While everyone comes here to read good analysis of football, I imagine many of us have fun with fantasy football.
So I’m going to share my fantasy football positional rankings over the next few days, along with general advice about each position. Keep in mind this is from a fantasy league perspective and that it does not necessarily reflect what happens on the actual football field.
And I’ll use this first post to ask if there is any interest in me running a fantasy football league. If enough people are interested, I will put a league together on Yahoo. I’d be looking for at least 10 teams but no more than 14. Just let me know in the comments if you are interested.
With that in mind, let’s examine the first of my fantasy football rankings: the quarterbacks.
General advice: The names most fantasy players have designated the top starters are aging. This is a year in which the younger crop of QBs should come off the board earlier in most formats. Some of the proven options in past years are still viable fantasy starters, but you don’t want to draft them as early as once you did. There are some sleeper options, but any QB sleepers should be fantasy backups.
Top fantasy starters
1. Cam Newton: Posted one of his best seasons in 2015 despite not having top receiver Kelvin Benjamin in the lineup. There’s no reason to think Newton won’t keep improving.
2. Aaron Rodgers: A steady performer from season to season. He should improve his numbers with Jordy Nelson returning to the lineup.
3. Russell Wilson: The Seahawks relied on him more than in previous seasons and he rose to the challenge. Could be in line for his best season yet.
4. Andrew Luck: His season was cut short by injuries but he should be healthy and bounce back. If the line can do a better job of protecting him, that will only help his cause.
5. Derek Carr: He broke out in 2015 and he has a good, young supporting cast around him. Expect him to keep improving.
6. Blake Bortles: Some may have overlooked that he threw 35 touchdowns last season. He’s got a good receiving duo and, if he cuts down his interceptions, he’ll be more valuable.
Good fantasy starters
7. Tom Brady: He is coming off one of his better seasons, but he will be suspended for the first four games of the season. If you draft him, make sure he’s paired with a quality backup.
8. Drew Brees: He’s coming off a season with 32 touchdown passes but Father Time could be catching up with him.
9. Carson Palmer: The Arizona starter had a strong 2015 campaign but looked shaky in the playoffs. You should pair him with a good fantasy backup.
10. Phillip Rivers: He wasn’t as sharp last year, thanks to a poor O-line and injuries to teammates. He’ll have Keenan Allen back and Travis Benjamin’s arrival could help.
11. Eli Manning: He put together a quality season, but he’s been up and down from a fantasy perspective.
12. Matthew Stafford: A change in offensive coordinators seemed to help him last season, but top receiver Calvin Johnson retired. Proceed with caution.
Decent fantasy starters/top fantasy backups
13. Ben Roethlisberger: He plays with arguably the best wide receiver in the NFL (Antonio Brown), but fellow WR Martavis Bryant has been suspended.
14. Tony Romo: We’ve seen him bounce back from injuries before and he’s surrounded by quality players, but he’s not getting any younger.
15. Andy Dalton: He played well in 2015, but offensive coordinator Hue Jackson left for Cleveland and two WRs left in free agency.
16. Matt Ryan: He’s coming off one of his worst seasons, but perhaps he can bounce back.
17. Kirk Cousins: He claimed the starting job in Washington and is playing under the franchise tag, but needs another good season to prove he’s a worthy fantasy starter.
Good fantasy backups
18. Jay Cutler: He’s been inconsistent throughout his career, but perhaps having a healthy Alshon Jeffery and Kevin White will help him.
19. Ryan Tannehill: Didn’t improve like some fantasy players expected, but the arrival of new head coach Adam Gase may get him on track.
20. Brock Osweiler: Had his moments when he started for the Broncos last season, but was inconsistent. But he carries sleeper potential.
21. Jameis Winston: He had a solid rookie season and has some quality teammates on offense. Another sleeper candidate.
22. Joe Flacco: Injuries cut his season short in 2015, but he’s never put up the big numbers associated with fantasy starters.
23. Sam Bradford: He is the likely starter for the Eagles and had his moments, but his injury history remains an issue.
24. Alex Smith: He doesn’t turn the ball over much, but has never put up big fantasy numbers in his career.
Decent fantasy backups
25. Mark Sanchez: He hasn’t proven to be a worthy fantasy starter, but playing in Denver’s offense gives him deep sleeper potential.
26. Tyrod Taylor: He threw 20 touchdowns in 14 games last season. Put him down as another deep sleeper.
27. Teddy Bridgwater: He has yet to show he’ll ever put up big fantasy numbers, but perhaps he can take steps in that direction this year.
28. Marcus Mariota: He threw 19 touchdowns as a rookie, but he needs his supporting cast to improve if he’s going to make a fantasy impact.
29. Robert Griffin III: He will try to revive his career with the Browns. There is some hope he can bounce back under Hue Jackson’s guidance.
30. Jared Goff: The only rookie QB you need pursue in every format. Keeper league players can bump him up a few spots.
If he signs, add him to your list
Ryan Fitzpatrick: He threw 31 touchdowns last season, which would make him at least a top fantasy backup. However, until he signs a new contract with the Jets, you shouldn’t draft him.