2014 Fantasy Football Quarterback Rankings: July 22nd update
With a couple of teams opening up training camp and the rest of the league ready to do so this week, it makes sense to update our fantasy football rankings.
From now through the start of the NFL season, I will make a weekly update to my rankings — or more frequently when situations warrant an update.
For now, here are my updated fantasy quarterback rankings for the 2014 season:
It would be hard to discuss the quarterback position without beginning the discussion with Manning. It was a historic season as Manning, a (now) five-time league MVP, broke the single-season records for both passing yards (5,477) and touchdowns (55) previously held by Drew Brees and Tom Brady, respectively, as well as numerous other records.
As dominant as Manning was with his record-setting full-season numbers, he was remarkably consistent and dominant on a weekly basis. Throwing a touchdown in every game last season, Manning had only one game (excluding the playoffs) with less than two touchdowns. In addition, he had more games (nine) with four or more touchdowns than he had with less than four scores (seven).
While many (fantasy) championships were likely won by Manning-QB'd teams last year, I would still prefer to wait to on quarterback in my fantasy league(s), but I would begin to consider him at the end of Round 2 in standard 12-team leagues.
Rodgers has a combined passer rating of 112.7 over the past three seasons with a 101:20 TD-to-INT ratio during that span. Over the past three years, he has averaged 4,589.6 passing yards per 16 games.
In addition, Rodgers has consistently posted solid rushing stats for a quarterback. Since becoming the starter in 2008, he has rushed for an average of 279 yards and 3.3 touchdowns per every 16 games.
3. Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints
For a long time, 5,000 passing yards seemed like a special feat. And it is ... for everyone else. For Brees, however, it's become an expectation. Brees has now thrown for 5,000-plus yards in three consecutive seasons. With four 5,000-yard seasons in his career, Brees is tied with all other quarterbacks in the history of the NFL. In addition, Brees has thrown for 128 touchdowns over the past three years.
Even if Brees doesn't reach 5,000 passing yards this season, he's going to come close and he's a lock to be a top-three producer in fantasy points at the position once again.
Based on my 2014 fantasy quarterback projections, there is a larger gap between No. 3 and No. 4 than there is from No. 4 to No. 10. In other words, you can make the case that any of seven quarterbacks could be slotted here.
One of the handful of 5,000-yard passers in NFL history, Stafford seems set up for his best opportunity to duplicate that feat. In addition to elite pass-catching weapons of Calvin Johnson, Reggie Bush and Joique Bell already being on the roster, the Lions have added Golden Tate via free agency as well as Eric Ebron with the 10th-overall pick in the 2014 draft.
5. Robert Griffin III, Washington Redskins
Poised for a bounce-back season with better health (thank you, Shanny) and the free-agent addition of DeSean Jackson (thank you, Chip), it's possible that Griffin III finishes as a top-five fantasy producer. If tight end Jordan Reed (concussions) can stay healthy, RG3 has one of the league's better young trios of pass-catchers with Pierre Garcon, D-Jax and Reed. After all, Andy Dalton finished as the No. 5 fantasy quarterback in Jay Gruden's offense last year.
A fantasy disappointment in 2013, Kaepernick hit his stride down the stretch with three consecutive games of 20-plus fantasy points to close the season.
One of four quarterbacks to rush for 500-plus yards last season, Kaepernick should have much more success as a passer in 2014. The loss of Michael Crabtree (Achilles) for most of last season hurt Kaepernick, but Crabtree is healthy now and the team has added upgraded their overall depth at the position via trade and draft.
Even though Luck threw 57 fewer pass attempts and Reggie Wayne (ACL) was lost for more than half of the season, Luck finished fourth among quarterbacks in fantasy points. With good health from Wayne and the free-agent addition of Hakeem Nicks, Luck has an improved supporting cast and it appears that the Colts will open up the offense a bit more this season as well.
While he may not be as athletic as the two QBs ahead of him, Luck's mobility is one of his underrated attributes. Through two seasons, he has rushed 125 times for 632 yards and nine touchdowns.
Except for setting a career high in passing touchdowns (24), Newton set career lows in passing yards (3,379), rushing yards (585) and rushing touchdowns (six) last season. Even so, Newton finished as a top-three fantasy quarterback last season. If he indeed finishes as the No. 8 fantasy scorer at QB this year, it will be the first time he has finished outside of the top five.
