Putting players into tiers is a great way to approach your fantasy football drafts. Tiers organize players of similar value into groups of any size so that targeting players is a bit easier to navigate. That way if you miss out on a certain player, you can target someone of near equal value from the same tier. With that in mind, today we’ll sort through the quarterback tiers and hopefully get you more prepared for your upcoming fantasy football drafts.
With plenty of fantasy drafts still to complete, using tiers to guide us through the draft process is a helpful tool to maximizing the value of your rosters when you’re on the clock. These quarterback tiers reflect my quarterback rankings but organize them in such a way that I can keep tabs of when to prioritize drafting a certain position based on supply and demand.
Quarterback Tiers for 2023 Fantasy Football
Tier 1: The Cream of the Crop
- Jalen Hurts, Philadelphia Eagles
- Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs
- Josh Allen, Buffalo Bills
The three players in this quarterback tier are elite options for fantasy football. They are the only three quarterbacks to average 24.0 or more points per game throughout the 2022 fantasy football season. There is no correct order in which to draft them, but you’ll likely have to use one of your first three picks to do so. It’s worth it.
Jalen Hurts and Josh Allen are both locks to rush over 100 times this season. In two seasons as the Eagles’ starter, Hurts has averaged over 150 rush attempts. He set a career high 165 last year which led all quarterbacks. Josh Allen also rushed a career-high 124 times in 2022. He has an average of 114 rush attempts over the last four seasons. Their elite rushing upside in addition to their passing capabilities to some of the best receiving weapons in the game belongs in a quarterback tier of it’s own.
Then there’s Patrick Mahomes. After the Chiefs traded away Tyreek Hill before last season, Mahomes still put together an MVP campaign. His 5,250 passing yards in 2022 are a career-high. His 41 touchdown passes are the second-highest total of his career. Patrick Mahomes is simply the best quarterback in the game until further notice.
Tier 2: Confident QB1 Options
4. Lamar Jackson, Baltimore Ravens
5. Justin Herbert, Los Angeles Chargers
6. Justin Fields, Chicago Bears
7. Joe Burrow, Cincinnati Bengals
8. Trevor Lawrence, Jacksonville Jaguars
If I don’t get my hands on one of the elite options in the first quarterback tier, I’m going to leave my drafts with one of these quarterbacks. I’m not waiting long to draft a quarterback in most, if not all, 2023 fantasy football formats.
Lamar Jackson heads this tier as the player most capable of making his way into the elite quarterback tier above him as he’s done it before. Jackson’s 2019 MVP season yielded 28.1 fantasy points per game. He averaged 10.84 points per game from rushing alone that season, the most of all-time. Justin Fields’ 10.82 points per game from rushing in 2022 is the second-most of all time from a fantasy quarterback. Both Jackson and Fields pose the same rushing threat but have better receiving weapons in 2023, as well.
Joe Burrow, Justin Herbert, and Trevor Lawrence don’t have as much rushing upside, but all three have some of the best groups of pass catchers in the game. All three of these quarterbacks led their teams to the playoffs last season with a chance to do so again. Both Burrow and Lawrence improved their points per game average from 2021 to 2022. While Herbert took a step back, mostly due to rib and shoulder injuries, he averaged 22.57 points per game in 30 fantasy applicable performances over the two seasons prior.
Tier 3: High-Floor, High-Ceiling Options to Fall Back On
9. Deshaun Watson, Cleveland Browns
10. Daniel Jones, New York Giants
11. Anthony Richardson, Indianapolis Colts
12. Dak Prescott, Dallas Cowboys
13. Kirk Cousins, Minnesota Vikings
14. Geno Smith, Seattle Seahawks
15. Aaron Rodgers, New York Jets
16. Tua Tagovailoa, Miami Dolphins
This is a pretty large quarterback tier. If you’re drafting one of these players in a 1QB league, odds are you end up picking up another one of the quarterbacks in this same tier to start at some point or another. The players in this tier aren’t exactly “matchup proof” like those in the two tiers above. However, of the eight in this quarterback tier, I’m confidence four of them will round out the top-12 of the position by season’s end. I don’t expect any surprises, namely players in tier four or beyond, to finish as a QB1 in fantasy football.
Anthony Richardson coming in at 11 is a perfect example of why tiers matter. If you don’t necessarily agree with taking Richardson as the QB11 off of the board, that’s fine. He’s considered, to me, as capable of starting consistently in fantasy football as the other players in this tier. I wouldn’t argue against drafting any of the quarterbacks listed before him because they’re in the same tier.
Richardson is ranked as such due to the fact that he was already named the Week 1 starter. I expect him to rush more than 100 times this season. All five quarterbacks who rushed 100 or more times in 2022 finished inside the top-10 at the position.
