Scott Engel is beginning his 10th season as the official Fantasy writer and analyst for Seahawks.com. Scott is a 25-year veteran of the Fantasy industry and an inaugural member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association's Hall of Fame. He is a four-time FSWA award winner and 10-time nominee, including being named a finalist for the 2020 Fantasy Football Writer of the Year award. You can also find more of his Fantasy analysis on RotoBaller.com, SportsLine.com, the Athletic and SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio. Scott won two Fantasy Football dynasty league titles in 2020, including one in the prestigious Fantasy Football Players Championship (FFPC), and he previously pulled off a three-peat in a highly competitive New York City league.
We begin our 2021 Fantasy Football positional scouting reports with a look at the quarterback position, where once again, Russell Wilson ranks among the very best. It's been annually preached by Fantasy Football analysts everywhere that you should wait until at least the middle rounds to draft a QB. In a league where you only start one QB, it is more important to take running backs or wide receivers for the most part in the first five to six rounds.
The quarterback position is rather deep in the usual one-QB format, as there are over 12 players at the position you can feel comfortable with as a starter, and if you wait a bit longer, you may be able to stream or alternate respectable starting options. Of course, there are always a few sleeper types that can emerge during the season, adding even more potential targets to the overall mix. A very good Fantasy QB can be the ideal complement to your other top skill position players on a championship roster. Generally, though, many early drafts have continued to indicate that a very satisfactory starting QB choice can usually be made in Rounds 6 through 10.
My ideal range to land a No. 1 QB begins in the seventh round if I have to start two running backs, three wide receivers and a flex player. If your league requires only two starting WRs you can move that target range up a round, or if it requires two flexes, move it back a round. Once I have filled out all my starting RB, WR and flex spots, and if I did not land one of the top three TEs, the QB and TE are tops on my draft target list at that point. Sure, I will wait on a QB, as is the norm, but if I aim for my starter as a top priority once RB, WR and flex are taken care of, I will very frequently get one of my top 5 to 9 ranked players at the position.
Rounds seven through nine are usually my "sweet spot" to take a QB, as veering into double figure round territory could be a bit more risky. Of course, you have to go with the flow of the draft, and you can sometimes find a comfortable starter in Round 10 or so. But if you are among the first to move for a mid-range No. 1 QB, you can have your preferred choice from some of the Top 5 to 9 ranked players. Of course, if a great value play at RB or WR drops to you anywhere in those rounds, exceptions can always be made and you can put off the QB pick for another round. Every draft is different, and if the overall flow of selections in your draft at QB is pushing them back further to the point where you feel confident enough to wait after the eighth round for your starter, then go with your instincts. My suggested approach is a template, but not a rigid guide.
If you play in a two-QB or "superflex" league, though, the approach obviously becomes completely different. I would venture to get my first starting QB in the first round in most cases, and not take the second starter later than the fourth round if I can. In those leagues, I attempt to often get two QBs and two RBs in my first four picks, and wait on WR since it tends to be a deeper position. Yet as we advise in our 2021 Fantasy Football Tips for Success, you have to adjust on the run during a draft, and there is no one set plan on drafting. You should have a "shell" of a plan, but be prepared to make quick pivots on the fly throughout the draft.
Russell Wilson: Always among the very best at quarterback
Entering his 10th season, Russell Wilson remains one of the most comfortable Fantasy choices you can make at the quarterback position. Last season, Wilson finished as QB6 overall with a career-high 359.8 Fantasy Points and averaged 22.4 Fantasy Points Per Game, also a new career standard, according to stathead.com. He threw a career-best 40 TD passes in 2020 and has finished with 34-plus in three of the past four seasons. Wilson has totaled 4,100-plus passing yards in each of the last two years and he rushed for 500-plus yards for the fifth time in his career last season.
As highlighted in our new countdown of the 12 Greatest Fantasy Seahawks of All-Time, Wilson has finished as a Fantasy QB1 in every season of his career, as he has placed in the Top 3 three times, the Top 8 six times, and in 2017 he was the No. 1 QB in Fantasy Football. His current NFL.com Average Draft Position is 55.97, making him one of the perfect "sweet spot" QB targets we mentioned previously. I have him ranked sixth overall, and with new offensive coordinator Shane Waldron set to further help streamline the passing game, plus new arrivals Gerald Everett and D'Wayne Eskridge being added to the pass-catching crew, he can surely finish higher than that this season.
Wilson remains in his prime, and his depth chart of playmakers looks even deeper this season. Finishing sixth or fifth at the position should be his statistical floor, but with DK Metcalf still on the rise and Tyler Lockett still ever-present as a significant threat on all types of routes, Wilson's ceiling can be placing even higher among the top scorers at the QB position this year.
