Today we are going to go over some very early tips for drafting quarterbacks this year in fantasy football. As will always be the case, these rankings are based on standard scoring in a 12 team league. Most drafts wont’ be taking place for at least another 3 weeks, so there is a good chance there will be some movement in the coming weeks as the preseason rolls out, camps get underway, and certain teams become more clear.
These rankings are based on personal belief for the upcoming season and a few mock drafts I ran through.
Now the rankings:
- Tom Brady
- Aaron Rodgers
- Drew Brees
Based on scheme and personnel, these will be the top 3 quarterbacks that should come off the board in your league in some order. I give Brady the nod overall because somehow the Patriots just keep adding weapons every season so he will never retire, although your team will be just fine if you happen to get Aaron Rodgers. Drew Brees is going to throw the ball around, so he’s a safe bet to be a great option. However, on a personal note, I won’t stress it if I don’t get any of these guys because there are still plenty of options.
Round to Consider Drafting: Middle 3rd (Picks 5-10) on
- Matt Ryan
- Kirk Cousins
- Jameis Winston
- Russell Wilson
- Cam Newton
If you happen to miss out on the first wave of quarterbacks, Tier 2 still holds plenty of players who will provide value to help you win your league. Matt Ryan helmed one of the most explosive offensive attacks in the NFL last year and they didn’t lose any personnel. Kirk Cousins is once again on a one year deal and the addition of Terrelle Pryor should give him one more safe option. Winston continues to shine as a quarterback, and this could be the year he takes a significant jump with the additions of Desean Jackson and OJ Howard. Russell Wilson can get you points throwing the ball, but also has the use of his legs to score some red zone opportunities. Cam is a wildcard here… depending on when he is available in your draft he’s worth scooping up, but he has had some injury issues recently which could effect his performance.
Rounds to Watch: Middle 5 (Picks 4-8) to Middle 9
- Derek Carr
- Dak Prescott
- Marcus Mariota
- Andrew Luck
- Phillip Rivers
First and foremost, all of these quarterbacks are in passing attacks that could very easily land them in the top 10 in the NFL, so if you end up with any of them you are doing well. Most people will probably disagree with me on having Andrew Luck outside of the top 10, but there are a few reasons I just don’t trust him.
- He’s coming off of a major shoulder surgery in January and still hasn’t thrown a football.
- The Offensive Line is largely the same unit they trotted out last year, and they weren’t that great to begin with.
- Outside of TY Hilton, there truly aren’t that many targets to throw to. Donte Moncrief has struggled to stay on the field in his career and we are at the point where we can seriously say Phillip Dorsett was a bust (unless like most people you called him that on draft night two years ago).
I understand the love for Andrew Luck, but I’d rather miss on him in my fantasy draft/rankings until he proves he can stay healthy and productive.
Rounds to Watch: Middle 9 (Picks 4-7) to Late 11 (Picks 9-12)
- Tyrod Taylor
- Carson Wentz
- Ryan Tannehill
- Andy Dalton
- Matt Stafford
The fourth tier of quarterbacks is filled with QBs that have some high upside and will most likely throw the ball around a lot. Taylor ranks first in this group because of his ability to be a dual threat on the ground, as well as the fact that he has motivation to play well given his contract situation. Wentz saw his receiver corp add Alshon Jeffrey and is a sure bet to throw the ball 500 times. Tannehill is in an offense that can cater to his strengths and has a very QB friendly coach. I am probably higher on Dalton than most, but with the weapons he has and the players they added in the draft he could easily surprise people and rank in the top 10 at the end of the year. Stafford is always a solid fantasy option and he didn’t lose any offensive talent during the offseason.
