Fantasy Football 2015: Top 10 quarterbacks
Aug 29, 2015; St. Louis, MO, USA; Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck (12) attempts a pass against the St. Louis Rams at the Edward Jones Dome. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports
It’s Fantasy Football 2015 season in the NFL and you know what that means. It’s time for player rankings to help you out with all your fantasy football needs! Now, one of the most crucial positions in fantasy football is the quarterback position and sometimes it can be tough filtering through all the fantasy football magazines and articles around the web.
So let’s make it easy and break down the top-10 fantasy quarterbacks heading into 2015. Not everyone is going to agree with this list, but that’s what makes it fun to debate and discuss!
Next: 10. Sam Bradford
Aug 16, 2015; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Sam Bradford (7) on the field for warmups against the Indianapolis Colts in a preseason NFL football game at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports
10. Sam Bradford
He’s been my sleeper quarterback since he arrived in Philadelphia as I always thought that despite the fact his bones are made of glass that the equation of Bradford and Chip Kelly could be the perfect storm. We saw a glimpse of that this past week in the third preseason game for the Eagles when Bradford lit the world on fire.
10/10 121 Yds 3 TDs 156.7 Pass RTG You could say Bradford’s Saturday went well: http://t.co/QF9uQ853ay pic.twitter.com/x4IMFmvgzc
— NFL Network (@nflnetwork) August 30, 2015
I’m not saying Bradford is in for the greatest quarterback season of all-time or anything, but some Eagles fans now share this opinion on Bradford. It’s only been preseason football but Eagles fans around the world are excited for his potential.
I do think that a healthy Bradford is a top-10 fantasy quarterback and this is my conservative ranking having him at No. 10. I don’t know if I’m confident enough to have all my chips in the table for Bradford without a solid backup, but I think he’s definitely worth a risk on in the middle rounds of your fantasy draft and he could prove to be the reason you hoist a fantasy championship at the end of the season.
Next: 9. Tom Brady
Aug 22, 2015; New Orleans, LA, USA; New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) against the New Orleans Saints during the first quarter of a preseason game at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports
9. Tom Brady
Brady’s suspension has been lifted and he is eligible to play immediately; the NFL will appeal. I will leave him as my No. 9 ranked quarterback on this list, but his value now skyrockets and some fantasy members who have already stole Brady late are reaping the benefits of getting a ‘top-6’ fantasy quarterback in the 7th round and beyond.
Brady is a interesting draft prospect in fantasy football because there is still the big unknown lingering on his suspension for the first quarter of the season. Which severely impacts his fantasy value and more specifically his fantasy draft value in terms of where in the draft and when is the right time to pull the trigger. He has the potential to be one of the steals of the 2015 fantasy draft if selected in the right position and paired with a top-backup. According to Michel Fabiano, Brady sans suspension would be one of the top quarterbacks in fantasy.
Top 6 QBs https://t.co/aowsZL0dcD — Michael Fabiano (@Michael_Fabiano) September 1, 2015
Getting an arguable top-6 quarterback prospect in the 6th-11th round could be the difference maker as it looks like he will more than likely start the regular season as planned. The Reggie Wayne signing could be a huge plus for Brady’s 2015 campaign. Julian Edelman has dealt with injuries throughout the off season and as great as the thought is of having LaFell and Amendola as your starting two receivers is… it’s not. Though Wayne’s play dropped off significantly last season, he could be in for a career revival in New England. As long as he can get the playbook down.
“They’re throwing a lot at me right now. I feel like a rookie all over again.” http://t.co/fTRSqQsHcX pic.twitter.com/UlYpbQQ4Pm
— NFL Network (@nflnetwork) August 28, 2015
Next: 8. Drew Brees
Aug 22, 2015; New Orleans, LA, USA; New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (9) against the New England Patriots during the first half of a preseason game at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports
8. Drew Brees
Now we are at the curious case of Drew Brees, year in and year out a perennial all-pro in the realms of fantasy. So why do I have him ranked as my No. 8 best quarterback? I know seeing is believing, but I have a strong feeling that this will be the year that the New Orleans Saints’ offense shifts to more of a run-first football team.
They traded away their best offensive talent in Jimmy Graham; they brought in CJ Spiller from Buffalo and re-signed Mark Ingram. Though Brees had another outstanding season last year, he probably won’t replicate those kind of stats anymore.
The days of penciling in Brees for 4,500 yards and 30+ touchdowns every season are over. Fantasy is a game of predicting: when you think age is going to catch up to a guy you move on and have the mentality rather be one year early then one year late because one year late can cost you a fantasy championship.
Some supporters of Brees say Graham is gone and that he’ll have a terrible season due to missing his favorite option to throw to. That may be true, but is Marques Colston still a legitimate No. 1 receiver? Can Brandin Cooks remain healthy for an entire season for the Saints? Can Josh Hill replace Graham and become Brees’ new favorite target? I have my doubts and that is why Brees is this low on my list. Though I do think 4,000 yards and 20+ touchdowns is still in the realm of possibility, we’re definitely going to see a step back this season.
Next: 7. Matt Ryan
Aug 14, 2015; Atlanta, GA, USA; Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan (2) runs onto the field before their game against the Tennessee Titans in a preseason NFL football game at Georgia Dome. Mandatory Credit: Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports
7. Matt Ryan
Ryan has had quite the impressive preseason as evidenced by this quote from SB Nation written by Michael Gallagher on whether to buy the stock of Ryan this preseason:
“Ryan put up a magnificent passer rating of 147.9 in his three preseason games, completing 13 of 18 passes for 210 yards and two scores. He had a first down on 10 of those attempts and looked great in the process. The Falcons made a shift to offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan, who may try to work on the running game more. The Falcons not having a running game in the last two years led to Ryan being sacked 75 times in those two seasons. He should get some better protection with less pressure, and second-year tackle Jake Matthews will likely grow into a better protector of his blind side.”
The main reason you should buy into the Ryan hype this season is because we expect a healthy Julio Jones this season who can make all the difference in the world. Plus he’s fresh off of his new contract and he appears raring and ready to go for the season opener.
I just feel like the Atlanta Falcons aren’t as bad as their record has indicated the last several years post the deep NFC playoff run a while back. Ryan is a guy who’s in that second-third tier who can elevate his game to reach the next tier. He’s got all the physical gifts, his offensive line is improving (it can’t get any worse) and Roddy White should also be healthier this season.
Next: 6. Ben Roethlisberger
Aug 14, 2015; Jacksonville, FL, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7) throws a pass during the first quarter of a preseason NFL football game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at EverBank Field. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports
Big Ben is a guy I’m very high on and he is a sleeper MVP candidate for this upcoming NFL season and that is beyond fantasy. He’s got two premier targets with Bell and Antonio Brown which simply just adds to my fantasy admiration for Roethlisberger. Though he’s going to be off to a rocky start as Bell is suspended the first two games, Martavis Bryant is suspended the first four games, and Maurkice Pouncey appears like he is going to miss the first chunk of the season.
Pouncey could miss anywhere from the first 8 games to even more based on the designated to return IR he may be placed on. The offensive line will have to overcome the loss of one of their seasoned veterans, but they should be alright. I still feel so confident that I think Big Ben can make a quantum leap up these fantasy rankings possibly into top-5 status by the time all things are said and done. An interesting tidbit from Roethlisberger’s player profile on Sports Illustrated gives us a look at his career year last season and how it could be a sign of things to come:
“Roethlisberger is coming off the best statistical season of his career, and there’s a whole lot more to his numbers than the current offensive environment. With Antonio Brown, Le’Veon Bell and Martavis Bryant at his disposal, Roethlisberger rode one of the most dangerous caches of weapons in the league to a career-high 4,952 yards and 32 touchdowns in 2014. He threw just nine interceptions and racked up 8.15 yards per attempt, the fifth time in his career he was north of 8 YPA. Add it all up, and Roethlisberger was the No. 6 quarterback in standard-scoring leagues last season.”
