While we already published our Top 32 Quarterback Back Rankings in three separate tiers, we thought it was time to update these rankings just a little bit considering all the quarterback news out of training camp and preseason. To make things easier for you, our dear RotoBaller reader, we consolidated all the different tiers into one article. Consider this the only quarterbacks rankings you need to help you formulate your fantasy football draft strategy. This big baby has it all: rookies, sleepers and breakouts, overvalued players and potential busts, etc. So, first things first, bookmark this article…done? Good, now sit back, relax, get a nice latte or espresso or whatever your favorite caffeinated beverage is, and a nice egg and cheese on a ciabatta (trust me), lock yourself away for the next 30 minutes, and sink your teeth into all of this goodness at once. Enjoy!
Tier 1 Quarterback Rankings: The Elite
If you’re going to go quarterback early, these are the guys to target.
1. Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints
2013 stats: 5,162 pass yards, 39 TD, 12 INT
The Good: Drew Brees has thrown for at least 5,000 yards and 39 touchdowns the last three seasons, meaning that he’s probably the safest bet on the board for elite level fantasy production. It’s hard to say that a guy with his numbers has upside, but with a much improved receiving unit and favorable schedule, it wouldn’t be a shock to see Brees approach Peyton Manning‘s 2013 numbers.
The Bad: The only downside I see here is age, as Brees will be 35 when the season begins. He hasn’t slowed down yet, and there have been plenty quarterbacks who have thrived well into their late 30’s, so it’s probably nothing to worry about. It’s still something to keep in mind on draft day.
Baller Move: If you plan on going quarterback in the first or second round of your draft, Brees is the guy you want.
UPDATE: Drew Brees has yet to play this preseason due to an oblique strain, but is scheduled to make his debut this Saturday against the Colts. The injury could be a minor concern, but all signs point to Brees being just fine. Draft him with confidence.
2. Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers
2013 stats: 2536 pass yards, 17 TD, 6 INT (9 games)
The Good: He may not put up the mind boggling numbers that guys like Brees and Manning put up, but he’s arguably the only guy who is a lock for 3,500-plus yards and 30-plus TDs who will never have a bad game. His high completion percentage and low interception totals, and the return of Randall Cobb side by side with Jordy Nelson mean that you can draft Rodgers with confidence, get elite level production, and never have to worry about your QB situation. Best of all, after playing in only nine games last year due to injury, Rodgers might fall in drafts, meaning you could have a chance to grab him in the third or fourth round if you’re lucky.
The Bad: The aforementioned collarbone injury that limited Rodgers to only nine games has to be a concern. Losing James Jones, and the uncertain status of Jermichael Finley could be a big blow to the production of Rodgers’ receiving corps, and might affect his numbers a bit.
Baller Move: Rodgers’ could be a better real life quarterback than fantasy one, but his ability and consistency is enough for me to rank him number two overall. If you miss out on Brees, he’s worth consideration. If he slips past the mid-third round, he’s a must grab.
3. Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers
2013 stats: Passing: 3,379 yards, 24 TD, 13 INT; Rushing: 585 yards, 6 TD
The Good: The dual threat quarterback has finished in the top four of all quarterbacks in total fantasy points in each of his three seasons in the NFL. He has the most upside of any of the elite QBs, and will be throwing to the most talented group of receivers he’s ever had. If Newton ended up being the number one fantasy quarterback this year, it wouldn’t surprise me one bit. He has also never missed a game in his NFL career.
The Bad: As good as Newton is, he’s also the most likely of all the elite quarterbacks to burn you in a given week by throwing up a complete stinker.
Baller Move: I love Cam’s upside, and wouldn’t be shocked to see him go as early as the second round in some drafts, especially in leagues that give a premium to rushing numbers. He’s worth a gamble in the 3rd or 4th round, but be prepared to pay a that high if you want him.
UPDATE: I seem to be in the minority here when it comes to Cam Newton’s receivers, but I’m sticking by my guns here. The group, lead by rookie Kelvin Benjamin, is young and athletic, and while there may be a bit of a learning curve for the young group of wideouts, I bet they end up putting up very good numbers.
