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Early 2019 Fantasy Football Rankings Analysis - Quarterbacks

After compiling our initial fantasy football staff rankings for 2019 it is now time to look at each position to see where some values or pitfalls could be found.

The top players are pretty self-explanatory with the likes of Patrick Mahomes, Aaron Rodgers and Andrew Luck leading the way. After the top tier though, it is more important to find a diamond in the rough. This is especially true if you wait until the late rounds to draft a quarterback in hopes of building a better surrounding cast, as has become the trend these days.

There are many factors in determining who will have a good season. Not just a good offense or a good team. In fact, a bad team with an even worse defense can lead to greatness as well. Look at our tiered rankings below and look to see which players we like and the breakdown of those tiers below.

Editor's Note: Our incredible team of writers won two writing awards and received 12 award nominations by the Fantasy Sports Writers Association. A big congrats to our very own Byron Lindeque (Golf) and Jordan McAbee (NASCAR) for both winning Writer Of The Year awards! Be sure to follow RotoBaller's analysis and advice all year long, and win more. Win More With RotoBaller!

 

Redraft Quarterback Rankings (February 2019)

Position Rank Position Tier Player Name Overall Rank Overall Tier
1 1 Patrick Mahomes 40 4
2 1 Aaron Rodgers 44 4
3 1 Andrew Luck 51 5
4 2 Deshaun Watson 57 5
5 2 Russell Wilson 63 5
6 2 Drew Brees 70 5
7 2 Matt Ryan 75 6
8 3 Jameis Winston 80 6
9 3 Cam Newton 86 6
10 3 Jared Goff 90 6
11 3 Ben Roethlisberger 95 7
12 3 Baker Mayfield 99 7
13 4 Philip Rivers 106 7
14 4 Carson Wentz 107 7
15 4 Dak Prescott 111 7
16 4 Mitch Trubisky 117 8
17 4 Tom Brady 123 8
18 5 Lamar Jackson 126 8
19 5 Kirk Cousins 128 8
20 5 Josh Allen 132 8
21 5 Jimmy Garoppolo 149 9
22 6 Sam Darnold 155 10
23 6 Andy Dalton 160 10
24 6 Matthew Stafford 163 10
25 6 Marcus Mariota 170 10
26 6 Derek Carr 174 11
27 7 Eli Manning 185 11
28 7 Nick Foles 204 11
29 7 Josh Rosen 207 11
30 8 Joe Flacco 211 12
31 8 Ryan Tannehill 229 12
32 8 Alex Smith 236 12
33 8 Case Keenum 251 13
34 8 Blake Bortles 252 13
35 8 Tyrod Taylor 253 14
36 8 Teddy Bridgewater 254 14

 

Tier 1

There is not a lot to say about the quarterbacks in this tier. Without an injury, all of these quarterbacks should finish top-five in year-end rankings. You will have to pay a heavy draft price to acquire these players, so beware.

Andrew Luck, Indianapolis Colts - Most likely to finish the lowest in the rankings of the quarterbacks in this tier, Luck is still the one to own based on value. On a high-powered offense in Indy and entering his second season back from his shoulder injury, Luck will continue to improve over his 2018 campaign in which he was awarded Comeback Player of the Year.

In a healthy 16 games, Luck amassed 4,593 pass yards with 39 touchdowns and 15 interceptions in leading the Colts to a 10-6 record and a playoff win against division rival Houston. The offensive line, which by the end of the season was one of the best in the NFL, is only going to get stronger; the health of T.Y. Hilton and Jack Doyle will also be an added bonus.

A big key to the development of Luck and his continuing success will be the evolution of Marlon Mack, Nyheim Hines and the run game. Salary cap issues are non-existent with over $90 million available, thus making the signing of Le’Veon Bell to take over the lead role or signing a Tevin Coleman or T.J. Yeldon to complement the already rostered parts a possibility.

If the Colts are able to take a step forward in the division, Andrew Luck could easily lead the league in touchdown passes. Regression is expected from the 50  Pat Mahomes put up last season. Taking Mahomes in the second or third round is therefore a much riskier option than waiting until the fifth or sixth-round and taking Luck instead.

 

Tier 2

Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons - After a disappointing first season under offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan, Ryan came back in the second season under Shanahan to win the NFL MVP award and lead the Falcons to the Super Bowl win. Well, almost a win... never mind. After Shanahan left for the 49ers, Steve Sarkisian came in and the same cycle repeated with Ryan having a disappointing first season followed by his 2018 season where he finished with 4,923 yards, 35 touchdowns and only seven interceptions. These numbers made him the number three quarterback in fantasy behind only Patrick Mahomes and Ben Roethlisberger.

