Jeff Ratcliffe's Fantasy Football Quarterback Tiers
Fantasy football draft season is here, so it’s time to roll up your sleeves and get ready for those drafts. One of the most useful weapons to have in your draft day arsenal is fantasy football tiers. With a tier-based approach, you can see how each player stacks up at his respective position. Tiers are slightly different from fantasy football rankings because it’s not just a straight list of players. These groupings allow for a more flexible approach to drafting that you can ultimately build into your draft board.
Quarterback tiers are an important weapon in your fantasy football arsenal. Instead of the rigid approach of fantasy football rankings, tiers allow you more flexibility on draft day, which is key to dominating your opponents. With a tier-based approach, you can see how each player stacks up at his respective position.
Let’s take a look at my 2023 fantasy football quarterback tiers. You can use these as they are or move them around to create your own set of tiers. We have you covered here at FTN with our Draft Kit content. With a Fantasy+ subscription, you get access to the 2023 Game Plan Draft Guide, our fantasy football draft cheat sheets, our rankings tool and fantasy football projections, and much more. Use promo code “Ratpack” for a discount on your subscription.
2023 Fantasy Football Tiers: Quarterback
These three are undoubtedly the top options at this position. Josh Allen has finished as a top-two option in each of the last three seasons, and Patrick Mahomes is the reigning No. 1 fantasy option. Jalen Hurts offers a slightly different profile, but his prowess as a runner help launch him into the fantasy stratosphere this past season. His elite ability as runner gives Hurts an absolutely massive weekly floor in the explosive Philly offense.
All three players are more than capable of putting up monster numbers yet again this year, but there’s a problem. They’re going so early in drafts, that they’re essentially priced out of most draft boards. Don’t get me wrong. They’re all extremely valuable, but you’ll be able to construct a more balanced roster by waiting at the position.
It wouldn’t be shocking at all if any of these players ended up finishing as the No. 1 option in 2023. Joe Burrow is knocking on the door of elite territory, though he will need to string together more consistent performances from week to week. His six finishes outside of the top 10 in 2022 took fantasy managers on a bit of a roller coaster ride. Likewise, Justin Fields was far from stable last season, but his string of performances in Weeks 6-11 were the thing of fantasy legend. With DJ Moore now in the mix, Fields has a bona fide No. 1 receiving weapon and figures to take a step forward in the passing game.
Justin Herbert and Lamar Jackson seemed to take a step back in 2022. To be fair, Herbert had to navigate a multitude of injuries to his receivers and the general ineptitude of offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi. The good news is that his coordinator problems should be fixed after the Chargers hired Kellen Moore. As for Jackson, he’ll continue to be a fantasy factor thanks to his top shelf ability as a runner. He should also benefit from the addition of offensive coordinator Todd Monken and an upgrade set of weapons at wide receiver.
This third group really needs to be subdivided into two sub tiers, as the next five quarterbacks aren’t all cut from the same cloth. This trio in Tier 3A come with higher ceilings, but also have more volatility. Trevor Lawrence took a huge step forward in 2022 and certainly could blow right past this tier in short order. At the same time, one year of production isn’t enough to solidify him as a front-end QB1. As for Deshaun Watson, we really don’t know what he’ll look like this year. Last season wasn’t pretty, but can we really garner much from a handful of games after spending three months away from the team? What we do know is that he was once a borderline elite option and will be given the keys to the castle in the Browns’ offense. Anthony Richardson is the greenest of the bunch, but he’s also off-the-charts from and athleticism standpoint. The fact that he’s officially the starter makes him a very appealing back-end QB1 with a massive ceiling.
Tier 3B isn’t as sexy as the Tier 3A, but both options come with higher fantasy floors. Much was made of Dak Prescott’s propensity for picks, but he also had six top-10 fantasy finishes over his final nine games of the fantasy season. Kirk Cousins also impressed down the stretch and ended up as the No. 8 option on the season.
If you want to execute the “safe and upside” late-round approach in your drafts where you take one safe option and one upside option, this is your tier. These guys may not all be available at the end of your drafts, but it’s extremely likely that at least one from each category will be.
Geno Smith is coming off an unlikely season where he largely matched some of the best years Russell Wilson managed to produce in his time with the Seahawks. Aaron Rodgers is now solidified with the Jets and has an explosive weapon at his disposal in Garrett Wilson. Jared Goff was largely an afterthought heading into last season, but he managed 4,438 passing yards and finished an impressive 11th among quarterbacks in fantasy scoring.
The upside options do not come with a high floor, but each of them has the potential to give you a massive return on investment if they hit this year. If you’re going to use the safe-and-upside strategy in your 1QB leagues, you’ll want to draft one player from the safe tier and one from the upside tier. Doing so will give you the opportunity to swing for the fences on upside while not completely striking out if you miss. The safe option won’t win you your league, but he will tide you over while you work the waiver wire.
Daniel Jones showed this past season that his mobility can make him a favorable fantasy asset. However, his passing numbers could be a bit of a liability. Questions abound with Tua Tagovailoa. He flashed major upside in Mike McDaniel’s offense last season, but also suffer two (or possibly three) concussions. His health is a major concern, but he offers massive upside as long as he’s under center as the Miami starter. Wilson is also extremely volatile, but his high fantasy ceiling in what should be an improved Denver offense gives him late-round appeal.
These guys aren’t likely to be drafted in 1QB leagues, but they’re all in consideration in 2QB and superflex formats. However, it’s advisable to go after players with higher ceilings for your third quarterback options in superflex and 2QB leagues. The group in 5A all fit the bill as upside options. Tier 5B gives you lower ceiling players along with one major question mark in Kyler Murray. As we move through fantasy draft season, he could rise out of this tier if we get positive news about his return. However, if he is slated to miss extended time, it isn’t advisable to draft him.