One of the difficulties of being a fantasy football analyst is attempting to account for value in simple-listed rankings. While these are incredibly helpful — and what the majority of fantasy managers are looking for — there’s plenty that’s left unexplained.
This is where tiers come into the conversation as they allow smart fantasy managers to understand value and when exactly to select a certain position in their drafts. In this article, we’ll discuss what tiers are, how to incorporate them into your fantasy draft strategy, and how they apply to the 2023 quarterback landscape.
What Are Tiers in Fantasy Football?
Tiers are a way to group players within the same position that are relatively equal in projected production. For example, a rankings list would show the top 12 at the running back position all laid out in consecutive order. However, this list does not account for the projected drop-off in production from RB6 to RB7.
RB6 could be projected for 250 half-PPR points in 2023, while RB7 could only be projected for 225. Tiers allow managers to be able to account for that projected production gap and turn towards other positions in their draft that will most likely finish with more than that expected production.
With this strategy, you’re able to construct a team that has maximum potential versus reaching for the next option at a position that you were targeting. They’re not meant to be a hard-and-fast rule but simply a guide to use as you move throughout your fantasy football draft.
The players within a tier can be moved around in the order of the rankings, and it won’t make a difference. This helps you gauge where value lies within the draft board and whether or not you need to lock up the next option at that position or if you can wait a round or two based on ADP.
With that in mind, here are my QB tiers for redraft leagues this season.
2023 Fantasy Football QBs | Tier 1
If you’re looking for more than just our fantasy football QB tiers, check out our comprehensive consensus fantasy football rankings.
Jalen Hurts, Philadelphia Eagles
Jalen Hurts was absolutely dominant last season, and fantasy managers that drafted him in the middle rounds most likely won their leagues because of him taking a massive step forward.
The value difference with Hurts is stark this season, though, as he’s now routinely going off the board as one of the top three QB options. With his rushing ability and continuity on offense with his playmakers, there’s little reason to fade Hurts producing at an elite level yet again.
Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs
Patrick Mahomes is simply the best QB in the NFL. While there are certainly other players that make it a conversation, there’s no denying it at this point that he’s simply the face of the NFL.
Does that mean Mahomes is the best QB for fantasy football, though? Yes, he may end up throwing for the most passing yards in the league, but fantasy football has a cheat code at the position, and it’s what players can do on the ground.
With Mahomes not going to be able to compete with Hurts and Josh Allen, as far as what they can do on the ground, he has to remain dominant as a passer. With all that being said, at this point, I’m not betting against the best player in the NFL, and Mahomes remains a top-tier fantasy QB.
Josh Allen, Buffalo Bills
Allen is an elite fantasy football QB. With his size and athleticism, plus the receiving weapons that he has at his disposal, he remains a fantastic bet to finish as the QB1 in fantasy football at the end of the season.
The benefit of tiering your rankings is that, while Allen is QB3 in my overall rankings, he is very close in projected fantasy points to Mahomes and Hurts. If your league decides to take the other two options early on, while Allen slides a bit down the draft board as a result, there should be no hesitation in drafting him.
2023 Fantasy Football QBs | Tier 2
Justin Fields, Chicago Bears
As we saw in Week 1 of the preseason, Chicago’s offense has special potential in 2023. Yes, it’s important to not overreact and to stay grounded in our analysis, but it cannot be overstated how poor of a situation Justin Fields was playing in last year.
Heading into this season, Fields now has a WR1 that he can lean on, improved offensive line play, and continuity in a scheme from one year to the next. All of those are signaling that the third-year QB out of Ohio State is set to make a dramatic jump forward in production.
D.J. Moore’s first play as a Chicago Bear: pic.twitter.com/fAKPHFN7yb
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) August 12, 2023
Add in the fact that he’s arguably the league’s most gifted athlete at the position, and Fields is a perfect combination of a high floor and unreal upside.
Joe Burrow, Cincinnati Bengals
Joe Burrow is currently dealing with an injury that he sustained during training camp, but all signs point to him being ready for Week 1. When Burrow is on the field, we know that he’s a top-tier fantasy asset due to the offense that he plays in.
