It is important to be flexible when preparing and completing your fantasy football project. There are tons of fantasy football draft strategies to consider, but flexibility and the ability to take what the draft board gives you is key. It’s good to know the different strategies so you can stay calm and build a strong roster even if your teammates are shooting at you and throwing curveballs at you with their picks.
A popular strategy in the fantasy football community in recent years is waiting for the quarterback. While fantasy managers are getting sharper on the value of rushing quarterbacks while waiting more for the position, there are still several gems you can find late in the fantasy football drafts. Our analysts provide the best quarterbacks they will take later in 1QB and Superflex formats.
Rankings scored using semi-PPR expert consensus rankings from FantasyPros (ECR) and Consensus ADP.
End-of-round quarterbacks to target
Trey Lance (SF)
The Trey Lance era has finally begun after reports surfaced that the 49ers have decided to move on from Jimmy Garoppolo…even though he remains on the roster.
Garoppolo’s shoulder surgery is the only reason he wasn’t traded. Once he is deemed healthy, I assume he is moved to a team that needs QBs or to a roster that suffers an injury in that position.
Lance started just two games, but showed the rush that excited fantastic managers during the draft season. The 49ers freshman signalman averaged an expected 22.4 fantasy points and 60 rushing yards per game.
Earned league-winning advantage as a late-round quarterback.
Kirk Cousins (MIN)
The Minnesota Vikings passer finished as QB11 in total fantasy points and QB12 in points per game in 2021. And his new head coach comes from an offense that threw first downs more aggressively under neutral play scripts ; fifth highest rate over the past two seasons. The Vikings placed 27th in the category. Don’t be surprised to see Captain Kirk flirting with the top 10 numbers in 2022. He finished last year as the fourth-highest-ranked quarterback in PFF.
Deshaun Watson (CLE)
Deshaun Watson is a top-five option when he returns to the field after his six-game suspension.
He was exactly that from 2019 to 2020, and there’s no reason to think the 26-year-old won’t pick up where he left off. In his final playing season, Watson led the NFL in passing yards and yards per attempt (8.9).
Since some of the best ball leagues are won in November/December, not September, it’s worth hiding if you choose to wait for the quarterback job.
Justin Fields (CHI)
Justin Fields fell to QB18 at the start of the ADP best ball. Everyone is afraid of the situation in Chicago. But remember, a washed-out Cam Newton went from irrelevant to a top-12 ranked QB in a week last year due to the production rush.
Fields finished in the top 12 fantasy quarterbacks in his last four full games of 2021, averaging 21.7 fantasy points per game. He’s also averaged 56 rushing yards per game over his last six. In total, Fields averaged 35 rushing yards per game during his rookie season. The last three QB rookies to do so? Newton, Josh Allen and Robert Griffin III. They all finished in the top 12 fantasy quarterbacks in their second seasons, with both former QBs finishing in the top 6.
It won’t take long for the narrative to turn on the talented Fields after he started the season hot. Five of the Bears’ first six matchups are against secondaries who are the weak end of their respective defenses, talents lost in free agency and/or unproven. In Week 1, Fields takes on the 49ers. He went for over 100 yards against them last season.
Tua Tagovailoa (MIA)
Tua Tagovailoa’s slander throughout the season has been something to behold. While the masses make repeat arm noodle jokes, I will continue to hammer the table for a quarterback who will silence the haters this season. Tagovailoa ranked in the top 12 last season in terms of deep ball, clean pocket and accuracy under pressure last season (per Playerprofiler.com). Yes, you read that right. He was in the top 12 in through ball accuracy last year. In fact, he was ranked first. The first thing that usually comes back next is that he finished 30th in through ball attempts. True, but asking Tagovailoa to stand in the pocket and throw it deep last year behind an offensive line responsible for the fourth-highest pressure percentage is crazy (minimum 25 dropbacks under pressure, per PFF). With a revamped offensive line and new weapons at his disposal in South Beach this season, Tagovailoa will cement himself as the Dolphins’ long-term quarterback and surprise in fantasy football.
