Fantasy football: 5 quarterback breakout candidates for 2022

Trey Lance is going to win leagues this season.

Everyone wants to draft Josh Allen in fantasy football this year, but are you willing to spend a third or even a second-round pick to get him?

If not, there are many other productive options at quarterback this season, with QBs 2-10 all capable of posting big numbers this fall.

If you decide to wait until really late to draft a QB (or if you play in a two-QB league), consider these five QB breakout candidates who have the potential to outperform their average draft positions this season.

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Dak Prescott vs. Jalen Hurts: Which quarterback should you draft?

If you had to draft one in fantasy football, which would it be?

The battle to win the NFC East is expected to be a two-horse race between the Dallas Cowboys and the Philadelphia Eagles. Perhaps no two players will have as much of a say in which team ends up with the NFC crown as quarterbacks Dak Prescott and Jalen Hurts.

Prescott has been handsomely compensated to bring a Lombardi Trophy back to Dallas for the first time since Troy Aikman was at the wheel. Hurts is facing a watershed season in his career to prove he can be a complete quarterback instead of a runner with a quarterback’s number. With Hurts getting more weapons and Prescott losing his most seasoned one, the battle is closer now.

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Fantasy football draft prep: When to take a quarterback

What is the best strategy for selecting a quarterback?

It’s not a question. It is a directive.

There are many ways to address the selection of your first quarterback in a fantasy football draft, but there also is the best way to do it.

And that is waiting on the position.

Time after time, inexperienced players draft a quarterback too early, or they draft two stud quarterbacks. These inexcusable errors at least make sense … the name value is what jumps out at people. It’s a quarterback-driven league, and most casual gamers recognize the top passers over lesser known running backs and receivers.

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This is not to say it is impossible to win drafting an early-round quarterback. It definitely is doable, but that pick, along with all of the other core positional choices in the first half of the draft need to be on the mark. That rarely happens for a novice player.

Recent trends

Looking back at the last five years, the table below illustrates how the first five drafted quarterbacks, in terms of ADP, fared in relation to their fantasy ranking at that season’s end.

The “fantasy ranking” columns represent where in the order the player finished and is then correlated to his respective draft placement. For example, the first quarterback chosen each of the past five seasons has not finished as QB1. Or QB2. Not even QB3. Twice as many finished as fantasy backups as they did even being within in the top six quarterbacks.

The results were substantially better for the second quarterback chosen, but the third player picked barely qualified as as starting fantasy passer.

The median finish for the first chosen QB was 10th, whereas the fifth quarterback drafted finished as the median QB2. Each one of the five were better than QB10. Among the 60 quarterbacks selected in the top 12 over the past five seasons, 38 percent finished the year as backups in fantasy points generated. That said, 35 percent ended up as solid QB1s, finishing in the top six at the position.

  • The first quarterback was drafted at an average of 25th overall in the past five years.
  • Eight of the 10 quarterbacks chosen between Rounds 6 and 7 turned out to be fantasy starters, proving to be the sweet spot in recent times.
  • Twenty-one of 30 QBs drafted in the first half of perceived starters proved to be top-12 quarterbacks.
  • Sixteen of the 30 QBs drafted in the back half of perceived starters proved to be top-12 passers.

Those final two points tell an interesting tale. Quarterbacks drafted inside of the top six players at the position per ADP more frequently finished as starters, showing gamers tend to get the names right, but not necessarily in the correct order. Twenty-three percent of those picks fell within the tier of QB10-12 in actual results. But a drafter is 1.5 times more likely to pick a top-three QB in ADP and get a QB10 or worse than a QB9 or better.

The takeaway from the final bullet should be waiting gives nearly a coin flip odds that the player will finish in the top nine at his position. Granted, the same 47 percent were backups, but this should be a lesson in perceived vs. relative value. Waiting longer offers a better chance to pick up value elsewhere and mitigate inflated risk of blowing it in the early rounds.

Furthermore, any quarterback drafted between the QB10-12 slots often is chosen with greatly depreciated expectations of being a plug-n-play starter. If a QB is chosen as the QB10 and finishes QB15, big whoop … this is far less punitive than choosing a player at QB2 and getting a QB7. We’re talking some 70 picks elapsed in between, whereas only 29 picks separate 10 and 15, on average.

ADP Order
Percentage of
fantasy ranking
1-3 4-6 7-9 10-12 13+ 1-3 4-6 7-9 10-12 13+
QB10 25 1st 0 1 1 1 2 0% 20% 20% 20% 40%
QB5 35 2nd 2 2 0 1 0 40% 40% 0% 20% 0%
QB11 61 3rd 0 0 0 4 1 0% 0% 0% 80% 20%
QB10 70 4th 0 2 0 1 2 0% 40% 20% 20% 40%
QB2 77 5th 3 1 1 0 0 60% 20% 20% 0% 0%
QB1-3 2 3 1 6 3 13% 20% 7% 40% 20%
QB4-6 3 4 1 1 6 20% 27% 7% 7% 40%
QB7-9 0 3 4 2 6 0% 20% 27% 13% 40%
QB10-12 5 1 1 0 8 33% 7% 7% 0% 53%
Summary 10 11 7 9 23 17% 18% 12% 15% 38%

Looking at it from a different perspective, what is the “return on investment” (ROI) for early-, mid-, and late-round quarterbacks?