Playmakers like Ja’Marr Chase and Tee Higgins make life a lot easier on Burrow. There’s even belief that he could compete with Mahomes for the passing yardage title this season. Burrow presents one of the highest floors in fantasy, and his consistency week in and week out cannot be overstated.
Lamar Jackson, Baltimore Ravens
Lamar Jackson has dealt with some injuries in previous seasons. But the restocking of the cabinet that Baltimore did at wide receiver this offseason — plus the new offensive scheme — should have fantasy managers excited about what he can do in 2023.
We’ve already seen the elite production from him for fantasy purposes. Provided that he can play all 17 games this year, Jackson should be in the conversation for the QB1 title in fantasy football when it’s all said and done.
Justin Herbert, Los Angeles Chargers
Justin Herbert took a slight step back last season due to a nagging injury that never truly left him alone all season long. Nevertheless, the sky is the absolute limit for Herbert in 2023.
With Kellen Moore coming into town — and promising to air the ball out deep downfield — we could see some massive spike weeks from Herbert this season. Add in the fact that he has arguably one of the best receiving corps in the entire league, and the Chargers offense could do some special things this year.
There are other players who have maybe more upside than Herbert due to their rushing ability, but there’s massive potential for him if Moore can unlock this offense’s potential.
Trevor Lawrence, Jacksonville Jaguars
Just like with Tier 1, there’s very little difference between the top player in my rankings versus the bottom one. If you wanted to switch Fields and Trevor Lawrence in the order, there wouldn’t be any massive complaints from me.
This allows us to survey ADP and identify which players are going off the board first and where some value may be present. Lawrence showed some solid growth in Year 1 under Doug Pederson, and the offensive continuity cannot be stressed enough when projecting the third-year QB.
Currently in ADP, Lawrence is the last one out of these top seven or eight QBs to go off the board. If you’re invested in going early quarterback, loading up on other key positions and then snagging Lawrence before the next tier break is a fantastic strategy.
2023 Fantasy Football QBs | Tier 3
Kirk Cousins, Minnesota Vikings
This tier is filled with players that have incredibly high floors, but their upside may be capped. Kirk Cousins should be on the field a lot this year due to the state of Minnesota’s defense and the fact that this offense already averaged 40 pass attempts per game last season.
This — combined with the fact that he gets to throw to Justin Jefferson — should have fantasy managers incredibly comfortable with adding the veteran QB later on in drafts if the top two tiers have already gone off the board.
Daniel Jones, New York Giants
On paper, assuming full health for the offense, there’s a path for Daniel Jones to be a top-three fantasy QB this season. With the additions of Darren Waller and Jalin Hyatt, plus the return of Saquon Barkley, Jones could easily work his way into the top tier.
However, health for the Giants’ offense has been a bit hit-or-miss in recent years. Jones was down to third and fourth-string WRs last season, while Waller has also missed significant time due to injury recently.
With all that being said, the high floor that Jones provides as a runner absolutely puts him into the same tier as Cousins and Dak Prescott. Just the unknowns of NY’s offense keeps him from ascending to the tier above.
Dak Prescott, Dallas Cowboys
Prescott has quickly turned from a fantasy darling to someone that fantasy managers are seemingly reluctant to draft. Expectations have seemingly not been met over the past several years, and the shine seems to have worn off.
It’s worth noting that Prescott has more than enough surrounding him in 2023 to still be a reliable fantasy asset. CeeDee Lamb, Michael Gallup, Brandin Cooks, and Tony Pollard will all take the pressure off of the now-veteran QB, and Prescott should provide a solid floor on a weekly basis.
2023 Fantasy Football QBs | Tier 4
Deshaun Watson, Cleveland Browns
This tier is filled with players that are massive question marks. They could all be top five at the position or finish outside the top 20.
With Deshaun Watson, it all comes down to whether or not he’s able to return to the form he had in Houston. It seems like an eternity ago when we last witnessed Watson finish as a top-five fantasy QB, but it’s certainly in the range of outcomes again here in 2023.