Sure as I said he won’t have all those weapons to start the year, but that shouldn’t hinder you in your analysis of who your franchise signal caller should be. In Todd Haley’s pass-happy offense, Big Ben could be in for even more passes than his record setting 600+ passes thrown last season. There are a bunch of other weapons we haven’t even talked about yet for the Steelers that will put him in the talks of being one of the top quarterbacks chosen. Michael Beller from Sports Illustrated feels as confident as I do about Roethlisberger’s chances to exceed his numbers last season:
“Roethlisberger is entering the 12th season of his illustrious career, yet he has never been in quite the offensive environment he now inhabits in Pittsburgh. With the best collection of weapons he has ever enjoyed (don’t forget about Markus Wheaton, Heath Miller and rookie Sammie Coates), a top-level pass-blocking line and an offensive coordinator who will let him throw the ball plenty of times this season, Roethlisberger could surpass 5,000 yards for the first time in his career and set a new personal best for touchdown passes in the process.”
Next: 5. Peyton Manning
Aug 29, 2015; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning (18) runs onto the field before the game against the San Francisco 49ers at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports
Peyton Manning isn’t as young as he use to be as there are legitimate concerns about his durability heading into the 2015 season which makes him a bit of a red-flag and a question mark in fantasy land. So here’s the issue, Manning went from having his best season ever as a pro: 68.3 completion percentage, north of 5,400 yards, a 55 touchdown to 10 interception ratio with a 115.1 QBR but can he replicate that again?
Truth of the matter is, Manning is a player on the decline. We all saw the inevitable drop off in which Manning seemed human with multiple sub-par performances last year which begs the question, is Manning’s time up as an elite fantasy quarterback option? It’s hard to know for sure, but what isn’t up for debate is the fact that father time is undefeated. No one can beat him and Manning isn’t invincible so in terms of having Manning this season, you should temper expectations if you’re hoping for that magical 2013 season.
The folks over at Fantasy Outlook had this to say about Manning, his new coach and what to expect this season:
“When Kubiak was the head coach for the Houston Texans in 2013, the Texans finished sixth in pass attempts and had a 60.5/39.5 pass-to-run ratio, with the combination of Matt Schaub and Case Keenum at QB. I expect Kubiak to focus a little more on the running game than he did in Houston. However, a balance similar to what the Broncos had in 2012 seems like a reasonable expectation, which will still lead to around 575 passing attempts for Manning in 2015.”
So look for a healthier balance between Manning and the running game this year with CJ Anderson solely entrenched as the starting tailback for this team. But expect Kubiak to still let Manning win it around because ultimately we’re talking about a future Hall of Famer here. But just to reinforce my point I made earlier…
Brett Favre is the only NFL QB to begin a season at age 39 and start all 16 games. Peyton Manning is 39. #trends #dontreachforhim — Michael Fabiano (@Michael_Fabiano) September 2, 2015
Next: 4. Tony Romo
Aug 29, 2015; Arlington, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo (9) throws in the pocket against the Minnesota Vikings at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports
4. Tony Romo
Why do people despise Romo? This guy receives way too much criticism and I never understand why he quietly goes about his business year in and year out. He never is one to make any bold proclamations or say anything to ruffle people’s feathers. He’s been taking criticism on his chin his entire career, now is time for Romo to sit back and take some credit for once. Let’s take a look at career numbers for Romo here provided by Pro-Football-Reference on the statistical history of the Dallas Cowboys starting quarterback.
