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2022 Fantasy Football Quarterback Tiers: Allen, Herbert, Mahomes Lead The Pack

Will Desvallees Aug 8th 4:03 PM EDT.

Josh Allen, Justin Herbert, and Patrick Mahomes are in a tier of their own as we head into the 2022 fantasy football season. 

Still, there are so many options at quarterback this year that we broke it down by tiers. The second-tier features young athletic playmakers including Lamar Jackson and Kyler Murray, each of whom is capable of both passing and running the football. In the third tier, we’ll take a look at some veterans like Matthew Stafford and Tom Brady, who you can count on picking up midway through most drafts. Let’s take a look at the NFL’s quarterbacks tier-by-tier as we gear up for the 2022 fantasy football season.

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Tier 1: The Elite 

  • Josh Allen, Buffalo Bills
  • Justin Herbert, Los Angeles Chargers
  • Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs

Analysis: Josh Allen, Justin Herbert, and Patrick Mahomes are the top three quarterbacks in fantasy football as we gear up for the 2022 NFL season. In 2-QB or SuperFlex leagues, all three of these signal-callers are going in the first round of drafts. In normal PPR formats, Allen’s ADP is 21.33, Herbert’s is 31.20, and Mahomes’ is 35.90. Mahomes was the top quarterback off the board the last two seasons but after the loss of deep-threat Tyreek Hill, he has slipped to third among consensus rankings. Allen is poised to have his best season yet as the running game is improved after the addition of James Cook and the receiving corps is as good as it has ever been with Stefon Diggs, Gabriel Davis, Isaiah McKenzie, Jamison Crowder, and of course, Dawson Knox lining up at tight end. Allen is so good not just because he has a laser of an arm but also because he is a dual-threat quarterback with speedy wheels, especially in the red zone. Not only did he tally 4,407 passing yards with 36 passing touchdowns compared to 15 interceptions but he also produced 763 rushing yards and an additional six scores on the ground. Barring a significant injury, there is no reason Allen shouldn’t finish this upcoming campaign as the QB1. 

If you miss out on Allen, Herbert is no small consolation prize. Herbert threw for over 5,000 passing yards last season, including 38 touchdown passes and just 15 interceptions. He also found a way to score three additional touchdowns using his legs. With Keenan Allen, Mike Williams, and pass-catching running back Austin Ekeler all expected back with the Chargers in 2022, the sky is the limit for the third-year quarterback in Los Angeles. 

In a normal PPR league, fantasy owners should only consider a quarterback in Tier 1 if one of them slips to the middle or end of the third round. Otherwise, you will be better served with a top-notch running back or wide receiver. 

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Tier 2: High-Risk, High-Reward Options

  • Joe Burrow, Cincinnati Bengals
  • Lamar Jackson, Baltimore Ravens
  • Kyler Murray, Arizona Cardinals
  • Jalen Hurts, Philadelphia Eagles

Analysis: Four young, explosive quarterbacks are the ones you can play around with in Tier 2. The first to come off the board in Tier 2 without a doubt is Joe Burrow. The Bengals have one of the strongest corps of wide receivers in the league featuring JaMar Chase, Tee Higgins, and Tyler Boyd. However, Burrow is coming off a significant injury, which is just about the only concern regarding drafting him considering he is coming off the board in the late-fourth round just around Lamar Jackson. 

Jackson played just 12 games in 2021 and threw for 16 touchdowns and 13 interceptions, a significant step down from his 219 MVP season. The main concern for him going into this season is the state of the Baltimore Ravens’ offense heading into this season. The team’s best options at wide receiver right now are Rashod Bateman and Devin Duvernay, earning the Ravens the 29th ranked receiving unit in football heading into the 2022 season according to PFF’s NFL Receiving Corps Rankings. Still, Lamar Jackson is a stud and is healthy heading into this season. If he can’t convert enough of his passes over the first few weeks of the season, expect him to start running the football and putting his numbers up that way. 

Unlike Jackson, Kyler Murray has a strong receiving duo heading into this season because the Cardinals acquired WR Marquise Brown from the Ravens (which destroyed Baltimore’s receiving corps). He joins DeAndre Hopkins in Arizona who will help open up the field for Murray. Similar to Jackson, Murray has a gifted ability to scramble out of the pocket and run the football on his own. Murray is a bit of a risk, however, because his top target, DeAndre Hopkins, will miss the first six games of the regular season after being suspended for performance-enhancing drugs. Though Murray now has Hollywood Brown in his arsenal of weapons, he may not be the same quarterback he was with Hopkins on the field. We saw how much Murray struggled at the end of last season when Hopkins was sidelined with an injury. Fantasy owners should be careful before selecting Murray too early.

