2024 Quarterback Report: Understanding QB tendencies heading into the 2024 fantasy football season

2TCMHAY Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen runs the ball during the first half of an NFL football game against the Kansas City Chiefs Sunday, Dec. 10, 2023, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

• See where the top fantasy quarterbacks thrived in 2023: Providing context to Josh Allen, Jalen Hurts, Lamar Jackson‘s strong production profiles and more.

Brock Purdy‘s impressive efficiency: The San Francisco 49ers quarterback didn’t throw the ball at a high rate but when he did, he made the most of his opportunities.

• Get a head start on fantasy football: Use PFF's fantasy football mock draft simulator to create real live mock draft simulations to get ready for your live draft!

Estimated Reading Time: 9 minutes

Fantasy football draft season is right around the corner, so it’s time to start diving into past data to look ahead to the 2024 season and prep for drafts. This piece will focus on this year’s fantasy-relevant quarterbacks, minus the rookies for now, as we evaluate their most recent sample of work in order to understand what they were in 2023, and what they can be in 2024.

The reason rookies aren’t yet included is to focus on the players that we have NFL data to work from. Rookies will potentially get their own spotlight at a later date. The quarterbacks included in these data sets are all the most likely QBs to see snaps in 2024 (again, aside from the rookies. Other than Aaron Rodgers (2022), all data is from the 2023 season.

Editor's note: ** = 2022 season used. This is for Aaron Rodgers who played fewer than five dropbacks in 2023.

Overall passing and total fantasy production last season

Starting with a quick overview of what the potential 2024 fantasy quarterbacks provided fantasy managers in their most recent season.

  • The usual suspects — Josh Allen, Jalen Hurts, and Lamar Jackson — led the way in terms of fantasy points per game due to their elite rushing upside, which accounts for a significant percentage of their overall fantasy production.
  • Kirk Cousins heads to the Atlanta Falcons this year after a strong half-fantasy season in 2023 before tearing his Achilles. Cousins relied heavily on his weapons in the passing game last season and is likely to do so again in 2024 with the Falcons.
  • Also on a limited sample size in 2023, Anthony Richardson was one of the most efficient fantasy quarterbacks for the short time he was on the field, evidenced by his very high 0.73 fantasy points per dropback.
  • Brock Purdy has been the epitome of fantasy efficiency since starting for the 49ers late in 2022. His 0.62 fantasy points per dropback last season is the second-best mark in the league (min. 250 dropbacks), doing so while ranking well below average in dropbacks per game (31.1) and rush attempts per game (2.4). 

Rushing production

There is no greater fantasy edge at the quarterback position than rushing production, as it’s often one of the most stable metrics at the position year-to-year while also being one of the greatest contributors toward the top quarterbacks’ overall fantasy production.

  • As mentioned earlier, fantasy managers didn’t get a full season of Anthony Richardson, though he delivered the highest percentage of his overall fantasy production with his legs — albeit on a smaller sample size.
  • Daniel Jones, also on a small sample (six games) due to injury, was especially reliant on his rushing production in 2023.
  • The top three in terms of fantasy points per game – Hurts, Allen, and Jackson – were also the three most effective quarterbacks after Richardson in fantasy points per game using only their rushing production. This is one of the main reasons to target these three at the top of their position in fantasy drafts this season as they were also among the top four in this category in 2022 as well.
  • Jordan Love didn’t take off nearly as often as the elite runners at the position (just 2.9 attempts per game), but when he did, he was especially effective, posting a very strong 1.00 fantasy points per rush attempt.
  • Both Kyler Murray and Trevor Lawrence ranked outside the top five quarterbacks in rush attempts per game, but they were also particularly effective when utilizing their legs, accounting for 0.96 (tied for fourth) and 0.84 (seventh) fantasy points per attempt, respectively.
  • Cousins accounted for the lowest percentage of his total fantasy production (1.5%) as a runner this past season. Coming off the Achilles injury, there’s a high chance that continues to be the case, which is great news for his receiving weapons like Drake London and Kyle Pitts.

How the quarterbacks distributed the ball

Looking at which positions each quarterback relied on most can help fantasy managers get a better idea of what to expect in 2024, particularly for the quarterbacks who remain in the same offensive system.

