It’s been about three months since we were last together discussing fantasy football but now the calendar says August. That means training camp has opened and there is actual real life football (although it’s just the meaningless Hall of Fame Game) to watch, criticize and overreact to on Monday morning. Everyone will remember last year when Ameer Abdullah busted a nifty run through the vaunted Jets run defense in the preseason and vaulted up to the 3rd round in ADP (Average Draft Position).
This season, I will be there to hold your hand throughout the preseason and regular season and will let you know information to place your faith in on your way to a fantasy championship. Today we will revisit the quarterbacks. The top 10 has had some movement since we did this in June and these rankings are fluid and subject to change before the last weekend in August, which is when most of you will have your fantasy drafts. Check back for more updates.
10. Tony Romo – Dallas Cowboys
Romo is an interesting case study. He’s remarkably consistent when he puts together healthy seasons. Since 2007, the only seasons Romo has finished outside of a QB1 (top 12 QB, for this exercise) was the year he broke his collarbone in 2010 and last year when he… broke his collarbone. 2, 12, 5, 7, 8, 10, 11 were the other finishes via Pro Football Reference. Romo has stud wide receiver Dez Bryant back from the Jones stress fracture in the foot and a new toy to play with in rookie running back Zeke Elliot that should carry much of the offensive burden, but Romo will pick his spots this year and is a great guy to target later on in drafts.
9. Philip Rivers- San Diego Chargers
Let me just state quickly that I love Philip Rivers. He’s a true leader and possesses that moxie everyone wants in a quarterback, not to mention he talks the whole game. Even my dad likes Philip Rivers. Before the Monday Night Football game last season vs Pittsburgh, he called me and said “I love this Rivers’ guy; he’s a great quarterback.” The only other current NFL player, that wasn’t once an Oklahoma Sooner, I’ve heard him bestow that honor upon was Rob Gronkowski.
So yeah. Rivers is the man. Rivers has mastered the art of the short area passing attack. Some will call it “dink and dunk” I call it “moving the chains.” He returns Keenan Allen from a lacerated kidney, gains a true deep threat in Travis Benjamin and the ageless wonder Antonio Gates returns at age 36. Not to mention the leaps Melvin Gordon and the running game could make in Year 2. Rivers is a solid option if you want to wait.
8. Ben Roethlisberger- Pittsburgh Steelers
I like Ben. I just don’t love Ben. When the news came down that Martavis Bryant had failed another drug test I was sad for the Steelers. 2016 had all the makings of a truly special offensive season in the Steel City. Now, Ben will have to make do with an inconsistent Markus Wheaton and a facsimile of Bryant in second year wide receiver Sammie Coates.
The Steelers do bring in Ladarius Green, but up until this point he’s been more potential than production. He’s got Antonio Brown, and I get that Brown is the best pass catcher playing the position at the moment but that can only boost him so much. Matt Ryan finished QB19 last year with Julio Jones and Julio had 136 catches and nearly 1,900 yards so it isn’t completely unheard of that the quarterback to a great wide receiver isn’t relevant for fantasy.
7. Tom Brady- New England Patriots
Brady would be higher on this list if not for the 4 game suspension Commissioner Goodell levied against him for his “role” in Deflategate. Unlike my podcast co-host, The Murr, who said he would have had Brady at #2 if he was slated to play 16 games I would probably have him at #4 as there are some guys I still like more. Brady is the man. He’s a future first ballot Hall of Fame dude that goes out and gets it done.
Just remember, it wasn’t that long ago that Brady was “done” after a disastrous Monday Night Football trip to Kansas City Week 4 of the 2014 season. Brady looked bad and if Peyton Manning can look mortal in 2015, Brady can look mortal in 2016. My advice is to pair Brady with a late round quarterback in your draft and that will potentially give you a combined top 5 fantasy option at the position if you choose the 4-week replacement correctly.
6. Carson Palmer- Arizona Cardinals
Arizona should be a really good offense to watch in 2016. They were good in 2014 when Palmer was healthy and playing, and it was even better in 2015 when Palmer played every game. Palmer is vitally important to this offense. After Palmer suffered a dislocated finger late in the regular season against Philadelphia, the offense wasn’t as dynamic and relied on rookie running back David Johnson and veteran mainstay wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald to carry them through the divisional round against Green Bay. If Palmer is healthy and right, this ranking will be too low but I feel the need to hedge on Palmy just a little bit.
5. Andrew Luck- Indianapolis Colts
Andrew Luck is a good quarterback. I’m not sure he’s a great quarterback but he’s definitely a good one. He has a nice stable of pass catching options in T.Y. Hilton, Donte Moncrief, Phillip Dorsett and Dwayne Allen. Luck wasn’t particularly good last year when he played, but he seemed to be turning the ship around right before he lacerated his spleen during a 250-yard 2 touchdown performance against Denver, the league’s best defense. I need to see more from Luck this season to continually rank him in my top 5 and if I see it I will feel vindicated by this ranking and if not this rank will seem absurdly high.
4. Drew Brees- New Orleans Saints
Death, taxes, and Drew Brees throwing for 4,300 yards and 30 TDs. The Saints cut Marques Colston and replaced him with Ohio State’s Mike Thomas, the nephew of Keyshawn Johnson. Thomas will hopefully provide a little more speed to the position that Colston lacked the past couple years. It took 6 weeks before Brees and stud WR Brandin Cooks found their rhythm but once they did they were lethal down the stretch.
The Saints also added a pass catching tight end in Coby Fleener, who will hope to replicate or improve upon the departed Ben Watson’s season long stat line of 74 catches on 109 targets for 825 yards and 6 TDs. Brees has the weapons and rapport with Sean Payton to make this a truly special season in the Big Easy.
3. Aaron Rodgers- Green Bay Packers
Is Jordy Nelson the magic elixir that cures this Green Bay offense? I am betting that he is. Nelson did suffer a little hiccup on his non-surgically repaired knee in training camp so make sure you monitor that situation closely as it unfolds. However, with the return of Jordy Nelson, my belief is that the Packers will regain their offensive mojo this season. Rodgers, even in a down year, threw for 3,800 yards and had 32 total TDs, 31 of those coming through the air.
2. Russell Wilson- Seattle Seahawks
Honestly you could swap DangeRuss and A-Rodg and I would have no issue with it. However, a lot of Wilson’s fantasy value last season came in the second half of the year as he and Doug Baldwin got hot. Wilson will always provide steady play so the floor, barring injury, feels very safe to me. I think he improves upon the 1 rushing TD he scored last year. In his first 8 games of last year, Wilson had only one multi-TD game. In the second half of the schedule, he had a multi-TD game every time out. The answer lies somewhere in the middle of those two extremes. Offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell will hopefully give the keys to the Seahawks offensive kingdom this year and we see more of the second-half Wilson than the first-half.
1. Cam Newton- Carolina Panthers
sCam won’t be the bargain he was last year in draft season after the news broke that Kelvin Benjamin tore his ACL in training camp. He proceeded to drag his band of misfit WRs to a 3,837 yard 35 TD season. Ace Boogie’s true value is derived from his running ability and his coaching staff’s trust of him in short yardage and red zone situations. He added another 636 yards rushing and 10 TDs on the ground last year. I however, will not own Cam in many leagues this year because the draft capital to acquire him will be more than I’m willing to pony up for his services.