This year’s fantasy football season is still a few weeks away, but it’s time to start putting together your lists and identifying players you want to target in your draft. To help you get your draft materials together, our Fansided fantasy football coverage will be kicking into high gear over the next few weeks. You can follow all our coverage by setting your bookmark on our fantasy football page which you can find right here.
As we get things started, I’ll give you my initial QB rankings before the preseason snaps get started. I’ll update these rankings throughout the preseason so stay tuned to our fantasy page as your draft night gets closer.
QB, Denver Broncos
Manning is unquestionably the top QB coming into the season. Last offseason, I wrote a piece asking if he could be the top fantasy QB which seems so obvious now. The only question left for Peyton is how early to take him. It all comes down to one thing: scoring system. In almost every league, he’s a first-rounder, but make sure you understand how passing TD’s are scored in your league relative to rushing/receiving TD’s.
QB, Green Bay Packers
Rodgers had a tough year last year missing weeks nine through 16 due to injury. However, don’t make the mistake of devaluing him too much since he now has a more complete team with him in Green Bay and still is both a rushing and passing threat. By the end of the season, he could pass Manning in leagues where rushing TDs are worth more than passing.
QB, New Orleans Saints
Brees is consistently elite. He throws for an incredible amount of yards and touchdowns every season and has a very favorable schedule this season. He did have a few down games when New Orleans had to go on the road, but he’s still definitely in the elite tier with Rodgers and Peyton.
QB, New England Patriots
There’s a big dropoff after the top three and much debate as to who would be the top of the next cluster of QB’s. Brady is ranked all over the place, but I expect a bounce-back year from the veteran who should have Gronk from week one. The Patriots defense is much improved so Brady may have to throw less, but I expect him to be one of the better values in most drafts and definitely a high-end QB1 this season.
QB, Philadelphia Eagles
Foles was impressive after taking over for Michael Vick last year and in Chip Kelly’s high-octane offense I think he can be a top 5 fantasy QB this season. He did lose DeSean Jackson, but Jeremy Maclin is expected to be healthy so his weapons don’t drop off too much.
QB, Detroit Lions
Stafford has a new head coach who may not have him attempt quite as many passes as he has the past seasons, but I think that will be a good thing for Stafford in the long run. He needs to bounce back after a late season swoon, but he has the weapons to do it (see Johnson, Calvin).
QB, San Francisco 49ers
Kaepernick has a solid fantasy season last year but was inconsistent and at times really struggled. With Michael Crabtree back for the full season and another year of experience, I think Kap will definitely be a QB1 and could be ready for the next level threatening the elite if he continues to grow in the 49ers offense. The only downside to drafting Kaepernick–he plays the Seahawks twice.
QB, Indianapolis Colts
Luck is another value pick for your QB1 that could pay off if he makes the leap into the elite tier of options. Most agree it’s more a matter of trying to figure out when he’ll make that jump not if he has the skills to do it. If you think this is the year, roll the dice with Luck.
QB, Carolina Panthers
Newton bounced back from a sophomore slump and had a solid season, but he takes a beating, is dealing with injury already in camp, and has a talent deficit at key positions around him. He’s without question a fantasy QB1 talent, but the risk in taking him makes me slot him lower than some other rankings going into the season.
Robert Griffin III
QB, Washington Redskins
Which RGIII do we get this year? In 2011, he was an amazing, dynamic playmaker. Last year, hampered by injury, he struggled and never seemed to progress. His upside is huge, but if you take RGIII I advise you get a very solid backup option to fall back on if he struggles again this season or isn’t able to stay on the field.
QB, Dallas Cowboys
Romo is going late in fantasy drafts and actually offers some really nice value in many leagues. He has finished in the top 10 fantasy QB’s three years in a row and has a very nice receiving corps to throw to. While he is much-maligned in the media, he’s a very nice fantasy option if you can get him as a low-end QB1 later in your draft or as a top-end QB2 in dual QB leagues.
QB, Atlanta Falcons
Ryan has the weapons for a bounceback year with the Falcons and could be one of the best values of the QB drafts this year if Julio Jones is back to full strength. Everything went wrong for Atlanta last year, but look to make Matty Ice your QB2 and hope things come together better this season.
