Midseason Fantasy Football Check-In: Quarterback

Midseason Fantasy Football Check-In: Quarterback

by November 23, 2021 0 comments

We have passed the midway point of the 2021 NFL season and are approaching the home stretch. As fantasy managers desperately search for a blockbuster trade or league-winning waiver wire addition, it’s important to forecast players’ stocks over the remainder of the season rather than solely judge them for what they’ve done thus far.

There’s no better way to do just that than by offering a team-by-team and position-by-position perspective in one piece. Here, Andersen Pickard looks at every team’s quarterback room to identify exactly what each player brings to the table down the stretch.

Every player’s header is accompanied by where they rank in Pickard’s updated rest-of-season rankings. Keep in mind that any player not listed here is either not relevant in fantasy football or would only have relevance in the event of a massive injury bug.

Andersen Pickard is running a midseason check-in for all core fantasy positions. You can find every position here.

Arizona Cardinals

Kyler Murray — QB3

When healthy, Murray has been excellent. However, he is currently dealing with a lingering injury. The hope is that he returns after Arizona’s Week 12 bye, but that remains up in the air. Even when Murray does take the field again, his rushing ability will likely be capped in order to preserve his health. Still, he’s a phenomenal athlete who can move the ball down the field very well. Fantasy managers will benefit from his return.

Colt McCoy — QB37

McCoy only has relevance when Murray doesn’t play, and it looks like the star quarterback will return to the field soon. Fantasy managers in deeper superflex leagues can hold onto McCoy until we get official word on Murray’s status, but he can be cut loose in leagues where every roster spot is worth a premium.

Atlanta Falcons

Matt Ryan — QB25

Ryan had a good stretch of games in the middle of the season, but he has faltered to the tune of four interceptions and four sacks over his last two games. He’s playing behind a porous offensive line and certainly isn’t getting any more fleet of foot himself. These woes coupled with the absence of Calvin Ridley (personal reasons) vault Ryan away from the fantasy-relevant tiers.

Baltimore Ravens

Lamar Jackson — QB2

Jackson has continued to develop in a positive direction this season and is now at the best point of his career in terms of passing ability. At the same time, his ability to run with the football is otherworldly for a quarterback. Jackson is the star in a high-powered offense. He’s going to be a pivotal part of fantasy lineups down the stretch.

Buffalo Bills

Josh Allen — QB1

Allen has been phenomenal this season, and a significant portion of his success can be attributed to the dominance of Buffalo’s receiving corps. This passing game has worked so well that the Bills can afford to rush the ball at one of the lowest rates in the NFL. Allen has a strong arm, improved decision-making, and fantastic mobility. He’s an athletic star and threat to score a touchdown whenever the ball is in his possession. Fantasy managers with shares of Allen are set up for success.

Mitchell Trubisky — QB41

Trubisky has seen some action this season when the Bills were leading by several possessions. He has shown indications that he could step up if anything were to happen to Allen, but for now, he remains entrenched in the backup role and thus can be left on waivers.

Carolina Panthers

Cam Newton — QB16

Just one week ago, Newton, P.J. Walker, and Sam Darnold all would have appeared in this section. However, Newton has looked great in his one-plus games since returning to the Panthers and has cemented his role as the team’s starting quarterback. We’ve already seen the rushing and touchdown upside that was on display last season, but he also appears to have improved as a passer. He has the potential to be a league-winner, especially in superflex formats.

Chicago Bears

Justin Fields — QB19

Fields’ rookie season has been a shaky one. Outside of top-10 finishes in Weeks 8 and 9, he has been vastly disappointing from a fantasy football perspective. Now, he’s dealing with what sounds like a somewhat serious rib injury, too. The first-round pick will return to action at some point this season, and his rushing upside aids his fantasy value. Still, there are just too many concerns surrounding this offense and its turnovers that we can’t comfortably view Fields as a top-18 signal-caller.

Andy Dalton — QB34

Dalton is expected to relieve Fields for at least one week as he rests his rib. The veteran might have some low-end fantasy value depending on matchup, but for the most part, he isn’t on the fantasy radar.

Cincinnati Bengals

Joe Burrow — QB13

Burrow has had a knack for finding the end zone this season, especially now that he has shiny new toy Ja’Marr Chase at his disposal. C.J. Uzomah and Joe Mixon have also stepped up in big ways. Still, the former No. 1 pick out of LSU has struggled with turnovers, which takes a hit on his fantasy value. As such, he falls outside of the QB1 tier for the time being.

