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2016 Top Five Quarterback Keeper Values

Keeper Value Rankings are intended for Keeper Leagues in which a fantasy owner must forfeit a designated draft round in order to keep a player into the up-coming season. These rankings are based on Keeper "Values". In the marketing world, Value can be defined as: the extent to which a good or service (player) is perceived by its customer (fantasy owner) to meet his/her needs or wants.

The Keeper Values are derived from my 15 step Keeper Valuation Formula. The product is a quanitative depiction of a players ability to meet/exceed fantasy owners needs based on the cost they payed for the player in the previous season (2015 ADP). The higher the score, the higher the return the fantasy owner will receive from the player, keeping him at their associated cost. Approaching Keeper selections with this "value" based attitude, will greatly increase the effectiveness of a fantasy owner's draft in a Keeper League.

Editor's Note: RotoBaller has the best Premium NFL Subscription, only $29.99 for the full season. We have all the preseason tools to help win your drafts, and in-season tools to win your seasonal and daily leagues: Draft Kit, Premium Rankings, ADP Sleepers Tool, Matchup Ratings for every player, Daily DFS Cheat Sheets, Lineup Picks, Expert Lineups, Stacks and Avoids.


About the Keeper Valuation Formula

The Keeper Valuation Formula uses the players’ age, draft round, number of teams in the league, previous season stats, projected stats, games played percentage, positional value, and some secret squirrel statistical math. The product is a true Keeper Value for each player.

1 >75 Finders Keepers! These are the Elite Keeper Values. MUST BE KEPT.
2 50-75 Great Keeper values. Unless you have a full load of Tier 1 players, these guys need to be kept.
3 25-49 You are gaining value with these players, but not as much as your opponents are, potentially. Consider if your options are limited.
4 0-24 Break even point. Minimal value. Only consider if you are allowed a large quantity of Keeper selections.
5 -99-0 Keeping these players will hurt your overall draft, as you are not adding any value. Dont waste a Keeper selection here.
6 <-100 The associated costs make it impossible to return any value, these players will ruin your draft. Stay far away.

Obviously every league will have different ADP, especially keeper leagues when you consider the amount of keepers that are taken out of the draft pool each season. But since there is no way to track ADP specific to all Keeper Leagues, we use standard league ADP. If you want to check out the scores for your players in a specific-custom league, you can follow me on Twitter @RowdyRotoJB. These fantastic player profiles are brought to you from our very own Ben Ruppert. If you are ever in need of fantasy advice, or just great entertainment, follow him on Twitter @Ben_Ruppert_21 


Top Five Quarterback Keeper Values

1. Cam Newton, CAR (9th Round ADP) - Keeper Valuation Formula Score: 77.14

Cam Newton had a sensational year in 2015, winning MVP honors and taking the Panthers to the Super Bowl after a 7-8-1 record the year before. He had a 35:10 TD:INT ratio throwing for 3,837 yards, and added an additional 636 yards on the ground with 10 more scores. He became the first player in NFL history to throw for 30+ scores with 10 rushing TDs. Newton was able to improve in a ton of key areas including completion percentage, interceptions, QB rating, sack percentage, and TD%. I could go on, but what is more impressive is all of this improvement in his game came without top wideout Kelvin Benjamin in the lineup, who suffered a torn ACL in training camp and missed all of the 2015 season. Panthers receivers had the eighth-highest drop rate in the league at 4.7% last season.

Coming into this year, there is reason to believe Cam Newton can still make some improvements. Benjamin will return fully healthy to the offense this season, which will be a massive improvement over Ted Ginn Jr., who Newton turned into a fantasy-relevant receiver after years of mediocrity. According to NFL.com, the Panthers have the 12th easiest schedule. After an opening tilt with the Broncos (who some lost key members on defense) things really open up for Newton and the Panthers. Newton rushed for 14 scores back in 2011, so thinking he will automatically decline from 10 scores last season is false. Carolina ran the ball more than anyone else last season, and will likely repeat that effort in 2016. With improved weapons in front of him including Benjamin, a better acclimated Devin Funchess, and another year of Greg Olsen and Jonathan Stewart, the sky is the limit for the reigning 27-year old MVP.


2. Blake Bortles, JAX (17th Round) - Score: 72.00

There were only two QBs last season with at least 36 total TDs and more than 300 rushing yards. One was already discussed here, and I will let you guess the other, go ahead. Russell Wilson: Fantasy Baseball Player News & Analysis" href="http://www.rotoballer.com/mlb/player/519432/Russell+Wilson" target="blank">Russell Wilson? No. Aaron Rodgers? Nope. Blake Bortles. Bort had a solid second season last year, throwing for 4,428 yards with 35 TDs. He also rushed for 310 yards with two additional scores. Bortles had more passes of 20+ yards than anyone in the entire league at 72, four more than the next closest player (Drew Brees). His 18 interceptions are certainly an eye sore, but his interception rate actually improved from his rookie season. He threw 17 on 475 attempts, compared to last season’s 18 on 606 attempts. He saw his game improve in yards per pass, yards per game, and total QBR. He also led the Jaguars on four game-winning drives.

