Fantasy Football Preview: Quarterbacks

Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports


What do Scarlet Johannson, Channing Tatum and the quarterback position in fantasy football have in common?

They’re sexy.

I do not believe that I need to justify my position on any of these four entities, but I” do it for the last one. No one ends a draft bragging about the tight end that they drafted. They brag about the guy that will  be their top scorer week after week. To put the positions in perspective, the top 10 quarterbacks in 2013 averaged 375 points over the course of 16 games, which comes out to 23.5 fantasy points per game. In contrast, the top 10 running backs, wide receivers, and tight ends averaged 14.7, 12.9 and 8.7 points per game respectively.

Talk about being a highly sought after commodity.

Now just because the quarterback position scores the most doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to spend a high round pick draft pick to fill that slot. I’ll talk later about what my strategy is when it comes to drafting a signal caller, but first, here are my quarterback tiers.

The Elite, featuring Scarlet Johansson and Channing Tatum

1. Drew Brees
2. Peyton Manning
3. Aaron Rodgers

If there is anyone in the NFL that can come close to putting up the type of season that Peyton Manning had last year, it’s Drew Brees. Their defense is horrible, Mark Ingram still can’t put it all together, and they play in a division where shootouts will be aplenty…The last time Peyton Manning had a record setting season in 2004 where he threw 49 touchdown passes, he followed it up with a very good, yet not as dominant of a season. An improved defense and four games against the NFC West won’t keep Manning out of finishing as a top 5 quarterback, but it does mean there’s a good chance he won’t finish on the very top…2013 was the first year that Aaron Rodgers finished below the two spot at quarterback . A broken collarbone that knocks you out of seven plus games tends to negatively impact your fantasy production. He’s still an elite option though who can easily produce the way he has for the past five years, but he’s also got the most risk. His weapons outside of Jordy Nelson also carry the most risk. Add in Eddie Lacy and Rodgers won’t have the volume the other two QBs will have.

The Up and Coming, featuring Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Evans

4. Matthew Stafford
5. Colin Kaepernick
6. Matt Ryan

If I miss out on any of the top three guys, the next guy I want is Matthew Stafford. The Lions added Golden Tate and pass catching rookie tight end Eric Ebron, two guys that will help make him a more efficient fantasy quarterback along with volume. Don’t forget he also has the best wide receiver in the game at his disposal…Is there anyone who has more upside than Colin Kaepernick? The guy’s got a cannon of an arm, runs like a gazelle, and now will have had an entire off season with a healthy receiving corps. He’s never had that luxury before, and with Frank Gore at the twilight of his career, Kaepernick’s time is now…You had to feel for Matt Ryan last year, but that season makes him a great value pick this year.He averaged more than 22 fantasy points per game when he had Julio Jones healthy, and at the time, Roddy White wasn’t even 100%. Yes, Tony Gonzalez is gone, but arguably that allows the Falcons to play even faster…

The “Well I Wouldn’t Say No…” featuring Emma Stone and Jon Hamm

7. Andrew Luck
8. RG3
9. Cam Newton
10. Tom Brady
11. Russell Wilson

The only reason Luck isn’t in the tier above is because of Pep Hamilton’s unwillingness to unleash his star quarterback. Even with weapons like T.Y. Hilton, Reggie Wayne, Hakeem Nicks and Coby Fleener, Hamilton still wants the offense build around Trent Richardson. Bleh…Rookie wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin has been making a lot of noise in camp thus far, but outside of him and Greg Olsen, who does Cam have to throw to? His ankle, which he got surgery on, isn’t a concern to me, but his poor offensive line and lack of receivers do…If RG3 is healthy, he’s going to have a monster season. Even in a year where he struggled as a real life quarterback (he still did well fantasy wise), he throws one of the best deep balls in the game, and now has one of the best deep ball receivers at his disposal. The Redskins should be better though this year, and if he isn’t forced to comeback from huge deficits every game (some of which he was responsible for), his ceiling may not be as high as we think it is…It’s been more than 10 years since Tom Brady didn’t finish as a QB1 in fantasy while playing 16 games. That’s what happened in 2012, and it’s caused many to question whether he’s still got it. From all reports, Rob Gronkowski looks to be at full strength and with him in the lineup, Brady will return to putting up starting fantasy quarterback numbers…Wilson, who is one of the most efficient fantasy quarterbacks in the NFL, just doesn’t have the volume to be elite. His legs do help keep him in the QB1 conversation, but man, wouldn’t that be something if Pete Carroll ever decides to just unleash him?

The Talented but…featuring Hillary Swank and Owen Wilson

12. Jay Cutler
13. Nick Foles
14. Tony Romo
15. Philip Rivers
16. Ben Roethlisberger

It’s year two of Marc Trestman’s reign as the offensive coordinator, and Cutler stands to benefit the most. If you combine his numbers when he was healthy with Josh McCown‘s when he was hurt, you get a top 5 quarterback…Foles is probably the quarterback that I’m most nervous about in this list. Prior to last season, he had just six career starts, and I don’t think his 27:2 TD to INT ratio is sustainable. However, given the system he plays in and the weapons he has, his ranking here in this tier seems justified…Love him or hate him, Tony Romo produces as a fantasy quarterback. If your strategy is to wait on a quarterback, Romo is a guy I’d be targeting in the late rounds…Rivers is another guy that might not even get drafted if owners don’t take backups, but has the ability to put up a lot of points, as shown by his amazing season last year. I don’t think he’ll put up similar numbers, but he won’t be a bust like he was in 2012 either…

The Rookies, featuring…we’ll just stop there…

16. Teddy Bridgewater
17. Blake Bortles
18. Johnny Manziel

The fact that I have this tier of quarterbacks isn’t me saying that I would take these guys next. I’m just making the final tier a rookie tier because unless you’re playing in a two-QB league, there’s no reason to be drafting anyone that deep. While Bridgewater was the last one drafted of this group, he’s in the best position. Adrian Peterson is still the guy that defenses focus on, and Bridgewater also has some very good weapons. He may not produce consistent fantasy numbers this year, but you could do worse with a bye week fill-in…Bortles is raw, and may not even start for the Jaguars this year, but he’s got a ton of potential. He was perhaps the most pro-ready quarterback coming out of college, and now just needs the right coaches and the right situation to blossom…I have my doubts on Manziel being able to take the job away from Brian Hoyer, but the Browns do have an incredibly tough schedule to start. With games against the Steelers, Saints and Ravens, it also wouldn’t surprise me to see Manziel get the starting gig after their Week 4 bye…

My Strategy:

I find myself drafting guys in the 2nd tier more often than not. I don’t think the value at running back and wide receiver is as strong in the middle rounds, which makes me feel comfortable in taking a quarterback from that tier. Remember, quarterback is the highest scoring position in fantasy, but it’s also the deepest. Wherever you think you still are getting value, that’s where you take your guy. Or girl.


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