Quarterback is widely considered the most critical position in real football, if not all sports. In fantasy football, however, the position has been devalued by the sheer number of viable quarterbacks to choose from and the growing popularity of the late-round quarterback strategy.
Waiting until the double-digit rounds and selecting a riskier upside quarterback could end up requiring you to stay active on the waivers and stream from week-to-week at some point in the season. If you want to avoid streaming the position, then you’ll want to find a quarterback that can be counted on week-in and week-out this season. In this article, I’ll offer up three of the most trustworthy quarterbacks heading into 2019.
You’ll notice three common qualities for each of the reliable quarterbacks I offer up here.
Unquestioned starter on a winning team: They have almost no chance of losing their job to another quarterback. Winning teams don’t bench their quarterbacks and all three detailed below lead teams that are projected to make playoff runs in 2019. Barring injury, they will be starting all 16 games for their team. Which brings me to the next quality.
Limited injury history and low injury risk: It’s hard to predict injuries in the NFL. Every player is just one play away from a season-ending injury. That being said, some quarterbacks have enough recent injury history to give you pause when starring them down on the draft board. Deshaun Watson, Aaron Rodgers, Carson Wentz, Andrew Luck, and Cam Newton have all missed a significant amount of games over the past two seasons. Rushing quarterbacks like Kyler Murray, Lamar Jackson, and Josh Allen may get a fantasy boost with their legs, but they also put themselves in more precarious situations that can lead to injuries.
High scoring offense: Top quarterbacks typically come from top offenses. It makes sense that a team that scores more points is going to have a quarterback that generally puts up more fantasy points. All three of the trustworthy quarterbacks below come from offenses that were at least in the top six in scoring in 2018 and have no reason to see a dip in 2019.
Note: The Ultimate Draft Kit includes a risk rating for every player. The lower the number, the more you can trust them.
Patrick Mahomes (ADP: 3.03)
Mahomes is going to cost you a high draft pick, but he’s unanimously ranked as the top fantasy quarterback by Andy, Mike, and Jason in the Ultimate Draft Kit. Not only that, but they have him in a tier all by himself, set apart from every other quarterback in the game.
It’s easy to see why. In his first year as a starter, Mahomes became just the third player to ever throw 50 or more touchdowns in a season. His talented pass-catching corps, featuring Tyreek Hill, Sammy Watkins, and Travis Kelce, are all back for another season. The Chiefs even added another speedy receiver in rookie wideout Mecole Hardman. Few teams boast the offensive talents that Mahomes has at his disposal.
On top of the historical 2018 season and a full arsenal of weapons, Mahomes has almost no injury history to speak of. The most significant injury he’s dealt with was a fracture in his non-throwing wrist during his final year in college. He played with it for the final five games of the season before undergoing offseason surgery. Obviously, it has not affected his play in the NFL.
Yes, it’s unlikely that he throws another 50 touchdown passes this season. Yes, the draft cost will be high. Still, Mahomes is undoubtedly the most trustworthy fantasy quarterback headed into 2019.
Jared Goff (ADP: 9.03)
The Rams have averaged an impressive 31.4 points per game since head coach Sean McVay took over with Goff two seasons ago, more than any other team over that time. That’s exactly the kind of offense you want your fantasy quarterback leading.
Goff may have the most dependable receiving corps in the NFL catching his passes. Robert Woods, Brandin Cooks, and Cooper Kupp are all ranked in the top-24 of the UDK. Instead of trying to guess which receiver will be featured in a given week, owning Goff allows you to get all the fantasy points, no matter how they’re distributed.
Fantasy legend Todd Gurley and rookie Darrell Henderson are both talented pass catchers as well. Gurley’s receiving role is a huge part of what’s made him such a fantasy stud in recent years, though it may be dialed back this season in an effort to preserve his knee. There’s also been chatter from the Rams about using Henderson the way Chris Thompson was used in Washington when McVay was the offensive coordinator there. Regardless of who has the most receptions out of the backfield, you can expect the Rams to involve their running backs in the passing game. Again, it won’t matter to the Goff owner which back that is, the quarterback will get his fantasy points either way.
Philip Rivers (ADP: 11.02)
If you’re committed to waiting on your quarterback, but still want somebody you can trust, Rivers is your guy. To understand just how stable Rivers has been, take a look at his yearly fantasy production over his 13 seasons as the Chargers starting quarterback.
|Year||Games Played||QB Finish||Fantasy Points|
Rivers has been a model of consistency, finishing as a top 12 fantasy quarterback 77% of the time in his 13 years of starting. You’ll also notice that Rivers doesn’t miss games, playing all 16 every season. You can be confident that he’ll be available for your lineup all season long.
The Chargers tied for the sixth-most points scored in 2018. There’s no reason to believe the Rivers’ led team from Los Angeles will take any steps back in 2019. His top receiver, Keenan Allen, is consistently rated as one of the best route runners in Matt Harmon’s Reception Perception (part of the Ultimate Draft Kit). He also has the luxury of two red-zone magnets in Mike Williams and Hunter Henry, not to mention speedster Travis Benjamin to take the top off the defense. Even Melvin Gordon has shown great pass-catching chops, while Austin Ekeler and Justin Jackson have proven they can handle the load if Gordon fails to report to the team.
He may not have the top-three upside of Mahomes or Goff. He isn’t as flashy as Jameis Winston or Lamar Jackson. He is, however, the most trustworthy quarterback you can find in the double-digit rounds.
These quarterbacks also fit most of the criteria that I listed at the beginning of the article, just not as well. They all carry slightly more risk than the top three for a variety of reasons. If this article was titled “The Ten Most Trustworthy Fantasy Football Quarterbacks of 2019”, these guys would round out the top ten.