Matt Ryan (IND)
After spending his entire 14-year NFL career with the Atlanta Falcons, Matt Ryan will be the Indianapolis Colts’ starting quarterback in his 15th season. Atlanta traded Matt Ryan to the Colts for a 2022 third-round pick.
It’s a major upgrade for Ryan’s fantastic appeal that he was able to pull off Atlanta – a franchise that appears to be in the midst of a rebuild. Last season, Ryan lacked a strong supporting cast, which contributed to his lackluster numbers.
Calvin Ridley played in five games and the Falcons had the second-worst blocking offensive line in the league by PFF. Ryan faced pressure at the sixth highest rate (40%).
That won’t be the case in Indianapolis with a better offensive line in place, a steady running game and point guards like Michael Pittman Jr. and Jonathan Taylor to boot.
Ryan has also been vastly underrated as a passer despite continued turmoil ranking above average in many of PFF’s sticky efficiency metrics in 2021: 12th in PFF passing rating from a pocket clean, second pitch on the middle level and ninth pitch on the first downs.
Stepping into a Frank Reich system that prides itself on producing play actions (5th) and screen passes (10th) will make Ryan’s life much easier than it was in Atlanta.
Ryan ranked 33rd in screen throw rate and 12th in play rate in 2021. The Colts’ new quarterback is back on the QB2 fantasy radar for 2022.
The rookie quarterback was very effective as a passer, finishing 18th in PFF passing rating, throwing 10-19 yards, 13th from a clean pocket and 10th on first downs. These specific metrics tend to be sticky year over year and more predictive than raw count statistics.
Yet those numbers were equally impressive for Jones, who posted the sixth-highest passer rating (92.5) and second-highest completion percentage (67.6%) for a rookie quarterback with at least 300 attempts in NFL history.
Daniel Jones (NYG)
According to Athletic’s Dan Duggan, the Giants want to release quarterback Daniel Jones. It’s music to the ears of fantasy drafters looking for a late-round quarterback with an upside, because Jones has the skills to be that player in a better offensive environment.
Prior to a concussion in Week 5, Jones was the QB8 in total and points per game (23.3). The Giants quarterback ranked third in rushing yards per game (47/game) and second in PFF passing rating.
This offseason, New York drafted the best offensive tackle in the draft with the selection of Evan Neal in 7th place overall. This provides Jones with the protection he desperately needs as he seeks to prove to the New York organization that he is worthy of being the long-term answer to quarterback.
With the Giants improving their entire offensive line through free agency and the draft, Jones is back on the QB2 fantasy radar in Superflex formats. Recall that last season, he played behind the third offensive line of PFF.
He will also benefit greatly from being the No. 1 easiest calendar force for QBs.
James Winston (NO)
The additions of Jarvis Landry and Chris Olave, and the return of Michael Thomas are huge pluses for quarterback Jameis Winston, who is starting to emerge this offseason as an intriguing late-round quarterback fantasy option. Winston played with almost no weapons a season ago and still managed to average a fantastic 17.5 points per game – good for QB14 on the year. The Saints quarterback also finished the season with the sixth-highest passer rating in the league (102.8) and lowest play rate (3%) of his career. Winston led all QBs last year in fantasy points per setback (0.64).
If you want to dive deeper into fantasy football, be sure to check out our award-winning list of fantasy football tools while you navigate your season. Of our Start/Sit Assistant – which provides your optimal range based on accurate consensus projections – to our Trade Analyzer – which lets you know instantly whether a trade offer benefits you or your opponent – we’ve got you covered this season of fantasy football.
Mike Maher is an editor and content manager at FantasyPros and BettingPros. For more on Mike, check out his archivefollow him on Twitter @MikeMaherand visit his Philadelphia Eagles Blog, The Bird Blitz.