ADP Median
fantasy rank
ADP Median
fantasy rank
1 25 10 -9 12 117 13 -1
2 35 5 -3 13 121 7 6
3 61 11 -8 14 127 10 4
4 70 10 -6 15 129 7 8
5 77 2 3 16 134 13 3
6 83 19 -13 17 145 12 5
7 87 17 -10 18 149 19 -1
8 94 14 -6 19 153 18 1
9 99 4 5 20 163 9 11
10 102 20 -10 21 171 25 -4
11 111 6 5

This data from the same time period shows the top four quarterbacks by ADP actually returned negatively on investment. Only three of the top 12 quarterbacks per ADP even turned a fantasy profit. Between QB13-21 selected, seven of the nine paid dividends. In a nutshell, the majority of quarterbacks drafted after Round 8 lived up to and/or exceeded expectations. Only 12.5 percent of QBs chosen before that exceeded their perceived value.

Now this isn’t a perfect way of evaluating the situation, because injuries cannot be predicted. It is a sound baseline to depict that early-round quarterbacks generate a greater loss on profit potential. Again, none of this is saying you cannot win your league with an top-three quarterback, but it does mean your other picks must be more accurate.

QB1-3 produced an average of -7 ROI
QB4-6 produced an average of -5 ROI
QB7-9 produced an average of -4 ROI
QB10-12 produced an average of -2 ROI
QB13-15 produced an average of +6 ROI
QB16-18 produced an average of +2 ROI
QB19-21 produced an average of +3 ROI

To be fair, the bar is lower for anyone drafted as a perceived backup, and the trends show the later the player is chosen, the less likely they are to return QB1 results. There’s a middle ground to be understood. If the QB13 gains an average of six spots in actual results, he is a QB7 — nice win for fantasy value. If he’s a QB3 and finishes as a QB10, while he is indeed a top-10 fantasy quarterback, gamers need to recognize the loss they experience in profit from other positions between those 60 average draft spots in between those specific placements. Sensing a theme?

Two-quarterback leagues

This format radically changes the valuation of the position. A good rule of thumb is taking your first quarterback target in the two rounds and then coming back for a second in the next four rounds.

Presuming the league is a 12-teamer, you have 24 quarterbacks being used each week. It’s improbable to find 24 NFL starting quarterbacks worthy of a typical fantasy play on a given week, so there’s often “plug your nose” decisions to be made if you indeed wait it out to the latter stages before securing your No. 2 and 3 passers.

2021 prediction for traditional leagues

Which quarterbacks should meet or exceed their draft placement in 2021?

No. Name Team ADP
1 Pat Mahomes KC 2.09
2 Josh Allen BUF 3.12
3 Kyler Murray ARI 4.06
4 Lamar Jackson BAL 5.01
5 Dak Prescott DAL 5.07
6 Justin Herbert LAC 6.01
7 Aaron Rodgers GB 6.03
8 Russell Wilson SEA 6.09
9 Tom Brady TB 7.06
10 Matthew Stafford LAR 7.12
11 Jalen Hurts PHI 8.11
12 Ryan Tannehill TEN 8.12
13 Joe Burrow CIN 9.08
14 Matt Ryan ATL 10.11
15 Trevor Lawrence JAX 11.03
16 Deshaun Watson HOU 11.06
17 Baker Mayfield CLE 11.12
18 Trey Lance SF 12.1
19 Kirk Cousins MIN 13.02
20 Ben Roethlisberger PIT 13.11
21 Justin Fields CHI 14.02
22 Jameis Winston NO 14.07
23 Ryan Fitzpatrick WAS 14.07
24 Tua Tagovailoa MIA 14.08
25 Cam Newton NE 14.09
26 Derek Carr LV 14.11

The players highlighted in green stand the best chance of substantially exceeding their draft placement. One can argue until the end of time over which players in what order and why, so understand this is an exercise in identifying profit potential and not a rule. It’s not saying QB26 Derek Carr will outplay QB2 Josh Allen. It’s saying Josh Allen has to outplay all other QBs not named Patrick Mahomes to live up to the investment. It is more likely Carr plays like, oh, say, QB16 (spot starter) than QB26 (likely remains on waivers all year) is all.

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The most important take away from this year’s review of ADP vs. projected results is that fantasy footballers must realize the drop-off in statistical returns is so small. The difference typically is the elite fantasy players post more huge games, while the low-end starters often plod along with serviceable but unsexy results.

Look at it like this … the average loss in fantasy points per game from QB1-3 to QB4-6 last year was 1.1 points per game. From QB4-6 to QB7-9 was 2.2 point per contest, and following that trend downward is an average loss of only 1.7 points from the last grouping of starting QBs to the previous tier. From QB1-3 to QB10-12 is only 3.9 fantasy points, on average. Odds are you’ll be able to make that up, especially in PPR leagues, at running back, receiver and tight end by waiting on quarterback.

Sound Off: Which QB do you plan to draft first in 2020?

Will our readers agree with the ADP data for the first QB to be chosen?

We always enjoy seeing reader feedback at The Huddle, and our “Sound Off” series is a fine way to get a finger on the pulse of our viewers. In today’s poll, the answers should help illustrate whether there’s a clear consensus or a more polarized view on the elite players at the quarterback position.

In the event you choose to wait on the position and wouldn’t draft any of these guys, please opine as to which one you feel should go first. Per Fantasy Football Calculator’s ADP data in a 12-team, PPR draft, the top four are listed in order for this poll. Do you agree with the data?

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Fantasy football preseason preview: Quarterbacks

Looking at the state of quarterbacks before the preseason

Quarterbacks run the ball much more for the last couple of seasons, even if that stems from just a few players. But they are all young and a sign of things to come.  And with that change in offensive direction, all other ball-handling positions are impacted – usually negatively.

