Matt Hicks, Staff Writer
This season, I will be heading up dynasty rankings for Top2; I will update these again as major events occur, as we get to the preseason, and weekly during the season. For now, you can interpret tiers as benchmarks for differentiating a player’s value; and assume that anyone within a single tier can move to any rank within that tier; based on preference. I have included a chart with my full rankings, along with the thoughts of experts at Fantasy Pros (to show the opinion of fellow industry writers/podcasters) and with current ADP (to show the thoughts of players and readers on a much more broad level. I then breakdown each of my top 32 quarterbacks for this season with full explanations of their upsides/risks.
You can see all my dynasty rankings HERE
I’m always up to discuss rankings-whether you agree or not; message me on Twitter and let’s talk!
|Quarterback||Team||Dynasty Rank||Tier||Fantasy Pros Rank||FFC ADP (As of 5.21)|
*ADP gathered from Draft Calculator
Tier 1 Quarterbacks
- Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers
I’m a huge proponent of the rushing quarterback, and that’s what makes Cam my top dynasty quarterback. Newton is an explosive rushing quarterback; rushing for 4,323 yards and 54 touchdowns in his career on top of his 25,074 passing yards and 158 touchdowns. Newton finished as the QB2 in fantasy last season, and that was after he tanked the first three weeks (about 33 fantasy points, depending on format) coming back from injury. Since that QB2 finish his roster has improved greatly; Newton now has a legitimate WR1 option in D.J. Moore, he has a healthy Greg Olsen back, and C.J. Anderson will help round out the run game. Compared to his ranking and ADP, I’m clearly hot on Cam Newton but I’m taking him off the board first each and every time this off season.
2. Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers
From 2014-2016 Rodgers finished as QB1 twice (he finished as QB7 in 2015. Rodgers was set to hit that mark again in 2017, starting off the season 1,675 passing yards and 16 touchdowns through 5 games. At that pace, he was set to challenge his career records of 45 passing touchdowns and 4,637 passing yards. Rodgers comes back from his injury completely healed and with a slew of receiving options. He’s coming back to an improved Davante Adams, the best tight end he’s had since Jermichael Finley (Jimmy Graham), and 3 rookies with high upside. At 34 years old, Rodgers is still young enough to avoid losing value in dynasty formats; he’s your safest bet at quarterback.
Tier 2 Quarterbacks
3. Kirk Cousins, Minnesota Vikings
In his three seasons as a starter, Cousins has finished as QB6, QB5, and QB8 in fantasy. He’s thrown for 81 touchdowns and just 36 interceptions, maintaining a QB Rating of at least 93.85 in each of those seasons. Yet, he’s disrespected in both rankings and ADP even after transitioning to Minnesota where his offense weapons and scheme get markedly better. Cousins best target is Washington was an injury riddled Jordan Reed (who saw no playing time in 2017) and Jamison Crowder, who finished as WR33 in fantasy last season. Now Cousins will have Thielen (WR8 in 2017), Diggs (WR 19 in 2017), and Rudolph (TE8 in 2017) at his disposal. Cousins will also have the explosive Dalvin Cook as both a passing target and a viable means of taking pressure off the pass game. Don’t sleep on Kirk Cousins; he’s one of the most consistent quarterbacks in the NFL leading one of the most stacked offenses in the NFL.
4.Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks
I have to start this by mentioning that it hurts me to put Wilson in Tier 2, because he’s a fantastic player; but he’s fallen into a terrible situation for fantasy. Wilson is coming off a season where he threw for 3,981 yards and 34 touchdowns while rushing for 586 yards and 3 touchdowns; he finished as the fantasy QB1. Wilson has a reputation for making a lot out of nothing, but Seattle has given him even more nothing than they usually do. The Seahawks lost both Richardson and Graham to free agency, leaving Baldwin, Lockett, and Darboh and the only targets for Wilson. They burned their first round pick on Rashaad Penny, who posses neither the ability to draw defenders into the box or the ability to pass protect. Seattle did nothing to improve their deplorable offensive line through free agency or the draft. I want to like Russel Wilson but Seattle is making it too hard.
