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With the NFL season upon us, it’s time to take a look at the best signal callers in the NFL – from a fantasy perspective. After all, fantasy relevance does not always mean players on the best teams, as we know all too well.
Most quarterbacks can likely be found a little later in drafts – probably starting in round seven or later, in most snake drafts. Value is everything in fantasy football, but if you feel that you cannot miss out on Aaron Rodgers, then by all means, draft him where you see fit.
Keeping that in mind, here are the top 10 quarterbacks in the NFL for fantasy football:
- Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers
Rodgers is, unquestionably, one of the best QBs in the NFL today, fantasy or otherwise. He might even be the best – he has every ability one needs, including pocket awareness, agility, accuracy, leadership, you name it and Rodgers has it. All of that combines to make one deadly fantasy quarterback; even without his top target in Jordy Nelson during the 2015 campaign, he still amassed 31 TDs to just 8 INTs, to go with his 3821 yards. That was good enough for 7th amongst QBs in standard leagues – with his best pal back, we can only imagine the heights they will reach.
Latest Projected Availability: 2nd Round
2. Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints
Brees might be one of the most prolific offensive players of all time – just last year, he threw for 4870 yds, 32 TDs, and 11 INTs, and that was considered a down year for him. To put it another way: the last time Brees passed for less than 4500 yards in a season was in 2009, the year the Saints won the Super Bowl, and he still threw for 4388 yds and 30 TDs. Marques Colston and Benjamin Watson might be gone, but Brandin Cooks, Brandon Coleman, Coby Fleener, and rookie Michael Thomas will be there to fill any holes in the passing yards department.
Latest Projected Availability: 4th Round
3. Tom Brady, New England Patriots
We have waxed on for a whole two entries about ‘the best of’. It is this author’s humble opinion that Brady is the best, period. Whatever you may think of him, he is a lethal QB, and seemingly more so as he ages – like a fine wine, perhaps. What makes him more deadly is the plethora of weapons Belichick has surrounded him with: Julian Edelman, Rob Gronkowski, Danny Amendola, Martellus Bennett, Dion Lewis, LeGarrette Blount, etc. We’ll see if rookie Malcolm Mitchell does more than Aaron Dobson or Josh Boyce did (if you’re asking yourself who those guys are, I don’t blame you), but he could be a tantalizing addition if either Edelman or Amendola go down. Without the suspension, I’d dare to put him at the top.
Latest Projected Availability: Usually I’d say the 4th round, but with the suspension, he drops, perhaps to the 6th Round or later
4. Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks
For the first time in Wilson’s career, the running game dipped a little in 2015, in large part due to injuries. Now-retired running back Marshawn Lynch spent some time on the shelf, and when Mini-Beast Mode Thomas Rawls picked up the slack, he too was injured. Jimmy Graham also joined them, with a torn patellar tendon (same injury that sidelined Giants WR Victor Cruz). With those massive blows to the offence, Wilson himself picked up the slack, increasing every stat a QB can have. He threw for over 4000 yards, more than 30 TDs, and had a passer rating of 110.1 – all career highs. His production on the ground took a minor hit, but the fantasy value Wilson carries via his arm is so high, it’s worth it.
Latest Projected Availability: Mid 3rd Round
5. Blake Bortles, Jacksonville Jaguars
Some might be surprised to see the UCF product so high, but the truth is he was one of the best fantasy players in 2015 – he had the 4th most fantasy points of any player last season. Going into his 3rd year as the Jacksonville signal caller, he will have quite the arsenal at his disposal: Allen Robinson, Allen Hurns, Julius Thomas, TJ Yeldon, and new addition Chris Ivory. The primary object limiting him: turnovers. He had 18 interceptions and five lost fumbles – if he can cut down on those, he could be a top three fantasy QB.
Latest Projected Availability: Late 5th Round
6. Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers
The reigning league MVP had a stellar year in guiding the Panthers to a 15-1 record in 2015 – he racked up 3837 yards and 35 TDs through the air, along with 636 yards and 10 TDs on the ground, enough for the best fantasy output of any player in the league. On top of that, he gets his pal Kelvin Benjamin back from a torn ACL to help push the offence to new heights. Even so, he’s in the lower half of the top ten: he capitalized on a lot of turnovers made by his defence, which will likely regressing back to the mean with the loss of CB Josh Norman among others. At the end of the day, he will benefit from playing in the NFC South, where the secondaries of Atlanta, Tampa Bay, and New Orleans live in constant terror of him and his receivers, and is a solid fantasy choice.
Latest Projected Availability: Late 2nd Round
7. Andrew Luck, Indianapolis Colts
Praised as the saviour of the Colts franchise after Peyton left for the Broncos, Luck did not have a very good year in 2015, after a litany of injuries kept him out of the lineup (injured shoulder, lacerated kidney, partially torn abdominal muscle, etc). With a full offseason to heal (and a contract that makes him the highest paid player in the NFL), Luck will be back with a vengeance. TY Hilton, Donte Moncrief, Phillip Dorsett, and Dwayne Allen will all be looking to help him get back on track.
Latest Projected Availability: Late 4th Round
8. Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers
Big Ben quietly enjoyed a decent – if brief – season in 2015, despite injuries cutting short two game, and keeping him out of four others. In the ten games he played, he had 20 or more points in seven of them. If he can stay healthy this year – and that’s a large if – he can be a valuable addition to the fantasy lineup. Just make sure you have a backup!
Latest Projected Availability: Early 4th Round
9. Eli Manning, New York Giants
Eli threw for 4432 yards, 35 TDs, and 14 INTs in 2015 – pretty good numbers for someone who can be inconsistent at times. With one of the best WRs in the NFL – Odell Beckham Jr – at his disposal, Eli will have a stable of offensive players that include Beckham, the returning Cruz, highly touted rookies Sterling Shepard and Paul Perkins, veteran Dwayne Harris, tight end Larry Donnell, and running backs Rashad Jennings and Shane Vereen. The Giants are a gold mine at fantasy-relevant positions – it’s up to Eli to show them the way.
Latest Projected Availability: Early 6th Round
10. Philip Rivers, San Diego Chargers
Rivers threw for his highest yardage output of his long career in 2015, with 4792 yards, though his touchdowns took a bit of a dip with 29. Injuries, suspensions, and plain bad luck took its toll on Rivers’ weapons, with WR Keenan Allen going out with a lacerated spleen, longtime TE Antonio Gates out with a suspension for the beginning of the season, and lots o’ fumbles from 2015 rookie RB Melvin Gordon. RB Danny Woodhead was pretty much the only thing that went right for Rivers last year: if Allen can come back healthy, Rivers will return to his place as one of the best fantasy QBs out there.
Latest Projected Availability: Late 8th Round
Honourable Mentions: Kirk Cousins, Washington Redskins; Carson Palmer, Arizona Cardinals; Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions