2016 Quarterback Rankings
Quarterback is a funny position. While some believe in waiting five, six, or even seven rounds to pick their signal caller, others want to jump on them right away. I can see both sides of the argument. On the waiting side there are 10-15 guys who I would be ok with as my starting signal caller each Sunday. On the right away side, quarterback is often the position that scores the most points so why not try to get the best guy at the position. I’m more of a wait four or five rounds type of guy as I want to stack my lineup with as many really good running backs and wide receivers before I turn to a quarterback. Many of the top guys disappointed last season, and we had a few break out. Who are going to be the best of the bunch in 2016? Below are my top 25 quarterbacks with their 2015 statistics.
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2016 Fantasy Football Quarterback Rankings
1.Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers
3,821 yards, 31 touchdowns, 8 interceptions; 344 rushing yards, 1 touchdown
It was a terrible season in 2015 for Aaron Rodgers as the team fell apart around him. He lost his main receiver, Jordy Nelson, before the season even started. The offensive line had injuries, Eddie Lacy came to camp fat and never looked like the same guy all year, and Davante Adams couldn’t catch the ball or stay on the field. Even taking all of that into consideration, and Rodgers still had a pretty decent season. With his whole team healthy and Lacy off the cheeseburgers, I expect Rodgers to rise to the cream of the crop again. I believe he will blow past 4,000 yards and probably top 40 touchdown passes.
2. Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers
3,837 yards, 35 touchdowns, 10 interceptions; 636 rushing yards, 10 touchdowns
What an amazing season it was for the NFL MVP as Newton crushed his career high in touchdown passes and was a fantasy darling from start to finish. Not bad for a guy who lost his top receiver in the preseason. Newton still won’t have much help from his running backs, but he himself is a running game. Kelvin Benjamin will return from injury, and his young targets like Philly Brown and Devin Funchess will now have matured another year. Even with the rock that is Greg Olsen, I still expect a small regression from Newton. The yardage will probably stay fairly similar but I can see him throwing 32 touchdowns and rushing for seven more. Not much of a drop off, but enough to keep him out of the top spot.
3. Andrew Luck, Indianapolis Colts
1,881 yards, 15 touchdowns, 12 interceptions; 196 rushing yards (7 games)
I don’t know if anyone had a rougher year than Andrew Luck. He was only able to play seven games last season due to the fact that he was a sitting duck in the backfield as opposing defensive lines and linebackers seemed to have no trouble hitting him. He was sacked 15 times in seven games, but that doesn’t count the myriad of times he was hurried and knocked down. In midseason, Luck suffered a lacerated kidney, abdominal tear, and a tear of rib cartilage and was done for the season. The Colts hired Joe Philbin as offensive line coach to mentor the plethora of offensive lineman Indy took in the draft. If Luck could stand up straight he could challenge 4,500 yards and 40 touchdowns. He probably won’t reach those numbers, but he should still have a huge bounceback season and be a fantasy stud.
4. Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints
4,870 yards, 32 touchdowns, 11 interceptions; 14 rushing yards, 1 touchdown
It was a “down year” for Brees as he only threw for nearly 4,900 yards and 32 touchdowns, a year most quarterbacks would love to have for a career high. However, there was some good news for Brees in 2015. Second year man Brandin Cooks turned into the star everyone was expecting him to, and Willie Snead became a great reliable possession receiver that Brees could count on. The Saints took Michael Thomas with their second round pick, and brought in receiving tight end Coby Fleener to add to Brees’ embarrassment of riches to throw to. The ball should be flying through the air in the Bayou again this year and Brees should be a top five fantasy quarterback.
5. Blake Bortles, Jacksonville Jaguars
4,428 yards, 35 touchdowns, 18 interceptions; 310 rushing yards, 2 touchdowns
You will probably find in this preseason that I am sporting wood for the Jaguars passing game this season. They did bring in Chris Ivory to try to bolster the running game with disappointing rookie TJ Yeldon in 2015, but the offense is still going to revolve around the pass game. He has a wide array of weapons at his disposal. Tight end Julius Thomas needs to bounceback, but his Receiving Allens both were nearly unstoppable. Allen Robinson became fantasy elite last year, and Allen Hurns was one of the year’s biggest surprises. If Marqise Lee, a former second round pick, can live up to expectations, Bortles could have the best receiving corps in football. A duplication of 2015 seems a highly attainable goal for this fantastic young quarterback.
