Fantasy Top 10 – Quarterbacks
The 2015 NFL season might still be a few months away, but it is never too early to start looking ahead at the upcoming fantasy season. Players have swapped teams via free agency, trades, and rookies have entered the league through the draft. As always, there are some fantasy mainstays who will remain top-tier talent until the day they retire, while others have been on the rise or the decline.
Over the next few weeks, I will look compile rankings of the top ten players at each position heading into the 2015-16 fantasy season. To start things off, this week I will be evaluating the quarterbacks. Many fantasy players believe a solid fantasy record can be had with a middle tier quarterback, but it is the few elite field generals who usually carry their team to a fantasy championship. Players like Peyton Manning and Aaron Rodgers we consider to be fantasy stars, while players such as Robert Griffin III and Colin Kaepernick have huge question marks looming over their head. Can Drew Brees survive the loss of Jimmy Graham? Where does Tom Brady's four game suspension land him? Who takes the cake as fantasy's number one quarterback heading into this season? Lets find out:
10. Tom Brady - New England Patriots
2014 Stats: 16 GS, 4,109 yards, 33 TDs, 9 INTs
If Brady was not facing a four game suspension, he may have placed higher in these rankings. The thought of him potentially only playing 11 games this season really puts a damper on his spot. Playing in the AFC East will be brutal this season as well, as Brady will have to face some serious defensive challenges against the Jets, Bills and Dolphins.
The Dolphins have two of the best pass rushers in the league in Cameron Wake and Ndamukong Suh, the Jets have one of the best defenses in the entire league including lockdown corner Darelle Revis, and the Bills are now coach by defensive wizard Rex Ryan. Over the past few seasons, the Patriots have began to become a more balanced offense, and their run game has slowly become one the leagues most productive. With Rob Gronkowski lining up at tight end, Brady will continue to have one of the leagues top red zone threats and someone who can open up defenses across the middle. With no star wide receiver and aging body, though, Brady will be a productive fantasy quarterback, but his days of being a first-round pick are numbered.
9. Tony Romo - Dallas Cowboys
2014 Stats: 15 GS, 3,705 Yards, 34 TDs, 9 INTs
Tony Romo finally won a playoff game last year, and will look to enter the 2015 season healthier than the way he ended last season. The loss of DeMarco Murray will hurt the Cowboys offense, but it opens the door for Romo to throw the ball a lot more.
With one of the best offensive lines in the league, Romo will have plenty of time to hit his receivers down the field. Playing against both the Redskins and Giants twice a year definitely boosts Romo's stock. With Dez Bryant, one of the leagues top wide receivers, lined up on the outside, Romo will always have the ability to produce some big plays. An aging Jason Witten will provide a target in the middle of the field while wide receivers Terrance Williams and Cole Beasley will look to play a bigger role in the offense this season. If Tony Romo can avoid the typical blunders he is known for, he could have the most productive campaign of his career.
8. Matt Ryan - Atlanta Falcons
2014 Stats: 16 GS, 4,694 Yards, 28 TDs, 14 INTs
Many fantasy football players may see Matt Ryan as a quarterback who is on the decline, but I see things differently. Ryan has finished as a top ten fantasy quarterback each year since 2010, and has thrown the ball at least 600 times over the past three seasons. With a slightly improved running game, some of the pressure should be lifted off of Ryan's shoulders to produce all of the offense. Nevertheless, I still except Ryan to have at least 600 attempts once again this season.
The loss of Tony Gonzalez will hurt, but Julio Jones is entering his prime and Roddy White is a fantastic second wide receiver. If the offensive line can protect Ryan and the running game is anything but stagnant, Ryan will continue to be one the most productive fantasy quarterbacks in the league. Expect another top ten finish from the Falcons stud this season.
7. Cam Newton - Carolina Panthers
2014 Stats: Passing: 14 GS, 3,127 Yards, 18 TDs, 12 INTs
Rushing: 539 Yards, 5 TDs
Cam Newton will be play this season while looking to earn the next megadeal for a quarterback in the NFL. Having a huge season could lead to a $100 million dollar contract for Newton, and he will do everything possible to make that happen. Injured ribs made throwing the ball difficult last season, but Newton will enter the 2015 season as healthy as he has ever been.
With Kelvin Benjamin entering his second season in the league, he will look to avoid a sophomore slump and become one of the the NFL's top receivers. Ted Ginn Jr., Jerricho Cotchery, and Devin Funchess will look to be new productive targets for Newton, which is something he lacked last year. Greg Olsen will also continue to be a force at the tight end position and open of the field for Newton. Always a threat to run, Newton will look to keep defenses spread thin and second guessing themselves. An improved receiving corp and Newton's athletic ability has him as a borderline top five fantasy quarterback.
