I need to start you off with my quarterback tales from last season. I co-manage a team with a friend of mine. It-s a 16-team league and we where drafting at 11th or 12th. Now the draft didn't go as we thought it would when it came around to our turn to draft. As you'd expect the top players came off the board, but we had a couple of players we liked in the area we where drafting in, but they where taking right before our draft pick came up. There was no one on the board that jumped out at us; so we decided to take the top quarterback on the board. We had our choice of any quarterback we wanted and after a little discussion we decided that Andrew Luck of the Indianapolis Colts would be our pick. Now you know exactly how our season went as Luck played just 7 games and had the worst season of his young career. I do a daily podcast called Sports Time Radio and we have 2 fantasy leagues we run. One is a traditional snake league style and the other one is a straight up auction league. In my snake league style draft things went as planned for me and I ended up with Drew Brees of the New Orleans Saints, but the auction league went a little different for me. For whatever reason when quarterbacks came up I kept getting outbid or I just thought that someone was over paying for that players. As the quarterbacks went off the board I was starting to think I might not get one. Of course that was just panic and I did get a quarterback. I ended up with Jay Cutler of the Chicago Bears. Now I live in the Chicago area; so Cutler is blamed for everything negative that happens to the Bears. The odd thing about Cutler is the mistakes he makes on the actual playing field don;t hurt you as much in your fantasy league. Cutler played in 15 of 16 games last season throwing for 3659 yards, 21 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. He did ,lose 5 fumbles and was sacked 29 times last season. He also ran for 201 yards and a touchdown. Now those aren't spectacular fantasy football quarterback stats, but they're not terrible either. The interesting thing about the team I put together with Cutler at quarterback ended up going to the Super Bowl in my league. Sadly for me they did lose and of course I blamed the loss on Cutler.
Now for this season when I started looking at the quarterbacks I had an issue with Cam Newton being ranked #1. That's a bit odd for me as I've been a fan of Newton since the Carolina Panthers drafted him. Then when I got around to looking at the stats from last season I started to understand why he's ranked #1. Newton had 3837 passing yards which landed him 16th overall. Newton threw 35 touchdown passes which was tied for 2nd overall to go with just 10 interceptions which was the tied for 17th last season. He was sacked 33 times last season which made him the 12th most sacked quarterback last season. When you look at his passing stats there's some good and some bad; so it would put him kind of middle of the road as far as quarterbacks go. Now this is what separates Newton from the rest of the quarterbacks in the NFL; his running ability. Newton led quarterbacks in rushing attempts (132), yards (636) and most importantly touchdowns with 10. There is no other quarterback really close to Newton when it comes to running the football and this puts him ahead of the other quarterbacks in fantasy rankings. Jameis Winston of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers had the 2nd most rushing touchdowns by a quarterback with 6. Now in most leagues that's a 24 point fantasy margin. In my fantasy leagues Newton outscored the next quarterback who was Russell Wilson of the Seattle Seahawks by 69.31 points. I think that makes a pretty good case for Newton as the first quarterback picked this season.
If you don't get Newton there of course are other very good quarterbacks in the draft you can get. I mentioned Wilson who is rounding into a top quarterback. He threw for 4024 yards, 34 touchdowns with 8 interceptions. He'll also pick up some extra points for you as a runner. If he got in the end zone a little more running the football he'd make a run at Newton as the top guy. Can Blake Bortles of the Jacksonville Jaquars continue to improve and join the top tier of NFL quarterbacks? Bortles threw for 4428 yards, 35 touchdowns, but did throw a lot of interceptions with 18. Now if sacks are a negative in your league watch out as Bortles was sacked 51 times last season A healthy Carson Palmer is not only a good thing for fantasy owners, but for the Arizona Cardinals as well. Palmer threw for 4671 yards, 35 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. If Palmer stays healthy he should have no trouble putting up these type of numbers or better. Aaron Rodgers of the Green Bay Packers had a down season in 2015. Of course a down season was 3821 yards, 31 touchdowns with just 8 interceptions. The touchdown numbers do seem to be down, but maybe that has to do with the fact that he was sacked 46 times. If the sacks go down do the touchdowns go up? Can Ryan Fitzpatrick repeat the season he had in 2015? The New York Jets certainly hope so. Fitzpatrick threw for 3905 yards, 31 touchdowns with 15 interceptions last season, but he's not a quarterback I'm sold on. I've heard a lot of fantasy experts say that Drew Brees of the New Orleans Saints will continue a downward spiral that he's been on the last few seasons. Brees threw for 4870 yards, 32 touchdowns wit 11 interceptions. That was still the most passing yards in the NFL if the Saints receivers can find there way into the end zone a little more Brees could be a good choice. Another quarterback who should bounce back in a big way of he's healthy is Andrew Luck of the Indianapolis Colts. Luck played in just 7 games throwing for 1881 yards with 15 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. Luck was also sacked 15 times in those 7 games. If Luck can stay upright and cut down on his interception rate he should move right back into the top tier of fantasy quarterbacks. You have to think that Ben Roethlisberger of the Pittsburgh Steelers will have a big season. Le'von Bell did get his suspension reduced to 3 games, but that's still 3 games that the Steelers will have to play without there top running back. That should give Roethlisberger more chances to throw the football. Roethlisberger will takes some hits and you have to hope he'll stay healthy. He played in just 12 games last season throwing for 3938 yards with 21 touchdowns, but did have 16 interceptions. If you could get 15 or 16 games out of Roethlisberger he could put up big numbers. What can a quarterback on a bad team do for you? You can find out if you go with Phillip Rivers of the San Diego Chargers. Rivers threw for 4792 yards, 29 touchdowns with 13 interceptions. The Chargers had injuries at just about every position, but especially the offensive line. That cost Rivers 40 sacks last season. Just the return of healthy players around him may make Rivers numbers go up.
There's a breakdown of some of the top fantasy quarterbacks. Now the hot name right now at the quarterback position is Tyrod Taylor of the Buffalo Bills. There are other young quarterbacks like Marcus Mariota of the Tennessee Titans and Jameis Winston of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers who will be looking to follow up solid rookie seasons with a move into the top tier of fantasy quarterbacks.
Now I'm sure by now you noticed that I didn't include Tom Brady of the New England Patriots in this article. While Brady is a top quarterback I haven't quite figured out where to rank him with him having to serve a 4-game suspension. As I get closer to my fantasy draft I'll get him into my rankings.
Thanks for reading and feel free to leave your comments.
Published by John Burke