6. Tom Brady, New England Patriots
4,770 yards, 36 touchdowns, 7 interceptions; 53 rushing yards, 3 touchdowns
For the love of God I am so happy that DeflateGate is over, and that it did not go to the Supreme Court. Tom Brady will serve a four game suspension to start the season. My guess is when he returns he will like he did last season with a major chip on his shoulder with something to prove. He still doesn’t have household names at receiver, but he rarely has had one of those so Tom Terrific will still be fine. Even though he will only play 12 games I still expect Brady to throw for 3,800 yards, and 28-30 touchdowns. Be sure to get yourself a very capable backup to lead you through the first four weeks, and you should have one of the best fantasy quarterbacks those last 12 weeks. I feel really, really sorry for the Browns who will face the Pats in Week 5 when Brady is eligible to return.
7. Carson Palmer, Arizona Cardinals
4,671 yards, 35 touchdowns, 11 interceptions; 24 rushing yards, 1 touchdown
Carson Palmer might be as old as the White Walkers, but the dude is still putting up crazy fantasy stats. The only thing stopping Palmer from having another elite fantasy season is his health, and with the stability of the Cardinal offensive line, there’s reason to be confident he will stay upright. The emergence of running back David Johnson not only gives Arizona a legit running game, but also another receiver out of the backfield for Palmer to dissect defenses. With Larry Fitzgerald, Michael Floyd, John Brown, and now J.J. Nelson at wide receiver, defenses simply can’t cover everyone. Look for another 4,500+ yards and 35ish touchdowns again for Palmer in 2016.
8, Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks
4,024 yards, 34 touchdowns, 8 interceptions; 553 rushing yards, 1 touchdown
Long a run first team with the offense revolving around Marshawn Lynch, Wilson was asked to do a lot more with his arm in the second half of last season and he responded in amazing fashion. Wilson threw 24 touchdowns in the last seven weeks of the year, and made Doug Baldwin a star. With Lynch gone and the offensive line more of a question mark than it has been in the past, will the Seahawks open up the offense more in 2016? I do believe that you will see Wilson throw more like he did in the second half of the year more than he did in the first half. That being said I do expect a slight regression from 2015. I still do expect a very good season from Wilson and he should have 4,000 yards and 28-32 touchdowns again in 2016.
Russell Wilson says NC State coach told him he'd never make the NFL https://t.co/vKUGTPC4nE
— Changing the Game (@CTGProjectHQ) July 29, 2016
9. Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers
3,938 yards, 21 touchdowns, 16 interceptions ; 29 rushing yards (12 games)
Even tough guy Ben couldn’t quite stay healthy throughout the 2015 season and his statistics were less than impressive. However, the Steelers offense has really transformed over the past couple of years from a run first offense to a pass happy attack. The Steelers will definitely miss Martavis Bryant who will lose the year to a drug suspension, but Markus Wheaton and second year man Sammie Coates look to pick up that slack. Pittsburgh also signed Ladarius Green at tight end to replace the retired Heath Miller, so Big Ben has a wide array of weapons to distribute the ball to. I totally expect him to surpass 4,000 yards and threaten 30 touchdowns again in 2016. Ben is always a bit of an injury risk, but if he can stay healthy he is a shoe in to be a starting fantasy football quarterback.
10. Eli Manning, New York Giants
4,432 yards, 35 touchdowns, 14 interceptions; 61 rushing yards
Offensive Coordinator Ben McAdoo has helped Manning produce two of his best seasons in 2014 and 2015. The departure of former Head Coach Tom Coughlin has now opened up the door of McAdoo to ascend to head coach which means that Manning will continue to run the same offense. New York drafted Sterling Shepard and hopes to get Victor Cruz back from injury to help Manning with different weapons. Eli is an iron man of the top level as he hasn’t missed a game in his career. There’s no reason to believe that Manning won’t have another great year as the Giants running game will continue to be average at best. Eli will be a guy you can count on for a week in, week out basis.
