2019 NFL Mid-Season Starting Quarterbacks — Ranked
Find out where your favorite QB lands.
Football season is well underway, and that means we’ve finally gotten a good idea of what each NFL team is capable of this year. When it comes to predicting which teams will have the most success during a new season, you typically don’t have to look much further than their starting quarterback.
We looked around the entire league at the QB situation for every team as of week 10 of the 2019 NFL season, and let’s just say that some have it better than others. To assess each team’s starting quarterback, we looked at their stats and consistency so far from Pro Football Reference — including what they’ve done in the past few seasons — and ranked them from worst to best. The QB at the top of our ranking for the 2018 season ended up winning the Super Bowl, so it clearly matters what your passer has shown he can do.
Where did your team’s quarterback land?
32. Ryan Finley — Cincinnati Bengals
As of publication, we’re still waiting on Ryan Finley’s first NFL start but he’s officially taken over the job for the beleaguered Andy Dalton. In fact, all of the Bengals roster is beleaguered and we aren’t expecting Finley to pull off much magic as he moves under center.
During his college career at Boise State and North Carolina State, Finley compiled a 64.2 completion percentage and slightly better than a 2:1 ratio of touchdowns to interceptions. His career average of 242.3 passing yards per game also won’t make him look like the next Brett Favre but, luckily for Finley, any positive performances will make him a minor hero this season.
31. Ryan Fitzpatrick — Miami Dolphins
The Dolphins have also been miserable this season and their quarterback situation is a reflection of that. The team has been bouncing between Ryan Fitzpatrick and Josh Rosen under center, with the former being listed as the top starter on the depth chart.
Fitzpatrick has been anything but impressive through his five starts in 2019, completing less than 62 percent of his passes and throwing for just over 170 yards per game. It doesn’t appear that even this Harvard-educated passer can make any “Fitzmagic” in Miami right now.
30. Brandon Allen — Denver Broncos
The Broncos started the season with veteran Joe Flacco as their starter but a sudden injury shut his year down after eight games. Career clipboard holder Brandon Allen got his first chance to start an NFL game during the team’s ninth game and he made the most of it.
In that contest — which came against the woeful Cleveland Browns — Allen put together a monstrous passer rating of 125.6. His passing totals in the game weren’t anything so mouth-watering but he gives Broncos fans something to look forward to, at least, after Flacco’s weak start to the year.
29. Sam Darnold — New York Jets
We set the bar low for Jets rookie Sam Darnold in 2018, and he mostly played down to expectations. In 13 games as a starter, Darnold threw for 220.4 yards per game and finished with 17 touchdowns, 15 interceptions and a passer rating of 77.6. If it’s possible, he’s having an even worse go of it in 2019 so far.
After missing some games with a mono diagnosis, Darnold has thrown six touchdowns and nine picks through five games this season. His yards-per-game average is down to 215.4 and his passer rating has slipped to 70.5 and that’s with the help of Le’Veon Bell in the backfield. Things are not looking up for the Jets.
28. Mitchell Trubisky — Chicago Bears
After putting together pretty astounding seasons in 2017 and 2018, Mithcell Trubisky has looked much worse this year. He came into the season with a stacked defense and what looked to be a solid running game but his production has been awful through seven games.
In that span, Trubisky has thrown just five touchdowns and is averaging less than 175 passing yards per game. The sample size on Trubisky is still pretty small but Bears fans are getting itchier by the week for some sign that he’s the man to take them back to the top of the NFC.
27. Case Keenum — Washington Redskins
It’s tough to diagnose the Redskins’ QB situation because the team itself seems unsure if they trust Case Keenum or rookie Dwayne Haskins with the job. Both have spent time under center this season but Keenum is currently the listed starter and has led the team for seven games so far in 2019.
He’s been passing for less than 200 yards per game so far but is finding his targets with a completion percentage of 67.0 and a passer rating of 94.8. Those are decent numbers but the team has almost nothing to show for them.
26. Ryan Tannehill — Tennessee Titans
The Titans made the playoffs last season and came in with Marcus Mariota back as their starter but benched the oft-inconsistent passer after six games. In the three games he’s started in Mariota’s place, veteran Ryan Tannehill has looked a bit better but football fans have seen what he’s (in)capable of many times.
However, we have to give Tannehill some credit because he currently leads all quarterbacks with a 71.8 completion percentage and his 99.7 passer rating is nothing to overlook. With all that, he’s still throwing for less than 200 yards per game and has thrown four interceptions to six touchdowns, showing he’s still plenty capable of bad passes.