Rounds to Watch: Early 10 (2-4) to Middle 14 (4-6)
- Ben Roethlisberger
- Eli Manning
- Joe Flacco
- Blake Bortles
- Alex Smith
- Carson Palmer
The last section of players that have a strong chance to be drafted in most leagues. I am not very high on Ben Roethlisberger this year. I know he returns Martavius Bryant and still has Antonio Brown and Le’Veon Bell, but there are two things I don’t like about Big Ben. First, he’s starting to get old (to the point where he considered retirement this offseason). Second, Roethlisberger is good for one injury a year that is serious enough that his status for a few weeks is questionable. As he ages, I just don’t know if he can still trot out there. Similar with Eli, except add in the fact that the offensive line in front of his is average at best. Flacco could be a surprise this year with a strong and speedy wide receiver corp. Bortles will have to show that he can rebound from last year’s disappointing season. Smith is a solid but not fantastic option. Carson Palmer was awful last year and needs to prove it was a fluke, not his age getting to him.
Rounds to Watch: Early 14 to End of Draft
All players below this point are for deeper teams or possibly fliers during your bye week. I wouldn’t recommend drafting any of them since the list is mainly back-ups or very low ceiling starters. Every player below here (unless you’re in a keeper league) will be available in free agency after your draft.
- Sam Bradford
- Trevor Siemien
- Mike Glennon
- Deshaun Watson
- Brock Osweiler
- Brian Hoyer
- Josh McCown
- Jared Goff
- Paxton Lynch
- Tom Savage
- Cody Kessler
- Jimmy Garroppolo
- Landry Jones
- Mitch Trubisky
- Christian Hackenberg
- Drew Stanton
- Matt Barkley
- AJ McCarron
- Deshone Kizer
- Patrick Mahomes
Finally, a few observations I have had from my mock drafts.
Players I Won’t Own in Any League
Any Quarterback Drafted Before Round 7
Since this is a cop out, I’ll get more specific in a moment. Unless there is a monumental run on QB’s in the 5th or 6th round, I don’t worry about drafting one until later because there are still some really good values available. I’ve done mock drafts where I had my pick of Kirk Cousins and Jameis Winston in Round 9, and I’m perfectly fine with that.
Specific Players I Won’t Own
For the reasons above and the simple fact that I’ve seen him going in Rounds 5-7 in the drafts I’ve been a part of… just no thanks. I’ll gladly take the receiver or running back who falls a spot because somebody is drafting Big Ben based on what he’s done in the past 10 years and not what he’ll do next year.
I just don’t trust the shoulder or the offensive line. Frank Gore isn’t getting any younger and there isn’t a clear cut replacement if he goes down, which also hurts the run game and puts Luck in a position to throw more and therefore get hit more. Hard pass.
Players That Seem to Fall to Me
Kirk Cousins: Average Spot: Early/Middle Round 9 (Picks 1-5)
Jameis Winston: Average Spot: Middle Rd. 9/Middle Rd. 10 (picks 5-8)
Phillip Rivers: Average Spot: Middle Rd. 12-Middle Rd. 13
Marcus Mariota: Average Spot: Middle 10 (Picks 6/7)- Late 11 (Picks 9-11)
In my mock drafts, Andy Dalton routinely goes undrafted. This is a guy who has a top wideout in the league (AJ Green), a solid tight end (Tyler Eifert) and added a great speed threat and possibly the best rookie running back in the NFL (John Ross and Joe Mixon). Dalton isn’t the best deep ball thrower, but he has a lot of weapons. Don’t be shocked if he sneaks his way into the top 10 for fantasy points this year.
Young Player to Grab
There is a great chance Watson breaks camp as the starter for the Houston Texans. They’ve got an aggressive defense that likes to force turnovers so he could get plenty of chances to throw the ball. Also, with DeAndre Hopkins at receiver, he has a bonafide #1 reciever to target. Watson is the rookie to want this year in fantasy football.
Runner up: Mitch Trubisky
If the Bears and Mike Glennon start slow (spoiler, they will), then the calls for Trubisky in Chicago will get loud. If John Fox wants to save his job, he may throw him out there and hope for the best.