Top 20 QB’s-Ryan’s 2015 Fantasy Football Series
It’s that time of year where you and all your buddies are putting fantasy leagues together. The final weeks of every person still having hope they will have a dominant team this season. But do you really have the ultimate plan for drafting an inferior team? How well do you really know all the players? Don’t worry, because I’m gonna break down every position for you. Lets get things started with the game managers.
We all know that scoring settings effect how early or how late you draft your QB. Standard leagues usually have QB’s TD’s worth 6 points. Some also have each completion worth (.5), which is known as a Points Per Reception League (PPR). So if your league has both those settings, you definitley don’t need to wait til the later rounds to draft a QB. QB’s in PPR leagues are the highest scoring players on the team. Which makes this your most imporant draft pick. You usually don’t see the last place team in a PPR league with Drew Brees at the helm. This is a huge pick in these leagues and you can’t afford to make a bad one.But if your passing TD’s are only worth 4 points, and you have no PPR, you can nab those all important RB’s in the earlier rounds. Now that you know how your QB is in correlation to your league settings, let’s take a look at how each QB will measure up this season.
I’m gonna give you personal projections and rankings for QB’s.
1. Aaron Rodgers This No. 1 ranking of Rodgers isn’t even close for me. Brees and Manning have dominated fantasy headlines in recent years, but Aaron is the king of fantasy QB’s. I stacked him in almost every league I had last year after his injury-plagued 2013 season. And it paid off. He had 38TD to only 5INT’s. When Rodgers plays at least 15 games, his lowest yardage total since 2008 is (3,922). That’s pretty impressive. He also has 3 seasons of 38+ TD’s, and 5 seasons of 4,000+ passing yards. Why do I have him over Andrew Luck? Compared to Luck, he is surrounded with a higher caliber offense. I’ll take Nelson-Cobb-Lacy over Hilton-Johnson-Gore any day. Luck also had 11 more interceptions and 4 more fumbles lost in 2014. Rodgers also left some numbers on the field when the Packers crushed some opponents at home last year (Averaging 39.8pts a game @ GB). Aaron should have 40+ TD’s and 4,000+ yards in his sleep this season. Chicago’s defense was so awful it was embarrassing last year. The Vikings had probably the worst secondary in the NFL, and the Lions don’t look as scary with Suh gone. Don’t make the mistake of letting your opponents grab Rodgers, draft him early.
2. Andrew Luck I witnessed Luck help a number of average fantasy teams make the playoffs in 2014. He’s the kind of QB that can do that. It’s not a stretch to say he will be the top fantasy QB over the next decade. The only negative I think owners could say from last year was Week 15 in Dallas. They were getting skunked so bad Luck was pulled from the game. Where he put up a hideous stat line of 15/22 109 yards 0TD 2INT. How bout those Cowboys? As I mentioned in the Rodgers run down, Luck combined for 22 turnovers. But I think he’s scale that down this season. The veteran free-agent signings of Andrew Johnson and Frank Gore should help. Plus he’s added another year of experience of being an NFL QB. Now let’s get to some positive things about Luck, because there’s of a lot of em. After putting up 55 combined TD’s his first 2 seasons, Luck came on the elite section by scoring the most TD’s (43) of any QB last year. Compared to Rodgers, he does have a better duo of TE’s in Allen and Fleener. The Colts also spent their first round pick on the speedy WR out of Miami, Phillip Dorsett. The Colts are in an easy division as far as secondary opponents. The Colts defense isn’t that great either. Just another reason to like Luck, he should be on the field a ton. Even with the addition of Frank Gore, they will throw the ball constantly when they get down by the end zone. Don’t sleep on Luck in 2015, he’s an elite QB now.
3. Russell Wilson It’s kind of crazy to have a QB in the top 3 who had less than 3,500 passing yards and only 20 passing TD’s. Running the football has helped shift Wilson to the upper class of QB’s. Wilson came somewhat close to having 1,000 rushing yards (849) last season. That’s more than half the leagues starting RB’s. Add in 6 rushing touchdowns as well. He’s proved he doesn’t need big name WR’s to get the job done either. The Seahawks have the type of offense that just chips away and chips away until they score. Wilson is a very efficient player, with only 7 interceptions and 0 fumbles lost last season. The addition of Jimmy Graham is what made me put Wilson above guys like Manning and Brees. The Seahawks awarded him in the offseason with an $87.5 Millon contract. Some guys will get comfortable and not perform at as high of a level when they get paid. Wilson just doesn’t seem like one of those guys. Not to mention the huge chip on his shoulder, on every Seahawks shoulder, after that Super Bowl loss. Draft Wilson with confidence.
