Fantasy Showdown: C.J. Stroud vs Anthony Richardson

Stroud and Richardson are the 5th and 6th QB's drafted in fantasy leagues, going in the 5th - 6th rounds. Which is the better choice for your season long and best ball leagues?
Stroud vs Richardson Fantasy Football
C.J. Stroud vs. Anthony Richardson is one of the more interesting debates this fantasy fotball draft season.

Heading into the 2024 fantasy football season, the competition between two of the league's most electrifying young quarterbacks is heating up. Depending on where your league is hosted, C.J. Stroud and Anthony Richardson are the 5th and 6th quarterbacks selected.

The similarities are evident, both were impressive as rookies and enter their second year looking to take another jump forward. Stroud won Rookie of the Year as a protypical pocket passer, while Richardson played in just 2 full games but racked up 3 passing TDs and 2 rushing TDs in those outings.

This is a head-to-head that many fantasy owners who miss out on the top 4 QB's will have to consider, and our team of Fantasy Insider are here to break down the decision and give you our lean on this draft decision.

ADP and Rankings

Before we jump into our analysis of these second-year QBs, let's take a look at where they are currently being drafted in Best Ball and Redraft leagues.

Underdog (Season Long Best Ball)

  • C.J. Stroud: ADP 65 (QB6)

  • Anthony Richardson: ADP 57 (QB5)

FantasyPros (Redraft Leagues)

  • C.J. Stroud: ADP 46 (QB5)

  • Anthony Richardson: ADP 49 (QB6)

Looking at Stroud and Richardson’s rankings, not much separates the two AFC QBs on most popular fantasy sites. Stroud is obviously the safer play with less injury concern and an arsenal of weapons that Richardson can’t replicate in Indy.

However, in a Best Ball format, AR15’s upside as a scrambler and red zone rushing TD threat makes him a great grab if you have a solid backup plan at the position if he were to miss a handful of games. The Anthony Richardson/Jared Goff or Jordan Love combo is one I’d buy in a best ball format if I were to go all-in on my Quarterback position.

C.J. Stroud 2023 Recap

It was a tale of two seasons for these rookie QBs. Stroud started his year throwing just 1 interception heading into Houston’s Week 7 bye, while solidifying his spot as a generational talent by Week 9 with a 470 yard, 5 Touchdown performance against Tampa Bay.

After missing two games late in the season, C.J. threw for 3 TDs in the final two games to lead his team to the postseason, where he led Houston past Cleveland in the Wild Card throwing 3 TDs before eventually falling to a great Ravens defense.

Overall, a 23 pass/3 rush TD season alongside just 9 total turnovers is by far an A+ campaign for a rookie and alongside a playoff win, Stroud already can be considered a top 10 QB heading into this next season. 

Anthony Richardson 2023 Recap

As for Anthony Richardson, the 6’4 244 pound freak athlete started the season playing like a potential MVP candidate. AR threw for 3 TDs and ran for 2 more in two full games, while running for a pair more in a game where he exited early.

While we will get to the pros later, Richardson played in just 4 games last season (2 of which he played less than 35% of total snaps). The injury bug will follow him into this next season after missing the majority of his inaugural season, but Richardson’s work ethic and character seems to be something Indianapolis is grateful for as he looks to get 100% healthy by opening day.

His 4 rush TDs in just four games caught the eye of the NFL world, as AR15 is the closest thing to prime Cam Newton we have seen in the last decade. While Indy’s o-line improved slightly this offseason, sack numbers were a massive concern last season on top of Richardson putting his body in harm’s way near the redzone.

3 total fumbles and 7 sacks on AR in just four games wasn’t the best look. Heading forward, a “full go” Richardson entering training camp should move him up draft boards as one of the top playmakers in the league.

2024 Outlook and Our Pick

Jonathan Taylor, Michael Pittman, Josh Downs, AD Mitchell, Jelani Woods.

Joe Mixon, Dame Piece, Nico Collins, Stefon Diggs, Tank Dell, Robert Woods, Dalton Schultz, Brevin Jordan.

Which offensive core would you rather surround yourself with?

The answer should be the latter, as Houston has doubled down on giving Stroud weapons to compete for a championship at just 23 years old. C.J. should easily reach the 23 TD mark through the air in the first half of the season, while it will be difficult to see Richardson reach this mark until later in the year.

With essentially no rookie season, it will still take AR time to develop connections with his receiving core and learn how to protect his body when scrambling.

Overall, Houston feels like a more cohesive contender, while Indianapolis still feels like a retooling roster. From Week 9 and on last season, Stroud threw for four 300+ yard games and 14 TDs in just 8 games. Most of these games came without Tank Dell and with this trajectory plus Dell back in the mix and Diggs entering the rotation, the sky is truly the limit for Stroud who should be a top 5 QB in all fantasy football formats.

As for Richardson, he is an ideal QB prospect for a best ball or dynasty team that already has a veteran QB such as Goff, Mayfield, or Stafford as a secondary option, but ranking AR15 ahead of Stroud doesn’t sit well with us.

Stroud not only is the safer play, but he may even have more upside than Richardson. With Diggs and Mixon arriving and C.J.’s turnover rate being the best in the NFL last season, the recipe for success is there for Houston in their franchise QBs second season.

Our Pick: Stroud over Richardson

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