Drafting an elite quarterback can separate you from the fantasy football pack. But picking the right quarterback at the right time if your draft is easier said than done.
While four quarterbacks ranked among the top six overall fantasy performers in 2019 -- Lamar Jackson, Dak Prescott, Russell Wilson and Deshaun Watson -- only Watson was a consensus top-5 fantasy QB prior to the season.
Jackson, the eventual NFL MVP, wasn't even a top-10 QB on many draft boards.
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So, should you splurge in the early rounds on an elite QB like Jackson or Patrick Mahomes or wait until the later rounds to find this year's breakout star?
There are merits to both strategies, but you can't execute either successfully if you don't have QB rankings you can trust. That's where we come in. Below are the top 20 quarterbacks you should target in your fantasy draft this season.
1. Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs (Bye Week: 10)
Mahomes isn't going to throw for 5,000 yards and 50 touchdowns every year, and his 2019 campaign (4,031 yards, 26 TD passes in 14 games) reflected that regression. The reigning Super Bowl MVP still has the highest upside of any QB in fantasy, though, and picked up another dynamic weapon in rookie running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire. Expect Mahomes to split the difference between 2018 and 2019 in 2020.
2. Lamar Jackson, Baltimore Ravens (Week 8)
Guess how many QBs have led the NFL in fantasy points in back-to-back seasons since 2010? Zero. Jackson is a bona fide QB1 whose running ability gives him a valuably high floor. But teams will be loading up to stop him this season, which is why he's behind Mahomes in our 2020 rankings.
3. Dak Prescott, Dallas Cowboys (Week 10)
We're not here to tell you how much Prescott should be paid. We're here to tell you he's a damn good fantasy quarterback who finished second only to Jackson in fantasy points last season. Prescott should be the third QB on your draft board, especially after Dallas added CeeDee Lamb to its strong wide receiver core.
4. Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks (Week 6)
Want a guaranteed top-12 fantasy QB? Draft Wilson, who has hit that threshold in all eight of his NFL seasons. The ever-reliable veteran consistently puts up numbers regardless of who he's throwing to and finished with the second-highest passing yards total of his career last season with D.K. Metcalf in the fold. Draft Wilson with confidence in 2020.
5. Kyler Murray, Arizona Cardinals (Week 8)
Murray owners endured a bit of a roller coaster in 2019, but only six QBs finished with more fantasy points than the No. 1 overall pick. Now, Murray gets to throw to one of the best receivers in football in DeAndre Hopkins. Murray's passing upside and ability as a rusher (544 rushing yards, four TDs) vault him into our top five.
6. Deshaun Watson, Houston Texans (Week 8)
Watson and Murray would be flipped if Hopkins was still in Houston, as the Texans QB was one of only four QBs with more than 30 total touchdowns last season. But you have to think Watson's production will drop after Bill O'Brien traded his favorite target, who accounted for over 33 percent of Watson's completions and passing yards in 2019.
7. Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints (Week 6)
If you're sleeping on Brees after his injury-shortened 2019 campaign, wake up. The legendary QB was easily on pace to surpass 30 TD passes before he got hurt last season and now has Emmanuel Sanders to pair with All-Pro receiver Michael Thomas. Don't worry about Taysom Hill and Jameis Winston. Brees is the Saints' guy until he gets injured or retires.
8. Josh Allen, Buffalo Bills (Week 11)
It's time Allen gets the respect he deserves in fantasy circles. The 24-year-old led the NFL in rushing TDs last season (nine) while finishing as the fifth-best QB in fantasy. He also doubled his passing TD output from 10 as a rookie to 20 in 2019 and should improve on that total in 2020 with an actually talented receiver in Stefon Diggs.
9. Carson Wentz, Philadelphia Eagles (Week 9)
Wentz finally played a full season in 2019, and the result was an impressive 4,039-yard campaign with 27 TDs and a career-low 1.2 percent interception rate. Health is always a red flag with Wentz, but the Eagles appear committed to their fifth-year QB after drafting wide receiver Jalen Reagor at No. 21 overall. If he plays all 16 games, he's a top-10 fantasy QB.
10. Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers (Week 5)
We'll assume the best here: that Green Bay drafted Rodgers' replacement (Jordan Love) instead of giving him receiver help to light a fire under the QB entering his 16th NFL season. Rodgers also has never finished worse than the ninth-best fantasy QB when he plays a full season. Expect his numbers to dip in Matt LaFluer's offense, but if he's still on the board in the middle or later rounds, grab him.
11. Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons (Week 10)
Is Ryan a boring pick? Yes. Is he reliable? Also yes. The 13-year veteran has topped 4,000 passing yards in nine consecutive seasons, and while his 14 interceptions hurt him in 2019, he still has Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley to throw to. Atlanta's addition of Todd Gurley also should help free up some field for Ryan in the passing game.
12. Tom Brady, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Week 13)
We hate to break it you, but Brady isn't a top-10 fantasy QB. He wasn't in 2018 on a Super Bowl-winning Patriots team, he wasn't last season and he still won't be in 2020 despite the hype around the Bucs' pass-catching group of Chris Godwin, Mike Evans, Rob Gronkowski, O.J. Howard and Cameron Brate. The soon-to-be 43-year-old will have some growing pains learning a brand-new offense, so temper your expectations.
13. Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions (Week 5)
Stafford was on pace for nearly 5,000 passing yards in 2019 before a back injury cut his season short. The Lions invested in offense this offseason by drafting running back D'Andre Swift and signing receiver Geronimo Allison, so expect Stafford to return to his gunslinging ways in 2020, assuming his back is fully healed.
14. Baker Mayfield, Cleveland Browns (Week 9)
If you want to buy low at QB, Mayfield isn't the worst option. He gets a fresh start under new head coach Kevin Stefanski, and Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry didn't go anywhere. Perhaps Mayfield will finally realize his potential after being drafted as a top-5 QB last season ... or he'll throw 21 interceptions again. High reward comes with high risk.
15. Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers (Week 8)
You've probably seen the video by now: Roethlisberger has emerged from the wilderness and is throwing footballs again. When healthy, he's a solid QB1 in a potent offense. But unless you're in a two-quarterback league, we don't recommend drafting a 38-year-old who appeared in two games last season as your starter.
16. Daniel Jones, New York Giants (Week 11)
Considering how bad the Giants were in 2019, it's pretty impressive that Jones managed 3,027 passing yards and 24 passing TDs. He has a sneaky good receiving corps led by Sterling Shepard and Golden Tate and might be worth grabbing in the later rounds as a high-upside QB2.
17. Ryan Tannehill, Tennessee Titans (Week 7)
Why is Tannehill so low on this list after posting the fourth-best single-season passer rating in NFL history? Simple: The Titans still are a run-first offense. Tannehill threw for fewer than 200 yards in four of his 10 starts last season while running back Derrick Henry led the NFL in rushing yards and attempts. He's an enticing backup option, but he's no QB1.
18. Jared Goff, Los Angeles Rams (Week 9)
A strong December helped Goff salvage what was a disappointing season in which he failed to throw a TD pass in four different games. With Gurley out of the picture, expect teams to load up on Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp to make Goff's life difficult. There's not much upside here.
19. Kirk Cousins, Minnesota Vikings (Week 7)
Losing Diggs won't help Cousins' cause. Neither will replacing talented offensive coordinator Kevin Stefanski with Gary Kubiak, who may prefer a run-first attack with talented running back Dalvin Cook. Cousins' ceiling is still as a low-end QB1, but we don't see that happening.
20. Joe Burrow, Cincinnati Bengals (Week 9)
Feeling dangerous? Roll the dice on Burrow as your QB2. The Bengals haven't had success at QB in a long time, but there's tons of upside for the No. 1 overall pick if A.J. Green, Tyler Boyd, John Ross and fellow rookie Tee Higgins are all on the field in Week 1.