The position is still less valued in fantasy terms since most leagues only start one and the difference between players is less with their marginal demand. But as goes the quarterback, so goes the fantasy fortunes of all their offensive players.

Joe Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

Quarterback Totals by Year

The overall passes have gone down slightly for the last few seasons and the touchdown passes regressed from the near record-high of 2018. But the rushing attempts are at a record-high for the last two seasons along with more touchdowns scored on the ground than ever.  That’s more than just the top few rushing quarterbacks, but they still account for a huge chunk of those totals.

Top Ten Quarterback Totals by Year

The amount of passes thrown by the top quarterbacks is one of the lowest in the last decade. They also threw 63 fewer touchdowns than in 2018 – almost 20% fewer. And yet, the rushing yardage blew the record out of the water. Thanks in no small part to Lamar Jackson (1,206), Kyler Murray (544), Josh Allen (510), and Deshaun Watson (413), the top ten fantasy quarterbacks almost doubled the rushing yardage gained in the last decade.

The rushing touchdown total (38) also was nearly double that of most recent years. Those top four rushing quarterbacks mentioned above accounted for 27 ground scores by themselves – more than the entire league in most years.

In the team breakdowns below, the most common statistics and fantasy points are shown, along with the individual quarterback that led their team.

Arizona Cardinals

Kyler Murray – Pass: 542-349-3722-20, Rush: 93-544-4

Granted – 2018 was a horrible season by all accounts. The offense imploded and they tore down the coaching staff. But in HC Kliff Kingsbury’s first season, the change was dramatic and more so considering that the new offense was headed by the rookie Kyler Murray.

The position is locked up for at least the next four years and likely beyond. Murray not only threw for 20 scores but he also only tossed 12 interceptions. And he added 100 runs for 553 yards. The only negative so far is that their schedule has been much worse than most teams. Adding DeAndre Hopkins is a major boost for a team that already should see increased development for Christian Kirk, Keesan Johnson, Andy Isabella, and Hakeem Butler.

Training Camp Needs: Mainly just integrate DeAndre Hopkins into an already up-and-coming offense.

Atlanta Falcons

Matt Ryan – Pass: 616-408-4466-26, Rush: 34-148-1

The first season of OC Dirk Koetter went well enough with Matt Ryan breaking the 5,000-yard mark. His touchdown totals dropped from 35 to 29, and he doesn’t offer much as a rusher. But the addition of Todd Gurley should pay some dividends to a weak rushing offense. He could also prevent Ryan from throwing more touchdown passes as well.

The only change for Ryan is losing Austin Hooper (75-787-6) and replacing him with Hayden Hurst. Ryan has emerged as a solid fantasy start for the last two seasons and nothing here has changed that jeopardizes a repeat. The Falcons traded away Mohamed Sanu at Week 8 last year and that sparked Calvin Ridley. The offense is now much more standard with the two wideouts and a tight end accounting for almost all the passing stats.

Training Camp Needs: Working with Hayden Hurst will pay some dividends.

Baltimore Ravens

Lamar Jackson – Pass: 401-265-3127-36, Rush: 176-1206-7

Lamar Jackson’s passing stats were anemic as a rookie in 2018 though he was a strong runner. Last season, he threw less and yet somehow managed to more than double the passing touchdowns to 37 – tops in the NFL. He also rushed for over 1,000-yards and in short, led many fantasy teams to the promised land last year.

With six 100-yard rushing efforts, Jackson was a top fantasy play every week and a dominating difference maker in most. The Ravens haven’t changed anything notable for 2019 but should be at least incrementally better from Marquise Brown entering his second season, along with introducing talented rookies of running back J.K. Dobbins and wideout Devin Duvernay.

Training Camp Needs: Keep Jackson healthy. Sharpen the chemistry with the receivers just in case he cannot run all over every defense again this year.

Buffalo Bills

Josh Allen – Pass: 461-271-3089-20, Rush: 109-510-9

The rookie Allen struggled in 2018 but spent last season cranking out a surprising amount of fantasy points, even if many were related to his rushing production instead of passing. His 3,448 passing yards were only average along with the 20 touchdowns but he ran in nine scores along with 506 yards as a runner.

The Bills enter their third season with OC Brian Daboll and have added Stefon Diggs as the pricey new primary wideout. John Brown was a pleasant surprise last year when he broke 1,000 yards but only Cole Beasley managed to top 400 receiving yards. The addition of Diggs can only help.

Allen turned in over 40 rushing yards in over half of his games last year. That will continue to help his consistent fantasy scoring.

Training Camp Needs: Work on chemistry with Stefon Diggs. The team would benefit greatly from an improved passing offense.

Carolina Panthers

Kyle Allen – Pass: 489-303-3322-17, Rush: 32-106-2

This is a rebuilding year and last year’s stats bear out why. The Panther cleaned house of both coaches and quarterbacks after the implosion of 2019. HC Matt Ruhe (ex-Baylor HC) brings plenty of promise to the team but they’ve thrown their current future behind Teddy Bridgewater who looked good manning the juggernaut of the Saints’ offense. But – an entirely new scheme is being installed with a new quarterback.

Fantasy fans are reasonably cool for 2019 for the Panthers even though they have one of the better passing schedules. They’ve added Robbie Anderson as an upgrade over the disappointing Curtis Samuel but gave up Greg Olsen. That may not be material unless the offense needs a receiving tight end.