2013 stats: 5,477 yards, 55 TD, 10 INT
The Good: What is there to say about Peyton Manning that hasn’t already been said. He’s an all time great, the smartest QB in the game, plays for a great coach, and is coming off of the greatest season of any quarterback ever. If you draft him, you know he’s going to give you terrific fantasy production.
The Bad: Maybe it’s the lingering effects of watching him stink up the Super Bowl, but I think there is a bit of downside this year with Manning. It’s impossible to expect him to duplicate what he did last season, especially after losing Knowshon Moreno and Eric Decker. Manning will also be playing a way tougher schedule this year, one where he will have to see the Seahawks and 49ers. Age and injuries will also be a concern, and will be for however long Manning decides to play.
Baller Move: I think Manning is going to go way too high in most drafts for my liking, and this is the first time in his career that I feel the risks with Manning outweigh the rewards considering his first round draft price. He just barely makes my elite teir for the chance that he has one more monster season left in him.
UPDATE: After watching Peyton pick apart the Niners in the preseason, I’m not as down on him as I was when I first wrote this. Still wouldn’t take him ahead of Newton, Rodgers, or Brees, however.
Tier 2 Quarterback Rankings: The Very Good
Not quit elite, but these guys are very good QB1’s that can be had in the early middle rounds.
5. Nick Foles, Philadelphia Eagles
2013 stats: Passing: 2,891 yards, 27 TD, 2 INT; Rushing: 221 yards, 2 TD (11 games)
The Good: Nick Foles will get to run Chip Kelly’s offense from day one this year, something he didn’t get a chance to do last year. His increased job security combined with the fast paced offense that the Eagles run means he arguably has the most upside of anyone in this tier. He will also mix in just enough rushing numbers to give him an edge over many other fantasy QBs. Even with the loss of Desean Jackson, the return of Jeremy Maclin, and the addition of Darren Sproles mean that Foles will have plenty of weapons to pass to.
The Bad: Foles was pretty bad in his first six career starts in 2012, and really great in his 11 starts in 2013, so there has to be a bit of uncertainty with him still. It wouldn’t shock me one bit if he ended up an elite quarterback, but it also wouldn’t be a shock to see him regress a bit before figuring it out, much like Colin Kaepernick last season.
Baller Move: The Eagles will have a high powered offense, and Foles has a ton of upside. Someone is sure to reach for him, so if you want him, be prepared to probably spend a 3rd or 4th round selection on him.
2013 stats: 4,650 Pass yards, 29 TD, 19 INT
The Good: There is so much to like with Stafford going into 2014 that almost put him ahead of Nick Foles. New coach Jim Caldwell will instill a discipline that Detroit desperately needs. Calvin Johnson, Golden Tate, and TE Eric Ebron could end up being the best receiving corp in the NFL this year. Toss in a backfield of Reggie Bush and Joique Bell, and Stafford could be looking at his second 5,000 yard, 40 touchdown season.
The Bad: It seems as if every year we are expecting Matt Stafford to reproduce 2011, and it’s tough to say if he gets back there. There’s also a chance that Jim Caldwell will have the Lions running more and throwing less. Stafford has elite level potential, but he will also have to cut down on his interception total to get there.
Baller Move: There’s a lot to love here, but I still need to see Stafford put it all together before I spend a higher pick on him than Foles is going for in most mock drafts. If he doesn’t take the next step this year, then when?
7. Andrew Luck, Indianapolis Colts
2013 stats: PASSING: 3,822 yards, 23 TD, 9 INT; RUSHING: 377 yards, 4 TD
The Good: At times last year, Andrew Luck looked like he could become the best quarterback in the NFL, and while he didn’t increase his touchdown numbers, and actually threw for less yardage than he did in his rookie campaign, he also drastically cut down on the number of picks he threw. He’s going to be throwing to a group of receivers that could rival the Lions as the most talented in the game. He’ll also give you a handful of rushing stats.
The Bad: Andrew Luck plays in a system that leans much more toward the run than the pass, and as long as that’s the case, he’ll never reach true elite status in terms of fantasy production. He will be very good, but not great.