Even though the Panthers used their first-round pick on Florida State wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin, the Panthers have one of the league's weakest wide receiver corps (once again). Newton's bread and butter as a fantasy stud, however, is his rushing production. From his career rushing stats alone, Newton has averaged 7.73 fantasy points per game.
Entering the season as the team's backup, Foles did not throw his first pass until Week 4 against the Broncos. With a near flawless beginning to his season, Foles did not throw his first interception until Week 14 against the Lions in a weekend that was full of inclement weather around the league. Foles had entered that game with a 19:0 TD-to-INT ratio.
Even though he threw only 317 passes, Foles finished the season with 27 touchdowns, eighth-most in the NFL, and just two interceptions. While nobody will confuse Foles for Michael Vick, he did have success running the ball last season. Among quarterbacks, Foles ranked 10th in rush attempts (56) and 12th in rushing yards (225) while also scoring three touchdowns.
10. Tom Brady, New England Patriots
It was an up-and-down season for Patriots quarterback Tom Brady. To be more accurate, it was a down-and-up-and-then-back-down season for Brady from a fantasy perspective. To be fair, Brady began the season without five of the team's leading receivers from 2012.
Brady's production seemed to match the presence (or absence) of tight end Rob Gronkowski. Beginning with Gronk's third game back, Brady began a six-game stretch with five games of at least 344 passing yards that also included two games with more than 400 yards. In the seven games that Gronkowski was active, Brady averaged 315 passing yards and 1.86 touchdown passes compared to averages of 237.56 yards and 1.33 touchdowns in games he missed.
With training camp opening this week, all indications seem to point toward Gronk being ready for the season opener, which is excellent news for Brady's fantasy outlook.
While Cutler did not stay healthy for the full season, the combination of Cutler and Josh McCown threw for a total of 4,450 yards and 32 touchdowns in Marc Trestman's first season in Chicago. Through Week 16, the Cutler/McCown duo scored 289.6 fantasy points, which would have been enough to finish third among QBs last season.
Not only do the Bears have a pair of stud receivers (Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery), but Matt Forte is one of the league's best receivers out of the backfield and he set receiving career highs last season. With more familiarity of Trestman's offense, Cutler provides plenty of upside for those that wait on QB.
Recovering from back surgery, Romo expects to be 100 percent by the start of training camp, which begins on July 24th for the Cowboys (list of training camp dates). One season after throwing for 4,903 yards, Romo threw for only 3,828 yards with 31 touchdowns and 10 interceptions last season.
With an atrocious defense and Scott Linehan calling the plays, Romo could be in store for a huge season. I would at least expect him to finish (much) closer to his 4,903 yards from 2012 than his 3,828 yards from 2013.
Sacked a career-worst 44 times and throwing a career-high 17 interceptions, Ryan still managed to throw for 4,515 yards and 26 touchdowns on a career-high 651 pass attempts. In addition to poor offensive line play, Ryan was without Julio Jones for 11 games and Roddy White was slowed by injuries until the final month of the season.
Jones was having a breakout season — 116.0 YPG through five games — before a foot injury ended his season. White closed the season nearly as strong as Jones began it — 43 catches for 502 yards. Only two receivers had more yards in the final five games.
With improved health from his top two receivers, Ryan will have an opportunity to bounce back in 2014 although Tony Gonzalez has retired. (This time for good, I think.)
Despite playing in Seattle's run-first offense, Wilson still finished as the No. 9 scorer among QBs through Week 16 last year. While he won't throw many more than 400 pass attempts (has 800 through two seasons), Wilson has finished in the top 10 in passing TDs in both of his seasons with 26 per year. In addition, he has rushed for 1,028 yards and five touchdowns in his two seasons.
In the team's final nine games last season, the Steelers used the no-huddle offense with greater frequency and we should expect to see more no huddles from the Steelers in 2014. In those final nine games, the Steelers scored 10.36 more points per game than he did in their first seven games.
That change could lead to increased production from Roethlisberger, who threw for 4,261 yards and 28 touchdowns last year. Both of those totals were the second-highest of his career.
More QBs: Continue to QBs 16-40
More early 2014 Fantasy Football rankings:
- 2014 Fantasy Football RB rankings
- 2014 Fantasy Football WR rankings
- 2014 Fantasy Football TE rankings
More of our 2014 fantasy football resources:
- 2014 fantasy football mock draft simulator
- 2014 fantasy football strength of schedule
- 2014 fantasy football projections
- 2014 fantasy football profiles
- 2014 fantasy football average draft position (ADP)
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