Now that Sarkisian is gone it might be prudent to think a decline is again in store for Ryan. But this time, the Falcons are bringing back a familiar face in Dirk Koetter, which will allow Ryan to resume his mid-career surge into 2019. With Julio Jones still in the fold and Calvin Ridley providing a true threat on the opposite side of the field, the Falcons offense is primed to return to the 2016 form which saw them get to the Super Bowl averaging over 30 points per game.

Devonta Freeman is going to be back and at only 26 years of age still has a lot left in the tank. He has never carried the ball more than 265 times in any of his five NFL seasons and has never had less than 4.0 yards per carry in any season since his rookie year. With his pass-catching ability out of the backfield, this will give Ryan another option to get the ball to making the offense even more lethal and making Matt Ryan even more likely to finish in the top five quarterbacks again.

Much like Philip Rivers, Matt Ryan is perennially underrated and underdrafted, meaning he will be there for you in the eighth or ninth round. That is lower than most quarterbacks in this tier but also in lower tiers, as fantasy owners will feel more comfortable drafting a sexier name. Look for him to outshine these lower-ranked but higher-drafted quarterbacks by the end of the season as you ride him all the way to a fantasy championship.

 

Tier 3

Jameis Winston, Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Out with the old and in with the new. Not just in the case of Dirk Koetter being fired in favor of new coach Bruce Arians but also the likely release of Ryan Fitzpatrick to end the QB carousel once and for all.

The executives in Tampa Bay want to keep their jobs and they would not have hired Arians had he not said he could make something special out of Winston. That's something he has not been up to this point in his career since being drafted number one overall. The offense for the Buccaneers runs through the quarterback and only the quarterback, as the run game is not there despite the efforts of drafting Ronald Jones II in the second-round last season to mix with Peyton Barber.

Combining the seasons of Winston and Fitzpatrick in 2018 they would have been to quarterback six for fantasy and on a per game basis after Week six, Winston himself would have finished as the quarterback nine.

With Arians and his high-flying offense in the building this number will only go up and he could easily finish in the Top five at the position despite being drafted as the 10th quarterback off the board in many drafts.

There are obviously maturity and consistency issues when it relates to Winston but with Arians and the receiving weapons surrounding him you can put those concerns aside as he will finally have the season, we have all expected from him.

Baker Mayfield, Cleveland Browns - Like his attitude or not, he is still statistically the best rookie quarterback in NFL history. And he did it in less than 14 full games to boot.

The Cleveland Browns are a team on the rise, and this is directly because of young stars like Mayfield and Nick Chubb. The Addition of Kareem Hunt as an explosive piece after his return will only increase the potential of Mayfield to have an impactful second season behind center in Ohio.

Coming off his rookie season of 27 touchdowns and 14 interceptions, the offseason of work as the number one quarterback will allow him to grow his relationship with the likes of Jarvis Landry, David Njoku and Antonio Callaway. This means the 27 touchdowns should be a baseline for what to expect from Mayfield under new head coach Freddy Kitchens and the number should go north of 40 TD. If the Browns add another receiver via draft or free agency, that will only help his cause further.

The hype around Mayfield coming into the season is real and this will certainly inflate his draft price, maybe to the point of uncomfortable choices needing to be made to get him. But he will still cost less than the likes of Rodgers, Watson and the above mentioned Mahomes. This means even if you have to overpay by a round, it will still be a higher value pick and give you better return on investment than the others.

 

Tier 4

Carson Wentz, Philadelphia Eagles - Yes, we have seen Deshaun Watson and Adrian Peterson come back from an ACL injury to excel in the following year. We have also seen the likes of Allen Robinson, Dalvin Cook and others take a year before they are fully healthy again. Carson Wentz is in the latter camp making this the year for him to rebound back to the MVP caliber player he was during the 2017 season. This is also why I am hesitant about Derrius Guice for 2019 by the way.

The Eagles are not in the best salary cap situation, which means cuts may be coming to the receiving group in the possible release of Nelson Agholor but don’t fear. Zach Ertz, Dallas Goedert and Alshon Jeffery are still there, and the lack of salary space also means one other thing. The run game will not get fixed either. At least not through a veteran signing. This means Wentz is going to be flinging the ball all over the field, or at least he will be this season. In redraft, that's really all we care about.