4. Ben Roethlisberger Big Ben has passed for over 9,300 yards and 60 TD’s the past 2 seasons. He also set a record in completion percentage (67.1) in 2014. And that’s even getting off to a slow start in 2014. More importantly, he has sustained his health and played all 32 games. The Steelers could easily be the No. 1 offense in the NFL in 2015. Ben is surrounded by young players that are looking to repeat a highly productive 2014. Antonio Brown went so crazy people are saying he is up there at Megatron level. Bryant and Wheaton are young players that are only going to get better. Todd Haley loves to throw the ball down field and he’s got the WR’s built for it. The only real knock I have on him is he could be more consistent. He only had 2 games with 3 TD’s, and 2 crazy games with 6TD’s. With the majority of his good games at home. I’m not in love with his schedule, but Big Ben should be a top-5 QB by the end of the season.
5. Peyton Manning Even if you didn’t own Manning last year, you witnessed the rapid decline of his arm strength. I think that is gonna scare away a number of people this season. As a whole, Mannings numbers were right on par with his recent seasons. Except breaking down the first 8 games (321.5 Y/G, 22 TD’s, 5INT’s), last 8 games (295.7 Y/G, 17TD, 10INT’s) you see that last season was different. Manning is 39 years old. Even if he is a regular season stud, his best fantasy days are behind him. The situation is even worse with Julius Thomas gone, and a new coaching staff that plans on running the hell out of the football. Instead of WR’s leaning on Peyton to make them look good, Manning will have to rely on elite WR’s Thomas and Sanders to carry his numbers in 2015. I expect his yardage numbers to drop and have around 32TD’s. Which puts him in the pretty good class, not the “great” class. Don’t overpay for him this season.
6. Drew Brees The New Orleans QB is an iron man. He’s missed 2 games since 2004. It also doesn’t hurt he tied with Big Ben for the most passing yards (4,952) in the league last year. He had his normal year in 2014. (33TD, 17INT’s). You know what you’re getting with Brees. He will throw for tons of yards and touchdowns, along with a healthy amount of interceptions. Their are a couple similarities that exist between him and Peyton. Brees is an aging superstar (36 years old), that also lost his big target tight end. Josh Hill and Benjamin Watson will take over so let’s not have high hopes. I don’t expect his TD numbers to decline but his yardage total will take a hit.
7. Tony Romo Romo had 34 TD’s and the highest QB rating of anybody in the league last season. He also had the highest completion pct (69.9) and years per attempt (8.52) of any QB. The main reason why I have Romo this high is because the Cowboys are going to be throwing the ball all season. One knock on Romo is his yardage total (3,705) from last year. The Cowboys ran the hell out of the ball with Murray and had some pretty comfortable leagues. I expect If you can get over the fact he had multiple back surgeries a year ago, and he’s 35, you’ll realize he has Dez Bryant and a great offensive line that can protect him.
8. Matthew Stafford I think Stafford will be one of the most improved QB’s from last season. He only had a measly 22TD’s in 2014. The offensive line was a big reason why his production fell. We can pretty much forget him having a year like 2011 though. What we can realize is he still has Megatron, and should be more comfortable in his second year of Joe Lombardi’s scheme. He did have a career low in interceptions (12) last season. The Lions spent a 1st round pick on Laken Tomlinson to start at left guard. That should add some protection for Stafford to throw deep. A positive sign is that a lot of players are saying Stafford looks much sharper in OTA’s compared to last season. Stafford should have around 28TD’s and 4,600yards this season.
9. Matt Ryan Matt had a decent 28TD’s 14INT’s 4,692 yards in 2014. Which was good for the 7th most points among QB’s in standard scoring leagues. He still has one of the best WR’s in the game Julio Jones, and Roddy White is a solid WR2. His offensive line was sub-par and needs to improve if Ryan wants to have a great season. Hopefully he and Kyle Shanahan’s new offensive playbook can create production. I think everyone will keep on eye on how Tamme produces with Tony Gonzalez now gone. The Falcons look like they have a pretty easy schedule which is always a plus. He seems like the QB you can’t really complain about, but on the other side he’s nothing special. He is consistent though. You can pencil him in for 30TD’s and 4,600 yards.
