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It’s still a long time before the first kickoff of the season, but the diehards like me are starting to thinking about who to target in the draft. Training camps and preseason will help you decide, but it’s always a good idea to get a jump on the competition. This will be the first article in a fantasy football series in which I’ll give my own personal rankings. I invite my fellow staff to give their own rankings. Today, is quarterbacks. I’ll rank my top 20 QB’s with a little blurb talking about each.
20) Tyrod Taylor – Buffalo Bills
Tyrod Taylor can be a sneaky good play any week, simply because of his rushing scheme. However, Taylor suffers consistency issues because the Bills just do not throw as much as most NFL teams. To me, Taylor is at best a boom or bust backup this fantasy season.
19) Andy Dalton – Cincinnati Bengals
Dalton is the very definition of mediocre. He has AJ Green, Tyler Eifert, rookie John Ross, Brandon LaFell, and Tyler Boyd, but does anybody really think that Andy Freaking Dalton is going to light it up? I for one sure don’t. You might use him in a pinch and look smart when he has one of his 3 good weeks a year but I’m all set on Andy Dalton as my normal starting fantasy QB.
18) Deshaun Watson – Houston Texans
I’m pretty high on Deshaun Watson in general. The dude beat Bama in the championship game, and that’s good enough for me to like him. I think the Texans have the potential to be a top team in the AFC (the post TB12 era of course). Watson has a nice little cache of weapons around him in DeAndre Hopkins, Will Fuller V, Braxton Miller, CJ Fiedorowicz and Lamar Miller. He could succeed right away but don’t expect to be blown away in his rookie year. If I was drafting in a dynasty league, however, I’m grabbing Watson ASAP.
17) Carson Wentz – Philadelphia Eagles
Adding Alshon Jeffrey should help Wentz take a few steps forward, but I’m hesitant to put him any further up the rankings, as much as I would like to. It is only his second year and the weapons besides Jeffrey are somewhat limited.
16) Eli Manning- NY Giants
Odell Beckham Jr, Brandon Marshall, and Sterling Shepard is a very nice receiving corps, but without a running game to open up the passing game, the defenses can commit themselves to stopping these guys. And Eli is known to throw some pretty dumb picks or miss guys. He’s a solid backup that can start in bye week or injury situations.
15) Philip Rivers – LA Chargers
Rivers needs Keenan Allen to stay healthy, plain and simple. Rookie Mike Williams could have a big season and Dontrelle Inman and Tyrell Williams are solid options after that. I think Hunter Henry could progress more and Antonio Gates is a red-zone threat still. The pieces are there for Rivers, but will the Chargers stay healthy and put it all together?
14) Marcus Mariota – Tennessee Titans
Last year in a league with my college friends, Mariota had a few really nice starts when my team had serious QB issues. He will shit the bed every couple weeks, which is why he can’t be considered a QB1 yet, but he is well on his way. Especially when Tennessee keeps adding weapons like Corey Davis and Eric Decker.
13) Kirk Cousins – Washington Redskins
Health is the biggest concern for Cousins’s weapons. Jordan Reed has concussion issues. Josh Doctson has barely played. Terrelle Pryor is fine injury-wise but isn’t a lock to repeat his quirky fantasy success last year. Jamieson Crowder does have a lot of upside though, and all those guys combined make Cousins solid for this season.
12) Matthew Stafford – Detroit Lions
The very definition of boom or bust, Matt Stafford falls just outside the top 10. I don’t love the receiving corps around him. Marvin Jones, Golden Tate, and Eric Ebron are all pretty good, but none are elite. Stafford was so nice when he had Megatron. Could you get away with Stafford as your starter for the majority of the season? Probably, but it will be easy to get better options.
11) Dak Prescott – Dallas Cowboys
Dak stayed in the game late in the fourth in week 16 and literally won me a league last year, after acquiring him at the deadline. So why only 11th? I just don’t think he can repeat his elite level from last year. With a whole offseason to study, I get the feeling that defenses might figure him out. If Zeke remains elite, which I do expect him to, Dak might still be able to have a great season, simply because Zeke’s threat as a runner opens up the passing game.
10) Jameis Winston – Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Oh man, Jameis and the Bucs are coming. If I had to pick one guy who finishes higher than where I rank him, it’s Jameis. He already had Mike Evans and Cameron Brate and added to it, Desean Jackson and OJ Howard. What a core, especially since besides Jackson they are all very young. A great draft strategy this season could be to load up on RBs and WRs and wait on Jameis and take him as your QB1 late.