6. Drew Brees - New Orleans Saints
2014 Stats: 16 GS, 4,952 Yards, 33 TDs, 17 INTs
Brees lost his number one target, Jimmy Graham, to the Seattle Seahawks this offseason. The loss of Graham will hurt Brees severely, but the Saints offense is still built around the passing game. Brees has attempted at least 500 passes each season over the past 10 years, and nothing should change heading into the 2015 season.
With an average running game at best, the Saints offense will be heavily dependent on the arm of Drew Brees. Marques Colston will look to have a better year while Brandin Cooks looks to become of the league's best slot receivers. If the rest of the Saints receivers can pick up the slack left by the departure of Graham, Brees will once again be able to deliver an all out aerial assault. Brees' accuracy and ability to spread the ball around is the reason he remains of the leagues best fantasy quarterbacks.
5. Ben Roethlisberger - Pittsburgh Steelers
2014 Stats: 16 GS, 4,952 Yards, 32 TDs, 9 INTs
Roethlisberger is a monster behind center, and had the best statistical season of his career last year. With back to back six-touchdown-games last year, Big Ben showed the league that he could explode at anytime.
Roethlisberger has some of the best receivers in the game, and he will look to take advantage of them next season. Antonio Brown emerged as one of the league's best wide receivers, while Markus Wheaton and Martavis Bryant are two young studs in the making. Heath Miller is a reliable tight end, while Le'Veon Bell is a star running back who opens up the field for the passing game. Ben will look to duplicate his performance from last year, and I would not be surprised if I seem him leading many teams deep into the fantasy playoffs this year.
4. Russell Wilson - Seattle Seahawks
2014 Stats: Passing: 16 GS, 3475 Yards, 20 TDs, 7 INTs
Rushing: 849 Yards, 6 TDs
Wilson was one play away from winning back-to-back Super Bowls, and is eager to show the league that he is indeed one of the league top field generals. A two headed monster, Wilson can attack defense both in the air and on the ground.
The addition of Jimmy Graham will do wonders for Wilson, as he is one of the leagues top redzone targets. Graham will instantly become Wilson's number one target, and will be the young quarterback's best pass catcher since he entered the league. With Marshawn Lynch in the backfield, defenses will have a lot on their plate as they will be forced to try and contain Beast Mode. I expect Wilson to destroy defenses this year, with Graham and Lynch spreading defenses thin, allowing Wilson to run loose whenever he pleases. The junior QB will look to show the Seattle front office why he is deserving of a huge contract with a monstrous 2015 season.
3. Peyton Manning - Denver Broncos
2014 Stats: 16 GS, 4,727 Yards, 39 TDs, 15 INTs
Will this be Manning's last season before retirement? If so, he will look to go out with a bang and bring the Broncos back to the Super Bowl. Peyton has been the league's premier passer for about the last decade and a half, and will look to continue his success this season.
The loss of budding star Julius Thomas will hurt, but Manning will be able to continue to spread the ball around to Denver receivers. Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders are great options on the outside of the field, and Wes Welker will look to rebound and regain his spot as the NFL's top slot receiver. If Cody Latimer can progress into a good young receiver, Manning will once again have a stacked receiving corp. If the Broncos' running game can help balance out the offense, Manning will be able to comfortably spread the ball around. You can never go wrong with Peyton Manning as your fantasy quarterback.
2. Aaron Rodgers - Green Bay Packers
2014 Stats: 16 GS, 4,381 Yards, 38 TDs, 5 INTs
Rodgers may be the top quarterback in the NFL, but he comes in at number two in my fantasy quarterback rankings. Rodgers rarely turns the ball over, and is one of the most efficient passers in the league.
It doesn't hurt that Rodgers has two of best receivers in the league on his side in Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb. With great vision and accuracy, Rodgers will find an open receiver where he is on the field. With Eddie Lacy in the backfield, defenses will no longer be able to solely focus on defending the pass. If Rodgers can up his yardage total, he may very well end the year as the top fantasy quarterback.
1. Andrew Luck - Indianapolis Colts
2014 Stats: 16 GS, 4,761 Yards, 40 TDs, 16 INTs
Andrew Luck enters the summer as my top fantasy quarterback heading into the 2015 season. Luck may have the deepest receiving core in the league, with T.Y. Hilton, Andre Johnson, Phillip Dorsett on the outside and tight ends Dwayne Allen and Coby Fleener in the middle.
Frank Gore will be welcomed into the backfield with open arms, as the Colts' running game was anemic last year. The Colts are the most pass-happy offense in the league, as they attempted the most passes in the NFL last season. Andrew Luck is a rising star, especially when it comes to fantasy. I expect Luck to cut down on the interceptions this season and approach 5,000 yards passing, which will lead to him being the number one fantasy quarterback for the 2015-2016 fantasy season.
And there it is, my top ten quarterbacks heading into the 2015 fantasy football season. Who do you think will be the top fantasy quarterback this season? Who should have been left out of my top ten? Who should have made the cut? Let me know in the comments below and come back next week to see my top ten running backs heading into the 2015 fantasy football season.