Football is back. So are the FanSided NFL quarterback rankings.
Last year, we saw a dizzying amount of changes under center throughout the campaign — looking you, Jacksonville — and ultimately, it was Aaron Rodgers who emerged on top with an MVP season.
While Rodgers earned his spot, he’ll have competition. Patrick Mahomes is ever-present, while Josh Allen, Russell Wilson and Tom Brady, somehow, are firmly in the mix.
If you’ve enjoyed these in the past, you know how it works. If you’re new…
Our 2021 FanSided NFL quarterback rankings go live each Tuesday morning throughout the regular season, and we use a sliding scale incorporating current and past performances, with the former meaning more as the year goes on.
Alright, Tone-Loc voice: Let’s do it.
QB Houston Texans
2020 stats: 208 yards | 53.3 comp % | 2 TD | 1 INT | 6.9 YPA | 21.3 QBR
Taylor is walking into the worst situation in football. He’s a really good backup, a middling starter and a signal-caller with no chance to succeed in his current environment.
QB Chicago Bears
2020 stats: 2,169 yards | 64.9 comp % | 14 TD | 8 INT | 6.5 YPA | 53.8 QBR
This header will be changed to read “Justin Fields” in about a week. Meanwhile, we watch Dalton face Aaron Donald on national television.
QB Carolina Panthers
2020 stats: 2,208 yards | 59.6 comp % | 9 TD | 11 INT | 6.1 YPA | 40.1 QBR
Darnold has potential, but that’s a fancy word for saying he hasn’t done anything. With the Panthers, he’s surrounded by receivers D.J. Moore and Robby Anderson, and former All-Pro running back Christian McCaffrey. Huge opportunity.
QB New York Jets
2020 stats*: 3,692 yards | 73.5 comp % | 33 TD | 3 INT | 11.0 YPA | 0.0 QBR
The man replacing Darnold steps into a tough spot. Wilson was great last year with BYU, but has nobody to lean on should times get tough. The offensive coordinator is 34 years old, Robert Saleh is a defensive-minded head coach, and nobody on the roster has thrown an NFL pass.
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
QB Philadelphia Eagles
2020 stats: 1,061 yards | 52.0 comp % | 6 TD | 4 INT | 7.2 YPA | 41.0 QBR
Hurts has his big chance. With Carson Wentz in Indianapolis, the Eagles are handing the franchise over to their second-year signal-caller. Hurts showed flashes last season, but with limited talent around him, can he overcome?
QB New York Giants
2020 stats: 2,943 yards | 62.5 comp % | 11 TD | 10 INT | 6.6 YPA | 61.5 QBR
It’s time for Jones to step up. The Giants have two first-round picks in 2022, so if things go poorly for the Duke product, there’s a good chance he lands somewhere else this offseason. New York gave him plenty of weapons — albeit with a poor offensive line — to show his stuff.
QB New Orleans Saints
2020 stats: 75 yards | 63.6 comp % | 0 TD | 0 INT | 6.8 YPA | 15.6 QBR
Winston falls here because it’s impossible to know what’s coming. In 2019, he led the league with over 5,100 passing yards but famously launched 30 interceptions. He’s now under the tutelage of head coach Sean Payton, but without much in the way of receivers.
QB Denver Broncos
2020 stats: 3,733 yards | 69.1 comp % | 15 TD | 11 INT | 7.6 YPA | 64.1 QBR
Bridgewater rightfully won the starting job over incumbent Drew Lock, largely because he’s a caretaker. The Broncos are relying on their excellent defense and solid offensive weapons to win games, while Bridgewater avoids turnovers and makes all the easy throws.
Marc Lebryk-USA TODAY Sports
QB Indianapolis Colts
2020 stats: 2,620 yards | 57.4 comp % | 16 TD | 15 INT | 6.0 YPA | 49.6 QBR
Wentz was arguably the worst starter in football last year, and is coming off an injury-riddled summer. Now, he’s under center without T.Y. Hilton on the outside, while left tackles Sam Tevi and Eric Fisher are sidelined. Tough spot for Wentz.
QB New England Patriots
2020 stats*: 4,500 yards | 77.4 comp % | 41 TD | 4 INT | 11.2 YPA | 0.0 QBR
Jones is going to start from Day 1, and if Bill Belichick believes its the right call, you’ll get no argument here. The Alabama product looked great in the preseason and will be protected by a great line with a very good ground game.
QB Jacksonville Jaguars
2020 stats*: 3,153 yards | 69.2 comp % | 24 TD | 5 INT | 9.4 YPA | 0.0 QBR
Lawrence properly gets top billing among the rookies. The Jaguars aren’t putting him in a good spot behind their offensive line, but the weapons are good led by receivers Marvin Jones and D.J. Chark. There might be early struggles, but Lawrence should blossom into a star.