Baller Move: Last year I saw Luck go in drafts anywhere from rounds 3-7. The upside and receiving talent are there, but I’m not sure I’d take him before round five.
2013 stats: PASSING: 3,197 yards, 21 TD, 8 INT; RUSHING: 524 yards, 4 TD
The Good: After a slow start to 2013, Kaepernick barely missed being an elite fantasy quarterback in terms of total fantasy points. He plays on a great team, for a great coach, and has a ton of talent to throw too. He also has a sick ground game, and could end up giving you Cam Newton-esque numbers about 40 picks later in the draft.
The Bad: Kaepernick went very high in drafts last year, and then started the season by putting up single digit fantasy point totals in three of his first five games. Despite the receiving talent, I’m not sure the elite passing numbers will ever be there with Kaepernick, and that will probably keep him from elite status.
Baller Move: If the slow start from last season has people down on him and he falls later than 90th overall, he’s worth grabbing, but I wouldn’t reach for him earlier than round six or seven.
9. Russell Wilson, Seahawks
2013 stats: PASSING: 3,357 yards, 26 TD, 9 INT; RUSHING: 539 yards, 1 TD
The Good: Already a Super Bowl winning QB, Russell Wilson may be the smartest field general in the NFL not named Peyton Manning. He has a great arm, great legs, and it seems like he never makes a poor decision with the football.
The Bad: While we can’t underestimate the loss of Golden Tate, the true downside that comes with owning Wilson is the fact that Seattle reliess so much on the run, and it stifles Wilson’s production. If this turns out to be the year the Seahawks throw more, Wilson could end up being a huge steal on draft day.
Baller Move: I’m really high on Wilson, but not high on the system he plays in. If Seattle decides to throw more, I think Wilson has a chance to be a top five fantasy QB. There’s a risk/reward here, and if you want to reach for him I wouldn’t call you crazy.
10. Phillip Rivers, Chargers
2013 stats: 4,478 pass yds, 32 TD, 11 INT
The Good: Phillip Rivers was an afterthought in most drafts last year, and he went on to post 18 or more fantasy points in eight games. He still has a big arm, and plenty of talent to throw to, including an improving Keenan Allen, who I’m expecting a huge sophomore season from. I also think that a backfield of Mathews, Woodhead, and Brown will mean that Rivers will be throwing plenty once again.
The Bad: Rivers can drive you insane sometimes with his poor decisions, and can get pick happy. He could easily have a 32 TD/11 INT season like he did last year, or a 27 TD/20 INT season like he did in 2011. Rivers has the least amount of upside of anyone in this tier.
Baller Move: Rivers ADP is later than the 9 guys above him in this ranking, and if you don’t take a QB until the 8-9th round he’s a good target at that draft price.
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Tier 3 Quarterback Rankings: The Solid Starters
Solid production without the risk of a top draft pick
11. Tom Brady, New England Patriots
2013 stats: 4,343 yds, 25 TD, 11 INT
The Good: You know what you are getting with Tom Brady. He’s as steady as they come, and will never hurt you. He’s a lock for 4,000 yards and 25 touchdowns. That has value, especially if you plan on waiting to draft your QB.
The Bad: Despite what he did in the second half of last year, I’m convinced that the days of Tom Brady as an elite fantasy QB are over. He’s getting older, and all the signs point toward the Patriots going more run/defense than passing game this year. He’ll still be a terrific QB in real life, but in terms of fantasy, he’s nothing more than a solid QB1.
Baller Move: If you decide to wait on a QB, and Brady is sitting there in rounds six or seven, jump on him. Unfortunately, his name alone means someone is probably going to reach for him much earlier than that, and at this stage of his career, Brady isn’t worth that high of a draft selection.
12. Robert Griffin III, Washington Redskins
2013 stats: PASSING: 3202 yds, 16 TD, 12 INT, RUSHING: 489 yds, 0 TD
The Good: RG3 is a tremendous talent who combines a big arm with a terrific ground game. He will no longer be butting heads with Mike Shanahan, and will finally play with a true downfield threat in Desean Jackson. His team’s weak pass defense will also mean RG3 will have to throw a ton. There is still plenty of upside here too.