There are things he will need to improve on for this year, other than lowering his league-high 18 interceptions. Amongst all qualifiers at the position, Bortles ranked 31st in the league in completion percentage at 58.6%. He was sacked the most in the league last season (51 times) and lost the second most sack yards in the league (320). In Bortles’ defense, the Jacksonville Jaguars defense was one of the worst overall by any metric. Bortles was forced to drop back and throw he sixth most times in the league last year. The Jags beefed up their defense through the draft (Miles Jack) and in free agency (Malik Jackson). They also helped Bortles by adding Chris Ivory, to improve a running game led by T.J. Yeldon. Of course Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns, two of the best young up-and-coming receivers in the league, will still be there to catch what Bortles chucks down the field. With these additions aiding Bortles in 2016, there will certainly be some improvements along the way for the third year franchise QB.


3. Russell Wilson, SEA (7th Round) - Score: 62.58

Russell Wilson had himself a solid season in 2015, finishing with the highest passer rating amongst all QBs with at 110.1. It was Wilson’s first season throwing for over 4,000 yards (4,024) and over 30 TDs (34). He was able to keep his interception total in the single digits for the third straight season, throwing only 8 total picks. While accomplishing all of this, he rushed for 553 yards and a score on an eight-yard scamper in Week 13, making him the first QB in history to throw for 4,000 yards and 30 scores while rushing for 500 in the same season. Wilson routinely made defenses look foolish as they tried to sack him, only for him to juke away and make a huge play downfield. Exactly like what he did against the Vikings in the first round of the playoffs, turning a bad snap into a 35-yard gain to Tyler Lockett. These extraordinary plays have become ordinary for Wilson.

Given all of that, it was a tale of two halves for Wilson’s 2015 season. In his first nine games, Wilson averaged only 1.11 TDs, .78 INTs, and 235 yards per game. In his last seven games, Wilson’s production suddenly spiked averaging 3.43 TDs, only .14 INTs, and 272.3 yards per game. This was aided by the emergence of offensive weapons Thomas Rawls, Doug Baldwin, and Tyler Lockett, who are all returning to this offense this season. His completion percentage of 68.1 was his highest of his four year career, and ranked third in the NFL. His TD% was second in the league behind only Cam Newton at 7.0 (per profootballreference). Wilson made great strides in his play last season, as the Seahawks offense adjusted to the loss of All-Pro RB Marshawn Lynch. Going into his fifth season, Wilson isn’t done growing as a passer. With a little more consistency in his game that was gained in the second half last season, Wilson can be a top-3 fantasy QB once again.


4. Carson Palmer, ARI (13th Round) - Score: 54.93

Carson Palmer had the best overall season of his 12-year career last season for the Cardinals. It isn’t a surprise given the immense offensive talent they have; all they have been lacking since Kurt Warner left was a talented QB. Palmer threw for 4,671 yards and 35 TDs, both career highs. His 35 TDs ranked second in the league, behind only Tom Brady. Per profootballfocus, Palmer posted the highest yards gained per attempt number in the league at 8.7. His 11 interceptions were the lowest he has ever had in a 16 game season. The year ended with a crushing 49-15 loss to the Panthers in the NFC Title game, but that was the entire team that failed to execute. He has a 29-9-0 regular season record with the Cardinals through three seasons, so they will likely be right back there in the playoffs next season.

In 2016, Carson Palmer re-inserts himself back in the same offense that he posted career high numbers in. The Cardinals bring back all of their key members on offense. Running back David Johnson was one of the best rookie backs in the league last season outside of Gurley, and will look to build on a campaign that saw him average 4.6 yards per rush and catch 36 passes from Palmer for 457 yards. The running game will open up the pass, allowing Larry Fitzgerald, Michael Floyd, and John Brown to run wild on defenses. As a team, their receivers averaged 13.5 yards per reception, the highest number in the league. They were in the bottom half of the league in drops and drop percentage. When healthy, Palmer will be one of the most sure-fire options in the draft. In 12 of 16 games he threw more TDs then INTs. He only threw less than 265 yards three times, and went over 300 nine times. He can be taken many rounds later than QBs who will put up similar passing numbers.


5. Jameis Winston, TB (17th Round) - Score: 52.55

Jameis Winston had a fine rookie quarterback season, throwing for over 4,000 yards (4,042 yards to be exact) with 22 passing TDs and 15 interceptions. He also ran for 210 yards and six scores. His 28 total TDs were six more than his rookie counterpart, Marcus Mariota. He had 57 plays of 20+ yards, which ranked sixth overall in the NFL. All of this was done in a year without much of Vincent Jackson, and a down year from Mike Evans. His two starting running backs, Doug Martin and Charles Sims, caught a combined 84 passes for 832 yards and five scores. The question for Winston coming into the 2016 season, is how much better will he actually become?

You hear about the sophomore slump around fantasy circles, but this is just a fallacy. If you take quarterbacks since 2011 who threw at least 150 passes in each of their first two seasons, 13 out of 17 saw their QBR improve in their second season (per Tampabay.com). Seven of those 13 saw their rating jump by at least 10 points. If you look at the table below, you will see the players observed:


While some quarterbacks had different results from others, here are a couple things you can gather from this data. Rookies averaged a 1.26 TD:INT ratio, which then jumped to 1.80 in their second season; a 43% improvement. Another way to dice this up, their TDs went up 18% from their rookie seasons, while their INTs dropped by 17%. Winston is certainly capable of making this type of jump, given his skill set and abilities. His 22 TDs rank third on this list, plus his ability to run only gives him more chances to succeed. If you apply those percentage increases to Winston’s stats, he would have 26 TDs and 12 INTs, and could easily rush for a handful of scores again. Currently being drafted as the 19th QB in drafts, this would mean you’d be getting him at a huge bargain. With a healthy Jackson, another year of chemistry with Evans, and his 2 stud receiving running backs, the sky is the limit this season for Winston.


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