Cleveland Browns

Baker Mayfield — QB28

The Browns are in a bit of a rut now, and their passing game is struggling as Baker Mayfield underachieves and Odell Beckham Jr. moves on to catching passes from Matthew Stafford. For Cleveland, relying on a heavy dose of Nick Chubb is currently the optimal plan of attack. Mayfield doesn’t carry much in terms of rest-of-season fantasy value.

Dallas Cowboys

Dak Prescott — QB9

Prescott has had some flaws this season and it looks like he’s still not 100 percent comfortable after returning from injury in Week 9. With that said, he has totaled 21 touchdowns and just five interceptions while maintaining the clear starting role in a productive offense. Dallas’ knack for running the ball might ultimately hurt Prescott, but Ezekiel Elliott‘s efficient running style also helps get the team in a position to score.

Denver Broncos

Teddy Bridgewater — QB26

The Broncos’ offense hasn’t been great this season despite a plethora of weapons. If a unit stalls despite talent at offensive line, wide receiver, running back, and tight end, it suggests that the quarterback might be the issue. Bridgewater is a fine stopgap, but from a fantasy perspective, he leaves much to be desired.

Detroit Lions

Jared Goff — QB32

Goff has been awful this season. He is truly holding the Lions’ offense back and has contributed to the Lions’ winless record. He should return to the starting job once his oblique injury heals, but it’s not out of the realm of possibilities that he finds himself on the bench by season’s end. Goff can be left on waivers in all most leagues.

Tim Boyle — QB43

Boyle threw for just 77 yards and was picked off twice in his first NFL start. He only makes this list because he’ll likely continue to play as Goff recovers from his oblique injury.

Green Bay Packers

Aaron Rodgers — QB12

Rodgers hasn’t been quite as good this season as he was in 2020, but he has still finished as a top-10 quarterback in half of his games. Fantasy managers should continue to treat him as a QB1, especially considering he has Davante Adams at his disposal and is approaching six very favorable matchups to close out the season.

Houston Texans

Tyrod Taylor — QB28

Taylor has produced solid fantasy performances in three of his four outings this season, but he still feels too unstable to trust going forward. For example, he has just zero passing touchdowns and three interceptions over the course of his last two games. He threw for just 107 yards in Week 11, and although he salvaged the day with two rushing touchdowns, that isn’t sustainable. He’s outside the realm of fantasy relevance for the time being.

Davis Mills — QB40

Mills was wildly inconsistent during his seven games of action during Taylor’s absence. He finished inside the top-nine twice, but his seven remaining games saw him fall outside of the top-26. Now, he’s back on the bench. There’s a chance the Texans experiment with him again once they’re officially eliminated from playoff contention, but he’s still not on the fantasy radar in redraft formats.

Indianapolis Colts

Carson Wentz — QB17

Wentz had four top-12 fantasy finishes from Weeks 5 to 9. However, things came crashing to a halt and he finished outside the top-20 in each of his next two games. He has the potential to succeed with weapons like Jonathan Taylor and Michael Pittman Jr. at his disposal, and he’s only been picked off three times through 11 games. While the Colts’ run-heavy approach drops him outside of the QB1 range, he’s still a fine option for managers who like to have multiple quarterbacks on their roster.

Jacksonville Jaguars

Trevor Lawrence — QB24

It’s far too early to sound the alarms on this year’s No. 1 pick, but it’s fair to question where he’s currently at in his development. He’s finished better than QB16 just once since Week 1 and will move forward without D.J. Chark or Jamal Agnew at his disposal. Lawrence is a fine option in two-quarterback leagues, but he can be left on waivers in single-quarterback redraft formats. It’s hard to imagine he turns things around this season despite Jacksonville’s frequently-negative game script approach.

Kansas City Chiefs

Patrick Mahomes — QB4

Mahomes has wavered a bit as of late, finishing better than QB17 just once over his last five games (QB1 in Week 10). Still, it’s Patrick Mahomes. He’s one of the best players in the NFL and plays in an elite offense. He’s dealing with a bit of adversity now, but he’s going to be ferocious down the home stretch as the Chiefs look to secure a favorable playoff position.

Las Vegas Raiders

Derek Carr — QB14

Carr has been steady in terms of fantasy production this season, finishing between QB7 and QB13 in six of his 10 games. Losing Henry Ruggs III hurts the passing game, but Carr has still found a way to be productive through players like Darren Waller, Hunter Renfrow, Josh Jacobs, and Kenyan Drake. He has a very favorable end-of-season schedule and likely has at least four more QB1 finishes in him over the final seven weeks.