The Bad: Griffin’s numbers in 2013 dipped a bit from his rookie season, but the big concern for fantasy owners are his rushing numbers. After gaining 815 yards and seven scores on the ground in 2012, Griffin managed only 489 yards and zero rushing touchdowns last season. To be fair, Griffin was coming off of a knee injury, but that leads us to another concern: his health. Whether or not RG3 can stay on the field will be a huge question for fantasy owners to ponder come draft day.
Baller Move: Much like Tom Brady, RG3 is probably a guy someone will reach for early based on name and upside. The huge dip in rushing stats worries me, and I wouldn’t be surprised if those numbers continue to dip in an effort to keep those knees healthy. The less he runs, the less valuable in fantasy he is, period. Combine that with the injury risk that comes with owning him, and he is the epitome of high risk, high reward.
UPDATE: After Watching RG3’s poor sliding and decision making with his running in the preseason, I’m really down on him. I love his heart, but I think he is going to end up missing games every year due to injury, and that is going to limit his value. Consider him this generation’s Michael Vick.
13. Jay Cutler, Chicago Bears
2013 stats: 2,621 yds, 19 TD, 12 INT
The Good: Jay Cutler was off to a nice season last year before getting injured, and there is reason here to believe he can do it again in 2014. The reason? He has a ton of weapons to work with. Brandon Marshall, Alshon Jeffrey, Matt Forte, and Martellus Bennett combined with Cutler’s big arm, mean that he could be in for a huge season. If he can continue to limit the number of mistakes he makes like he did for much of last year, Cutler could end up having the best season of his career.
The Bad: He’s Jay Cutler, so no matter how good he does, there will always be that week where he makes bone headed throw after bone headed throw. His inconsistency can make him maddening to own. He also threw downfield much less last season than in years past, and while that may have helped limit his mistakes, missing those big plays will hurt his fantasy value.
Baller Move: I’m high on the Bears and Jay Cutler this year. I love his team and the guys he has to throw to. If your draft strategy is to wait on a QB, Cutler is a great pick that can probably be had much later in drafts.
14. Tony Romo, Dallas Cowboys
2013 stats: 3,828 pass yds, 31 TD, 10 INT
The Good: There are games where you get elite level production from a guy that tends to go pretty late in drafts. The scheme looks like it’s going to be more vertical this year, which could vault Romo up this list. He also has Dez Bryant as a main target, who is in the conversation with Calvin Johnson as best wideout in the NFL.
The Bad: The fact that the guy is a choke artist has little to do with fantasy, but the only real downside to Romo this year is his health. He’ll enter the season at 34, and is coming off of two back surgeries. Peyton Manning came back from four neck surgeries without a problem, but everyone is different. Age and injury are something to keep in mind when it comes to Tony Romo on draft day.
Baller Move: Much like Jay Cutler, Tony Romo makes for a terrific pick in rounds 7-8 if you plan to wait for a QB. Age and health have to be a concern, but if Romo stays on the field, he has the chance to be one of the better value picks this year.
15. Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons
2013 stats: 4,515 yds, 26 TD, 17 INT
The Good: Matt Ryan is an extremely smart QB who has great receivers to throw to. He can normally be had much later in drafts, and after Atlanta’s terrible season in 2013, he’ll probably drop much further, making him a nice value pick for those who want to wait on a quarterback.
The Bad: Those great receivers that Matt Ryan has to throw to can’t seem to stay healthy. He’ll also be without TE Tony Gonzalez this year, who proved to be Ryan’s go to guy during the majority of his time in Atlanta. Ryan also plays in a system that wants to be run-first, and his offensive line leaves much to be desired, as evidenced by the 44 sacks he took last season. His interception totals have also increased in each of the last three years.
Baller Move: I love Matt Ryan as a QB, and for years he was my fall back option in any drafts that I decided to wait on my quarterback. He’s at the very bottom of this tier though, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he plays better as a fantasy back-up this year.
Tier 4 Quarterback Rankings: The Quality Backups
Not starters, but very solid back-ups, bye week replacements, and guys to own in two quarterback leagues.
