After laying the groundwork this offseason with full Dynasty player rankings, I wanted to circle back and provide some tiers for added context to those ranks.
Some really quick methodology here if you are new to how I do tiers.
I make my Dynasty tiers based on a blend of age, fantasy performance, career arc, team situation, and fantasy archetype.
There is some overlap to actual player rankings, but these tiers do not specifically follow the rankings but rather those archetypes.
The purpose of tiers not being a carbon copy of player rankings is to spot a potential arbitrage situation and shop in different buckets based on how you are constructing your team in startups. They are also useful when looking for trade opportunities.
A veteran starter that can accrue points immediately might be worth more based on where a current roster is. Other times, it might make sense to chase more youth and upside for the future.
The quarterback position has the smallest amount of age influence among the positions, but it is worth noting the front end of the position is undervalued in Dynasty formats that only start one quarterback.
The position has changed in terms of having these archetypes of talents who can provide high-end passing and rushing seasons, and that archetype has had a massive influence on winning weeks and seasons. It is also paired with career longevity over running backs, wide receivers, and tight ends.
Even if you are in a one-quarterback league, there are players in the opening three tiers that are undervalued.
One last housekeeping note.
While these tiers will largely be a condensed view of the subset of tiers themselves, you can read more immediate detailed thoughts on every player in the 2023 quarterback rankings.
Dynasty Fantasy Football Tiers, 2023:
This is a FREE PREVIEW of the Sharp Fantasy Football Draft Kit, one of the best resources to get you prepared for the 2023 fantasy football season.
*Player Age = Age on 9/1/2023
Tier 1 Quarterbacks:
- Patrick Mahomes (Age: 27.9)
- Josh Allen (27.3)
- Jalen Hurts (25.1)
These are the big three for fantasy football. We do not have to spend a lot of time here.
When looking at things with a 10,000-foot view, I believe Mahomes will age the best into his thirties since his passing acumen is so sensational. For the short term, all three of these passers offer the blend of high floor and massive ceilings we are looking for to win weeks and seasons.
Tier 2 Quarterbacks:
- Justin Herbert (Age: 25.5)
- Joe Burrow (26.7)
- Trevor Lawrence (23.9)
This next subset of quarterbacks is more passing driven for their fantasy production, but they also are not complete zeros in the rushing department, either.
The reason I have this mini-tier above the rushing-centric options is for the longevity part of Dynasty. These players are such good passers that their floor should go well into their mid-thirties.
Everything that could go wrong for Herbert in 2022 did go wrong, but his splits with a healthy roster on the field last season paired with what he provided over his first two years in the league carry weight.
Burrow has thrown 34 and 35 touchdowns in the past two seasons and has an attachment to at worst the No. 2 overall Dynasty asset right now. A year removed from ACL surgery, we also saw Burrow get back to using his legs more, rushing 75 times in 2022 compared to 77 times over his first two seasons.
Including Lawrence with both of these players may be premature, but he has the same pedigree and is on a trajectory to get there based on how he closed his second season in the league.
Lawrence was the QB7 in overall scoring and the QB6 in expected points from Week 10 to the end of last season. With the Jaguars adding Calvin Ridley, Lawrence should put together his first full season punching up at the position.
Tier 3 Quarterbacks:
- Lamar Jackson (Age: 26.7)
- Kyler Murray (26.1)
- Justin Fields (24.5)
- Deshaun Watson (27.9)
- Anthony Richardson (21.3)
This tier is a firewall at the position.
All of these players have high floors that they can access through their mobility while also tapping into extremely high ceilings when the passing production coincides with their work on the ground. In any given vacuum of a week or season, these players have QB1 overall upside more so than the rest of the remaining field.
Jackson has had back-to-back seasons where he has been plagued by injuries and a lack of surrounding talent. After 11 top-six and nine top-three scoring weeks in 2019, Jackson has combined for 11 top-six and six top-three scoring weeks over the past three seasons.
We are hoping that he can stay on the field in 2023, and the Ravens at least put forth an effort this offseason to have actual wide receivers wear their uniform. Even if Odell Beckham is still a far cry from his early career output, the combination of Beckham, Rashod Bateman, and Zay Flowers paired with Mark Andrews is objectively the best receiving corps Jackson has had.
2023 is going to likely be a punt year for Murray after undergoing surgery on his ACL and torn meniscus on January 27th.
