7 QB2s who can make the leap to QB1 [2024]

Finding value in draft picks is what assembling a fantasy football team is all about. Here are 7 QB2s who could become QB1s in 2024.

Finding value in draft picks (or auction signings) is what assembling a fantasy football team is all about. You want to get the best return on investment or bang for your buck possible.

Which means rather than trying to draft (or sign) players at their ceilings, you could look for the undervalued players who have the capability to outplay their going rate.

Here are 7 quarterbacks currently projected as QB2s who have the ability to finish the season as QB1s.

Tua Tagovailoa, QB/Miami Dolphins

This one is a bit of a fringe play as some publications have him slotted as a low-end QB1. Regardless, he is getting slotted as a QB2 elsewhere and that’s a little bit of a surprise to me. For the first time in his four-year career, Tua played a full season in 2023. He led the league in passing yards and was a backend QB1. I don’t think he has front end QB1 upside because you won’t mistake him for speedsters who use their legs, plus the Dolphins have a strong run game. But if Tua is healthy, that Dolphins offense with explosive playmakers gives him a shot to land in QB1 territory again.

Justin Herbert, QB/Los Angeles Chargers

Herbert had two great seasons to open his career before falling back a little in the past two, with injury affecting last year’s totals. Now the Chargers have hired Jim Harbaugh whose offenses are generally high-powered but who also likes to ground and pound. Between the recent struggles and the new coach, Herbert finds himself in QB2 territory, a place in which he really has no business being given his immense talent. It’s not as if the Chargers will never throw the ball, either. I firmly believe one of the primary reasons Harbaugh was drawn to L.A. was because Herbert is there. Herbert’s cannon arm paired with some rushing ability and playing with an offensive coordinator who can design QB runs gives him a ceiling in the QB1 territory.

Caleb Williams, QB/Chicago Bears

The Bears certainly won’t be confused with a quarterback academy any time soon, but the fact that they have a quarterback with QB1 upside speaks volumes about Williams’ talent. Justin Fields finished as a QB1 in 2022 almost exclusively because of his legs. Williams, meanwhile, enters the league with tremendous arm talent paired with some rushing ability, and now also has way more weapons in Chicago than Fields ever had in his three years in the league. Every rookie faces struggles — even C.J. Stroud did early in his illustrious first season — but with enough talent around him on offense, aided by a Top 10 defense that will get him the ball back, Williams has QB1 upside.

Jayden Daniels, QB/Washington Commanders

Daniels enters the league much like Williams with a Heisman Trophy on his shelf due to incredible arm talent and the ability to run. Daniels is more apt to run than Williams is and thus he could put up better fantasy numbers due to those valuable quarterback rushing statistics. But Daniels is entering a rebuilding situation where Williams is entering a team that was rebuilding and is now ready to compete. Still, like I mentioned with Fields when Fields was on a rebuilding team, a QB1 season can be had on a bad team, and Daniels has that upside.

Deshaun Watson, QB/Cleveland Browns

In total transparency, I’m out on Watson because I think between his injury problems and his previous character concerns, he has too many red flags and volatility for me. However, that doesn’t mean I don’t advocate for his talent and supporting cast to possibly elevate him to a backend QB1 finish. The Browns, like the Bears, have a pretty tenacious defense, especially at home, and will give the offense a lot more chances. Watson just needs to stay out of trouble and remain healthy and he could outperform his ADP significantly.

Baker Mayfield, QB/Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Mayfield blew out his ADP this past season, finishing as a surprising lowend QB1. Why can’t he do it again? The Bucs will have a new offensive coordinator for one, and Mayfield isn’t being ranked quite as low as he was last offseason. Still, with the weapons he has around him, he will certainly make a play for that QB1 territory, or at least finish on the borderline of QB1/QB2.

Kirk Cousins, QB/Atlanta Falcons

Cousins obviously missed time last year and thus fell off the fantasy radar. But before his injury, he was headed for an eye-popping 5,000 yards and 40 touchdowns. Granted, that was with a much better and loaded offense in Minnesota than the one into which he steps in Atlanta. But it’s not as if Atlanta is completely devoid of talent. Between Drake London, Kyle Pitts and Bijan Robinson, the team has the makings of an up-and-coming offensive firepower if just given the right leader (i.e. not Arthur Smith). Cousins could really help this group of young playmakers reach its potential and help his own fantasy cause at the same time.