2017 Rankings Analysis - Quarterbacks

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Those of us who have been playing fantasy football for a long time know that quarterbacks can be fairly polarizing. Some folks tend to lean toward the "wait on QB" methodology while others are more in the "get yourself a stud" camp. Neither strategy is objectively wrong but each has its pros and cons.

Here we'll be looking at some early rankings for 2017, discussing who is too high, too low, and what each means for fantasy drafts come August/September.

It should be noted that the rankings referred to were submitted prior to free agency so obviously there's some wiggle room here. Throw in the upcoming NFL Draft and everything is bound to change once more. But for now, this is the list we'll be working with.

 

Early 2017 Quarterback Rankings

Tier One

1. Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers

2. Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints

3. Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons

4. Tom Brady, New England Patriots

Right off the bat we have ourselves a mini controversy with Matt Ryan coming in at No. 3 over Tom Brady. I think we're heading into a season where Matt Ryan is going to be the most over-drafted player in fantasy. Yes, he just had an MVP season and yes, he still has all the same weapons. You know what he doesn't have, though? His offensive coordinator. He's also coming off of his only season finishing above seventh in fantasy points among quarterbacks. I don't doubt that his 2016 line of 4,944 yards, 38 touchdowns, and seven interceptions is repeatable. The problem is, this ranking assumes that he will repeat. Look no further than Peyton Manning from a few years ago. Peyton was a first round pick in most leagues only to taper off a bit, negating his first round status. It's a nitpick, sure, but I won't be among those biting on Matt Ryan early on. There isn't much to say about Rodgers or Brees so it's best we shift our focus to the next batch.

Tier Two

5. Andrew Luck, Indianapolis Colts

6. Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks

7. Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers

8. Derek Carr, Oakland Raiders

Andrew Luck, Russell Wilson, and Cam Newton represent a tier of young QBs who are both stellar and frustrating. Luck has had interception issues and injury woes the past two seasons. Wilson is coming off an injury plagued year himself. And Cam Newton seems to have taken a step back a bit. Even with all of that in mind, each is still very much worth a mid-round pick. In fact, I'm in the camp that both Wilson and Newton are going to bounce back in a big way come 2017. Luck is what he is, but the other two should be trending upward as we inch closer to the upcoming season. Quarterbacks 8-13 are fairly interchangeable. The obvious standout of the bunch is Derek Carr, a young passer who was lighting the league on fire prior to a season ending injury late in the year. He'll definitely be the first one drafted among the group but this is where the "wait on QB" crowd will want to base their argument.

Tier Three

9. Kirk Cousins, Washington Redskins

10. Jameis Winston, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

11. Dak Prescott, Dallas Cowboys

12. Marcus Mariota, Tennessee Titans

Kirk Cousins, Jameis Winston, Dak Prescott and Marcus Mariota are not only the future of the NFL but the future of the fantasy quarterback position. You can end up with any of these guys and be satisfied heading into next year. Sure, Mariota's off-season health will need to be monitored closely but there's no reason to suspect he won't be ready for camp. I expect Winston to take the biggest leap of the bunch. I'm glad he's coming in right behind Kirk Cousins who will be on a mission to prove he's worth a long-term investment. Winston at 10 is a bold call that should pan out. Lastly, Prescott is about as mistake free as you can get as a rookie so expect another step forward during his sophomore campaign. Like I said, this group is largely interchangeable.

 

Tier Four

13. Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers

14. Phillip Rivers, Los Angeles Chargers

15. Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions

16. Eli Manning, New York Giants

17. Andy Dalton, Cincinnati Bengals

If these rankings hold true, Ben Roethlisberger could come at a massive discount. I would argue he's way too low. I prefer him over the young guns simply based on track record. The knock on Big Ben is twofold; he isn't the same player on the road and he has a rough injury history. It's already baked into his value so no sweat at thirteen. Ben missed two games last year with an injury that would have sidelined most players for longer. Just pair him with someone from our next group of passers as an insurance policy and you'll be fine.

Philip Rivers, Matthew Stafford, Eli Manning, and Andy Dalton are the late round players who patient drafters usually end up with. I would have no problem with Rivers, Stafford or Eli as my starter provided I'm able to pair them with a suitable backup should things turn south. Dalton, on the other hand, gives me the willies. I would much rather pony up on a pick two-or-three rounds earlier than hitch my wagon to the Red Rifle. He had 18 touchdowns last year. What's there to be excited about? He's already hit his ceiling. The other three signal callers all had over 20 with Rivers tossing the most at 33. Dalton gets the rub of being a decent enough fantasy QB but I'll never buy into it.

 

Tier Five

18. Sam Bradford, Minnesota Vikings

19. Blake Bortles, Jacksonville Jaguars

20. Carson Wentz, Philadelphia Eagles

21. Jared Goff, Los Angeles Rams

22. Carson Palmer, Arizona Cardinals

23. Joe Flacco, Baltimore Ravens

24. Ryan Tannehill, Miami Dolphins

25. Tyrod Taylor, Buffalo Bills

From here on down we have ourselves some safe plays and some fliers. Sam Bradford isn't going to win you any weeks but he's also unlikely to gun sling himself to three picks a game. Blake Bortles will sloppily find himself into the top-15 every week but he's way too inconsistent to trust for fantasy. Carson Wentz and Jared Goff may take a leap in 2017 but it's unlikely to have any fantasy impact. Carson Palmer, Joe Flacco, and Ryan Tannehill are your prototypical bye week fill ins.

The last quarterback I really want to hone in on, though, is Tyrod Taylor. Taylor at 25 is just crazy. He shouldn't be any lower than Andy Dalton. Taylor's legs will not only keep him in the running (get it?) of a top-12 finish each week but he also has some solid weapons. Between Sammy Watkins and LeSean McCoy, the Bills have a nice foundation offensively. Bet you don't remember that Tyrod Taylor was the 11th best fantasy quarterback last year in standard scoring. 26? He should be almost 10 spots higher for me. Besides, ending up with Tyrod means you waited and he has considerable upside, something Dalton doesn't. The Bills don't seem overly committed to him, cutting him only to re-sign him at a discount, but that doesn't take away from his fantasy value as long as he's a starting QB.

 

Tier Six

26. Mike Glennon, Chicago Bears

27. Colin Kaepernick, Free Agent

28. Paxton Lynch, Denver Broncos

29. Alex Smith, Kansas City Chiefs

30. Brock Osweiler, Cleveland Browns

 

All of these rankings are subject to change right after the NFL Draft. Stay tuned to RotoBaller for more updates as they roll in. It's never too early to look ahead to the upcoming season. Besides, fantasy is supposed to be fun right? Make it fun by obsessing over it like the rest of us.


Check out all of RotoBaller's 2017 fantasy football rankings. Staff rankings are updated regularly for all positions and include standard formats, PPR scoring, tiered rankings and dynasty leagues.