The TRUTH About Top-10 Fantasy Football QBs in 2021

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On Tuesday’s podcast, Andy, Mike, and Jason took an in-depth look at the top-10 QBs from the 2021 season and dived into the reality of their fantasy finishes and whether they actually helped fantasy managers win titles.

You can watch the whole episode on YouTube here:

Before we go player-by-player, here is how our TRUTH Data algorithm breaks down player performance from the season. In four point passing TD leagues:

  • Great Games are more than 26 points
  • Good Games are more than 21 points
  • Bust Games are fewer than 15 points
  • Missed Games don’t count against consistency score

As I detailed in the 25 QB Statistics article, we saw 49 different QBs who registered a top-12 performance this year, a new record. The Ravens, Saints, and Jets had three different QBs each register top-12 weeks, the first time that has ever been accomplished. 

Note: RotoViz Game Splits — points are 6pt per passing TD // Week 18 not included

1 Josh Allen | Buffalo Bills

2021 Consistency Rank: 3
1st Half: 4 / 2nd Half: 3

17 games — 409/646 for 4407/36/15 — 122/763/6 rushing
ADP: 3.10 / QB2
Defenses: -1.95 vs Top 16
Home/Road Split: -3.88 at Home

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Great Games Good Games Bust Games
41% 47% 12%

We have the first QB with back-to-back seasons as THE QB1 since Drew Brees accomplished the feat more than a decade ago. 

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While his six rushing TDs were actually the lowest of his career, his dual-threat ability and the fact he always has week-winning upside makes him bullet-proof in both dynasty and redraft leagues moving forward. Allen struggled at home comparatively completing just 59.8 % of his passes and averaging 6.1 yards per attempt, the same number Zach Wilson averaged on the year. The guys seem to be in agreement that he should be drafted as the QB1 in 2022 especially with this sustained level of excellence.

2 Justin Herbert | Los Angeles Chargers

2021 Consistency Rank: 2
1st Half: 14 / 2nd Half: 2

17 games — 443/672 for 5014/38/15 — 63/302/3 rushing
ADP: 6.03 / QB8
Defenses:
+8.07 vs Top 16
Home/Road Split: +0.52 at Home

Great Games Good Games Bust Games
29% 53% 29%

Herbert finished the year on a tear with eight straight top-12 weeks in a row. He’s currently on a Hall of Fame trajectory: with the most completions (839), attempts (1267), passing yards (9,350), and passing TDs (69) through a QB’s first two years in the NFL.  Here are the players to throw for 5,000+ in a season before turning 24: Patrick Mahomes, Dan Marino, Matthew Stafford, & Herbert. The offensive line was massively improved and HC Brandon Staley is everything we want choosing aggressiveness on 4th down instead of simply punting things away. We mentioned recently in dynasty conversations that LAC is set up well for future. They have the 2nd most Cap Space for 2022 per Spotrac at $63 million.

3 Tom Brady | Tampa Bay Buccaneers

2021 Consistency Rank: 1
1st Half: 1 / 2nd Half: 9

17 games — 485/719 for 5316/43/12 — 28/81/2 rushing
ADP: 7.07 / QB9
Defenses: -6.56 vs Top 16
Home/Road Split: +4.52 at Home

Great Games Good Games Bust Games
41% 59% 29%

At the ripe age of 44, Brady was the most consistent fantasy QB of 2021. He led the league in completions, attempts, passing yards (5316), and passing TDs (43). Not bad for an old-timer. He also came out of the gate on fire as a top-5 QB in six of 1st eight starts. The Tampa Bay offensive line is elite with Brady sporting the lowest sack rate in the NFL. There’s little reason to doubt him going into 2022. Heck, he could be a top-5 dynasty QB well into his late 40s at this rate.

4 Patrick Mahomes | Kansas City Chiefs

2021 Consistency Rank: 7
1st Half: 11 / 2nd Half: 3

17 games — 36/658 for 4839/37/13 — 66/381/2 rushing
ADP: 2.07 / QB1
Defenses: +1.29 vs Top 16
Home/Road Split: -7.71 at Home

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Great Games Good Games Bust Games
29% 53% 29%

It didn’t exactly feel like a top-5 QB season for Mahomes. You felt the ups and downs especially a stretch in the middle of the season where he was the QB18 from Weeks 7 to 12. Before then, he was on fire to start the year as the QB1 through Week 7 including 25+ fantasy points in five of his first six starts. The Chiefs’ defensive improvement was a big part of the story as KC allowed only 16.1 points per game from Week 8 on. He still was a QB1 each of the final five weeks of the season. He’s still among the elite for 2022 although Travis Kelce will be a year older. 

5 Matthew Stafford | Los Angeles Rams

2021 Consistency Rank: 9
1st Half: 5 / 2nd Half: 11

17 games — 404/601 for 4886/41/17 — 32/43/0 rushing
ADP: 8.04 / QB10
Defenses: +3.07 vs Top 16
Home/Road Split: +2.95 at Home

Great Games Good Games Bust Games
13% 50% 25%

Stafford’s top-5 finish feels a bit flawed when you consider some of the major flops (MIN & BAL) he had towards the end of the year for fantasy managers. Nevertheless, he led the league in games of 3+ TD passes (9) and his ten top-12 performances were the same as Aaron Rodgers. The frustrating part was the turnovers. He joins Drew Brees (2012) as the only QBs in NFL history to throw for 40+ TDs & lead the league in INTs. He also led the league with four pick-sixes. Stafford will likely be drafted among the top-8 QBs for 2022 and with Cooper Kupp and a hopefully healthy Robert Woods returning, it makes sense.

