Instead of numbering players off, I have decided to list similar players in groups I call tiers. I believe that players can finish anywhere in their tier but I HAVE listed them in the order.
The gap between certain players is wide. Brees, who is my 4th QB overall and in my Elite QB tier, holds much more value than Derek Carr, who is my 5th QB overall and in my QB 1 tier. If I just listed Brees as 4 and Carr as 5, you would not know that there is a larger fantasy production gap between the two.
The gap between many players can be small as well. In standard leagues last year, the difference between QB6 and QB12 was only 1 point per game. For leagues that give QB passing touchdowns six points, the difference between QB5 and QB9 was only 1.6 points per game. QB5-QB9 makes up my second tier for QBs.
In my opinion, this is the best way to truly separate talent. With that being said, let’s jump into it.
Tier 1: Elite:
- Aaron Rodgers, GB
- Tom Brady, NE
- Andrew Luck, IND
- Drew Brees, NO
Leading the way is Aaron Rodgers. Since 2011, Rodgers has thrown for over 30 touchdowns in every season but one (2013). He is the safest bet at the quarterback position but he comes at a high price (ADP: 18.5).
Tom Brady comes in at number 2. I do think there is some risk involved with taking a 40 year old QB early in the draft (ADP: 18.9). One of these seasons, Brady’s production will fall. With that being said, I do not believe 2017 is the season in which that happens.
Andrew Luck follows Brady at number 3. Luck is one of the best quarterbacks in football but health issues continue to hold him back. Even with his week 1 status up in the air, I feel comfortable combing Luck with another QB2 and riding with him through all the health scares.
Like Brady, Brees does provide some risk of a production drop off due to age. Brees’ decline in play late last season worries me but his past production speaks for itself.
Tier 2: QB1s
- Derek Carr, OAK
- Kirk Cousins, WAS
- Russell Wilson, SEA
- Matt Ryan, ATL
- Matthew Stafford, DET
If you aren’t getting an elite QB, you want to combine the two most important aspects of fantasy football: efficiency and opportunity.
Kirk Cousins is the perfect storm and is my QB steal of the draft (ADP: 87.9). Cousins has been one of the most efficient passers over the last two seasons. He ranks fourth in passing yards. Combine that with opportunity (he ranks 7th in passing attempts) and you have yourself a reliable top 10 fantasy QB. The Redskins have not ranked better than 19th in rushing yards since Jay Gruden took over as the head coach in 2014. This means they rely heavily on the passing game to move the ball down the field.
While we are discussing efficiency, Matt Ryan was the most efficient QB in the league last season, averaging 9.3 yards per attempt. Ryan’s career average is 7.4 yards per attempt. I fully expect Ryan to regress back to the mean this season in all aspects. Ryan’s current ADP of 38 (4th QB off the board) is much too high. In fact, Ryan has struggled to carry over his success from previous seasons. Here are his last four fantasy finishes:
I think Ryan can finish as a top 10 QB this season, but I am not willing to bet a 4th round pick on it.
Matthew Stafford would have been much higher on this list if he had finished last season the way he started.
|Completion %||Yards||TDs||INTs||Yards Per Attempt|
|Stafford’s first 8 games||67.73%||2,154||16||4||7.64|
|Stafford’s last 8 games||63.14%||2,173||8||6||6.94|
Stafford has shown success in Jim Bob Cooter’s offense before so there is reason to believe he’ll find it again. Combining Stafford (ADP:108) with a QB in the next tier will easily solve all your QB woes for the season.
Tier 3: QB2s with QB1 Potential:
- Cam Newton, CAR
- Philip Rivers, LAC
- Jameis Winston, TB
- Marcus Mariota, TEN
- Eli Manning, NYG
- Ben Roethlisberger, PIT
- Tyrod Taylor, BUF
- Dak Prescott, DAL
The idea behind this tier, is that you can draft two of these quarterbacks in the later rounds and play them based on match ups.
Philip Rivers is being severely under-drafted (ADP: 127.3). He is actually going after DeShaun Watson, who isn’t even guaranteed to start. Rivers is a reliable QB (he has started every game since 2006) who has put up over 4,000 yards and at least 29 TDs in each of the last four seasons.
Ben Roethlisberger is two completely different quarterbacks at home and on the road. Here are his splits:
|Big Ben at Home||12||68%||4,003||36||12|
|Big Ben on the Road||14||64%||3,754||14||17|
His inability to play away from Heinz field combined with is health risk make Big Ben a QB2. If you manage to grab Big Ben late and grab a steady back up option (Tyrod Taylor), you could easily use Taylor to fill in when needed.
Speaking of Tyrod Taylor, his 18.1 points per game ranked 7th last season. He’s currently the 21st QB off the board (ADP: 131.5). He’s the perfect QB2 for those of you who play in two QB leagues.
QB17 is the highest I’ve ranked any second year QB since Andrew Luck. I don’t trust Dak Prescott as a full time fantasy QB1 just yet. One season of work isn’t enough for me to grab Prescott at QB9 (ADP 84).
Tier 4: The Tier of Unreliability
- Carson Palmer, ARI
- Andy Dalton, CIN
- Carson Wentz, PHI
- Blake Bortles
- Joe Flacco
- Sam Bradford
These QBs all have QB2 potential but they are too unreliable to be counted on as QB2s.
Carson Palmer is the best example of what I am trying to express. In 2015, Palmer was a top 5 QB. Fast forward one season and he’s a back end QB2. In a standard league, he’s too unreliable to be drafted as anything more than a late round flier.
None of these QBs were given any significant help this offseason by their teams. Carson Wentz was given the best weapon in Alshon Jeffery, but Jeffery’s ability to be on the field is just as unreliable as his QB as a fantasy option.
Tier 5: QB3
- Alex Smith, KC
- Brian Hoyer, SF
- Jared Goff, LAR
- Jay Cutler, MIA
- Brock Osweiler, CLE
- Trevor Siemian
- Mike Glennon, CHI
In standard leagues, none of these QBs will be drafted. However, I would keep an eye on Brian Hoyer and Jared Goff.
Hoyer has played in 17 games over the past two seasons and actually has solid stats.
|Completion %||Yards||TDs||INTs||Yards Per Attempt|
With Kyle Shanahan running that offense, Hoyer could be a solid plug and play option during the season.
Jared Goff had a rough start to his career last season but there is hope for some improvement. Sean McVay is a very talented offensive coach and the Rams have definitely upgraded the supporting cast around Goff.
Tier 6: Waiver Wire Pick Ups
- DeShaun Watson, HOU
- Mitchell Trubisky, CHI
- Tom Savage, HOU
- Christian Hackenberg, NYJ
- DeShone Kizer, CLE
I do not think a single rookie QB should be drafted this season (yes, I’m talking to you DeShaun Watson and your QB17/ADP of 121). There is a very good chance Watson, Kizer, and Trubisky all see the field at some point. With that being said, there is really no telling where that may be.