QB Miami Dolphins
2020 stats: 1,814 yards | 64.1 comp % | 11 TD | 5 INT | 6.3 YPA | 52.5 QBR
It’s not fair, but this is a massive year for Tagovailoa. Entering his second year, rumors have swirled about Miami’s interest in Deshaun Watson. If the former Crimson Tide star is going to silence the notion of an upgrade, he must take advantage of his bolstered supporting cast.
Harry How/Getty Images
QB Washington Football Team
2020 stats: 2,091 yards | 68.5 comp % | 13 TD | 8 INT | 7.8 YPA | 76.8 QBR
Fitzpatrick was decent last year in Miami, earning him presumably a final chance at starting now with Washington. The Football Team has legitimate hopes of repeating in the NFC East, but to do so, Fitzpatrick has to limit his mistakes.
QB Detroit Lions
2020 stats: 3,952 yards | 67.0 comp % | 20 TD | 13 INT | 7.2 YPA | 58.5 QBR
Goff is better than some realize, but he’s also a product largely of who is around him. Take a look at the Lions’ receiving corps, and you realize that’s horrific news. Detroit has Tyrell Williams and not a single other notable name on the outside. Look for Goff to find tight end T.J. Hockenson about 15 times per game.
QB San Francisco 49ers
2020 stats: 1,096 yards | 67.1 comp % | 7 TD | 5 INT | 7.8 YPA | 61.5 QBR
Garoppolo needs to stay healthy more than ever in 2021. Should he go down, Trey Lance will take his job and quite possibly not relinquish it. When on the field, Garoppolo is a game-manager who can execute Kyle Shanahan’s system, making him a valuable quarterback in San Francisco.
QB Cincinnati Bengals
2020 stats: 2,688 yards | 65.3 comp % | 13 TD | 5 INT | 6.7 YPA | 56.2 QBR
How healthy is Burrow? He only took three preseason snaps and reports have been flying from Cincinnati stating he looks rusty, which is expected after an ACL surgery. However, he’s surrounded by quality talent in former LSU teammate Ja’Marr Chase, Tyler Boyd and second-year man Tee Higgins. The Bengals should score — and allow — plenty of points.
Joe Sargent/Getty Images
QB Pittsburgh Steelers
2020 stats: 3,803 yards | 65.6 comp % | 33 TD | 10 INT | 6.3 YPA | 60.1 QBR
This could be it for Roethlisberger. Last year, his arm showed considerable wear, making deeper throws between the numbers virtually impossible. New offensive coordinator Matt Canada wants to throw quick, use motion and ride the legs of rookie running back Najee Harris. Don’t expect Big Ben’s YPA to climb.
QB Minnesota Vikings
2020 stats: 4,265 yards | 67.6 comp % | 35 TD | 13 INT | 8.3 YPA | 63.2 QBR
It won’t be easy throwing from a Plexiglas box, but Cousins is better than people allow for. He has elite receivers in Justin Jefferson and Adam Thielen, and a ground game led by Dalvin Cook. Minnesota won’t win because of Cousins, but it has shown the ability to win with him.
QB Cleveland Browns
2020 stats: 3,563 yards | 62.8 comp % | 26 TD | 8 INT | 7.3 YPA | 72.1 QBR
The Brown have Super Bowl plans. To make them happen, Mayfield needs to take one more step up. In head coach Kevin Stefanski’s system, Mayfield can use play-action and rollout movement to throw the ball behind the league’s best offensive line. It’s ideal. The question is whether Mayfield can win constantly from in the pocket on longer downs.
QB Las Vegas Raiders
2020 stats: 4,103 yards | 67.3 comp % | 27 TD | 9 INT | 7.9 YPA | 71.0 QBR
Carr remains one of the better quarterbacks in the league. However, he faces a tougher challenge in 2021 as the Raiders lost three pieces from their offensive line. With Las Vegas having a poor defense, Carr will be throwing early and often behind a lesser front, which could cause problems.
Norm Hall/Getty Images
QB Arizona Cardinals
2020 stats: 3,971 yards | 67.2 comp % | 26 TD | 12 INT | 7.1 YPA | 68.9 QBR
Huge year for Murray. The Cardinals need Murray to be healthy and at his best all year to have a chance in the NFC West. In 2020, Murray was dazzling at times but slowed down the stretch. The talent is there for a major campaign.
QB Atlanta Falcons
2020 stats: 4,581 yards | 65.0 comp % | 26 TD | 11 INT | 7.3 YPA | 67.0 QBR
Julio Jones out, Kyle Pitts in. The Falcons are starting over once more in Atlanta, but Ryan remains the constant. At 36 years old, he’s aiming for an 11th consecutive season of at least 4,000 passing yards. It would be foolish to bet against him, considering his talent and the acquisition of Pitts.
