Fantasy Football QB Tiers 2021: Patrick Mahomes has company in the top tier

By using our fantasy football QB tiers, you can avoid drafting a quarterback you don’t want. It is always best to be proactive and not reactive. Let’s take a look at which QBs to target in your upcoming fantasy football drafts using a tier-based approach.

Why use QB “tiers” rather than rankings for fantasy football?

Tier-based drafting is all about looking for maximum talent/production at the best price. In this case, we are looking at signal-callers and using tiers to find the better pick in fantasy football drafts at their given value.

Each position has a different point where there’s a considerable drop-off in talent and opportunity. For quarterbacks, using a tier-based approach allows you to find a diamond in the rough who can outperform his respective ADP while adding quality players at other positions. 

2021 Fantasy Football QB Tiers 

Note: The rankings used for these tiers are from the consensus rankings created by Senior Fantasy Analyst Eric Moody and Fantasy Analyst Tommy Garrett with 0.5 PPR scoring in mind and will fluctuate as we get closer to the season. Please check back regularly for any changes.

Tier 1: Patrick Mahomes, Josh Allen, Kyler Murray, Lamar Jackson

When it comes to quarterbacks (and other positions), per-game stats have a strong correlation from season to season. Passing yards per game are the strongest for quarterbacks. And now, you’re thinking about rushing numbers.

Mobile quarterbacks see modest shifts in their season-to-season numbers. The issue is that there are still many quarterbacks who accumulate a higher number of rushing attempts.

If you fancy having a dual-threat quarterback on your roster, this tier has three great options. Josh Allen (28.3), Kyler Murray (26.7), and Lamar Jackson (24.6) terrorize defenses as passers and rushers, with each QB averaging a high number of fantasy points per game in 2020. With that being said, let’s not forget about the dominance of Patrick Lavon Mahomes II over the last three seasons.

Mahomes has averaged an impressive 308 passing yards and 27.4 fantasy points per game in 45 active games since 2018. The Chiefs continue to surround him with a plethora of offensive weapons, including stalwarts Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce.

Tier 2: Dak Prescott, Russell Wilson, Aaron Rodgers, Justin Herbert, Ryan Tannehill

This tier of QBs for fantasy football in 2021 is filled with excellent QB1 options.

Before his season-ending compound fracture and dislocation of his right ankle, Dak Prescott averaged 371 passing yards per game. He should pick up where he left off with the dynamic wide receiver trio of Amari Cooper, CeeDee Lamb, and Michael Gallup.

Justin Herbert had a phenomenal rookie season. He averaged 289 passing yards and 25 fantasy points per game. Herbert could be even better in 2021.

Russell Wilson (25.6), Aaron Rodgers (27), and Ryan Tannehill (24.3) all averaged a high number of fantasy points per game last season. This trend should continue in 2021, considering the offenses they lead. Tannehill does have the added benefit of throwing passes to A.J. Brown and Julio Jones.

Tier 3: Jalen Hurts, Tom Brady, Matthew Stafford, Trevor Lawrence, Joe Burrow, Tua Tagovailoa

All of the names in this fantasy football QB tier are solid values. My favorites are Jalen Hurts and Matthew Stafford.

Hurts averaged an astounding 26.3 fantasy points per game from Week 14 to Week 17. He averaged 230 passing yards, 1.2 passing touchdowns, and 0.8 interceptions per game in his four starts. Additionally, Hurts was dynamic as a runner.

Stafford is tethered to a Rams team with an offensive-minded head coach in Sean McVay and a multitude of receiving weapons. He’s my dark-horse candidate to finish as the fantasy QB1.

Tier 4

Matt Ryan, Baker Mayfield, Kirk Cousins, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Daniel Jones, Derek Carr, Trey Lance, Justin Fields, Ben Roethlisberger, Zach Wilson

Many of the QBs in this tier provide you with stable floors.

Matt Ryan will not have Jones to throw to this season. However, he does have Calvin Ridley and Kyle Pitts. Since 2011, Ryan has finished as a QB1 in 52% of his 159 active games.

Another quarterback like Ryan, who doesn’t get much attention, is Derek Carr. The Raiders have surrounded Carr with multiple receiving weapons. Since 2018, he’s finished as a QB2+ in 75% of his 48 active games.

Tier 5

Sam Darnold, Jared Goff, Jameis Winston, Carson Wentz, Cam Newton, Taysom Hill, Deshaun Watson, Teddy Bridgewater, Drew Lock, Mac Jones

This fantasy football QB tier should send shivers down your spine. They all carry various elements of risks and are more likely to be depended on in 2QB or superflex formats. One of my favorites from this tier is Sam Darnold.

Darnold could have a career renaissance in Carolina with Panthers head coach Matt Rhule and offensive coordinator Joe Brady. The former No. 3 overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft provides the staff a quarterback with the arm strength to take more risks downfield.

Tier 6: Tyrod Taylor, Jimmy Garoppolo, Jacob Eason, Andy Dalton, Davis Mills

My favorite quarterback from this tier is Tyrod Taylor.

Deshaun Watson’s professional and legal situation is enough to give fantasy enthusiasts heartburn. The Texans are comfortable opening the season with Taylor as their starting quarterback. Houston also has Davis Mills waiting in the wings.

Taylor has had fantasy success in the past with the Bills. He started 14+ games in three consecutive seasons in Buffalo from 2015 to 2017. Over this time frame, Taylor averaged nearly 20 fantasy points per game as a passer and runner.

Remaining QB Tiers for 2021

How do the rest of the QB tier groups shake out?

Tier 7

Taylor Heinicke, Marcus Mariota, Mitch Trubisky, Jordan Love, Kellen Mond, P.J. Walker, Gardner Minshew II, Case Keenum

Tier 8

John Wolford, Jacoby Brissett, Chad Henne, Kyle Trask, Dwayne Haskins, A.J. McCarron, Joe Flacco, Nick Foles

Tier 9

Brandon Allen, Colt McCoy, Sam Ehlinger, Mason Rudolph, C.J. Beathard, Chase Daniel, Kyle Allen, Jarrett Stidham, Nick Mullens

Eric is a Senior Fantasy Analyst for Pro Football Network and a member of the FSWA (Fantasy Sports Writers Association). You can read more of his work here and follow Eric on Twitter @EricNMoody.

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