Hindsight Rankings: Quarterback

A look back at the actual value of fantasy quarterbacks in 2019 with a recommendation for offseason dynasty moves and early outlook for 2020 drafts.

The regular season is over, and with it the classic season-long fantasy football season. DFS and playoff contests are keeping the puzzle-solving fantasy mind stimulated, but this is also a good time to reflect and see what we learned, what made the crank on the fantasy wheel of fate turn in 2019. Hindsight rankings are a good exercise and some of the results might surprise us. Sorting out the overachievers, underachievers, and pushes as compared to ADP and looking for patterns can help us identify players and situations with the potential for explosive growth or catastrophic failure this year.

ELITE QB1

1. Lamar Jackson, BAL (2019 ADP: QB13) - An unfair advantage for much of the year. The fantasy MVP because of how little he cost.

What happened?

Coordinator changes matter - The installation of Greg Roman and a clear maximization/synergy with mobile quarterbacks was a signal of alignment between Jackson’s “hot zone” for fantasy and the philosophy of the offense.

Players grow - Jackson made huge strides as a passer from his rookie year and his fantasy days were often made as a passer this year after anemic production in 2018

Wait at quarterback, but target ceiling - Jackson was often going outside of top 10 rounds, making him a cheat code for 2019 season-long teams.

Offseason Dynasty Advice: Might still be undervalued once the memory of true fantasy dominance fades because of beliefs about quarterback production, consider targeting in trades

2020 ADP Outlook: Like 2018 Mahomes, his production is clearly worth a first, but regression concerns and depth at quarterback will keep his price reasonable when you consider the advantage he represented last year and the fact that he got very little value added from his wide receivers.

STRONG QB1

2. Deshaun Watson, HOU (2019 ADP: QB2) - It was a rough ride at times after the preseason acquisition of Laremy Tunsil created positive momentum for Watson’s ADP, but the peaks were glorious. Will Fuller V still can’t stay healthy, Kenny Stills impact was sporadic. Keke Coutee is in the doghouse, and Duke Johnson Jr is still underused as a receiver, but Watson was still a push despite being the fantasy QB2 in drafts.

Offseason Dynasty Advice: Watson is only in year three and he’s doing this while rowing upstream against Bill O’Brien’s coaching and instability among his targets and offensive line. He might still be a buy for quarterback-needy teams because of perceived positional value deflation.

2020 ADP Outlook: Will be pegged as QB3 with Jackson and probably Mahomes going off of the board ahead of him. Let’s see how much the Texans can do for him with cap and draft resources strained.

3. Dak Prescott, DAL (2019 ADP: QB16) - Save for an explicable dud against the Saints and miserable game against the Patriots, Prescott was a terrific fantasy asset until he got banged up during the fantasy playoffs. He did benefit from a few garbage time game scripts in embarrassing losses. The Cowboys offense was potent to new levels, fully stocked with weapons and gaining at least some from Kellen Moore at offensive coordinator.

Offseason Dynasty Advice: Will the team keep Cooper? Will they commit to Prescott? What will Mike McCarthy bring in his second go-round as a head coach? Will Moore stay? Will Jason Witten and Randall Cobb be back? Prescott has a lot of uncertainty around him and he might be a sell if he’s your second quarterback.

2020 ADP Outlook: He’s likely to go among the top 5-7 quarterbacks and won’t be nearly the value he was in 2019. Unlikely to be a target with the transition to McCarthy

4. Patrick Mahomes II, KC (2019 ADP: QB1) - His numbers regressed and he got hurt, but Mahomes was an elite fantasy quarterback before his injury and strong QB1 after his injury. He was also without Tyreek Hill for the first month of the season. His fantasy season is probably seen as more of a disappointment than it really was.

Offseason Dynasty Advice: Mahomes has gone from untouchable to touchable. He’s only entering his third full year as a starter. Make an inquiry if quarterback is a weakness and his team has a good second option.