With so many unknowns, there could be an opportunity here but mostly just a lot of risk, fantasy-wise.

Training Camp Needs: A lot. The scheme is all new and Bridgewater has to adapt. New receiver in Anderson. Worth watching and again – better schedule than most. But missed time because of the COVID-19  already puts the team at a disadvantage.

Chicago Bears

Mitchell Trubisky – Pass: 516-326-3138-18, Rush: 48-193-2

There was some optimism carried over from 2018 and the Bears faced one of the best schedules last year. It did not matter. Mitchell Trubisky regressed in most areas and the Bears move into yet another offensive coordinator in Bill Lazor (ex-CIN HC). Trubisky was the 1.02 pick in 2017 and has been thoroughly outplayed by Patrick Mahomes, and Deshaun Watson who went after him.

That led Chicago to bring in Nick Foles who in eight years still has yet to play a full season in the NFL. The only other addition was  Jimmy Graham who has given every indication that his best years don’t even show up in the rearview mirror anymore. Allen Robinson has stood alone as the only receiver of any note and Chicago hasn’t done anything to change that.

Training Camp Needs: Quarterback controversy! Trubisky enters camp as the starter but Foles will be allowed every chance to take over the reins. The set of receivers here are below average to be sure and may still be little more than Robinson again. The Bears have the best passing schedule in the NFL and that helps the eventual starter. But – Trubisky had a great one last year and flopped. Probably the best fantasy outcome is for Foles to win the job since he hasn’t proven to be unable to move the offense yet.

Cincinnati Bengals

Andy Dalton – Pass: 528-314-3494-16, Rush: 32-73-4

Time for change after nine years of Andy Dalton. The Bengals invested their 1.01 pick on Joe Burrow on the premise that he can replicate the wild success of his senior year at LSU (and not the other three years he played). There’s no controversy here. Burrows will be under center in Week 1.

HC Zac Taylor’s first season did not go well (hence the first overall pick). But it will be the same offense and might even return A.J. Green from his lost 2019 season. That would prove a major upgrade along with tabbing wideout Tee Higgins with their 2.01 pick.

The future looks bright – in theory anyway – but 2019 will be a down year for the quarterback position.

Training Camp Needs: Not getting in any work up through training camp will hurt what will already be a daunting task of learning the ropes for Burrow. The best hope is that he shows progress as the season progresses.

For fantasy purposes, the expectations here have to be kept low. Burrow will offer fantasy value if he continues to run the ball as he did in college, but that’s only when the play breaks down.

Cleveland Browns

Baker Mayfield – Pass: 534-317-3827-22, Rush: 28-141-3

The Browns come off a bad year (Part XVIII) and Baker Mayfield stumbled after a very promising rookie season with 27 passing scores. Adding Odell Beckham did not have any real effect since he played the entire season with a strained groin. And Jarvis Landry was also injured. So out with the old, in with the new. Again.

HC Kevin Stefanski (ex-MIN OC) takes over and begins rebuilding. But – unlike other teams, the personnel here remains mostly the same just healthier. They all have to learn the new offensive scheme but Mayfield has a solid set of weapons. He faced the No. 31 passing schedule last year and only goes against the No. 9 for 2020. TE Austin Hooper was the only add.

Mayfield does have a new system and installing it has been slowed by the COVID-19 fallout. But there are many solid reasons to expect this offense and Mayfield, in particular, to improve and possibly significantly this year.

Training Camp Needs: Installing the new offense and getting everyone on the same page. Just having healthy players will be an improvement by itself. It would be great to hear that Beckham looks like his old self.

Dallas Cowboys

Dak Prescott – Pass: 596-388-4902-30, Rush: 52-277-3

The Cowboys may have lost a lot of cash not renewing Dak Prescott last year when it would have been far cheaper. Prescott turned in a monster year with almost 5,000 passing yards and 30 touchdowns and enough rushing production to place him around the No. 3 fantasy quarterback last year.

The head coach changes to Mike McCarthy but the offense remains mostly the same with holdover OC Kellen Moore. Both Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup broke 1,100 yards and return. Jason Witten left but wasn’t a major factor anyway. More favorably, the Cowboys used their 1.17 pick on CeeDee Lamb that should yield one of the top receiving trios in the NFL.

The schedule is slightly better and was already top ten easier last year in schedule strength.

Training Camp Needs: Learn any new nuances in the offense with Moore opening up the playbook more and McCarthy sure to have some influence. Meshing with Lamb is the most crucial need in camp, along with any sign that Blake Jarwin looks like he can step up.

Denver Broncos

Joe Flacco – Pass: 262-171-1822-6, Rush: 12-20-0

The first season for HC Vic Fangio was a struggle with Joe Flacco underperforming and then missing half the season injured. Eventually, 2.10 pick Drew Lock took over for five games, but they had already dumped Emmanuel Sanders and thrown in the towel. This training camp is big for Lock who gets his first summer as a starter.

There is still rebuilding, but at least they are at the point of adding players and not just cutting them.  Wideout Jerry Jeudy was their 1.15 pick and brings great optimism when he pairs with Courtland Sutton who was the 2.08 pick in 2018. This is still a very young team and TE Noah Fant was their first-round pick last year.

Lock is missing out on valuable time with the offense while the COVID-19 situation plays out. Adding in the addition of RB Melvin Gordon and every skill position is filled with a talented, early-round draft pick.