Tier 4: Solid Superflex/2QB Players and 1QB League Streamers
17. Jared Goff, Detroit Lions
18. Russell Wilson, Denver Broncos
19. Brock Purdy, San Francisco 49ers
20. Kyler Murray, Arizona Cardinals
21. Derek Carr, New Orleans Saints
22. Matthew Stafford, Los Angeles Rams
These players are matchup-based options if you’re streaming the position in 1QB leagues. Realistically, if you’re in a 10-team league, none of these guys should be on a roster this season. The only exceptions are Kyler Murray and Brock Purdy. However, we are in “wait and see” mode with them as they both work back from injuries. When healthy, the upside from each is undeniable.
Goff, Wilson, Carr and Stafford are all veterans who don’t have much left to surprise us with. We know what they’re capable of and they have solid options to throw to in their respective offenses. None of them present rushing upside worth targeting which lowers their ceiling, too. If they are to post 20.0+, or close to it, fantasy points, odds are they’ve thrown three touchdown passes. Given their team’s respective run games, that’s less likely to happen any given week.
Tier 5: Young Players with Plenty Still to Prove
23. Bryce Young, Carolina Panthers
24. Kenny Pickett, Pittsburgh Steelers
25. Jordan Love, Green Bay Packers
26. Sam Howell, Washington Commanders
27. C.J. Stroud, Houston Texans
This quarterback tier has a combined 14 NFL regular season starts with a total of 13 passing touchdowns. Obviously two of these players are rookies, but that still speaks to the inexperience from the other three. You’re likely not starting any of these guys this season in 10 and 12-team size 1QB leagues. However, in Superflex and 2QB leagues, they’re likely all starting steadily given the necessity of them to do so in the format.
After sitting behind Aaron Rodgers for three straight seasons, Jordan Love finally gets a chance to start on a week-to-week basis. The Green Bay Packers are his team. Speaking of inexperience, though, Love’s core group of pass catchers are all second-year players or rookies. To expect him to light the league on fire throwing to Christian Watson, Romeo Doubs, Jayden Reed, and Luke Musgrave right away is a tall order. However, Love and the Packers have a great schedule and he could be a major breakout in 2023.
Sam Howell might have the highest upside amongst this group. It’s becoming clear that Howell should have never fallen to the fifth round of last year’s NFL Draft. He presents the most rushing upside evident by his 183/828/11 rushing line from his 2021 season at the University of North Carolina.
Tier 6: The “Break Glass in Case of Emergency” Group
28. Jimmy Garoppolo, Las Vegas Raiders
29. Desmond Ridder, Atlanta Falcons
30. Mac Jones, New England Patriots
31. Ryan Tannehill, Tennessee Titans
32. Baker Mayfield, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
None of these players will sniff 1QB league lineups. If you’re starting any of these guys in Superflex or 2QB leagues, you’ve either suffered an injury to a starter or you heavily neglected drafting your second quarterback. Either way, you’re praying for a miracle any week they do start. Ryan Tannehill has the highest weekly potential to emerge as a top-24 option. Even then, though, Derrick Henry is still likely to command such a heavy workload out of the backfield that Tannehill should have closer to 10.0 points per game than 20.0 each week.
Backup Quarterbacks to Keep in Mind
Tyler Huntley is the most valuable handcuff quarterback in the league. He’s worked behind Lamar Jackson since 2020 and plays a very similar style game. Lamar Jackson likely plays through more minor injuries now that he’s gotten paid so hopefully, for Jackson’s sake, we don’t see a ton of Huntley in meaningful 2023 games, if any at all.
Mike White is a free agent pickup for the Miami Dolphins that’s capable of big game performances and keeping the offense afloat if Tua Tagovailoa were to miss time for whatever reason this season. Tua does have a history of concussions.
Marcus Mariota is having a rough training camp, but he’s the presumed backup behind Jalen Hurts in Philadelphia. If the Eagles were to surprisingly cut him, Tanner McKee would be my guess to work behind Hurts this season.
Jameis Winston might be the best backup quarterback in the league. He’s familiar with the New Orleans Saints’ system and would likely sustain Saints skill position values if Carr wasn’t available.
Andy Dalton is the veteran backup to first overall pick, Bryce Young. However, if Young, known for barely being 200 pounds, were to go down, the Panthers’ offense is that much harder to trust for fantasy football.
Zach Wilson won’t see the field for the New York Jets unless absolutely necessary. Aaron Rodgers is 39-years old so never say never. If Wilson does take the field, Rodgers is still available to mentor him with the best group of pass catchers and running backs Wilson has had so far in his career.
For more great rankings and analysis, make sure to check out our 2023 Fantasy Football Draft Kit!
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