It's a topic that has been beaten to death all season, but as we are on the cusp of the Fantasy Football playoffs, it's worth saying again: The quarterback position has been a major disappointment this season.
As we enter Week 14 of the NFL season, only four quarterbacks are averaging better than 23.2 points per game in six-per-pass-touchdown scoring, and only nine are above 22.0 points per game; last season, we had eight put up at least 24.0 and 12 with 22.0 or better. Go back to 2020, and a whopping 18 players averaged at least 20 points per game at the QB position. This season? Jimmy Garoppolo is QB18 with 17.9 points per game.
It's been bad, and it's only gotten slightly better as the season has gone on. Over the past five weeks, 14 QBs are at 20 PPG; better than the first two months or so, but not to the same level as 2021 or prior. And, of course, when you're going into the playoffs, you're not just looking for decent production – you're looking for guys who can help you win a must-win game. 18-20 points won't do it.
So, which quarterbacks can break through that threshold consistently enough to get you a win? Before we get to the Week 14 rankings, here's how I'm tiering the position the rest of the way. And, for what it's worth, the ranking within the tiers is less important than the tiers themselves:
The elites: Patrick Mahomes, Josh Allen, Jalen Hurts, Justin Fields, Joe Burrow
Barring injury, there's no world in which you're benching these guys (once Fields is back from his bye, of course!)
The near-elites: Kyler Murray, Tua Tagovailoa, Dak Prescott, Justin Herbert
For one reason or another, these guys aren't quite at the level of the top tier, but they're probably starting every week for me, and I feel pretty good about it.
The next-best things: Geno Smith, Lamar Jackson (when healthy), Trevor Lawrence, Derek Carr, Kirk Cousins
And here you're already at the point where we're going to start playing matchups at least occasionally. Honestly, Smith might belong in a tier above.
And after that … Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, Deshaun Watson … they're big names, but you obviously can't trust them these days. They might help you win a championship, but I don't have any more confidence in any of them than I do in the likes of Jared Goff or Daniel Jones or Taylor Heinicke at this point.
Russell Wilson? He's QB32 over the past five weeks in points per game for crying out loud.
It's hard out there, and if you're making the playoffs, there's a pretty good chance you've got one of those first-tier QBs to thank. And if not, then you're probably hoping you don't run into one of them when the games matter.
Here are my initial rankings for the QB position for Week 14, with the Bears, Packers, Falcons, Colts, Saints, and Commanders on bye:
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- Patrick Mahomes @DEN
- Josh Allen vs. NYJ
- Jalen Hurts @NYG
- Joe Burrow vs. CLE
- Kyler Murray vs. NE
- Tua Tagovailoa @LAC
- Dak Prescott vs. HOU
- Geno Smith vs. CAR
- Justin Herbert vs. MIA
- Trevor Lawrence @TEN
- Kirk Cousins @DET
- Jared Goff vs. MIN
- Daniel Jones vs. PHI
- Tom Brady @SF
- Deshaun Watson @CIN
- Tyler Huntley @PIT
- Mike White @BUF
- Kenny Pickett vs. BAL
- Ryan Tannehill vs. JAX
- Russell Wilson vs. KC
- Mac Jones @ARI
- Sam Darnold @SEA
- Davis Mills @DAL
- Brock Purdy vs. TB