Training Camp Needs: New OC Pat Shurmur has plenty to use in his offense but this is a very young team that needs to mesh together as they learn the new offense. The Broncos passing schedule is below average and that also could slow development. But Lock has all the tools to succeed once he learns how to use them. Camp is critical to start that process.

Detroit Lions

Matthew Stafford – Pass: 291-187-2499-19, Rush: 20-66-0

With 11 seasons in Detroit, Matt Stafford is one of the most tenured quarterbacks in the league. HC Matt Patricia enters his third season after shaping the team. Stafford had been a lock for over 4,200 yards every year until the rebuild started. Last year, he was on a pack for 5,000 yards when he missed the final eight games due to injury.

The Lions have rebuilt their backfield with the rookie rushers  D’Andre Swift and RB Jason Huntley to join the ever-injured Kerryon Johnson. The receivers remain the same other than Geronimo Allison adding depth.

Stafford is a hot commodity this summer and rightfully so. He was already one of the top passers last year before injury and now returns to the same cast of receivers. Kenny Golladay has become elite and Marvin Jones is healthy again. Even Danny Amendola has a role here. The Lions drafted T.J. Hockenson with their 1.08 pick in 2019 so big things are expected with him in his second season.

Even better, the Lions have one of the easiest passing schedules in the league. Stafford is not going to earn his paycheck by taking off on a run.

Training Camp Needs: Just more time with the same set of healthy receivers. It would be great to hear Hockenson looks better this year.

Green Bay Packers

Aaron Rodgers – Pass: 569-353-4002-26, Rush: 46-183-1

I’m sorry – Jordan who? The Packers surprised everyone when they selected quarterback Jordan Love with their 1.26 pick and that only drove the wedge in further between what Aaron Rodgers was for so many years and what he has become under this new regime.

Rodgers is 36 years old, a youngster in Brady-ian terms, but he had always been one of the top passers in the league until the last two seasons. There are no changes here barring a mind-bending, highly unlikely trade but the offense does not throw nearly as much anymore ranking just No. 16 in pass attempts.

Worse yet, the Packers need better receivers desperately and all they did was get Devin Funchess and dumped Geronimo Allison. They never touched the position in a draft considered rich in wideouts.

Training Camp Needs: The second season for  OC Nathaniel Hackett’s offense and no reason to expect improvement.

Houston Texans

Deshaun Watson – Pass: 495-333-3852-26, Rush: 82-413-7

The camp is worth watching. Deshaun Watson is established as one of the most talented quarterbacks in the league but the Texans traded away DeAndre Hopkins for broken-down  David Johnson and some Pizza Hut coupons.

They did acquire Brandin Cooks as his fourth NFL team in the last five years and paid-up shockingly high for Randall Cobb. There is always a chance that Will Fuller can string together more than eight games without a season-ending injury.

Watson enters his fourth season and needs to remain productive for his looming and profitable Contract 2. He just won’t have perhaps the best receiver in the NFL to catch the ball anymore.

Training Camp Needs: Integrating Cooks into Hopkins’ old role has to happen quickly if the offense can remain as dangerous. The schedule is better for 2020 but Watson has to figure out how to take advantage of new, yet less talented, receivers.

Indianapolis Colts

Jacoby Brissett – Pass: 447-272-2942-18, Rush: 56-228-4

This is worth watching. Andrew Luck retired only eight minutes before the 2019 season and that took a major toll on the position and team. Jacoby Brissett tried and failed to keep the team afloat so Philip Rivers was brought in as the new starter. That’s not a bad thing.

Granted, Rivers is 38 years old, but he’s been a lock for 4,300 passing yards each season and often over 30 touchdowns. He offers almost no rushing production but is still one of the better passers in the NFL.

The cast of receivers hasn’t changed much other than drafting Michael Pittman (2.02) but Rivers has to get on the same page with a new set of players for the first time since being drafted in 2004. On the plus, T.Y. Hilton should return to his normal 1,000-yard season now that he is back to health.

Training Camp Needs: This is the third year of the offense under HC Frank Riech, so camp is just a chance to get Rivers integrated and familiar with the scheme and players. Mostly his connection with Hilton will matter the most.

Jacksonville Jaguars

Gardner Minshew II – Pass: 470-285-3271-21, Rush: 67-344-0

The Jaguars brought in Nick Foles for yet another chance to become a starter and after injury and a surprisingly effective sixth-round Gardner Minshew was done, Foles is onto his next gig. Minshew not only threw 21 scores against only six interceptions over 12 starts, but he became the most “fun” quarterback in the league.

Minshew is the Week 1 starter this time and they drafted wideout Laviska Shenault Jr. (2.10) to add to DJ Chark and Dede Westbrook.  Tyler Eifert was also added.

This was an average, middle-of-the-road passing offense last year but that still greatly exceeded expectations. Minshew has a worse passing schedule for 2020, but at least he has more weapons and enters the year knowing that he is the starter.

Training Camp Needs: Hard to count on Shenault much at least early in the season. But Eifert needs to show some chemistry and throwing off the rust has to happen.

Kansas City Chiefs

Patrick Mahomes – Pass: 484-319-4031-26, Rush: 43-218-2

Patrick Mahomes missed a few games and played injured in several, so his astronomic production dropped from 2019. All the receivers return from 2019 and the rushing effort should see an upgrade with drafting Clyde Edwards-Helaire with their 1.32 pick.

Both Tyreek Hill and Sammy Watkins missed time due to injury last season and the rookie Mecole Hardman played through his own ailments. A healthy returning group of wideouts will only help Mahomes from his “down” year of being the No. 7 best fantasy quarterback.