16. Carson Palmer, Arizona Cardinals
2013 stats: 4,274 yds, 24 TD, 22 INT
The Good: Outside of a four pick game against Seattle in Week 16, Carson Palmer was very good down the stretch for an Arizona team that went 10-6 in the toughest division in the NFL. He’ll be playing in the same system for the first time since his days in Cincinnati, and has Larry Fitzgerald and a very underrated Michael Floyd to throw to.
The Bad: Palmer has to cut down on the poor decisions, and those 22 picks he threw last year. His offensive line allowed him to get sacked 41 times, and I don’t see them being much better in 2014.
Baller Move: If Carson Palmer ends up being your starter, you’re in for a long season. If he’s your back-up, bye week replacement, or second quarterback in a two QB league, you’re probably going to be ahead of the game at the quarterback position. He has some upside because of the system he’s in and the guys he has to throw to, but that offensive line is not good and will limit his upside. He’s worth a flier late in drafts.
17. Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers
2013 stats: 4,262 pass yds, 28 TD, 14 INT
The Good: Every year Big Ben seems to be able to make something out of nothing with that offense in Pittsburgh. No matter who is around him, he’s a lock for 3,500 yards and 25 scores.
The Bad: Who exactly is Roethlisberger going to throw to aside from Antonio Brown? Last year he lost Mike Wallace, and now he will be without Emmanuel Sanders. Maybe he won’t end up sacked 42 times like he was last year, but I’m still not in love with his offensive line.
Baller Move: I love Big Ben, but I hate his supporting cast, and I’m not really high on the Steelers as a whole this year. He’ll end up drafted late on name alone, and he will perform as a solid fantasy back-up, but he has little upside beyond that.
18. Alex Smith, Kansas City Chiefs
2013 stats: 3,313 pass yds, 23 TD, 7 TD
The Good: In Alex Smith, you are getting an ultra accurate quarterback who makes very few mistakes with the football. He plays for a good team, and for a coach that loves to throw the ball.
The Bad: Smith is no threat at all to throw the ball down field, meaning he has limited big play potential. He’s the definition of dink and dunk.
Baller Move: Alex Smith is the definition of what a fantasy back-up should be. He’s solid, safe, will almost never hurt you. If you’re looking for a “home run hitter” with big play ability, or a guy with tremendous upside as your back-up or QB2, look elsewhere.
19. Josh McCown, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
2013 stats: 1,829 pass yds, 13 TD, 1 INT
The Good: McCown was so good as Jay Cutler’s injury replacement, that many called for him to keep the job even after Cutler returned. He’ll get the chance to be the man from day one this year, and has a ton of talent around him on the offensive side of the ball.
The Bad: As good as McCown was last year, it’s hard for me to buy into a guy who has been in the NFL for more than a decade suddeningly figuring it out.
Baller Move: If McCown performs like he did last year for a full season, then you are looking at an extreme value. Not sure he can do that. If you draft him, make sure you have a plan B.
20. Andy Dalton, Cincinnati Bengals
2013 stats: 4,293 pass yds, 33 TD, 20 INT
The Good: Dalton has a big arm, and a great target in AJ Green to throw to. He also threw for 33 scores last season.
The Bad: Forgive me, but I am not an Andy Dalton guy at all. He will look like an All Pro one week, and a complete train wreck the next. Don’t underestimate what losing Jay Gruden will due to his numbers.
Baller Move: I won’t touch Dalton, not even as a back-up, but someone in your league will. He’s borderline draftable in my book only in the deepest leagues or in 2-QB leagues.
21. Eli Manning, New York Giants
2013 stats: 3,818 yds, 18 TD, 27 INT
The Good: Don’t let the high interception numbers fool you, Eli Manning makes good decisions with the football and is the king of getting dropped and tipped passes picked. I’m also not sold on the Giants rushing attack again this year, meaning Manning will have to throw a lot. His new West Coast Offense should help limit his turnovers as well.
The Bad: The Giants’ rushing attack was non-existent last year, and the offensive line allowed Eli to be sacked 39 times. It’s hard to have success in the NFL under those circumstances. Both units should be improved this year, but still not great. Manning will also be throwing to a bunch of new receivers, so there may be an adjustment period.
