One of my favorite parts of playing in dynasty leagues is there truly is no offseason. We are continually evaluating talent on our rosters and figuring out what plan we want to use leading up to the NFL Draft and subsequent rookie drafts for us. Are you rebuilding or in a win-now mode? Going all-in for rookies or wanting more proven vets for a sudden push for a championship? The first thing we need to do as owners is put a value on players and create rankings. By doing this, we have set a baseline of how to value a potential trade and can assess our teams and their weak points. Let’s kick this series off by going over my 2020 Dynasty Quarterback rankings.
Just like with drafting, I always recommend creating tiers in your fantasy football rankings. Far too often, we get so caught on the difference in one spot between two players who are basically in the same group. Building rankings is a personal, somewhat intimate process. Hardly ever will you find a set of rankings that you will agree with 100%. They are a representation of you and how you evaluate talent and what is essential for your teams.
Things such as contract, age, surrounding talent, a coaching situation, and other all factor into your decisions. I am sure that looking at mine, you will find things that you won’t agree with, but I assure you there is a method to the madness and a process that is always evolving. Every year, thanks to the great minds in the industry and the influx of copious amounts of data, we find new metrics and patterns that can flip a switch in our heads and change our perspective.
The best advice I can give to someone who is creating rankings is never to use a chisel and stone, but a pencil with a damn good eraser. Reach out, talk to people who challenge your opinion. Otherwise, you are just reaffirming your views and not expanding your process. Another example of seeing into the process was the recent article that Andrew Jordan put out for PFN, regarding his thought process in creating running back rankings. You can use this article in tandem with my article going over finding the right drafting strategy for quarterbacks in Superflex leagues for an all-around “guide,” or at least how I tend to approach it in 2020.
Here are my current 2020 dynasty quarterback rankings and some notes on my thought process as we go.
Tier 1 is the easiest one by far and typically is for any position group. Lamar Jackson and Patrick Mahomes have separated themselves from the rest of the league. Are some quarterbacks better pure passers? Sure, but what these two can do on the field is unrivaled. The combination of youth with Mahomes (24) and Jackson (22), their immensely talented teams, and the ability to scramble for first downs or long gains gives these two the highest and safest floor of any pick you can make.
So far, in 2020, I have either drafted or hosted around 20 Superflex league mocks to this point (yes, I have a problem, and I am working on it), and both players have gone before the pick 1.06 in every draft. If you want one of these two players on your dynasty team, you need to take them with the first chance you get as there won’t be a second opportunity. While this is not a strategy I personally employ, I can not fault anyone who does, and I will dread facing them every matchup.
For me, Tier 2 is a relatively well-defined group that I think the majority of people would agree with. In regards to Deshaun Watson and Russell Wilson, they are two of the most consistent players in the NFL and also offer high floors. Watson has been on the shining stars since coming into the league in 2017 and has a career average of 22.0 fantasy points per game. As for Wilson, who is a bit older (31), but has never missed a game and only finished outside the top 10 once in his career (11th in 2012 as his first year being the starter).
Dak Prescott, if we are splitting hairs, is a bit more of a wild card. No one denies his incredible talent, but the hiring of Mike McCarthy and the looming free agency need to be factored in. Prescott is coming off his second-best statistical season, and 26 is entering his prime. McCarthy wants him to be the quarterback of the future, and we know that Jerry Jones wants him to stay with the Dallas Cowboys. If history is our barometer, what Jerry wants, Jerry gets. I don’t foresee Prescott going anywhere and will be a QB1 for dynasty rankings in 2020 and years to come.
Here is where quarterback dynasty rankings start to be more up for individual interpretation. If I don’t want to get an early quarterback due to how the draft is going, I like the guys in this range a lot. What I love about players like Kyler Murray and Josh Allen is their ability to get out of the pocket and make something happen. I will not be surprised if this time next year, we are talking about Murray’s transcendence to the NFL’s elite due to his rushing ability alone. A second year in Kliff Kingsbury’s system and development in the pocket will make a world of difference for him in the long run.