If the Eagles take a running back in the draft, it is likely going to be in later rounds. While we have seen the likes of Alvin Kamara and Kareem Hunt excel as mid-to-late round picks. This is rare for year one and the likes of Josh Adams, Darren Sproles (if he returns) and Corey Clement do not fill us with confidence.

If the defense can stay healthy this season and the secondary emerges from the dregs, the Eagles may be able to concentrate on establishing the run. However, with the likelihood of this being minimal, Wentz looks like a solid bet to have a great season reminiscent of the 2017 campaign.

 

Tier 5 and lower

Josh Allen, Buffalo Bills - Was it a great rookie season? No. But it was better than a lot of people thought he would have. That included Allen being the leading rusher on the Bills both in terms of yards and touchdowns. He also showed some ability with his massive arm to get the ball downfield to the likes of Robert Foster, keeping the consensus worst team in football to start the season from being as bad as expected at 6-10.

A 52.8 percent completion rate on passes is not good by any means. Especially when an NFL-record 20 quarterbacks had above a 65 percent rate in 2018. But the fact there was really no one to catch the ball on the offense and LeSean McCoy did less than nothing to help in the run game made it impossible for anything like a consistent threat to develop. 89 rushes for 631 yards and eight touchdowns on the ground saved his season and while this should diminish this coming season, he could easily still achieve 4-5 rushing touchdowns and 300 rush yards which will only add fantasy points to what should be a much-improved pass attack when the Bills spend free agent money to upgrade the receivers and offensive line. Look for the Bills to bring in a veteran the likes of Golden Tate to work with Zay Jones and Foster to give weapons to Allen that he will need if the team wants to return to the playoffs any time soon.

Building on his 10 touchdowns and 12 interceptions from last year is not going to be a difficult task. The most difficult task will be convincing yourself he can do it and allowing yourself to go into the season with his as your fantasy starter. You will probably not need to spend any more than a 12th or 13th round pick to get him on your team and this in itself is reason enough to take a shot on him. If he doesn’t pan out in the first few weeks, you can drop him or get a streamer off waivers.

Nick Foles, Free Agent - No one knows where Foles is going to be in 2019. Whether it be the Jaguars or Giants, the only thing which is certain is he will be a starter for someone. With Blake Bortles set to be dumped like toxic waste into New Jersey and Eli Manning on his last legs, both teams may be throwing money at Foles in hopes of landing him.

For my money, the future will look brighter for him if he ends up heading to north Florida into Jaguar and Gator country. With Leonard Fournette in the backfield and motivated after being rightly called out after the season and a crop of young receivers, the weapons are better in Jacksonville. Dede Westbrook and Keelan Cole can provide a serviceable one-two threat.

Obviously, all of this depends on where Foles ends up but if he does end up in Jacksonville, he could finish as a top-15 quarterback. Don’t forget other than last season, Blake Bortles, yes Blake Bortles, finished as a top-12 quarterback with the same offense.

Joe Flacco, Denver Broncos - Don’t get overly excited. Everyone says Flacco is better than Case Keenum and while this might be true, the Broncos still have no weapons. With Demaryius Thomas out the door and Emmanuel Sanders likely to miss most of the season with his ACL injury, it will fall to a crop of young receivers to step in and perform.

Everyone was enamored by Courtland Sutton last season after a few good games alongside Thomas and Sanders. Owners were trying to flip him for big money in dynasty leagues and running to spend all their FAAB budget on him in redraft. But what happened when Thomas and Sanders were not on the other side? He vanished. A lot of this had to do of course with the quarterback but it is not like we are going from Keenum to Rodgers or Brady. Flacco, is at best, a minor upgrade at this point and this should not significantly impact Sutton, Tim Patrick or Daesean Hamilton.

The real strength of the Broncos offense is going to have to remain the run game behind Phillip Lindsay and Royce Freeman and this will further limit any upside available from Joe Flacco in the rarified air of Mile High Stadium.

Quarterbacks the likes of Eli Manning and Marcus Mariota are going to be taken in the same range or lower than Flacco and their upside is much greater than Flacco. Not to mention the most important factor, their floor is also higher making them less risky to draft.

If you are in a two-quarterback league, Flacco may be a necessary evil to roster, but in a single quarterback league, avoid drafting him with all the strength in your being If you do draft him in hopes of finding a late-round QB sleeper? May the force be with you.

More Fantasy Football Analysis


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.




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