Los Angeles Chargers

Justin Herbert — QB7

Herbert has been phenomenal this season, building on the big rookie year he had in 2020. He has finished as a top-two quarterback in four of 10 weeks this season and is clearly capable of breaking off big plays through the air and even on the ground, too. The Chargers have a lot of stars on offense, but Herbert remains the focal point of the unit and is a weekly must-start in fantasy football.

Los Angeles Rams

Matthew Stafford — QB6

Stafford had an incredible start to the 2021 season with his new team as he logged top-10 finishes in five of his first eight games. However, things started to go downhill against the Titans in Week 9, and he’s logged a QB16 and QB17 finish since then. Although losing Robert Woods to an ACL injury is devastating, Stafford has shown he is capable of leading the Rams to big wins. Los Angeles is a near-lock to make the playoffs and will remain competitive until the final whistle blares in Week 18. Stafford is still a must-start throughout all fantasy formats.

Miami Dolphins

Tua Tagovailoa — QB15

The Dolphins may be struggling, but Tagovailoa has been on a roll. Through five games since returning from an injury, Tagovailoa has three top-12 finishes. He also finished 14th against the Bills and even finished 16th during a game against the Ravens in which he played for less than one half. The former first-round pick has grown increasingly comfortable and poised while throwing to weapons like Jaylen Waddle and Mike Gesicki. He’s a top streamer every week and isn’t far from being a legitimate QB1 option.

Jacoby Brissett — QB39

As impressive as Tagovailoa has been this season, he’s suffered several injuries along the way. If he’s forced to miss any more time, Brissett would move into the low-end QB2 territory. For now, though, the gritty, physical, and athletic veteran belongs on the waiver wire.

Minnesota Vikings

Kirk Cousins — QB10

For several years, Cousins has been one of the most underrated quarterbacks in fantasy football, consistently churning out borderline QB1 results. He’s taking things a step further this year and the NFL community is finally taking notice. The veteran has finished as a top-nine quarterback in six of 10 games this season, and he’s finished outside the top-22 just once. He has league-winning potential and should be a pivotal player down the stretch.

New England Patriots

Mac Jones — QB22

Jones has far and away been the best rookie quarterback so far this season. While it remains to be seen if this holds up in the long-term, it’s evident that he has some low-end value in superflex leagues for the time being. After a shaky start to the season, the Patriots have turned things around and Jones’s stock is rising as a result. Although he has thrown for more than 235 yards just once over the last seven weeks, he has somewhat limited interceptions during that span (four) while also finding the end zone 10 times.

New Orleans Saints

Trevor Siemian — QB26

A season-ending injury to Jameis Winston has forced Siemian into action. Although some of his production has come in garbage-time scenarios, he has looked solid as of late, finishing as the QB4 in each of the last two weeks. During roughly four games, he has amassed nine touchdowns and two interceptions. While still not relevant in single-quarterback settings, he does make for an intriguing addition in superflex formats.

Taysom Hill — QB33

The good thing about Taysom Hill? He plays in every game and racks up yardage. The bad thing? He’s listed as a quarterback and therefore doesn’t have much fantasy relevance since he’ll rarely outscore the other options on the waiver wire. He can be left in the free agent pool for the rest of the season if the Saints stick with Siemian under center.

New York Giants

Daniel Jones — QB20

Jones has shown some potential from time to time, but he has an alarming seven-to-seven touchdown-to-interception ratio over his last seven games. His rushing ability has taken a step back since last year, injuries continue to plague the Giants, and the team is struggling to keep its head above the water in the NFL. He might be a safe bet for one or two more top-12 finishes over the final stretch, but he’ll surely post some duds, too. It’s nearly impossible to trust Jones right now.

New York Jets

Zach Wilson — QB31

This year’s No. 2 pick is closing in on a return from injury. When he does take the field again, he’ll instantly be named the starter despite some of his early-season woes. For what it’s worth, the Jets have shown some semblance of life in recent weeks (shoutout Elijah Moore), so perhaps giving the reins to Wilson will add a couple more wins to New York’s pitiful 2-8 record. However, Michael Carter is expected to miss time and the team as a whole is still a letdown. As such, Wilson can remain on waivers in redraft formats.