2020 ADP Outlook: If you’re going to take the plunge early, Jackson is probably going to be the preferred pick, but Mahomes should go second.

5. Ryan Tannehill, TEN (2019 ADP: Undrafted) - Here’s your reminder that few possibilities should be completely written off as too unlikely to ever happen. Tannehill took over in Week 7 and only Lamar Jackson was clearly better in fantasy leagues.

Offseason Dynasty Advice: He’s almost certain to be retained via the franchise tag or a new contract, and Derrick Henry is also highly likely to return. Tannehill will be undervalued as a stopgap and should be atop the shopping list for win-now teams with a hole at quarterback.

2020 ADP Outlook: Likely to be valued well below what his 2019 production would dictate, he could be one of the easy answers in 2020 drafts.

6. Jameis Winston, TB (2019 ADP: QB14) - No quarterback forced more disclaimers about “depends on your scoring system” than Winston did this year. Leagues with 300-yard game bonuses loved Winston. Leagues with heavy giveaway penalties created more treacherous footing, but Winston was still a strong QB1 for fantasy in most systems. After a very slow start when it looked like the Tampa defense was going to be a lot stronger and Winston was going to be playing it safer, the full Arians-Winston marriage was in view and pinball machine numbers ensued.

Offseason Dynasty Advice: He certainly won’t be valued at the level of his 2019 production, but he might not even be with Tampa next year, which adds a lot of volatility. Unless he’s your only viable option at quarterback, it’s a good time to sell.

2020 ADP Outlook: As long as he remains a Buc, Winston will be worth a look at ADP since he’ll likely be outside of the top five quarterbacks drafted.

7. Drew Brees, NO (2019 ADP: QB7) - Brees' playoff failures will be remembered for much longer than his strong QB1 performance when he wasn’t sidelined by a thumb injury for most of the first half of the season. The addition of Jared Cook helped raise Brees floor and ceiling from 2018 levels and made him a solid pick since he was outside of the top five quarterbacks.

Offseason Dynasty Advice: With the high likelihood he’ll return because “unfinished business”, Brees is a cheap buy in dynasty for quarterback-needy teams.

2020 ADP Outlook: He’ll be in the same QB6-8 range he was last year despite coming off of a better season.

8. Matthew Stafford, DET (2019 ADP: QB23) - I know it’s surprising to see him here, but go back and check. Stafford was on fire in fantasy when he went down.

Offseason Dynasty Advice: His 2019 performance hasn’t been priced into his value, but Marvin Jones Jr is a free agent in 2021 and it’s possible that there could be a new regime in place by then too. He’s a hold, but worth a price check.

2020 ADP Outlook: Stafford will be a favorite “wait at quarterback” pick, likely going off of the board after everyone has their starters.

SOLID QB1

9. Josh Allen, BUF (2019 ADP: QB21) - His rushing numbers dropped, but his passing numbers rose with the addition of John Brown and Cole Beasley. He was a lot more consistent than 2018, but the peaks weren’t as high. He was still a major value going well outside of the top 10 quarterbacks.

Offseason Dynasty Advice: The Bills should be in the market for a playmaking wide receiver and Allen should only get better. He’s still a buy.

2020 ADP Outlook: Allen will be going around QB8-12, with a chance to make a leap into the top five, certainly an attractive proposition where we always looking for the next big thing.

10. Matt Ryan, ATL (2019 ADP: QB4) - His season wasn’t thought of as a success, but save for an injury and mini-slump when the team woke up after the bye, he held the line at quarterback for your fantasy team in admirable fashion.

Offseason Dynasty Advice: Ryan has continuity and he is not highly regarded in fantasy circles, although if the Falcons get better on defense next year, his ceiling might come down a bit. He’s probably a hold with the potential to be a surprisingly cheap buy.