But even having minimal expectations for this season and his early-career struggles of running hot and cold as a passer, Murray has done nothing but produce for fantasy purposes. Even last season he was still the QB9 in points per game (18.2) and was a QB1 in seven of his 10 full games played.
Watson’s first sample with the Browns did not go well at all. The questions that come from that performance are how much do we stock that five-game sample versus his early career?
Watson had missed two full seasons of playing time, logged two of those starts in bad weather, and the Cleveland offensive line was missing starters by that point of the season. Watson still rushed for 29.2 yards per game over that span, and the Browns are contractually tied down to seeing this through, which buys a longer runway in Dynasty.
The first three quarterbacks in this tier are all locked down contractually. That does insulate them and their market value in Dynasty. The last two quarterbacks take more of a step of faith that they can become the players that their franchises want to marry for a decade-plus.
This is a huge inflection point season for Fields.
He can cement his market value with a step forward as a passer and compete with Tier One fantasy options if that happens.
If not, the Bears still have a window in which they do not have a long-term commitment to Fields.
Chicago has done enough this offseason to provide the surrounding pieces around Fields to gain clarity on him moving forward by adding D.J. Moore and Darnell Wright.
Fields was the best rushing quarterback for fantasy last season. If the addition of Moore can provide the type of spark that Josh Allen received when the Bills added Stefon Diggs or Jalen Hurts last season got via the addition of A.J. Brown, then Fields can be a fantasy supernova.
Fields also has a lot to clean up this season and will have no excuses if he fails again as a passer.
He is historically the worst quarterback through two years of their career in taking sacks (something that was also an issue for him in college when pressured). Fields has been sacked on 13.4% of his dropbacks through two seasons.
There have been 58 quarterbacks that have thrown 100 or more passes in the past two NFL seasons. Fields ranks 51st in inaccuracy rate per TruMedia among those players. The only passers below him are P.J. Walker, Tim Boyle, Desmond Ridder, Trey Lance, Marcus Mariota, and Zach Wilson.
We do not even have an NFL sample from Richardson yet, so he is the most fragile of this tier. His market price is largely inflated by projection, but the initial draft capital invested in him by the Colts this offseason provided an earlier path to playing time and a longer runway in developing him as the franchise leader.
We have never seen an athlete like this at the quarterback position. At 6-foot-4 and 244 pounds, Richardson ran a 4.43 forty at the NFL Combine, logging the second-best speed score (accounting for player size) behind Robert Griffin.
For good measure, Richardson then tacked on the highest vertical (40.5 inches) and broad jumps (11-foot-9) for any quarterback ever at the Combine.
Richardson has legitimate concerns about being a quality NFL passer, but getting to work with Shane Steichen after he worked with Jalen Hurts the past two seasons provides us with extra faith he is in the right hands for harnessing his upside.
Tier 4 Quarterbacks:
- Tua Tagovailoa (Age: 25.5)
- Daniel Jones (26.2)
- Bryce Young (22.1)
- C.J. Stroud (21.9)
This tier of passers are tweeners in that they all offer upside through athleticism, age, and draft investment, but they also come with questions in terms of ceiling or have a red flag.
Tagovailoa’s risk largely comes down to how he responds to the multiple head injuries he had in 2022. Miami did not do him any favors in the handling of things last season. But if Tua is healthy and playing to the level that he was for his best stretch of last season, then Miami will have a hard time not extending him to a large deal.
I also want to see a full season of Tagovailoa punching up at the position. He was amazing over three weeks versus the Lions (QB1), Bears (QB4), and Browns (QB3) last season, but had just one other top-10 scoring week over his other 10 starts.
Jones had his best season as a fantasy asset in his first year under Brian Daboll and was rewarded with an extension this offseason that keeps him as a starter for at minimum the next two seasons. He rushed for a career-high 44.3 yards per game (fifth) and seven touchdowns (tied for third).
We are still looking for another step under Daboll as a passer to max out more of a fantasy ceiling since Jones was 30th in passing points per game (11.1).
Young and Stroud were the top two picks of this draft. Each had the investment placed into them to get multiple seasons to fail. Neither appears to be in great spots for immediate fantasy success, and we still have to question if either of them has the ceiling capability to compete for getting into the Tier Three player pool as early as next offseason.
At his size, I would be surprised if we see Young get a lot of designed rushing usage since that also was not a component of his work in college. Young was a great scrambler, however, scrambling for 592 yards the past two seasons.
