Redraft QB Tiers

Drew Brees

With drafts coming up fast it is time to get players grouped into talent tiers and what better place to start than with the QB tiers for redraft leagues. The tiers system is a great way of tracking available talent and making sure you don’t reach for players when similar ones are available but also making sure that you don’t miss out. By putting together tiers you can limit the amount of things you need handy on draft day as you can incorporate ADP into the tiers making this the best way to go into any draft. The QB rankings here are based on 4 points per passing TD.

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Elite: Aaron Rodgers, Tom brady

Near Elite: Drew Brees

Potentially Elite: Matt Ryan, Andrew Luck

Very Good: Jameis Winston, Russell Wilson, Cam Newton, Kirk Cousins, Derek Carr, Marcus Mariota

Value picks: Ben Roethlisberger, Philip Rivers, Matt Stafford

Young and exciting: Dak Prescott, Tyrod Taylor, Andy Dalton, Carson Wentz

Boring options: Carson Palmer, Jay Cutler, Sam Bradford, Eli Manning, Blake Bortles, Joe Flacco

Upside options: Deshaun Watson, Jared Goff

Could lose their job: Brian Hoyer, Alex Smith, Mike Glennon, Trevor Semian

Maybe next year: Deshone Kizer, Paxton Lynch, Mitchell Trubisky

Urgh: Josh McCown

Sitting ducks: Cody Kessler, Tom Savage

If he starts: Matt Moore

 

Patriots Brady Packers Rodgers

AP Photo – Michael Dwyer

Elite

These two are simply the best right now and yes, at some point in the season, probably after just one bad game, you will question the price you paid for them. But come the end of the season teams who drafted them will feel good about how their season went from a QB perspective. Aaron Rodgers, as always, has a good team around him with his three wide receivers still there, a new tight end in Martellus Bennett, and a collection of interesting running back options who should help him shoulder some of the load. Tom Brady has potentially his most explosive offense since the 2007 team and there is every chance he is the runaway winner at QB this season. He is just below Rodgers for me simply because he just turned 40 and we don’t know if he has the deep ball still or if there will be some drop off. Either way, drafting these guys means you’re in for a lot of fun watching your fantasy QB this year.

Near Elite

Drew Brees could easily have been part of the Elite group but he just isn’t quite on the level of Rodgers and Brady. With the three running back options they have I think we see them run a bit more, especially early in the season while AP is healthy, and this may just mean that Brees isn’t quite the 5,000 yard monster in 2017. However, we can pretty much mark in 4,500 yards and 30+ touchdowns, health assumed, and that is a valuable commodity, especially if the draft day value is right.

Potentially Elite

These two guys could easily be part of the Rodgers/Brady group this year with very slight situation changes. If Matt Ryan still had Kyle Shanahan you could make a case for him being a top 3 QB but those slight questions marks over an OC change just mean I am going to air on the side of caution even though he still has a great team around him. Andrew Luck just has those injury concerns that won’t go away. I actually debated putting him lower but given the depth of QB I think you can afford to gamble in round 5/6 of your draft that Luck is the star we know he can be. If it goes wrong then fine you go and get a high upside (Wentz) or a boring but relatively safe option (Manning) to fill in the gaps and you can see out the season in the hope Luck can help you down the stretch and in the playoffs.

Very Good

This is an interesting group of guys. 4 of them are very similar in that they use their legs for added value while the other 2 could easily be high volume passers close to the level we expect from those top 5 guys.

Jameis Winston has all the weapons he could ask for now and in year 3 he should be ready to kick on with his arms, legs and decision making. He is also currently the best value of this group so definitely a guy I am targeting. Russell Winston’s value is hurt by his shaky o-line and his no name receiving core, outside of Baldwin and an injured Lockett. He is also a slow starter but tends to pick up speed so could be an interesting guy to target in trades after 2 or 3 weeks. Marcus Mariota had his season cut short and whilst I don’t think he will run much I still think there will be enough value in his legs to cover any passing deficiencies from an offence which heavily leans on the run.

Cam Newton should bounce back this year with a ton of weapons and a really fun offence. Cam is a smart QB who uses his legs effectively and should contribute plenty in this method. I expect a slight downturn for Kirk Cousins this season with his two main wide receivers departing. Yes he still has a decent group but it may take a few games for him to fully click with his new core. If he plays a full season with Jordan Reed there is every chance he could be the number one guy in this tier but the odds on that happening are very small. Derek Carr is another guy coming off an injury but while he has been rehabbing the Raiders have continued to build a great offence. Marshawn Lynch will take some of the attention from Carr without lowering his workload much and Carr should throw plenty in an offence with one of the best 1-2 punches in the NFL.

Value picks

This group are all proven QBs who are consistently overlooked for fantasy. Philip Rivers has an exciting offence around him, even without Mike Williams, and has proved that he can still be a solid fantasy option even when he has limited weapons so should be able to do plenty with what he has. A healthy Keenan Allen for a year, unlikely given his injury history, could easily see him a top 5ish fantasy QB. Matt Stafford has very little run game behind him around him, doesn’t have a great defence on his team and has a gunslinger mentality that should see him given plenty of opportunities to put up big fantasy numbers. He is a guy I cannot see finishing top 5 but I also would be shocked to see him outside the top 15 making him a nice safe option at a decent mid-round value.

