Fantasy Football: Top 10 Quarterback Rankings for the 2016 Off-Season

Quarterbacks

There are only four teams left playing in the NFL and we can now start fantasy football off-season rankings. Any fantasy analyst worth his or her salt will tell you that the NFL changes all the time. Team structure can be overhauled in the off-season. Teams will add players through the draft, free agency and trades. Many players will be released for salary cap reasons and poor perfomance.

 

We’re going to test that theory that the top portion of the rankings change this off-season. I’ll be ranking the top 10 players at each position through a series of articles. The 2016 fantasy rankings will change dramatically before we all draft, but the top 10 will stay close to the same. We’ll be starting with quarterbacks.

1. Ben Roethlisberger Pittsburgh Steelers – This may come as a surprise to some, but Roethlisberger dominated when he played in 2015. His per game yardage rate would extrapolate to 5,250 yards over 16 games. That would be the third best passing yard season in NFL history. Roethlisberger will have his top three receivers back in Antonio Brown, Martavis Bryant and Markus Wheaton. Pro Bowl RB Le’Veon Bell should be healthy to start the year. The Pittsburgh offense has record breaking potential in 2016.

2. Blake Bortles Jacksonville Jaguars – Another surprise near the top. Bortles finished tied for second in the NFL with 35 TDs. He raised his yards per attempt by a full yard from his rookie year. Bortles finished seventh in yards. This was all with only completing 58.6 percent of his passes. Bortles also gets Allen Robinson, Allen Hurns and Julius Thomas all back. With a step forward in accuracy and a shaky defense, Bortles is a top shelf fantasy QB.

3. Carson Palmer Arizona Cardinals – Palmer has found the perfect marriage in Arizona with an extremely talented corps around him and head coach Bruce Arians. Larry Fitzgerald, Michael Floyd and John Brown is one of the best trios of WRs in the league. Arians loves an aggressive and vertical passing attack. As an added bonus, RB David Johnson is an explosive playmaker from the backfield. Palmer is an elder statesman, but will be fantasy elite again in 2016.

4. Aaron Rodgers Green Bay Packers – Rodgers and the Packers’ offense as a whole was vastly disappointing this past season. The loss of WR Jordy Nelson hurt worse than anyone expected. Rodgers still finished with over 3,800 yards and threw 31 TDs, just five off the league lead. Nelson may not be 100 percent at the start of 2016, but his presence will help fellow WR Randall Cobb. Rodgers will be right back where he belongs as a top five QB next year.

5. Drew Brees New Orleans Saints – Brees missed a game early in the season, but still led the league in passing yards and threw 32 TDs. The Saints threw the ball over 630 times, and there’s little reason to think that changes in 2016. WR Brandin Cooks emerged as a go to playmaker for Brees. RB Mark Ingram also emerged as a pass catching threat from the backfield. There is some slight concern about the home and road splits with Brees. The good far outweighs the bad. Brees remains a fantastic option at QB.

6. Tom Brady New England Patriots – Brady checks in just outside my top 5. Yes, he led the NFL in touchdown passes. Yes, he finished in the top three in yards. He will also be 39 years old next season. Despite his gaudy numbers, 2015 marked the fourth straight year Brady did not pass for more than 2 TDs in any of the last four games of the season. A trend that long is worthy of consideration. Brady is almost sure to be a fantasy monster again. Just beware his tendency in the fantasy playoffs.

7. Eli Manning  New York Giants- The Giants’ QB finished just shy of 4,500 yards and 35 touchdowns. This was without a legitimate receiver outside of Odell Beckham, Jr. and a revolving door at running back until Rashad Jennings seized the job late in the season. New York had one of the worst defenses in the NFL in 2015. Offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo took over the head coaching job, so that adjustment shouldn’t hurt too much. All these factors add up for another productive year from Manning in the upcoming year.

8. Cam Newton Carolina Panthers – No, I don’t hate Cam Newton or the Panthers. Newton had a ridiculous year in 2015, there is no denying that. Most ran away from Newton after WR Kelvin Benjamin tore his ACL in training camp. Newton responded 4,473 total yards and a career high 45 total touchdowns. His previous best was 35 during his rookie year. Newton was a real life and fantasy MVP in 2015. He’ll be a top 10 option in 2016; just expect a small downtick in touchdowns.

9. Matthew Stafford Detroit Lions – The light came on for Stafford after everyone’s favorite coordinator Jim Bob Cooter took over. After the Week 9 bye, Stafford put up a 18/2 TD/INT ratio and completed 69 percent of his passes. WR Calvin Johnson is making a decision about returning to the NFL in 2016. If he does not, Stafford would slide out of the top 10. The Lions’ QB still looks like he will be back to high end production next season.

10. Ryan Tannehill Miami Dolphins- Nothing about Ryan Tannehill screams he should be a top 10 QB this upcoming year. This is banking on the influence of new head coach Adam Gase and what he can do with this talented group. WRs Jarvis Landry and DeVante Parker have the skills to be a dynamic 1-2 combo. Tannehill did finish ninth in yards, but only threw 24 TD passes. Gase can raise that to around 30 TDs and close to 4,500 yards. The Miami offense as a whole will once again be a popular pick next year.

Quarterback is arguably the deepest position in fantasy football. This top 10 doesn’t even include stars like Andrew Luck, Tony Romo, Russell Wilson and Philip Rivers. One of the best paths is to be near the last owner to take a QB. Even in a 2 QB league, load your team at other positions before you draft a QB.

Sources:

NFL.com

Pro-football-reference.com

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