Training Camp Needs: Just stay healthy.

Las Vegas Raiders

Derek Carr – Pass: 513-361-4054-21, Rush: 27-83-2

Derek Carr made it through another NFL draft without gaining any competition, although the Raiders added Marcus Mariota as a backup. The Raiders come off another year of needing receivers and the Antonio Bryant experiment exploded and injured anyone standing in the lab.

Carr also suffered through one of the worst passing schedules as well, so he gets a boost from only facing an average slate of opponents for 2020.

Tight end Darren Waller became the default primary receiver as did Jared Cook the previous year. But this year promises to be far better, even if they have to get used to new surroundings and new players. The Raiders added Nelson Agholor and drafted Henry Ruggs (1.12) and Bryan Edwards (3.17) to add to Tyrell Williams and Hunter Renfrow.

Training Camp Needs: Carr remains the clear starter with a better schedule and just needs to work on connecting with Henry Ruggs and Nelson Agholor. This passing offense should be markedly better than 2019 but the new pieces will need time to integrate, along with just getting used to being in a new home stadium and city.

Los Angeles Chargers

Philip Rivers – Pass: 591-390-4615-23, Rush: 12-30-0

The Chargers have been average at passing for the last couple of years and 2020 shapes up for likely more of the same. Long-time starter Philip Rivers is gone and HC Anthony Lynn has yet another new offensive coordinator in Shane Steichen who was the QB coach there last year.

Tyrod Taylor enters training camp as the starter and may remain so all year. But the Chargers drafted Justin Herbert with their 1.06 pick and that wasn’t for a backup. The only question is when Herbert gets the starting nod. A lack of time with the team due to the COVID-19 situation undoubtedly puts Herbert at a disadvantage for any quick move up the depth chart.

This is still largely the same scheme and there are no new receivers of any note. The Chargers had one of the worst schedules last year so moving up to average seems like a boost.

Training Camp Needs: Taylor has to mesh with his new team and learn the offense, all the while trying to hold off Herbert. No team spends a top-ten pick on a guy they plan to ignore for a year so Herbert has a good shot at eventual playing time. But short of an inspired camp, Herbert sits on the sideline for now while Taylor runs the team.

Los Angeles Rams

Jared Goff – Pass: 626-394-4638-22, Rush: 33-43-2

The Rams had a down year for 2019 and Jared Goff fell to only the No. 11 fantasy quarterback after rising to No. 6 the previous season. Even then, he was on fire the first part of the year and cooled later including his monumental flop in the Super Bowl.

This year, the Rams still have an average sort of schedule and they let WR Brandin Cooks go. But Cooper Kupp, Robert Woods, and Josh Reynolds remain the starting wideouts. And Tyler Higbee suddenly went nuclear for the final five games of the season after three and a half years of abject mediocrity. Go figure.

This is now a mature offense of three seasons under HC Sean McVay with the weapons to make Goff successful. Losing  Todd Gurley could result in more passing scores since he was a touchdown sponge. Goff threw for 28 and 32 touchdowns and then only managed 22 last year.

Training Camp Needs: With no changes to scheme, coaches, or players, the Rams are in good shape to weather the lack of time together. Camp just serves as a refresher.

Miami Dolphins

Ryan Fitzpatrick – Pass: 502-311-3529-20, Rush: 54-243-4

The Dolphins struggled during HC Brian Flores inaugural season. The first part of the equation was dropping players for draft picks and the offense ended up using both Ryan Fitzpatrick and Josh Rosen. Only Devante Parker really succeeded although the rookie Preston Williams was starting to assert himself before blowing out his ACL in Week 9.

The Fins brought OC Chan Gailey out of retirement to run the offense. They did not add any new receivers of note but did beef up the backfield that they stripped bare last year. But the Fins spent their 1.05 pick on Tua Tagovailoa in the hopes he can replicate his success at Alabama while avoiding the injuries he also had there. By all available sources, Tagovailoa is healthy again and will vie for the starting spot against Fitzpatrick.

This is still a situation to avoid and somehow, the Fins not only had one of the worst passing schedules last year, but they have just as bad for this one.

Training Camp Needs: Fitzpatrick has to learn the new scheme from Gailey but has all the same receivers from last year. Camp is more about seeing where Tagovailoa is in his recovery and readiness to start to play. This should be a down year again but it will be all about preparing the rookie to lead the team in the future.

Minnesota Vikings

Kirk Cousins – Pass: 444-307-3603-26, Rush: 31-64-1

After two straight seasons in the top ten for fantasy quarterbacks, Kirk Cousins fell back to only No. 19 thanks to a renewed devotion to the rushing offense. There is a new offensive coordinator in Gary Kubiak but that is not expected to change how much the Vikings will pass.  They also go from a middle-of-the-road schedule to one of the tougher ones in the league.

The Vikings allowed Stefon Diggs to leave despite him being the only wideout with more than 420 yards last year. Adam Thielen is healthy again after missing six games but his production already waned after an impressive 2018. The Vikings also drafted Justin Jefferson (1.22) to replace Diggs but that will take some time, especially with the lack of practice because of the COVID-19 problem.

Once again, the Vikings do have one of the easiest rushing schedules and there is no doubt that the backfield will once again account for a big chunk of the offense.

Training Camp Needs: Jefferson needs to mesh with Cousins, but camp is unlikely to be enough to change the mediocre expectations from this passing game.

