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Monday, December 28, 2015

FANTASY FOOTBALL FINAL QB RANKINGS

With the fantasy football season pretty much in the books sans a Monday night game between the Denver Broncos and Cincinnati Bengals, now is the time for us to put a bow on the final position rankings from the four main groups of players starting with the QB's.  These rankings are weighed heavily based on 2015 with an eye toward how 2016 will look.

1.  Tom Brady:  With Andrew Luck having endured as big a bust season as one can get and with Aaron Rodgers' numbers dipping sharply in 2015, old reliable Brady returns to the top of the QB rankings at the age of 38 as he sailed past 4,000 yards and 30 scores with little effort. 
2.  Aaron Rodgers:  It was a maddening season for Rodgers' owners as the Packers veteran looked mortal for the first time since becoming the team's starter.  The yardage fell off the map but Rodgers still put up a high number of touchdown passes as usual.  Still in his prime years, Rodgers should be trusted again as the second QB off the board for 2016.
3.  Andrew Luck:  Pretty much we have to give Luck a mulligan on 2015 as he was hurt almost throughout and dealt with the worst protection in the game.  Still if the Colts don't improve the offensive line significantly, we would be leery of investing in Luck as a high draft pick again given the likelihood of more injuries.
4.  Cam Newton:  We were big critics of Newton ever since he came into the league but only from a fantasy football angle since his numbers didn't translate as a big impact guy in our fake game.  That was until 2015 when Newton went bonkers in all facets as he went past the 30 TD mark for the first time in his career and remains the best TD producer on the ground in the game.  Starting to look like the new Randall Cunningham, in his Philadelphia Eagles days.
5.  Ben Roethlisberger:  On a per game basis in 2015, Big Ben was as good as any passer in fantasy football.  With a healthy Le'Veon Bell joining the best receiving trio in the game in Antonio Brown, Martavis Bryant, and Markus Wheaton, the numbers could be scary in 2016.
6.  Russell Wilson:  Like with Cam Newton, we have advised to stay away from Russell Wilson due to the Seahawks being one of the most run-favoring teams in the game.  Well the restraints came off of Wilson in 2015 out of necessity and the guy went nuts in December with some truly spectacular play.  There is no guarantee the Seahawks won't go back to a run-heavy offense in 2016 but Wilson has shown once and for all he can be a prime passer.
7.  Blake Bortles:  We are buying all-in on Bortles who took a giant step in his development in 2015 as he reached the 30-TD passing mark and has a terrific collection of receivers at his disposal going forward in Allen Hurns, Allen Robinson, and Julius Thomas.  Better yet, Bortles looks like the new "best value" among fantasy football QB's as many won't fully buy in yet.  Take advantage of the discount.  The kid is for real.
8.  Carson Palmer:  Yes Palmer is getting old but he comes off arguably his best season in 2015 when he played like an MVP and has a vast collection of receiver talent in his own right with Michael Floyd, Larry Fitzgerald, and soon-to-be star John Brown. 
9.  Drew Brees:  The numbers slid for the fourth year in a row for Brees who also was banged up quite a bit.  Could be a coaching change here which would change the offense as well and Brees has to agree to a pay cut to return.  Lots of question marks here for a guy who still get it down as evidenced by his big second half but who will be 37. 
10. Eli Manning:  Has mastered the West Coast offense as Eli reached a new career-high in TD passes in 2015.  Still in his prime and playing as well as ever, 
11. Philip Rivers:  Rivers remains old reliable as he led the NFL is passing yardage going into Week 17 and slings it with the best of them.  Also remains one of the best buys among fantasy football QB's as Matt Ryan and Tony Romo fell by the wayside in that class in 2015.
12. Derek Carr:  Joined Blake Bortles in terms of taking a giant step in development and reaching the 30-TD mark.  Loving life now with Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree. 
13. Kirk Cousins:  Hard to imagine the Washington Redskins allowing Cousins to leave in free agency but there should be plenty of suitors as the guy was a top five fantasy starter in December.  Looks completely legit. 
14. Andy Dalton:  Always with a bevy of critics, Dalton was playing like an MVP before a thumb injury finished his regular season.  Another value player who would have reached 30 TD's in 2015 if he had not gotten hurt.  Hue Jackson no longer a concern in terms of limiting the offense. 
15. Matthew Stafford:  Another guy who is a major red flag for many, Stafford was actually very good in 2015 behind some terrible Detroit protection.  Still you never feel good going into any game with Stafford as your QB.
16. Marcus Mariota:  Loved what we saw out of Mariota as a rookie before going on IR as the kid was very poised and showed he could operate an NFL offense efficiently.  Looks like another Russell Wilson but much cheaper. 
17. Jameis Winston:  Have to keep Mariota in the same ranking area code as Winston as both proved better than anticipated in 2015.  Winston has some more ceiling to tap into and seems like a good bet for another jump in numbers in 2016.
18. Tony Romo:  Major drop in the rankings for fading veteran Romo who missed almost all of 2015 with a twice-broken collarbone that seems like it will be a perpetual problem.  Still can sling it but tough to depend on Romo with his ill health as your starter.
19. Matt Ryan:  Amazing how bad Ryan was in 2015 after the guy proved himself to be arguably the best fantasy football QB value from 2011 through 2014.  Maybe the loss of Dirk Kotter as the OC was the main reason. 
20. Ryan Fitzpatrick:  There is no denying that Fitzpatrick was phenomenal for the New York Jets in 2015 as he set all sorts of team records and also put up a personal best touchdown and yardage total.  If Fitzpatrick returns to the Jets, we would go back to the well as a top QB 2 but expecting a full 2015 repeat is asking a ton given the career norms we have seen from the guy.
21. Brock Osweiler:  Likely will be the Denver starter in 2016 and showed enough to warrant some QB appeal with his strong arm and decent collection of receiving talent. 

THE REST

22. Jay Cutler
23. Sam Bradford
24. Alex Smith
25. Teddy Brudgewater
26. Tyrod Taylor
27. Joe Flacco
28. Brian Hoyer
29. Johnny Manziel
30. Ryan Tannehill
31. Blaine Gabbert
32. Case Keenum 

 

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