Fantasy Football’s Tier Risers of 2024: Quarterback


Puka Nacua is the dream — a player going undrafted (or essentially undrafted) and finishing as WR4. If you were the smart one to draft him, or the lucky one to land him on waivers, Nacua alone was probably enough to at least get you into the fantasy football playoffs if the rest of your roster was even mildly competent.

It’s the dream — but generally speaking, it’s also the fantasy.

The fantasy world stumbles across massive risers like that every now and then, individual fantasy managers even more rarely. More common is the player who makes a small jump. The player drafted 10th at his position who finishes second. The player going as an end-of-the-list starter who becomes a weekly must-start. The bench player who sneaks his way into weekly consideration.

And for fantasy managers, those are very important as well. Assuming you are getting the majority of your roster at or close to value, the players who rise up a tier or two in the season are the ones who can get you a title.

So that’s what we’re looking for now. We’re not looking for players up and down the draft board who can be like Nacua. We’re looking for the ones who are the best candidates to rise up a tier. A back-end top-10 who can be No. 1. A second-tier starter who can be a lock-it-in guy. A bench player who can start. The risers who can make your season.

Today, we will look at those quarterbacks.

Fantasy Football’s Tier Risers Of 2024: Quarterbacks

Potential QB1 finisher

Kyler Murray, Arizona Cardinals

In today’s fantasy game, rushing production is necessary to hit the ultimate upside at the quarterback position. The days of pocket passers like Tom Brady topping QB fantasy scoring are long gone with the change in how the quarterback position is played. The closest thing we have gotten to a pocket passer finishing as QB since Lamar Jackson’s MVP season in 2019 was Patrick Mahomes in 2022, but even he had 358 rushing yards and four rushing touchdowns (with 41 passing touchdowns) to just edge out Josh Allen for the top quarterback spot.

As a result, we now see rushing quarterbacks pushed into the early rounds of fantasy drafts. Three of the first four quarterbacks in ADP (Allen, Jalen Hurts and Jackson) had over 500 rushing yards in 2023. The fourth (Mahomes) finished sixth in quarterback rushing yards (358). The QB7 to QB12 range in fantasy drafts is littered with pocket passers, but one player going off the board in that group has the rushing ability to hit that top outcome: Kyler Murray. 

Murray played in just eight games in 2023 after recovering from a torn ACL he suffered in 2022. Statistically, he was unremarkable (1,799 passing yards and 10 touchdowns with five interceptions), but he was on a bad team with questionable receiving talent and a new offensive scheme. One thing that didn’t take the backseat for Murray was his ability to rush. In eight games, Murray carried the ball 44 times for 244 yards and three rushing touchdowns. That allowed him to average 18.9 fantasy points per game, which was the eighth most among quarterbacks with eight or more games played. Murray had four top-12 weeks and one week in the top 5 of quarterback scoring.

Now he enters 2024 healthy and with an improved offense surrounding him. The Cardinals upgraded the offensive line in free agency (Jonah Williams) and selected wideout Marvin Harrison Jr. with their first-round draft pick. The rookie is an NFL-ready receiver who will join Trey McBride and Michael Wilson in the passing attack, giving Murray arguably the best weapons he’s had since 2020 (DeAndre Hopkins, Christian Kirk and Larry Fitzgerald). Murray was the QB3 in fantasy that season. 

Through Murray’s first four seasons, he has averaged 95.3 rushing attempts, 551 rushing yards and 5.8 rushing touchdowns per season. If he can return to that in 2024 (and continue his growth as a passer with NFL-level pass catchers), he could easily finish as the QB1 overall in points scored. 

Potential Top-12 Finishers

Jayden Daniels, Washington Commanders

As stated above, rushing ability provides an excellent floor for quarterbacks and gives them access to a higher ceiling in fantasy football. So it makes sense that Jayden Daniels would have the best ability to finish as a top-12 quarterback in fantasy given his prolific rushing ability. 

Over the last two seasons with LSU, Daniels had 321 carries for 2,019 yards and 21 rushing touchdowns. It is also important to note that college quarterbacks lose rushing yards for sacks, which is reflected in the totals above. Daniels is arguably the most electric rushing quarterback to enter the NFL since Lamar Jackson (Justin Fields never topped 500 rushing yards in a season during his college career), and that’s without discussing his ability to make plays as a passer.

During his time with LSU, Daniels completed 70.4 percent of his passes for 6,725 yards and 57 touchdowns with just seven interceptions. Daniels finished 2023 with the top quarterback grade (94.7) and deep passing grade in college per PFF (99.2). He joins a Washington team that has a solid receiving group and worked to upgrade the offensive line this offseason. Having Kliff Kingsbury’s RPO heavy-spread offense will also help accentuate his strengths at the next level. 

Trevor Lawrence, Jacksonville Jaguars

CINCINNATI, OH – SEPTEMBER 30: Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence (16) warms up before the game against the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Cincinnati Bengals on September 30, 2021, at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati, OH. (Photo by Ian Johnson/Icon Sportswire)

2023 was a major disappointment for fantasy managers who expected Trevor Lawrence (and the Jaguars offense as a whole) to take a step forward. Lawrence took a step back in all of his major counting stats, regressing in completion percentage (65.6%), passing yards (4,016), touchdowns (21) and increasing his interceptions (14) compared to the 2022 season. Lawrence struggled with inconsistent weapons and a poor offensive line. Lawrence averaged just 17.3 fantasy points per game in 2023, which was QB13 among quarterbacks with 10 or more games played. He’s currently being drafted as the QB17 in fantasy drafts.