New England Patriots

Tom Brady – Pass: 613-373-4057-24, Rush: 26-34-3

Why hello, Mr. Change.  This is the first time in 20 years that the Patriots change their quarterback and it couldn’t happen in a messier, more complicated season. Brian Hoyer shows up to offer a veteran fallback but second-year quarterback Jarrett Stidham takes over. For now, at least. He was the 4.31 pick by the Pats in 2019 but only had two completion as a rookie. This is an entirely unknown situation.

The Pats were only average in passing categories last year with Brady. There was a lack of credible receivers, it seemed, and yet they did nothing to address it. The Patriots drafted two tight ends for the future and brought in Jags castoff Marqise Lee, but otherwise, go to war with the same set of receivers that struggled with Brady last year.

This is one of the more interesting camps to watch given that Stidham has almost no track record to consider and what appears to be marginal receivers.

Training Camp Needs: Stidham needs as much time as possible to work with all the starters. He’ll be facing a slightly tougher schedule than Brady did last year, and have to use mostly the same players. Training camp is critical to get the Patriots off to a good start but the passing production is sure to take a hit. But the quarterback position hasn’t had questions in two decades.

New Orleans Saints

Drew Brees – Pass: 378-281-2979-27, Rush: 9-(-2)-1

One more time. The Saints are still a perennial contender and Drew Brees wants one more ring, along with all the passing records as well. The only change to this very mature offense is that Emmanuel Sanders offers hope that there could be a second wideout that matters here. Michael Thomas ended with historic production in 2019 from a lack of other targets. And the fact that no one could cover him.

The Saints want one more championship and could be the team that needs the least amount of preparation this summer.

Training Camp Needs: Stay healthy. Get Sanders involved.

New York Giants

Daniel Jones – Pass: 459-284-3027-24, Rush: 45-279-2

The Eli Manning era came to a close after only two games last year and Daniel Jones stepped in as a 1.06 pick should. Jones faced an average strength schedule and played well on a team that lost every starting receiver for at least a few games if not half a season.

Jones helped 5.33 pick, Darius Slayton, to lead the team in receiving yards which bodes well for 2020 with Golden Tate, Sterling Shepard, and Evan Engram healthy at least for now. And a healthy Saquon Barkley just furthers the optimism that the Giants can turn around from their 4-12 debacle last year.

The Giants are onto a new set of coaches with HC Joe Judge relying on OC Jason Garrett to install the new scheme. It shouldn’t be dramatically different from what they played under last year.

Training Camp Needs: Installing the new-ish offense will take time but the same set of players return. Just being healthy will be new after last year’s continual drain of players heading for the sideline.  Jones needs to re-establish his chemistry while learning a new offense.

New York Jets

Sam Darnold – Pass: 441-273-3024-19, Rush: 33-62-2

Sam Darnold still hasn’t justified that 1.03 pick from 2018. These last two seasons have seen the quarterback position remain one of the worst fantasy producers and the Jets’ answer has been to let Robbie Anderson leave while replacing him with only Breshad Perriman and drafting Denzel Mims ((2.27). That doesn’t appear to be a game-changer.

Worse yet, the Jets go from a relatively bad schedule last year to one of the worst for 2020. And Darnold adds almost nothing as a rusher, so he needs the receivers to be upgraded to help the pocket passer. That just hasn’t happened.

Training Camp Needs: Beyond Jamison Crowder, there are nothing but question marks for the wideouts. Training camp will help to set the depth chart entering the season but that doesn’t mean any will produce fantasy value. Chris Herndon is being talked up, so Darnold would help himself out by including his tight end more than 2019 when he rarely threw to the position.

Philadelphia Eagles

Carson Wentz – Pass: 607-388-4039-27, Rush: 62-243-1

Wentz continues to be worthy of a fantasy start and yet no difference-maker. Both Wentz and HC Doug Pederson have been together for the last four years and present a mature, complicated offense. Last year, the Eagles had their share of injuries that impacted the passing. DeSean Jackson is slated to return and will give Wentz a much-needed weapon.

Alshon Jeffery returns for his fourth season but he’s never replicated the success that he had back in Chicago. Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert combined to allow the Eagles to post an NFL-best 155 catches for 1,610 yards and 12 touchdowns from their tight ends.

Marquise Goodwin comes over from the 49ers and they drafted Jalen Reagor (1.21). That may not pay off much in 2020 but brightens the future. The schedule is kinder than most, the wideouts should be much improved with a healthy Jackson and the youngster Reagor.

Training Camp Needs: Wentz needs to work with Jackson after the year-long layoff and Reagor has plenty to learn. The Eagles are in a good shape for 2020 with the same scheme, coaches and most players. Wentz just needs to shake off the rust and stay healthy.

Pittsburgh Steelers

Mason Rudolph – Pass: 283-176-1765-13, Rush: 21-47-0

Okay, so maybe 2019 could have gone better. Ben Roethlisberger missed all but one game and the Steelers plummeted from one of the best passing offenses down to the worst (fantasy-wise). Losing Antonio Brown was also a negative, if only in production terms.

By all accounts, Roethlisberger returns healthy for the third year of OC Randy Fichtner and Big Ben did break 5,000 yards in 2018. The Steelers also had one of the worse passing schedules in 2019, so even just an average strength for 2020 is an upgrade.

JuJu Smith-Schuster should bounce back and Diontae Johnson was a third-round surprise last year. James Washington rounds out the returning starters and the Steelers added Chase Claypool with their 2.17 pick. At 6-4, 238 pounds, the rookie was one of the biggest wideouts in this year’s class and could make some noise this year if only later in the season.