2020 ADP Outlook: He'll be undervalued coming off of a better fantasy season than we remember.

11. Russell Wilson, SEA (2019 ADP: QB8) - It’s really difficult to get a handle on Wilson’s year in fantasy. On one hand, he had two of the highest weekly scores by any quarterback this year and was an elite option in the first half of the year. On the other, if you had just abandoned him in the second half of the year, it was probably the right move.

Offseason Dynasty Advice: Playing for a run-first team, his weekly volatility isn’t going away. He’s still seen as a very strong option and can always turn back into one at any time, but he might be a good sell to a quarterback-needy team.

2020 ADP Outlook: He’ll be overdrafted because of name and reputation. Pass.

ADEQUATE QB1

12. Ryan Fitzpatrick, MIA (2019 ADP: QB36) - He finished the season as a strong QB1 and delivered titles for anyone who trusted him in Week 16. Along with Ryan Tannehill, showed that you can win a title with a waiver wire quarterback.

Offseason Dynasty Advice: Available for pocket lint but could be a bandaid in a deep league

2020 ADP Outlook: If the Dolphins bring him back as a bridge quarterback, he’ll have a good outlook with a Chan Gailey reunion and developing weapons around him. Will likely go undrafted in many leagues again despite yet another fantasy-relevant campaign.

13. Carson Wentz, PHI (2019 ADP: QB6) - Suffered through as bad injury luck around him as any quarterback and was still serviceable when he wasn’t facing tough defenses. Still a disappointment after the offense looked ready for a breakout.

Offseason Dynasty Advice: Seen as injury-prone and overrated, he’ll be a good buy

2020 ADP Outlook: Easy pick outside of the top 10

14. Kyler Murray, ARI (2019 ADP: QB15) - The maiden voyage was a little bumpy and didn’t pay off week-winners as the Cardinals pass offense was undermanned and never gelled, but from a pure football standpoint, he exceeded expectations. His duds were infrequent and either matchup-based or a bit fluky, like the game that Chase Edmonds scored all of the touchdowns against the Giants.

Offseason Dynasty Advice: No one that has Murray is going to deal him after Lamar Jackson’s year two breakout.

2020 ADP Outlook: Just like in 2019, his ADP will be deceptive because someone will be optimistic enough to take him a round or two before they should. The obvious choice to make the Mahomes/Jackson leap this year.

15. Jared Goff, LAR (2019 ADP: QB9) - This campaign will be remembered a failure mostly due to his touchdown-less November, but Goff was actually a very good matchup play and excellent in a committee approach at quarterback.

Offseason Dynasty Advice: He’ll probably come at a discount and is worth inquiring about.

2020 ADP Outlook: Just like in 2019, he’ll have the potential to deliver profits on a depressed ADP, but will he be more attractive than his ADP peers? Maybe not.

16. Daniel Jones, NYG (2019 ADP: QB35) - Jones rookie year was a pleasant surprise, but it was also actually a fantasy success. Jones got manhandled by the Patriots and the Vikings and Packers weren’t kind to him, but otherwise, he was at least a baseline play, with peaks in good matchups that match any quarterback on this list.

Offseason Dynasty Advice: His franchise is still at a crossroads, but he will likely be undervalued with his best football ahead of him.

2020 ADP Outlook: An afterthought who may go undrafted in many leagues, but will be a target for bargain hunters.

17. Aaron Rodgers, GB (2019 ADP: QB3) - It was a bitterly disappointing fantasy season for Rodgers, but at least his big games were predictable. He needs a reliable second and third target to have consistent value and he didn’t have that this year.

Offseason Dynasty Advice: He might be tradeable on name-brand value, so if you can, sell.

2020 ADP Outlook: Will be drafted well above what his 2019 performance merits.

18. Andy Dalton, CIN (2019 ADP: QB27) - It’s easy to forget he was actually a solid QB1 before getting benched, and if you dared trust him in Week 16, Dalton paid off. All without AJ Green

Offseason Dynasty Advice: Might even be on the waiver wire, but has depth value as a likely starter somewhere Week 1.