9) Russell Wilson – Seattle Seahawks
Wilson is at his best when the Seattle running game is at its best (NFL passing and running work with each other, think yin and yang). You see me saying this with a lot of QBs. The Seahawks signed Eddie Lacy, and he is in shape (gasp) and has something to prove. He should be a 1200+ yard rusher and a good option in the passing game, which will guarantee Wilson better success in fantasy. Why isn’t he higher? The volume that Seattle may run could hurt him; as much as running opens up the passing game, Seattle may feature the run over the pass.
8) Ben Roethlisberger – Pittsburgh Steelers
Le’veon Bell and Antonio Brown as weapons might be enough to make me a top-10 fantasy QB, add to that (hopefully) Martavis Bryant back this season and Big Ben could be elite this season. But he is only 8th because he will probably miss several games.
7) Andrew Luck – Indianapolis Colts
I think Andrew Luck bounces back, fantasy wise. The Colts as a team may not be anything special, but I expect Luck to light it up once again. A good training camp building chemistry with his plethora of receivers will serve him well. Luck’s biggest concern? Ball security. Too many turnovers leading to -2 fantasy points. Those are killers. Cut down on those and Luck will be elite.
6) Drew Brees – New Orleans Saints
Adrian Peterson adds to the number of times that the Saints run the ball, but this is the Saints so they will throw and Drew Brees is one of the best in the business at throwing and scoring fantasy points. You can always slot him in for a top 7-ish QB. In fact, I might be a little low on him this year, I just really like the top 5 guys I have ranked.
5) Derek Carr – Oakland Raiders
Carr has a cannon for an arm and his main weapon Amari Cooper is only getting better. ACDC is quite the lethal fantasy duo. He also has Michael Crabtree and the Raiders got Cordarelle Patterson, a big play threat. And I almost forgot, BEAST MODE! Look for Carr to keep on cruising in Oakland.
4) Cam Newton – Carolina Panthers
The Panthers added dynamic weapons in the draft, selecting RB Christian McCaffrey in the 1st round and WR Curtis Samuel in the 2nd round. This will certainly help Cam Newton , who didn’t really have all that much help on offense besides Greg Olsen last year. Two dynamic players like McCafferey and Samuel will allow the Panthers to run different plays and do more things on offense, bringing Cam back up to elite QB status. This is a fairly bold prediction, but I’m putting my faith in Supercam.
3) Matt Ryan – Atlanta Falcons
Fantasy elite QBs come down to what do they have for weapons, and you will notice that these top 3 guys have weapons galore. Ryan has Julio Jones, Mohamed Sanu, Taylor Gabriel, Devonta Freeman, Tevin Coleman, and Austin Hooper. That is a big bag of goodies to throw to that beat you in different ways. Julio Jones the typical dominant X-receiver. Devonta Freeman is a receiving threat out of the backfield. Taylor Gabriel is a 70 yard touchdown waiting to happen. Matt Ryan is an elite fantasy QB, Kyle Shanahan or no Kyle Shanahan. Hopefully, he won’t blow a 28-3 lead for your fantasy team.
2) Tom Brady – New England Patriots
The following ranking assumes no Madden Curse. If the Madden Curse does strike, may God have mercy on all of Pats Nation. Having said that, what a cast that Tom Brady has to throw to. Brandin Cooks, Rob Gronkowski, Julian Edelman, Chris Hogan, Dwayne Allen, James White, Danny Amendola, Malcolm Mitchell, AND LITERALLY FUCKING MORE! If they go for it, Brady could in theory break Manning’s 55TD record. But, I don’t think he gets there because the Patriots will try and conserve his arm strength for a run at a 6th Lombardi. But that doesn’t mean his fantasy season won’t be stellar.
1) Aaron Rogers – Green Bay Packers
Yeah, yeah, yeah. Blah, blah, blah. Aaron Rogers throws alot. I know, safe lame pick. Ugh. I just coulnd’t pick someone else to finish as the highest scoring fantasy QB. He’s got a Big 4 of targets in Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb, Davante Adams, and Martellus Bennett. That’s really good and Rogers will be the best fantasy QB and everyone will ooh and aah. But best fantasy QB doesn’t mean best QB. Can you tell I’m not his biggest fan? Can you blame me though, neither is his own family.