Joe Flacco — QB36

Flacco started this past Sunday’s game against Miami, and it’s possible he plays over Mike White in Week 12 if Wilson isn’t ready to return. The veteran did throw for 291 yards and two touchdowns, but he’s merely a one- or two-week option (at best).

Mike White — QB38

White makes the cut for this list due to the fact that there’s a chance he plays in Week 12. Outside of a fun QB2 showing in Week 9, White hasn’t finished inside the top-20.

Philadelphia Eagles

Jalen Hurts — QB8

From time to time, the football world will stumble across a player who is elite from a fantasy football perspective but struggling to even keep his job in the NFL (or vice versa). That was the case for Hurts throughout the first half of this season, during which he finished as a top-12 quarterback all but once. Yet, rumors swirled that he could lose his starting job to Gardner Minshew. Of course, these talks have been silenced now that the Eagles are winning games. All the while, Hurts remains a top fantasy option, logging QB6 and QB3 finishes over his last two games.

Gardner Minshew — QB42

Minshew barely sneaks onto this list solely due to the aforementioned fact that there were rumblings about Hurts’ job security. The second-year quarterback appears to have a firm grasp on his starting role, but the whole scenario is at least worth watching sporadically.

Pittsburgh Steelers

Ben Roethlisberger — QB23

It has been a tricky year for Roethlisberger, who hadn’t logged a top-12 finish through eight games prior to his three-touchdown effort on Sunday night. He has limited interceptions to just four this season, but he still doesn’t have mind-blowing fantasy value due to the emergence of shiny new toy Najee Harris coupled with Roethlisberger’s total lack of mobility.

San Francisco 49ers

Jimmy Garoppolo — QB30

Just as it seemed Garoppolo’s job was slipping away from him, he bounced back and led the 49ers to three wins over four games, including a commanding victory over the Rams. However, from a fantasy perspective, Garoppolo leaves much to be desired. He isn’t very mobile, relies on hand-offs to running backs in the red zone, and still doesn’t have phenomenal job security. The 49ers are going to give the reins to Trey Lance at some point, and as unfortunate as it sounds, Garoppolo might be one bad game away from heading to the bench. He’s a fine streamer on a week-by-week basis, but fantasy managers should leave him out of their rest-of-season plans.

Trey Lance — QB35

As mentioned, Lance is simply waiting in the wings for his opportunity. He threw for 354 yards, three touchdowns, and one pick during limited action over the first five weeks but hasn’t attempted a pass since then. If he starts, fantasy managers could comfortably view him as a high-end QB2. Until then, though, he isn’t on the redraft radar.

Seattle Seahawks

Russell Wilson — QB11

Fantasy managers are being introduced to second-half Wilson once again. Through three games since Week 5, Wilson has finished as the QB27, QB22, and QB27, respectively. From a rankings standpoint, he occupies the QB11 slot simply because we know what he is capable of. However, he is far from a must-start at this point. These next few weeks will be pivotal.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tom Brady — QB5

After a pair of back-to-back losses, the Super Bowl-hungry Buccaneers got back on track with a primetime win over the Giants that got Jason Garrett fired. Brady has been elite once again this season, finishing as a top-14 fantasy quarterback in nine of 10 games. Six of those contests saw him rank inside the top-five. He remains a must-start option in all formats.

Tennessee Titans

Ryan Tannehill — QB18

This year, it has been tough to trust Tannehill, for whom many had high expectations heading into the season. Injuries to A.J. Brown, Julio Jones, and Derrick Henry have hurt the overall offense, but even then, Tannehill has disappointed. He can be dropped to waivers in a large chunk of redraft leagues.

Washington Football Team

Taylor Heinicke — QB21

Ryan Fitzpatrick is done for the season, so the Football Team officially resides in the hands of Heinicke. A heroic story in 2020, Heinicke has met his fair share of bumps in the road this year but still has streaming relevance in many single-quarterback leagues. He has finished as a top-12 quarterback in three of his last four games and continues to boast rushing upside. Despite a tricky schedule to close out the season, Heinicke is worth monitoring. The fact that Washington will likely remain competitive through Week 18 helps the quarterback’s fantasy stock.

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Andersen is a teenage sportswriter and reporter whose articles have appeared across the Prime Time Sports Talk, Sports Illustrated Kids, FantasyPros, and SB Nation platforms. He has also received credit from RotoWorld, CBS Sports, ESPN, Bleacher Report, USA Today, Yahoo Sports, The Athletic, SB Nation, NBC Sports, NY Post, and dozens of other sports sites for his reporting work.

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