Did anyone else wake up yesterday and feel stunned that August is almost over? It seems like 2020 is (mercifully) going by quicker than most years. While the NFL draft may still feel like it happened just days ago, with camps started in earnest and the league pushing forward with the 2020 regular season as planned, it’s time for fantasy gurus to dig deep and do their homework for the 2020 season.
Up front: this is not a discussion of where current NFL QBs currently stand in relation to carrying a franchise. Instead of being a projection of who will be playing in February 2021, this is talking who can win YOU your fantasy championship in 2020.
From (relatively) early round picks, to quality rotational starters, these are the arms that can pass you to fantasy dominance in 2020.
Great Match-Up Plays
10. Drew Brees. Projection: 4,200 passing yards, 25 TD/6 INT, 50 rushing yards 1 TD.
Ten may seem low here, but even the staunchest Saints supporter will have to admit that Drew looked a little different the last time we saw him play. An emphasized running game with a now-healthy Kamara and time share with his gadget counterpart in the QB room makes Drew a B+ starter in deeper leagues and quality depth in others.
9. Aaron Rodgers. Projection: 4,220 passing yards, 26 TD/3 INT, 160 rushing yards 2 TD
Speaking of guys we’ve probably seen the best of, Aaron Rodgers was efficient yet un-inspiring fantasy-wise last season in his new scheme. Rodgers is still a crazy technician, so I doubt his efficiency will drop off immensely even as he gets up their in terms of age; but a focus on the running game, frustration with the franchise’s future plans, and questions at WR spell someone who’s likely a matchup play for your fantasy squad.
8. Tom Brady. Projection: 4,150 passing yards 28 TD/7 INT, 80 rushing yards 2 TD
I know, I know. Weapons, motivation, Gronk, Tompa Bay. Got it. Know what else I’ve got? An aging QB and a savvy player-caller who knows he’ll want his QB playing his best games in the divisional round, not week 4. Will Brady have a good season this year? Yes. Will he look invigorated in a new place with new weapons? Of course. But father time always gets his, even if that means a season from the GOAT that is below his best but still better than most.
7. Carson Wentz. Projection: 4,400 passing yards 31 TD/9 INT, 200 rushing yards 1 TD
Is anyone else shocked by how little people talk about how well Wentz performed throwing to practice squad players at the end of last year? He put up very good numbers with very little help, and the luck of his WR room simply has to regress to closer to the norm, right? Wentz is a solid mid to late-round pickup that can absolutely dagger your opponent with the right matchup. Expect a legacy-building year.
Start Them Every Week
6. Kyler Murray. Projection: 3,900 passing yards 25 TD/10 INT, 550 rushing yards 5 TD
There’s a ton of hype surrounding Kyler entering his second year, and for good reason. He played well last year, the Kingsbury system is an ideal fit, and some key additions on the offensive side of the ball all point to a player with a lot of upside.
5. Matt Ryan. Projection: 4,700 passing yards 32 TD/10 INT, 100 rushing yards 1 TD
Perhaps the most overlooked QB in terms of consistent production maybe in the history of the game, Ryan is a virtual lock for 4000+ passing yards, 25+ TDs, and to be passing early and often not only took keep pace with the blistering offenses of the NFC South, but to overcome a rather bleak looking ATL defense. Ryan also oddly plays better in even-numbered years. Expect dazzling stats from 2020 campaign.
4. Deshaun Watson. Projection: 4,300 passing yards 28 TD/9 INT, 500 rushing yards 6 TD
You can make the case for Watson as high as 3, or as low as 12. There’s no questioning his other-worldly talent, though his support system is unquestionably lacking. I think he plays big in a season that can earn him a payday he’s more than deserving of, even if it comes with some relatively uneven production throughout the year. A high ceiling-low floor QB1.
Worth Picking in Top 4 Rounds
3. Russell Wilson. Projection: 4,400 passing yards 31 TD/7 INT, 400 rushing yards 4 TD
Man, any other year and Russell Wilson would have been a lock for MVP. Historic performances from other QBs last year aside, we saw peak Wilson do more with less in the exciting yet somehow also very careful playstyle that has defined his NFL career. He won’t be a flashy pick on draft day, but he’s a must-start this year until proven otherwise.
2. Pat Mahomes. Projection: 4,600 passing yards 36 TD/7 INT, 300 rushing yards 2 TD
Expecting anything short of an MVP-caliber season from Mahomes at this point just feels wrong. He’s surrounded by talent, has the perfect scheme to fit his talents, and seems poised to be a main stay of the league for the next decade plus. How’s he number 2, then? The Kansas City offense did look different without Tyreek Hill in the lineup, and injuries have been a factor for Mahomes. Let’s see what he can do with another (hopefully) healthy season.
1. Lamar Jackson. Projection: 3,300 passing yards 30 TD/7 INT, 700 rushing yards 5 TD
The reigning MVP had unforgettable performance after unforgettable performance last year, and expecting him to keep up that historic pace is likely too much of an ask. His dual-threat efficiency and big-play ability make him unquestionably the most coveted QB in fantasy this year, though I think the biggest question is by how large of a margin? Someone will take him early in round one, if not first overall in your draft. Is that the best pick there? …Maybe not. But someone will still do it.
Other draftable QBs with upside: Dak Prescott, Josh Allen, Matt Stafford. I think any or all of these guys may be in for big years, but I also don’t see them playing so far above any of the QBs listed above to really make much of a difference. I’m aware that many will have Prescott much higher on their boards, but are you really confident that he’ll be a top-10 play this year? Confidently: I’m not.
It should be an incredibly interesting and challenging fantasy season, however the 2020 regular season ends up playing out. We’ll update this as the season rolls on. Until then, research, draft well, and don’t be the guy that takes his QB in the first round!