esny fantasy football rankings update qbs
Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

With the 2021 NFL regular season approaching, let’s update our list of the top 15 fantasy football quarterbacks.

Ryan Honey

In early August, ESNY provided you with its top 15 fantasy football quarterbacks for the 2021 NFL season.

The list went as follows:

  • 15. Baker Mayfield (CLE)
  • 14. Daniel Jones (NYG)
  • 13. Kirk Cousins (MIN)
  • 12. Ryan Tannehill (TEN)
  • 11. Lamar Jackson (BAL)
  • 10. Matt Ryan (ATL)
  • 9. Justin Herbert (LAC)
  • 8. Tom Brady (TB)
  • 7. Dak Prescott (DAL)
  • 6. Russell Wilson (SEA)
  • 5. Matthew Stafford (LAR)
  • 4. Aaron Rodgers (GB)
  • 3. Josh Allen (BUF)
  • 2. Patrick Mahomes (KC)
  • 1. Kyler Murray (ARI)

However, injuries and roster moves have occurred, all of which could affect certain offensive units and the pending performances of their quarterbacks.

So without further ado, while taking everything into consideration, let’s update our fantasy quarterback rankings with the regular season just days away.

15. Trevor Lawrence (JAX)

The No. 1 overall pick cracks the list, and for a number of reasons.

For one, the Jaguars lost running back Travis Etienne for the season, so the team may need to focus more on succeeding through the air. James Robinson could still produce just like he did during his 2020 rookie campaign, but losing one of your top backs does make a difference in that area of the game.

Also, it’s clear the Jaguars still aren’t a good football team — they will be trailing in a multitude of games, which means they could be throwing the ball the majority of the second half in most weeks. This will lead to garbage time stats for Trevor Lawrence and (possibly) garbage time points for your fantasy team.

14. Mac Jones (NE)

Mac Jones is the starter in New England amid Cam Newton’s release.

Considering that along with the situation he’s in (with a good offensive line and legendary head coach), expect Jones to produce in his inaugural NFL season.

The reason I put him at No. 14, however, is he’s still a rookie and could be mistake-prone. The wide receiver talent in New England additionally isn’t all that superb.

13. Zach Wilson (NYJ)

A third rookie cracking the list.

We didn’t include rookie quarterbacks in the original top 15, but that was before we saw each of them play in the preseason.

Zach Wilson of the Jets possesses a ton of upside and is athletic enough to succeed through the air and on the ground — a dual-threat quarterback is a great quarterback to have on your fantasy team.

We saw in the preseason what he’s capable of doing — he completed 15 of 20 throws for 191 yards, two touchdowns, and no picks through a pair of games (he didn’t play in the team’s third and final preseason matchup).

He’s not in a terrible situation either. Corey Davis is a talented target and rookie wideout Elijah Moore is expected to be as well.

12. Lamar Jackson (BAL)

The Ravens were the worst passing team in the league last year — the recency bias forces me to put Lamar Jackson this far down the list despite the fact he’s a dual-threat quarterback and just won the 2019 NFL MVP.

I had him at No. 11 last time, and the reason I move him down one spot is the recent IR placements for receivers Rashod Bateman and Miles Boykin. Each will need to miss at least the first three games, which could definitely affect Baltimore’s fourth-year signal-caller.

11. Ryan Tannehill (TEN)

Ryan Tannehill moves up one spot so Lamar Jackson could drop to No. 12.

The veteran won’t be the best fantasy option but still possesses numerous weapons to assist in his production.

Tannehill threw for 3,819 yards, 33 touchdowns, and seven picks on a 65.5% completion rate last season and now adds Julio Jones to his mix of targets.

10. Matt Ryan (ATL)

I still believe Matt Ryan can produce in this league, which is why I’ve included him in the top 10 (heck, I drafted him to be my backup in one of my leagues).

The veteran has thrown for at least 4,400 yards in eight of the last nine seasons and hasn’t had a season-wide completion rate dip below 64% since 2011.

Calvin Ridley could absolutely be a No. 1 receiver and rookie tight end Kyle Pitts (No. 4 overall draft pick) is now in the mix as well.

Head coach Arthur Smith also coordinated a Titans offense that finished fourth in scoring and tied for second in total yards last year.

9. Dak Prescott (DAL)

Dak Prescott moves a couple of spots down due to his injury-related issues.

While the ankle injury that caused him to miss 11 games last year is healed, the veteran quarterback also developed a shoulder injury. And according to Adam Schefter of ESPN, Dak is “not fully back, he may not be back all season long.”

That could cause some people to be skeptical about drafting the Dallas Cowboy.

8. Justin Herbert (LAC)

Justin Herbert is an up-and-coming star, and for the time being, isn’t moving out of our top 10.

He threw for 31 touchdowns and 4,336 yards during his 2020 rookie campaign and limited his interception total to just 10.

The supporting cast is solid too — Keenan Allen, Mike Williams, and Jared Cook are in the mix.

7. Tom Brady (TB)

Tom Brady can still produce at a high level and did so during his inaugural season with the Buccaneers last year.

He threw for 4,633 yards and 40 touchdowns in 2020 and possesses the same supporting cast this time around — the Bucs returned all 22 Super Bowl starters.

The reason he’s this far down the list, however, is the lack of mobility.

6. Russell Wilson (SEA)

Despite a drop-off in production during the second half of the 2020 season, Russell Wilson can still garner highly impressive stats, which is the name of the game in fantasy football.

He notched a career-high 40 touchdown passes last year and also threw for 4,212 yards, which was just seven off of his 2016 career-high of 4,219 yards.

Russ is also still capable of producing with his legs (513 rushing yards in 2020) and has a great supporting cast that includes receivers DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett.

5. Aaron Rodgers (GB)

Aaron Rodgers is still Aaron Rodgers.

He still has Davante Adams by his side and now possesses a familiar face in Randall Cobb. Matt LaFleur is still an above-average head coach and play-caller (unless, of course, it’s fourth down and this is the fourth quarter of the NFC Championship Game).

But the reason I moved him from No. 4 to 5 is the injury news involving David Bakhtiari.

Rodgers’ left tackle will begin the season on the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list, which could make a significant difference in how the Packers offense operates.

4. Matthew Stafford (LAR)

Matthew Stafford shoots up one spot to make room for Rodgers’ movement.

From a statistical standpoint, Stafford has always been efficient and talented. And given the weapons he now has out in Los Angeles, the veteran should be a great addition to your fantasy team.

For a dozen years in Detroit, Stafford was able to throw for 273.4 yards per game on a 62.6% completion rate, and that was with a mostly dysfunctional organization.

Think of what he could do with an offensive guru in Sean McVay and skill players such as Robert Woods, Cooper Kupp, and Tyler Higbee.

3. Josh Allen (BUF)

In the time since we last spoke about Josh Allen, the young quarterback signed a lucrative six-year, $258 million contract extension.

Being that he’s one of the more talented signal-callers this league has to offer, he deserves it. Following the preseason, Buffalo should remain one of the top teams in the league with a phenomenal quarterback-receiver connection involving Allen and Pro Bowler Stefon Diggs.

2. Patrick Mahomes (KC)

Nothing changes with Patrick Mahomes’ ranking — he’ll still be one of the top quarterbacks taken in your fantasy drafts (if not the top quarterback) and won’t disappoint any fantasy owners given his superstar capabilities.

1. Kyler Murray (ARI)

Kyler Murray was No. 1 on our previous list and remains there this time around.

We all know what he can do both with his arm and legs.

Again, a dual-threat quarterback can be a great fantasy quarterback, and Murray is as multi-faceted as they come.