2020 ADP Outlook: Will be excellent bye week waiver wire fodder

QBBC OPTIONS

19. Kirk Cousins, MIN (2019 ADP: QB18) - The Vikings successfully became a run-heavy team and trust in Cousins eroded in September, but he still fattened up on some good midseason matchups before slowing down in December.

Offseason Dynasty Advice: A mere throw-in, and his value isn’t likely to grow. Not on our radar

2020 ADP Outlook: An interchangeable bye/injury coverage or matchup play option once again.

20. Tom Brady, NE (2019 ADP: QB12) - The Patriots offense withered on the vine, although Brady still looked viable for fantasy when they were blowing teams out early in the season.

Offseason Dynasty Advice: Barely has a pulse in one quarterback leagues. Could be better if he has more weapons, not in obvious decline skills/ability-wise.

2020 ADP Outlook: Likely to be second-tier backup quarterback at best.

21. Jimmy Garoppolo, SF (2019 ADP: QB20) - Mostly a boring option with unpredictable peaks.

Offseason Dynasty Advice: If the 49ers keep Emmanuel Sanders, Dante Pettis develops, or they otherwise bolster the passing game, Garoppolo could gain incremental value and be a stronger matchup play. His value should increase, but how much, and how high is his ceiling?

2020 ADP Outlook: Mere depth, but has a chance to be at least what Goff was in 2019.

22. Philip Rivers, LAC (2019 ADP: QB17) - It looked like Father Time was slowing Rivers down to a trickle at times. Rivers did have a solid start and brief second-half resurgence, but no one should have been depending on him in the second half of the season.

Offseason Dynasty Advice: He’s just bridge quarterback material at this point. Pulse weakening.

2020 ADP Outlook: Only a nostalgia pick.

23. Mitchell Trubisky, CHI (2019 ADP: QB19) - Did you hang in long enough and trust Trubisky enough to get any value from his second-half bounceback? Probably not. Everything in his game took a step back.

Offseason Dynasty Advice: Maybe a new offensive coordinator can rescue the running game and get Trubisky comfortable again. He’ll be available for pennies.

2020 ADP Outlook: May go undrafted even if the Bears don’t bring in credible competition

24. Sam Darnold, NYJ (2019 ADP: QB24) - We’ll remember his mono and forget his very good Week 11-16 stretch

Offseason Dynasty Advice: Robby Anderson is likely gone and Adam Gase is not. He won’t be a buy.

2020 ADP Outlook: Likely to go undrafted.

25. Jacoby Brissett, IND (2019 ADP: QB26) - At one point was leading league in touchdown passes per game, then he got hurt and it all fell apart.

Offseason Dynasty Advice: Sell in 2QB/Superflex leagues. He might not even be a starter to open the season.

SPOT STARTERS

26. Gardner Minshew, JAX (2019 ADP: Undrafted) - One of the season’s best stories, but in an organization that is adrift at sea.

27. Derek Carr, OAK (2019 ADP: QB22) - A weekly desperation play despite fine bright spots.

28. Baker Mayfield, CLE (2019 ADP: QB5) - Leveled off for a stretch as a solid QB1 mid-season but his expectations were way too high and deciding whether to play him in any given week was a headache.

Offseason Dynasty Advice: He’ll be cheaper than last year but still not worth pursuing. A sell in 2QB/Superflex on trailing reputation value unless you believe in the Cleveland organization.

2020 ADP Outlook: Barely draftable, but someone will take him too early in most drafts.

29. Kyle Allen, CAR (2019 ADP: Undrafted) - Fantasy results better than actual football, put up decent to good numbers as his game was coming unraveled.

30. Teddy Bridgewater, NO (2019 ADP: Undrafted) - A low wattage fantasy option but his game rounded into form just as Drew Brees returned from injury.

