boomed, it’s 2022.

Level 2: Don’t overthink it

Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow (9) throws a pass during a training camp practice Wednesday, August 18, 2021 at the practice facility of Paul Brown Stadium in downtown Cincinnati. Cincinnati Bengals training camp
  • Lamar Jackson (BAL)
  • Joe Burrow (CIN)
  • Kyler Murray (ARI)
  • Derek Carr (LV)
  • Kirk Cousin (MIN)
  • Dak Prescott (DAL)
  • Jalen Hurts (PHI)

These guys might be the more boring choice for a beginner in fantasy football, but you know what you’re going to get from them once they’re on the field. Very rarely will they score more than 30, but just as rarely will they score in single digits. Unless you feel very strongly about someone mentioned in Tier 3, or you really value having a QB that could potentially get you 30-35 in a given week rather than multiple stars on skill- Having positions then this is the group you should aim for. Start them and forget them.

If I choose to draw from this group, it has to be Joe Burrow. There are injury concerns, particularly after suffering another knee injury in the playoffs, but his offensive line should be better in 2022. The receiver group is also one of the best in the league and Joe Mixon should continue to be a threat from the back. Also keep an eye on Captain Kirk Cousins. Kevin O’Connell could very well open up a new layer of veteran play that we haven’t seen in his tenure with the Vikings.

Stage 1: Bonafide Stars

January 30, 2022; Kansas City, Missouri, United States; Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes (15) throws a pass against the Cincinnati Bengals during the second half of their AFC Championship game at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

  • Patrick Mahomes (KC)
  • Josh Allen (BUF)
  • Justin Herbert (LAC)
  • Russell Wilson (DEN)
  • Tom Brady (TB)
  • Aaron Rodgers (UK)
  • Matthew Stafford (LAR)

These players are the gold standard of the QB position, especially in fantasy football. Russell Wilson struggled a bit during his final season with the Seattle Seahawks, but now he’s joining a Broncos team that looks like an instant Super Bowl contender.

The other six players on this list totaled six single-digit fantasy outputs in 2021. Also, they had 32 25+ point performances throughout the year. You can’t go wrong picking any of these seven players, and especially in leagues with two QBs, you should aim to have at least one of them on your fantasy football roster.

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