QB, Pittsburgh Steelers
Roethlisberger is reliable on a weekly basis making him a good backup option in single QB leagues. He is a year into Todd Haley’s offense and has a much more established running game going into this season. He started slow last year and picked things up as the year went along. As long as he stays healthy, Big Ben is a solid #2 almost every week.
QB, San Diego Chargers
In a bounceback year that few saw coming, Rivers tore it up at times last season and threw for three touchdowns or more in seven of his 16 games last year. His 32 touchdowns and just 11 interceptions propelled him to a sixth place finish among QB’s last season. Rivers is a little more risky than Romo, Ryan, or Roethlisberger, but he has the upside to be in this top tier of QB2′s.
QB, Seattle Seahawks
I totally buy into Russell Wilson as a great QB in the NFL, but as you can see from his ranking here I’m not as sold on him as a fantasy weapon. He’s a matchup play, but when the Seahawks control the game with their defense and running game, Wilson’s final stats can be underwhelming. I won’t call him a game manager since that seems like an insult, but Wilson just does what it takes to get Seattle the win regardless of what that means for his numbers and sometimes that means having fewer fantasy points at the end of the day.
QB, Chicago Bears
Cutler’s upside comes mostly from arguing how good the team was when he was out injured. He has a great coach in place in Marc Trestman, elite weapons at WR, and a solid running game. He has plenty of upside coming into the season, but last year he never reached 20 fantasy points in ESPN standard scoring in any game and doesn’t flex the vertical passing game often enough to be in the top half of the QB2′s. He’s not a bad backup in the right matchup, but you don’t want to count on him on a weekly basis.
QB, Buffalo Bills
As a rookie last year, Manuel missed six games due to injury, but he showed some intriguing upside in what I think will be a much improved offense. Coach Doug Marrone wants to play hurry up like Chip Kelly which could make Manuel into an intriguing sleeper. Watching him in preseason and the rapport he has with his receivers will be key.
QB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
McCown is a roll of the dice as he takes over as a first-time starter on a brand new team. Last season he showed some very nice upside while he filled in for Jay Cutler and the Bears, but now he’ll be in a whole new system with former-Bears coach Lovie Smith. I like McCown’s upside but there’s too much risk to rank him higher on this list until we’ve seen a little bit more from him.
QB, Baltimore Ravens
Flacco has teased fantasy owners and hung on the fringes of QB1 status for the past few seasons, but the Ravens style just doesn’t lend itself to big numbers for Flacco. Last year he got a big contract and was mostly disappointing as the Ravens struggled. The addition of Steve Smith might help, but he’s a low end QB2.
QB, Kansas City Chiefs
Alex Smith is a legitimate QB2 who can have a few nice games this season in good matchups, but the Chiefs will be better off relying on Jamaal Charles and a very nice defense to carry them this season. Smith is a fine backup or low-end QB2, but he normally doesn’t turn in big numbers in a fairly conservative passing game.
QB, New York Giants
Manning has potential to rebound in a new system with a new Offensive Coordinator. He still threw 27 picks last year, though, so make him a luxury gamble not someone you are relying on.
QB, Miami Dolphins
Tannehill was a top 20 QB last season finishing 16th while putting up double-digit fantasy points (ESPN standard scoring) in all but one of his first 14 games of the season. With a year in the system and under center, hopefully he can help the Dolphins focus on issues on the field this season and be a low-end QB2. He’s a matchup play, but not a horrible one.
QB, Tennessee Titans
Locker has a solid skill set and can put up points when he’s on the field. His main obstacle has been injuries which cost him all but six of last season’s games. Locker is in a pivotal year and has enough upside to make him a sleeper but only in two-QB leagues.
QB, St. Louis Rams
Bradford is another sleeper who could emerge if his health allows him to stay on the field. St. Louis plays in a tough division, but Bradford can definitely fit as a backup in the right matchups. The Rams receiving corps has some serious depth and options, so Bradford could be a solid QB2 by the end of the year.
QB, Arizona Cardinals
Palmer throws the ball a ton in Bruce Arians attack and definitely takes his shots down the field. He can be a decent fill-in when needed or a second QB in deep two-QB leagues, but the risks he takes can sometimes come back to bite him and his fantasy owners as well. He’ll be a waiver wire fixture in most leagues even though there will be weeks where he’s definitely serviceable as a replacement.