Now Ben Roethlisberger is a difficult one to rank because we can be fairly certain he will miss at least a couple of weeks, and probably debate retirement again, but when he is on the field he has a real shot to put up some of the best fantasy weeks. He has an explosive offence around him that means it will be no shock to see those ridiculous fantasy winning weeks but there also be the inevitable game where he gets injured, costs you a week and then misses the next two while you tear your hair out. Now in shallower leagues where there is great depth on the waiver wire I could make a debate for him as the #6 QB off the board because those great weeks will be worth the frustration and when he gets injured you can pluck an adequate guy off the waiver wire. However, in deeper leagues, especially leagues where some teams store QBs on their bench, he is tough to take in the top 15 because you know you will need to have at least one QB benched for the inevitable. This is the continuous debate with Big Ben but one thing that isn’t a debate is that owning him will never be boring and you’ll get to see a ton of the Steelers offence which is a real bonus.

Young and exciting

Now having Andy Dalton in this tier is maybe stretching it when it comes to exciting but in general this is a tier with top 10 upside if all goes well. Tyrod Taylor and Dak Prescott are both capable of adding value with their legs, Carson Wentz has a much improved receiving core and a years’ experience under his belt. Andy Dalton has A.J. Green and if they can utilise Joe Mixon, Joe Ross and Tyler Eifert to full capacity they could be a really fun offence to watch this year. The trouble with this tier is when they have bad days it will likely be fairly catastrophic and you will want to drop them first thing Monday morning but over the course of a year they will likely win you more games than they will cost you.

Boring options

Eli Manning and Carson Palmer have exciting offences but unless they can have a real late career renaissance I cannot see them having the explosive season that other QB’s would have in their situation. Man I really want to believe in Blake Bortles because I have seen flashes but this team is going to play ball control with a really nice defence and top end running back before turning to Bortles only as and when they need to chase games. He will have the odd garbage time game where the end numbers are fairly dazzling but with this defence they won’t be as frequents as previous years. Jay Cutler could easily jump to top of this tier with Carson Palmer once we know for sure he is in shape and we get an indication of how he is adapting to the Adam Gase offence. We think he should be fine but it would be nice to get some validation and be sure he has definitely beaten out Matt Moore for the starters job.

Sam Bradford tends to struggle throwing the ball more than 10 yards which limits his upside even in an offence with some weapons I really like. If it all clicks for him in this offence with the talent around him he could be a good stash/mid-season pick-up. Joe Flacco always has potentially but the back injury really limits him to a point where I think he will struggle to go deep.

Upside picks

Deshaun Watson has the potential to be in that very good tier at some point in his career but in his rookie season when he may have to wait at least a couple of weeks to get the job it’s a big risk to make him any more than a bench stash in deeper leagues. So many people have written Jared Goff off after so few starts and I think that is dangerous. That offence and team ethic was not built for the QB to star and when you throw in the learning curve from never having been under centre at college to being a full-time NFL QB you can give him a pass for last year. My concern is that he has a very new and raw receiving core and there is probably still some development to do. Hopefully in the second half of the season we can see some flashes of a QB who can help in fantasy leagues in 2018 but right now his main value is as a waiver wire pick-up mid-season.

Could lose their job

I could feasible see all four of these guys being replaced at some point this year but if you need a QB to start the season these are all feasible options. Brian Hoyer has the best odds for me of being the QB for his team all season as his back-up is Matt Barkley. Alex Smith is a lame duck QB because we all know this is Patrick Mahomes’ team at some point and if Smith struggles this year that could be as soon as the second half of this season. Trevor Semien may not be the starter in Denver this year but right now he is the favourite and could give you something in deep leagues for the first few weeks. If nothing else he has some decent offensive pieces around him. The upside guy here is Mike Glennon who has a cannon for an arm but has been put into an impossible position in Chicago with limited talent around him and a rookie QB getting all the press attention whilst warming the bench. Sadly I fear this ends badly but watching Glennon is fun so I hope Chicago give him the opportunities.

Maybe next year?

I thin eventually we see all of these guys this season but there fantasy value is likely to be next year at the earliest. Deshone Kizer and Mitchell Trubisky are likely to get the rookie kid gloves treatment to start the season but eventually their teams will have to turn their offences over to them in the hope they are the guys to save their respective franchises. I think Denver still hold out some hopes for Paxton Lynch and will give him every chance down the stretch in order to work out whether he is their QB of the future or they need to draft a new one.

Urgh

Josh McCown is QB of the Jets. Enough said.

Sitting ducks

Both of these are likely to start game one but I think they are just holding the job for their team’s rookies. Cody Kessler was not awful at times and if you are in a league where you need a QB this deep not awful is as good as you are getting. Tom Savage is a game manager with a ticking clock on his time as the stating QB. At best you are getting half a season out of him. At worst he doesn’t start game one.

If he starts

A subplot to the Jay Cutler faf is that Matt Moore has been once again side lined when he had a chance to shine. If Cutler fails for some reason I actually think Matt Moore is an interesting option and would fall into the ‘Could lose their job’ tier. If he is the everyday starter I think they might try and rush back Tannehill and that puts a dent on Moore’s upside.

 

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