25. Mason Rudolph — Pittsburgh Steelers
With Ben Roethlisberger going down in week two of the 2019 slate with a season-ending injury, the job of Pittsburgh’s starting quarterback fell into the hands of rookie Mason Rudolph. Like some other backups in 2019, he’s made the most of the opportunity but hasn’t exactly stepped up as a viable replacement for the future Hall of Famer.
Through five starts in 2019, Rudolph is averaging 181.3 passing yards per game, which is a far cry from the kind of figures Roethlisberger typically gives the Steelers. However, Rudolph has the team in the playoff hunt thanks to his accurate passing and relative lack of crushing mistakes, giving him a 94.7 passer rating on the year.
24. Daniel Jones — New York Giants
Eli Manning hasn’t been great in a long time, and Giants brass finally decided to bench him after week two of the 2019 season, giving the starting job to rookie Daniel Jones. The new starter has been up and down in his first seven starts, which is par for the course for a first-timer, especially one who is playing in the most ruthless sports media market on the planet.
Jones is giving the Giants more than 209 passing yards per game plus another 23 rushing yards and has contributed 13 total touchdowns so far. His eight interceptions soften the impact a bit and his completion percentage of 62.6 is far from stellar but Giants fans should be excited by what they’ve seen so far.
23. Jameis Winston — Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Jameis Winston might be the most confounding quarterback in the NFL today. He’s capable of looking absolutely brilliant and awful in equal measure, as Buccaneers fans have seen throughout 2019. In eight starts so far, Winston is throwing for more than 300 yards per outing but his accuracy leaves plenty to be desired. His 16 interceptions are the most in football and his 59.3 completion percentage is also among the worst marks, making him a frustrating watch.
22. Josh Allen — Buffalo Bills
We set the bar low for rookie Josh Allen in 2018 — ranking him dead last among all starters — and he didn’t exactly prove us wrong. But his numbers have greatly improved this season, spurring us to bump him up the list a bit. Halfway through the 2019 season, Allen has the Bills looking like a playoff contender, even if his numbers are still somewhat pedestrian compared to the game’s best passers.
He’s thrown 10 touchdowns versus seven interceptions to go along with more than 206 passing yards per game. Allen separates himself a bit with his legs, giving the Bills 30.9 rushing yards per game and another four scores on the ground.
21. Baker Mayfield — Cleveland Browns
Baker Mayfield blew us away in 2018, making expectations sky high coming into this season — but he has yet to meet them in any way. Through eight games in 2019, the Browns have looked miserable and Mayfield has reflected that in his own play, throwing for a league-worst 12 interceptions versus only seven touchdowns.
We’re still giving Mayfield a little leeway because of the brilliance he showed in college and during his 2018 season but that goodwill is quickly running out, especially given his completion percentage of 58.7 and his brutal passer rating of 71.3 this season.
20. Nick Foles — Jacksonville Jaguars
Coming into the 2019 season, it was finally time for Nick Foles to shine on his own — until he broke his collarbone. After years as one of the best backups in the game — including leading the Philadelphia Eagles to a Super Bowl win from the bench — he took over as a full-time starter in Jacksonville before that injury benched him for half of the season.
His backup, Gardner Minshew, became a sensation all his own while putting up decent numbers but he was always just keeping the seat warm for Foles. We don’t have Foles picked to be one of the absolute studs of the season but we’re expecting him to keep up what he’s done so far, which is averaging just better than 200 passing yards per game and managing a career passer rating of 88.7.
19. Kyle Allen — Carolina Panthers
Yet another backup who has stepped forward and proven himself in 2019 is Kyle Allen. He took over for the injured Cam Newton early in the season and has led the Panthers to a 5-1 record through six starts. In that span, Allen’s numbers have been solid enough — even if they aren’t going to put him in the MVP race. He’s given the Panthers an average of 215 passing yards per game and has relied heavily on rusher Christian McCaffrey, which puts him in the category of game manager rather than star quarterback.
18. Jacoby Brissett — Indianapolis Colts
When Andrew Luck suddenly retired ahead of the 2019 season, Jacoby Brissett might’ve been the only person in Indianapolis to celebrate, but he’s given Colts fans plenty to be excited about through eight games. Brissett has helped make the team a challenger for the AFC South crown thanks to his lack of ill-advised passes.