Allen is in a similar group of talented, young quarterbacks who we think can take it to the next level in 2020. We saw a vast improvement in his 2018 to 2019 progression as he went from QB21 to QB6 in a short period. He is being billed as the “Next Cam Newton,” and I can’t really argue it. His 6’5″, 235lb frame makes him a rushing threat anytime the Buffalo Bills are inside the 10-yard line. Add in his 510 rushing yards, nine rushing touchdowns, and howitzer for an arm, and Allen is one of my favorite dynasty quarterbacks to target in drafts, especially if the Bills draft one of the stud wide receivers in this year’s class.
As for Carson Wentz, I am still a believer in his talent. He finished as QB10 in 2019 with one of the worst wide receiver groups I can remember. Yes, he does get the title of being injury-prone, but aside from the 2017 ACL tear, the rest have been rather fluke injuries that come from a violent game such as a rib fracture in 2016 and a vertebral fracture in 2018. People are going to remember him missing the whole playoff game with a concussion and drop him lower in rankings. I’ll take the discount and buy into him again in 2020.
When we are getting into this range in my quarterback dynasty rankings, virtually everyone comes with some form of risk vs. reward. For Aaron Rodgers, it’s the age factor. If these were redraft rankings, he would be in the top 6 as he is still one of the most elite passers in the NFL. However, we need to look at dynasty with a long term strategy in mind. If you draft him, you will still get a great 2020 season for your fantasy team. The problem comes with wanting to sell him off at some point as his age carries a negative connotation, and you will have a difficult time getting a high ROI.
When looking at Jimmy Garoppolo, I don’t look at him as a QB1 yet. Even though the San Francisco 49ers play a run-first offense, Garoppolo still threw for almost 4,000 yards in his first season as a full-time starter (missed 2018 due to Week 3 ACL tear). I think for 2020, he has a very safe QB2 floor thanks in large part to being able to target players like George Kittle and potential second-year breakout Deebo Samuel.
Jared Goff is another safe QB2 option. While he doesn’t wow you with incredible talent, he still managed to throw for 4,600 yards in back-to-back seasons. Much of this is due to the offense ran in 2019. The Los Angeles Rams were #3 in the NFL is passing attempts per game (39.5). All of his primary wide receivers are locked up for a minimum of two years, so I expect similar success in 2020 for Goff.
Then we get to players like Sam Darnold, Daniel Jones, and Baker Mayfield. Each one is viewed in a similar light, which is why they are in the same tier. Jones and Darnold are both 22 years old, and Mayfield is 24. That’s a plus for long term availability. The other component they all share is needing time to develop. Jones would be “Danny Dimes” one week, and the next, he is getting benched for Eli Manning and was the whipping boy for New York sportswriters.
For Darnold, once he came back from missing four games due to mono, he was an average quarterback with some bright spots. After his return, he scored over 20 points four times but failed to score 15 fantasy points in six games during that stretch. Add in being tied at the hip to Adam Gase, and it’s hard to be comfortable putting Darnold any higher than this.
Mayfield and the Cleveland Browns’ 2019 season can be described with the same word, disappointing. He was a top 7 ranked dynasty quarterback entering the year, and after a lackluster season, finished as QB20 in fantasy. With Freddie Kitchens gone and Kevin Stefanski named the new head coach, I think Mayfield has a brighter future starting in 2020. One of the lesser talked about roles that Stefanski had was as the assistant quarterback coach from 2009-2013 and as the primary QB coach for the Minnesota Vikings in 2017 and 2018. I think his previous work helping to develop quarterbacks could pay dividends for Mayfield’s progression.
Now for the enigma that is Jameis Winston. The king of the 30/30 club. Facing free agency, Winston’s dynasty stock is up in the air. While I believe the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will use a franchise tag on Winston to give him another year in Bruce Arians’ offense, it is purely an educated guess if Winston stays in Tampa, fantastic. He gets to target two of the best wide receivers in the NFL in one of the most passer friendly offenses.
Say he lands on another team, then it is all location-dependent, and we will need to reevaluate him once we know his destination and offense. Given his head coach’s less than positive quotes after the season ended, anything is possible right now.
We are getting firmly into the range of quarterbacks you don’t want to be rolling out as your QB1 in dynasty leagues but could serve as a decent QB2 option in Superflex leagues. There are a mix of veterans coming off solid years, players with injury histories, and a quarterback who can spit some bars on the sidelines.
