By Bradley Stalder
The Top 10 Fantasy Football Quarterbacks in 2020: Projections
16 Game Projections for 6 Pt/ Pass TD Unless Otherwise Noted. ESPN ADP as of 7/21/2020 for 12-team leagues.
10) Carson Wentz
- 375/587 (64% Completion Rate)
- 4731 Passing Yards
- 29 Passing TDs, 10 Interceptions
- 59 Rushing Attempts, 224 Rushing Yards
- 1 Rushing TD
Wentz is being drafted as QB11 according to ESPN’s ADP data. Despite playing all 16 games last season, Wentz failed to put up the MVP caliber stats that many expected from him, resulting in a comparable QB10 finish. By the end of the season, Wentz was forced to rely upon the likes of Greg Ward and Josh Perkins as some of his top targets, with that duo seeing roughly 7 and 4 targets per-game respectively in the final games of the season. The Eagles invested heavily in the wide receiver position this offseason, trading for the speedy Marquise Goodwin and drafting Jalen Reagor, John Hightower, and Quez Watkins. With his upgraded cast of playmakers, Wentz’s ceiling could be as high as QB3 — depending on whether his other weapons Zach Ertz, DeSean Jackson, Alshon Jeffrey, and Dallas Goedert can all stay healthy. Looking at Wentz’s 2017 campaign, when the Eagles won the Super Bowl and Wentz finished as the QB5 overall despite missing three games, the former No. 2 overall pick was responsible for a league-high 7.5% touchdown rate. Wentz has not finished above a 5.2% touchdown rate in the last two seasons and with Jeffrey, Wentz’s most reliable red zone threat expected to start the season on the PUP list, he may have to rely on new options to score.
Action Item: Watch for Wentz’ ADP to fall and seize the value. Or let the crazed Eagles fan in your league take him at QB5 overall and look elsewhere.
9) Matt Ryan
- 428/630, 68% Completion Rate
- 4561 Passing Yards
- 32 Passing TDs, 12 Interceptions
- 35 Rushing Attempts, 144 Rushing Yards
- 1 Rushing TD
Ryan is going as the QB9 in most leagues. The former MVP missed only one game in 2019, and in that game, 38 year-old journeyman Matt Schaub went 39 for 52 for 460 passing yards and 1 passing TD. Had Ryan earned those stats instead, he would have been QB7 just behind Kyler Murray and ahead of Patrick Mahomes. Instead of adding value rushing the football, Matt Ryan perennially ranks among the top QBs in passing volume. Last season, Ryan averaged nearly 300 passing yards per game– a valuable commodity especially in leagues rewarding for that threshold bonus. Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley should reprise their role as the leaders of the Falcons pass-catching corps. However, the addition of Hayden Hurst and Todd Gurley are expected to play a significant role in the passing game replacing Austin Hooper (CLE) and Devonta Freeman (Free Agent), respectively. Can Matt Ryan trust his new teammates right away? Will Julio Jones keep producing at an elite level entering his age-31 season? Will Atlanta’s defense improve significantly enough to change the game script and pace? The answers to these questions will determine whether Matt Ryan finishes as the QB2 or QB15.
Action Item: Look to stack Matt Ryan and Julio Jones if Jones falls to the 3rd round of drafts.
8) Aaron Rodgers
- 360/ 557, 65% Completion Rate
- 4173 Passing Yards
- 29 Passing TDs, 6 Interceptions
- 57 Rushing Attempts, 291 Rushing Yards
- 3 Rushing TDs
Well, it is official. The hate for Aaron Rodgers is real. The four-time QB1 and two-time QB2 overall has an ADP of QB12 on ESPN. Even when everything went wrong for the Packers pass-catchers last season, Rodgers still finished as QB9 overall. Nearly every pass-catcher who was drafted last summer by fantasy managers busted for the Packers: Equanimeous St. Brown, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Geronimo Allison, Jake Kumerow. Allen Lazard emerged out of nowhere by midseason, but still lacked high-end upside. So QB9… Yes, this was his lowest positional rank of his career when playing at least 10 games in a season — but with a new coach and new scheme, Rodgers still produced despite his struggling wide receivers. His lead WR1 (Spoiler: And my overall projected WR1), Davante Adams, missed four games last season and still finished as WR23 overall. With no significant additions to the receiving corps (aside from veteran Devin Funchess and CFL star Reggie Begelton), Rodgers will keep feeding Adams over 10 targets per game. Also look for Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams to assume over 100 targets combined again this season. While expecting Rodgers to finish as a top-2 QB is optimistic, the QB8 projection implies similar production to last season.
