Fantasy Football 2015: Quarterback Tiers and Rankings
When it comes to preparing for your fantasy football draft, you want to be as ready as possible. While completing mock drafts and reading as much as you can is helpful, you certainly want to have positional rankings at your disposal as well.
Instead of just looking at a list, consider checking out tiered rankings. With tiered rankings, the logic is that the players within that tier offer about the same value. Even if you miss out on one of the top guys, your goal should be to still land a player within that tier.
The quarterback position for 2015 is fairly deep. That is to say, you don't need to reach for a quarterback. Plenty of guys in the second tier have the potential to put up first-tier value. Sure, it's a gamble, but if you can fill your roster with other talent and still land a second-tier quarterback with upside, you should be fine.
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— Written by Sarah Lewis, who is part of the Athlon Contributor network and lives, eats, and breathes fantasy football. She also writes for SoCalledFantasyExperts.com among other sites. Have a fantasy football question? Send it to her on Twitter @Sarah_Lewis32.
1. Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers
Since 2008, Rodgers has played at least 16 games in all but one season (2013). Excluding the 2013 season, he has had over 300 pass attempts, over 3,900 passing yards and at least 28 touchdowns in every season. Over the past four seasons, he's averaged just over six interceptions — a season (some quarterbacks can hit that number in a single game). He has the weapons in place for another successful season.
2. Andrew Luck, Indianapolis Colts
Some may argue that Luck is the No. 1 quarterback, coming off a career-best season, and that argument is valid. The difference between Luck and Rodgers is so slight, take your pick for No. 1. Luck is dealing with a slightly different offensive cast around him, but he has improved as he has become more comfortable with the offense. Another 4,000 yards and 40 touchdowns aren’t unreasonable in 2015.
3. Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints
He didn't have a 5,000-yard season in 2014, but that doesn't mean he isn't a solid quarterback. He's thrown for at least 4,300 yards in each of the past nine seasons (since becoming a Saint). While he may have lost Jimmy Graham, he still has plenty of weapons to put up top-tier QB1 numbers in 2015.
4. Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks
The reason Wilson edges out Peyton Manning is because of his rushing ability. He gains yards (and points) with his feet, and that isn't going to change. He just signed a new contract, he has Jimmy Graham to throw to in the end zone, and yet, people still doubt him as a top quarterback in the league. Last season, he threw for 3,475 yards, but he rushed for 849. He threw for 20 touchdowns, but he rushed for six. It's the yards on the ground that push Wilson ahead.
5. Peyton Manning, Denver Broncos
At 39 years old, Manning is slowly starting to decline. Fantasy owners saw it in 2014, where he didn't replicate his record-breaking ‘13 campaign. That's not to say he's fallen from elite, but with the Broncos looking to focus on the run game, Manning's 2015 numbers may continue to slide. He did have 4,727 passing yards and 39 touchdowns in 2014, so even a decline keeps him in the top tier of quarterbacks.
6. Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons
Consistently putting up over 4,000 yards and around 30 touchdowns, Ryan has great receivers, and an offense that will look to throw the ball. He won't give you 40-point fantasy days, but he's more consistent than some other quarterbacks.
7. Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers
Newton ranks as high as he does because of the rushing yards and touchdowns. He was injured for part of the 2014 season, which brought his rushing numbers down, but over the last three games, he had at least 50 rushing yards and a touchdown in each. The Panthers are going to keep letting him run the ball, which is good for your fantasy team.
8. Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers
The offense that surrounds Roethlisberger is reason enough to call him a top-10 fantasy QB, with potential to sneak into the top 5. He has Antonio Brown and Le'Veon Bell in addition to Markus Wheaton and Martavis Bryant all looking to catch the ball (Bell had 83 receptions for 854 yards and three touchdowns last year). Roethlisberger may not have back-to-back six touchdown games again, but he's worth QB1 status.
9. Tony Romo, Dallas Cowboys
While Romo's numbers have been declining over the past three years, his touchdown-to-interception ratio has improved. He only threw nine picks in 2014, the fewest since 2010 (when he only played six games). With Romo, you're looking at around 225 yards and a touchdown or two a game. It's consistency, which is beneficial especially in leagues that penalize heavily for interceptions.
10. Tom Brady, New England Patriots
Brady is just barely in the top 10 because of his four-game suspension. While this is still being debated, if a quarterback is going to miss a quarter of the fantasy season (which includes playoffs through to the championship game), he's downgraded. Brady is a QB1, but having to roster another quarterback for five games (four suspended and a bye) and potentially only being able to play Brady for eight games (assuming no playoffs) makes him hard to recommend highly.
11. Ryan Tannehill, Miami Dolphins
Tannehill has just been improving and improving and now he has offensive weapons. Look for him to have a breakout year with Jarvis Landry, Kenny Stills and Jordan Cameron to throw to. He should top 4,000 yards and 30 touchdowns in 2015.
12. Eli Manning, New York Giants
With Odell Beckham Jr., Rueben Randle and Victor Cruz to catch the ball, it's hard for Manning to not be able to get QB1 fantasy points. He threw 30 touchdowns in 2014, the second-most in his career. He also only threw 14 interceptions, tied for the second fewest (not counting his rookie season). As long as Beckham stays healthy, Manning will produce.
13. Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions
While Calvin Johnson is not as Megatron-esque as he once was and Stafford's mechanics are still cringe-worthy, he still is included in this tier because of the sheer volume of passes. He's thrown over 600 passes in each of the past four seasons. His numbers were slightly lower in 2014, but that means fewer interceptions as well. He has targets, but drafting Stafford is a gamble.
14. Carson Palmer, Arizona Cardinals
15. Philip Rivers, San Diego Chargers
16. Teddy Bridgewater, Minnesota Vikings
17. Colin Kaepernick, San Francisco 49ers
18. Jay Cutler, Chicago Bears
19. Jameis Winston, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
20. Joe Flacco, Baltimore Ravens
21. Sam Bradford, Philadelphia Eagles
22. Marcus Mariota, Tennessee Titans
23. Alex Smith, Kansas City
24. Derek Carr, Oakland Raiders
25. Andy Dalton, Cincinnati Bengals
26. Blake Bortles, Jacksonville Jaguars
27. Robert Griffin III, Washington Redskins
28. Nick Foles, St. Louis Rams
29. Ryan Fitzpatrick, New York Jets
30. Matt Cassel, Buffalo Bills
31. Josh McCown, Cleveland Browns
32. Brian Hoyer, Houston Texans
33. Jimmy Garoppolo, New England Patriots
34. Mark Sanchez, Philadelphia Eagles
35. EJ Manuel, Buffalo Bills
36. Geno Smith, New York Jets