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Fantasy Football 2019: Quarterback Rankings and Auction Prices

From Patrick Mahomes to Case Keenum, ranking the top 35 quarterbacks in seven tiers.

Before I dive into my fantasy quarterback rankings and debut post on SI, I'd first like to say that I'm humbled and extremely thankful for the opportunity to join the SI family.

Over the course of the upcoming season, SI will be the new home for my fantasy football rankings and my primary goal is to help contribute to your fantasy success this season. This post has been updated slightly as news has changed. You can also check out my RB, WR, TE and K/DST rankings.

The basis for my rankings are my full-season statistical projections, but you should know that the gap in projected fantasy points from one quarterback to the next can be quite narrow. As an example, the projected difference between Baker Mayfield (QB8) and Jameis Winston (QB9) is a mere 0.02 fantasy points. And that's for the entire season—not per game.

Therefore, I've grouped players into tiers and added auction values based on 12-team, half-PPR scoring formats with $200 budgets.

As you'll notice, both Mayfield and Winston fall into the same tier and have the same suggested auction value. Hopefully that provides some additional context for my rankings when making your draft decisions.

With all of that said, let's get into the rankings themselves.

Note: Rankings and blurbs updated on August 27.

Scroll down for a chart with each player’s ranking.

TIER 1

1. Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs (Bye: 12, Auction: $21)

Not only did he win league MVP in his first full season as a starter, but Mahomes became only the second player in NFL history to throw for 5,000 yards and 50 touchdowns in the same season. When considering Tyreek Hill avoided a league suspension, plus the addition of second-round speedster Mecole Hardman in the draft, Kansas City's skill-position group has arguably more firepower than it did last year. Even so, Mahomes may be overvalued. Yes, he's my top-ranked quarterback, but the opportunity cost of passing on a high-level RB or WR at his current draft-day cost (Round 3) is too rich for my blood given the tremendous depth at quarterback.

2. Deshaun Watson, Houston Texans (Bye: 10, Auction: $15)

In an injury-shortened rookie campaign (2017), Watson posted an elite-but-unsustainable 9.3 TD%. Even though that rate came down to earth in his sophomore campaign (5.1 TD%), he played a full 16-game slate and finished fourth in fantasy points in 2018. Passing for 4,165 yards (11th in the NFL ) and 26 touchdowns (12th), Watson's dual-threat ability (551 yards and five scores on the ground) gives him legitimate QB1 upside. Not only is DeAndre Hopkins arguably the league's best receiver, but if both Will Fuller and Keke Coutee can stay healthy, Watson has one of the best trios of receivers in the league at his disposal.

3. Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers (Bye: 11, Auction: $15)

Since taking over for Brett Favre in 2008, Rodgers has played a full season nine times and has finished as fantasy's QB7 or better in each of those seasons. In his nine healthy seasons as a starter, Rodgers has finished as a top-two fantasy quarterback seven times. Assuming good health, A-Rod is about as safe as it gets.

TIER 2

4. Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers (Bye: 7, Auction: $10)

While a shoulder injury slowed him down the stretch and then prematurely ended his season, Newton was third in fantasy scoring through Week 13. Before 2018, he had finished as the QB4 or better in five of his seven seasons in the league. Not only is a 500-yard, 5-touchdown rushing line typical, but Newton also has a talented group of young playmakers that excel after the catch and I believe he’s currently undervalued compared to his QB11 ADP (via Fantasy Football Calculator).

5. Carson Wentz, Philadelphia Eagles (Bye: 10, Auction: $10)

The obvious concern with Wentz is durability, as the fourth-year quarterback has now missed at least three games in back-to-back seasons. If he can stay healthy, however, he has a ton of upside. Wentz showed how good he could be in 2017 when he was second in fantasy points through Week 14 before missing the season's final three weeks. The field-stretching dynamic that DeSean Jackson adds to the receiving corps gives Wentz the most complete group of weapons he has had in his young career.

6. Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons (Bye: 9, Auction: $8)

Over the past four seasons, Ryan has finished as a top-two fantasy quarterback twice (2016, 2018) and as the QB15 or worse twice (2015, 2017). Dirk Koetter returns to coordinate Atlanta's offense after his offense in Tampa led the league in passing last year with 5,125 yards. While Ryan may not lead the league in passing, the offense has all the pieces in place for another elite fantasy season.