11. Derek Carr, Oakland Raiders
3,987 yards, 32 touchdowns, 13 interceptions; 138 rushing yards
After a solid rookie season, Carr to the next step to fantasy starter in 2015 with a great follow up campaign. He clicked immediately with Amari Cooper and brought Michael Crabtree back from the dead. Carr has a strong arm and isn’t afraid to try to make the big, semi-dangerous throw. While Latavius Murray and rookie DeAndre Washington should provide enough of a run game to keep defenses honest, the Raider offense is still going to revolve around the pass game. I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised to see Carr top the 4,000 yard mark this season, my only concern is if he can get the same kind of year out of Crabtree. Hopefully the further development of Seth Roberts and expanded role of tight end Clive Walford will make up the difference if Crab takes a step back. Carr is the real deal and a solid low end QB1.
12. Jameis Winston, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
4,042 yards, 22 touchdowns, 15 interceptions; 213 rushing yards, 6 touchdowns
It was a very solid rookie year for the #1 overall pick, as not too many times do you see a rookie quarterback throw for 4,000 yards. While he did struggle at times, Winston showed flashes of what he is capable of in the future and it is exciting! He has a solid group of wide receivers with Mike Evans, Louis Murphy, and the aging Vincent Jackson. He has a great running game with Doug Martin which will stop defenses from simply playing the pass. And when he decides to run the ball, Winston doesn’t shy away from a little contact and has a nose for the end zone. I think you will see more success and fewer mental errors from Winston this year and he should be able to throw for 26-30 touchdowns in 2016. With his ability to run the ball to supplement his points, look for Winston to be a borderline starting fantasy quarterback.
13. Philip Rivers, San Diego Chargers
4,792 yards, 29 touchdowns 13 interceptions; 28 rushing yards
Rivers set a career high in passing yardage last season, and has topped 4,000 yards in seven of his last eight years. Keenan Allen returned to form in 2015, Dontrelle Inman showed some potential at the end of the year, and the team brought in free agent Travis Benjamin, so Rivers has weapons this season. He can be a hot head, and if things aren’t going his way he can get taken out of a game mentally. However, he has been incredibly durable, and there’s a lot to be said for that in this day and age in fantasy football. Even with the recent influx of talent, I still wouldn’t trust Rivers to be my starting fantasy quarterback, but he is among the best options to be your backup, not only for your quarterback’s bye week, but just in case you lose that starter for any stretch of time you won’t be sold up the river (see what I did there?) for the year.
14. Andy Dalton, Cincinnati Bengals
3,250 yards, 25 touchdowns, 7 interceptions; 142 rushing yards, 3 touchdowns (13 games)
A thumb injury ended Dalton’s season early, and it ended a decent comeback season for the Ginger General. Dalton did lose his second and third receivers this offseason in Mohamad Sanu and Marvin Jones, however, they did bring in Brandon LaFell and drafted Tyler Boyd out of the University of Pittsburgh, so there really isn’t much loss of talent there. The offense still will revolve around the run game, but Dalton can still put on a show through the air. All-World receiver A.J. Green is still at his disposal, and that combination has been lethal throughout the years. He has the ability to be a starting fantasy quarterback, but I don’t trust him enough to give him that title. There has been a bit too much overhaul at wide receiver, and to me Dalton is a solid pick for injury insurance and bye week production, but I can’t make him my starter every week.
15. Jay Cutler, Chicago Bears
3,659 yards, 21 touchdowns, 11 interceptions; 201 rushing yards, 1 touchdown
It wasn’t a spectacular 2015 for Jay Cutler, but he didn’t have everything going for him. Alshon Jeffery was only able to play in nine games, and there were three or four more where he clearly wasn’t healthy but played anyway. First round pick Kevin White missed the entire season, and even the guys behind them like Eddie Royal and Marquess Wilson weren’t 100%. Everyone is perfectly healthy to start the season, and the emergence of Jeremy Langford gives Cutler a solid running game and a decent ball catcher out of the backfield. He always carries this stigma around of not being motivated or a good teammate, but Cutler certainly seemed to be both in 2015. If the weapons around him stay on the field, this should be a great season for the Bears QB. He will probably just fall short of 3,900 yards, and likely throw about 28 touchdown passes.
16. Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions
4,262 yards, 32 touchdowns, 13 interceptions; 159 rushing yards, 1 touchdown
I compare Stafford this season to a widow who has lost their spouse as Stafford has lost Calvin Johnson, his number one receiver his entire career. Sometimes the surviving spouse thrives in a new life and a new routine after their loss, and other times they shrivel into a ball and pass weeks or even months later from a broken heart. How will Stafford fare without the best receiver in the game? The Lions brought in Marvin Jones and hope second year man T.J. Jones and tight end Eric Ebron develop into the playmakers that they are expecting. Personally, I have my doubts. He has been wildly inconsistent ever since his 2011 breakout season, and with the loss of Megatron I have no reason to think that he will pull it together now. Stafford has a million dollar arm and a ten dollar head and will have to prove to me that he has what it takes. He certainly has the skills and has never had under 4,000 yards when healthy or starting the entire season, but Stafford’s picks and lower touchdown totals make him a QB2. There are just too many question marks to trust him every week.
17. Ryan Fitzpatrick, New York Jets
3,905 yards, 31 touchdowns, 15 interceptions; 270 rushing yards, 2 touchdowns
Fitzpatrick and the Jets played a game of chicken all offseason at who was going to flinch at contract negotiations. Fitzpatrick finally got most of what he wanted and he will be the Jets starter in Week 1. He actually will have a better team around him with the addition of Matt Forte, but I just don’t see him replicating last year’s brilliance. He’s been a journeyman his whole career for a reason, and while I still like Decker and Marshall, I don’t see Fitz throwing 30 touchdowns again. He also plays the game with reckless abandon and is a threat to be injured. He’s a solid choice as your second quarterback, but I wouldn’t want my fantasy season to be resting on the arm of Ryan Fitzpatrick.
18. Matt Ryan , Atlanta Falcons
4,591 yards, 21 touchdowns, 16 interceptions; 63 rushing yards
Matt Ryan has no trouble racking up passing yards a he has topped 4,000 yards in five straight seasons. The biggest problem he has is his poor decision making skills. He has at least 14 interceptions in four straight seasons, and his inconsistency is often too much for fantasy players to stomach. He just wasn’t able to have those good solid games in 2015, and only once did he throw for three touchdowns. Even in that game he also threw three picks. He has one of the best receivers in football in Julio Jones, and the team brought Mohammad Sanu over to be his number two and they are hoping Justin Hardy takes a nice step forward this year. Even if all of that happens, I still think he is nothing more than a QB2 in case your starter goes down but you better hope it isn’t for an extended part of the year.
19. Tony Romo, Dallas Cowboys
884 yards, 5 touchdowns, 7 interceptions; 13 rushing yards (4 games)
A collarbone injury cost Romo nine weeks in the beginning of the season, and then another one ended his year just two weeks later. Clearly a quarterback who has a recurring injury that could easily happen on any sack is a huge fantasy risk. Romo does have a fantastic offensive line to keep him clean though, so perhaps the risk is less with him than with others. That being said, he has no other real target besides Dez Bryant. Jason Witten is aging, Terrance Williams drops the ball a lot, and does anyone really take Cole Beasley serious? Romo has done more with less than a lot of other fantasy quarterbacks, and it is not that he has gotten much worse, but I feel like there have been a number of better, younger options that have come around in the past couple of seasons. Romo could be awesome injury insurance on your bench, but I don’t know that I could draft him as my starter in 2016.
20. Marcus Mariota, Tennessee Titans
2,818 yards, 19 touchdowns, 10 interceptions; 252 rushing yards, 2 touchdowns (12 games)
Mariota had a very interesting rookie season. At times he looked like a great playmaker with escapability and that “it factor” to be able to make something out of nothing. Unfortunately at other times he looked overmatched and lost. Of course, he was operating with a subpar offensive line, no running game, and a receiving group that often was on par with a college team. The Titans brought in DeMarco Murray, Rishard Matthews, Harry Douglas, and drafted Tajae Sharpe to try to surround Mariota with more weapons. Tennessee also used the eighth overall pick on right tackle Jack Conklin to try to help the offensive line. I would put Mariota higher if he had one very reliable playmaker, but right now I can’t put him too high. That being said I am very interested to see how he does and won’t be the least bit surprised if he has a great year. If I have a good, reliable top quarterback, I’ll likely draft Mariota as my backup in case he goes off and I have good trade bait.
