Fantasy Football 2020: Early QB Rankings, Sleeper Options and Draft Strategy

Maurice Moton@@MoeMotonFeatured ColumnistMay 15, 2020

Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray warms-up before an NFL football game against the New York Giants, Sunday, Oct. 20, 2019, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Adam Hunger)
Adam Hunger/Associated Press

In standard fantasy football leagues, running back is the most important position, though a top-level quarterback could lead you to the championship round. Managers who picked up Lamar Jackson last year can attest to that statement.

Typically, only a handful of quarterbacks are worth a look in the early rounds, specifically signal-callers who can rack up points as ball-carriers, too. 

Although Jackson doesn't expect to run the ball as much in the upcoming campaign, he's going to be a hot commodity on draft day because any number north of 500 rushing yards is a major boost to a quarterback's fantasy outlook. 

If Jackson's fantasy point total takes a dive, who's a strong candidate to lead the position in 2020? Where should managers look for good value in the later rounds? Will a top quarterback fall from fantasy football glory?

We'll have answers to all of those questions, but first, check out our early quarterback rankings suited for 12-team leagues.


Quarterback Rankings

1. Lamar Jackson Baltimore Ravens

2. Kyler Murray, Arizona Cardinals 

3. Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs

4. Dak Prescott, Dallas Cowboys

5. Deshaun Watson, Houston Texans 

6. Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks 

7. Josh Allen, Buffalo Bills

8. Carson Wentz, Philadelphia Eagles 

9. Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints

10. Tom Brady, Tampa Bay Buccaneers 

11. Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons 

12. Ryan Tannehill, Tennessee Titans


Safe Pick: Kyler Murray, Arizona Cardinals 

SEATTLE, WASHINGTON - DECEMBER 22: Kyler Murray #1 of the Arizona Cardinals looks on prior to taking on the Seattle Seahawks during their game at CenturyLink Field on December 22, 2019 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images)
Abbie Parr/Getty Images

In terms of fantasy production, Kyler Murray could be the next Lamar Jackson in leading all quarterbacks in points as a second-year starter. The Arizona Cardinals signal-caller may not win league MVP, but he has the offensive personnel and mobility to take a huge leap. 

Last season, Murray finished seventh in points (297.28). In addition to 3,722 passing yards and 20 touchdowns through the air, he ran for 544 yards and four scores on the ground. 

Going into Year 2, Murray has a shiny new weapon after the Cardinals acquired wideout DeAndre Hopkins from the Houston Texans. He's earned All-Pro honors in each of the last three seasons and eclipsed 1,164 receiving yards in five out of his seven campaigns. 

Murray will benefit from the Hopkins effect—jump-ball catches, favorable one-on-one matchups and red-zone opportunities. Instead of using his legs to evade pressure, the 22-year-old signal-caller may toss up a few desperation passes to his new No. 1 wideout.

According to head coach Kliff Kingsbury, per Kevin Zimmerman of Arizona Sports 98.7 FM, Murray has a little more swagger. 

"There's definitely a different level of confidence, a different level of command of the offense, and he feels it," Kingsbury said. "Even though we haven't been able to get out on the grass, he definitely feels a lot more comfortable heading into year two."

With a better command of the offense, Hopkins in the fold, Larry Fitzgerald returning for his 17th season and Christian Kirk showing progress during the previous campaign, how could you not like Murray as your fantasy quarterback? He's primed for a big year.


Sleeper Pick: Ryan Tannehill, Tennessee Titans

Nick Wass/Associated Press

For 12-team leagues, Ryan Tannehill barely makes the cut as a starting quarterback on a roster, but if you want to take a big swing at someone who may outperform his late-round draft spot, he's your guy. 

Tannehill had an impressive second-half run through 2019, throwing for 2,742 yards, 22 touchdowns and only six interceptions. Between Weeks 7 and 17, the 31-year-old signal-caller ranked third in fantasy points (225.02). 

Don't forget Tannehill will use his legs if necessary. He's not Jackson or Murray as a ball-carrier, but mobility is an element to his game. The Titans quarterback has 1,395 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns through seven active seasons—four of those scores came last year.

The Titans lost right tackle Jack Conklin during free agency, so Tannehill may have to tuck the football and run if rookie first-round tackle Isaiah Wilson struggles in his pass-blocking sets early in the season. 

In the pocket, Tannehill could eclipse 4,000 passing yards. He accomplished that feat with the Miami Dolphins during the 2014 and 2015 terms. His rapport with wideout A.J. Brown, who hauled in 52 receptions for 1,051 yards and eight touchdowns last season, may carry him over the mark in 2020.

Late in the 2019 campaign, Tannehill and Brown became a viable tandem. The wideout recorded four 114-plus yard games within his last six outings.

Tennessee's aerial attack could reach new heights if Corey Davis or Adam Humphries become consistent contributors. Still, Tannehill, the 2019 Comeback Player of the Year, is worth a gamble in the second chapter of his pro career.


Draft Strategy: Stay Away from Aaron Rodgers 

SANTA CLARA, CALIFORNIA - JANUARY 19: Aaron Rodgers #12 of the Green Bay Packers reacts after a play against the San Francisco 49ers during the NFC Championship game at Levi's Stadium on January 19, 2020 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Harry How/Get
Harry How/Getty Images

Although it seems a bit strange, Aaron Rodgers doesn't list within the top-12 fantasy quarterbacks. That's not a typo, you should have legitimate concerns about his 2020 outlook.

No, rookie first-rounder Jordan Love isn't going to unseat Rodgers for the starting position. However, the Green Bay Packers seem ready to shift the focus away from the two-time All-Pro signal-caller.

An agent of a wide receiver on the open market told Jim Owczarski of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that the Packers will gear toward a "run-oriented attack." This explains why the team selected A.J. Dillon with its second-round pick as opposed to a wide receiver who can potentially push for the No. 2 spot behind Davante Adams.

Going into 2020, Green Bay's backfield will feature Aaron Jones, Jamaal Williams and Dillon, with Adams as the only high-level proven pass-catcher on the perimeter. 

Last year, Rodgers didn't see a significant dip in pass attempts, but he finished 10th in fantasy points (282.38) among quarterbacks. With a new emphasis on the run game, the Packers quarterback shouldn't be on your draft radar this summer.

Fantasy points and totals provided by FantasyPros.