My rankings are not necessarily how I think each player will finish in total points or even points per game, but it factors in everything from safety in terms of injury risk and opportunities for production, to high upside and high floors in terms of potential.
1. Peyton Manning- A decline from his 2013 regular season is surely to come, but it’s Peyton Manning in a highly talented offense. Don’t over think this one.
2. Aaron Rodgers- Some may be timid after seeing Rodgers miss much of the regular season last year, but I think he has the most potential to dethrone Manning from the #1 QB spot. His tendency to extend plays with his feet has its downside with more injury risk, but those rushing yards can significantly help a QB’s value.
3. Drew Brees- I’m not particularly high on the Saints this year, but Drew Brees and Peyton Manning have been the only 2 fantasy QBs in the past 3 years to finish in the top 3. Safety here.
4. Matthew Stafford- Adding Eric Ebron and Golden Tate can only help a quarterback that is going to get a high volume of passing attempts.
5. Tom Brady- Oh yeah, let the “homer” comments begin. Brady had a poor 2013 regular season in fantasy, but let’s not forget that he was missing Rob Gronkowski for much of the season. Of course, Gronk is certainly not a lock to stay healthy, but Brady was also missing a man by the name of Shane Vereen who gave a dynamic aspect to the offense. If these guys can stay healthy for most of this year and one of the young wide receivers can improve in their sophomore season, then I expect Brady to return to form as a legit 2nd tier QB in fantasy.
6. Cam Newton- I love where many sites are ranking Newton this year on the basis of “he lost all his wide receivers in the offseason”. What did they REALLY lose in Carolina? An aged and banged up Steve Smith? Brandon laFell? If anything, there is more upside this year for Newton’s passing options. Any concern I have with Newton is his ankle that he had surgery on in the offseason. Newton gets much of his fantasy production running the ball, so if he isn’t 100% on his legs then that could affect his value.
7. Colin Kaepernick- I believe that Kaepernick’s 2013 preseason ranking had a lot to do with his performances in the postseason the previous year and the potential everyone saw in the run-option. That kind of didn’t work, and Kaepernick struggled for much of the start of the 2013 season. He once again amazed us in the playoffs last year, and once again I’m on board with him for this regular season. With Crabtree healthy this year and the addition of Stevie Johnson from Buffalo, Kaepernick has all the tools to be a beast in fantasy.
8. Andrew Luck- Another year of experience and gets Reggie Wayne back healthy, I think Luck continues to take strides as a better fantasy option. I feel he is being a little overrated after I checked his game log of 2013. He only had 7 games where he threw for more than 1 TD, and only 6 games of 250+ passing yards. His rushing stats do help, but I’m going to want to see more volume from Luck if he climbs up my rankings as a fantasy QB.
9. Robert Griffin III- A new offense, a new year after a horrendous 2013 campaign, a year fully healed from a torn up knee, RG3 is the risk/reward QB of 2014. He is the guy you can get later in drafts that has potential to be the #1 fantasy QB, but he also could be waiver wire material at some point mid-season.
10. Tony Romo- I expect Dallas to be home of the worst defense in the NFL this year, and that only means Romo will continue to throw too many passes. Too many passes may affect the Cowboys’ chance negatively as a football team due to their neglect to run the ball for time of possession, but it certainly only means good things for fantasy football. Volume, volume, volume. The back is a slight concern to hold up for 16 games, though.
11. Jay Cutler- I don’t understand why the Bears didn’t go out and try to find a suitable backup for Cutler due to his tendency to miss time. Anyways, when Cutler is playing, he’s in an offense with Alshon Jeffery, Brandon Marshall and Matt Forte. If he wasn’t such an injury risk, Cutler would be much higher up my rankings.
12. Andy Dalton- So much bad press for Andy Dalton. He may not be a great NFL QB, but he does put up fantasy numbers, and he has been improving each and every season of his 3-year career. He might put up a dud or two for you, but Dalton is in an offense that is going to put up big number. He finished at the #4 QB last year in fantasy, and I love his value in 2014 drafts.
13. Nick Foles- An underrated athlete in a high-tempo offense. I expect his efficiency to greatly decline this year, and I feel he is being way too hyped on many other sites. He has a chance to finish top 10, but I also think we are overlooking the fact that he could fall from grace in Philadelphia.
14. Matt Ryan- I like Ryan’s chances better to finish higher than Foles this year, but I am not putting him ahead of Foles because I just don’t believe in Ryan’s ceiling. Yes, he is going to throw for a ton of yards, but Atlanta just doesn’t have the history of throwing the ball once they get inside the 10 yard-line. Losing a premier red-zone target in Tony Gonzalez won’t help.
15. Ben Roethlisberger- Similar to Rivers, Roethlisberger was a monster for about a 5 week stretch last year. With Heath Miller healthy and another year of Antonio Brown solidifying himself as a legit #1 option, I think Roethlisberger will put up similar numbers, if not better numbers, as last year.
16. Philip Rivers- He came back from the dead last year to start the regular season, but his production started to decline after week 5. I think Rivers proved that he’s still a solid NFL QB, but after Keenan Allen I don’t see the talent around him to make him have too much upside this season.
17. Russell Wilson- You may be surprised seeing Wilson so low, but I’m not buying his fantasy value. Yes, he’s a threat to pick up yards running, but the Seahawks are going to have games where they choose to not throw the ball. He will sprinkle in some great games here and there, but I don’t want a QB who’s a legitimate risk of putting up single digit fantasy points.
18. Ryan Tannehill- If you are drafting a QB this late then shoot for the stars. Tannehill’s new coahing staff is looking to run a high-tempo offense similar to the Eagles, and Tannehill is a former WR and has great statistics on the run. Maybe this is the year he becomes the man in Miami.
19. Johnny Manziel- Why not? If he becomes the starter, then we know what this guy can do on the field. A huge flyer, but no expectations here.
20. Sam Bradford- He looked pretty good statistically last year before he got hurt, so perhaps Bradford can do it again. My money is on that he also get hurt again. Flyer.