On the other end, I would expect Stroud to have more rushing attempts than he had at Ohio State, where he was just not pressed to run due to the conditions of surrounding talent.
Stroud was knocked for his ability to create off-script in college, but we did see in his final game against Georgia and a few weeks prior in the wind against Northwestern that he can use his legs if called upon.
Tier 5 Quarterbacks:
- Dak Prescott (Age: 30.1)
- Aaron Rodgers (39.7)
- Russell Wilson (34.8)
- Jared Goff (28.9)
- Kirk Cousins (35.0)
- Derek Carr (32.4)
- Matthew Stafford (35.6)
- Geno Smith (32.9)
- Jimmy Garoppolo (31.8)
Our tier of veteran starters.
We should expect all of these players to start for the remainder of their careers. But nearly all of them are in their thirties and some are closer than others in being completely against the wall of remaining time left.
The one potential here is the inclusion of Smith. Smith’s 2022 success could be fleeting given his career output prior, but there is almost no risk that he plays himself out of starting the entire 2023 season. Only Patrick Mahomes matched Smith in games last season with multiple passing touchdowns (12) and he has an attachment to one of the best wide receiver trios in the league.
The other question this tier has is how many of them can access a true ceiling. Even at their best, this tier feels like a gaggle of reliable QB2 options that can flirt with being lower-end QB1s given the right outcomes.
From a career arc perspective of time left and production, Prescott is by far the best player with remaining time on the shot clock. I would outright wait on him in startups over just about all of the quarterbacks in the previous tier.
We have seen Prescott’s rushing output dry up in recent seasons, and historically that does happen once players hit their thirties.
But I believe we will see a big bounce back from Prescott just through Dallas removing the two worst parts of their offense in 2023 that commanded far too many opportunities in Ezekiel Elliott and Dalton Schultz. Replacing Schultz’s targets outright with Brandin Cooks has the potential to be a huge difference-maker.
Who knows how long Rodgers will keep playing, but we should not completely discount how much this situation has an almost identical overlap to what we saw with Tom Brady three years ago.
Like Brady leaving New England, Rodgers is coming off his worst season and outright appeared to be uninterested at times with the offense. Now, he gets paired with last season’s Rookie of the Year Garrett Wilson, Breece Hall, and a bunch of functional ancillary pieces attached to one of the league’s best defenses.
Rodgers no longer has the rushing juice to knock on the door of the opening tier, but if he closes his career out with lower-end QB1 seasons we should not be surprised.
I would also anticipate Wilson to be better this season than last year. As bad as things were, Wilson did still provide some hope to end the season, closing the year with three top-five scoring weeks over his final four starts.
Goff has the widest range of outcomes in this tier. If he plays well and Detroit makes the type of jump as an organization many are expecting, he can extend his shelf life in favorable fantasy conditions. If he does not play well and Detroit lets down, then Goff could quickly be on the outskirts of the position and find himself in a camp battle in 2024.
Outside of Goff, Cousins has the most to gain or lose this year. Cousins had his worst season with the Vikings in 2022, will be 35 years old this season, and is not under contract for 2024. Retaining attachment to Justin Jefferson and Kevin O’Connell is the best outcome for Cousins.
Tier 6 Quarterbacks:
- Trey Lance (Age: 23.3)
- Kenny Pickett (25.2)
- Mac Jones (25.0)
- Desmond Ridder (24.0)
- Jordan Love (24.8)
- Sam Howell (23.0)
- Brock Purdy (23.7)
- Will Levis (24.2)
This is the tier of quarterbacks that has uncertainty priced into their costs because we have no clarity on what we have here. If you are a gamer that is building out a platoon approach at QB2 in two-quarterback formats, you want to take multiple swings in this tier in the hopes of buying in at the lowest cost.
No player has a wider range of outcomes than Lance.
He could still be the best value for the position and tap into the upside that saw him drafted third overall. We could see Lance get a chance to start and then give the job over to Purdy when he can return to the field. He could just outright lose a camp battle to Sam Darnold this summer to open the year as the starter. He also could still be traded. All of those are non-zero percent outcomes for Lance.
What we do know is the 49ers themselves have not gone out of their way to provide any confidence in Lance as their starter at this stage of the offseason.
If Lance is not the answer, then that likely means that Purdy is.
