Hello, friends. It’s 104 degrees in Austin, Texas today which can only mean two things, football is right around the corner and Matthew McConaughey is somewhere shirtless (and it gives me a great excuse to sit in the cold AC to write about fantasy football).
It also means the beginning of my weekly top 10 lists for the 2023 season. These lists will be a Willy Wonka-style trip into my fantasy football brain, hope y’all enjoy!
My top 10 lists will begin with the most important position in all of sports, the quarterback. This might be one of the most fun years in recent memory to draft a fantasy QB with all the top-end talent but also very controversial as the top QBs keep getting pushed up and up in drafts like they are a Meme stock.
I was a year early last year when I went heavy on the top QBs, which worked out well with Jalen Hurts but not as much with Justin Herbert. Who should you take at QB? How early should you take them? Is there a breakout sleeper this year? Is there a fun prop bet I can make with my fantasy QB? (All betting lines courtesy of DraftKings).
All these answers and more are below!
Top 10 fantasy football quarterbacks for 2023
1. Josh Allen (BUF)
To be honest, there is not much separating the top 3 QBs this year, all are in great offensive situations, and proved last year the only thing that can stop them is injury. This can be a worry for Josh Allen, as he did not look the same after last year’s elbow injury but a full offseason to heal up should have him back to normal for Week 1 this year.
Let’s not forget over the past three seasons combined Allen has outscored Mahomes on a PPG basis and he was the #1 QB in 2020/2021. Also adding the top tight end in the draft Dalton Kincaid just adds to his already phenomenal weapons. The off-the-field stuff with Diggs is worth watching but in terms of on-field production, it’s hard not to love Josh.
Draft: Round 2/3 turn
Prop: Josh Allen MVP +800. Finally feels like his year to do it, voter fatigue with Mahomes as well.
2. Patrick Mahomes (KC)
Patrick Mahomes led all players in fantasy scoring last season with 428.5 points, giving him his second QB1 finish. He has the highest floor of any QB but his lack of rushing puts him slightly behind Allen.
He proved last year that he is the best QB in the world, even after losing his top WR. Mahomes finished the 2022 season with a career-high 5,250 passing yards and a league-high 41 TD passes. As long as Travis Kelce keeps his top-level form, we’ll be seeing another top 3 if not number 1 finish again from Mahomes.
Like Thanos, Mahomes is inevitable, the question is can anyone outdo him like Iron Man?
Draft: Round 2/3 turn
Prop: Over 4,800.5 passing yards. The Chiefs’ offense will once again run through the arm of Kermit the Frog, he has hit this number every year he plays at least 16 games.
3. Jalen Hurts (PHI)
My 2022 fantasy hero looks to have a top 3 season once again. He had as good of a 2022 as anyone could have predicted leading all quarterbacks with 25.5 fantasy points per game. You won’t get him in the 6th round like last year, but rest assured he is worth the price he’s going.
He won’t have the cakewalk schedule he had last year but that might force him to actually play in the 4th quarter this year. There is also the worry of him running less with his late-season injuries in 2022 but he should still get the rushing TDs that were so key for him last year. Another year of continuity with his weapons should help him make up for less running this year. Plus after signing a deal for $255 million, he will be ready to focus on winning games, and fantasy championships.
Draft: Round 2/3 turn
Prop: Over 9.5 rushing TDs. He has gotten 10 in the past two seasons and now Miles Sanders’s 11 rushing TDs have gone to Carolina. As much as the Eagles might not want to rush Hurts as much between the 20’s they still know how crucial he is to their red zone offense.
4. Justin Fields (CHI)
The man I am hoping is the 2023 Hurts, Justin Fields has everything going for him to be the breakout fantasy QB of 2023. If you look at only Weeks 5-17, Fields had the third-highest average fantasy production per game, behind only Hurts and Mahomes.
The offensive line has been restructured specifically to help his game, they traded for a #1 WR in DJ Moore allowing for Mooney/Claypool/Kmet to slot into roles that more fit their skill sets, and he has one of the easiest QB strength of schedules in the league this year. If all of that isn’t enough to get you on the JF train, then I’d also like to add he led the league in QB rushing yards per game by over 12 yards a game!