Tua Tagovailoa, Miami Dolphins
For Tua Tagovailoa, he absolutely carries top-five fantasy football QB upside. From Weeks 7-13 last season, Tagovailoa was averaging just .7 fantasy points per game less than Allen!
It all comes down to health and durability for Tua. With all the receiving weapons he has in Miami, he could put up some monstrous performances for fantasy this season. However, if Tagovailoa suffers one more concussion, we may not see him ever come back onto the field.
Aaron Rodgers, New York Jets
Aaron Rodgers’ production fell off a cliff last year after back-to-back MVP seasons, but he now finds himself back in an offense loaded with playmakers. (No, not Randall Cobb and Allen Lazard.)
Garrett Wilson could easily step in as Rodgers’ new Davante Adams in New York. With a solid offensive line and a defense that can help put Rodgers in advantageous situations, we could see a top-five season from the future Hall of Fame inductee.
Or was last season a sign of decline in play, and he no longer has the natural ability to elevate this offense? There’s some risk associated with the Jets’ new QB.
Anthony Richardson, Indianapolis Colts
As far as athletes go, you won’t find a better one at the QB position in today’s NFL. Anthony Richardson enters the league as the most athletic player at the position ever at the NFL Combine, and with his rushing upside, he could truly break the way that we play fantasy football.
This throw from Anthony Richardson is just… dropped it right in the bucket in as tight of a window as you’ll see.
If this was caught it would have broken the internet. pic.twitter.com/SRd8A0Ojgy
— Bobby Football (@Rob__Paul) August 12, 2023
Of course, Richardson’s a bit inexperienced and will need time to grow and develop into a solid NFL QB. How quickly he can grow into that will dictate his fantasy upside this season.
If he can become comfortable operating an NFL offense within the first five weeks, Richardson could legitimately push top-five status by the end of the year. On the other hand, if he doesn’t even start the season at QB for the Colts, Richardson might not even be someone worth hanging onto in 1QB formats with shallow benches.
2023 Fantasy Football QBs | Tier 5
Jared Goff, Detroit Lions
Jared Goff proved last year that he can be a steady and reliable fantasy quarterback. But given all of the other quarterbacks that possess rushing upside, Goff slides down into this lower tier.
Derek Carr, New Orleans Saints
Derek Carr was in a bad situation last year in Las Vegas, but he still wasn’t a terrible NFL QB. He’s now a member of the Saints and should be able to rebound for fantasy purposes with all of the playmakers he has surrounding him.
Geno Smith, Seattle Seahawks
Geno Smith was insanely efficient in 2022. Can he keep that up in 2023 with all of the receiving weapons he has around him? If so, he’ll be a steady and reliable fantasy asset.
Russell Wilson, Denver Broncos
Russell Wilson has the potential to be a top-five fantasy football QB with all of the receiving weapons he has in Denver, plus the coaching of Sean Payton! Yet, Wilson also has the potential to be an absolute disappointment like he was last season for fantasy managers.
Ryan Tannehill, Tennessee Titans
Ryan Tannehill wasn’t a reliable fantasy option last year due to battling through some injuries, but we’re just one year removed from him being the QB13 in all of fantasy football.
With DeAndre Hopkins in town, plus the projected development of Treylon Burks, Tannehill could be a solid and stable option for fantasy lineups in 2023.
2023 Fantasy Football QBs | Tier 6
Trey Lance, San Francisco 49ers
Is Trey Lance San Francisco’s starting QB? If so, he’ll be much higher in my rankings than this by the time the season rolls around due to his rushing ability. If Lance is simply the 49ers’ backup, though, he’s not worth rostering this season in deeper formats.
Matthew Stafford, Los Angeles Rams
Matthew Stafford could return to full health this season and be a solid NFL quarterback, but his ceiling is limited due to the lack of receiving weapons outside of Cooper Kupp. Still, Stafford could easily be a consistent top-15 option for lineups week in and week out.
Kenny Pickett, Pittsburgh Steelers
Kenny Pickett rebounded nicely over the latter half of his rookie season, and he has an offense that is loaded with playmakers. While there are still several unknowns, he’s worth taking a look at as a QB2 on your roster in Superflex leagues.
