My philosophy towards quarterbacks in fantasy football is fairly straightforward: wait. I believe that taking a quarterback in the later rounds allows you to satisfy the skill positions that are most important to fantasy, the running backs and wide receivers. Every week there is always a good streaming option that can either get you through the week or turn into your long-term starter (e.g., Deshaun Watson or Carson Wentz). However, if you enjoy taking care of the position once and for all, or can get a good quarterback for a value, here is my top-ten list.
1. Aaron Rodgers – Green Bay Packers
Aaron Rodgers doesn’t care who you are, where you’re from, or who’s on your team. He’s going to go play football and run up the score, which bodes extremely well for your fantasy team. In the offseason, the Packers lost star receiver Jordy Nelson, but acquired redzone monster Jimmy Graham. Rodgers is coming off a broken collarbone in 2018 but has said that it won’t impact his desire to leave the pocket or extend plays. Rodgers was on pace for 3,827 yards and 36 touchdowns.
2. Russell Wilson – Seattle Seahawks
Russell Wilson is resilient. In his six seasons in the NFL, he has yet to miss a game. 2017 was an outlier for Wilson. His single-season yardages and completions have increased every season except 2017. One thing that makes Russell Wilson a fantasy target is his ability to run the ball and keep drives alive, therefore keeping him on the field to get points. Wilson and the Seahawks lost tight end Jimmy Graham but got receiver Brandon Marshall in free agency. Marshall isn’t a proper replacement but having him is better than not having anyone.
3. Cam Newton – Carolina Panthers
Having Greg Olsen healthy is a factor of Cam Newton’s success. Olsen is one of the Panthers’ best receivers, if not the best. Regardless, having Christian McCaffrey helps the Panthers’ passing game and Cam Newton tremendously. Last season, McCaffrey caught 80 passes for 651 yards and five touchdowns. 2017 was also a good year for Newton’s rushing performance. In 2017, Newton rushed 139 times (a career high) for 754 yards (which lead the league and was also a career high) and six touchdowns.
4. Deshaun Watson – Houston Texans
One credit to Deshaun Watson is a guy named DeAndre Hopkins. He is one of the league’s most talented receivers and is a matchup nightmare. Him alone gives Watson high upside going into 2018. Another credit is Watson’s rushing ability, but we’ll see how his mobility is affected by the major knee injury he suffered in 2017.
5. Tom Brady – New England Patriots
In 2018 Tom Brady will once again have Julian Edelman to throw to. One thing that makes his relationship with Edelman special is his ability to fit the ball into tight windows. Not many quarterback-receiver duos have that kind of chemistry and timing. Tom Brady will have high upside if Rob Gronkowski can stay healthy.
6. Drew Brees – New Orleans Saints
One question for Drew Brees going into 2018 will be whether his 2017 performance was an outlier or a new trend. Last season, Drew Brees had less than 400 completions for the first time since 2009, had less than 30 touchdowns for the first time since 2005, and threw for the lowest yards since 2005. He also, however, threw single-digit interceptions for the first time since 2004. Drew Brees has gotten it done in fantasy, so I would wager that 2017 was more anomaly than trend.
7. Andrew Luck – Indianapolis Colts
It wouldn’t be mid-offseason rankings if there wasn’t one player whose availability is full of doubt. Assuming Luck is fully healthy and back to his old self, he can be a top-five quarterback in the NFL. A Rotoworld report on May 23 said that Luck has yet to resume throwing a football, and, as of June 4th, hasn’t thrown one in 519 days. Colts owner says that he is hopeful Luck will throw during the team’s OTAs. It’s hard to believe or bank anything on news that comes out of Indianapolis concerning Luck’s health, based solely on the fact that we were in this same boat a year ago.
8. Ben Roethlisberger – Pittsburgh Steelers
As I’ve noted before, good fantasy quarterbacks have elite receivers. In this case, it’s Antonio Brown. How can you go against the guy who’s slinging it to arguably the league’s best pass catcher (other than his home-road splits)? Roethlisberger completed 360 passes for 4,251 yards and 28 touchdowns. On top of that, you can get Roethlisberger late in the draft and for a value.
9. Carson Wentz – Philadelphia Eagles
Carson Wentz’ mobility this season will be in question as he comes off a major knee injury. He didn’t run the ball as much as Cam Newton or Russell Wilson, but he maneuvers the pocket and can extend plays like a veteran. Even though his season was cut short, Wentz threw for over 3,200 yards and 33 touchdowns.
10. Matthew Stafford – Detroit Lions
Matthew Stafford is the ultimate value quarterback. I wrote a piece on him a while back. In said piece I mentioned how Stafford has thrown for over 4,000 yards in each of the last seven seasons. He continuously throws upwards of 30 touchdowns a season and had the fifth-best receiver in standard scoring catching his passes. If you find Stafford undrafted around his 10.02 ADP, please do yourself a favor and pick him up.