7. Baker Mayfield, Cleveland Browns (Bye: 7, Auction: $8)

In the final eight games of his rookie season, Mayfield threw 19 touchdowns and averaged 8.57 Y/A. Among quarterbacks with a minimum of 100 pass attempts, the only quarterback that performed better over his team's final eight games was Patrick Mahomes (24 TDs, 8.72 Y/A). And that was without Odell Beckham Jr. Going from his rookie season to 2019, Mayfield benefits from both the status quo (Freddie Kitchens) and changes (trade for Beckham).

8. Jameis Winston, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Bye: 7, Auction: $8)

Playing 11 games and starting nine last season, Winston posted career highs in completion percentage (64.6), yards per attempt (7.9) and TD% (5.0), but he also set a career high in INT% (3.7). Winston needs to cut down on turnovers, but he was much better in that regard over his final seven games (13-to-4 TD-INT ratio) and Tampa's passing offense should rank near the top of the league once again.

9. Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks (Bye: 11, Auction: $8)

Not only were Wilson's pass attempts (427) a five-year low, but his rushing attempts (67) were a career low and he failed to rush for a touchdown for the first time in his career. Even so, Wilson finished the season as fantasy's QB9. Before 2018, Wilson ended the year as a top-three QB in three of four seasons and has finished as a top-12 quarterback every year of his career. While his career-best 8.2 TD% was more than two full percentage points above his career average (6.0 TD%), Wilson has thrown at least 34 touchdowns in three of the past four seasons.

10. Jared Goff, Los Angeles Rams (Bye: 9, Auction: $7)

Comparing actual production to preseason ADP, Goff has been undervalued in each of the past two seasons and that could be the case again in 2019. The QB16 in ADP last year, Goff finished seventh in fantasy points. In 2017, he was outside the top 24 QBs in ADP yet finished with a top-12 season. You'd be hard-pressed to find a team with a better trio of wide receivers and Goff seems like a lock for another top-12 season.

TIER 3

11. Dak Prescott, Dallas Cowboys (Bye: 8, Auction: $7)

Yet to finish outside the top 12 in his career, Prescott has been fantasy's QB6, QB11 and QB10, respectively, in his first three NFL seasons and I expect another top-12 performance this year. His consistency begins with his touchdown production—either 22 or 23 passing scores and exactly six rushing scores every year. His 18 rushing touchdowns over that span are a positional high and at least double all quarterbacks not named Cam or Tyrod. A full season with Amari Cooper also bodes well for Prescott, as his splits with Cooper (19.3 fantasy PPG, ninth most) were much better than his numbers without the 25-year-old wideout (16.0 PPG, 23rd).

12. Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints (Bye: 9, Auction: $6)

A model of consistency, Brees has finished as a top-10 fantasy quarterback in 15 consecutive seasons. The days of Brees slinging it 600-plus times appears to be over, however, as his pass attempts in 2017 (536, 33.5/G) and 2018 (489, 32.6/G) are the two lowest of his Saints tenure. Admittedly, it feels a bit weird to rank the future HOFer as the fourth-best option in his own division, but this could be the first time in his Saints tenure that he finishes outside the top 10.

13. Kyler Murray, Arizona Cardinals (Bye: 12, Auction: $5)

In a fast-paced, spread-it-out offense, Murray and Arizona should be fun to watch, at a minimum. The quick passing game should allow their playmakers to get the ball in space and hopefully mask offensive line shortcomings. Last year's Heisman Trophy winner has elite quickness and as we've seen with mobile quarterbacks, fantasy success can come early.

14. Mitch Trubisky, Chicago Bears (Bye: 6, Auction: $5)

Chicago's offense and Trubisky himself started 2018 slowly, but we got a glimpse of how productive he could be when things clicked. Blowing up for a 43.5-point fantasy performance in Week 4, Trubisky began a six-game stretch where he scored more than 27 fantasy points five times. From Weeks 4 to 10, no quarterback scored more fantasy points on a per-game basis than Trubisky (28.0). There is plenty of upside from Trubisky at minimal cost, especially if we see the consistency that eluded him last season.

