Quarterback doesn't get the fanfare it does in the fantasy game that it does in the real game, but that doesn't make it any less important to fantasy success.
Keep in mind, don't take the fantasy rankings and projections in your draft rooms as gospel. Take them into consideration, along with your opinion, and set your own rankings before you go into your draft.
A couple of weeks ago when The Fantasy Footballers were ranking fantasy quarterbacks, they brought up a very good point. When Patrick Mahomes had his breakout season and was the number one fantasy QB, he was a mid-to-late round pick. Same went for Lamar Jackson and Josh Allen, respectively.
"Quarterback one hasn't repeated since 2012," The Fantasy Footballers podcast co-host Andy Holloway pointed out on August 13.
You can find a good quarterback that can help you win your league in mid-to-late rounds.
With all that said, here are my top 20 quarterbacks for the 2021 fantasy football season. (Note: All pictures are screenshots taken from YouTube videos.)
1. Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs (Bye Week: 12)
What can you say about Mahomes that hasn't already been said over the past few years? He's got a great arm, can make unbelievable throws on the run, and if need be, Mahomes isn't bad on his feet either. He's just excellent. I'm no Mahomes fanboy, but his talent cannot be denied. With offensive tools at his disposal like running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire, tight end Travis Kelce and wideouts Tyreek Hill and Mecole Hardman, he has the ability to go deep or check down and create positive yards on a whim. Mahomes faced a challenge last year at quarterback for top dog from the Bills' Josh Allen, but ended up the number one QB in fantasy and should be drafted as such.
2. Kyler Murray, Arizona Cardinals (Bye Week: 12)
I'm not as crazy about Murray as most others, but you can't deny his numbers. He has the ability to throw for 4,000 yards and 30 touchdowns and run for 1,000 yards and 10 touchdowns. That's fantasy gold, whether you're a fan or not. Murray uses his shortstop skills from his time playing baseball to aid his excellent on-the-run passing game. He's more than great to have as a cornerstone first couple of rounds draft pick kind of QB for your team.
3. Josh Allen, Buffalo Bills (Bye Week: 7)
The fourth year QB took a massive step forward in 2020 and became a "top tier" fantasy weapon at his position. Without a fantasy relevant running back, Allen uses his legs to open up the passing game by being one of the more mobile QBs in the NFL. As good as he is on the ground, he's arm is probably even better when he's allowed to air things out. Having stud wide receiver Stefon Diggs helps. But with reliable receiver Cole Beasley returning to the fold, along with the addition of Emmanuel Sanders, the passing game should be on par with what it was in 2020. That being said, it's not likely that Allen can reproduce the level of production he did last year. Allen is definitely a must have for your team if you like to draft QBs relatively early in your draft.
4. Lamar Jackson, Baltimore Ravens (Bye Week: 8)
While Jackson is definitely a good passer, his ability on the ground aids some occassional inconsistencies he experiences in the passing game. He's not going to light the world on fire with his passing yardage, but he's almost guaranteed to throw for at least 25 touchdowns and rush for seven more. Jackson in a safe bet at QB within the first three or four rounds.
5. Dak Prescott, Dallas Cowboys (Bye Week: 7)
Of course, everything for Prescott depends on how he comes out of the gates after having an injury plagued 2020 -- if he even starts week one. But when you have options like a healthy Ezekiel Elliott at running back, along with perhaps the best wide receiver trio in the NFL with Amari Cooper, CeeDee Lamb and Michael Gallup, getting back into the fold after coming off said injury should be a little easier for Prescott than most other QBs. Expect for Prescott to have an all-time great comeback season once he's ready.
6. Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers (Bye Week: 13)
I'm expecting Rodgers to have an "FU" type of swan song season for the Packers this year. I think he has a chip on his shoulder and will do whatever he can to prove anyone naysying him wrong. Having all-world receiver Davante Adams doesn't hurt. Tight end Robert Tonyan could continue to be a touchdown target in the Green Bay offense, and running back Aaron Jones could have a monster year catching the ball should he stay healthy. I'm expecting at least 33 touchdowns in the air, and you can throw in a couple of rushing touchdowns in there as well. 4,500 yards isn't out of the realm for Rodgers.
