This was one of my favorite drafts to watch in a long time. So much uncertainty as to who would be taken even in the first 3 picks, and the talent was exceptional even going into draft day #3. The teams are starting to solidify a bit, both in coach’s minds and in ours as fantasy enthusiasts. Many high quality teams gained great value, and some new faces are ready to make their mark in the NFL.
One of the more interesting factors in this draft, though, is that none of the rookie QBs are the obvious starter Week 1 for their new team. I have no doubt that one or two will likely start most of this season, but it leaves a lot of the appeal for each rookie somewhat lacking. But, regardless, it’s going to be a lot of fun to keep track of these QB battles and the rest of the starters around the league. I have divided my ranks into tiers, because I want to emphasize how many quarterbacks are roughly the same value. A solid strategy is to wait until the last of a tier is available, to get the most value from your pick. Grab value elsewhere; it’s no news to say that QB is crazy-deep this year.
If you have any questions or comments, you can always contact me on Twitter @BergerTwoQBs or my partner in crime @LakeTwoQBs.
But enough intro. Let’s get to our post-draft Top 40 quarterback rankings.
2014 Post-draft QB Rankings:
Tier 1: the elite quarterbacks
- Peyton Manning, Broncos — These three QBs remain as they were before the draft. With Peyton, he’s shattered every record last year, and he releases the ball too quickly for me to seriously be concerned with injury risk. It’s going to be another great year for Peyton. And drafting a talented rookie in Cody Latimer is a fun bonus.
- Drew Brees, Saints — Brees I feel like continues to be knocked down a peg by critics, and evidently I’m no exception because I have him ranked at #2. The talent not named Jimmy has diminished around Brees, but drafting Brandin Cooks in the first round is as close to a perfect fit for the Saints as you can get. Expect decent but inconsistent numbers from Cooks in his rookie year.
- Aaron Rodgers, Packers — Last year we saw the impeccable talent of Aaron Rodgers take a hit; injuries tend to do that. All this means to me is that Rodgers is going to often go at a great price this year. Don’t hesitate.
Tier 2: the great quarterback starters
- Andrew Luck, Colts
- Robert Griffin III, Redskins
- Cam Newton, Panthers — Probably the most likely ranking to change this early on. The Panthers grabbed ok talent in the draft, so he’ll stay tenuously here for me. Running is just worth that much. Yes, it’s that bad.
- Matthew Stafford, Lions
- Matt Ryan, Falcons
- Tony Romo, Cowboys
- Tom Brady, Patriots — Brady will turn 37 this year, and his team is trying to recover from the offensive weapons they lost just a year ago. His receiving core could very well be called “Team Glass”. It’s still Brady, and he still put up top-5 numbers the second half of last season.
- Philip Rivers, Chargers
- Nick Foles, Eagles — Simply not convinced Foles will put up consistent QB1 numbers without DeSean Jackson. There are other, better options.
- Andy Dalton, Bengals — Dalton may replace Tony Romo as the most maligned quarterback in the NFL. He’s better in fantasy football than real life, where he finished as QB5 last season. I’m not worried about AJ McCarron in redraft leagues. The job is still Andy’s.
- Russell Wilson, Seahawks
- Colin Kaepernick, 49ers
- Jay Cutler, Bears — This is still too low for Cutler most likely, but his injuries and attitude make me hesitant to put him any higher. I’ll be surprised if he plays all 16 games.
Tier 3: average caliber quarterbacks
- Alex Smith, Chiefs
- Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers — Big Ben will finish above this if he can stay healthy. As seasoned fantasy owners can attest, that is a significant “if”.
- Ryan Tannehill, Dolphins — Tannehill has been quietly had two great years as a starter, but he’s been overshadowed by Luck, RG3, et al. He’s in my top 20, and he’s one of the more reliable in this 3rd Tier.
- EJ Manuel, Bills — He’s going to be running a lot more this year, he has an offseason to practice with the starters, and I’m not worried about the talent being young around him. Robert Woods is going to make a nice jump in production this year, and Watkins will be just fine as the 3rd target on this team.