10. Phillips Rivers Rivers, 33, is heading into the final year of the $98 million contract he signed in 2009. Even though we already have a pretty good idea on how good Rivers is, I’ve always been a fan of drafting a player in a contract season. Rivers has thrown 63 TD’s the past 2 seasons, but his interceptions increase by 7 in 2014 (18). Which tied Cutler for the leagues lead. His offensive line did not play well, and the run game was non-existent. It was a positive sign to see Antonio Gates to catch 12TD’s and play all 16 games. The Chargers also added Stevie Johnson which can only help Rivers. I’ll just come out and say it. I think Melvin Gordon is gonna win Rookie of the Year. I think he is gonna help the Chargers become a competitive team this season. How much that directly impacts Rivers fantasy numbers I’m not sure. But I would think it can only propel them.
11. Eli Manning Nobody really knew what to think after Eli’s 2013 season. It has to be one of the worst seasons I’ve ever seen for a guy who played all 16 games (18TD’s, 27INT’s). He bounced back in 2014, throwing for 30TD’s 14INT’s and nearly 4,500 yards. Manning also increased his completion pct by 6%, and his QB rating went from 69.4 to 92.1. We all know why. Odell Beckham Jr. had 91 receptions 1,305 yards and 12 TD’s in just 12 games played. It’s gonna be very interesting to see how ODB can follow up that amazing season. Considering the secondary in the NFC East is pretty weak, Eli should be able to easily repeat those numbers if not improve upon them. The Giants also beefed up the offensive line with spending the 9th overall pick on tackle Ereck Flowers. Manning would be a great option for a backup QB, but he could end up being a solid starter if you find yourself without a QB late in the draft.
12. Cam Newton I always go into drafts thinking someone will draft Newton way to early. And they always do. Right now he has an average ADP of 58.2 in yahoo leagues. He has basically nobody to work with on offense compared to the QB’s listed I’ve listed so far. He did miss 2 games last year but he’s seen a decline in his passing yards every year since his rookie season. And he’s thrown 12+ interceptions every year in his first 4 seasons. A handful of people thought getting Kelvin Benjamin in the first round last year would help Newton. That duo might take about 3 years to develop which would differ from the thinking of most Newton owners. But I can tell you at beast I would have him as a solid backup. On a positive note he did finish the 2014 strong. In his final 5 games, he had 12 TD’s to 4 INT’s. Overall, Carolina looks like they have a little bit easier schedule in 2015 compared to last year. Just make sure you don’t overdraft him on the big day.
13. Ryan Tannehill Ryan turned in a decent season for owners last year. He finished with 27 TD’s 12 INT’s 4,045 yards under new offensive coordinator Bill Lazor. He also snuck in 311 rushing yards. The Dolphins look like a different team on offense. Four of the top five pass catchers on the team (Wallace, Clay, Hartline, Gibson) have all departed. Jarvis Landry and newly acquired Kenny Stills, Greg Jennings, rookie Devante Parker (who they spent a 1st round pick on) look like the top 4 WR’s Ryan will be throwing at. While Jordan Cameron looks to replace Charles Clay at the tight end position. Miami looks committed to Tannehill by loading up on anybody that could help on offense. He’s definitely in one of the harder divisions as far as the secondary he is gonna face and strength of schedule. Hopefully Tannehill can repeat last years numbers if not improve upon them.
14. Joe Flacco The Baltimore QB is coming off a career year. He threw for 4,000 yards and had 27TD’s and 12INT’s. With Torey Smith now gone, he will be missing that deep play type speed. Paired with Steve Smith Sr., first round pick Breshad Permian will have big shoes to fill. They also spent a 2nd round pick in beefing up the offense, drafting tight end Maxx Williams out of Minnesota. Let’s face it, Flacco is probably one of the most boring NFL QB’s that exist. And even though he’s played 7 full seasons, he’s never thrown for 30TD’s. He might have a small shot at that changing with new offensive coordinator Marc Trestman. We all know how Trestman tried throwing the hell out of the ball with the Bears in 2014. Even with the surrounding changes to the Ravens, I still expect Flacco to basically repeat what he put up in 2014. It’s also an added bonus knowing Flacco has a great offensive line and a steady back in Forsett to help carry the load.
15. Tom Brady Because of his 4-game suspension, I wasn’t really sure where to put Brady on the list. This seems like a pretty fair spot. Brady was so bad the first month of the season last year he had his owners looking for other options by October. Then everything seemed to change. Gronk looked healthy and Edelman did his best to mimic Wes Welker. As I said about Tannehill earlier, this is a tough division for QB’s. Brady ended up having a solid 2014 posting 4,109 yards 33TD’s 9INT’s. He would be perfect to grab if he is there late in the draft. Brady seems to get better as the temperature drops. Which means he’ll be peaking out come fantasy playoff time. Not to mention he should have a huge chip on his shoulder. He also wants to repeat and knows he’s on the other end of father time as a QB in the NFL. If you can find someone to play up until week 6, Brady would be a steal late in the draft.
