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Quarterbacks to Target in 2021 Fantasy Football

The staff lets you know which quarterbacks you should be targeting this year in fantasy football.

As we get close to finishing up QB Week, here are the quarterbacks our staff is targeting this year in fantasy football (ADP via FF Calculator).

Lamar Jackson, Baltimore Ravens (Pete)

ADP: QB4, 5.02

With Superflex leagues all the craze, gone are the days when you can wait on quarterback. Like Paddi’s QB FPAR ratings show us, the elite quarterbacks you pay up for give you a huge edge when it comes to fantasy.

Lamar Jackson is coming off a “down” year in which he still managed to finish a top-10 fantasy quarterback. His rushing floor is untouchable and will always keep him in QB1 territory. The biggest reason I’m targeting Lamar early is the investment the Ravens made into their passing game. Drafting Rashod Bateman and signing Sammy Watkins is a huge step to giving Jackson multiple weapons to throw to, all of whom can create separation at the NFL level. With even just a small improvement in the passing game, Lamar instantly becomes a contender for the QB1 in fantasy. Getting him in the fifth round, after being able to snag my RB1 and RB2 and some combo of WRs and/or TE, seems like a steal in my book.

If you want to wait on quarterback, might I recommend Cam Newton of the New England Patriots who, much like Lamar, could see his fantasy stock rapidly increase this year.

Ryan Tannehill, Tennessee Titans (Paddi)

ADP: QB14, 9.03

Ryan Tannehill is currently going as the QB13 in fantasy drafts, despite finishing 2020 as the QB7. With the addition of Julio Jones to partner with A.J. Brown on the outside, Tannehill has two potential WR1s at his disposal. Even the addition of Josh Reynolds from the Los Angeles Rams gives some additional support from the slot. Tannehill is also a willing and able runner (did you know he played receiver in college?), and has a rushing floor of 250 yards and 6 touchdowns to compliment what should be an increase in his passing numbers. If I’m waiting on a quarterback in drafts, Tannehill is my go-to guy for 2021.

Baker Mayfield, Cleveland Browns (Nic)

ADP: QB18, 12.01

Despite never throwing less than 3,563 yards and 22 touchdowns—even while frustratingly spending two of his three seasons under the tutelage of Hue Jackson and Freddie Kitchens—Baker Mayfield is being drafted as just the QB18, with the first pick of the 12th round in .5PPR drafts.

Coaching concerns are now firmly in the rearview with wiz kid Kevin Stefanski operating as both head coach and offensive play-caller, whose scheme led to smashing success as the season progressed last season. The Stefanski/Mayfield maiden voyage got off to a bit of a slow start last year, no thanks to a COVID-stunted preseason. But Mayfield was able to close the season strong, passing for 297 yards or more in 3 of the last 5 games.

Looking ahead to 2021, SharpFootballStats.com has Cleveland slated to face the 2nd-softest schedule overall, the 10th-softest overall defensive schedule, and the 9th-softest overall offensive schedule. Stefanski’s Browns are going to impose the will on opponents all season, perhaps in an even more efficient manner than they did last year when CLE produced the league’s 9th-most yards on play-action passes (1,160) via the 16th-highest PA attempt total (128).

Side-kicked by a fully healthy Odell Beckham Jr. and the developing downfield dynamo Donovan Peoples-Jones—whose 2.34 yards per route running quietly ranked second among all rookies last year (min. 20-targets)—Mayfield should have little issue contending for top-15 fantasy QB honors this year.

Tua Tagovailoa, Miami Dolphins (Clark)

ADP: QB22, 14.01

Tua Tagovailoa was recently the 21st QB selected in the NerdBall and Friends mock draft. He had an up and down rookie season, but I knew the offseason had jumped the shark when some suggested the Dolphins might draft a QB. 

In fantasy terms, the way the Dolphins handled their QB situation was maddening. Fitzpatrick was chucking it to DeVante Parker and the offense was exciting! The market, though, is reacting to Fitzpatrick’s patented exciting style while short-shrifting the rookie who, shockingly, didn’t look as polished as the 16-year veteran. Don’t forget, Tua was coming off a serious, rare hip injury, and in his case, that injury was so concerning he fell to fifth pick in the draft (yeah, he was a good prospect). 

Going into his second season, the Dolphins appear to be a team on the rise in general, and they’ve invested heavily in the offense, adding Will Fuller and drafting Jaylen Waddle to go along with DeVante Parker and Mike Gesicki. These over-reactions and the investments surrounding Tua are making him a screaming value going into his sophomore season.