As we all begin life without football (and trust me it’s depressing), I can’t help myself to start thinking about September. Fantasy football at this point of time is nearly irrelevant, and to project players stats even a day before the regular season is ludicrous. regardless, this is an opportunity for me and my readers to get a jump start on the 2014 draft day.
These rankings will be subject to change at any given time as the offseason unfolds. Considering the league has yet to start free agency and the NFL draft, I don’t expect these rankings to stay concrete. I will not guess as to where players will go this offseason nor which rookies will have an impact in the fantasy world next year. This is simply power rankings assuming rosters don’t make significant changes.
Tier 1: The Elite
1. Drew Brees- After a historic statistical season from Peyton Manning, it’s hard to not put him as my #1 quarterback. What I love about Brees, though, is the consistency over the past few years (finished as the #2, #1, and #1 QB the past 3 years) along with no significant injury history. Jimmy Graham is not going anywhere (franchise tag if all else fails in contract negotiations), so no worry with him losing his favorite target.
2. Peyton Manning- He will be everyones top QB heading into the 2014 season, and I can’t blame people for taking him as the top player at his position, but if I am going to invest an early pick on a player, I want to make sure he is going to completely healthy. Blame it on my biased opinion of Manning, or my paranoia of losing one of my best fantasy players, but I have Brees over Manning.
3. Aaron Rodgers- Considered the weapons in Green Bay, along with Rodgers’ talent (I consider him the best QB in the league right now), it would be no surprise to see Rodgers be the best fantasy QB next year. He is not only going to rack up passing statistics, but he can run a little bit too. What limits him? Injury concern. Missing time this year did not help his cause.
Tier 2: Every Week Starters
4. Cam Newton- Cam made a big leap this year as he led the Panthers to a first round bye after experts had their doubts in the team. Newton gets a lot of his stats by running for yards and scoring TDs as an option in the red zone, and I expect for this to continue. It’s hard to imagine the Panthers not trying to put more weapons around him in the offseason, but even without them he is a highly productive fantasy player.
5. Andrew Luck- This guy is becoming a legitimate superstar. He didn’t exactly light it up this year, but he also lost his #1 receiver in Reggie Wayne pretty early in the year. With Wayne coming back, along with the progression of T.Y. Hilton, I am anticipating big things from Luck in 2014.
6. Jay Cutler- He resigned in Chicago, and that can only mean good for him and the Bears. Alshon Jeffery has emerged as an elite wideout, and Brandon Marshall remains a beast. If Cutler can stay healthy (which is the big question mark), then he is going to be money.
7. Tony Romo- So much publicity and attention is given to the Cowboys every year, and most of it really hurts our perception of Romo. The thing is that he is so dependable each and every year (finished in the top 10 the past 3 years). Superstar? No. But he is high dependable as your starting QB.
8. Matthew Stafford- Much can be said about how good Stafford actually is, but as long as Calvin Johnson is in town and is healthy, Stafford puts up numbers. Not in love with this guy, but he’s a solid fantasy option.
Tier 3: Knocking on the Door
9. Colin Kaepernick- After a brilliant week 1 in 2013, Kaepernick struggled to contribute to fantasy rosters. Why still have faith he can reach his potential? He looked like a different guy when Michael Crabtree returned later in the season. Kaepernick has the looks to be a great fantasy option next year if he can show Crabtree helps him out as much as he did at the end of the year.
10. Tom Brady- After a controversial post on “my boy”, I can’t really defend him much in respects to his fantasy value. This has to be the year people drop him from the top QBs drafted, and it probably should have began last year. Many speculated that Brady would go out and prove haters wrong regardless of the lack of weapons around him in 2013, but he came out so slow and killed fantasy teams. He did pick it up later on, but there is no way you are going to convince me to move him up the rankings this preseason. Please prove me wrong, Tom.
11. Nick Foles- He is bound to get a lot of hype in the fantasy world, but I don’t want to buy into this. Foles was great once he took the job in Philadelphia, but I am worried about a regression in his 2nd year. Total gut call here, but I don’t see him on my roster in the near future.
12. Philip Rivers- He returned to his great form this year after a couple bad years in San Diego, but I noticed he fell off his high horse as the 2013 year continued. It’s not that I don’t believe in Rivers, it’s just that after looking over the quarterbacks for 2014, there appears to be better options. Crazy deep position.
13. Matt Ryan- Another example of a quality fantasy player that is far down this list. Even after a disappointing year with losing Julio Jones and Roddy White (he played but was banged up all year), Ryan was still able to finish as the #11 QB in 2013. Why have him so low then? Ryan has never proven to me that he can take the big leap over other quarterbacks that throw for more TDs and run for yards. Perhaps he could finish around the #7-10 QB in 2014, but Atlanta just limits Ryan’s production as they tend to run inside the 10 yard line. Assuming Ryan doesn’t learn how to run like Vick, he’s not going to be an elite fantasy player.
Tier 4: The Dynamic & Static
14. Russell Wilson- Not a flashy fantasy QB, and you can blame that on the offensive system Seattle runs, but Wilson still puts up quality numbers. Don’t hype him up too much just because he won the Super Bowl. Then again, he is not a bad option to draft.
15. Alex Smith- Dink-and-dunk’ing his way down the field, Alex Smith became a nice little bye week fill-in for fantasy owners this year. I see similar production next year with a chance to rise as he and the offense grows in Andy Reid’s system.
16. Robert Griffin III- Oh what a terrible year for this man. On and off the field, the Redskins became the laughing stock of the NFL. Griffin could come back after a full year removed from his knee surgery and be great again, but I’m not counting on it. Lots of work to be done in the nation’s capital.
17. Ben Roethlisberger- Not a bad little year for Big Ben in 2013! He finished in the top 10 for QBs, and the fantasy world took notice and he saw himself on rosters later on in the year. I see no problem with moving him up this list, but I know Roesthlisberger is not going to be a stud at this point in his career. He very well could finish above guys like Griffin, Wilson, Smith, and Foles, but if I’m drafting a 2nd QB, I’m taking a guys with potential to be great.
18. Andy Dalton- Usually I like to point out that the fantasy world can be much different than the real NFL world, and Dalton is a great example after the 2013 performance. He finished as the #4 QB in total points, which shocks pretty much everybody that has seen him play. He is highly inconsistent and can lose weeks for you if you start him. The Bengals will probably look for a quality backup this offseason just in case they feel the need to pull him, but even if they don’t I don’t want Dalton on my team because I don’t know which weeks he will be good or terrible.
Tier 5: Flyers
19. Jake Locker- If he can stay healthy and keep the job in Tennessee, Locker has fantasy value. The problem is he needs to stay healthy and keep his job in Tennessee, which is no guarantee.
20. Ryan Tannehill- Another year as the starter, and one year of getting to know Mike Wallace, I can see Tannehill breaking out and becoming a fantasy fill-in on bye weeks.