Over the next several weeks I will be working on positional rankings for quarterback, running back, wide receiver, and tight end. These rankings can (and will) fluctuate throughout the offseason, but as of right now this is my best guess for how you should value players at their positions.
A couple of notes before we get started:
- I will be using PPR scoring in my rankings so you may want to keep that in mind if you play in a standard league, but for the QB rankings today that shouldn’t matter – unless Marcus Mariota decides to keep throwing himself passes!
- I will be dividing these rankings into tiers to further identify where the drop-offs at positions are. I would say the tiers are likely more important than the individual rankings. If you think my QB7 is better than my QB3 but they sit in the same tier, I won’t try to convince you otherwise.
Tier 1 – The Franchise QB
1. Russell Wilson, Seattle – Wilson is 29 years old, last season’s QB1, and has never missed a game. His three-year average of 4,075 years and 30 touchdowns make him the odds on favorite with betting sites to finish on top for years to come. That combination of age, health, and production makes me feel good about him as my QB1 moving forward.
2. Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay – The most talented QB in the league, Rodgers falls behind Wilson due to his age (he’ll turn 35 next December), and injury history. It would not shock me, though, if Rodgers continues to dominate the position into his early 40s.
3. Andrew Luck, Indianapolis – The biggest concern with Luck is how he’ll recover from his mysterious shoulder injury that caused him to miss this past season. Assuming he recovers, however, he’s a 28-year-old star who has produced well despite not much help yet in his career.
Tier 2 – The Potential Franchise QB
4. Cam Newton, Carolina – This may come as a surprise for some to see Newton this high, but his rushing ability just provides so much value and he’s still only going to be 29 at the start of next season and has been a consistently top-tier fantasy QB throughout his career. Yes, he may begin to fall off as he ages and continues to take a pounding, but he also may see his supporting cast improve significantly. Either way, Newton has proven top-level fantasy QB production.
5. Carson Wentz, Philadelphia – Wentz broke out this year with 33 TDs before tearing his ACL. I’m knocking him down a bit for a combination of factors, however
- he’s older than some people realize (25)
- his rookie year wasn’t as good as it was hyped up to be (79.3 passer rating and a horrific 5.09 ANY/A)
- his TD rate screams regression
That said, Wentz still had a fantastic season and is capable of the kind of jaw dropping plays that make it easy to envision him as the best QB in the league someday.
6. Deshaun Watson, Houston – Watson only played 7 games before tearing his ACL so he’s getting knocked for concerns about being able to maintain his level of play. But Watson was the QB1 in PPG last year by more than 3 points per game. That kind of upside in a 22 year old is hard to pass up even if it isn’t sustainable.
7. Jimmy Garoppolo, San Francisco – Kyle Shanahan found his QB, and he looks impressive. By the time we see Garoppolo with some legitimate weapons around him this ranking may seem comically low.
8. Marcus Mariota, Tennessee – Mariota struggled this season, throwing 13 TDs to 15 INTs, and finishing as the QB25 in PPG. But he also showed a lot of promise in his first two seasons. With Mike Mularkey and his staff out of the picture, Mariota and the Titans have the chance to explode offensively next season.
9. Dak Prescott, Dallas – Like Mariota, Prescott has struggled after a promising start over the second half of this season which is why he finds himself near the bottom of this tier, but his rookie year showed a lot of promise and I think it would be a mistake to forget that too quickly. I still have confidence in him to be a franchise QB.
Tier 3 – Solid but Unspectacular
10. Matt Stafford, Detroit – Stafford has thrown for 4,000 yards and 20 TDs in each of his past 7 seasons. He’s a consistent and reliable producer even if he won’t ever single-handedly win your league.
11. Kirk Cousins, Washington – Cousins is the same age as Stafford and similarly productive. The difference to me is that Cousins may not be playing with Jay Gruden and the Redskins next season. I think he’ll be productive anywhere but it’s simply not a factor for Stafford.
12. Matt Ryan, Atlanta – Like Stafford, Ryan has also thrown for 4,000 yards and 20 TDs in each of the past 7 seasons. Unlike Stafford (and Cousins), Ryan will be 33 at the start of next year, rather than 30.
Tier 4 – Risks with Upside
13. Jared Goff, Los Angeles – After a horrendous rookie season, Goff rebounded spectacularly under new Head Coach Sean McVay and finishing as a QB10 in PPG last season. I think it’s fair to worry if his success is reliant on McVay, but he’s now a productive second year QB in a great situation.
14. Jameis Winston, Tampa Bay – Yet another up and down young QB. Winston was QB18 in PPG last year. He’ll score plenty of touchdowns and he’ll throw plenty of interceptions. I just doubt he’ll ever be a dominant QB.
15. Derek Carr, Oakland – Like Winston, I don’t feel great about Carr. He is, however, still young and will be playing under Jon Gruden moving forward.
16. Pat Mahomes, Kansas City – Of every player on this list, I feel Mahomes was the toughest to slot in. He’s essentially unproven, but he also has so much upside that I don’t really care.
Tier 5 – The Aging Stars
17. Tom Brady, New England – Is he 41 for the start of next season? Yes. Is he retiring? I doubt it. Am I expecting dominance from him until the second he retires? Yup.
18. Drew Brees, New Orleans – After hiding in Brady and Peyton’s shadow for years, the only thing keeping me from viewing Brees on Brady’s level in fantasy is the Saints recent shift to a ground heavy attack.
19. Philip Rivers, Los Angeles – He’s not as good as Brees and Brady, but he’s also a little bit younger.
20. Ben Roethlisberger – I’m terrified he only has one year left, but he’s also by far the best and most proven QB remaining.
Tier 6 – The Leftovers
21. Mitch Trubisky, Chicago – Trubisky may be safer than his 2017 NFL Draft counterpart Mahomes, but I question his upside and at QB I think that’s the most important factor. It shouldn’t be hard to find a mid-level fantasy starter at the position.
22. Blake Bortles, Jacksonville – Ok, I’ll be honest – I think Bortles is a very bad NFL QB. But, he isn’t afraid to sling the ball around the field. That paired with youth and a team that seems willing to commit him makes Bortles a half decent option.
23. Alex Smith, Kansas City – Smith seems to be on his way out of KC, which means he’ll be leaving Andy Reid. He’s also 33 and a pretty conservative passer. Not much to be excited about.
24. Andy Dalton, Cincinnati – Not super old and yet not all that young. Like Smith he isn’t terrible but what is there to get excited about?
25. Case Keenum, Minnesota – I don’t trust him at all. He’s a career journeyman, but he played well this year and should be back in Minnesota. With that in mind, he narrowly edges Tyrod Taylor and his rushing ability for the final spot in the top 25.
And that wraps up the offseason QB rankings. Keep checking in for the remaining positions, and if you have any thoughts or questions, or just want to yell at me for something, please share in the comments.
Visit Fantasy Rundown for additional fantasy football rankings for 2018 – it’s never too early.