The last quarterback in this Tier is Jalen Hurts of the Philadelphia Eagles. He has huge upside due to his rushing abilities but he hasn’t been the most accurate passer over his young career. That said, Philadelphia acquired A.J. Brown from the Tennessee Titans, and Hurts will have the best weapons at his disposal heading into the 2022 fantasy football season. If you can snag Hurts in the eighth or ninth round, he could provide a huge return on your investment. With Brown, DeVonta Smith, and Dallas Goedert, Hurts could be in for a career campaign.

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Tier 3: The Reliable Veterans

Analysis: This is the tier where I tend to target my first quarterback. You can still have a very solid fantasy football team if you wait to pull the trigger on a quarterback and get a Tom Brady or Russell Wilson in the mid-to-late rounds on draft day. This group of veterans can all get the job done for you at the quarterback position and you know exactly what you are getting when you draft every one of the players listed in Tier 3. While they won’t run the ball anywhere near the frequency at which guys like Jackson and Murray will, Brady, Stafford, Rodgers, and the rest of the signal-callers in Tier 3 continue to put up unbelievable passing numbers. 

Stafford threw for 4,886 yards and 41 touchdowns last season while Brady produced 5,316 yards and 43 touchdowns (with only 12 interceptions) in 2022. Aaron Rodgers may not have Davante Adams lining up at the wide receiver position anymore but he still totaled 4,115 passing yards and a 37-to-4 touchdown-to-interception ratio last season. Even without his top wide receiver, it’s hard to envision Rodgers not finishing within the top 12 quarterbacks as a QB1 this coming fantasy football season. 

Dak Prescott is another quarterback highlighted in Tier 3. Prescott tossed 37 touchdowns to just 10 interceptions on his way to 4,449 passing yards in 2021. Although the Cowboys traded Amari Cooper to the Cleveland Browns, Dallas still has CeeDee Lamb and Michael Gallup on the depth chart at the wide receiver position, plus the increasingly talented Dalton Schultz at tight end. Prescott has plenty of weapons he can utilize plus he can still run the ball, though he’ll likely be more careful given the injuries he’s sustained in the past. Plus, Prescott always has Ezekiel Eliott and Tony Pollard in the backfield to take the pressure off the signal-caller if he needs them. Prescott should easily finish as a top-10 quarterback in 2022.

Although Russell Wilson had a down year in 2021 after suffering an injury to his throwing hand, he now finds himself in one of the best situations he’s been in now that he’s a member of the Denver Broncos. In Seattle, Wilson had great weapons at the wide receiver position in DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett but now he gets an improved running game with Javonte Williams lining up in the backfield, a far superior offensive line to Seattle’s, and some solid weapons in the passing game in Jerry Jeudy, Courtland Sutton, Tim Patrick, and K.J. Hamler. Wilson is fully healthy entering the 2022 season so he’s one of the most trustworthy veterans to draft in this tier.

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Tier 4: Last Call On Your Starter

Analysis: If you miss out on all the quarterbacks from the first three tiers, you would be wise to get one of the four quarterbacks in Tier 4. After that, there is a steep dropoff in talent at the position. Get your starting quarterback before all the signal-callers have been selected from the first four tiers. You might really get lucky with some of the guys in Tier 4 such as Derek Carr or Kirk Cousins.  

The Las Vegas Raiders have substantially ramped up their corps of pass-catchers by adding Davante Adams to the mix. He will join WR Hunter Renfroe and one of the best tight ends in the league in Darren Waller. Likewise, Kirk Cousins has WR Justin Jefferson and veteran WR Adam Thielen at his disposal heading into 2022. Cousins had great regular season numbers in 2021, throwing for 4,221 yards and 33 touchdowns with only seven picks. Plus, this will be the first year that Cousins will have a true tight end lining up with Irv Smith Jr. expected to be fully healthy by Week 1. And it doesn’t hurt to have Dalvin Cook and Alexander Mattison in the backfield to take the pressure off the veteran quarterback.

The Young guns in Tier 4 are Tua Tagovailoa and sophomore QB Trey Lance. Lance will be the 49ers starting QB in place of Jimmy Garropolo in 2022. The 49ers extended Deebo Samuel’s contract substantially, which brings the multi-purpose wide receiver (receiving and rushing) back for the start of Lance’s tenure as San Francisco’s new signal caller. Lance has solid upside due to his ability to gain yardage with his scrambling skills. Lance could vulture a significant number of touchdowns in the red zone from San Francisco’s running backs. Lance has a lot of upside but we also saw that he has a pretty low floor after last year given the fact that San Francisco employs a very run-heavy offensive scheme. 

