Ranking the best NFL fantasy quarterbacks for 2021

Patrick Mahomes under center
Patrick Mahomes remains the gold standard for NFL fantasy QBs. Photo from SB Nation.
  • The 2021 NFL fantasy season will hopefully be more settled than 2020
  • Mahomes, Watson and Allen all feature among top fantasy QBs
  • Check our ranking of 2021 NFL fantasy quarterbacks below

It’s been a long season, in more ways than one. Not only have NFL players been subjected to strict protocol and testing with regards to COVID-19—it’s been tough for fantasy football managers to keep track of who’s in and who’s out, and who’s playing when.

Normally, fantasy decisions center around who should start in any given week, and with luck, we can get back to drafting with those anticipated dilemmas in the summer of 2021.

While it’s still a little bit early to think about the 2021 NFL season when the 2020 NFL playoffs are still being decided, if there was any year to consciously decide to look ahead, it’s this one.

Let’s take a closer look at the top 5 quarterbacks fantasy football players should draft in 2021.

  1. Justin Herbert

Coming into the 2020 season, there were many reasons to believe that Los Angeles Chargers QB Justin Herbert would be less fantasy relevant than Miami Dolphins QB Tua Tagovailoa or Cincinnati Bengals QB Joe Burrow.

Burrow was starting in Cincinnati right away. Tagovailoa had been a heralded prospect for a few years. Herbert wasn’t even supposed to play this season if you took former coach Anthony Lynn’s preseason quotes seriously.

But thrust into the spotlight in Week 2 against the Kansas City Chiefs, Herbert showed that the moment wasn’t too big for him. He threw for 311 yards in his first start, one of seven games this season where he threw for over 300 yards. That statistical output figures to carry on into next season, as star playmaker and PPR standout WR Keenan Allen will return to the team and have an even better rapport with his quarterback. Consider the two games the Chargers play against the high scoring Chiefs each year, and Herbert is line for another stellar campaign.

  1. Deshaun Watson

Deshaun Watson’s future will be a widely discussed offseason topic, but regardless of whether he stays with the Houston Texans, or gets traded to a different team, the young superstar should return top five fantasy value at the position in 2021.


His supporting cast from 2020 can’t get much more uninspiring. If he does stay with the Texans, fans can expect the team to aggressively try to bolster the talent around the QB. It seems likely that they’ll want to bring in an imaginative play caller who can spark some life into the offense, which should help matters as well.

If Watson is moved before the start of the 2021 campaign, it’ll only happen if he decides to waive his no trade clause. Early rumors have started that he would consider a trade to the Dolphins, but regardless of his destination, the fourth year pro will only leave Houston if he’s confident that he can spend the prime years of his career competing for Super Bowls.

  1. Lamar Jackson

The ultimate first round running back/quarterback package, Baltimore Ravens QB Lamar Jackson has showed few signs of slowing down his historic production in the 2020 season.

Jackson rushed for over 1,000 yards again this year, and matched his rushing touchdown output from his MVP season in 2019. The Ravens are all in on his skill set and style of play. The likelihood of Jackson curtailing his running opportunities in 2021 are slim to none, since the team knows that scrambling ability gives them the best chance to win.

Another positive development for Jackson and his rushing output in the development of RB J.K. Dobbins. The Ravens love to run the read option, and Dobbins’ emergence should only cause more headaches for opposing defenses when they try to contain the edge on two explosive runners.

  1. Josh Allen

Although he doesn’t get the same level of publicity as the other quarterbacks on this list, Buffalo Bills QB Josh Allen has proven time and time again this season that he deserves to be considered among the elite quarterbacks in the NFL. With WR Stefon Diggs at his disposal, Allen has set career highs this year in touchdown passes and yards, and there’s no reason to think that connection won’t remain strong in the years to come.

Despite his 6’5” 237 pound frame, Allen is also one of the NFL’s most elusive runners at the QB position. The former University of Wyoming standout has ran for at least 8 touchdowns in his first three seasons in the NFL, and unless the Bills draft a running back who’s more adept at the goal line, Allen is a great bet to reach that total again next year.

  1. Patrick Mahomes

Finally, we arrive at the gold standard for QB play in the NFL today. It’s very possible that Kansas City Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes will be the most sought after fantasy football quarterback not just in 2021, but throughout the next decade.

There isn’t anything that Mahomes’ game is missing, and the weapons he has around him, coupled with a brilliant offensive mind at head coach, gives him the perfect setup to continue to rewrite NFL history.

The only thing that might get in the way of Mahomes putting up the type of statistics everyone knows he’s capable of is Chiefs’ complacency. If Kansas City wins the Super Bowl again this year, without much of a struggle, it will be hard for them to overcome a letdown that human nature generally leans towards. But besides that, the game’s best player should be pencilled in for an automatic 4800 passing yards and 40 touchdowns in 2021.

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About Andrew Pistone 22 Articles
Andrew is a contributor to Franchise Sports, who believes that Miami Dolphins QB Ryan Fitzpatrick's no look pass while being facemasked against the Las Vegas Raiders was better than any Magic Johnson assist on the fast break.

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