5. Deshaun Watson, Houston Texans
Watson shocked the fantasy world in 2017, throwing for 19 touchdowns, 1,699 yards and posting a 102.96 quarterback rating through Week 7. He also ran for 269 yards and 7 touchdowns; displaying the type of dual threat capability that gets you to the top of my ranking board. He showed the potential to be a perennial top 3 fantasy quarterback before tearing his ACL. Watson now comes with serious red flags: will he still be the mobile, flashy quarterback that he was last year post ACL surgery and did we see the real Watson, or just a flash in the pan? I’m willing to bet on Watson’s upside, but I don’t blame you if you don’t.
6. Carson Wentz, Philadelphia Eagles
Wentz is one of the tougher quarterbacks to rank. His 2017 season was both phenomenal and in complete contrast with his rookie season. In 2017, Wentz threw for 3,296 yards and threw for 33 touchdowns, with just 11 interceptions. That was good enough for him to finish as QB5 in fantasy, despite not playing the last 3 weeks of the season due to his ACL injury. In 2016, however, Wentz struggled; posting a 79.25 QB rating which is perhaps best reflected in his TD:INT ration of 16:14. Wentz is likely to miss at least a couple weeks of the 2018 regular season (although reports suggest he could be ready, I’m skeptical) and I think he gets molded into a pure pocket passer following the injury, limiting his fantasy upside. Still, once he returns, he will be leading a dangerous offense with Ertz, Godert, Jeffery, and Agholor as his top weapons.
Tier 3 Quarterbacks
7. Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions
Stafford is the most underrated fantasy player every single year; and according to early ADP numbers, 2018 will be no different. Since becoming the starting quarterback of the Lions, Stafford has finished as a top 9 fantasy quarterback 6 out of 7 seasons. He’s thrown for at least 4,262 yards in all 7 of those seasons, and eclipsed 5,000 yards once. He’s averaged 28 touchdowns a season since becoming a starter and has posted a QB Rating of at least 93.32 in each of the past three seasons. Now Stafford has a legitimate running game that can open up passing lanes and allow him to lead an offense into the red zone consistently. With the addition of Blount and Kerryon Johnson, it is officially time to stop doubting Stafford.
8. Dak Prescott, Dallas Cowboys
In his two seasons in the NFL, Dak has finished as QB11 and QB6 in fantasy; with very little difference separating those seasons beyond and additional 9 interceptions in 2017. The relative drop in production for Dak came primarily from offensive line injuries in Dallas and the inability to carry the team during Zeke’s suspension. With both of those needs addressed, Dak is poised to return to the form of the quarterback who has thrown for 3,300 yards and 22 touchdowns in each of his two NFL seasons and has 12 career rushing touchdowns, along with 639 rushing yards.
9. Tom Brady, New England Patriots
Brady may be ageing but if you look at the stats you’d never know. In 2017, he posted his third season in a row with a quarterback rating of over 102, and threw for 4,577 yards (the 6th time he’s thrown for at least 4,109 yards in the last 7 seasons). Brady threw more touchdowns in 2017 (32) than he’s thrown interceptions in the last 4 seasons combined (25). He’s not slowing down, but he’s also not playing forever; I give him at least two more seasons; with the possibility of a third but he’s not suiting up in 2021.
10. Andrew Luck, Indianapolis Colts
In his 4 full seasons, Luck has posted at least 276 fantasy points; and in 2016 he was QB 4 after throwing for 4,240 yards and 31 touchdowns while rushing for 341 yards and 2 touchdowns. Still, we are left in a cloud of mystery as to why Luck hasn’t thrown a ball after a 2016 surgery which was supposed to be minor, and have him ready to play well ahead of the 2017 season. If Luck picked up a ball today and threw just one pass, he’s my QB7; but the longer it takes him to do that the further he slides down my rankings, and the further he crushes the hearts of Colts fans everywhere.
11. Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons
Speaking of fantastic 2016 seasons, Matt Ryan presents another tough player to rank. Ryan’s 2016 led to him finishing as QB2 in fantasy after passing for 4,944 yards and 38 touchdowns. Ryan then plummeted to QB15 in 2017; almost strictly because his touchdowns dropped to 20. Ryan, however, has thrown for at least 28 touchdowns in 6 of his last 8 seasons, and has thrown for at least 4,000 yards in his last 7 seasons. The drop in production comes almost certainly from Steve Sarkisian; who appears to be on a John Fox-like mission to waste fantasy value. Sarkisian, however, is already on the hot seat in Atlanta and will either need to feed the passing game, or packs his bags and head back to Tuscaloosa.
12. Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints
Brees is one of the all-time best pure passing quarterbacks, but it seems New Orleans is not longer interested in have a pure passing offense. After throwing for at least 4,870 yards and 32 touchdowns in each of the last 6 seasons, Brees threw for just 4,334 yards and 23 touchdowns in 2017. It stemmed from an intentional decision from Sean Payton to emphasize Kamara and Ingram and it moved Brees from QB3 in 2016 to QB9 in 2017. As Brees continues to age (39) the Saints may continue to limit his workload and rely on other key play makers. The emphasis on rushing and defense showed up big in the draft too; when the Saints moved up for Marcus Davenport they told the NFL they don’t need Brees to carry the team any longer. Brees will still be at the helm, and make for a great redraft option, but his best seasons and behind him, and his dynasty value will regrees along with his opportunity to contribute in New Orleans.
Tier 4 Quarterbacks
13. Mitchell Trubisky, Chicago Bears
Trubisky had flashes of greatness last season in a putrid Bears offense; including 5 games (out of 12 starts) with a QB Rating above 94. Trubisky has gotten the most help of any quarterback this off season, with the bears adding: Allen Robinson, Taylor Gabriel, Anthony Miller, and Trey Burton. Trubisky also benefits from the Bears swapping head coaches from old school, run based John Fox to the dynamic Matt Nagy; who most recently led a revamped and recharged Chiefs offense.
14. Case Keenum, Denver Broncos
I dove in deep on Case Keenum in an article where I make the case for him as a QB 1 in redraft formats, the highlights of which are: his finished as QB14 in Minnesota last season, the way he makes his wide outs better, and the weapons he has in Denver. In dynasty, I think you can expect him to be in Denver at least two years; with young pieces like Royce Freeman and Cortland Sutton to grow with.
15. Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs
I’m not a huge fan of Mahomes himself, I think he was drafted too high and I’m not impressed with what we’ve seen from his one regular season game (22-35 284 yards 0 TD 1INT). I also don’t put much stock into preseason performances. Still, Mahomes has a tremendous floor with some of the best weapons of any quarterback in Tyreek Hill (WR 4 in 2017), Travis Kelce (TE 2 in 2017), Sammy Watkins (WR 16 in 2015), and Kareem Hunt (RB 3 in 2017, 8th in receiving yards for RBs).
16. Jimmy Garoppolo, San Francisco 49ers
I’m much lower on Jimmy GQ than most (ranked 11th on FantasyPros and 6th in ADP). I get why people are hype on him though; he’s a talented player that threw for at least 292 yards in 4 of his 5 starts, and completed at least 70% of his attempts in 3 of them last season. His upside is limited, though, with only 7 touchdowns in 5 games (no more than 2 in any) and 5 interceptions. The bigger threat to his fantasy value, though, is the lack of support the 49ers gave him this offseason; with Pettis and McKinnon being the only real offensive weapons added his offense doesn’t get much better. Until San Francisco invests more into him, I’m not investing in him.
17. Blake Bortles, Jacksonville Jaguars
Let me be very clear: Blake Bortles is a good NFL quarterback and a very legitimate fantasy football quarterback. He finished as QB 13 in 2017, QB 9 in 2016, and QB4 in 2015. In the last three seasons, he’s averaging 4,006 passing yards, 26 touchdowns, and 330 rushing yards. The only reason he’s not a QB1 in my rankings is because, despite this performance and their rise to championship contending status, the Jaguars seem unwilling to commit long term to Bortles.
18. Jared Goff, Los Angeles Ram
In Sean McVay’s revamped Rams offense, Goff far exceeded his slow rookie start; throwing for 3,804 yards and 28 touchdowns. Goff, however, is a game manager more than he’s a fantast stud (only 4 games over 20 fantasy points) and the Rams as a whole are due for regression as the NFL adjusts to McVay’s offensive scheme. I believe we’ve seen the ceiling for Goff (QB12 in 2017); and he’s a solid QB2 from this point on.
Tier 5 Quarterbacks
19. Derek Carr, Oakland Raiders
It should be clear that with this tier, I’m focusing on players that have shown flashes on fantasy stud potential-but haven’t been able to put it together. Carr finished as QB 19 last season, lower than he previous finishes of QB 11 and QB 15; he regressed in touchdowns, passing yards, and QB rating. The season for the Raiders as a whole was disappointing, and swapping out Nelson for Crabtree offers Carr just a slight upgrade. Carr has shown he can be a QB 1, but we need to hope Gruden can inject some fire into the still unproven quarterback out of Fresno State.
