With the NFL Draft class pretty well set in stone, we have a good idea as to who is staying and who is gone. With that being said, it’s time to rank the returning starting quarterbacks for the 2018 season.
10. Will Grier, West Virginia
Will Grier’s average draft position last season was rather high for a transfer quarterback, but he seemed to be worth the price in the end. With Grier coming back in 2018, it’s safe to say that he’s going to build on his 2017 successes. West Virginia returns David Sills V in the 2018 season, which is huge for Grier’s fantasy potential. Grier would likely be higher on this list if he provided more of a ground threat, but he’s still likely a QB1.
9. Josh Jackson, Virginia Tech
If there is one thing that Justin Fuente has proven he can do, it’s developing a quarterback. Josh Jackson wasn’t a freshman sensation by any means, but he showed flashes last season of being something special. If Fuente can develop the weapons around Jackson, he has the potential to produce similar to Jerod Evans in 2016. His mobility makes him a legitimate fantasy threat, and he’s only improving.
8. Trace McSorley, Penn State
There are some who believe that Trace McSorley will improve his stats in 2018 with Saquon Barkley gone, and those who believe he will falter. I personally believe that McSorley will regress in 2018. Saquon Barkley is one of Penn State’s greatest players, and regardless of how talented McSorley is, he lost a huge weapon. McSorley will still be a top-10 fantasy starter in 2018, but he won’t live up to his previous seasons.
7. McKenzie Milton, UCF
McKenzie Milton was one of the most added quarterbacks after Week 1 and won’t fly under anyone’s radar in 2018. Milton loses Scott Frost, but UCF is out to prove that they belong with the best. Milton threw for 4,000 yards last season and will at least top 3,500 in 2018. Trequan Smith has declared for the NFL Draft, but Milton’s running ability will make up for his loss.
6. D’Eriq King, Houston
After several quarterback changes in 2017, D’Eriq King has proven to Coach Applewhite that he’s the top dog in Houston. After taking over for Kyle Postma, D’Eriq King passed for 1,238 yards and six touchdowns in five games while adding 333 rushing yards and seven touchdowns on the ground. Houston seems to thrive with predominately mobile quarterbacks, as we’ve seen with Greg Ward in the past. King has an incredibly high ceiling and should be a first-round fantasy quarterback.
5. Drew Lock, Missouri
Most of the time, pass-heavy quarterbacks wouldn’t be featured this high on a standard-format scoring list, but Drew Lock is different. Lock almost topped 4,000 passing yards in the SEC last season and has progressively gotten better over time. Missouri’s schedule (with the exception of Alabama and Georgia) is incredibly soft this season, with matchups against Memphis, UT Martin, Wyoming, Arkansas, and the possibility of a shootout with Purdue in Week 3. Lock will top 4,000 passing yards (barring injury) as he goes on to build his draft tape.
4. Nick Fitzgerald, Mississippi
You could argue that Fitzgerald should take a huge step back after a gruesome injury and a coaching change, but I’m glass-half-full. Fitzgerald was able to go toe-to-toe against Alabama last season and proved that he can produce a large number of points within the SEC. Joe Moorhead is the new coach for the Bulldogs, and he took the 2014 114th-ranked Penn State offense and made it a top-20 unit in his short time there. Moorhead will do more good than harm for Fitz, especially if he can develop his arm.
3. Nathan Rourke, Ohio
Nathan Rourke was drafted in 0% of leagues last season and will likely be the third or fourth quarterback off the board in 2018. Rourke passed for 2,200+ yards and almost topped 1,000 yards rushing in 2017. He also scored 21 touchdowns on the ground, which is precisely what makes him such a valuable asset. Expect Rourke to lead Ohio to the top of the MAC and lead your fantasy team to the playoffs.
2. Justice Hansen, Arkansas State
Do you remember the two-week span when Justice Hansen passed for 957 yards and six touchdowns? That happened in 2017, and that’s why Hansen is the most dangerous pass-first quarterback in the 2018 fantasy class. Hansen is likely to top 4,000 passing yards this season and lead his Red Wolves to a Sun Belt title in 2018. He would be the top fantasy quarterback in 2018 if not for a midseason sensation named …
1. Khalil Tate, Arizona
Khalil Tate in 2017 was the Lamar Jackson of 2016. Tate was given an opportunity to prove his worth, and he responded by rushing for 327 yards and four touchdowns in his debut. Tate is only getting better as a passer, as he proved in the bowl matchup against Purdue in which he threw for 302 yards and five touchdowns. The Kevin Sumlin hire will only work in Tate’s favor. Some of Sumlin’s best offenses revolved around mobile quarterbacks, and that is Tate’s strong suit. Tate is the most athletic returning starter, and he will be the first QB off draft boards in 2018.