“Tony Romo has a career passer rating of 97.6. That’s good for 2nd in NFL history, behind only Aaron Rodgers. Tony Romo has a 65.2 completion %, which is the 6th best in NFL history. Tony Romo averages 7.9 yards per attempt, which is the 6th best in NFL history. Tony Romo has a touchdown/interception ratio of 2.20, which is the 4th best in NFL history. Tony Romo has a touchdown % of 5.7, which is the 18th best in NFL history and the 3rd best among active quarterbacks. In Tony Romo’s last 49 games, he has thrown 93 touchdowns and 39 interceptions.”
Tony Romo 2014 Stats: Comp. %: 69.9 (1st) Yards: 3,705 (14th) TDs: 34 (4th) Passer Rating: 113.2 (1st) #Cowboys pic.twitter.com/iujxqDGbz8
— NFL Stats (@NFL_Stats) August 15, 2015
So what does it all mean? Well, Romo is an elite quarterback in every sense of the word and deserves his credit. He probably should have been the MVP of the league last season, just look at the stats. He’s a guy for whatever reason is available later than most quarterbacks and could be the steal of your fantasy draft especially considering the importance of the quarterback position. The next three quarterbacks seem to be the consensus all around the league but everything after three is up for debate.
Next: 3. Russell Wilson
Aug 29, 2015; San Diego, CA, USA; Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson (3) signals pre snap in the first quarter of a preseason game against the San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports
Wilson so far in my fantasy drafts has been my guy at the quarterback position, I’m in love with his potential especially with Graham now in Seattle. I’m always intrigued by the dual-threat quarterbacks who can provide me the most fantasy points possible and Wilson certainly provides that with his dynamic play making ability.
Though last year Wilson was a bit of a surprise and could be had with a mid-late round flier that won’t be the case this season, he is projected in leagues to be the third quarterback taken and 32nd overall in most standard formatted leagues. Getting some more fantasy knowledge from Fantasy Outlook on some of the things I’ve talked about, here’s a nice summary on what to expect and whether you should take the risk yourself.
“The majority of Wilson’s value has come from his excellent rushing totals, but many have high hopes for an improvement in the passing game along with more commitment to it after Seattle added TE Jimmy Graham. As previously stated owners should be wary, as the Seahawks have had immense success with a run-heavy scheme that supports their thumping defense. Graham’s arrival is positive for Wilson’s fantasy production, but the chances are high that he is not worth the pick required to acquire him.”
Luckily for me I’ve always gotten good value especially with the projected 32nd overall status I’ve typically gotten Wilson so far in drafts this year in the mid-4th round which I feel very confident about. But I think the most production will come via the Super Bowl choice, though it didn’t work out for the Seahawks this past year in the championship game as I think they’ll utilize that same ideology in the red zone.
With Graham at their disposal the urge may be too great to simply hand it off to Lynch every time which means more red zone touchdowns for Graham which means more fantasy points for all those Wilson owners out there! Look for him to reclaim his third overall fantasy production in the quarterback rankings at the end of the season.
Next: 2. Aaron Rodgers
Aug 23, 2015; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) looks to pass against pressure from Pittsburgh Steelers outside linebacker Arthur Moats (55) during the first quarter at Heinz Field. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
We’ve finally reached the biggest fantasy football topic on the planet right now: Rodgers vs. Luck. Who is the top quarterback in fantasy football? I’ve always been under the impression to guess a year early then a year late. Is it Luck’s time to pry the torch from Rodger’s fingers? I think so and some of the factors I looked at includes the lack of weapons for Rodgers.
Packers Randall Cobb exits preseason game with apparent shoulder injury, just six days after Jordy Nelson‘s injury. pic.twitter.com/jOOcXR6Gs8 — 120 Sports (@120Sports) August 30, 2015
Jordy Nelson tears his ACL which was unfortunate then just a few days later Randall Cobb is out with a shoulder injury and his timetable to return is uncertain. I’m not saying that Rodgers is a sham and will be revealed as one now that his weapons are gone. But we’ve never truly seen Rodgers have to do it without any star power which begs the question, can he do it without weapons? Can he be the same seemingly invincible quarterback that has astonished again and again throughout his career? Well now will be the test, because we’ve seen Brady win a Super Bowl with no-names at receiver.