20. Jameis Winston, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
I’m not a Winston truther, and frankly I’m not a fan of him in general. He’s finished as QB 13 (2015), QB 16 (2016), and QB 22 (2017); showing clear regression. Winston is seemingly wasting great weapons in Mike Evans, O.J. Howard, Cameron Brate, and DeSean Jackson. The Buccaneers, however, seem intent on sticking with him and with young pieces like Ronald Johnson, Chris Godwin, and Adam Humpries ready to chip in; it seems almost inevitable that at some point Winston has to figure it out.
21. Marcus Mariota, Tennessee Titans
Marcus Mariota is a classic example of me wanting to like a player more than I actually should. When I take an honest look at him I see a quarterback who has never thrown for 3,500 yards (42 career starts), a player who has a 1.7 TD: INT ratio (58 TD-36 INT), and isn’t quite the rushing quarterback he’s made out to be. What Mariota does have going for him, though, is backing from his front office-so much so, that they brought in a new coaching staff after the Titans made a playoff run last season. Under a fresh scheme Mariota may finally break out…maybe.
Tier 6 Quarterbacks
22. Philip Rivers, Los Angeles Chargers
Rivers is coming off one of his best fantasy finishes in 2017 (QB 8). He threw for 4,515 yards, finishing only behind Brady in that category and defying what has normally been his Achilles heel: interceptions; his 10 interceptions in 2017 were his least since 2009. Still Rivers, like his 2004 draft classmates is aging-making him a cheap commodity in dynasty. I do like Rivers best of all his classmates; namely because his play demonstrates a safe floor and his weapons (Allen, Gordon, Mike Williams) give him huge upside potential; even without Hunter Henry.
23. Eli Manning New York Giants
I bought big into Eli last season, and I got burned…big time. Still, Eli is set for a bounce back year; with his star wide out, Beckham Jr., back and healthy and with the star of the 2017 draft, Saquon Barkley, giving the Giants a balanced offense for the first time in years. Eli had the third most passing attempts last season (571) but that only equated to 3,468 yards; so proceed with caution on this aging fantasy asset.
24. Alex Smith Washington
Alex Smith’s QB 4 finish in 2017 made me (a perennial Smith truther) absolutely ecstatic. Smith, however, gets a huge downgrade by moving to Washington. He goes from having Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce to Paul Richardson and a broken down Jordan Reed. The offense seems built on deep threats (Crowder, Richardson, Doctson) but that doesn’t match the quarterback Smith has been in 12/13 of his seasons; when he had mediocore weapons. Regression is inevitable, the only question is how far does he fall-and you can see my answer to that one.
25. Ben Roethlisberger Pittsburgh Steelers
Big Ben finished as QB 20 in 2015 and QB 16 in 2016. He was on pace to finish there, or lower through the first 6 weeks of 2017; averaging just 11.6 points per game. After opening contemplating retirement, he put together a run that allowed him to finish QB 10. Roethlisberger, though, has spent his whole career getting beat up by defenders and his popularity has tanked in Pittsburgh after the Steelers drafted Mason Rudolph. I expect him to be the first class of 2004 quarterback to retire; and I won’t be surprised if this is his last season.
Tier 7 Quarterbacks
26. Josh Rosen, Arizona Cardinals
I’m not the biggest Rosen fan, but I do recognize he’s the most pro-ready rookie quarterback; and early comments out of Arizona seem to indicate they feel the same way. I’m willing to go on record to state I believe that Rosen will be the Arizona starting quarterback week 1. Much in the same way Trubisky and Watson replaced the overpaid and underwhelming Mike Glennon and Brock Ostwieler; the injury ridden Sam Bradford is not safe. He offers you the most right now, but over time I think Rosen falls safely into QB2 status-good, but never great.
27. Tyrod Taylor, Cleveland Browns
As a proponent of rushing quarterbacks in fantasy, I desperately wanted Tyrod out of Buffalo; where he was egregiously misused. Well people, be careful what you wish for because he’s now on a one year loan in Cleveland. Still, Tyrod has the ability to perform: racking up 427 rushing yards to compliment his 2,799 passing yards and ridiculously good 14:4 TD:INT ratio. I expect this to be an Alex Smith type situation; Tyrod is auditioning for a starting job elsewhere next season; and I expect to him to get that job after starting at least 12 games in a much improved Cleveland offense this season.
