Starting today, I will be running a weekly Fantasy Football article each Friday addressing positional rankings, sleepers, overrated players, etc. We start week 1 with an opening look at the top 12 QBs - we will revisit the rankings again mid Pre-Season.
**Note: Positional rankings and fantasy value will be based off PPR leagues
1. Peyton Manning
Not a shocker here. While I wouldn't expect another season of 5,400+ yards and 55 TDs, with the weapons Peyton has and the way the team is built, the only way I see Peyton not getting to 4,500 yards and 40+ TDs is an injury (always a possibility with 38 year old player).
2. Drew Brees
Brees lost his safety outlet in Sproles and may have a disgruntled Graham on his hands, but given the Saints desire to pass to set up the pass, Brees should still be worthy of a high pick. In his 8 seasons since joining the Saints, Brees has averaged 35.4 TDs and 4,841.6 yards per season (and has only missed 1 game).
3. Aaron Rodgers
Rodgers is the youngest of the top 3 but he has had some injury concerns, has the least dynamic weapons, plays in the worst weather and has a much improved running game. With all that said, he is still one hell of a QB with pinpoint accuracy and, barring injury, should be a sure bet for 4,000+ yards and 30+ TDs.
4. Matthew Stafford
Stafford is the prototypical "gunslinger" and with the weapons he has (CJ, Tate, Broyles, Ebron, Pettigrew and Bush), big numbers should come. While I wouldn't start my NFL franchise with a guy like Stafford (accuracy concerns, injury concerns and turnover concerns), a fantasy franchise is different. In his last 3 seasons, Stafford has averaged 4,885 yards, 30 TDs and 16 games.
5. Matt Ryan
The Falcons may have had a disappointing 2013, but Ryan did not - especially given the injuries on offense. Over the last 4 seasons, Ryan has averaged 4,279 yards and 28.75 TDs. While the retirement of Tony Gonzalez takes away a reliable target, the return of a healthy Jones, White and Jackson should mean good things for Ryan and Ryan owners.
6. Tom Brady
Fantasy owners were not happy with Brady in 2013, but the guy still threw for 4,343 yards and 25 TDs. 2013 was more the result of Brady missing his top 2 targets most of the year (Amendola and Gronk) more than anything. With the exception of 2008, when Brady was injured in the first week, he has averaged 4,584.8 yards and 35.3 TDs. He has also never thrown more than 14 INTs and has averaged just 9.3 INTs over his last 6 seasons.
7. Andrew Luck
Luck is the opposite of Stafford - I would start my franchise with him, but he has yet to show he has top fantasy value. In his 2 seasons, Luck has averaged 23 TDs and 4,000+ yards but 13.5 INTs and 8 fumbles. The Reason Luck finds himself in the top 10 is the fact that Luck finally has a worthy WR corps and will also give you some rushing value (300+ yards and 4.5 TDs).
8. Nick Foles
Foles has yet to play a full season, but he looked great under Chip Kelly's offense in 2013. In 13 games, Foles had 2,891 yards, averaged 9.12 YPA and had 27 TDs...and more impressively just 2 INT. While 35 TDs may be too much to expect in year two, it is not out of reach in Kelly's up tempo offense.
9. Tony Romo
I hear the laughter, but Romo fantasy owners know he is a valuable fantasy QB. In 2013 Romo was 1 of 5 QBs with 30+ TDs (31) and 1 of just 6 full time starting QBs to throw 10 INTs or less. In fact, in his last 6 healthy seasons (13+ games), Romo has averaged 29.7 TDs and 4,176.2 yards and has never (as in never in his career) topped 19 INTs. Throw in the fact that Romo still has good weapons around him, and Romo is a quality fantasy QB.
10. Philip Rivers
Remember when Rivers was a top 5 QB? Well, he finally got a young weapon in 2013 (Allen) and he had a resurgence - 32 TDs and 4,478 yards. It may come as a surprise, but over the last 6 seasons, despite lackluster weapons, Rivers has averaged 29.5 TDs and 4,280.2 yards per season.
11. Andy Dalton
I can hear the anger of Bengals fans already, but by the numbers - and after all, that is what fantasy is - Dalton was a top QB: 3rd in the entire NFL with 33 TDs and 7th with 4,293 yards. While his numbers will likely decrease with a run oriented OC, so should his INTS (20).
12. Ben Roethlisberger
Roethlisberger is one of the most underrated fantasy QBs. Maybe it is because all of my leagues are based in Cincinnati, but he seems to always go between the 7th-10th round - not bad for a guy who has averaged 25 TDs and 3,731 yards and just 12.3 INTs over his last 6 healthy seasons (13+ games). Those are better numbers than Luck and Luck will go way ahead of Roethlisberger in your draft.