Offseason Dynasty Advice: Will be a starter sooner or later, buy low window in 2QB/Superflex closing

31. Jeff Driskel, DET (2019 ADP: Undrafted) - Running ability made him a viable emergency start until he got banged up.

32. Matt Schaub, ATL (2019 ADP: Undrafted) - Was a good start in place of Matt Ryan for one game.

33. Matt Moore, KC (2019 ADP: Undrafted) - Was a decent start in place of Patrick Mahomes II for two games.

34. Case Keenum, WAS (2019 ADP: Undrafted) - Came out of the gate hot for fantasy, but was replaced as soon as Dwayne Haskins was minimally ready.

DESPERATION PLAYS

35. Marcus Mariota, TEN (2019 ADP: QB28) - Mercifully his tenure as the Titans quarterback came to a close, and a renaissance ensued.

Offseason Dynasty Advice: If you like him, time to buy. He might even be on your waiver wire.

36. Drew Lock, DEN (2019 ADP: Undrafted) - He was amazing vs. Houston, but otherwise looked like a rookie who was somewhat promising for a second-rounder.

Offseason Dynasty Advice: If you like Lock, the price may never be lower in 2QB/Superflex

37. Eli Manning, NYG (2019 ADP: QB29) - Daniel Jones was more ready than anyone thought, but if you were forced to play Manning when he was the starter, it wasn’t a disaster.

38. Nick Foles, JAX (2019 ADP: QB25) - Looked good for a quarter, was serviceable at first coming back from an injury before falling apart.

39. Joe Flacco, DEN (2019 ADP: QB33) - As laughable and underwhelming as the harshest takes when Denver traded for him, but Lock’s finish to the season made everyone move on quickly.

40. David Blough, DET (2019 ADP: Undrafted) - Was entertaining on Thanksgiving and kept Kenny Golladay’s value alive.

41. Chase Daniel, CHI (2019 ADP: Undrafted) - The quintessential limited caretaker backup quarterback. Chicago should bring in someone better to challenge Mitchell Trubisky.

42. Brandon Allen, DEN (2019 ADP: Undrafted) - Serviceable for two games before bottoming out and giving way to Drew Lock.

43. Dwayne Haskins, WAS (2019 ADP: QB30) - Barely made a splash for fantasy but at least got better as he went along.

44. Brian Hoyer, IND (2019 ADP: Undrafted) - Was good in relief of Jacoby Brissett vs. a tough Steelers defense and then reminded everyone to never trust him vs. Miami.

45. Mason Rudolph, PIT (2019 ADP: Undrafted) - Beat up on the Bengals and Dolphins, but otherwise was a bust. Ended the season with his best stretch of football before getting injured vs the Jets.

46. Ryan Finley, CIN (2019 ADP: Undrafted) - I wish I could remember who said it looks like he is throwing paper airplanes out there.

47. Devlin Hodges, PIT (2019 ADP: Undrafted) - At least he has duck hunting to fall back on.

48. Josh Rosen, MIA (2019 ADP: QB34) - Barely got his head above water

49. Cam Newton, CAR (2019 ADP: QB10) - Newton was a Week 1 bust, a disappointment while getting knocked around in Week 2 and then we didn’t hear from him again

Offseason Dynasty Advice: He should be dealt a lot as it's time to act if you don’t believe to get whatever pennies on the dollar you can, and time to act if you do believe because he’ll never be cheaper. He did have foot surgery in hopes that this problem will be behind him.

2020 ADP Outlook: Will be an afterthought, but his proven upside and new coaching staff (that presumably wants him) will make him a good pick at a very low ADP

50. Ben Roethlisberger, PIT (2019 ADP: QB11) - Roethlisberger was a Week 1 bust and crippled teams on the way out if they played him in Week 2.

Offseason Dynasty Advice: He’ll be available for peanuts, but has a good young wide receiver corps.

2020 ADP Outlook: Add him to the ranks of options for people wanting to wait on quarterback.