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Best Ball Strategy

Updated Best-Ball QB Tiers

by John Daigle

Tier One


Patrick Mahomes (QB1) -- Previously in a tier of his own, continued speculation of Tyreek Hill's pending availability (and ultimately, Mahomes' inevitable touchdown regression) moves last year's QB1 to a shared tier with other potential top-finishers. Still tossed 50 touchdowns in a season no other signal-caller topped 40 and finished 62 points ahead of the next closest at his position — equivalent to playing two additional games — in '18.


Andrew Luck (QB2) -- 4,539 yards and 39 TDs in his first season under Frank Reich. Career-highs the next likely destination in 2019.


Aaron Rodgers (QB3) -- Bound for positive regression after posting a touchdown rate (4.2%) nearly two percentage points lower than his career average (6.2%) in a hobbled 16-game mess. Obvious QB1 upside that could rival Mahomes' production.


Deshaun Watson (QB4) -- Battled a collapsed lung and ailing shoulder mid-season that limited him to a mere 23.5 pass attempts per game from Weeks 6 - 12. Week 1 will presumably be just the fifth game he's played with DeAndre Hopkins, Will Fuller, and Keke Coutee available.


Tier Two


Cam Newton (QB5) -- Fantasy's QB3 through Week 12 despite being limited in practice and playing through a shoulder injury for a better part of the year. Top-five upside IF healthy (which all signs point to following reports of him already throwing mid-minicamp).


Baker Mayfield (QB6) -- QB7 over the final half of the season in eight starts under coach Freddie Kitchens. Adding a blue chip receiver and downfield-savant for OC only heightens Baker's ceiling.


Matt Ryan (QB7) -- Not only did Atlanta's front office invest in protecting Ryan with LG James Carpenter, RG Jamon Brown, utility lineman Adam Gettis, and rookie OG Chris Lindstrom through free agency and the draft, Atlanta's high-powered offense doesn't play a single game outside of a dome until Week 11. Sixth-hardest schedule (based on Opponent Vegas Win Totals) still a concern.


Jameis Winston (QB8) -- Averaged 22.5 fantasy points in nine starts, including four top-seven finishes. Now commanding Bruce Arians' QB-friendly offense. Warren Sharp currently projects the Bucs with the easiest passing schedule of 2019.


Drew Brees (QB9) -- Top-nine at his position in 13 consecutive seasons. Safest floor in fantasy with 3 - 4 weekly QB1-finishes left in the tank.


Carson Wentz (QB10) -- Scored multiple touchdowns in 8-of-11 outings last year. Eight missed games the past two seasons an obvious concern, but shining reviews throughout offseason workouts suggest Wentz is a full-go bounce-back top-ten option this upcoming season.


Russell Wilson (QB11) -- Career-high 35 TDs clearly an outlier in Brian Schottenheimer's self-indulging ground-and-pound approach. Wilson's 427 passing attempts were over 120 fewer than his 2016 (546) and 2017 (553) marks.


Tier Three


Kyler Murray (QB12) -- Prolific rookie destined to lead coach Kliff Kingsbury's outside-the-box five-wide Air Raid assault. Explosive rushing upside (especially out of the shotgun) leaves obvious room for a ceiling above expectations.


Lamar Jackson (QB13) -- 17 rush attempts per game propelled Jackson to QB5-status in his seven starts to close the year.


Dak Prescott (QB14) -- Closed the year on a high (7.7 YPA, 18 scores, QB4) once Above-Average Amari joined the team in Week 9.


Josh Allen (QB15) -- 2018's QB1 over the final six games, including an average 9/79.3/0.8 rushing in that span. Wildly inaccurate and fun as hell.


Jared Goff (QB16) -- Noticeable landslide once Cooper Kupp went down with a torn ACL. Averaged 21.8 fantasy points per game in eight starts with his reliable slot wideout on the field (and 18.9 without).


Ben Roethlisberger (QB17) -- League-high 5,129 passing yards amid team turmoil. Impact of Antonio Brown's absence will ultimately decide Ben's finish.


Mitchell Trubisky (QB18) -- Last year's Best Ball mid-round hero flashed an unhinged rushing floor to become fantasy's QB9 at the halfway-point until a sprained AC joint derailed his breakout party.



Tier Four


Philip Rivers (QB19) -- Expected to have Keenan Allen, Mike Williams, Hunter Henry, and Melvin Gordon available as every-down players for the first time in his career.


Tom Brady (QB20) -- 20th-overall may seem like a stretch, but Brady finished as the QB14 with right tackle Rob Gronkowski on the field just last year. Averaged 265.3 yards and 7.1 YPA in 12 starts without Gronk the past three seasons.


Jimmy Garoppolo (QB21) -- Averaged a room temperature 18 fantasy points per game in his eight starts under Kyle Shanahan thus far.


Kirk Cousins (QB22) -- Despite front office's efforts to shore up O-line depth this offseason, lack of viable pass-pro remains a legitimate concern for Cousins.


Andy Dalton (QB23) -- Top-10 option with full arsenal through first month before ancillary weapons collapsed. Fourth-round rookie Ryan Finley bound to make developmental starts if Dalton sputters under new coach Zac Taylor.


Matthew Stafford (QB24) -- Failed to eclipse 13 fantasy points in nearly half his starts last year due to coach Matt Patricia's stubborn run-first mentality.


Derek Carr (QB25) -- New regime's concerted effort to build a Carr-proof offense should keep the 28-year-old afloat. Oakland only suffers $5 million in dead cap if he's released in 2020.


Tier Five


Ryan Fitzpatrick (QB26) -- Finished as a top-eight flier in 3-of-7 starts. Played well ahead of Josh Rosen with the first-string offense in all offseason activities. 


Sam Darnold (QB27) -- Bounced back from a mid-season foot injury to finish the year averaging 17.4 fantasy points over last four contests.


Marcus Mariota (QB28) -- Has yet to play a full 16-game season in his young career.


Nick Foles (QB29) -- Lack of consistency outside of miraculous playoff run remains an overshadowing question mark on ground-based offense.


Dwayne Haskins (QB30) -- The apple of Dan Snyder's eye, Haskins is destined to make numerous starts ahead of 32-year-old Colt McCoy (coming off three leg surgeries) and replacement piece Case Keenum.


Eli Manning (QB31) -- One top-10 finish in '18 even with the league's most explosive receiver at his disposal.


Joe Flacco (QB32) -- 34 going on 34.


Josh Rosen (QB33) -- Despite winning in negotiations with the Cardinals, Rosen remains a true project for the Dolphins this season.

John Daigle

You can follow John Daigle on Twitter @notJDaigle.