Pre-Season Fantasy Football Rankings- Quarterbacks
By Staff Writer John Belaska
Prior to the start of last season, many fantasy experts were preaching to wait to draft quarterbacks. This might not be the case for 2014. The NFL is a passing league. It stands to reason a lot of quarterbacks are going to be able to put up a lot of points. This is why everyone was saying wait. However, the ideas of fantasy football have not changed. There is still a best and a worst.
Just because the number of quarterbacks putting up big season is increasing does not mean there is not a definite top ten. Having top quarterbacks proved to be more important than ever last season. Many owners who fell into the “wait to pick one” advice got burned last season. This is because there guys were still getting outperformed each week by the opposing team’s quarterback. Fantasy football is all about getting more points than the other guy. If you do not have player that cannot put up more points than the other guy, you lose. Sorry to go all John Madden on you; but this is why you cannot win if you wait on a quarterback. It really is as simple as that.
You definitely have a lot of strong options this season. You still have your top tier and the definite jump off to tiers two and three. Once you are down into the third tier, you are getting yourself into some risky territory. Tier one is the top three, tier two would probably be guys four through seven, and eight through ten make up the third tier. Without a guy in the top ten, you better be stacked at every other position, because it is very hard to win without a top quarterback.
Remember, you only start one quarterback. When you start thinking about drafting one, you have to make that pick count. The waiver wire is not to forgiving when it comes to this position. More than likely there is not going to be a guy that will emerge to save your season. If you do not get a week in week out starter in the draft, you are going to be switching quarterbacks each week. Avoid this headache. Your fantasy record will thank you.
10. Philip Rivers
Philip Rivers made a great comeback last year. He was not even drafted in most leagues and finished the 2013 season as a top five quarterback. There is no reason to think he is going to regress this season either. However, the AFC West’s schedule is tough this season. It is going to be much harder for anyone in the division to duplicate the stats they put up last year. Still, Rivers is a great option for owners who are looking to wait in the draft for a quarterback. It is suggested you draft a solid backup if you take Rivers due to his schedule.
9. Tony Romo
Tony Romo is one of those players that can win fantasy football easier than he can win in real football. The Cowboys’ offense is stacked at every position. Romo is the guy who keeps it firing at all cylinders. He is capable of putting up good stats every week and sometimes he will surprise owners with a huge game. It is hard to put him above Rivers after the season the Chargers quarterback is coming off, but the defenses in the NFC East are underwhelming. There will definitely be some very good games from Romo in 2014.
8. Tom Brady
It is not too often you see Tom Brady not ranked in the top two when talking about quarterbacks, but that is how things are in fantasy football. Brady is coming off a down year statistically speaking. This was due to having a wide receiver corps made up of mostly rookies, an injured Gronk, and an average running game. These things will all change this season. Julian Edleman emerged as Brady’s new Wes Welker and all those rookie wide outs will have another year under their belts. If you do not think Tom Brady cannot make a big comeback in the fantasy football world in 2014, stop playing fantasy football. He is Tom Brady! He is going to be good!
7. Cam Newton
Prior to the offseason, it looked like Cam Newton was going to be making huge strides in 2014. Last season, the Panthers’ quarterback finished within the top five in fantasy points at the position. Like many young quarterbacks in the league, his stats are helped by his ability to run. However, Cam’s combination of size and speed makes him a much bigger rushing threat in the red zone. He had more rushing touchdowns in 2013 than any other quarterback. Everything was looking good until the Panthers got rid of their best wide receiver and their second best wide receiver. With Steve Smith gone it was looking pretty bad for Newton’s 2014 fantasy season. However, the Panthers did bring in Jerricho Cotchery and Kelvin Benjamin. These two additions might end up saving Cam from being a bust. If you can get him cheap he is definitely worthwhile.
The winning quarterback from last year’s Super Bowl is going to come as a costly option at quarterback this season in fantasy drafts. Whenever someone wins the big game there is often a good deal of hype attached to them the following season. In the case of Russell Wilson, it is not unwarranted. Wilson is a great option this season. It is his third year in the system and he has really taken over that offense well. The loss of wide receiver Golden Tate hurts a bit, but it is not any reason to not consider drafting Wilson. If the Seahawks’ quarterback can find his way into the end zone more on the ground this season, he will be much better than the sixth best quarterback. However, as long as they have Beast Mode in the backfield, expecting Wilson to run the ball in for six is not something to bet on.
5. Andrew Luck
Andrew Luck is the safest option at quarterback this season. He will not be drafted as high as Manning, Brees, or Rodgers; but will be able to put up good enough stats to make him a top five quarterback. Of all the young guns in the league, Luck is the one with the best chances of not disappointing fantasy owners. He is a safe pick and is great for owners who want consistent production from their starting quarterback.
Colin Kaepernick is poised for a huge season in 2014. He may not be as safe a pick as Luck, but Colin’s upside greatly outweighs that of the Colts’ quarterback. No quarterback in the league can run as well as Kaepernick and this season defenses will have to pay much more attention to the 49ers’ receivers. Not only will Michael Crabtree be back for the entire season, but the Niners traded in order to bring in Stevie Johnson. With one of the best offensive lines, a top flight running game, and a strong group of receivers; Kaepernick looks ready to explode in fantasy football.
3. Drew Brees
Picking Drew Brees in your fantasy draft is never a bad choice. Here is a little stat for you. There have only been eight times in history when a quarterback has thrown for over 5,000 yards. Drew Brees is not only the only player who has done it twice, but he actually has reached that mark four times! He is a safer pick than Aaron Rodgers, but Rodgers has more upside. Either way you are set.
Aaron Rodgers has more upside than Drew Brees. He may not outdo Brees in the passing yards category, but he has the potential to throw more touchdowns and less interceptions. The later is what makes Rodgers a true candidate for success. The Packers will not have to rely on their passing game as much as they did in the past. With Eddie Lacy in the backfield, defenses will actually have to pay attention to the Packers’ running game. This will allow Rodgers to take even more chances down field.
Was there any doubt in your mind Peyton Manning was not going to be the number one quarterback on this list? He deserves it. His recording setting season brought championships to many owners in 2013. More than likely he will not reproduce those numbers in 2014, but he still will end up with the highest number of fantasy points for the season. Manning is the only quarterback worthy of spending a first round pick on. If you can get him in the second round, you got a steal.