QB Los Angeles Rams
2020 stats: 4,084 yards | 64.2 comp % | 26 TD | 10 INT | 7.7 YPA | 68.4 QBR
Nobody is more fascinating in 2021. The Rams are betting big on Stafford, having traded Goff and a pair of firs-round picks to Detroit for his services. We all know he’s never won a playoff game or division title, but is that a product of his shortcomings or strictly his environment? We’re going to find out.
QB Baltimore Ravens
2020 stats: 2,757 yards | 64.4 comp % | 26 TD | 9 INT | 7.3 YPA | 73.7 QBR
Jackson is an MVP, under 25 years old, never missed or game, made the playoffs each year he’s been a starter, and yet he’s playing to prove he’s worth a top-tier extension. Why? Because the Ravens have only won a single postseason game under him, and Jackson has never thrown for 3,200 yards. He’s electric, but is that enough for Baltimore?
Wesley Hitt/Getty Images
QB Tennessee Titans
2020 stats: 3,819 yards | 65.5 comp % | 33 TD | 7 INT | 7.9 YPA | 78.3 QBR
Tannehill has been among the league’s best since being inserted as the starter for Tennessee in 2019. The Titans lost Corey Davis and Jonnu Smith this offseason but added Julio Jones and Josh Reynolds to an already dangerous offense. If Jones stays healthy and the line holds up, Tannehill is in for a monster season.
QB Los Angeles Chargers
2020 stats: 4,336 yards | 66.6 comp % | 31 TD | 10 INT | 7.3 YPA | 69.5 QBR
Herbert was the most-maligned first-round quarterback last year entering the draft, but he proved everyone wrong. After winning Offensive Rookie of the Year honors, the youngster was given a much-improved offensive line to work behind. Los Angeles is a potential playoff team, and Herbert is the driving force, able to make any throw.
QB Dallas Cowboys
2020 stats: 1,856 yards | 68.0 comp % | 9 TD | 4 INT | 8.4 YPA | 78.7 QBR
Prescott appeared on his way to a career year in 2020 before grotesquely breaking his ankle against the New York Giants. Provided he stays healthy, the Cowboys should have one of the league’s best offenses with CeeDee Lamb, Michael Gallup and Amari Cooper on the outside. Prescott is a prime candidate to win the passing title.
QB Seattle Seahawks
2020 stats: 4,212 yards | 68.8 comp % | 40 TD | 13 INT | 7.5 YPA | 73.5 QBR
Wilson faded down the stretch last season, but still put up great numbers. The Seahawks will go as far as Wilson carries them, throwing plenty to receivers D.K. Metcalf and Tyler Lockett, along with new tight end Gerald Everett. Considering Seattle’s secondary is a mess save Jamal Adams, Wilson might be racking up major numbers.
Ralph Freso/Getty Images
QB Buffalo Bills
2020 stats: 4,544 yards | 69.2 comp % | 37 TD | 10 INT | 7.9 YPA | 81.7 QBR
Allen was Second-Team All-Pro last year, and he might elevate this season. The Bills lost John Brown from the outside but replaced him with Emmanuel Sanders. Also, keep an eye on Gabriel Davis, a second-year talent who shined as the season went on in 2020. Allen has to prove he’s not a one-year wonder, but all signs point to continued excellence.
QB Tampa Bay Buccaneers
2020 stats: 4,633 yards | 65.7 comp % | 40 TD | 12 INT | 7.6 YPA | 72.5 QBR
Brady is 44 years old and still putting up elite numbers while winning rings. All told, the Bucs have Mike Evans, Antonio Brown and Chris Godwin on the outside with Rob Gronkowski as Brady’s security blanket underneath. This is the most loaded offense Brady has played with in at least a decade.
QB Kansas City Chiefs
2020 stats: 4,740 yards | 66.3 comp % | 38 TD | 6 INT | 8.1 YPA | 82.9 QBR
Mahomes is the betting favorite to win MVP, and it’s certainly in play. The Chiefs have Hall of Fame talents at tight end and receiver in Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill, respectively. More importantly, Mahomes is behind rebuilt offensive line which looks fantastic thus far. If Mahomes has time, he could shatter records in Kansas City’s offense.
QB Green Bay Packers
2020 stats: 4,299 yards | 70.7 comp % | 48 TD | 5 INT | 8.2 YPA | 84.3 QBR
The drama is over, and Rodgers remains in Green Bay. After the best season of his career in 2020, he returns to a team with questions on the offensive line following David Bakhtiari’s torn ACL and Corey Linsley’s departure. Still, Davante Adams, Robert Tonyan and Aaron Jones should be more than enough for Rodgers and the Packers to roll once more.