SportsGuyRy’s 2018 Fantasy Football Rankings
Quarterback Edition (1-10):
*Photo provided by FlurrySports*
Welcome back to the Fantasy Corner with my, SportsGuyRy.
My last article was written about who I perceive to be the 11-20 best Quarterbacks entering 2018 from a fantasy football perspective. We had one big surprise in there with Drew Brees making his way out of the top 10 for the first time in over a decade.
As we go through my top 10 list here, you will notice maybe some other unconventional thoughts here that you’ll likely disagree with. That’s okay, it’s all opinions and I’ll take any feedback you want to give as to why you feel my list is wrong. On draft day however, this is the list I’ll follow pending injuries.
Let’s start with #10:
10. Philip Rivers – Los Angeles Chargers – Ranked #7 QB to end 2017 with 330 points (20.6 per game)
*Photo provided by USA Today*
An ironman, Philip Rivers has played in every single game since becoming the starter in 2006. That’s incredible for a man who’s often played behind a porous offensive line. As consistent as the aforementioned Stafford, he’s had 4000+ yards in every season since 2007 except for the 2012 campaign. He also typically averages in the high 20s to low 30s for touchdowns in a season. His rushing totals are much less impressive than Stafford’s but other than that, they’re very similar.
With 330 points last season, he had yet another great season for fantasy output, given his ADP last season. In his age 36 season in 2018, you should expect more of the same. He has a healthy Keenan Allen returning for another great season. He has young weapons in Melvin Gordon, Mike Williams and Tyrell Williams. He also has a much improved offensive line to keep him upright.
The biggest knock on Rivers throughout his career has been the “clutch” factor. He may not be relied upon that as much this year with a very good defense keeping teams in check. I’m excited for the prospect of Rivers again this year, and he’ll be a good value for those who continue to overlook his consistency.
9. Matthew Stafford – Detroit Lions – Ranked #8 QB to end 2017 with 329 points (20.6 per game)
*Photo provided by 247Sports*
Matthew Stafford is a player that’s interesting to rate here. With every tool in the bag to be an elite player, he produces well and consistent but not elite. Always good for 4000+ (every year since 2010), he’s going to get you yards. He hasn’t come close to his 41 passing touchdowns he had in 2011 since but he’s usually hovering in the high 20’s to low 30’s. He’s consistently throwing in the low teens for interceptions. Lastly, he’s typically good for a rushing touchdown or two a year.
An ironman, he hasn’t missed a game since 2010. There’s a lot to like about Stafford. Hopefully his running game is a bit more complimentary this year with Kerryon Johnson in the fold. He’s got three solid receivers in Marvin Jones, Golden Tate and Kenny Golladay. He’s got a decent defense that often times is leaving him to need to make a game winning drive.
He’s a solid fantasy prospect that you should feel good about having on your team. He typically finishes in the top 10 so be happy with that at this juncture. His biggest concerns are in real life football having a laughable losing record vs. teams with records .500 or better.
8. Andrew Luck – Indianapolis Colts – Not ranked due to injury for all 16 games
*Photo provided by Zimbio*
Andrew Luck is one of the hardest people to grade this year. He’s an elite talent with almost unlimited potential to be great but he’s been hampered by injuries in 2 of the last 3 years.
At his best, Luck was throwing for 4700 yards and 40 touchdowns and rushing for 270 yards and 3 additional touchdowns. That was 2014 and totaling 431 fantasy points. At his worst, he sat out all last year with a RIGHT shoulder injury. Right is emphasized there due to the fact that that’s his throwing shoulder. He hurt in at the end of the 2016 campaign and wasn’t able to rehab it enough to play at all last year.
He has come back to practice and is looking good so far this pre-season so there’s hope that he can return to form. He has most of the same tools around him with TY Hilton and Jack Doyle and some promising young RBs to fill the void there. It may take him some time to return to form but if he does, he could be a steal in the mid rounds at the QB position.