While the Bears say they want to run Fields less their offseason moves seem to be saying the opposite by drafting a powerful RT for Fields to run behind and letting David Montgomery walk in free agency. You can certainly argue Fields being ranked so high, but I don’t think you can argue he’s set up for a nice breakout season.
Draft: 4th round
Prop: Over 18.5 passing TDs (bonus over 825.5 rushing yards). While it would be easy to take Fields’ rushing yards (he had 1,143 in 15 games last year) and I suggest you do, I also like his over-passing TDs number as he takes his next step in his QB evolution. With new weapons and more time to throw with an improved offensive line Fields should be able to make the reads in the red zone to throw more TDs this year. He had 17 last year in an admittedly poor passing offense, I see this number increasing by at least 2.
5. Lamar Jackson (BAL)
I view Lamar Jackson and Justin Fields as very similar fantasy players, with the two biggest differences being schedule and injury history. The Ravens did add some weapons for Lamar which should help his passing game and they still have one of the best offensive lines in the league for him to run behind. While the other running QBs have just as good a chance of getting hurt in theory, this has been a proven issue with Lamar over time and he is not as big as the guys above him in this list. If the schedule doesn’t scare you and you believe he will stay on the field then Lamar can be the steal of 2023 drafts.
Draft: 4th round
Prop: Over 725.5 rushing yards. Any Lamar bet is really just betting on him to stay healthy. Even with the threat of him running less, I love this number for Lamar if he can stay healthy. He ran for over this in his last two injury-riddled seasons even though he only played 12 games in each.
6. Joe Burrow (CIN)
Joe Burrow is so cool, that must be said. He also has arguably the best pair of young WRs in the league and a below-average running game, which should lead to some high passing numbers. The Bengals also added an All-Pro LT to protect Burrow’s blind side allowing him time to dissect defenses like Guy Fieri dissects a kitchen.
Like other pocket passers, Burrow will need to keep his TD numbers up to make up for lack of running (though he did set career highs in rush yards and rush TDs last season). He also has a really tough start to the season, but his playoff matchups look as juicy as Starburst right now.
Draft: Round 4/5 turn
Prop: Over 33.5 Passing TDs. To believe in Joe Burrow’s fantasy value means you believe in his ability to throw TDs at a near league-leading pace. With Ja’Marr Chase and Tre Higgins as his wingmen, Burrow will fly like Maverick in 2023.
7. Justin Herbert (LAC)
Having Justin Herbert last year was as painful as the cracked ribs he was playing through. I really thought I would come into this season being very negative on Herbert, but he’s had one of the best off-seasons of any QB.
Most importantly they brought in Kellen Moore as their new offensive coordinator who calls throwing plays at a rate that is near the top of the league every year. They also drafted Quentin Johnston in the first round of the NFL draft which not only adds another weapon for Herbert but is also a nice backup plan in case (when) Keenan Allen or Mike Williams gets hurt.
The other thing helping Herbert is he has a top 3 easiest QB schedule this year but watch out for his playoff matchups where he will see Denver twice and Buffalo.
Draft: 5th round
Prop: Over 29.5 passing TDs. Herbert threw 31 TDs as a rookie so it would be pretty shocking to see him not be able to get 30 this year with the addition of Kellen Moore. If he fails again this year, he will be dead to me.
8. Trevor Lawrence (JAC)
When you’re looking for the breakout candidate who has the best value this year, it’s really starting to look like Trevor Lawrence. The former #1 overall pick had a very nice bounce-back season last year and seemed to be peaking at the right time near the second half of the season.
Overall, in 2022, Lawrence posted a 78.6 PFF grade (very average) but from Week 9 onward, however, he posted a 90.0 grade and trailed only Joe Burrow and Patrick Mahomes. The biggest question mark to Trevor taking that next step may come down to how good Calvin Ridley will be coming off the suspension after being traded last year.
The offensive line does cause some concern after losing OL Jawaan Taylor to free agency and OL Cam Robinson being suspended the first four games of 2023 for PED use, something to keep an eye on during August. With another year under Doug Pederson and the addition of Ridley, you can see Why Trevor could be a top 5 QB by the end of the year.
Draft: 6th round
Prop: Over 26.5 TD passes. He had 25 last season in a breakout campaign, and with the addition of Ridley Lawrence could push for a 30-TD season.
