Fantasy Flex Rankings – Quarterback

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With workouts now over and teams having their first official look at their rookies and players, fantasy fans are now starting to hunger for information and rankings for upcoming drafts.  Yes, draft season is quite possibly the best time of year.  It’s a time of eternal optimism, trash talk that doesn’t necessarily need to be backed up yet, and constant change as teams make roster decisions that have far ranging effects on fantasy teams.

Disclaimer:  Below are my rankings for the Top 25 quarterbacks who I would prefer over others with no respect to average draft positions from current mock drafts.   The rankings apply to re-draft leagues and do not take into consideration keeper league rules.  These rankings were done with my gut and the most up to date information as of the time of this writing.

Tier 1
Aaron Rodgers
Tom Brady
Drew Brees
Michael Vick
Mathew Stafford

Most of Tier 1 is agreed upon by major outlets, except I change out Cam Newton for Michael Vick.  Vick throughout his whole career has been an alternator season to season in his production.  Vick was fantastic 2 years ago, mainly because of his 9 rushing touchdowns, along with 3,000 yards passing, and 21 passing touchdowns.  Last year, the Eagles’ quarterback had only 18 passing touchdowns, rushed for 1 touchdown, and was less efficient, throwing 14 interceptions,  If his pattern continues (DeSean Jackson’s new contract and a new defensive coordinator would say so), expect Vick to have around 26 total touchdowns and 9 interceptions.

Tier 2
Peyton Manning
Jay Cutler
Cam Newton

Tier 2 is a “SURPRISE!!!” group.  I see Peyton Manning getting off to a slow start as the season begins, but by mid-season he will be his normal self  once he finds his timing with Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker.  Meanwhile, I don’t believe Cam Newton can repeat what he did last year because Steve Smith likely had a fluke season last year and is now a year older, and the Carolina Panthers are still missing a solid, second wide receiver.  To the north, I expect Cutler to be “down and throwing” in a tough NFC North division. Plus, the Bears just added Culter’s favorite career target, Brandon Marshall.

Tier 3
Tony Romo
Ben Roethlisberger
Eli Manning
Matt Schaub
Ryan Fitzpatrick

Solid.  Tier 3 is perfectly described that way.  Any of these guys could end the season in the top 10, but don’t seem to have top 3 upside.  Schaub, Big Ben, and Romo all come with injured pasts, while Fitzpatrick needs to prove he can be successful for a full season.  On the other side, Eli just needs to throw more touchdowns.   He finished the season as the #6 quarterback in many leagues last year, trying to prove that he was an elite quarterback.  Well Eli, elite players do it for consecutive years.  It’s time to step up.

Tier 4
Josh Freeman
Philip Rivers
Andy Dalton
Joe Flacco
Matt Ryan

Speaking of stepping up, that’s the expectations for Tier 4.  All of these guys have upside, especially Josh Freeman.  The Tampa Bay Buccaneers took this offseason to help out Freeman, and the offense, by adding Vincent Jackson and rookie runningback Doug Martin.  If Freeman even performs similar to how he did in 2010, he could be a top 10 quarterback at the end of the season.  On the same note, Andy Dalton has a chance to improve with, hopefully, having a healthy Jermaine Gresham and A.J. Green all season.

Now, I believe Philip Rivers and the San Diego Chargers have a chance to be one of the worst teams in the league this year playing in a competitive division.  After losing Vincent Jackson to the Bucs and Mike Tolbert to the Panthers, it feels like the only offensive playmaker Philip Rivers has to work with is an injury prone Antonio Gates which could spell doom for Rivers’ fantasy value.