For me it’s 1A and 1B with Rodgers/Luck as you can’t necessarily go wrong with either, but they said the same thing with RG3/Luck back in the 2012 NFL Draft. With all that being said, Rodgers without a doubt will go in the first round in a lot of fantasy drafts across the planet and so will Luck. But by the end of the season when we’re looking back at all this, I think Luck will be the one holding up the Lombardi trophy at seasons end.
Next: 1. Andrew Luck
Dec 7, 2014; Cleveland, OH, USA; Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck (12) celebrates a touchdown pass during the fourth quarter against the Cleveland Browns at FirstEnergy Stadium. The Colts beat the Browns 25-24. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports
1. Andrew Luck
Move over Aaron Rodgers as there’s a new sheriff in town and his name is Andrew Luck. The torch has been officially passed and the new No. 1 quarterback in fantasy land is Luck. It’s been a heated debate over the last several months whether or not Luck has passed the former Super Bowl champ. He has, his team is also Super Bowl ready right now as they’ve added just the right pieces to launch them into the AFC’s elite and the NFL’s elite.
Andre Johnson is older, Ty Hilton is a game-changer and they drafted another receiver because Luck didn’t have enough weapons as it was. So they bring in Phillip Dorsett and they already have the dual-threat at tight end with Coby Fleener and Dwayne Allen. I think Luck is in for one of the greatest fantasy football seasons of all time as I am buying into the hype. Frank Gore coming in should shore up the running game and make it respectable so teams can’t stack against the pass.
Luck is worthy of being the first quarterback taken for a variety of reasons as he’s young, in a pass-happy offense and he’s got more weapons than ever before. He is even possibly worth the first overall pick in my opinion as he’s just that valuable and I just believe in him that much. And apparently, I’m not the only one who feels this way as in an article on Yahoo Sports written by Brad Evans, he also shares the same mentality: First Down: Taking Andrew Luck No. 1 overall isn’t outlandish.
The Buzz: Most within the “expert” community continue to suggest waiting on a quarterback is the only way to approach the position. As a result, Andrew Luck, despite averaging 27.5 points per game last season in standard formats, an output that bested No. 2 Aaron Rodgers by a full two points per game, sports a consensus No. 21 overall rank according to Fantasy Pros. Hey, it’s hard to teach old dogs new tricks. The groupthink perspective on QBs, however, is not only antiquated, it’s downright incognizant. What a bunch of neckbeard haters.
Safety. Stated time and time again by yours truly already this season, Luck owns arguably THE highest floor of any fantasy commodity. He’s yet to miss a game in three years, has averaged at least 21 fantasy points per game in traditional formats (4 pts/pass TD, 1 pt/20 pass yds) each season, mastered Pep Hamilton’s system, is loaded with more weapons than Ironman and scores across the board. Oh, and the former No. 1 pick doesn’t turn 26 until September 12. The best is yet to come. Not to be overlooked, he plays at a position best described as low-risk. Over the past six years the bust rate of QB1s (Passers drafted as starters in 12-team leagues that finished outside the position’s top-15), is a wee 23.6 percent. More “dud” prone positions logged considerably higher marks – RB1s 43.1 percent, WR1s 33.3 percent. Yes, the tier-to-tier dropoff among QBs is less harsh compared to RBs and WRs, but why chase rivers when you can hold all the chips?
So if you are lucky enough to hold the first overall pick in your fantasy draft, it should merit some strong consideration from the bearded wonder himself in Luck if you’re ready to break from the norm. Trust me when I say, you won’t regret it.
Next: Fantasy Football 2015: A complete guide to quality drafting