What kind of moron does a fantasy football rankings blog in February? Yes I know, it is ridiculous, but it is never too early to start looking at next season. Thus, I thought it would be fun to start taking a look at some fantasy football QB rankings based on where things stand today pre-draft and pre-free agency.
I’ll be revisiting this QB rankings blog several times over the next seven months before the season kicks off. Keep in mind that today’s rankings are based on a lot of guesswork, past performance, and coaching changes. I don’t think it is unfair to say that free agency and the draft could change everything in a hurry!
Drew Brees – I think that the hiring of new defensive coordinator Steve Spagnola will actually help the offense. Brees will start drives in better positions and will probably have a few games where the defense spots him seven points. Potentially losing Marques Colston hurts a lot, but thus far the New Orleans Saints have shown that they have no problem replacing old parts in free agency and the draft.
Eli Manning – Manning finished the season as arguably one of the best buys for your buck in regards to his ADP at the start of the season. Looking at the Giants today, it appears that all of the wide receivers should return with another season under their belts. There are questions about the running game which concerns me, but at the end of the day I think Eli has less questions than some of the other highly ranked QBs going into the new season.
Philip Rivers – Rivers had a down year and while there have been tons of rumors about injuries, he continues to deny them. My hunch is that this offense had guys hurt weekly and combined with the lockout, Rivers just didn’t have the time to develop chemistry and timing with his receivers. I am not nearly as concerned about a possible Vincent Jackson departure impacting his QB the way I am Finley. If this team can stay healthy and develop some chemistry coming into the season, I think Rivers has a huge comeback year.
Tom Brady – Brady had big numbers last season but I think they were a bit of a mirage. Brady put up a lot of huge scores early in the season, but seemed to come back down to earth as the season closed. He was good, damned good throughout the season, but not worth taking as your first or second draft pick in my opinion. I think five is a perfectly reasonable spot for him.
Michael Vick – Like Rivers, I see a huge comeback season for Vick. Vick was hurt and had the bad luck of a lockout coming into the season. Vick hasn’t had a full offseason yet to prepare as the starting Philadelphia Eagles QB and develop timing and chemistry with his weapons. As for DeSean Jackson, it looks like he will be sticking around under the franchise tag. Any decent QB that stays healthy is going to do well in against defenses scheming for LeSean McCoy. Health is the key and if he can stay healthy, I could easily see him breaking into the top five but I’ll stick with six for now. Regardless, I think he’ll be a steal for some of you in the draft.
Matthew Stafford – The only questions surrounding Stafford are his health and to his credit, he didn’t miss a game last season. I don’t see any downside in taking this kid early in your draft. The only reason I have him in the bottom five is like Rodgers, I think the Lions will incorporate more of a running game into their offense. That will take away some throwing opportunities at the goal line, thus Stafford should see a slight decline in production.
Matt Ryan – The big question mark for me here with this team is the new offensive coordinator. New offensive coordinators are always a red flag to me when it comes to fantasy football. Mike Mularky was regarded as one of the best in the NFL last season. The jury is out on Dick Koetter. One thing I do like about Ryan is that he is generally undervalued in drafts, thus you can take your wide receivers, running backs, maybe even a tight end and still have a shot at grabbing him. He’ll have most of his weapons back but with Mike Smith on the hot seat and a new offensive coordinator running the show, it could get ugly real fast for Ryan owners so I’ll proceed with caution.
Tony Romo – Romo is another guy like Ryan that you can get late in your draft and reap the rewards of a stud QB. The biggest factor with Romo is Romo. He’ll have some phenomenal games that will make you the smartest guy in the room for taking him in the later rounds, and he’ll also make you look like an idiot for taking him at all. I just see a lot of chaos with this Dallas Cowboys team and that instability makes me very cautious ranking Romo anywhere higher than the ninth best fantasy QB on the board.
Cam Newton – Number 10! The guy was a beast last season and led many owners like myself to fantasy gold. So why the drop off? I just think it is unrealistic to expect Newton to put up fourteen rushing TDs. Most of them came as a result of Newton becoming basically the goal line running back. Defenses will be thoroughly prepared for this going into the season and I don’t think any team wants to put their franchise QB for the future in that much danger on a weekly basis. I think he’ll give you great numbers, but a drop off here is almost a given.
Andy Dalton – Depending upon your scoring, Dalton finished fifteen or sixteen among fantasy QBs last season. That is outstanding for a guy that had low expectations coming into the season. I think he only gets better with a full offseason of preparation. A.J. Green will also only get better with more time to develop chemistry with his QB. The defenses in his division are aging and the offensive coaches will remain the same. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him finish the season in the top 10 due to one of the top 10 guys getting hurt. He could be a steal for you depending upon his A.D.P.
Ben Roethlisberger – Big Ben will have a new offensive coordinator who has already said that he plans to put some more emphasis on the running game. Those aren’t the things you want to hear as a Ben Roethlisberger owner. Between the new coordinator and Ben’s consistent ability to find himself injured every season I think he finishes the season as the 12th best QB, right around where he fell last season.
Sam Bradford – Depending upon what your expectations are out of Bradford, number 15 is either a great or disappointing spot on the rankings. I was never sold on Bradford as a franchise NFL QB. I like him, I think he has good mechanics, but he just doesn’t have the body to hold up for sixteen NFL games. Add in an entirely new coaching staff, and his third offensive coordinator in three years, and this kid has Alex Smith written all over him.
Ryan Fitzpatrick – Fitzpatrick had a real nice season for fantasy owners and I’d expect an even better one. The team looks like they’ll feature CJ Spiller more in the running game and if they keep Fred Jackson, the two could be a lethal tandem. Both guys are excellent receivers and should give Fitzpatrick plenty of opportunities at some big playaction shots down the field. Steve Johnson’s future is a big question mark which has to be taken into consideration. If Johnson was back, I’d probably rank Fitzpatrick higher. Yet even without Johnson, I think he can muster up the numbers to land him at the fifteen slot among fantasy football quarterbacks.