With the preseason beginning and many fantasy drafts planned for the next few weekends, it’s time to prep for your 2017 Fantasy Football team. Here is my advice/predictions as it relates to quarterbacks:
- Rahgahs! – Without Jordy Nelson at his side in 2015, Aaron Rodgers had a terrible year. He only scored 32 total touchdowns, when the last three times he played a full season he scored 40, 41, & 47. Looking at those numbers is a huge reality check; 32 TDs is only a terrible year if your name is Aaron Rodgers, not if you’re any other QB in the NFL. So, in 2016, Rodgers was back to his standard form, scoring 44 total TDs and making his fantasy owners very happy. With one of the best receiving groups in the league (Nelson, Adams, Cobb, Bennett), expect Aaron to be the #1 scoring quarterback and draft him accordingly.
- What about Brees? – Well, Drew should not be ignored. He ages but his stats don’t change, and his GM simply throws new wide receivers his way, Brees simply throwing them touchdowns. The cast doesn’t seem to matter, the team record doesn’t seem to come into play, Brees just scores in bunches and fantasy owner rejoice. I had him and Michael Thomas last season and I won my league; there’s no reason I wouldn’t follow that exact same strategy this year.
- Bargains – If you’re searching for a steal later in the Draft, there are a handful of QBs you can count on to put up big totals (barring injuries of course), but who won’t break the bank. Cousins, Rivers, Manning, Stafford; these aren’t the sexiest picks, and you do never quite know how they will perform week to week, but you could throw worse passers into your starting slot. If you go heavy on RB or WR, these bargains might be your men.
- Deep Sleep – Looking to draft a QB even later? You aren’t out of options. Guys like Luck, Ryan, & Wilson will go pretty much exactly where they should near the top of the list, and whoever gets them will have a solid starter, but there are choices further down the ladder that could work out just as well. Carr, Big Ben, Tannehill (depending of injury), Taylor; these guys could make for interesting options if you’re willing to take a chance that they repeat their recent, moderate success.
- The Ageless Wonder – Tom Brady just turned 40, and he looks like he could play for another 10 years. The guy doesn’t decline, he eats like the GOAT some people claim he is, and his fantasy numbers are always impressive. Don’t overthink it; Brady is still a Top 3 QB, despite his age, and despite new offensive pieces. If you could grab Brady & Gronk (and if they could both stay healthy), you just might have the duo that it takes to win a Championship.
- The Mighty – Oh how they have fallen. This next batch of guys used to be Top 10 candidates, but not any more. Dalton, Palmer, Flacco; I wouldn’t trust any of them with my team unless I had a strong backup plan. Whether getting old, watching the talent around them fade, losing a coordinator, etc., this crew could be in for a long year. Each has surprised with big numbers before, so it’s not impossible that they could find success, I just wouldn’t bet the farm on it.
- Dak magic – Now that we’ve seen what he can do at the helm of a team, it would be exciting to pick Prescott to lead your fantasy team, but I’m not that it would be wise. First, there’s bound to be a sophomore slump. He scored 29 total TDs last year; I wouldn’t be surprised if there was a drop of around 5. Secondly, defenses will have worked out a few ways to stop Zeke and the running game, which will put more pressure on the passing game and lead to more INTs, which Dak only had 4 of last season, a number that is sure to increase by 5 at least, if not 10. I’m not saying don’t draft him, but buyer beware.
- Supporting Staff – Bad teams don’t help up-and-down quarterbacks, and this next group fits the bill. Bortles, Bradford, Hoyer, Glennon; their clubs just aren’t finding enough success to help them put up big numbers, at least not enough for fantasy relevance anyway. As backups they could be nice fillers, but don’t trust them as starters unless you’re desperate.
- Young Guns – Finally, this season, you can trust the kids to lead you to victory. Winston, Mariota, Newton; these guys are fast, they’re young, and they can be counted on as legitimate starters. Tampa, Tennessee, and Carolina aren’t the best teams in the league, but their offenses focus on their QBs, and those guys can run for TDs as well as throw. If you find yourself in a late round, don’t have a quarterback, and one of these dudes is available, snatch them and count yourself lucky.
- Lastly – Some QBs haven’t even been announced as starters, and their teams are probably ones you should avoid completely, no matter who is named as the lead dog. Denver, Cleveland, Houston, New York Jets.; does it matter who wins the job? Neither the #1 or #2 guy is going to lead you to victory, so you might as well ignore the position battles.
Fantasy Players To Watch – presented by The Fantasy Footballers
for the best fantasy football rankings each week.
QBs – We just went over the quarterbacks and some strategy regarding who to draft/when to draft them, but let me leave you with a few more predictions. I think Rodgers, Brees, & Brady are in a tier all their own at the very top. Some leagues don’t even think about QBs until late rounds and after the heavy-hitting RBs and WRs have gone, but I think this trio of quarterbacks is worth an early selection. These guys will overpower the rest of the field, and there’s a good chance that the champion of your league will have one of them on their roster. If you can’t get one, there are other options that can wait. Luck & Ryan may be next on the list, but they have concerns tagged on; Luck’s health, Ryan’s loss of a coordinator. It might be smarter to trust the young, running group, the guys who can use their legs to score as well as their arms. They may get injured, that’s always a concern, but you may be able to sneak a good pick in if you can nab Mariota late. The rest of the field, and a bunch of the aging vets, should only be used as backups or very late options; basically don’t overpay for mediocre play.