Baller Move: The new system should greatly benefit Manning, and if everything breaks right, he has the potential to put up solid QB1 numbers. Now way he throws 27 picks again, and he’s worth owning as a back up or second QB. Best of all, depending on your league size, he can probably be had for next to nothing.
UPDATE: The Giants new offense has been a complete train wreck this preseason, and Manning has been terrible. There are issues everywhere on the offense, and it’s caused me to drop Eli from 17 in my original rankings, to 21 now. Maybe this is just a learning curve the team will get over, but it’s looking more and more like this could be another down year Eli.
Tier 5 Quarterback Rankings: Draft At Your Own Risk
These quarterbacks probably should go undrafted, unless you’re in a very deep league.
22. Ryan Tannehill, Dolphins
2013 stats: 3,913 pass yds, 24 TD, 17 INT
The Good: I almost want to put Ryan Tannehill ahead of Andy Dalton, but I’m just not ready to do so yet. I think Tannehill has a tremendous amount of upside, and the Dolphins new offensive coordinator is set to make it a point to get Mike Wallace the ball often.
The Bad: Tannehill plays for the Dolphins, and until that team proves otherwise, I’m considering them a train wreck.
Baller Move: There is upside here, and I think that Tannehill will have a shot to put up some monster games. I’m not sold that the consistency will be there, or that the Dolphins will be any good.
23. Sam Bradford, Rams
2013 stats: 1,687 pass yds, 14 TD, 4 INT
The Good: Sam Bradford seemed finally to be putting it all together last year before an injury limited him to only seven games. In fact, he was one of the higher-ranked fantasy quarterbacks in the early going of 2013. He’s playing on a young team that’s full of talent, and he still has plenty of upside.
The Bad: Despite looking like he was finally putting it all together last season, the bottom line is that Bradford still hasn’t. It’s like watching the guy take a step forward only to take two steps back. He’s also an injury risk, having missed significant time in two of his four NFL seasons.
Baller Move: Bradford probably shouldn’t be drafted unless you’re in a really deep league, but he’s someone to keep an eye on in the early going because of his upside.
24. Joe Flacco, Ravens
2013 stats: 3,912 pass yds, 19 TD, 22 INT
The Good: Flacco has a big arm that can air it out, as proven by his 11.9 vertical pass attempts last season (9th in the NFL).
The Bad: As good as Flacco is in throwing the deep ball, there isn’t much else here. He’s never thrown for 4,000 yards or 30 scores in an era that is extremely QB-friendly, and he’s coming off a poor season that saw him throw more picks than touchdowns. He has zero upside, meaning what you see is what you get with Flacco.
Baller Move: Flacco is at best a bye week replacement.
25. Ryan Fitzpatrick, Texans
2013 stats: 2,454 pass yds, 14 TD, 12 INT
The Good: Ryan Fitzpatrick has shown signs of being a solid fantasy QB in the past, and he’ll now play with more offensive weapons than he ever has.
The Bad: Honestly, I think Matt Schaub is the more talented QB, and he was terrible last season. Fitzpatrick has shown that he’s capable of making bad throws and turning the ball over, too– something that killed Houston a year ago.
Baller Move: Leave Fitzpatrick on waivers. Maybe he performs well with new surroundings and offensive weapons, but I think at this point in his career, he is what he is.
26. EJ Manuel, Bills
2013 stats: PASSING: 1,972 yds, 11 TD, 9 INT, RUSHING: 186 yds, 2 TD
The Good: I love the possible upside of an EJ Manuel / Sammy Watkins combo for the future of the Bills. Manuel has the coveted big-play capability you want in a fantasy QB, and an above-average running game. He has a ton of upside.
The Bad: The recurring injuries this early in his career are a huge red flag, especially for a mobile quarterback. While I do love the Manuel / Watkins combo, there may be some growing pains as they develop together.
Baller Move: I like EJ Manuel going forward in future years more than I do for 2014. If you play in a dynasty league, give Manuel a healthy bump in your rankings. In redraft leagues, though, I need to see what Manuel has and whether he can stay healthy for a full season before I draft him. If you want to take a late-round flier on him this year, it’s certainly not the craziest idea in the world.
