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Fantasy Files - Quarterback Rankings: From Rodgers to Bortles

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Super Bowl XLIX - New England Patriots v Seattle Seahawks
Wilson and Brady make my top 5
Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images

Positional Rankings – Quarterback

We’ve got 4 articles planned to lay out positional rankings. These are my opinions and how I stack my board. I will be wrong about a lot of this stuff – that’s just how these things work out – but hopefully this gives us a launching point for a conversation. My rankings will consider a 0.5 PPR format for position players and a turnover tax of -3, because that’s the format I prefer. If you want to deep dive and missed them the first time out, check out my divisional previews: AFC South, AFC East, AFC West, AFC North, NFC North, NFC East, NFC West, NFC South. I break all positional rankings into tiers. If they’re in the same tier, I consider them close enough to equal to make no difference within the tier. It’s sort of a Belichick-ian way of approaching a fantasy draft. As always, civil discourse is encouraged in the comment section below.

Tier 1 – The Elite

1 – Aaron Rodgers, 2 – Tom Brady, 3 – Drew Brees

If I’m going to invest in a QB early, I want a floor to stand on and ceilings I can gaze at with wonder and awe. These three have consistently shown productivity and rarely will they ever post a terrible game that might cost you a week by themselves. Brees is the cheapest at the draft table this year as he’s coming off his least productive year since joining New Orleans. I’m not scared off and I think the TDs rebound back to normal Drew Brees Levels.

Tier 2 – Elite with a caveat

4 – Russell Wilson, 5 – Deshaun Watson, 6 – Carson Wentz, 7 – Cam Newton

I had a conversation with myself about each one of these guys and whether or not I could put them up in Tier 1. At the end of the day, I think they belong in a tier below because they are either coming off injury (Wentz, Watson), have questions with offensive scheme change (Newton, Wilson), or have something that gives me pause. With Watson, you know that rate of success over his first half season can’t be sustained…or if it is, then he’s the number 1 guy. Wentz was on an unbelievable run himself, sniffing MVP before his injury. I had both Watson and Wentz in a 2 QB league last year so I watched it all first hand. I definitely want back in. I’ve had Cam and Wilson on my squads during down years, so I know that the floor isn’t quite as high as I want it to be, but both guys have the potential to put up crazy fantasy numbers. Their ceilings are so compelling, they’re worth a shot.

Tier 3 – Good floor with a chance to be Elite

8 – Philip Rivers, 9 – Kirk Cousins, 10 – Matt Ryan, 11 – Matthew Stafford, 12 – Jared Goff, 13 – Jimmy Garoppolo, 14 – Ben Roethlisberger

We’re at the part of the program where I would recommend taking two QBs as I’m not sure any of these guys are matchup proof. Take two from this tier or one from this tier and one from Tier 4 and you’ll hopefully be able to play matchups. Rivers is my favorite of the group and while losing Hunter Henry is a big blow to this offense, I love the wide receivers and the run game to support him. Cousins has a strong fantasy argument after his last couple seasons in Washington and the Minnesota pass catchers are so much better. Ryan and Stafford are similar guys in my mind but they still rank ahead of Goff who I’m amazed has moved all the way up to QB12 after being left for dead in last year’s rankings. I love the Jimmy G hype, but I’m not sure I can go any higher than where I’ve got him with his lack of weaponry. Big Ben is in this tier mainly because of his weapons at this point, but I don’t believe he can stay healthy and he’s got the opportunity to cost you games with Bad Ben weeks.

Tier 4 – The Leap of Faith

15 – Marcus Mariota, 16 – Alex Smith, 17 – Mitchell Trubisky, 18 – Dak Prescott

Each of these guys requires, I think, a rather considerable leap of faith. Mariota was bad last year, but he’s got a new scheme and another year to work with his receivers. I still believe in this guy. Alex Smith was wonderful in Kansas City last year and he enters a system that Kirk Cousins did quite well with before leaving for Minnesota. He takes care of the ball and is a better real life QB than people want to admit, but you still have to hope that he can pick up the system. Trubisky at 17 is aggressive – fine. But I believe in the system that’s being implemented, I believe in his arm, and I believe in the weapons around him. It won’t always be pretty, but I like the schedule and I like the set up. The leap of faith with Dak is if you can believe he has enough weapons to get something done. I like Dak. I don’t like the system and I don’t like what they’ve put around him.

Tier 5 – I’m worried…

19 – Derek Carr, 20 – Andrew Luck, 21 – Pat Mahomes, 22 – Case Keenum, 23 – Tyrod Taylor, 24 – Andy Dalton

I watched a number of Raiders games last year and Carr got rid of the ball to fast that it was impossible for receivers to get open downfield or for the play to develop. Maybe Gruden gets him sorted out but there were enough flaws in his game for me to pass. My concern with Luck is all about injury. Mahomes is such an unknown that I can’t feel confident about him until I see it. I think he’s going to suffer a lot of down games. Keenum and Taylor are guys I like as real football players but they find themselves in new environs with a lot of unknowns. Dalton’s offensive line has deteriorated to dangerous levels and without time, Dalton is simply bad.

Tier 6 – Better left for the scrap heap

25 – Jameis Winston, 26 – Eli Manning, 27 – Ryan Tannehill, 28 – Josh McCown

Maybe a bit harsh and someone will find value in these guys, but they are all off the board for me. I love Josh McCown but I don’t think he keeps the job very long. Eli was so terrible last year and has been losing effectiveness for years that I don’t really get why people are still rallying to his side.

Tier 7 – Do yourself a favor and don’t waste a roster spot

29 – Josh Rosen, 30 – Sam Darnold, 31 – Joe Flacco, 32 – Sam Bradford, 33 – Baker Mayfield, 34 – Josh Allen, 35 – Blake Bortles

Rookie QBs generally aren’t worth a roster spot. If I have to pick one, I’m taking Josh Rosen, who I think will have the best career of this group. If the Browns are smart, they’ll play Tyrod at least half the year to allow Mayfield to learn. Let’s see if that happens. Darnold could be interesting once the Jets get some weapons but again, avoid this year. You would have to pay me to roster Blake Bortles.

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