7. Kirk Cousins – Minnesota Vikings – Ranked #6 QB to end 2017 with 340 points (20.7 per game)
*Photo provided by twincities.com*
I’m so incredibly excited for Kirk Cousins this year. A QB with a lot of talent and ability from a throw power, accuracy and sneaky rushing, he could be in for a huge season getting into the Vikings offense. Not to say he hasn’t been successful before, he turned in the sixth best fantasy season last year with 340 points in a pretty anemic office.
Giving him targets like Stefon Diggs, Adam Thielen and Kyle Rudolph, coupled with a supportive run game with Dalvin Cook and an offensive genius in John DeFilippo, we are in for a fun fantasy season. I have him ranked at 7 and it somehow feels too low.
It’s not all rainbow and sunshine for our favorite QB. He does have concerns around clutch moments (4th quarter passing and 3rd down efficiency). He also has had a history of fumbles in his past as well. Again, this was with a different team and different weapons, so let’s give him the benefit of the doubt to correct those issues coming into the 2018 season.
6. Cam Newton – Carolina Panthers – Ranked #3 QB to end 2017 with 346 points (21.6 per game)
*Photo provided by Zimbio*
Cam Newton is always such an intriguing fantasy option at QB. I somehow find myself drafting him in one of my leagues every year just due to the abilities he has to put on another 2015 season where he amassed 3837 yards for 35 passing touchdowns and adding in 636 rushing yards for 10 more rushing touchdowns. That was good for 452 points, good for second most in a fantasy season in the last 5 years.
Even last year’s 346 points was good for third most at the QB position, averaging 21.6 points per game. Cam’s skill set to run and throw is great. He’s hard to get down and has a rocket arm. He finally has some talent around him to succeed as well. Adding in D.J. Moore, my favorite receiver from the draft, as well as giving Christian McCaffrey more responsibility this year, it should allow him to continue to find opportunities to score outside of just Greg Olsen, Devin Funchess and something called Russell Shepard.
5. Carson Wentz – Philadelphia Eagles – Ranked #4 QB to end 2017 with 340 points (26.2 per game)
*Photo provided by Inside the Iggles*
On his way to an MVP season, Carson Wentz fell short of playing the full season due to a knee injury. Luckily for the Eagles (and unfortunately for the Vikings) that didn’t derail their magnificent season as they were able to win a Super Bowl last season behind the arm of Nick Foles.
It was unfortunate for Wentz to get that injury as well because he was producing at such a high level through 13 games that he may have been bound for a fantasy MVP too. Racking up 340 points in 13 games allowed him to provide teams with a consistent 26.2 points per game, good for second in the league behind the aforementioned Watson. His 3296 yards was complimented by a ridiculous 33 touchdowns to only 7 interceptions. He also added 300 yards on the ground. To put into context, he averaged 2.5 touchdowns per game. That’s great for a second year QB.
I do have some concern about this season. He is coming back from that knee injury that happened late in the season. There’s word from camp that he MIGHT be ready for week one but it’s no certainty yet. Unfortunately for him but fortunately for the Eagles, they have a competent QB in Nick Foles to hold down the fort until Wentz is ready to go.
This makes him a risky pick this high in the QB pecking order but if you do grab him and he plays right away, you’ll be happy you did. I would recommend drafting a legitimate backup if you take Wentz, in case of him being held out the first couple weeks of the season.
Deshaun Watson – Houston Texans – Ranked #25 QB to end 2017 with 201 points (28.7 per game)
*Photo provided by FakePigskin.com*
What a rookie season, or at least part of a rookie season, Deshaun Watson put together. The most dynamic player in the league for about 7 games, he was cruising his way to a Offensive Rookie of the Year title until a non-contact knee injury happened. What a shame too because Watson was also having an otherworldly fantasy season as well.
Ending his season with 201 fantasy points, good for 28.7 points per game, he was on pace for 459.2 fantasy points which would be good for the most points scored by any rookie ever in fantasy.