9. Tua Tagovolio (MIA)
With Tua we all saw the big risks last year, he is a small player in a very rough sport. Head injuries are nothing to joke around with and the hope is that Tua can avoid any more in the future. Once you get past the injuries you remember that Tua was at times a top 5 and even top 3 fantasy QB before going down. He averaged 19 fantasy points per game last year in the 12 contests he played at least 40% of the snaps.
The former Alabama star would have been the QB5 in 2022 with that fantasy points per game average. He has maybe the two best speed threats in the league in Hill and Waddle along with one of the best offensive minds in the game at coach. The other negative with Tua is that the schedule is rough this year, but Waddle and Hill help Tua be closer to match-up proof.
Draft: 7th round
Prop: Over 3,850.5 passing yards. With Hill and Waddle as his weapons Tua should pick up lots of yards in big chunks. As long as he stays healthy, he should hit this number.
10. Deshaun Watson (CLE)
Looked like a shell of himself last year which was expected after his long time off, “no one gets better at something by not doing it” – Chael Sonnen. He started to get going in his final two games last season, averaging over 20 points across Weeks 17 and 18. He also plays behind a top 3 offensive line and the Browns added Elijah Moore to help bolster his weapons. If he can bounce back to the old Deshaun, then he will be the steal of the QB draft but a tough schedule/division along with being on a team that wants to run the ball makes him hard to trust.
Draft: 8th round
Prop: Over 3,650.5 passing yards. If Watson is actually back to how he played prior to the suspension he should be able to get to this number. He will have plenty of time to survey the field behind a top 3 offensive line which should lead to lots of big yardage games, even if the Browns do feed Nick Chubb.
The next 5 fantasy quarterbacks to draft
Dak Prescott (DAL)
Dak is hard to rank this year as he gets a new offensive coordinator who will be looking to run the ball more. I like the addition of Brandin Cooks but that wasn’t enough to get Dak in the top 10 as the loss of his TE Schultz will hurt.
Draft: 9th round
Prop Bet: Over 26.5 passing TDs. Dak threw 23 in 12 games last year so if he stays healthy this should be a very gettable number. Even with the switch to running the ball more, the Cowboys will need to stay balanced in the red zone.
Aaron Rodgers (NYJ)
As a Bears fan seeing Aaron Rodgers traded was one of the happiest days of my life, have fun AFC East! Rodgers’ age and the Jets’ offensive line have me worried about the psychedelic QB, but he wants to prove he’s still one of the best in the world. The main thing Rodgers missed last year was a good-to-stud WR, Rodgers to Wilson connection could be a fantasy dream this season. His ADP is low now, but he will get a “Hard Knocks Bump” shooting him up into the 10th-round range.
Draft: 10th round
Prop: Over 28.5 passing TDs. Betting on the bounce back for Rodgers, think his TD numbers go back up after getting a new alpha WR to throw to.
Daniel Jones (NYG)
Run Daniel run! Still, with one of the worst receiving groups in the league and a tough schedule, it’s hard to rank Daniel Jones too high, but his rushing gives him a nice floor. A high-level replacement option that comes cheap in drafts.
Draft: 11th round
Prop: Over 575.5 rushing yards. Between his lack of weapons and poor offensive line Jones will be on the run often again if his check down to Barkley is covered. This is a high number, but he did run for over 700 yards last year.
Geno Smith (SEA)
Really impressed last year and has some of the best weapons in the league with the addition of Jaxon Smith-Njigba and Zach Charbonnet in the draft. His lack of rushing and tough schedule makes it harder to rank him higher.
Draft: 11th round
Prop: Over 26.5 passing TDs. He threw 30 last year and now adds a 1st round WR to his plethora of weapons. Now that he has the team backing, I think Geno can repeat his breakout season again.
Anthony Richardson (IND)
This should probably be Kirk Cousins but he has basically the same write-up as Smith, plus who doesn’t want to hear about the fun young rookie? Richardson might not even start the season but can’t ignore his rushing upside. If he gets on the field his fantasy numbers will look a lot better than his real-life play. Worth a lottery ticket if you want a high-ceiling late flyer.
Draft: 11th round