The Jaguars worked hard this offseason to improve the team around Lawrence. They let inconsistent receiver Calvin Ridley walk in free agency, replacing him with a free agent (Gabe Davis) and a rookie (2024 first-round pick Brian Thomas Jr.). Both players are known for their ability to stretch the defense while providing a big target in the red zone. The Jaguars also still have Christian Kirk and Evan Engram to occupy defenses in the middle of the field or up the seams. Jacksonville also improved the offensive line in free agency, adding Mitch Morse to upgrade its center position after a brutal performance from Luke Fortner last season. 

Lawrence also has some sneaky rushing appeal. Nobody will confuse him with a mobile quarterback, but the young quarterback has averaged 68.3 carries, 321.3 rushing yards and 3.7 rushing touchdowns in the first three seasons of his career. 

Even with a bad season last year, Lawrence finished as the QB13 in total fantasy points. The 2024 team around him is arguably better, which makes him a candidate to finish as a top-12 quarterback once again in 2024. 

Potential Top-24 Finishers

Bryce Young, Carolina Panthers

CHARLOTTE, NC – OCTOBER 01: Carolina Panthers quarterback Bryce Young (9) during an NFL football game between the Minnesota Vikings and the Carolina Panthers on October 1, 2023 at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, N.C. (Photo by John Byrum/Icon Sportswire)

Bryce Young was abysmal during his rookie season. Young completed just 59.8% of his passes for 2,877 passing yards and 11 touchdowns with 10 interceptions. The rookie was constantly under duress and throwing to a cast of wide receivers who didn’t understand how to get separation. During his rookie season, the coaching staff spent more time changing play-callers and shoehorning the rookie into their scheme than they did trying to run a competent offense.

Just one year later, things could not be more different.

Carolina brought in Dave Canales to be their head coach after cleaning house in the offseason. Canales gets a lot of credit for revitalizing the careers of Geno Smith and Baker Mayfield in his last two stops as a quarterback coach (Seattle) and offensive coordinator (Tampa Bay). Canales is known for catering to an offense that accentuates the strengths of his players. Early returns in Carolina’s offseason indicate that will remain true in 2024. 

First, the Panthers poured resources into their offensive line in free agency. The Panthers had one of the worst interior offensive lines in 2023 with two solid tackles on the ends of the line. Carolina shifted Austin Corbett to center and brought in a quality veteran guard (Damien Lewis) and one of the best young guards in the league (Robert Hunt). Having strong interior offensive line play is crucial with Young given his stature. 

Next, the Panthers worked to improve the playmakers in the offense. Carolina traded for Diontae Johnson to serve as its WR1. Johnson has a reputation for his excellent route-running and his ability to create separation, which plays to Young’s strengths as a processor and passer. Johnson was limited to just 13 games in 2023 but had averaged 153.3 targets, 93.7 receptions, 988.7 receiving yards and five touchdowns in the three years prior.

Carolina also worked to improve the offense in the draft. The team selected Xavier Legette (after a trade-up) in the first round of the draft. They also used picks on a running back (Jonathon Brooks) and a dynamic tight end (Ja’Tavion Sanders) to add juice to the passing attack. 

Bryce Young will never be held in the same high regard as fellow draftmate and second overall pick C.J. Stroud given how different their rookie picks played out. However, Young was a prolific college quarterback and could have a career resurgence in his second season with a quarterback-friendly head coach and NFL-level weapons. Being a starting-level fantasy quarterback isn’t out of the question for him in Year 2. 

Daniel Jones, New York Giants

If you’ve been paying attention, a theme has emerged throughout this article. Rushing matters at the quarterback position and can elevate players well beyond their ADP. Daniel Jones, a player who is relatively free in drafts, provides the rushing ability that could push him into the top-24 conversation for quarterbacks in 2024. 

We have seen Jones succeed as a fantasy quarterback before. In 2022 (his first year with head coach Brian Daboll), Jones finished as the QB9 in fantasy by completing 67.2% of his passes for 3,205 yards and 15 touchdowns and five interceptions. None of that screams “top-end fantasy production.” However, Jones also added 120 carries for 708 yards and seven rushing touchdowns. He was pacing to meet or surpass those totals in 2023 (40 carries for 206 yards and a touchdown through six games) when he suffered a torn ACL.

Jones will return as the starter in 2024 in an offense that has added talent around him. Sure, Saquon Barkley is gone and Darren Waller retired, but top-10 pick wide receiver Malik Nabers will be the best pass-catching weapon Jones has had since Odell Beckham Jr. Nabers, with Wan’Dale Robinson, Darius Slayton and Jalin Hyatt, make up a receiving room that has weapons that can win in the short areas, the intermediate areas and the deep parts of the field.

The offensive line also saw plenty of improvement during the offseason. The Giants added solid starters (or high-quality backups) with Jermaine Eluemunor, Jon Runyan and Aaron Stinnie. Eluemunor is especially important given the fact that he can play guard well and is an insurance policy if right tackle Evan Neal continues to struggle on the edge. 

Drafting Jones won’t feel great, but if he can function within Daboll’s offense and continue to provide his usual rushing production, he can factor into fantasy football in 2024 and have startable weeks.

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