Training Camp Needs: Mature offense with all starters returning plus Eric Ebron at the tight end though the position has been little used there. Roethlisberger just needs to prove himself healthy, stay that way, and get back to being one of the better pocket passers in the league. Last year was so bad that it obscured how good Roethlisberger can be, even without Antonio Brown.

San Francisco 49ers

Jimmy Garoppolo – Pass: 476-329-3978-27, Rush: 46-62-1

Nothing like consistency.  Jimmy G. finally played a 16-game season and ended up almost exactly where the 49ers were in 2018 when he only lasted for three games. The 49ers are in their fourth-year under HC Kyle Shanahan and there hasn’t been any sign that the offense intends on passing more. This is a team that plays great defense, ranked No. 1 in rushing yards by running backs and No. 2 in rushing attempts.

The 49ers ranked only No. 29 in pass attempts and look likely to just replicate the last two seasons.

Deebo Samuel impressed even as a rookie and returns as the primary wideout and they drafted Brandon Aiyuk with their 1.25 pick in the draft. George Kittle remains the busiest receiver but this team just doesn’t prefer to throw much and thanks to their defense and rushing game, they win games mostly without the need to throw much.

Training Camp Needs: The rookie Aiyuk can press for a starting role but he’ll need a strong showing in camp and gain instant chemistry with Garoppolo. This is a mature offense and very diverse. No reason to expect much more from Garoppolo than he’s already shown and camp won’t change that.

Seattle Seahawks

Russell Wilson – Pass: 516-341-4110-31, Rush: 75-342-3

Wilson has been a lock as a top-ten fantasy quarterback and he’s poised for yet another big year. The offense remains very mature and familiar with no major need to learning anything new.

The passing schedule is one of the more favorable ones of the last several years. New additions of Phillip Dorsett and Greg Olsen do need to get reps with Wilson but  Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf are already well connected to their quarterback.

Metcalf should improve in his second season to further help Wilson remain productive. Wilson’s rushing totals have slightly declined almost every year but he comes off one of his best passing years ever. Few quarterbacks are rightfully considered a lock for 30 touchdowns per season.

Training Camp Needs: The only outcome from camp, aside from just refreshing everyone, is that Greg Olsen could end up as a goal-line option like Jimmy Graham was in 2017. But they would need to show chemistry to rely on Wilson using the position more.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Jameis Winston – Pass: 626-380-5109-33, Rush: 59-250-1

In with the old and out with the… wait a minute. The Buccaneers have produced the No. 2 fantasy quarterback points for the last two years.  Jameis Winston threw for over 5,000 yards last year but his 30 interceptions were considered less than ideal and he was placed in an NFL timeout as the No. 3 quarterback in New Orleans.

In comes Tom Brady to hopefully fill the stands with fans who are curious about a 42-year-old Hall of Fame quarterback. Obviously, Brady steps into a great situation with both Chris Godwin and Mike Evans as top-ten wideouts. That’s something that Brady never had in his 22 seasons. Oh, and they added Rob Gronkowski as an endzone threat and to spice up postgame interviews.

Brady has been remarkably durable but his production levels have waned in recent years. Is that his age or the lack of credible receivers?

We get to find out.

Training Camp Needs: Brady has to learn a new system but it will be tailored to him. Bringing in Gronkowski offers a familiar safety blanket but Brady needs to get reps with Godwin and Evans because those two will define the success of the offense. If Brady can show off his deep ball, he’ll make fantasy drafters feel better.

Tennessee Titans

Ryan Tannehill – Pass: 286-201-2742-22, Rush: 43-185-4

The Marcus Mariota era finally ended and Ryan Tannehill looked like a bargain throwing for multiple touchdowns in almost every start. Mariota never replicated his collegiate success while Tannehill suggested that the Dolphins never used him correctly.

Tannehill only played 11 games but helped A.J. Brown to blossom as a rookie and become the first 1,000-yard receiver for the Titans in the last seven years. This will be the second season for OC Arthur Smith, so no changes.

The Titans do face a much tougher passing schedule and found great success last year relying on Derrick Henry as a workhorse rusher.

Training Camp Needs: The same scheme and no new players means just refreshing everyone. This is the first training camp for Tannehill as their starter, but he was playing at a high-level last year already.

Washington Redskins

Case Keenum – Pass: 247-160-1707-11, Rush: 9-12-1

Kirk Cousins was the only 4,000-yard quarterback in Washington in the last two decades and he left after 2017. Four quarterbacks combined for marginal production in 2018 when Alex Smith broke his leg. Last season, the Skins drafted Dwayne Haskins with their 1.15 pick and it all got even worse.

Haskins returns as the starter with Kyle Allen as his backup. This is a rebuilding year with HC Ron Rivera giving the offense to OC Scott Turner (available since the Panthers also cleaned house). There were no receivers added other than 4.36 round pick Antonio Gandy-Golden.

Thaddeus Moss was added as an undrafted free agent and could have a shot at playing time on this meager roster. Terry McLaurin was the lone bright spot in a dismal 2019 when he ended with 919 yards and seven touchdowns but no other wideout had more than 365 yards. And Steven Sims and Kelvin Harmon return as starters.

Training Camp Needs: This is one of the worst passing teams for the last two years and it looks strongly like it will stretch to three. Haskins needs all the work he can get with his receivers and learning the new offense. But at least there are no new players he needs to mesh with and he can focus on making someone, anyone, become a bigger part of the offense aside from McLaurin.