7. Tom Brady, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Bye Week: 9)
Some of you might be scratching your head placing Brady this high on the list, ahead of names like Russell Wilson. But, if Brady stays healthy, a 40 passing touchdown season is certainly possible to go with at least 4,400 yards. Look at the weapons he has at his disposal. When Antonio Brown is your third option at wide receiver, your offense is dangerous. Along with Leonard Fournette and Ronald Jones III opening up the passing game with their ground game, expect Brady to check down on some plays where Giovanni Bernard is on the field. You're definitely not hurting your team if you have Brady leading your offense.
8. Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks (Bye Week: 9)
Wilson is the model of consistency when it comes to the quarterback position. You know what you're getting with him. If you have Wilson as your fantasy QB with a decent top talent at your skill positions, you will always be in the playoff hunt in your leagues. Look for around 4,000 passing yards and about 400 to 500 rushing yards with a couple of TDs on the ground. DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett at receiver could account for 100 receptions each, which only helps Wilson's numbers. You're helping your team picking up Wilson around the fifth round. If you have a chance to get him in the seventh or eighth, grab him immediately.
9. Justin Herbert, Los Angeles Chargers (Bye Week: 7)
Can this kid be even better than what we saw in his rookie season? 31 touchdowns to only 10 interceptions in a rookie year is spectacular, and tight end Jared Cook is dependable but doesn't quite have the upside that former Chargers tight end Hunter Henry had in that offense. Pass catching afficianado Austin Ekeler helps, and Keenan Allen and Mike Williams at wide receiver could account for anywhere from 160 to 185 receptions from Herbert. For my taste, Herbert is being drafted in mock drafts a little higher than he should be, but you're not wasting a pick getting Herbert in the sixth or seventh round.
10. Ryan Tannehill, Tennessee Titans (Bye Week: 13)
Tannehill could certainly finish higher on this list by the end of the year with the addition of Julio Jones on the offense. Sure, the Titans don't have a great tight end this year and Derrick Henry isn't a pass catching running back, unless the team intends to increase his workload even more. But, when you have a wideout duo like the aforementioned Jones and A.J. Brown you're going to have some games where Tannehill has weeks of 350-plus passing yards and three-plus touchdowns. Picking up Tannehill in the seventh to ninth rounds is about where he belongs being drafted.
11. Jalen Hurts, Philadelphia Eagles (Bye Week: 14)
This is where you begin to see the drop off at fantasy QB. Hurts isn't a bad selection by any means, but his lack of proven targets on offense "hurts" his stock -- yeah, I did. What makes him a more attractive fantasy quarterback is his legs. Expect to see anywhere from 650 to 900 yards rushing from Hurts, on top of at least 3,400 yards passing. A total overall touchdown count of at least 25 touchdowns sounds about right. I wouldn't draft him anywhere above the eighth round, though.
12. Matthew Stafford, Los Angeles Rams (Bye Week: 11)
Yes, the loss of Cam Akers definitely hurts Stafford's overall fantasy possibilities. But, having decent replacements in Darrell Henderson Jr. and Sony Michel, as well as reliable tight end Tyler Higbee and wideouts Robet Woods, Cooper Kupp, Van Jefferson and the addition of DeSean Jackson gives Stafford plenty of targets to fill his passing desires. 4,500 passing yards and at least 25 touchdowns isn't out of the question. At this point on the list, don't look to take any quarterback before the ninth or 10th round.