The 2021 Fantasy Football Scouting Guide: Quarterbacks
Patrick Mahomes' current NFL.com Average Draft Position is 20.9, and Josh Allen's ADP is 32.3. So if you want to make a move for one of the two top-ranked QBs in Fantasy Football, you will have to take Mahomes in the third round or Allen in the fourth. Allen finished as the top scorer at QB last year in his breakthrough campaign with 395.1 points, and Mahomes averaged the most Fantasy Points Per Game among regular starters (24.9).
Taking Mahomes or Allen, the ultimate dual threat QB, can give you definite peace of mind that you will have an elite player at the position. If you believe you have a very deep knowledge base of the overall player pool, or play in a 10-team league, then it's a more comfortable choice to take the shot on one of the top two QBs. But you will also watch RBs fly off the board and the top WRs get taken around you.
Kyler Murray is the next QB taken according to the latest ADP reports, at 41.62, and he is also going in the fifth round with Lamar Jackson (41.7) and Dak Prescott (48.0). All drafts vary, and some QBs will be taken slightly earlier or later than what the ADPs dictate. Yet it is clear you can still land a Top 5 QB after focusing on running backs and wide receivers for the bulk of your picks in the first four rounds.
Murray (378.7 points) was the third-highest scoring QB last season, and he is just entering his third pro season. Jackson is the best pure rushing producer at QB and his WR corps has been upgraded. Prescott, though, averaged a very lofty 26.9 FFPG in the five games he played in 2020, and could be set for a major bounce-back season. The Dallas passing game could be one of the best in the NFL in 2021, and I have Prescott ranked third overall.
Justin Herbert (52.8 ADP) finished as a Top 10 Fantasy QB as a rookie, as he looked very poised and dialed in. He has a quality supporting cast and more upside for 2021. Tom Brady (56.9) finished as QB8 last season and is working with the best pass-catching crew of his career. Matthew Stafford (77.6) has actually been a value selection in some early drafts. I have seen him slip as far as the 10th round. Stafford will be playing with his deepest set of receivers ever, and can finish as a Top 5 Fantasy QB this year.
Joe Burrow's ADP of 107.1 makes him a good value target, and he is an ideal pick if you wait for your starter into the double figure rounds. He was a Top 10 Fantasy QB when healthy last season and his former college teammate, Ja'Marr Chase, now rounds a superb WR group in Cincinnati. Jalen Hurts is going after Burrow in early NFL.com drafts, but ahead of him on many other platforms. Hurts is an exciting dual threat prospect set for his first full season as a starter, and I have him ranked 11th.
Ryan Tannehill is simply underrated at an ADP of 115.5, as he finished as QB7 while throwing a career high 33 TD passes in 2020. The addition of Julio Jones to his WR group makes Tannehill another fine starting target in the double figure rounds.
Once Tannehill is off the board, you are looking at streamers, possible upside plays and sleepers. Trevor Lawrence does have the promise to be a Fantasy starter as a rookie, and Matt Ryan still has enough weaponry to be a respectable Fantasy QB. Carson Wentz could re-emerge as a quality Fantasy passer with his move to Indianapolis, and Ryan Fitzpatrick is a proven gunner who will start for Washington.
Sam Darnold is a sleeper target who will have a very impressive supporting cast of playmakers with the Panthers. Miami has added Will Fuller and rookie Jaylen Waddle to vastly improve the WR picture for Tua Tagovailoa in Miami. Jameis Winston could rise again as a Fantasy option in New Orleans. Also keep a close watch on the progress of rookies Justin Fields (Bears) and Trey Lance (49ers). Either or both could become quality Fantasy options in their first pro seasons.
Scott Engel's Top 15 Fantasy Quarterbacks for 2021
- Patrick Mahomes
- Josh Allen
- Dak Prescott
- Kyler Murray
- Justin Herbert
- Russell Wilson
- Lamar Jackson
- Matthew Stafford
- Aaron Rodgers
- Joe Burrow
- Jalen Hurts
- Tom Brady
- Ryan Tannehill
- Trevor Lawrence
- Baker Mayfield
For the full list of QB rankings and to check out more of Scott Engel's 2021 Fantasy Football analysis and rankings, visitRotoBaller.com. Enter promo code "seahawks" at checkout for an additional discount on the RotoBaller Fantasy Football season pass. Also check out the new Mock Draft Assistant_, where you can practice quick drafting against computer for free.
Seahawks Fantasy Insider Scott Engel ranks the best fantasy quarterbacks to target for the 2021 season.