Scott Engel is in his 12th year as the official Fantasy Football writer and analyst for Seahawks.com. He is an inaugural member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association's Hall of Fame. Scott is a four-time FSWA award winner and a 13-time nominee. You can find more of his fantasy football analysis at The Game Day and on RotoBaller.com.
In past seasons, fantasy football analysts would recommend waiting to draft a quarterback, advising to target the position once your starting skill position lineup had been mostly filled out. Personally, I would not begin to consider drafting my No. 1 QB until at least the sixth round and often moved on my top choice between the seventh and ninth rounds.
Quarterbacks are being pushed up the fantasy football draft boards more nowadays. According to the latest Average Draft Position reports from fantasypros.com, the top 7 QBs are being drafted inside the top 45 overall, which is in the range of the first four rounds of 12-team drafts.
There is also an apparent advantage to drafting one of the best QBs in the first few rounds. Last season, the three highest-scoring players at the position (Jalen Hurts, Patrick Mahomes, Josh Allen) averaged over 24 fantasy points per game, and no other QBs averaged above 21.7. Only six QBs who started regularly averaged 20-plus points per game, and the seventh-highest scoring QB averaged 18.9.
Still, there are approximately 16 QBs that you can realistically consider as potential quality No. 1 options in your 2023 fantasy football drafts. Included is Seahawks QB Geno Smith , who was one of the best waiver wire pickups at the position last season. He finished as QB5 with 314.9 points.
In some leagues, QBs may be valued even more depending on scoring systems and lineup requirements. In leagues that require six points for a TD pass, you should see a notable higher emphasis placed on the position. In recent years, "superflex" leagues are becoming increasingly popular.
In the superflex format, participants can start a second QB at a second flex position and usually elect to do so. You may see several QBs drafted in the first round in superflex leagues, and very often I will draft two players from the position in the first four rounds.
For all types of leagues and players, I supply my top 20 fantasy quarterbacks here, and for more past the top 20, be sure to check out my regularly updated fantasy football rankings at all positions at RotoBaller.com.
2023 Fantasy Football Quarterback Rankings And Positional Outlook
The "Big Three" at Fantasy QB this season is the same trio that paced the position last year. Mahomes, Allen, and Hurts will be the top three QBs taken in most drafts, and the order in which they are selected can vary in any draft. All of them may be picked in the first two rounds or so in leagues that require one starting quarterback.
Mahomes and Allen were the only players at the position to score 400 points last season, and Hurts was one of only two QBs to average more than 25 fantasy points per game. Allen has finished as a top 2 QB in each of the past three seasons, and Mahomes is the best pure passer available. Hurts has rushed for 23 TDs over the past two seasons and led all QBs in points per game in 2022 with 25.6. You can't go wrong with taking any of those three as a prime QB when deciding to aim for one of the elite players at the position early on.
My No. 4 QB, Justin Fields, amazingly ranked seventh in the NFL with 1,143 rushing yards in 2022, and added eight rushing TDs. The addition of veteran WR D.J. Moore to the WR group also improves the passing outlook for the third-year ascending Chicago Bears star. He has obvious terrific rushing upside and could be a true fantasy football difference-maker for those who aggressively aim to take a top 5 QB shot on Fields this season.
Lamar Jackson averaged 20.3 fantasy points per game last season and is now set to work with his best pass-catching crew ever in 2023.
Regular top tight end Mark Andrews will now be complemented by a wide receiver trio of Rashod Bateman, Odell Beckham Jr., and exciting rookie Zay Flowers. Beckham will still command much defensive attention and Bateman should become a dependable target for Jackson.
Joe Burrow threw a career-high 35 TD passes last season, and he is a high statistical floor passer that is ranked in the top 5 by many fantasy analysts. He and Justin Herbert round out the top 7 QBs that you should expect to see taken in the first four rounds of most one-QB starter league drafts. Herbert is certainly capable of displaying much of the form that produced 5,014 passing yards and 38 TD passes in 2021.
Trevor Lawrence benefitted greatly from working with Doug Pederson and his assistants in 2022 as he finished as QB8 overall. A better finish is certainly attainable in his second season under Pederson. Former All-Pro Falcon Calvin Ridley will now work atop one of the deepest pass-catching crews in the AFC.
Daniel Jones rushed for 700-plus yards and seven TDs last season on the way to a QB9 finish, and his receiving group has added TE Darren Waller, who recently had a pair of 1,100-yard seasons.
Tua Tagovailoa is an ideal fit for Mike McDaniels' offense in Miami and he has one of the top WR pairings in the NFL with Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle. If he does not miss much time in 2023, it is possible that Tagovailoa could challenge to be a top 5 fantasy QB.
Deshaun Watson will open the season as Cleveland's starter in 2023 and the second-year Brown was a top 5 fantasy QB when we last saw him play a full campaign in 2020.
Experienced fantasy players always have their eye on QBs with significant rushing promise. Indianapolis Colts rookie Anthony Richardson can be an immediate and impactful fantasy contributor in that regard.
Geno Smith is also one of the best QB2 targets in fantasy football for 2023. Last season, his 30 TD passes were fourth-best among NFL QBs, and according to playerprofiler.com, he ranked third in the NFL in "money throws", which are defined as passes that require exceptional skill or came in clutch situations. He also ranked third in deep ball accuracy rating and fifth in deep ball completion percentage.
This year, first-round rookie Jaxon Smith-Njigba joins DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett to give Smith what may be the best-receiving trio in the NFC. Smith has the potential to average more than the 18.5 points per game he did last season while functioning as an even more comfortable fantasy starter.
Kirk Cousins finished as QB7 last season and is one of the better higher-end QB2 types available outside of the top 12 or so. The newest New York Jet, Aaron Rodgers, should at least perform as a quality fantasy QB2 this season.
Russell Wilson will have the chance to re-emerge as a fantasy QB1 under Sean Payton and his staff. Jared Goff is a very good streamer when he plays at home. He delivered 23 of his 29 TD passes at Ford Field in 2022.
Green Bay has paved the way for Jordan Love to be their unquestioned starter this season, and he has a young, yet promising group of pass-catchers to work with. Matthew Stafford can regain fantasy respectability as he and Cooper Kupp return healthy in 2023.
Value plays along with Love include 49ers QB Brock Purdy, who will be looking to build off last season's magical late run, and potential sleeper Sam Howell, who looked sharp in the preseason and has a good cast of WRs in Washington.
Scott Engel's Top 20 Fantasy Quarterbacks for 2023
1. Josh Allen'
2. Patrick Mahones
3. Jalen Hurts
4. Justin Fields
5. Lamar Jackson
6. Joe Burrow
7. Justin Herbert
8. Trevor Lawrence
9. Anthony Richardson
10. Daniel Jones
11. Dak Prescott
12. Tua Tagovailoa
13. Deshaun Watson
14. Geno Smith
15. Aaron Rodgers
16. Kirk Cousins
17. Russell Wilson
18. Jared Goff
19. Derek Carr
20. Brock Purdy
21. Matthew Stafford
22. Jordan Love
23. Kyler Murray
24. Kenny Pickett
25. Sam Howell
26. Ryan Tannehill
27. Jimmy Garoppolo
28. Bryce Young
29. C.J. Stroud
30. Baker Mayfield
Seahawks quarterback Geno Smith held a youth football camp at Nathan Hale High School in Seattle on July 13, 2023. Camp attendees were provided insight from the star quarterback and coaches, as well as hands on instruction through skill stations and contests.