Matt Ryan, Kirk Cousins, Derek Carr, and Jacoby Brissett are all serviceable QB2’s in most formats. Safe options that have a chance to be top 10 plays in a given week but can also throw in some dubs just as well. Ryan and Cousins are on the wrong side of 30 but finished 2019 inside the QB15 rankings by seasons end. Carr is 28 but is on an offense that lacks any explosiveness. He did manage to crack the 4,000-yard mark, though, while averaging 15.3 fantasy points per game.
As for Brissett, he didn’t do anything to wow the Indianapolis Colts’ front office after taking over for Andrew Luck following his retirement. Completing only 60.9% of his passes and throwing 18 touchdowns to 6 interceptions, Brissett is more of a “game manager” than a franchise quarterback. There is talk that the Colts could be looking to bring in another quarterback in free agency, but as of now, it is his job.
Cam Newton and Matthew Stafford just want to be healthy for 2020. Newton missed almost all of 2019 with a Lisfranc injury on his left foot and now has a new coach whom he doesn’t have any rapport with and seems non-committal on his future with the Carolina Panthers. The Panthers can save $19.1 million in salary-cap space if they opt to trade or release Newton, so his status will be something we have to keep a close watch on moving forward. Stafford fractured his back on November 3rd and missed the rest of the season as the Detroit Lions were in no rush to return him to the field. He will be good to go for the start of camps come summertime.
Ryan Tannehill was one of the biggest surprises of the 2019 season after replacing Marcus Mariota for the Tennessee Titans in Week 7. From that point on, Tannehill was the highest-rated player according to the PFN Offensive Share Metric (OSM) at 34.36. Getting into a new system and away from the Miami Dolphins and Adam Gase was just what he needed to resurrect his career.
Drew Lock has all the traits that John Elway wants in his franchise quarterback, and you should too for dynasty. He is 6’4″ and 230 with a cannon for an arm that can make almost any throw on the field. The Broncos also announced the hiring of former Giants head coach Pat Shurmur as offensive coordinator. Shurmur’s desire to push the ball downfield meshes well with Lock’s skillset. Add in talented pass catchers like Courtland Sutton and Noah Fant, and Lock looks like an excellent target for a later round quarterback to target in dynasty formats.
When we get to this range, I only want these players as a QB3 in dynasty Superflex leagues. As anything more than one more year as the starter for their respective teams is pushing it for the majority.
Drew Brees, Tom Brady, and Ben Roethlisberger all have significant question marks surrounding their future and how long they will play and where. If you get one more year in 2020 of quality production, fantastic, but that is all you can reasonably expect to receive. Luckily, the opportunity cost of acquiring these players is relatively low as well.
As for Mitch Trubisky, Dwayne Haskins, and Gardner Minshew, it is a bit more uncertain as to what 2020 will bring. None of them looked particularly useful on the field, and all have question marks if they will enter Week 1 as their teams’ starting quarterback. If you have them, they’re a hold in dynasty as you can’t expect to receive very much in return at this point.
From this point on, you are throwing darts and hoping one hits the target. These are all depth plays with varying degrees of upside, depending on how you look into their respective narrative. Some have more positive outlooks such as Teddy Bridgewater, Tyrod Taylor, or Marcus Mariota, who could find a starting job via free agency or retirement of the former starter. Someone like Jarrett Stidham has value as we currently are unsure of Tom Brady’s future with the New England Patriots. Both Mason Rudolph and Devlin Hodges saw significant game time this year in Roethlisberger’s absence and are an injury or retirement away from being back in the conversation for the starting job.
The main point I want to stress is rankings are subjective and truly your own. Take this as a templet and move guys around how you wish based on your research and method. Stay informed with everything going on in the offseason with us here at PFN and our dynasty content to work on them all the way up to your draft day.
At the end of the day, it’s your team, and you’re the only one who can make the call on who you like and want to be a part of it. I am simply a guide to help get you along the way.
Be sure to follow us on Twitter: @PFN365 and @PFNDynasty to stay up to date with all things around the NFL and the 2020 fantasy football season. Also, continue to visit Pro Football Network for NFL news and in-depth analysis while also visiting our Fantasy Football section for more coverage.
Tommy Garrett is a writer for PFN covering Fantasy Football. You can follow him at @TommygarrettPFN on Twitter.