2020 Fantasy Quarterback Primer
In 2020, quarterback is a very deep position that provides value in the later rounds of drafts and is spearheaded by the duo of Lamar Jackson and Patrick Mahomes.
Jackson had an MVP season in 2019 tossing 36 touchdowns to pair with 1,206 rushing yards and 7 rushing touchdowns making him the highest scoring fantasy quarterback by nearly 73 points to the second leading point getter, Dak Prescott. Regression is expected from Jackson this season, as Baltimore has hinted at trying to reduce their franchise quarterback's exposure to taking hits by limiting his rushing outside of the pocket, but I find it hard to believe that it will be to the extent that many experts are projecting.
I think what will be more likely is for the 36 passing touchdowns to come down closer to the 28 to 30 range with some increased passing yardage and the rushing total to be about the same. Mahomes just inked a new deal that will make him one of the highest paid athletes in history, and it still somehow feels like he is being underpaid. The Chiefs are tailor made for a quarterback of his skill set, and they have speed everywhere. Mahomes dealt with some injuries in 2019, but if he's able to play a full slate this year, it's very possible that he finishes as QB1.
You simply cannot go wrong with either Mahomes or Jackson as your fantasy quarterback. The only questions are going to be: How early do you have to select them, and what are you sacrificing in order to get them? In most mock drafts I've seen and been a part of both are going in quick succession of each other and usually between the middle of the second round and middle of the third round. That's very early based on modern draft strategy, but you will be paying for their high ceiling and week to week consistency at the position if you decide to go that route.
Now that we've covered the two obvious studs at the position, let's take a further look into some other options for your team with a less hefty price tag based on ADP.
Russell Wilson Seattle Seahawks
Findbet Overall ADP 48
Findbet Position ADP 5
I didn't go far down the list until I got to the first QB I wanted to discuss–that being Seattle's Russell Wilson. It's no secret he's one of the best in the game at the position, but I don't think he gets enough credit as a fantasy producer. Based on Yahoo scoring, Wilson finished as QB4 in 2019, and going backwards to 2015 he finished 9th, 1st, 9th, and 3rd. He's shown the ability to sustain consistency as a top 10 fantasy quarterback with the ability to reach the top 5.
Wilson also continues to provide some production with his legs, and at only 31 years old he isn't losing a step yet. Seattle has a nice receiving tandem in Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf and added veteran tight end Greg Olsen in the offseason. There have been rumored links to Antonio Brown and Josh Gordon, as Wilson himself has hinted that he would like for the organization to explore those options. Even if the Seahawks decide not to bring in any additional talent before or during the season, Wilson has shown an aptitude for maximizing the talent of his teammates and the ability to win games on his own. He will be someone you can target around the 5th round of drafts, and he may be a safer option compared to Kyler Murray who will only be entering his sophomore season with the Cardinals, or Deshaun Watson who lost his primary target in DeAndre Hopkins to Murray's Cardinals.
Matt Ryan Atlanta Falcons
Findbet Overall ADP 82
Findbet Position ADP 10
Entering his age-35 season, Ryan has established himself as one of the perennial NFL passing leaders in an offense that ranked 3rd in 2019. With the addition of running back Todd Gurley, the Falcons will hope to improve one of the league's worst rushing attacks which should help to open up passing lanes downfield for Ryan to find Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley more often. Although Austin Hooper was a large part of the Falcons' passing attack, the team wasted little time in acquiring Hayden Hurst from the Baltimore Ravens to fill the gap. Add to that a potential outbreak performer in Russell Gage, who performed well last season while filling in for Calvin Ridley due to injury, and Ryan will have a full complement of weapons to throw to, making him a solid fantasy quarterback that you can select in the middle to later rounds of drafts. The combination of passing volume in Atlanta and elite players around him make Ryan one of my favorite QBs currently being slept on in fantasy drafts.
Baker Mayfield Cleveland Browns
Findbet Overall ADP 130
Position ADP 16
There may not be a more polarizing player at the position, both from a fantasy perspective and in terms of his legitimacy as an NFL quarterback. After a stellar rookie season, Mayfield fell flat in 2019, albeit with the addition of Odell Beckham to pair with Jarvis Landry and the emergence of Nick Chubb as a dominant running back in the league. Fast forward to 2020, and the organization has a new GM in Sashi Brown and coach in Kevin Stefanski that look to correct the mistakes that were made under the John Dorsey and Freddie Kitchens regime.
The hype surrounding the Browns this year is giving me deja vu back to the 2019 offseason, but this year it just feels more warranted. Learning that both Beckham and Landry were dealing with injuries throughout the 2019 campaign–and being able to look back now at what may be the Browns' biggest dumpster fire for a coach since their return in 1999–provides some perspective into what may have caused the regression for Mayfield. Beckham has stated that he feels 100% healthy now, and Landry should be ready to go for the start of the season, although maybe not at full capacity as he's still recovering from offseason surgery.
Considering Mayfield was such a hot commodity only a year ago and his surroundings have improved on nearly every front, I think Mayfield could be a league winning steal at the ends of drafts this year. Even if Mayfield doesn't pan out to be the real life winning QB for the Browns, he could be this year's Jameis Winston that can win you your fantasy league, due to the fact he's surrounded by top end talent at every position (Running backs - Nick Chubb, Kareem Hunt, Receivers - Odell Beckham, Jarvis Landry, Tight ends - Austin Hooper, David Njoku).