In seasonal fantasy football leagues, quarterback has been devalued over the years with the prevailing strategy to wait on the position. Fantasy football best ball is a different beast, though. Let’s take a look at some QBs to target in early fantasy football best ball drafts.
There’s no debate over who the best quarterback in fantasy football is — Josh Allen. Taking a quarterback in the third round is high, even for best ball. And even so, me telling you Allen is elite does nothing for you. Who are some quarterbacks going later in drafts that fantasy managers should target in their best ball leagues?
Lamar Jackson | Baltimore Ravens, QB4 (60 overall)
I’m not one to take a quarterback early in seasonal leagues, but I may make an exception this season. I’m all in on Lamar Jackson having an absolutely monstrous season. In best ball, he’s an even more appealing target in the fourth or fifth round.
Jackson is coming off a “down” year where he “only” averaged 21.1 fantasy points per game. He did this despite the Ravens not being able to run their preferred style of offense as the team was trailing so often.
The Ravens dealt with a barrage of injuries to their offensive line, defense, and running backs. Basically, everything that helps their offense be this dominant, run-oriented attack went wrong. We should project this team to be far healthier this season.
Additionally, the Ravens traded away Marquise Brown and did not replace him. That tells me the Ravens plan to return to their running ways. Normally, that’s bad for quarterbacks, but Jackson is the best rushing quarterback since Michael Vick. This man is just three years removed from an MVP season where he posted the second-greatest fantasy season in quarterback history. A 25+ ppg season is very realistic.
Aaron Rodgers | Green Bay Packers, QB11 (91 overall)
I’m certainly not targeting Aaron Rodgers as my QB in seasonal leagues, but I like him a lot in fantasy football best ball formats. What’s most appealing about Rodgers in best ball is the stacking potential.
Although the Packers lost Davante Adams, Rodgers is still going to have plenty of weeks where he throws for over 250 yards and 3-4 touchdowns. Allen Lazard and Christian Watson are quite inexpensive in fantasy best ball drafts. You can get the former in the 11th or 12th round and the latter a couple of rounds later (I’m accounting for an expected rise in ADP).
It should be relatively easy for fantasy managers in best ball drafts to put Rodgers, Lazard, and Watson on a roster. This gives your team tremendous weekly upside as we know Lazard and Watson will have boom weeks throughout the season. We may not get able to predict when they will be, but in best ball, we don’t care. A Packers stack is both cheap and attainable, making Rodgers an ideal fantasy football best ball target at QB.
Kirk Cousins, Minnesota Vikings, QB13 (105 overall)
The Captain is one of the most disrespected real-life and fantasy quarterbacks in the NFL. All the man does is produce. Since 2015, Cousins has averaged at least 18 ppg every season except for one (2019). The past two seasons, he’s finished as a low QB1.
Cousins is not going to consistently produce high-end QB1 weeks. But in best ball, we don’t need him to. You can draft Cousins as your QB2 or QB3 (if you draft three quarterbacks) and get a guy who had eight games of over 20 fantasy points last season.
If you start your draft with Justin Jefferson in the first round, you can easily plan a Vikings stack. Adam Thielen goes around the sixth round and is someone you can make sure you draft. You can even add Irv Smith Jr. in the 11th or 12th round.
Cousins has proven capable of producing enough spike weeks to enter your best ball lineup multiple times throughout the season. He’s an ideal later-round QB target.
Zach Wilson, New York Jets, QB24 (158 overall)
I know. Just hear me out. By no means am I suggesting Zach Wilson will suddenly be a good or even a competent fantasy or real-life quarterback. The jury is still very much out on that. But in best ball, we’re taking shots on upside, especially in the later rounds. If you wait on a quarterback, Wilson certainly fits the bill.
Let me start by acknowledging the very real possibility Wilson just isn’t any good and completely falls flat on his face. That can happen. But what if what the Jets are doing works? They’ve surrounded Wilson with an embarrassment of riches: Elijah Moore, Garrett Wilson, Corey Davis, Braxton Berrios, Breece Hall, Michael Carter, and two competent receiving tight ends in C.J. Uzomah and Tyler Conklin.
Say what you want about the Jets as a franchise, but they’ve done everything they can to set up Wilson to succeed. They even beefed up the offensive line.
Wilson had two games last season where he finished inside the top six in fantasy scoring. He posted 22 fantasy points in Week 13 and 23.2 fantasy points in Week 16. You don’t win best ball leagues by being conservative. Wilson is just about free in best ball drafts, and you have a plethora of stacking options available. He’s a sneaky late-round QB target.
Kenny Pickett, Pittsburgh Steelers, QB35 (256 overall)
Now, here’s a quarterback that is completely free in best ball drafts. Mitch Trubisky is widely expected to start in Week 1. So why draft Kenny Pickett if he may not open the season as the starter?
First, there’s no guarantee Trubisky actually starts in Week 1. The Steelers took Pickett in the first round at pick 20. He went 54 slots ahead of the next quarterback drafted, Desmond Ridder. It’s fair to say Pickett is the most pro-ready QB in this class. Second, even if Trubisky does start, there’s a very real chance Pickett takes over at some point, possibly in September or October.
If and when Pickett becomes the starter, he will have no shortage of talent at his disposal. Diontae Johnson is one of the most gifted route runners in the league — a top-12 wide receiver in the NFL. Chase Claypool is a big-bodied downfield threat, and George Pickens is like a younger, better Claypool. Pat Freiermuth is an extremely reliable set of hands and a monstrous end-zone target. In addition, Najee Harris is a very capable runner and receiving back.
Pickett isn’t going to light the world on fire as a rookie, but he could pop for a couple of multi-touchdown games once he takes over. If you wait extra long on QB, Pickett is a better-than-you-think gamble at the very end of fantasy football best ball drafts.