During his five starts last season, Purdy averaged 18.2 fantasy points per game. He was the QB7 in overall scoring over that span. There is no way Purdy can sustain the 8.8% touchdown rate he had over those starts, but we have seen this system coax efficiency out of several passers above their perceived talent level.
Pickett is the “safest” of this tier given his first-round draft investment and control of the depth chart. Now, we just need to see if he is good.
Pickett completed 63.0% of his passes (23rd) for 6.2 yards per pass attempt, which was 32nd out of those 33 passers. None of those quarterbacks had a lower touchdown rate than Pickett’s 1.8% on the season. There is nowhere to go but up for Pickett in the touchdown department, and the Steelers still have enough talent on offense to keep the lights on.
We only got to see Ridder make four starts to close out last season, finishing as the QB27, QB25, QB29, and QB10 in those games. Ridder only attempted 28.8 passes per game in those weeks, and Atlanta has done nothing this offseason to make us believe that they are going to open this offense up.
Remaining in a ball control offense, Ridder will have to be a hyper-efficient passer and run more than he showed last season.
While many of the options here do offer an upside angle in their range of outcomes, we do largely know what Jones is for fantasy.
He gets a bit of pass for last season since New England saddled him with a no-win situation under the guidance of Matt Patricia and Joe Judge, but even with Bill O’Brien coming on board this season, Jones does not offer us much in terms of rushing output while the Patriots still have a lackluster group of pass catchers.
Howell does have an upside outcome but perhaps the shortest rope of all of the options here. He has this one shot to prove himself or he could be completely cooked since he was a fifth-round pick last season.
I had him as the QB2 in the 2022 Draft, and Washington has plenty of pass catchers in place to offer upside. Howell made just one start last season in Week 18, finishing as the QB7 (18.3 fantasy points).
As much as I was out on Levis as a top-10 NFL pick, the league did the right thing and handled him as a high-variance prospect. With that, he landed in a place where he will not be expected to be a franchise-saving quarterback. That gives him short-term risk if Tennessee is in a position to draft a front-end quarterback next season, but Levis should get an opportunity to start games in 2023 like Ridder did last year and buy himself a longer window to start.
In that case, Levis does have an upside. He did scramble 62 times for 338 yards in the past two seasons.
We will finally see what we have here in Love after he was blocked by Aaron Rodgers. Love has thrown just 83 passes in the NFL. He at least looked the part much better last season when he had clean-up duties compared to 2021.
The Packers also reworked his deal to give him a path to multiple seasons to start as opposed to completely saying this was his only shot.
Tier 7 Quarterbacks:
- Hendon Hooker (Age: 25.6)
- Sam Darnold (26.2)
- Tyler Huntley (25.6)
- Zach Wilson (24.1)
- Bailey Zappe (24.3)
- Kyle Trask (25.5)
- Malik Willis (24.3)
- Davis Mills (24.9)
Going into the depth of the position, this is the younger group of options that are going to hang around the league. These passers will have a long road of making rosters as backups and potentially run into starting opportunities, which gives them a lot of bench appeal in two-quarterback formats.
Hooker is the most appealing name here. He has a path to starting for the Lions as early as 2024 but also could get roadblocked should Detroit have a lot of success this season.
Hooker threw 58 touchdowns to just five interceptions the past two seasons while he averaged at least 8.9 yards per pass attempt in each of his final four college seasons.
Hooker exits college with career marks of 9.5 Y/A (96th percentile), a 6.7:1 TD: INT ratio (96th percentile), and a 66.9% completion rate (85th percentile). Hooker also tacked on 2,079 yards and 25 touchdowns over his career on the ground.
What is wild is that Hooker is only six months younger than Sam Darnold.
Tier 8 Quarterbacks:
- Ryan Tannehill (35.1)
- Baker Mayfield (28.8)
- Jameis Winston (Age: 29.7)
- Marcus Mariota (29.8)
- Gardner Minshew (27.3)
- Jacoby Brissett (30.3)
- Carson Wentz (30.7)
- Andy Dalton (35.8)
Our final tier of passers is filled with veteran passers that have shown that they can start if called upon.
Tannehill and Mayfield are good bets to begin this season as starters, which inherently provides value in two-quarterback formats. Just make sure that you have some insurance if they do not last the entire season.
Minshew and Dalton have non-zero odds to start Week 1, but with the draft investment that their teams made into Bryce Young and Anthony Richardson this spring, their window to start deep into the season is barely open.