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Tiered Quarterback Rankings: Top 21 in Fantasy Football


Keith Allison - http://www.flickr.com/photos/keithallison/7687510666/in/set-72157630845044624

Last week, we looked at the top 10 quarterbacks in our 2014 fantasy fantasy football QB rankings. Tiers 1-2 included QB studs like Aaron Rodgers, Peyton Manning, Cam Newton and our #1 QB for 2014 fantasy football: Drew Brees.  In this article we'll look at the next 11 QBs, representing tiers 3-4 in our quarterback rankings.  Later in the week, we'll close out our tiered QB rankings analyzing the 22-32 ranked QBs, the guy you'll only consider in 2-QB leagues.

 

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

rotoballer-fantasy-football-advice-TOM-BRADYThe 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

Keith Allison - http://www.flickr.com/photos/keithallison/7687510666/in/set-72157630845044624The 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.

 

13. Jay Cutler, Chicago Bears

2013 stats: 2,621 yds, 19 TD, 12 INT

rotoballer-fantasy-football-advice-jay-cutlerThe 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

rotoballer-fantsay-football-advice-matt-ryanThe 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

Rotoballer-Fantasy-Football-Advice-Analysis-Carson-PalmerThe 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. 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.

 

18. Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers

2013 stats: 4,262 pass yds, 28 TD, 14 INT

rotoballer-fantasy-football-advice-Ben-RoethlisbergerThe 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.

 

19. Alex Smith, Kansas City Chiefs

2013 stats: 3,313 pass yds, 23 TD, 7 TD

rotoballer-fantasy-football-advice-alex-smithThe 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.

 

20. Josh McCown, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

2013 stats: 1,829 pass yds, 13 TD, 1 INT

rotoballer-fantasy-football-advice-josh-mccownThe 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.

 

21. Andy Dalton, Cincinnati Bengals

2013 stats: 4,293 pass yds, 33 TD, 20 INT

rotoballer-fantasy-football-advice-andy-daltonThe Good: Dalton has a big arm, and a great target in AJ Green to throw to.

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.

 


Check out all of RotoBaller's fantasy football rankings. Staff rankings are updated regularly for all positions and include standard formats, PPR scoring, tiered rankings and dynasty leagues.