You may have a little concern this year coming off the rehabilitated knee but given the abilities he has as an accurate and patient passer as well as a runner, he should be considered a top QB prospect this year. He has weapons all around him and a coach who can scheme with the best of them. He should be in for another great season so long as he stays healthy.
Tom Brady – New England Patriots – Ranked #2 QB to end 2017 with 358 points (22.4 per game)
*Photo provided by Zimbio*
When is the ageless wonder going to finally hit his decline? 2017 was said to be the year and he decided to put up the 2nd best output from the QB position last season. At age 40, he threw for 4577 yards and 32 touchdowns with only 8 interceptions shows how great Tom Brady can continue to play.
He did have a bevy of talent all around him last season, with Brandin Cooks, a relatively health Rob Gronkowski and good contributors like Amendola available. This year might look a bit different. With a bunch of former first round picks in Kenny Britt, Phillip Dorsett and Corderrelle Patterson at his disposal, he might have trouble finding similar success. He does get Edelman back after 4 games and he still has Gronk. They brought in a sure handed Eric Decker into the fold as well. However, there’s still questions.
What is never really questioned is how great he really is. Every time we are in this situation of him having no name players, those players turn into house hold names (See: Julian Edelman, Wes Welker, Deion Branch, etc.). You can feel comfortable drafting Brady and riding this HOF career to its end.
2. Russell Wilson – Seattle Seahawks – Ranked #1 QB to end 2017 with 409 points (25.6 per game)
*Photo provided by Seahawks Wire – USA Today*
Russell Wilson was the top fantasy quarterback in the NFL last year from a fantasy perspective. If you’re shocked by this, you’re not alone. You could have paid me $1M to tell you who was the top scorer and I would have said Tom Brady, but Wilson sneakily had a great fantasy season last year.
Throwing for just shy of 4000 yards isn’t going to wow anyone but his 34 touchdown passes to just 11 interceptions was great. He added in close to 600 rushing yards and 3 more touchdowns there. Totaling 37 touchdowns gives him the best fantasy season last year of any position.
This didn’t come completely out of nowhere either. Although his fantasy production wasn’t nearly as high in 2016, he actually had more passing yards, but he had significantly less rushing yards and total touchdowns. In 2015, he put up similar numbers for 397 total fantasy points. He has the talent to do this consistently.
An expected decline in defense is going to make his job harder to keep Seattle in games but will give him plenty of opportunity to rack up points as well. He should be good for another great fantasy season.
1. Aaron Rodgers – Green Bay Packers – Ranked #28 QB to end 2017 with 155 points (22.1 per game)
*Photo provided by Milwaukee Journal Sentinel*
This pains me to have any Packer this high on any list whatsoever. Unfortunately, I cannot deny the fact that Aaron Rodgers is the most talented QB in the NFL. Please, don’t mistake this for saying he’s the best QB in the NFL because that title belongs to Tom Brady. However, based on talent, Rodgers has more of it.
This makes him a fantasy juggernaut. He always produces as long as he’s healthy and on a points per game basis, he hasn’t been below 21.8 in the last 5 years. He amassed 453 fantasy points in 2016 for 28.3 points per game. In 2015, his 356 fantasy points were good for 22.3 points per game. In 2014, his 417 fantasy points were good for 26.1 points per game and the 196 fantasy points in 2013 was good for 21.8 points per game.
What’s great about Rodgers from a fantasy perspective is not just his amazing talent but the lack of talent on the other side of the ball on his own team. He’s consistently having to put up a lot of points, most of which rest on his arm with a mediocre at best run game. This is due to a piss poor defense.
He’s got a tough division to play in, going against the Vikings twice a year and a solid Bears defense twice a year. However, given his abilities and the opportunities he has, he’s going to produce.
This wraps up my Quarterback series for the 2018 Fantasy Football season.
Tune in next time for my opinions on Tight Ends before we wrap up the positional rankings with Kickers and Defense/Special Teams.
Any feedback is welcome @sportsguyry or to the @climbingthepocket team!
Thanks for reading!