Rankings and analysis by Caleb Edeleman
Reaction by Alex Cannata
Intro by Colin Chiles
Estimated read time: 7 minutes
With fantasy football drafts coming up, who doesn’t want to spend endless hours at work taking in every possible draft take on the internet. Here at the Dive, we’re just like you so we will be ranking some of the more important position players in terms of 2017-18 fantasy value. Alex and Caleb will be our main fantasy football correspondents this year and they are kicking things off with a guide to the top options at quarterback in your draft. Enjoy!
1) Aaron Rodgers
Jordy and a solid WR core are all still around, plus the Packers upgraded their TE by replacing Jared Cook with Martellus Bennett. Rodgers was the #1 Quarterback last year, with 44 all-purpose TDs. He is going to keep airing it out with poor support from his running game so he is a safe choice to repeat as the #1 QB, but do not be surprised if there is regression with Rodgers.
2) Drew Brees
Brees was behind only Rodgers with 39 all-purpose TDs and was the only QB to surpass 5,000 passing yards last season. Losing Brandin Cooks is a big blow, but adding Adrian Peterson, rookie RB Alvin Kamara, and veteran WR Ted Ginn will be just enough to keep Brees dangerous. Brees is 38 and running out of time for another ring, I love him for fantasy this year as desperation mode will likely push him to a career year.
3) Tom Brady
Brady is quite possibly the G.O.A.T at football. Gronk is healthy, Brandin Cooks is the new stud in town and the Patriots are going to cruise through an easy schedule this year, with the toughest defenses in front of them likely the Texans, Chiefs and Broncos.
4) Matt Ryan
Matty Ice is just outside of that Elite QB tier for me this year. He was only 56 yards short of a 5,000-yard season last year and Julio is still one of the most dangerous WRs in the NFL, but their offensive coordinator and mastermind is off to San Francisco. The Falcons defense was also beefed up with the addition of Dontari Poe, so I think there may be more clock killing scenarios for the Falcons this year. Solid top 5 QB, with a safe floor.
5) Andrew Luck
Does anyone remember the 2014-2015 season where Luck had 4,761 passing yards and 43 all-purpose TDs? I do and that’s why he is #5 for me. The injuries are a major concern, but his ceiling is so high that it makes the risk well worth it.
6) Ben Roethlisberger
Le’Veon Bell is projected by many to be the top RB in fantasy this year, Antonio Brown is projected by many to be the top WR in fantasy this year, so the QB getting the ball to those two guys gets my number 6 spot. If Big Ben can shake his road troubles and overcome injury concerns, then he could theoretically finish as this year’s #1 QB. Oh yeah, Martavis Bryant is finally back and JuJu is ready to make some noise as a rookie too.
7) Kirk Cousins
You like that?! The upside here is tremendous for Cousins. With 4,900+ passing yards last season and only 29 all-purpose TDs, he has plenty of room for improvement regarding TDs and a very safe floor with passing yards. Yes, he loses Pierre Garcon and DeSean Jackson, but adds Terrell Pryor and Josh Doctson is healthy now. If TE Jordan Reed retires or suffers a season ending injury, then my rank of Cousins would drop a few spots.
8) Derek Carr
Carr is easily my toughest rank for QB. He finished just shy of 4,000 passing yards and only had 28 all-purpose TDs last season. I think his average draft position will vary drastically depending on who really likes him in your league, but I imagine his ADP will settle somewhere around the 8th QB off the board. He will need to improve from last season to justify this ranking.
9) Russell Wilson
I like Wilson, but am not convinced that the offensive line will be any better than last year. With only 22 TDs (1 rushing), I just do not see him as having a high enough ceiling to warrant an early pick. Wilson has the talent, but his support is lacking.
10) Matthew Stafford
I simply cannot rank Stafford any lower than #10. Stafford has 6 straight seasons of starting at least 16 games and is averaging 4,500+ passing yards and 28 TDs over that time. Why does he feel like an ageless wonder at only 29?
11) Cam Newton
One amazing season in 2015-2016 with 45 all-purpose TDs (10 of those rushing) is enough for me to just barely slide Newton into the top 12. Lots of injury concern here and I just do not see Newton as a running QB anymore, which is what made him so valuable in the past.
12) Dak Prescott
The rookie sensation stole the hearts of many last year, but not mine. Of the top 12 fantasy QBs last season, only Tyrod Taylor had fewer passing yards. I need to see more from Prescott for me to believe in his talent. The Zeke suspension hurts him too.
13) Marcus Mariota
I really like the addition of rookie WR Corey Davis and think Mariota has a very safe floor, with QB1 potential. I am expecting him to improve on his 3,400+ passing yard season last year in this his 3rd NFL season.
14) Jameis Winston
Christmas came early this offseason for Winston with the additions of veteran WR DeSean Jackson and 6’6 rookie TE O.J. Howard. The only concern I have here is the number of mistakes that Winston makes. Of the top 24 fantasy QBs last year, only Phillip Rivers had more total turnovers with 26 than Winston at 24.
15) Andy Dalton
Believe it or not, the Red Rifle was actually the #12 QB overall in standard leagues last year. This offseason, the Bengals added rookies John Ross, speedy WR, and the uber talented Joe Mixon who will join Jeremy Hill and Giovani Bernard in a crowded backfield. However, the Bengals also lost 3 offensive linemen and I anticipate Dalton will have a hard time getting the ball out in time. Still, AJ Green is a top 10 NFL WR and Tyler Eifert is a very good TE when healthy, so buy the weapons around Dalton and pray he doesn’t screw it up.
Caleb’s Overall Quarterback Analysis:
I stand by the age-old adage of waiting on Quarterback. Even if you do not get a top 15 QB, chances are that you can stream the QB playing against the Browns or 49ers every week and do just fine. If you are going to take a QB early, then really try and make sure it is one of the top 3 guys, otherwise just wait for the middle rounds to start picking up the next tier. Honorable mentions not in my top 15 include: Phillip Rivers, Carson Wentz, and Blake Bortles.
Brady outside of the top-2 is a little bold. Was as good as it gets last year and last we saw of him he was holding the Lombardi in another big showing. Andrew Luck at #5 is interesting. Big risk of him missing time, but obviously the upside is there. With the depth at QB it’s worth going for the upside since replacement value is pretty high. I agree with your overall approach of waiting on QB. The part that people don’t think about is that when you chose to essentially pass on QB you get to have your pick of waiver QBs every week. I would argue that playing the waiver wire with the QBs in the 15-23 range is better than all but a few QBs.