28. Lamar Jackson, Baltimore Ravens
Lamar Jackson is everything I love in a quarterback, and that goes double for his potential as a fantasy quarterback. In just 3 seasons at Louisville he tore up ACC defenders: throwing for 9,043 yards and 69 touchdowns; with just 27 interceptions. What he’s known for, however, is his ability to make plays with his legs: compiling 4,132 rushing yards and 50 rushing touchdowns. That’s an average of 4,391 total yards and 39 touchdowns a season; the 119 career touchdowns he’s responsible for ranks him 23rd all time in NCAA history…and he only played 3 seasons. The Ravens saw his upside, with limited risk (he missed virtually no time to injury with 37 career starts) and built around him; adding Hayden Hurst and Mark Andrews to begin building a revamped offense focused on Jackson’s style. The only reason Jackson is below Rosen is because I don’t expect him to see any play time in his first year.
29. Andy Dalton, Cincinnati Bengals
Believe it or not, Andy Dalton still has (some) fantasy relevance. Although his career has been filled with mediocrity, he finished as QB 17 in 2017, and QB 12 in 2016. He’s a very tough player to predict; he’s had multiple seasons with more than 4,200 passing yards and even more with less than 3,400 passing yards. He’s thrown for 25 or more touchdowns 3 times in a season; but in 2 out of the last 4 seasons he’s failed to throw 20. Dalton’s stock is hurt further with little investment in the passing game and an increased focus on building a running game around Mixon, Bernard, and Walton. If you get stuck needing a quarterback late, he’s a decent rental but you’re getting what you pay for with him.
30. Ryan Tannenhill, Miami Dolphins
Tannenhill’s best fantasy season came in 2014; when he finished as QB 8. Since then, he’s finished as QB 17 (2015) and QB 27 in 2016 when he only played 13 games, due to injury. Tannenhill is coming back off an ACL injury (separate from his 2016 injury) that held him out of 2017; and finds little fantasy relevance beyond the fact he’s leading the second best offense in a division which is struggling outside of Foxborough, Massachusetts. Although none of his weapons are fantastic; they are sneaky good: Albert Wilson showed flashes of upside that DFS players loved last season, Danny Amendola is a proven veteran finally hoping to be featured in an offense, and Davante Parker offers the upside that we hope for (and are disappointing by) every off season. Much like Dalton, Tannenhill could help you this season, and then he could be out of a job next season; proceed with caution.
31. Josh Allen, Buffalo Bills
Speaking of proceed with caution…here’s my take on Josh Allen. I love his upside; he has, unarguably, one of the best arms we’ve seen in quite some time. He also has some serious athleticism that only showed up on tape and at the combine; sky rocketing his fantasy upside. My favorite thing about Josh Allen, however, is how conscious he is of his flaws; most namely his accuracy and decision making skills under pressure. I’ve seen him, in multiple interviews, name his flaws openly and give the reasons he believes he can fix them with time to develop on an NFL roster. My least favorite thing about Josh Allen is he is a Bill; and they currently have very little to no weapons to support his development. If Buffalo approaches this re-build the right way (not rushing Allen onto the field and adding pieces over 2-3 years) your investment in Josh Allen could bring you a perennial Top 10 quarterback.
32. Baker Mayfield, Cleveland Browns
I recognize that a lot of people like Baker Mayfield, I do not. I think he’s undersized (yes, it’s great Wilson and Brees worked out but they didn’t go #1 overall), and he looked great throwing short slants and screens behind one of the best offensive lines in college football against the worst defensive conference in college football. Still, I love the weapons he has in Jarvis Landry (who fits his short play style), Josh Gordon (who brings all the upside one could ever want), Njoku (who absolutely will break out as a top tight end) and the committee of Hyde, Johnson, and Chubb in the backfield. In much the same way I couldn’t deny Mahommes, I can’t deny Baker’s fantasy value with a roster this good. Mayfield, however, likely won’t see significant playing time year one, unless the Browns go well below .500 early; which I don’t expect them to do. Still, I won’t be suprised in Mayfield isn’t a Brown in 2022 when it’s time to offer him a 5th year contract extension.