- Carson Palmer, Cardinals
- Joe Flacco, Ravens — Solid QB2 option, but his upside is severely capped at this point.
- Matt Schaub, Raiders — The Raiders are actually starting to look like a passable offensive team. Expect consistent numbers from Schaub, even if they come in garbage time due to the Raiders’ putrid defense. I think he starts Week 1 over Carr.
- Eli Manning, Giants — Last year may have been a fluke, but this offense has some huge questions. It starts with the offensive line, goes to the running backs. Eli is not Elite, and he has shown that forcing the ball into double-coverage is a specialty of his. He’s a boom or bust pick.
- Johnny Manziel, Browns — And here’s the first rookie. The Browns have compiled an above average offense around Johnny Football, but there are two reasons why the rookie falls to QB24. Gordon’s suspension is going to be painful, and could be for the entire year. The other factor is that the Browns might want to save Johnny from playing too early. Hoyer could see significant playing time, though I believe that Johnny will start more games. Also, in OTAs the Browns have handled Manziel exceptionally well. Don’t read into the 3rd-string talk too much.
- Geno Smith, Jets — What, a wide receiver to through to?? Eric Decker is by no means elite, but he’s vastly better than everything Geno has had so far. Yet another QB-battle is brewing, but I think Vick is a has-been in the eyes of Rex Ryan.
Tier 4: low-end quarterbacks and backups
- Jake Locker, Titans — I actually like Locker, but he continues to get injured. Cannot rely on him as a consistent starter or even as a reliable backup, so he starts off the bottom tier for me. And Chris Johnson is gone, which did distract offenses a lot. Now it’s all Locker.
- Sam Bradford, Rams — Bradford and Zac Stacy are an interesting duo, but Tavon Austin will need to step up in a big way. There are significant injury concerns for Bradford, and he plays in the best defensive division in the NFL. It’s going to be an uphill battle, and I’m not sure the team is up to the task
- Josh McCown, Bucs — Another QB-battle, but McCown is the only QB who has actually been picked by this coaching staff. Mike who?
- Teddy Bridgewater, Vikings — Vikings have been lauded as a great fit for Teddy. Both he and Manziel have the question of whether they will start this year. I believe Bridgewater starts some this year, but this is a closer call for me. Adrian Peterson is not getting any younger, so the Vikings need wins now. But Cassel may very well beat out Bridgewater for the Week 1 start. Expect this rank to bounce around a lot as we get closer to the season.
- Ryan Fitzpatrick, Texans — My belief is he is the starter for the Texans, but it is still a QB battle. Fitz has decent talent, but his team is already grumbling about the moves that the front office made. Not a good start for an incoming QB.
- Michael Vick, Jets — Simply a late-round flyer. I doubt even the Jets know what they’re going to do.
- Brian Hoyer, Browns — Hoyer is great value if they’re willing to give him the nod. Josh Gordon’s suspension could entice the coaches to wait on releasing Johnny Football, but the entire city will revolt if that lasts too long. Hoyer’s days are numbered.
- Chad Henne, Jaguars — unlike his fellow rookies, the Jaguars have been very upfront that Bortles will not be starting this year. If Justin Blackmon can quit getting suspended, Henne becomes an interesting QB3 option. I’m skeptical Blackmon can stop, but the Jags are assembling a quality offense for keeper and dynasty owners to keep an eye on. Perhaps we see sparks of it this year?
- Matt Cassel, Vikings
- Blake Bortles, Jaguars — He’s the backup, but that doesn’t mean he won’t play a bit this year.
- Kirk Cousins, Redskins — From this point on, we’re talking backups and the also-rans in QB competitions. Each of these guys has significant talent but need a few things to fall in their favor to become (or remain) the starter.
- Mike Glennon, Bucs — This is a QB battle but in name only. It’s McCown’s job to lose. The coaching staff do not believe in Glennon.
- Derek Carr, Raiders — I think this is a great value for the Raiders, especially in the longterm. Matt Schaub is a decent quarterback, but Carr could be the future of this franchise. He is better than his brother, which is the only reason he fell so far in the draft. Life is not fair.
- Case Keenum, Texans