At the halfway point in 2019, he’s thrown 14 touchdowns compared to just three interceptions, giving him a stellar passer rating of 99.7 on the year. The fact that he’s only throwing for 206.1 yards per game hurts his ranking a bit but Brissett is keeping the Colts in a position to win every week.
17. Carson Wentz — Philadelphia Eagles
While he’s been overshadowed by injuries and his own backup’s performance at times, Carson Wentz has proven himself to be one of the game’s most reliable starting QBs. Through nine starts in 2019, Wentz has thrown for 15 touchdowns to just four interceptions, while his 62.7 completion percentage leaves some to be desired. Despite the 228.9 passing yards and 16 rushing yards he’s giving the Eagles every game, he’s proven to be capable of better numbers in the past.
16. Jimmy Garoppolo — San Francisco 49ers
After tearing his ACL and missing most of the 2018 season, Jimmy Garoppolo has come back and helped lead the 49ers to the NFC’s best record at the halfway point. The team’s defense and rushing attack have been outstanding, while Garoppolo’s play has been solid but not incredible. He’s throwing for just over 225 yards per game through eight starts, along with 13 touchdowns and seven picks. His completion percentage of 70.8 is one of the top marks in the league but he’ll need better overall numbers to break into the pack of top-tier starters.
15. Derek Carr — Oakland Raiders
Derek Carr has come back in a big way after a somewhat disappointing 2018 season. The Raiders aren’t looking up to playoff form yet but he’s been keeping them in every game thanks to his accurate arm. Through eight games in 2019, Carr has the league’s best completion percentage at 71.2 and he’s thrown only four interceptions compared to his 13 touchdowns. The fact that he’s throwing for 248 yards per game settles him more near the middle of the pack.
14. Kyler Murray — Arizona Cardinals
Some might say we’re overrating him but Kyler Murray has already proven to be one of the NFL’s most dangerous quarterbacks. Just nine games into his career, he’s giving defenses plenty to worry about and has proven himself to be capable of greatness with his arm and legs. His nine touchdowns passes aren’t too impressive but when you consider that he gives the Cardinals about 250 yards through the air and another 35 yards on the ground every time out, you get a better picture of what he can do.
If the rest of the team can catch up to what he’s doing, Arizona will be a team to be feared in no time.
13. Jared Goff — Los Angeles Rams
Jared Goff had a banner year in 2018, leading the Rams to the Super Bowl and earning himself a Pro Bowl spot, but he seems to have taken a step backward this season. Halfway through the 2019 slate, the Rams don’t look nearly as impressive and Goff’s accuracy has been shaky at best. He’s slinging for a fantastic 295.9 yards per game but he’s only completing 61.1 percent of his passes.
After throwing for 32 touchdowns to just 12 interceptions a year ago, the fact that he’s only thrown for 11 touchdowns to seven interceptions after eight games looks pretty weak.
12. Philip Rivers — Los Angeles Chargers
Goff and Philip Rivers have put up nearly identical numbers for the past two seasons, both slipping a bit so far in 2019. After nine starts, the indefatigable Chargers passer is throwing for just less than 290 yards per game but is completing 67 percent of his passes. Rivers hasn’t been finding the end zone much for how talented his offense seems to be overall, however, only tossing for 12 touchdowns compared to seven picks heading into week 10. It’s not quite the MVP-caliber season he put together in 2018.
11. Matthew Stafford — Detroit Lions
The Lions continue to underperform but Matthew Stafford is quietly putting together an amazing year under center. Midway through 2019, Stafford is leading all quarterbacks by passing for 312.4 yards per game. What makes that even more impressive is his passer rating of 106.1, showing he’s not just slinging the ball with reckless abandon. He’s already thrown for 19 touchdowns to just five picks through eight games but its hasn’t made the Lions a contender in the extremely tough NFC North.
10. Lamar Jackson — Baltimore Ravens
There’s no denying that Lamar Jackson has been the most disruptive quarterback of the 2019 season. Through eight games, he’s proven himself not only to be arguably the most dynamic player in the NFL. He’s throwing for just 226.6 yards per game but when you throw in his insane 79.6 rushing yards per game — which is better than many starting running backs — you’ve got a force behind the line.
Jackson is completing 64.3 percent of his passes for a passer rating of 95.4 at the midway mark. The 17 total touchdowns he’s contributed have been a big part of Baltimore’s explosive start that included knocking off the undefeated New England Patriots.
