Fantasy Football: Breaking out the 36 best QBs

Fantasy Football: Breaking out the 36 best QBs
July 30, 2014, 3:30 pm
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(Matthew Emmons - USA TODAY Sports)

Our 2014 fantasy football rollout continues with a look at quarterbacks. Before we get to the 1-36 list, some specific thoughts on those passers of the pigskin...

Lets look past the starry trio of Peyton ManningAaron Rodgers and Drew Brees. There are pros and cons with the next 10 or so names on the list. The "uncertainty" is more about hair-splitting differences in the rankings than whether they can play. Now, every fantasy pundit and owner will have their favorites and guys they wont touch, but from a draft strategy/tiers standpoint, waiting is likely the best plan. Everyone currently standing on a soapbox screaming for or against specific players would likely concede the difference between those ranked between 4 to 12 or possibly down to 16 isn't so great when factoring in draft round or auction dollars needed. 

I'm not so much in love with Matt Ryan or Tony Romo this year, but what I dig about them is knowing what they're all about. That's an advantage over most of the mid-to-late QB1 types. Robert Griffin III's fantasy prowess as a rookie stemmed from his amazing rushing stats, but based on early reports - and logic -, I'm not convinced he's going to turn upfield more than a couple of times per game. Cam Newton had off-season ankle surgery and Carolina's wide receiver situation isn't the prettiest. Tom Brady may be the Golden Boy, but his fantasy numbers were downright pedestrian when Rob Gronkowski missed games. Gronk is healthy now, but you'd have to have a screw loose to be truly confident he plays 14 or more games. Nick Foles lost DeSean Jackson and Colin Kaepernick loses the completion percentage battle with most viable QBs. Finally, Jay Cutler is Jay Cutler, which means no matter how great everything looks with all those passing game weapons his side, don't expect a straight path to prosperity. Rankings for Ryan (6), who I didn't like heading into last season, and Romo (11) are based on their talent and situation, but also their relative steadiness compared to the others, not to mention the obvious weapons around them.

Training camp and preseason reports, whether amazing or brutal, should be consumed slowly so as to not overdose on love or hate. However, for many of the QB1 options, these updates will help answer questions about which guys we want starting and which guys we want someone else to draft.

  • Now, if you do wait on QBs and decide to go with a tag-team approach, don't wait too long. Get past the Philip RiversRussell Wilson and Ben Roethlisberger section and the drop-off occurs. Plan out a weekly schedule and I'm sure you find ways to incorporate Alex SmithEli Manning and Carson Palmer into rotation. Anything beyond that in 10-12 team leagues becomes dicey for sure, though there are some sleepers for sure, including Palmer.
  • Finally, let's talk Johnny Manziel. As of this minute it appears Brian Hoyer will be the Cleveland Browns Week 1 starter.  Frankly, that's the way it should be; Hoyer looked good in limited work last season while the rookie is a rookie but a pro on the party circuit. Even if Hoyer starting turns into reality, that doesn't mean Manziel's fantasy value turns into a pumpkin. Let me state that I'm not wild about him as an NFL quarterback, but that's obviously not the same as being a viable fantasy option. Anybody that owned Terrelle Pryor last season is nodding right now. Manziel's scrambling ability makes him a potential fantasy threat. Guys like Sam Bradford or Joe Flacco or Hoyer will be available as free agents throughout the season. Players with Manziel's will not. Don't make Johnny Football a focal point of your draft day plan. But if you already have a stud starter, Manziel makes more sense as a backup simply as a potential trade chip than many ranked around him. Now, speaking of the rankings...

The rankings are based on standard scoring (TDP = 4 points, 25 passing yards = 1 point)

1) Peyton Manning, Broncos
2) Aaron Rodgers, Packers
3) Drew Brees, Saints
4) Matthew Stafford, Lions
5) Andrew Luck, Colts
6) Matt Ryan, Falcons
7) Robert Griffin III, Redskins
8) Cam Newton, Panthers
9) Tom Brady, Patriots
10) Jay Cutler, Bears
11) Tony Romo, Cowboys
12) Nick Foles, Eagles
13) Colin Kaepernick, 49ers
14) Philip Rivers, Chargers
15) Russell Wilson, Seahawks
16) Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers
17) Alex Smith, Chiefs
18) Andy Dalton, Bengals
19) Ryan Tannehill, Dolphins
20) Eli Manning, Giants
21) Johnny Manziel, Browns
22) Josh McCown, Bucs
23) Carson Palmer, Cardinals
24) Jake Locker, Titans
25) E.J. Manuel, Bills
26) Sam Bradford, Rams
27) Joe Flacco, Ravens
28) Bryan Hoyer, Browns
29) Teddy Bridgewater, Vikings
30) Chad Henne, Jaguars
31) Matt Schaub, Raiders
32) Geno Smith, Jets
33) Ryan Fitzpatrick, Texans
34) Matt Cassel, Vikings
35) Blake Bortles, Jaguars
36) Tom Savage, Texans