Mike Fanelli | July 28th, 2019
The 2019 NFL season is almost here! Well, the preseason at least. The Hall of Fame Game between the Atlanta Falcons and Denver Broncos is just a few days away. The regular season is a little more than five weeks away, but football is back baby! Of course, that means redraft fantasy leagues will be drafting left and right over the next month or so. With that in mind, here are my top 12 quarterbacks for the 2019 season.
My rankings are based on six points per passing touchdown and I will have an updated top 12 after the third preseason week so be sure to check back then. For all my redraft PPR rankings, click here.
Make sure you also check out my other fantasy rankings:
1) Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs
Before the news that Tyreek Hill wouldn’t face a suspension for an offense domestic violence investigation, I had concerns with Mahomes. He was my QB3 before the news, make sure to check out the fantasy fallout from the suspension news. Like many, I believe Mahomes will regress some this season; it’s bound to happen given how great he played last year. I see Mahomes putting up close to the same passing yards (5,097 last year) but throw about 10 less touchdown passes. Even if he throws for just 40 touchdowns this season, he would still average 28.6 fantasy points per game based on the rest of last season’s stats. That average would still make him the QB1 last season.
2) Andrew Luck, Indianapolis Colts
Luck got off to a rough start to begin the 2018 season, averaging just 18.2 FPPG over the first three games of the season. However, from weeks four through 16, Luck scored less than 25 fantasy points in just two games. The Colts returned all five starting offensive linemen from last year; one of the best units in the league. Last season, Luck was throwing to an injured T.Y. Hilton, Chester Rogers, and Dontrelle Inman at wide receiver. During the offseason, they added Devin Funchess and spent a second-round on Parris Campbell. Combine those two with a healthy Hilton, Jack Doyle, and another year of Eric Ebron, Luck has all the weapons he needs to push for the QB1 finish.
3) Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers
I’m not ready to write Rodgers off as an injured, washed up has been. Despite playing the entire season on an injured knee, Rodgers was as the QB9 and finished half of his games as a QB1. However, in the previous three seasons where he played all 16 games (2014-2016), Rodgers finished as the QB2, QB7, and QB1 during that span. Davante Adams is arguably the best wide receiver in the league, combined with the return of Geronimo Allison, and the development of Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Rodgers should have the weapons he needs to return to his normal top-three finish.
4) Deshaun Watson, Houston Texans
For me, this is where tier two starts. I love Watson but his offensive line scares the hell out of me. Last season, the Texans’ offensive line gave up 62 sacks; easily most in the league. In the offseason, they did very little to improve the unit. While Watson will have to scramble more and get yard with his legs, it means he is at more risk to get hurt. Last year Watson played with a collapsed lung that was so bad he had to take a bus to a game in Jacksonville because it wasn’t safe for him to fly. As long as Watson and DeAndre Hopkins are both on the field, Watson is a lock to finish as a QB1 this season.
5) Carson Wentz, Philadelphia Eagles
If you read the most recent NFL roundtable, Wentz is my pick to win MVP this season. People forget just two years ago Wentz was the favorite to win the award before suffering an injury. Yes, he will need to stay on the field to win MVP and finish as a top-five quarterback this season but if he can, he has all the weapons he needs. The Eagles traded for Jordan Howard, drafted Miles Sanders, and recently re-signed Darren Sproles, giving Wentz plenty of weapons in the backfield. They traded for DeSean Jackson and drafted J.J. Arcega-Whiteside in the second round. With depth added on the offensive line and plenty of weapons, Wentz has the upside to finish as the QB1 this season.
6) Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers
Before anyone starts in with the “Big Ben threw much more last year than any other year in his career because he didn’t have Le’Veon Bell”, let’s take a look at the numbers. From 2013-2017 (2013 was Bell’s rookie season) Roethlisberger had an average of 37.4 pass attempts per game during that span compared to 42.2 per game last season; a difference of just 4.8 per game or 1.4 passes per quarter. Roethlisberger was as the QB3 last year and finished with 10 games as a QB1. The lose of Antonio Brown is huge but the Steelers have a history of replacing a wide receiver when one leaves and Roethlisberger has had success with multiple wide receivers.
7) Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons
Last season, Ryan tied his best fantasy finish of his career as the QB2 (matching his 2016 MVP season), averaging 26.5 FPPG in both seasons. With a receiving core of Julio Jones, Calvin Ridley, Mohamed Sanu, and Austin Hooper, Ryan has all the tools he needs to finish as a top 12 quarterback again this season. However, the return of Devonta Freeman will be the running back will improve and hopefully the defense doesn’t suffer so many injuries this season, meaning the Falcons won’t be playing from behind as often. Despite those two factors, Ryan offers enough upside that he should finish the season easily as a back half QB1.
8) Baker Mayfield, Cleveland Browns
While Mayfield had great success to close to his rookie season, and the addition of Odell Beckham will only raise Mayfield’s play, he wasn’t a great fantasy quarterback last season. For the season he finishes as the QB16, averaging 21 FPPG, but that doesn’t tell the whole story. When Freddy Kitchens took over as the play-caller, Mayfield’s numbers got better right. Before Kitchens taking over, Mayfield averaged 18.8 FPPG, compared to 23.3 FPPG afterward. There are reports that the transition to new offensive coordinator Todd Monken isn’t going very well which isn’t a good sign for the offense’s chemistry. Mayfield has similar upside to the guys ranked above him but more risk as well.
9) Jared Goff, Los Angles Rams
Here is where tier three begins. The rest of the players on this list all fit in this tier because they offer potentially excellent upside but have a big downside as well. Last season Goff finished as the QB6, averaging 23.4 FPPG, but it was a season of two halves. His go-to receiver, Cooper Kupp, missed eight games because of an ACL injury and Goff struggled without him. In the eight games Kupp played, Goff averaged 25.8 FPPG compared to just 19.4 without him. Hopefully, Kupp is healthy to start the year but an injured Kupp and Todd Gurley could put more on Goff’s shoulder than he can handle. Entering his third season with Sean McVay, Goff has the weapons and upside to finish as the QB1.
10) Jameis Winston, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Many people love Winston this year because of new head coach Bruce Arians and I’m in that group. Last season stats suggest the Winston won’t be fantasy productive this year but nothing from last year should matter for Winston or his fantasy owners. The Buccaneers have one of the worse, if not the worst, defense in the league, meaning the offense will have to throw plenty to stay in games. While Winston has a bad habit of throwing interceptions (he throws one every 33.1 passes for his career), he has some of the best weapons in the league. The Buccaneers won’t be a very good team this season, but fantasy owners of Winston will love off the chasing points they will need to do.
11) Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks
Other than Mahomes, no quarterback had more top 12 finishes last season than Wilson’s 11. Despite a dominant top receiver, Wilson finished tied for third in the league with 35 touchdown passes last season. Ironically, Wilson had zero rushing touchdowns last season; the first time in his career. However, the Seahawks lost Doug Baldwin to early retirement this offseason and replaced him with a couple of rookies. Tyler Lockett will take over as the Seahawks’ top wide receiver but the rest of the receiving core is questionable at best. The Seahawks are one of the most run heavy teams in the league and that will limit Wilson’s upside.
12) Philip Rivers, Los Angles Chargers
There might not be a quarterback that gets less fantasy respect than Rivers. Last season Rivers finished as the QB10, making it six straight seasons that Rivers has finished as a QB1. His 32 touchdowns were tied for sixth in the league despite not having one of his best red-zone weapons, Hunter Henry, for the entire season. The Melvin Gordon hold out situation is something to keep an eye on. Last season, 13% of Rivers’ passes targeted Gordon and 27.8% targeted a running back. If Gordon holds out into the season or is traded, Rivers will slide into the QB2 range for me.
HM) Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints
For the honorable mention spot, Brees just misses the top 12 list. While he is a lock as a first-ballot Hall of Famer, Brees threw for just 3,992 yards, his lowest since joining the Saints in 2006. He did lead the league in completion percentage so for any leagues that reward points for completions, Brees should be in the top eight range. The duo of Alvin Kamara and Michael Thomas give Brees the chance to have a big game every week. However, over the last two seasons, the Saints have averaged 24.5 rushing touchdowns per season compared to 28 passing touchdowns. Furthermore, Brees finished as a QB1 in just 47% of his games last season.
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