Action Item: As Rodgers’ ADP keeps falling in drafts, recognize where he may be a value– especially if you draft Davante Adams early for a sneaky Packers stack.
7) Russell Wilson
- 304/ 472, 65% Completion Rate
- 3932 Passing Yards
- 29 Passing TDs, 8 Interceptions
- 90 Rushing Attempts, 495 Rushing Yards
- 2 Rushing TDs
Russell Wilson finished last season as QB3 overall, and has an ADP of QB4. The most significant factor for Wilson will be passing volume. Will he throw the ball enough again to stay as an elite QB option? In 2019, Wilson did. But with injuries to Rashaad Penny and Chris Carson (plus Carson’s fumbling problem), and the development of DK Metcalf, Wilson had the 3rd most attempts in a season of his career in 2019. Certainly there has been much made this offseason about whether the Seahawks would open up their offense for Russell Wilson, especially amplified by the rumors surrounding Antonio Brown signing or Josh Gordon re-signing. Whether anything comes to fruition about improving depth at wide receiver behind Metcalf and Tyler Lockett may impact this projection and ranking. For now, fantasy managers should be confident Wilson has the upside as QB3 but will face fierce competition from other QBs near the top of the ranking.
Action Item: Feel confident in a Lockett(5th round)/Metcalf(6th round)/Wison(5th round) stack.
6) Kyler Murray
- 367/ 562, 65% Completion Rate
- 4245 Passing Yards
- 27 Passing TDs, 12 Interceptions
- 85 Rushing Attempts, 483 Rushing Yards
- 4 Rushing TDs
This offseason, Kyler Murray’s ADP skyrocketed (up to QB3 at one point) after the DeAndre Hopkins-David Johnson trade. It has since cooled as Murray slots in as QB5 on ESPN’s boards. Murray stats out similar to Russell Wilson with a high floor from rushing and, with added elite talent of Hopkins, Murray looks to improve from his rookie season with 20 passing TDs. Especially at the beginning of the season, Murray struggled to get the ball in the end zone– and instead left Zane Gonzalez as a viable starting Kicker option. Murray improved as the season went on: he threw 13 of his 20 passing TDs in the last eight games of the season. And, although he was the most sacked QB last season, Murray was only sacked twice during the last three games of the season. Fantasy managers can expect Murray to improve from year 1 to year 2.
Action Item: If Murray’s ADP continues to cool as the season approaches, fantasy managers should see Murray as an upside play.
5) Dak Prescott
- 360/545, 66% Completion Rate
- 4533 Passing Yards
- 27 Passing TDs, 9 Interceptions
- 60 Rushing Attempts, 306 Rushing Yards
- 5 Rushing TDs
While QB6 in ADP, Dak Prescott is drafted only one spot behind Kyler Murray on ESPN. Prescott offers an increased passing volume and receiving talent superior to Murray’s which is why my projections have Dak ahead of Kyler. Prescott finished as QB2 overall last season despite Amari Cooper’s inconsistencies, Michael Gallup’s absences, Ezekiel Elliott’s reduced role in the passing game, and Randall Cobb & Jason Witten’s mediocrity– all while missing the playoffs. New head coach Mike McCarthy regularly deployed three-wide receiver sets in his time as the Packers head coach, and with the drafting of renowned rookie CeeDee Lamb, Prescott will continue with explosive plays downfield. Prescott also presents a threat near the goalline, with 21 rushing touchdowns during the first 4 seasons of his career.
Action Item: Prescott certainly has QB3 overall upside, but ranks in a different tier than Patrick Mahomes and Lamar Jackson as a fantasy option. If possible, allow other fantasy managers (especially Cowboys fants) to over-pay for Prescott’s ceiling.
4) Tom Brady
- 360/565, 64% Completion Rate
- 4934 Passing Yards
- 33 TDs, 10 Interceptions
- 34 Rushing Attempts, 58 Rushing Yards
- 1 Rushing TD
Well, here we are. The GOAT himself. Since 2009, Tom Brady has been a top-10 quarterback for fantasy football seven times. In fact, four of those times Brady has been a top 4 option. So, historically this projection is within the range of outcomes for Brady. And it’s not as though Brady has had trouble with passing volume in his 40s. Last season, Brady had 613 pass attempts– only 10 fewer than Jameis Winston– even with the superior Patriots defense.