Tagovailoa hasn’t proven much throughout his short career but the Dolphins added speedster Tyreek Hill to the roster this offseason to join Jaylen Waddle and Mike Gesicki as Tua’s top targets in the passing game. Tua is poised for his best season to date.

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Tier 5: Top QB2s

Analysis: In this fifth tier, we’ll be considering some quarterbacks who aren’t expected to be selected before the 11th or 12th rounds of most fantasy football drafts. It includes two quarterbacks heading into their second year: Justin Fields of the Chicago Bears and Trevor Lawrence of the Jacksonville Jaguars. Both Fields and Lawrence had rough rookie seasons but are poised to have breakout years in 2022. Lawrence will have the opportunity to re-discover the chemistry he had with pass-catching RB Travis Etienne. However, an area of concern for both QBs is the status of their teams’ offensive lines. According to PFF’s 2022 NFL Offensive Line Rankings, the Chicago Bears have the 26th rated OL while the Chicago Bears’ OL is ranked 31st. Fields lost Allen Robinson to the Los Angeles Rams so his top target will be Darrell Mooney while Jacksonville added more receivers so that Lawrence can be successful in his second NFL campaign. The Jaguars have Marvin Jones, Zay Jones, and Christian Kirk leading the charge at wideout while Dan Arnold and Evan Engram will hold down the fort at the tight end position. Lawrence has much better options to target in 2022 than he did in 2021.

Veterans Jameis Winston and Matt Ryan could also have big seasons but they have their own areas of concern to consider. Winston played incredibly through the first seven games of last season leading the Saints' offense in their first season without Drew Brees. However, he tore his ACL in Week 7. This morning, it was reported that Winston rolled his ankle and could not continue playing in training camp. For the moment, Andy Dalton will be taking the majority of reps at the Saints training facilities. That said, it would be surprising to see anyone but Winston line up at quarterback in Week 1. 

The Indianapolis Colts have brought Matt Ryan on board from the Atlanta Falcons to replace Carson Wentz. The 37-year-old veteran is coming off a mediocre season where he threw for less than 4,000 yards for 20 touchdowns and 12 picks. Still, Ryan is the team’s best option at QB heading into 2022. He also has a strong group of pass-catchers in Indianapolis, something Ryan hasn’t had in his last few years with the Falcons after Julio Jones left and Calvin Ridley sat out most of last season before his eventual suspension. This year, Ryan will get to link up with Michael Pittman Jr.

As for Deshaun Watson, you may want to target him in the 12th round if he is only suspended for six games. However, if he ends up being suspended for the entire season, you can delete him from this list and avoid him at all costs as he will have zero value heading into 2022.

Tier 6: Decent Backups

Analysis: The sixth tier is full of quarterbacks that you don’t want starting as your QB1 in 2022 fantasy football leagues. This is the tier where I usually target my backup quarterback if I only need one in my starting lineup. Of this tier, Daniel Jones probably has the most upside simply because he has to prove himself this season or the Giants are moving on from him at the most important position in all of football. Plus, Jones finally has some healthy weapons around him, including Kenny Golladay, Kadarius Toney, Sterling Shepard, and of course Saquon Barkley in the backfield. Danny Dimes is also a decent dual-threat quarterback who is quick to turn the motor on when he scrambles.

Tier 7: Avoid At All Costs

Analysis: This tier is full of a bunch of scrubs that you likely will avoid unless you participate in a 2-QB league. The best two options coming out of Tier 7 are likely Baker Mayfield and Jared Goff, who will be their respective teams’ best options at quarterback. While they are both liabilities to have on your team, Mayfield and Goff have some good receivers that can open up the field for them. Davis Mills is another interesting candidate after a few huge games last year with the Texans. That said, savvy fantasy owners will likely avoid all of these players at all costs. Besides, when is the last time you saw Marcus Mariota throw a decent pass?

Tier 8: Do Not Draft List

Analysis: The final tier is full of quarterbacks that have little-to-no value heading into the 2022 NFL season as most of these players are either less than mediocre or backups who may see some playing time this season. We don’t even know who will be the starting quarterback for some of these teams such as the Steelers and Seahawks. Do not draft any of the quarterbacks in Tier 8.

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