Kenny Pickett and George Pickens will be a DYNAMIC DUO this year pic.twitter.com/NhWlJgIl8B
— Robert Griffin III (@RGIII) August 11, 2023
Jimmy Garoppolo, Las Vegas Raiders
Jimmy Garoppolo is moving away from Kyle Shanahan to Josh McDaniels in an environment that is absolutely a downgrade. The offensive line isn’t as great in Las Vegas, the defense is certainly worse, and the playmakers can’t compare with the likes of Christian McCaffrey and company.
Add in his durability concerns, and Jimmy G’s a risky investment in fantasy this season.
Mac Jones, New England Patriots
Mac Jones was labeled a superstar during his rookie season — yes, that actually happened at one point — but came crashing back down to earth in Year 2. To be fair, most QBs would have sputtered with Matt Patricia as their offensive play-caller…
Regardless, Jones got a coaching upgrade this offseason with Bill O’Brien, but the offensive skill-position players may not be enough to vault him back up the fantasy rankings.
Brock Purdy, San Francisco 49ers
If Brock Purdy is the 49ers’ starter this year, he’ll be much higher than this in my rankings. However, due to a lack of rushing upside, he has a cap from a fantasy standpoint.
He’ll need his playmakers to continue to be insanely efficient, and that’s a risky bet to make for a consistent starter in fantasy lineups. It’s probably best to not get too excited if Purdy is labeled the starter by Week 1.
Jordan Love, Green Bay Packers
Jordan Love showed some good things in his first preseason action, but he still remains a significant mystery heading into 2023.
We’ve barely seen him on the field, and we just don’t know how exactly this offense is going to function without Rodgers in town. Will Matt LaFleur completely lean on the ground game? If so, Love will have a cap to his fantasy production this season.
2023 Fantasy Football QBs | Tier 7
Sam Howell, Washington Commanders
Sam Howell showed some good things in his very small sample size of playing on an NFL field, but there’s not enough to confidently buy-in from a fantasy standpoint just yet.
Baker Mayfield, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Baker Mayfield has plenty of playmakers around him in 2023, but we’ve seen that before throughout his career and it yield very little. Is he even the starting QB for Tampa Bay come Week 1?
Desmond Ridder, Atlanta Falcons
Desmond Ridder was decent down the stretch in 2022, but we have no clue what to expect from him this season. How long of a leash does Ridder have? If he sputters, should we expect Taylor Heinicke to be inserted into the lineup quickly?
Bryce Young, Carolina Panthers
From purely a play perspective, Bryce Young has one of the highest floors we’ve seen from a QB prospect in a few years. However, Young’s size remains a massive concern as to how he’ll hold up to the beating that NFL QBs take over the entirety of a season.
It’s good to be excited about what the future holds for him, but with a below-average receiving corps, it’s best to not get overly optimistic for fantasy purposes in Young’s rookie year.
C.J. Stroud, Houston Texans
C.J. Stroud has some solid potential in the NFL, and he should remain in the league for years to come. However, there will be some growing pains — as there are with any NFL rookie QB — in Year 1, and it’s best to not rely on him from a fantasy standpoint right out of the gate.
Kyler Murray, Arizona Cardinals
Will Kyler Murray even play a snap of football this season? As Murray rehabs from his injury, we’re going to see an anemic offense out there in Arizona to begin the year as they attempt to reset this roster from the previous regime.
This means that we could be looking at a lost season for the Cardinals by the time Murray is ready to return. If that’s the case, is Arizona going to rush him back out there? Or will they have their sights set on the 2024 NFL Draft and attempt to secure as high of a draft pick as possible?
Andy Dalton, Carolina Panthers
Andy Dalton should be slated to be the backup for the entire year in Carolina, but there’s the possibility that he sees game action at some point in 2023.
Jacoby Brissett, Washington Commanders
If Howell struggles as the starter, Washington has a capable backup to turn to in Jacoby Brissett.
Will Levis, Tennessee Titans
Will Levis proved in Week 1 of the preseason that he needs plenty of time to sit and learn. There’s a strong possibility that Malik Willis remains the QB2 in Tennessee and Levis never sees the field in 2023.