9. Dak Prescott — Dallas Cowboys
Dak Prescott has really come into his own and proven himself to be easily the best quarterback in the fledgling NFC East. He’s got the Cowboys on track to make the playoffs again thanks to his dynamic play under center, including his precise passing. Through eight games in 2019, Prescott is completing nearly 70 percent of his throws and has given the Cowboys 18 total touchdowns but his average of one interception per game isn’t great.
He’s also contributing about 320 total yards per game between his arm and legs, which helps his standing in the rankings.
8. Drew Brees — New Orleans Saints
Many thought Drew Brees should’ve won the NFL’s MVP honors in 2018, and he would’ve more than earned it by having arguably the best year of his already storied career. The 2019 has been a bit of a disappointment because he spent most of the first half of the season sidelined with a hand injury. Through three starts in 2019, Brees has only been throwing for 260.3 yards per game but his completion percentage has been in the stratosphere yet again.
He’s completing nearly 76 percent of his passes, which would be even better than his 2018 number if he somehow keeps it up.
7. Kirk Cousins — Minnesota Vikings
Kirk Cousins has been incredibly consistent as a starter for the past few seasons and he’s continued that in 2019. Through nine games, he’s helped make the Vikings one of the NFC’s top teams by making few mistakes and leaning on a stout rushing game with Dalvin Cook. Cousins is throwing for just less than 250 yards per game but he’s got a stellar passer rating of 112.0 and is completing nearly 69 percent of his passes. The fact that he’s only thrown three picks in nine games makes him a genuine stud.
6. Matt Ryan — Atlanta Falcons
The Falcons look dreadful so far in 2019 but Matt Ryan has been having a mind-boggling year under center. He hurt his ankle during the team’s seventh game but up to that point had been setting career marks across the board. His 70.9 completion percentage and average of 310 passing yards per game are both personal highs in a career that’s been full of remarkable numbers. He’s been hurting himself and the team by throwing for eight picks in those seven games but he’s also given the team 16 total touchdowns.
5. Tom Brady — New England Patriots
Through nine games of his 20th NFL season, Tom Brady has the Patriots back atop the AFC with his ever-steady arm. His passer rating, currently at 93.1, is the lowest it’s been since 2013 but the team’s receiving corps has been in constant flux since the start of the year. Brady has been passing for 281.8 yards per outing and has chipped in 17 total touchdowns to just five interceptions thrown. Not bad for losing his top target, Rob Gronkowski, after the Super Bowl last season.
4. Aaron Rodgers — Green Bay Packers
Another year, another incredible display from Aaron Rodgers. Through nine games in 2019, he’s continued to prove his place as one of the most consistent passers in football history, leading the Packers to the NFC North’s best record. He’s throwing for 276.1 yards per game and has racked up an insane mark of 17 touchdown passes to just two interceptions. His passer rating, at 104.4, is the best it’s been since 2014, which was his list season as a first-team All-Pro pick.
3. Deshaun Watson — Houston Texans
Deshaun Watson is proving that his remarkable 2018 season was no fluke. The thrilling Texans quarterback is having a fantastic season through nine games in 2019, giving defenses fits. He’s completing 70.2 percent of his passes, adding up to a passer rating of 107.1. On top of the accuracy, he’s been prolific as well, giving the Texans offense more than 300 total yards per game and 23 total touchdowns through the air and on the ground. We expect this to be his first All-Pro season.
2. Patrick Mahomes — Kansas City Chiefs
Chiefs passer Patrick Mahomes lit the NFL on fire in 2018, taking home league MVP honors and setting expectations for this season sky high. Before he went down with a knee injury during the team’s seventh game of 2019, he was living up to that hype. In those games, Mahomes was passing for 311.4 yards per game and he was doing it virtually with no mistakes. He threw for 15 touchdowns to just one interception and amassed a ridiculous passer rating of 113.1. When Mahomes comes back, there’s no reason to doubt that he’ll get right back to it.
1. Russell Wilson — Seattle Seahawks
Russell Wilson had arguably the best season of his stellar career in 2018 and he’s following it with an even better year this time, earning him the top spot on our list. He’s giving the Seahawks more than 300 yards of total offense every game but it’s his contributions on the scoreboard that make other passers look like underachievers. Through nine starts, Wilson has thrown for a league-leading 22 touchdowns to a league-best one interception, giving him the league’s best passer rating at 118.2. Oh, and he’s run for three scores as well, meaning he’s averaging nearly three touchdowns per game on his own.
There’s simply nobody in football playing the position better than he is at this point.