16. Jay Cutler As much as it pains me to say this, Cutler had a decent season in 2014. He had his highest yardage total since 2008 (3,812) and had 28 TD’s and 18INT’s (tied for most in league). I’m sure a lot of that had to do with Marc Trestman. Another reason the Bears were awful and had to throw the whole game because they were usually losing. Things seem to be going well between new offensive coordinator Adam Gase and Cutler so far though. The Bears made a huge investment in drafting WR Kevin White (7th overall) out of West Virignia. Even though they are completely different WR’s, the Bears are trying to soften the blow of the departure of Brandon Marshall. I think Ashton Jeffrey is good enough to be the No. 1 WR on the team now. The Bears still have Bennett at tight end and Forte and running back, so it looks like they have more questions on defense than offense. You can draft Cutler, but don’t be surprised if he leads the league in interceptions again.
17. Teddy Bridgewater We were able to get a glimpse of Teddy for 13 games last season. He finished the year on a hot streak, compiling 250-plus yards in three of his four final games. He also had 2+ TD’s in four of his final six games. He threw for 3,000 yards 14TD’s 12INT’s. He didn’t lose one fumble. Teddy didn’t knock our socks off, but he wasn’t supposed to his rookie season with no WR help nor Adrian Peterson. He had absolutely nothing to work with on offense. The good news is AP is back and they traded for Mike Wallace. I think Kyle Rudolph is a solid tight end and should be a great red zone target if they want to throw in the red zone. Teddy might be a better player off the field compared to being a fantasy QB. Mike Zimmer claims he’s one of the hardest workers on the team, and he is taking over the leadership role on the team.
18. Andy Dalton Dalton can put up a crappy score quicker than anybody in the league. He finished 18th in total fantasy points among QB’s and I have no reason to move him forward or backward going into 2015. Dalton’s fantasy numbers have been all over the place the past 3 seasons. In 2012 and 2013 he averaged 30TD’s 18INT’s a year. He took a backslide on TD’s last season with a total of 19. I can think of more negative things than positive when it comes to Dalton’s fantasy value though. He has a really hard schedule and division. His team has, and will, always run the ball before throwing it. They did spend their first 3 round picks on offensive players to try and help the cause. The Bengals staff could see it just like everybody else. The offense and Dalton were just awful last year. They drafted 2 lineman in the first 2 rounds and spent a 3rd round pick on tight end Tyler Kroft from Rutgers. Another positive is Marvin Jones is healthy and he might get some more production out of Sanu. And of course A.J. Green leads the WR core. If they can get some of the down the field magic they had going 2 seasons ago, Dalton wouldn’t be a bad back-up option.
19. Blake Bortles Bortles is poised for a fresh start with new offensive coordinator Greg Olson. Blake went through some growing pains in 2014, but this season could be a breakout year for him. The Jags added rising star tight end Julius Thomas this offseason. I thought the Jags had a nice draft overall, but T.J. Yeldon stuck out to me as somebody that might be able to take some pressure off Bortles in his second year. Bortles has shaved off 15 pounds from 2014, where he himself said he was fat his rookie season. Spectators around camp are saying his mechanics look better, and he looks stronger. Bortles can sneak in some rushing yards too this season. He and Bridgewater are on my list for sophomore QB’s who might surprise a lot of people.
20. Marcus Mariota He’s obviously the only rookie to make my top 20. Even though he hasn’t played a down in the NFL, I put him here because I think he has more talent than anyone not on this list. The Titans made a huge investment, and I think they give him all the opportunities in the world to become the face of the franchise. Their is also a lot of hype surrounding the Titans second round pick out of Missouri, speedy WR Dorial-Green Beckham. We know Mariota can run the ball, and the Titans are already talking about how they have plans to do that with him in 2015. But this is a passing league. And if Mariota doesn’t put the ball in the air efficiently, we could see Zach Mettenberger starting soon enough.
The players I have on the outside looking in are Sam Bradford, Collin Kaepernick and Alex Smith. I don’t know what to think of Bradford yet. I will have to wait and see more this preseason. But no matter what we see, I wouldn’t be surprised if we see Mark Sanchez starting at some point early on in 2015. I’m not messing with anybody on the 49ers this season when it comes to Kaepernick. I wouldn’t even consider him for a back-up. He was awful last season and the coach that made him who he was his rookie season is now gone. And the team is falling apart. If Collin has a great year then I will gladly say I was wrong. As far as Alex Smith, he isn’t a bad QB, he’s just more of a game manager. He did have 18TD’s to only 6INT’s last year.