  • No quarterback got a higher percentage of his fantasy production from the wide receiver position than Tua Tagovailoa in 2023. It helps to have the overall fantasy WR2 Tyreek Hill as his top target in addition to providing very limited rushing production himself. Expect Tagovailoa to produce similarly in 2024 as not much has changed with his offensive situation.
  • The same can be said about Matthew Stafford and Joe Burrow, who both offer little in terms of rushing upside while being particularly reliant on their talented wide receivers in order to produce.
  • It’s no surprise seeing Kyler Murray, Patrick Mahomes and Jared Goff ranking highly in terms of fantasy production from their tight ends considering that Trey McBride, Travis Kelce and Sam LaPorta were among the best in the league last year at the position.
  • Derek Carr also got significant fantasy production from his tight ends, doing so more from a committee with Taysom Hill, Juwan Johnson, Jimmy Graham and Foster Moreau accounting for 11 of Carr’s 25 total touchdown passes.
  • Bryce Young also got a decent percentage of his fantasy production from the Carolina Panthers tight ends last season with Tommy Tremble accounting for three of Young’s 11 touchdown passes as a rookie. 
  • Russell Wilson will play for a new team in 2024, but it’s worth noting that no quarterback listed here targeted the running back position at a higher rate in 2023. This could be potentially great news for Jaylen Warren and Najee Harris.
  • Aaron Rodgers (2022 numbers used) also relied heavily on his running backs for fantasy production, specifically Aaron Jones during his time in Green Bay, and that’s likely to continue with a high-end receiving talent out of the backfield like Breece Hall at his disposal.
  • For as much as Tagovailoa didn’t target the tight end position (8.7%), he made up for it with targets to his speedy running backs which resulted in the third-highest percentage of fantasy points to come from the running back position (16.7%) among quarterbacks.
  • One more interesting note is that Will Levis, though not a large sample size with just nine games, did utilize his running backs in the passing game quite a bit, which should help keep Tyjae Spears’ fantasy value afloat while adding a little extra for Tony Pollard should that continue in 2024.

Red zone production

Getting into the red zone is difficult enough for an NFL offense, and what the quarterback can do while in that high-value fantasy position makes them particularly more important when they can capitalize on those opportunities.

  • Josh Allen was the best quarterback in scoring position this past season, earning the top overall PFF grade (90.8) while generating more fantasy points in that area of the field than any other quarterback in 2023.
  • Unsurprisingly, quarterbacks on the good offenses are more effective than others in this regard with Jalen Hurts, Dak Prescott, Jordan Love and Lamar Jackson rounding out the top five in terms of total fantasy production in the red zone.
  • Both Russell Wilson and Deshaun Watson were also more efficient than most once they got into scoring position, ranking inside the top 10 in the percentage of total fantasy points scored when in the red zone.
  • Red zone production tends to be relatively unstable year-to-year so that could be a positive factor for players like Will Levis, Baker Mayfield, Tua Tagovailoa, Bryce Young, and Daniel Jones, who were among the bottom in terms of fantasy production in the red zone, to potentially positively regress in 2024 if things go their way.

Deep-ball production

Coming up with big plays and relying on the deep ball has a lot to do with the receiving weapons that a quarterback has on hand, and as a result, it can be pretty unstable to rely on year-to-year. However, understanding the tendencies on the high and low ends of the spectrum can still help set expectations for the year ahead for the quarterbacks in those buckets.

  • Will Levis was not afraid to air the ball out during his stint as a starting quarterback in Year 1 of his NFL career. His 11.1-yard average depth of target is by far the highest in this group, though it also led to the second-lowest catchable pass rate (65.9%) of the group. With a new coaching staff coming in and more offensive weapons around him, Levis has the tools to increase his fantasy potential in 2024.
  • For as much as Aaron Rodgers dumped the ball off to his running backs, he also aired the ball out a ton, as his 84 20-plus-yard attempts (in 2022) were the most of this group. His 73.1% overall catchable pass rate ranks among league average and should be good news for players like Garrett Wilson and Mike Williams, if Rodgers can return to form after his injury.
  • Patrick Mahomes attempted plenty of 20-plus-yard throws in 2023 (63), though he didn’t find much success with his targets on those throws, ranking last among qualifying quarterbacks in terms of air yard production percentage (41.1%) this past season. The Xavier Worthy addition in the draft, and potentially Marquise Brown, could help Mahomes convert more of those throws, which would help him bounce back in 2024 after just a QB11 points per game finish in 2023 (min. 250 dropbacks).
  • Lamar Jackson suffered from the same deep-ball inefficiencies as Mahomes, with almost an identical adjusted completion rate (36.7% for Jackson, 36.5% for Mahomes) on those deep throws. These aren’t particularly high marks for accuracy, so while not having a true deep threat to throw to is a contributing factor, the deep ball just wasn’t a strong suit for either Jackson or Mahomes this past season.
  • Brock Purdy owns the highest adjusted completion rate (68.1%) among these qualifying quarterbacks on 20-plus yard throws, followed by C.J. Stroud (57.9%), and Tua Tagovailoa (57.1%), and as a result they all ranked inside the top-seven in terms of total fantasy production on such throws.

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