These rankings are subject to change in the next 3 months but we will be with you every step of the way, helping you prepare for your 2016 fantasy football season and eventual world domination. Stay tuned for my top fantasy RB rankings, which will be released tomorrow.
10. Derek Carr- Oakland Raiders
The Raiders are back, baby! Carr looked the part of a franchise passer last year and looks poised to claim the title of AFC West’s best passer this year from Philip Rivers. He has wide receivers, Michael Crabtree and Amari Cooper as his top two options outside and a promising tight end in Clive Walford over the middle and in the red zone. I am betting on Carr turning in a truly special season bid in 2016 ala Andy Dalton in 2015.
9. Tony Romo- Dallas Cowboys
Like Big Ben, Romo gets hurt a lot. This ranking is assuming that first round draft choice, Ezekiel Elliott takes some of the burden off Romo’s shoulders and that balance helps Romo stay healthy and more efficient like he was in 2014, which was the best season of his career. Romo still has Dez Bryant who is a speed merchant and a red zone nightmare, so scoring opportunities should come in bunches.
8. Carson Palmer- Arizona Cardinals
Palmer has all the weapons you could ever ask of your fantasy quarterback. My concern is his health and age. Palmer has one of the strongest arms in the game but if that precipitously drops off then the Cards passing game could resemble that of the 2015 Broncos. Palmer had a truly awful postseason run against the Packers in a game that the Cards were lucky to win and the NFC Championship game debacle where Palmer had 6 turnovers in a beatdown loss.
I love that Bruce Arians wants to throw on seemingly every play, but with the Desert Swarm defense and a strong finish to his rookie season by running back, David Johnson, I wonder if maybe the game plan gets just a tiny bit more conservative. Palmer has thrived on volume since Arians took over and if that volume decreases so too will Palmer’s efficiency.
7. Tom Brady- New England Patriots
The Golden Arm would be five spots higher in my rankings if he wasn’t missing four games due to suspension. He’s still Brady. He has Gronk, a healthy Edelman and a (hopefully fully) healthy Dion Lewis. The Pats also added mercurial tight end, Martellus Bennett in the offseason in an attempt to recreate some of the magic Gronk and Aaron Hernandez had in the beginning part of the decade.
6. Ben Roethlisberger- Pittsburgh Steelers
Antonio Brown still plays for the Steelers? Yeah and Big Ben will continue to put up monster numbers with Brown on the field. Martavis Bryant’s season-long suspension gives me a little apprehension putting him any higher than this, but the addition of Ladarius Green should help assuage the blow of his absence. Ben is a walking injury, so buyer beware but I am a believer that Pittsburgh’s offense will be among the very best in the NFL in 2016.
5. Drew Brees- New Orleans Saints
Death, taxes, and Drew Brees throwing for 4,300 yards and 30 touchdowns, mark it down. 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 wide receiver Brandin Cooks found their rhythm, but once they did they were a lethal duo down the stretch.
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 touchdowns. Brees has the weapons and rapport with Sean Payton to make this a truly special season in the Big Easy.
4. Russell Wilson- Seattle Seahawks
Honestly you could swap DangeRuss and Luck 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 but I don’t think he throws for 35 touchdowns again. He should also rush for more than the 1 touchdown he had last year. Through the first 8 games of last season, Wilson had only one multi-touchdown game. In the second half of the schedule, he had a multi-touchdown game every time out. The answer lies somewhere in the middle of those two extremes.
3. Andrew Luck- Indianapolis Colts
Here is another guy that I am going to give the benefit of the doubt too. Luck only played 7 games last year and wasn’t particularly good in them after being drafted as the first QB, according to the Average Draft Position last August.
When healthy, Luck and the offensive system he runs is fantasy gold with all the deep shots they take and two really good wideouts in T.Y. Hilton and Donte Moncrief on the outside. With the ageless wonder, Frank Gore staring down the barrel of his 33rd birthday this Saturday and another year of Phillip Dorsett learning the Colts playbook, this offense should be scary good. It is all about volume here.
2. Aaron Rodgers- Green Bay Packers
Rodgers had a relatively down year in 2015, so this is more of a faith-based exercise ranking him this high. With the return of Jordy Nelson from a torn ACL, 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 touchdowns, 31 of those coming through the air.
1. Cam Newton- Carolina Panthers
Cam will not be the bargain pick he was in last year’s’ fantasy football draft after the news broke of Kelvin Benjamin tearing his ACL in training camp. He proceeded to drag his band of misfit wide receivers to a 3,837 yard, 35 touchdown season. But Ace Boogie’s true value is derived from his running ability and his coaching staff’s trust of him in short yardage red zone situations. He added 636 yards and 10 touchdowns on the ground last year.
Stay tuned for my top 20 RB rankings to be released tomorrow.