QB Two-Step: The Best Fantasy Quarterback Pairings of 2022


The easy approach to quarterback in a fantasy football draft is to get one of the early guys who can be a surefire starter basically every week. But maybe you want to save your early picks for the other positions. One draft strategy that is definitely viable is the flip side of diving on the position early: Taking a late-round quarterback.


While there is plenty to be said about securing one of the top quarterbacks (especially the ones with rushing upside), a viable strategy is to punt the position until later in the draft to load up on skill position players.

One wrinkle of using this draft strategy involves protecting yourself from the fragility that results from waiting on a quarterback. If you use an early pick to select someone like Josh Allen or Patrick Mahomes, you generally have a good feeling about what you’re going to get from week to week and feel comfortable sacrificing an early draft pick to secure it. By waiting on quarterbacks, you are opening yourself up to more variables and selecting players that aren’t as good. To protect yourself, it makes sense in the late-round strategy to invest in a second quarterback to avoid bust weeks and play the matchups.

Now that the NFL has released the 2022 schedule, we can start formulating more concise draft strategies based on matchups in the fall. In this article, I’ll be looking at quarterbacks currently being drafted outside the top-100 picks in redraft leagues and the best complements you can add to help ensure the best production for fantasy teams for the upcoming season.

Tua Tagovailoa, Miami Dolphins (QB17, Pick 130)

Tua Tagovailoa 2022 Fantasy QB Pairings

We might as well start the list with social media’s most maligned deep-ball thrower, Tua Tagovailoa. Sure, Tua’s arm doesn’t have the juice to push the ball downfield like Patrick Mahomes, but he is still more than capable of distributing the ball accurately and is tied to an offense that spent all offseason upgrading his protection and weapons. Tua finished last season 20th in fantasy points per game (14.69) but had poor protection and only one legitimate target last season in rookie Jaylen Waddle. Despite that, Tagovailoa was able to increase his completion percentage, touchdowns, yards per attempt and yards per completion in his second year. The Dolphins face tough secondaries in the AFC East but will have a quarterback-friendly stretch of games in Weeks 5-13. Miami gets to face the New York Jets, Minnesota Vikings, Pittsburgh Steelers, Detroit Lions, Chicago Bears and Houston Texans. All these teams either failed to upgrade or added young secondary pieces (they generally take time to acclimate to the NFL) to defenses that allowed at least 16.5 fantasy points per game to quarterbacks last year. Tua has the weapons to exceed his QB17 ADP and should have plenty of chances to throw to prove he’s Miami’s quarterback of the future.

Late-Round QB Pairing: Ryan Tannehill, Tennessee Titans (QB24, Pick 238)

Many people’s last memory of Ryan Tannehill was his implosion in the playoffs against the Bengals. But what is being lost is that Tannehill finished as QB14 in fantasy points per game (16.6) despite missing Derrick Henry, A.J. Brown and Julio Jones for chunks of the season. Tannehill also continued to flash rushing upside, carrying the ball 55 times for 327 yards and seven touchdowns. Tannehill will be surrounded by new weapons to start the season (minus Henry) and gets soft matchups early in the season when Tua will be busy battling the Ravens, Patriots and Bills. Tannehill is a veteran quarterback and should be able to provide enough stability to offset Tua’s production if he struggles out of the gate.


Trevor Lawrence, Jacksonville Jaguars (QB 18, Pick 136)

Anything that could have gone wrong for Trevor Lawrence in his rookie season with Jacksonville did in 2021. The Clemson product completed just 59% of his passes in his first year and had nearly as many games with zero passing touchdowns (8) as games with at least 1 (9). The rookie also had five games with multiple interceptions. But there is reason for optimism heading into the next season. Jacksonville upgraded from Urban Meyer at head coach to Doug Pederson and invested serious money on offense, bringing Brandon Scherff in at guard, Christian Kirk and Zay Jones at wide receiver and Evan Engram at tight end. The Jaguars head into 2022 with 10 matchups (Indianapolis twice, Houston twice, Tennessee twice, Las Vegas, Detroit, Washington, NY Jets) against teams that allowed at least 17 fantasy points per game to quarterbacks, including two (the Jets and Commanders) that allowed at least 19 points per game. Of those teams, only the Colts (Stephon Gilmore) made a veteran addition to the secondary, while the Jets (Sauce Gardner) and Texans (Derek Stingley) made premium additions through the draft. If Lawrence can find his footing in a more practical offense with numerous upgrades around him, he will be a value as QB18 off the board. At the very least, his pedigree is worth gambling on for one more season.

Trevor Lawrence 2022 Fantasy QB Pairings

Late-Round QB Pairing: Jared Goff, Detroit Lions (QB27, Pick 248)

Nobody will feel good about drafting Jared Goff, but he quietly put together a strong end to the 2021 season and had numerous upgrades placed around him in Detroit this offseason. The veteran quarterback completed 69.5% of his passes for 1,136 yards and 11 touchdowns with two interceptions over his last five games last season. Goff has nine matchups against teams that allowed at least 16 fantasy points per game, including two against the Jets and Bears during the fantasy playoffs in Weeks 15 and 17. The Lions feature a top-five offensive line, return their top three pass-cathcers (Amon-Ra St. Brown, T.J. Hockenson and D’Andre Swift), invested in a field stretcher in free agency (DJ Chark), and moved up in the draft to secure the best speed receiver in the class (Jameson Williams). Most importantly, Detroit declined to add a quarterback of the future, ensuring that as long as Goff is healthy he will have another year as the lead quarterback in Detroit. Goff’s schedule complements Lawrence’s tough weeks and he has already shown the ability to be a fantasy contributor once he got comfortable with the Lions toward the end of last season.