TIER 4

15. Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers (Bye: 7, Auction: $4)

Since Antonio Brown entered the NFL in 2010, Big Ben has finished as a top-12 fantasy quarterback in only four of those nine seasons—and two of those were just barely: QB12 in 2013 and QB10 in 2017. There may be less locker room drama, but losing such a difference maker will likely impact Roethlisberger's on-field production as well. Given how infrequently he has played a full season, his pronounced home-road splits and the loss of AB, Roethlisberger is outside my top-15 fantasy quarterbacks for 2019.

16. Lamar Jackson, Baltimore Ravens (Bye: 8, Auction: $3)

Starting just seven (regular-season) games, Jackson led the team in rush attempts (147) and was second in rushing yards (695). Even though he eked out only one 200-yard passing game (204 in Week 16), Jackson scored the eighth-most fantasy points per contest during his seven-week stretch as starter. The goal should be for Jackson to run less (for durability's sake), but offensive coordinator Greg Roman has had success orchestrating offenses led by mobile quarterbacks. Here are the fantasy QB finishes in Roman's last four seasons as OC: QB8, QB14 (Tyrod Taylor in Buffalo) and QB16, QB11 (Colin Kaepernick in San Francisco).

17. Josh Allen, Buffalo Bills (Bye: 6, Auction: $3)

Like Jackson, Allen's elite rushing stats compensated for his lack of passing in 2018. After missing some time and then returning following Buffalo's Week 11 bye, no quarterback averaged more fantasy points per game down the stretch (Weeks 12 to 17) than Allen (24.2/G) although Deshaun Watson (24.1/G) was close. Allen averaged a massive 12.93 fantasy points per game from his legs alone—576 rushing yards and five scores—over the final six weeks.

TIER 5

18. Tom Brady, New England Patriots (Bye: 10, Auction: $2)

Since 2002, Brady has played a full 16-game slate in all but two seasons. Excluding his injury- and suspension-shortened campaigns, Brady has performed as a top-12 QB every year except for two (2013 and 2018). On a per-game basis, Brady was fantasy's QB17 in 2018 with a less-dominant version of Rob Gronkowski. With Gronk retired (for now?), the G.O.A.T. is not much more than a fantasy streamer entering his age-42 season.

19. Kirk Cousins, Minnesota Vikings (Bye: 12, Auction: $2)

After three consecutive QB8 (or better) finishes, Cousins finished 2018 as fantasy's QB13 in his first season with the Vikings. With Kevin Stefanski taking over as interim OC in the final three games, the Vikings ran the ball on 47.98% of their plays (compared to their season-long ratio of 35.59%). The biggest concern for Cousins is that his 2019 passing volume could take a year-over-year hit as the Vikings fully implement a run-first approach.

20. Philip Rivers, Los Angeles Chargers (Bye: 12, Auction: $1)

Rivers has finished as a top-12 fantasy quarterback in nine of the past 11 seasons, but he's also finished outside the top 10 in four of the past five. The passing numbers aren't the problem, as my projections call for top-12 numbers in both passing yards (4,192) and passing touchdowns (28) for Rivers; it's the non-existent rushing production (five scoreless yards in his past 32 games). Most of the quarterbacks in the two tiers above use their legs to bolster their fantasy production.

TIER 6

21. Jacoby Brissett, Indianapolis Colts (Bye: 6, Auction: $0)

Given the improvement in weapons, offensive line, offensive coaching staff as well as additional time to become comfortable with the offense compared to his first year as a starter, Brissett could easily outperform his 2017 fantasy performance (QB20).

22. Jimmy Garoppolo, San Francisco 49ers (Bye: 4, Auction: $0)

Garoppolo has been solid—8.5 Y/A, 4.5 TD% and 3.0 INT%—but not spectacular in his nine games played for the 49ers. There is some upside for any quarterback in a Kyle Shanahan offense, but Jimmy G.'s current ADP is ahead of some that I'd prefer over him (Trubisky, Jackson, etc.).