While Brady has a whole new team and will need to acclimate to their skill sets, Chris Godwin and Mike Evans are arguably the best receiving duo in the NFL. In 2018, Brady (Winston’s replacement) had 7.6 yards per pass attempt; Winston had 7.9. In 2017, Brady had 7.9 yards per attempt; Winston also had 7.9. Without Rob Gronkowski in 2019, and without any other reliable field stretcher, Brady’s yards per attempt dropped to 6.6– passing to the likes of slot-man Julian Edelman (7.3 yards per target in 2019 on 153 targets, roughly 25% target share) and pass-catching back James White (6.8 yards per target on 95 targets, roughly 16% target share). Of pass catchers earning at least 30 targets for the Patriots in 2019, UDFA Jakobi Meyers (41 targets) led the team with 8.8 yards per target– in short, no receiver was targeted consistently downfield. This issue stemmed from the wide receiver skill set for the Patriots in 2019– not Brady’s arm strength. For perspective, Chris Godwin averaged 11.0 yards per target (on 121 targets) and Mike Evans averaged 9.8 yard per target ( on 118 targets) in 2019. Brady will be given the opportunity in Bruce Arians offense to throw the football downfield to two potent receivers. The Buccaneers also traded for now un-retired TE and again teammate of Brady’s, Rob Gronkowski — whose chemistry with Brady rivals all others.
Action Item: Tom Brady is the later-round league-winning quarterback you want on your team in 2020. He is going as QB7 on ESPN, QB10 on Yahoo, QB12 for SFBX, and QB14 on MFL.
3) Deshaun Watson
- 344/ 507, 68% Completion Rate
- 4199 Passing Yards
- 27 TDs, 12 Interceptions
- 90 Rushing Attempts, 513 Rushing Yards
- 6 Rushing TDs
Unsurprisingly, Deshaun Watson slots in at QB3 both in ADP and my projections, drafted on average in the 4th round of 12 team leagues. For the second year in a row, Watson finished as the QB4 overall– despite regressing in most statistical categories in 2019. Watson offers both a high ceiling (5 passing TDs Week 5 against ATL) buoyed by a high rushing floor (5 rushes per game during his career) and can be trusted as an elite QB option even with the departure of DeAndre Hopkins (150 targets in 15 games in 2019). Brandin Cooks, Will Fuller, Randall Cobb, Kenny Stills, and Keke Coutee look to assume Hopkins’ vacated targets, along with pass-catching David Johnson out of the backfield. With all the new pass catchers in Houston, Watson may have to rely on his rushing ability to continue to move the ball downfield and into the endzone.
Action Item: Don’t overpay at the beginning of drafts for Watson. While still an elite talent, it may take time during the season for him to develop chemistry with his new weapons.
2) Lamar Jackson
- 265/ 416, 64% Completion Rate
- 3307 Passing Yards
- 28 TDs, 7 Interceptions
- 167 Rushing Attempts, 985 Rushing Yards
- 6 Rushing TDs
Last season’s QB1, Lamar Jackson averages out as the overall QB2 and is ESPN’s QB2 in ADP. An elite athlete with superior vision, Jackson certainly can achieve QB1 overall again– though history is not on his side. There has been a different QB1 every season for the last seven seasons– with only Drew Brees and Aaron Rodgers as active players with multiple overall QB1 seasonal performances. Jackson also led the league with 36 passing touchdowns on a 9% TD rate– in 15 games. For perspective, Patrick Mahomes has a career 6.9% TD rate. However, if fantasy managers want Jackson, they may have to pay a premium. Jackson is currently going in the second round of drafts and is not an ideal target for late-round QB fantasy managers. However, if your league rewards high-upside players, Jackson is a great target at the top of the QB tiers.
Action Item: Know your league settings– Jackson’s value as a rushing quarterback may provide a difference at that fantasy position.
- 374/ 567, 66% Completion Rate
- 4841 Passing Yards
- 37 TDs, 9 Interceptions
- 57 Rushing Attempts, 257 Rushing Yards
- 2 Rushing TDs
Patrick Mahomes is the consensus QB1 drafted in all leagues– and projected as my QB1. The recently crowned SuperBowl MVP and now highest-paid player in NFL history, Mahomes is a generational talent used by coach Andy Reid with world-class offensive weapons Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce to exploit even the greatest defenses. Even though Mahomes finished as QB7 in 2019, he missed more than 2 and a half games due to a fractured knee cap; had he recouped his back up Matt Moore’s stats during that time, Mahomes would have finished conservatively as QB3 overall. While the opportunity cost for Mahomes is significant, like Jackson, Mahomes may prove valuable in leagues where fantasy players are rewarded for high-achieving performances or “boom” plays.
Action Item: Patrick Mahomes gives fantasy managers positional advantage as a Tier 1 quarterback– but is not a 1st round pick in most single quarterback leagues.