Kirk Cousins, Minnesota Vikings (QB15, Pick 117)

Death, taxes and Kirk Cousins being undervalued in redraft leagues. Cousins finished 2021 averaging 19.21 fantasy points per game, 12th most in fantasy. It was the second consecutive season Cousins finished with at least 19 points per game in Minnesota. The Vikings didn’t add much to the offense but will hope for healthier seasons from Adam Thielen and Irv Smith along with the continued development of Justin Jefferson and last year’s surprise WR3, K.J. Osborn. The Vikings benefit from playing in a division with two soft secondaries (Detroit and Chicago) and post-bye matchups against Arizona, Washington and the Jets. Cousins has a great matchup heading into the fantasy playoffs, facing off against Detroit, an Indianapolis team that lost most of their defensive staff, and a Giants secondary that just cut their top cornerback. Cousins lacks the flash of the quarterbacks drafted ahead of him but will produce significant numbers to provide stability at the quarterback position in late-round QB builds.

Late-Round QB Pairing: Daniel Jones, New York Giants (QB26, Pick 241)

The Daniel Jones experience hasn’t been stellar for the Giants, but he has new life for at least one year with the arrival of head coach Brian Daboll. Jones averaged 15.77 fantasy points per game last season despite a wide receiver corps decimated by injury, Saquon Barkley working his way back from an ACL tear, and a porous offensive line. Even with those qualifiers, Jones set a career-high in completion percentage (64.3) and yards per attempt (6.7) while also cutting his interception percentage to 1.9. Jones continued to produce on the ground as well, carrying the ball 62 times for 298 yards and two touchdowns. The Giants will hopefully enter 2022 with healthier versions of Saquon Barkley, Kenny Golladay and Kadarius Toney plus second-round wide receiver Wan’Dale Robinson and a massively upgraded offensive line. At the very least, Jones offers interesting upside as a mobile quarterback in a friendly offensive scheme that faces eight teams that gave up at least 17 fantasy points per game to quarterbacks last year (including five matchups in Weeks 10-16).


Justin Fields, Chicago Bears (QB14, Pick 110)

I can hear the complaints now: “The Bears’ offense is awful; how could you recommend Fields at QB14!?” The answer is simple: An offensive scheme upgrade, the best rushing upside outside of the top-12 quarterbacks and a soft schedule in the middle of the season. In Fields’ last six games of the season (he missed the last three weeks with injuries and COVID-19), he averaged 7.7 rushing attempts and 53 rushing yards per game. The Bears may lack top-end weapons, but there is hope that a new offensive coordinator can be productive with the players they have and put the offense in positions to succeed. But most importantly is the schedule. In Weeks 3-12, the Bears have a four-game stretch against Houston, the Giants, Minnesota and Washington and a three-game stretch against Detroit, Atlanta and the Jets. Those seven teams allowed an average of 18.5 fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks last year. There should be points in the season where Fields is playable based on matchups alone, but if the offense takes a productive step under a new coach, Fields could be an excellent value outside the top-12 signal-callers.

Late-Round QB Pairing

The best quarterback pairing with Fields is a pick-your-poison type of endeavor. On one hand, you have Carson Wentz, the new quarterback of the Washington Commanders. Washington has arguably the softest schedule in the NFL next season thanks to non-division matchups against the AFC South and NFC North (along with Atlanta and San Francisco late in the season). Wentz gets a lot of blame for the Colts’ collapse against Jacksonville (rightfully so), but he threw for 3,563 yards and 27 touchdowns with just seven interceptions last year. The Commanders also have an offense that features Terry McLaurin, Antonio Gibson, J.D. McKissic and first-round rookie Jahan Dotson. Drafting Wentz won’t feel great, but you’ll get a solid quarterback with multiple positive matchups to provide stability in case Fields and the Bears’ offense struggles out the gate.

Conversely, you can take the upside play and bye the hype on Zach Wilson a round earlier. Wilson had an uneven rookie campaign, completing just 55% of his passes for 2,334 yards and nine touchdowns with 11 interceptions. However, the Jets will get starting left tackle Mekhi Becton back off injury, invested in Laken Tomlinson at guard during free agency, and added wide receiver Garrett Wilson and running back Breece Hall in the first two rounds of the NFL draft. Those players added to incumbent starters Corey Davis, Elijah Moore and Michael Carter, create one of the intriguing young offenses in the NFL. The Jets have a brutal start of the season, but close the fantasy season with matchups against Chicago, Minnesota, Detroit, Jacksonville and Seattle in Weeks 12-17 (also known as the fantasy playoffs). Wilson’s end-of-season schedule picks up when Justin Fields gets through the easiest part of his schedule, making him an excellent stash as your team makes its championship push.

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