27. Jake Locker, Titans
2013 stats: 1,256 pass yds, 8 TD, 4 INT
The Good: Locker looked good when he was on the field last year, averaging over 13 fantasy points per game.
The Bad: Locker is brittle, and has played in only 18 games the past two years. I expect that he will be playing on one of the worst squads in the NFL. It’s a make-or-break year for Locker, but I think he has little to offer fantasy owners.
Baller Move: I’m not touching Jake Locker at all.
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Tier 6: The Two-Headed QB Monsters
The old saying is that if you have two starting quarterbacks, you really have none. Who knows who will end up winning out in these matchups? I never like drafting a quarterback who has a backup who can take his job. As a whole, these are guys to avoid, but if you absolutely must draft any of these guys, here is how it should play out.
Draft Vick: The Jets insist that Geno Smith is the future, but as long as Michael Vick has that big arm and running back speed, coaches are going to be enticed to put him in. The players the Jets added in the offseason play right into Vick’s skill set, as Chris Johnson’s speed will keep defenses from keying on Vick when he runs, and Eric Decker will provide a big target who can get deep and find the end zone.
I like Smith, and think he will be a solid QB one day, but I don’t think New York is the place for him. He showed signs of brilliance last season, but he also threw plenty of games away by turning the ball over too much. Last year, he was given enough leash to play through the inconsistency because the only other option was Mark Sanchez. This year, if Smith starts slow or shows to be prone to throwing picks, the fans and media will be screaming for Vick.
UPDATE: I don’t know why, but I’m starting to believe that the Jets are really dead set on going with, and developing, Geno Smith. I probably would call this even as of now, but everything I said above about the situation is something that still could ring true, and something fantasy owners should keep in mind as the season plays out.
29. Chad Henne & Blake Bortles, Jaguars
Draft Bortles: I actually like Chad Henne as a quarterback, and he has had a limited amount of success in the NFL as a starter. The Jaguars were not as bad as people thought last year, but that’s still not saying much. Bottom line is, the Jaguars have nothing to play for again this year, so it’s only a matter of time before they decide that their best option is to let Bortles learn on the job and take his lumps. I’d be willing to bet that Bortles gets a start by Week Five.
UPDATE: The Jaguars have said that they plan to sit Bortles the entire year this year, but he is forcing their hand so far this preseason. I was pretty sure he’d get a shot this season eventually anyway, but with his terrific play this preseason, I don’t see how the Jags can justify sitting him. Then again, it’s the Jags.
30. Brian Hoyer & Johnny Manziel, Browns
Draft Manzeil: Brian Hoyer had a nice little run as a starter last season, and the Browns looked very good at times last year. The Browns obviously weren’t sold on Hoyer, and now that it looks like they’ll be without Josh Gordon for a while, there is little reason to let Hoyer be a lame duck. The Johnny Football phenomenon will rival that of Tebowmania, and once the Browns start losing, people will be screaming from the rooftops for Manziel to get a crack at the starting job. If you play in a dynasty league, I’d give consideration to drafting Manziel ahead of guys with no upside, like Joe Flacco.
UPDATE: Did you watch that Monday Night game? Both guys looked terrible. I would draft Manziel in a dynasty league, but other than that, you can avoid both of these guys, especially since it looks like they won’t have Josh Gordon to throw to.
31. Matt Schaub & Derek Carr, Raiders
Draft Schaub: Matt Schaub was terrible last year, to the point that fans were showing up on his doorstep. He’s not great, but he is not as bad as he performed last year. Carr is no doubt the future of the franchise, and though there isn’t really anything about last year that should make me think this, but Schaub should have enough left in the tank to hold of Carr at least for this year. He’s only relevant in 2-QB leagues.
Draft Bridgewater: Seeing rookie Teddy Bridgewater behind both Cassel and Ponder leads me to believe that they are dead set against him starting. With that said, he’s obviously the most talented of the bunch, and is the only guy worth taking a shot on in drafts this year. He still shouldn’t be drafted in redraft leagues, but he’s worth a flier in dynasty formats for his upside. These guys are also only relevant in 2-QB leagues.