Congratulations, folks! We’ve made it! After months of waiting, fantasy football draft season is upon us. After spending the past four months analyzing, assessing, and curating my rankings, I’ve settled on a handful of “my guys.” Here are the top five QBs I am not trying to leave any fantasy draft without.
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Top QBs To Draft in Fantasy Football in 2023
Every year is different. Some years, there are only a couple of guys at a particular position I really like. Other years, there are a bunch. So, the number in the article title will likely be different each year and for each position.
This year, I have five QBs going in various parts of fantasy drafts that I don’t want to leave without. I’ve listed them in ADP order.
Jalen Hurts, Philadelphia Eagles (ADP: QB3)
I am fully aware that listing one of the “big three” QBs is not exactly within the spirit of this exercise. But I’m doing it anyway.
Hurts is the consensus QB3. I have him at QB1. If I decide to take a quarterback in the third round, regardless of whether Patrick Mahomes or Josh Allen is on the board, it will be Hurts if he is there.
With 25.6 fantasy points per game, Hurts was the overall QB1 last season. The Eagles now have a tougher schedule, which will force them to actually try and score points in the second half. They also added D’Andre Swift to go along with A.J. Brown, DeVonta Smith, and Dallas Goedert, forming one of the best supporting casts in the league.
A shoulder injury cost Hurts the NFL MVP award last season. This year, he’s going to stay healthy, repeat as QB1, and win it.
Justin Herbert, Los Angeles Chargers (ADP: QB7)
If I don’t push the button on Hurts in the third round, my top target at the quarterback position is Justin Herbert. Just one year ago, this guy was going ahead of Mahomes in some fantasy drafts. What changed?
Fantasy managers appear scared off by Herbert’s 17.1 ppg, QB15 finish. Herbert threw just 25 touchdowns on 699 attempts last season. That’s just a 3.6% touchdown. His touchdown rate was over 5% each of his first two seasons.
The only changes I see are positive ones. The Chargers upgraded at offensive coordinator, bringing in Kellen Moore, who orchestrated the top-scoring offense in two of his seasons in Dallas. He plays fast and pushes the ball downfield, which suits Herbert’s strength.
The Chargers also drafted Quentin Johnston in the first round, adding him to a receiving corps that already features Keenan Allen and Mike Williams.
I’m projecting the Chargers to lead the NFL in both pace of play and pass attempts. Herbert may very well toss it up over 700 times. He is my dark horse pick to finish as the overall QB1.
Tua Tagovailoa, Miami Dolphins (ADP: QB11)
It is not my preferred strategy to wait this long on quarterback this season. I’m not necessarily trying to get one of the top three QBs, but I am trying to get one of the next group of Lamar Jackson, Joe Burrow, Justin Herbert, and Justin Fields. But sometimes, the draft board forces you in different directions.
If I end up being one of the last teams to take a starting quarterback, I am very interested in Tua Tagovailoa.
The Dolphins signal-caller averaged 18.4 ppg last season, finishing as the QB9. He displayed elite upside, as evidenced by a 40-point game on his résumé. He plays in one of the league’s most explosive offenses with one of the 10 best wide receivers in the history of the game (yeah, I said it).
Mike McDaniel’s offense is pass-first and can be even more so if Tua can stay healthy. Of course, that is the biggest question mark.
I refuse to believe Tagovailoa is somehow “prone to concussions.” No doubt he took some ugly falls last season, but having a concussion two, maybe three times is more bad luck than anything else. If healthy, he’s one of the very few immobile QBs that has top-five upside.
Geno Smith, Seattle Seahawks (ADP: QB16)
Can someone explain to me why Geno Smith’s ADP is QB16? I’m pretty sure he finished as a QB1 last season. Hang on, let me check … yep. 18.5 ppg, good for a QB8 finish.
I understand the fears that last year was a fluke. Given how unprecedented Smith’s 10th-year breakout was, caution is definitely warranted. But QB16? Now we’ve gone too far.
I have Smith ranked as my QB12. If I miss out on all the top mobile QBs, as well as the Tua/Dak Prescott tier, Smith will almost certainly be my QB1, given his cost.
It turns out all Pete Carroll needed to actually implement a modern, forward-thinking offense was to get rid of the thing evidently holding it back — Russell Wilson.
The Seahawks, notoriously one of the most run-heavy teams in the league, had a 60% neutral game script pass rate last season.
Nothing about Smith’s performance last year suggests it isn’t repeatable. He was excellent under pressure. He was accurate downfield. He’s got two stud receivers in DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett. Plus, the Seahawks added first-round WR Jaxon Smith-Njigba and took the pass-catching Zach Charbonnet in the second.
I am all-in on Smith as a legitimate QB1 in fantasy this season.
Kyler Murray, Arizona Cardinals (ADP: QB25)
This one is more for the folks in deeper leagues. In a shallow league, you cannot afford to sit on Kyler Murray unless your league has multiple IR spots. But in deeper leagues, well, hear me out.
I will be the first person to tell you I do not believe Murray is going to play football this season. Yet, I want to draft him and throw him on my IR.
If I take a top QB, I won’t bother with this. But in situations where I don’t, odds are, a healthy Murray would be drafted near or above whoever my QB1 is.
Obviously, Murray is not healthy. And the Cardinals project to be the worst team in football. There’s a very real chance that by the time Murray is ready to return, the Cardinals are something like 2-7 and just shut him down.
However, there’s also a chance Murray returns. Even if he’s not running as much, he still has top 5-8 upside as a passer. This man is going as a fantasy QB3. He’s free!
During last nights broadcast the #AZCardinals showed some Kyler Murray workouts and it looks very promising. He was sprinting with the sled and his drop back looked crispy😮💨
— Cardinals Update (@updatecardinals) August 12, 2023
I have no idea who out of the double-digit-round WRs or RBs is going to break out. There are guys I want to take shots on. But they’re all low-probability outcomes.
I am certain that a healthy Murray is a fantasy QB1. Take the swing very late in deeper fantasy drafts.