— Around The NFL (@AroundTheNFL) August 5, 2016
21. Tyrod Taylor, Buffalo Bills
3,035 yards, 20 touchdowns, 6 interceptions; 568 rushing yards, 4 touchdowns
The Bills often didn’t ask too much from Tyrod Taylor when it came to passing the ball, but when he was called upon to do so he made things happen. And he seemed to be at his best when plays broke down. Taylor was a big time playmaker with his running ability, and often leaves defenses guessing at exactly what he is going to do. It will be interesting to see if Taylor can duplicate his 2015 breakout, and I think he can. Hopefully for him, Sammy Watkins will be ready for the start of the season because after that there isn’t a lot of name recognition at wide receiver in Buffalo. Taylor can really be exciting though, and on any given week, he could have a great game. Unfortunately for him, his biggest problem is inconsistency, and it is that which makes him more of a second string fantasy quarterback than someone you can count on every week.
22. Kirk Cousins, Washington Redskins
4,166 yards, 29 touchdowns, 11 interceptions; 48 rushing yards, 5 touchdowns
Am I a bad person because I don’t believe in Kirk Cousins? Finally given the opportunity to start every game after the benching of RG3, Cousins obviously had career highs across the board. Clearly the Redskins are very skeptical that he could do it again because the two sides never were close in contract negotiations and he was franchise tagged. He has nice weapons in DeSean Jackson, Pierre Garcon, rookie Josh Doctson, and breakout star tight end Jordan Reed. I just believe that Cousins is going to struggle not to turn the ball over like he did the rest of his career, and now teams will be ready for him. Cousins isn’t sneaking up on anyone this year. I’m not saying he will be a total dud, but he’s not a guy I want to have in my starting lineup unless he is facing one of the league’s lower defenses.
23. Ryan Tannehill, Miami Dolphins
4,208 yards, 24 touchdowns, 12 interceptions; 141 rushing yards, 1 touchdown
Tannehill has already endured a change in offensive philosophy once in his career, and now he will be in his third system as he enters the fifth year of his career. He has yet to take that “next step” that we have been waiting for to a 4,000 yard/30 touchdown fantasy quarterback, but perhaps his new head coach Adam Gase is the one to help him get there. He worked with the Broncos when their passing game was among the league’s best, and the consensus around the league would tell you that he got the most of a wounded Bears passing attack in 2015. Tannehill gets another season together with DeVante Parker, Kenny Stills, and Jordan Cameron while the team drafted Leonte Carroo as another weapon. I am still not confident that Tannehill will be that 4,000/30 guy, but this season definitely affords him his best opportunity yet to get there.
24. Brock Osweiler, Houston Texans
1,967 yards, 10 touchdowns, 6 interceptions; 61 rushing yards, 1 touchdown (8 games)
There’s a lot to be said for a kid who came in to replace the legend that is Peyton Manning in the middle of a playoff run, and not only did he not implode, he actually performed quite admirably. Of course it helps when you have the weapons he did around him. He shocked everyone when he took the big money and went to the Texans this offseason. The good news for Osweiler is that he will again have a nice array of weapons. Of course he has All-World receiver DeAndre Hopkins who basically catches anything within five yards of him. The Texans traded up to draft Will Fuller out of Notre Dame, and they still have Cecil Shorts and Jaelen Strong as options. All of that being said, the Texans are still a run-first team. This doesn’t mean that Osweiler won’t be asked to throw the ball much, but you likely won’t see him top 35 attempts in a game much. This fact will keep him in the realm of lower end QB2s for the upcoming 2016 season.
25. Joe Flacco, Baltimore Ravens
2,791 yards, 14 touchdowns, 12 interceptions; 23 rushing yards, 3 touchdowns (10 games)
It was a lost season of injuries for the Ravens in 2015 as offensive linemen, running backs, wide receivers, and even eventually Flacco all succumbed to different maladies. The good news for the Ravens is that 2015 is now over. Everyone is hopeful that Steve Smith, Breshad Perriman, Flacco, and the rest can give them a full 16 games in 2016. Even if that is the case, Flacco has never thrown for 4,000 yards and is a more valuable real quarterback than fantasy quarterback. Given the right matchup he might not be a bad fit for a short injury or even a DFS pick, but Flacco isn’t the kind of guy you want starting for you at quarterback for any length of time at all.