The big wave of Free Agency is over, as is the 2023 NFL Draft. Now it’s time to look forward. Over the next few articles, I’ll be looking at team’s fantasy units by conference, ranking the groups. Today, I’m continuing with the NFC QBs. In my first piece, I looked at units No. 16 to No. 9. Today; it’s time for the Top 8. Remember, it’s not just about the starter—it’s about the strength of the unit. Entries appear in ascending order.
No. 8: Minnesota Vikings
On the Roster: Kirk Cousins, Nick Mullens, and Jaren Hall
About: I was tempted to put the Lions here, but I think that’s because I fell into a trap. Cousins is chronically underrated as a passer. He’s probably a Top 5 player at the position in the NFC, and his quality alone is enough to boost the Vikings into the Top 8. Cousins is 46-33-1 in five years in Minnesota, and he’s been a great producer for fantasy. Behind him, the Vikings have a prospect in the rookie Hall, but they also have a decent option in Mullens. We’ve seen him thrive as a spot starter before, having started 17 games and played on three different squads. So, Cousins combined with decent, if unspectacular depth, gives them an edge.
No. 7: Carolina Panthers
On the Roster: Bryce Young, Andy Dalton, Matt Corral, and Jacob Eason
About: The Panthers are starting over with a new coach, and their projected starter is a rookie—the No. 1 overall pick. Young is a talented prospect, which makes him appealing. But the Panthers also have good experience and depth in the quarterback room. A big part of that is Dalton, who has started 162 games over his career for four teams. He’s also got a winning record of 83-77-2. That’s experience that most teams don’t have in their room. In addition, the team has prospects in Corral, a Third Round pick a year ago, and Eason. I don’t expect them all to make the final roster, but Young’s potential and Dalton’s experience were enough for me to give them a bump.
No. 6: New York Giants
On the Roster: Daniel Jones, Tyrod Taylor, and Tommy DeVito
About: Jones was a First-Round pick in 2019 but had an uneven first three years with the Giants. Last year, Coach Brian Daboll seemed to unlock his potential. It was enough for Jones to earn a big payday and a long-term contract. He gives them a solid foundation, a starting quarterback that guided his team to the playoffs last season. In addition, the Giants have one of the better backup options in the NFC. Taylor has started 53 games for four different teams and even boasts a winning record, at 26-25-1. He’s a mobile option that is familiar with the scheme. I like what the Giants are building with Daboll and Jones, enough that they landed here on the list.
No. 5: San Francisco 49ers
On the Roster: Trey Lance, Brock Purdy, Brandon Allen, and Sam Darnold
About: Sometimes, the sum of the whole is greater than any of its individual parts. That’s the case with the 49ers. If I was measuring the team on the strength of any of its individual players, I probably wouldn’t have them ranked this high. But, taken as a group, the 49ers have an impressive set of options. Purdy, as the last pick taken in the 2022 NFL Draft, finished the regular season 5-0 as a starter and took the 49ers all the way to the NFC Championship Game, where he suffered an injury. Darnold has had success as a starter for two different teams, starting a total of 55 games since 2018. Then there’s Lance, who still has the tremendous upside that led to him being the third overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. It’s not Montana, Young, and Bono, but it’s a fairly strong and deep quarterback room that gives the 49ers plenty of options.
No. 4: Arizona Cardinals
On the Roster: Kyler Murray, Colt McCoy, David Blough, Jeff Driskel, and Clayton Tune
About: Yes, they currently have five players on the roster. No, I don’t expect all of them to make the team. Tune is a rookie, so he’s little more than a prospect. But behind Murray, the Cardinals currently have three players who’ve all had regular-season NFL snaps. That’s a luxury no other team can claim. The top reserve is McCoy, who started in Murray’s stead in 2022 and might well start this season if Murray isn’t completely healed from his torn ACL. McCoy has started 36 games over the course of his career for four different teams, giving them a solid veteran behind Murray. Then there’s Murray, a former first-overall pick who is one of the most talented options in the NFC. That makes this an easy choice to land in this spot.
No. 3: New Orleans Saints
On the Roster: Derek Carr, Jameis Winston, and Jake Haener
About: The Saints don’t have a top option as dynamic as Murray, but they have a stronger overall roster. Carr has started 142 games, throwing for 35,222 yards and 99 touchdowns. Behind him? The man who went into the 2022 season as the Saints’ starter. Winston, a former first-overall pick, has started 80 games and even had a season with more than 5,000 yards and 33 touchdowns in a season as a starter. That’s an impressive duo at the top of the roster. In addition, they added an interesting prospect in Haener. It’s something of a coin toss, but I like the overall picture here better than Arizona.
No. 2: Dallas Cowboys
On the Roster: Dak Prescott, Cooper Rush, and Will Grier
About: Dak is probably the second-best quarterback in the NFC. Some others might quibble, but I’d rank him second in the NFC. That alone wouldn’t be enough to vault the Cowboys up here, but I like the quarterback room, too. Last season, Rush was something of an unknown. But when Dak was injured Week 1, Rush stepped in. He went 4-1 as a starter in five games last season, and he’s 5-1 as a starter the past two seasons for the Cowboys. He’s a backup that gives them some insurance, which is more than many teams can say. In addition, the team has a prospect in Grier who might develop in a good room with a decent staff. So, I landed the Cowboys here.
No. 1: Philadelphia Eagles
On the Roster: Jalen Hurts, Marcus Mariota, Ian Book, and Tanner McKee
About: Hurts is the best quarterback in the NFC. But, again, this is about the quality of the room. Hurts gives them an advantage, but it’s his new backup that helps solidify the Eagles in the top spot. This off-season, the Eagles signed Mariota to be the primary backup. A former second-overall pick, Mariota has started 74 games in his career. He was decent as a starter for the Titans, then had some strong moments as a backup in Las Vegas before turning in a solid 13 starts in Atlanta in 2022. That gives the Eagles an experienced and quality backup quarterback that fits Hurts’ style of play. The rest of the Eagles’ room is inexperienced prospects in Book and McKee, who was drafted last month. But the top two are enough to land the Eagles here atop the list of NFC quarterback groups.
Matthew Fox is a die-hard NFL fan and Broncos’ homer. He’s a member of the FSWA. You can find more from him on Twitter @knighthawk7734 or as co-host of the Fantasy Football Roundtable Podcast, a part of the Campus2Canton Network.