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.
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 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.
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.
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.
Robert Griffin III
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.