13. Kirk Cousins, Minnesota Vikings (Bye Week: 7)
Dalvin Cook is a monster and makes for a great check down option for Cousins when he isn't tryring to go down the field to Justin Jefferson or Adam Thielen. He does have upside tight end Irv Smith Jr. to throw to as well, which keeps Cousins as an incredibly consistent fantasy option if you like to draft QBs later in your drafts. Look for around 4,000 yards and at least 25 touchdowns from him.
14. Trevor Lawrence, Jacksonville Jaguars (Bye Week: 7)
Lawrence is going to be the only rookie you're going to see in the top 20, and that's because he's guaranteed to be the week one starter for the Jags. He's got some decent targets with the three juniors, Laviska Shenault Jr., Marvin Jones Jr. and DJ Chark Jr. His backfield partners could be better, but they're not the worst. James Robinson and Carlos Hyde have enough talent to give the rookie some check down help when he's not passing the ball down the field.
15. Baker Mayfield, Cleveland Browns (Bye Week: 13)
I'm way higher on Baker Mayfield than most other fantasy analysis. He doesn't run a bunch, but he has the weapons to make him a valuable QB at this point on the list. Mayfield won't be near the league leaders in terms of passing yards, but 25 to 30 touchdowns is a likelihood for him. If you're a late QB drafter, Mayfield is a decent pick in the twelfth round or later.
16. Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons (Bye Week: 6)
If you're a late round drafter, Ryan is great pickup merely for his dependability in most likely getting your team at least 4,000 yards and 25 touchdowns. Because of his age, Ryan's upside isn't that of some of the younger quarterbacks being taken ahead of him that might not have the passing numbers Ryan ends up with. You probably would have to look to draft Ryan earlier than Mayfield and possibly ahead of Lawrence if you want to nab him in drafts.
17. Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers (Bye Week: 7)
Reports out of camp say that Big Ben's arm is the healthiest it's been in a while. And with weapons like receivers JuJu Smith-Schuster, Diontae Johnson, freak athlete Chase Claypool, tight end Eric Ebron and rookies Pat Freiermuth and Najee Harris, he has more than enough at his disposal to justify a fantasy look this year. If only he can stay healthy, his consistency will be that in which he could climb up the charts. Expect at least 4,000 yards and 25 to 27 touchdowns from him. A late round pickup of Big Ben isn't the worst you could do at the position.
18. Tua Tagovailoa, Miami Dolphins (Bye Week: 14)
Tua getting a full season under his belt will certainly help his draft status this year. The additions of rookie Jaylen Waddle and William Fuller V (one game left on his suspension) give him more weapons in what was a shaky at best offense last year. Running back Myles Gaskin and tight end Mike Gesicki round out what could be a sneaky good offense if Tua takes a step forward in his sophomore season. He's worth a late round flier in deeper leagues, but look at him to be a good second option you can stash on your bench should his progression become a real thing.
19. Derek Carr, Las Vegas Raiders (Bye Week: 8)
Carr is one of those quarterbacks that isn't going to win you your league, unless you have a ridiculous lineup outside of the QB position. But, he's reliable enough and has enough weapons to garner consideration for a backup or even a bye week starter in place of your number one. Receivers Henry Ruggs III, Bryan Edwards and Hunter Renfroe give Carr the tools to succeed -- and don't forget the Raiders also have John Brown, Zay Jones, Willie Snead IV and Keelan Doss on the depth chart. Taking all that into consideration, we haven't even entered "top tier" tight end Darren Waller into the equation. He will most likely be the number option in the passing game, and running backs Josh Jacobs and Kenyan Drake open up the passing game with their ground abilities and tendency for pass catching in check down situations. Could be a sleeper pick here, with Carr having the possibility to have top 12 performances on occassion.
20. Insert rookie QB not named Trevor Lawrence here
While there are still veteran options at this point on the list, odds are you already have one of the above quarterbacks. So why not take a late round chance on a very decent rookie class of QBs? From San Fran's Trey Lance to the Jets Zach Wilson to Da Bears Justin Fields, any of them are worth the risk late in drafts, especially if you're in a keeper league.