Tier 5
Alex Smith
Matt Cassell
Sam Bradford
Andrew Luck
Matt Hasselbeck
Robert Griffin III
Kevin Kolb

Tier 5 is all fliers and fill-ins.   Truthfully, I’m happy with anybody taking any of these players in whatever order they so choose.  Each one has a certain amount of upside to them.  Hasselbeck has explosive wide receivers, Kenny Britt and rookie Kendall Wright.  Alex Smith has his defense and possibly a good Randy Moss.  Finally, Sam Bradford will have Danny Amendola, who was believed to be Wes Welker Jr., back from injury this year.  Meanwhile, Kevin Kolb has Larry Fitzgerald and now Michael Floyd.  Robert Griffin III and Andrew Luck are just talented young guys.

Ultimately, you have to make your own decisions come draft/auction time.  These rankings here are just a small qualitative guide to quarterbacks I prefer to build my teams around.  In the words of The League (on FX), don’t be a rankings slave.

Check me out on Twitter @twoxtreme and look for tomorrow’s Fantasy Flex Rankings here on The Farm Club.

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  • http://mattpocket.wordpress.com mattpocket

    Rivers is still a guy who throws a lot, and will likely need to throw a lot more with some of the other changes happening on that team. Don’t think he should be so low in terms of fantasy value. He’s a guy who’s usually around 4,000 yards, and many people’s frustrations with him have been the total package, not necessarily fantasy-wise.

  • Mahkey

    Alex Smith is a tier 5 QB based on what? Just wondering your thinking on that one nick

    • nichbeesley

      The reason I rank Alex Smith as a Tier 5 quarterback is that he may not hold onto the starting job this year. San Francisco is currently building their offense for the future and for the abilities of Colin Kaepernick. Also, the 49ers didn’t exactly help Alex Smith’s self-confidence (something Alex has admitted is a problem) by going after Peyton Manning during the offseason, despite San Fran’s backpedaling to say otherwise. Part of what made Smith so successful last year was Jim Harbough’s clear belief in him as “his guy” which has now been undermined. Last time Alex had self-confidence issues he was replaced in several games by David Carr. Yes, David Carr.

      On a more statistical note, Alex Smith was ranked around the 14th fantasy quarterback at the end of the season (depending on scoring) despite having arguably his best season as a starter. This production alone would still only put him in between my tier 3 and 4 for this season. Add in the fact he had his most efficient season last year, that he is not likely to repeat, with 61.3% passing efficiency (his best season), 17 passing TD’s (2nd best season), and only 5 interceptions (2nd best season). That’s not even to mention he had some of the best chances to score last year with the 49ers’ defense giving them great field position with their 38 forced turnovers (tied for league high). I don’t expect that team as a whole repeating their performance this year and that means Alex will likely dip in production.

  • http://stefanjagot.wordpress.com Stefan Jagot

    This may have been solid information to place in the actual post ;)

    • nichbeesley

      If I wrote that kind of information on every player, I would be creating a database, not an article.

      • http://stefanjagot.wordpress.com Stefan Jagot

        Very true but I think it would help for the controversial ones such as Alex Smith, but keep up the work bud, I have enjoyed it thus far.

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  • http://thefantasyfumble.wordpress.com The Fantasy Fumble

    I love all the hate on Philip Rivers. He is good, but his reveivers are not. I may take Cam Newton a little higher, but I can see him going later if he doesnt get as many rushing attempts and TD’s. I was wondering what why you put RG, III so low? On my board I have him as like the first back-up taken because he kindof sets up like Cam from last year. Any thoughts? Hit me back @FantasyFumble or FantasyFumble.com

    • nichbeesley

      I don’t rank RG III so high for several reasons especially in comparison to Cam Newton last year. First, he doesn’t have a very strong running game behind him where Cam Newton had 3 very good to solid running backs. Washington is hit or miss at best. The Redskins receivers meanwhile, although talented, have never proven to be pro-bowl caliber unlike Newton having Steve Smith. One thing RG III does have going for him, though, is his tight ends (Fred Davis, Chris Cooley). In order for RG III to reach his potential this year, Shanahan will have to change his gameplans to include more two tight end sets. In the end, I don’t think you see Griffin being a fantasy starter until the last few weeks of the season or until next year.

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