6 Aaron Rodgers | Green Bay Packers

2021 Consistency Rank: 5
1st Half: 9  / 2nd Half:  1

16 games — 366/531 for 4115/37/4 — 33/101/3 rushing
ADP: 6.02 / QB7
Defenses:
+1.86 vs Top 16
Home/Road Split:
+3.31 at Home

Great Games Good Games Bust Games
27% 53% 13%

The likely league MVP finished the year on a roll. From Weeks 11-17, here were his fantasy finishes: QB2, 2, bye, 3, 6, 8, 9. Not bad when you consider how the Packers started out the year getting annihilated against the Saints in Week 1. Two TDs were in the bank almost every single week as Rodgers had two or more passing TDs in 15 of his 17 starts. There are obviously lots of questions heading in 2022. If he’s a Packer, do things remain status quo? If he’s somewhere else, is it better or worse for fantasy? What if he goes full DGAF and just retires…

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Getty Images / Quinn Harris

7 Dak Prescott | Dallas Cowboys 

2021 Consistency Rank: 8
1st Half: 3 / 2nd Half: 7

16 games — 410/596 for 4449/37/10 — 48/146/1 rushing
ADP: 5.10 / QB6
Defenses:
+7.92 vs Top 16
Home/Road Split:
+9.68 at Home

Great Games Good Games Bust Games
38% 50% 31%

Dak had some monster games returning from a major injury with a 38 percent ‘great rate’, he trailed only Josh Allen and Tom Brady among top-10 QBs. With the highest completion rate (69%) and TD rate (6.2%) of his career, he bounced back nicely. Dallas led NFL in points per game (31.2)  including seven games of 35+ points. He hit a lull from Weeks 13-15 but finished strong in the final three weeks:  QB2, QB5, and QB1. He’s one of the safest QBs in fantasy and the Dallas offense (regardless of where OC Kellen Moore lands) is going to flow through the arm of Dak.

8 Joe Burrow | Cincinnati Bengals

2021 Consistency Rank: 11
1st Half: 12 / 2nd Half: 6

16 games — 366/520 for 4611/34/14 — 40/118/2 rushing
ADP: 11.06 / QB14
Defenses:
-11.28 vs Top 16
Home/Road Split:
4.68 at Home

Great Games Good Games Bust Games
19% 38% 25%

Burrow’s final two weeks were the stuff of legends.  His Week 16 & 17 performances: 971 yards and eight TDs combined. To put those numbers in perspective, Tom Brady never had more than one game in a season hitting of 400 & 4. Burrow did it in back to back games. In just his 2nd year in the league, he led the NFL in completion % (70.4), Yards per Pass Attempt (8.9) & 20+ Yard TDs (13). If there were any red flags, it’s the fact he led the NFL in sacks taken (51) including five games of 5+ sacks taken, most in a season over last decade. He also bullied bottom-16 defenses with the largest split of fantasy points  (11.28) among top-10 QBs. While his TD rate more than doubling (3.2 to 6.5) usually is a sign for regression, he might be an outlier. His upside is immense and the Footballers agreed if he ends up in the 7th-8th round of drafts, they want him on their teams in 2022.

9 Jalen Hurts | Philadelphia Eagles

2021 Consistency Rank: 5
1st Half: 2 / 2nd Half: 10

15 games — 265/432 for 3144/16/9 — 139/784/10 rushing
ADP: 9.09 / QB12
Defenses:-3.8 vs Top 16
Home/Road Split: +4.88 at Home

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Great Games Good Games Bust Games
27% 53% 20%

Hurts was among the most consistent of QBs all year. He delivered being a weekly starter with 11 QB1 finishes despite only 16 total passing TDs. Much of that was thanks to leading all QBs in rushing yards (784) and rushing TDs (10). Hurts averaged 8.43 rushing fantasy points per game in his 15 starts.  If you include his four starts in 2020, that number jumps to 8.82. For context, through his 49 career starts, Lamar Jackson is at 8.6. It looks like he will be the team’s starting QB heading into 2022 making him a viable pick in the later rounds thanks to his legs.

10 Kyler Murray | Arizona Cardinals

2021 Consistency Rank: 4
1st Half: 7 / 2nd Half: 5

14 games — 333/481 for 3787/24/10 — 88/423/5 rushing
ADP: 4.02 / QB3
Defenses:-4.75 vs Top 16
Home/Road Split: -3.35 at Home

Great Games Good Games Bust Games
21% 57% 21%

Kyler started out hot as Cardinals began season 7-0 and he looked like a legit MVP candidate. He was the QB4 for fantasy through that span. However, the season turned on a dime especially with Kyler missing three games and the season-ending injury to All-Pro WR DeAndre Hopkins. He was effective throwing the deep ball tying Tom Brady for most 20+ yard completions (35) and completing a league-leading 49.3 of those attempts. He improved his overall completion rate, TD rate, yards per attempt, and passing yards per game but dropped to fewer than FIVE rushing attempts per game. If Kyler doesn’t run, his fantasy ceiling ultimately is capped. Heading into 2022, the Cardinals have a ton of question marks including whether Kliff Kingsbury is the head coach.

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