We released our 2014 Fantasy Football Positional Ranks as a staff in July and have been updating them throughout the offseason in an effort to provide you with the most accurate rankings to use in your draft preparations. Of course, within our ranks you’ll see a variance on different players as each of our analysts holds different viewpoints about their potential outcome this season. To that point, we’re taking each other to task here inside the locker room in an effort to justify our positions and provide you with actionable information.
[This post appears as part of our free 2014 Fantasy Football Draft Guide]
Quarterback Rankings: Neil Parker on Robert Griffin III as a border line top 10 play
7/7/7/10: our collective ranks on Robert Griffin III, with yours as the high mark. Why break up the lucky sevens/what is it that still has you concerned about Griffin as a top 10 fantasy QB?
Griffin 1-2-3’s low rank is a combination of my disappointment from owning him in the FSWA’s league last season, his somewhat-inherent risk and so many other safer options. In fact, Griffin’s ranking has more to do with everyone ahead of him than him. Unless a top option falls into the middle rounds, I’m waiting on quarterback, and I prefer Matt Ryan, Tony Romo, Nick Foles and Tom Brady to Griffin. Call me skeptical, but Griffin had a serious knee injury and I’m not convinced he is as explosive as he was in 2012. He has just a single rushing touchdown in his last 23 games. Simply put, there are safer options with similar upside.
Quarterback Rankings: Chris Meaney on a big year from Colin Kaepernick
You’re the high man on Colin Kaepernick. Why are you expecting a leap out of one of last year’s more inconsistent virtual QBs?
In just over two years Kaepernick filled in for then stole Alex Smith‘s job and eventually got him shipped out of the bay area. Kaep then came one incompletion (inches away) from winning Super Bowl XLVII against the Ravens and he finished last season falling just as short from knocking off the eventual Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks. Can’t fault his play in the playoffs. In six games he has seven touchdown passes and four rushing touchdowns. It’s the inconsistent play from number 7 that has fantasy owners thinking – oh no, I tried that last year…not again!
I think heading into his second full year as a starting QB means he understands the playbook more and I think he is in for a big year with the additions of Stevie Johnson and perhaps Brandon Lloyd, not to mention starting the season with his favorite target Michael Crabtree. Add Vernon Davis to the mix and the 49ers are loaded for aerial attack, plus Kaep uses his feet just as well as anybody in the NFL. He only had 61 fewer rushing yards and two fewer rushing TDs than Cam last season.
Kaep attempted the fewest passes in the NFL last season, don’t count on the same feat. Kapernick averaged 180 passing yards over his first 10 games of last season and that includes 412 against the Packers in Week 1. Four of those games came without touchdowns. All those games were without Crabtree. Kapernick averaged 217 passing yards with at least a touchdown in all 8 games with Crabtree on the field. He makes all the difference for Kaepernick.
Quarterback Rankings: Jon Collins defends his high rank on Tom Brady
You’re clearly all-in on Tom Brady’s resurgence. What makes him a mid-tier QB1 again this season?
The case for Brady is an easy one to make. Last year he was burnt by an unhealthy and inexperienced group of pass catchers generally running the wrong routes and putting balls on the ground. The fantasy community was burnt by assuming Brady and Belihchick would find a way to make it work. In a lot of ways we weren’t wrong, the team still impressed but the fantasy numbers weren’t there… and Brady produced admirable numbers despite the motley crew of offensive weapons.
In 2014, everyone is a little older, wiser, and healthier (assuming Aaron Dobson makes it onto the field), and you can expect Brady’s numbers to return to form. Before last year, Brady hadn’t finished a season outside of the top-7-QBs since 2004 and with progression around him this season he’ll be back in that range again. As things picked up for New England in the second half, Brady averaged an impressive 312 YPG with 16 scores, projecting to a full season total of 4992 yards and 32 scores. He hasn’t lost a step at all.
Quarterback Rankings: Mike Omelan shares his viewpoint on Brady:
You’re on the other side of the Brady debate. Why go Foles, Ryan or even Romo ahead of #12?
It was definitely a tough decision. In the end, Brady is a starter for somebody in 12 team leagues so he is getting SOME love. But at the end of the day, in my mind the other guys have more upside and more play makers on offense. Foles has the creativity of Chip Kelly and the exciting big play Philly offense. Matt Ryan has a healthy Julio Jones and Roddy White back and he still finished as QB12 without them in 2013. And then Tony Romo, perhaps the most under-rated of all has the hapless Cowboys defense, he’s going to be slinging it left, right and center!
So, Brady is right where he should be behind those guys. Sure, the thinking is that he has better weapons this year, but really it is the same crew of guys with whom Brady had six games under 200 yards last year. That just ain’t going to cut it in fantasy land for me.
Quarterback Rankings: Jon Collins hypes up Sam Bradford‘s 2014 campaign
Sam Bradford and a bargain bin full of receivers ahead of Eli, Carson, and Flacco?
Indeed the assembled talent isn’t all that exciting, but with a year of growth from Tavon Austin and with Jeff Fischer seeming to think he can coax some production out of Kenny Britt I think it’s much better than it was in 2013. The question will be his health, as he has missed 15 games his last three seasons, but Bradford was looking like a truly developed QB in his fourth year before going down to injury.
We forget this because he only played seven games, and the Rams fizzled without him, but his numbers were up across the board (including a 14:4 TD:INT ratio, and 6.10 adjusted net yards per attempt) suggesting that Bradford had finally put it all together on the field. If he gives owners 16 games, he’s far more impressive than an interceptable-Eli, a matchup-play in Carson Palmer, and Joe Flacco coming off a dismal year behind a poor offensive line.
Quarterback Rankings: Chris Meaney talks up rookie QB Teddy Bridgewater
You’ve got Teddy Bridgewater at 26, which is well ahead of our staff consensus of 34 (though just a few pegs ahead of FantasyPros consensus) why are the others off base? Over/Under 9.5 starts this season.
I have Teddy as high as I do because I anticipate him wining the QB job out of camp. If he doesn’t start Week 1, I give it until week 3 or 4. So I have the rookie starting over 10 games in his first season. Look, we already saw what Matt Cassel can do. Norv Turner can only do so much. In fact, Turner said Bridgewater should have been a top 10 pick. The upside is huge, plus you can get him late. He has plenty of weapons around him in Patterson, AP, Jennings and Rudolph who many (myself included) think is in a big year
Quarterback Rankings: Mike Omelan is targeting Josh McCown as a solid QB2
It’s not like you ranked him as a must own (18) but you’re the high man on Josh McCown. Does your rank reflect an opinion that he’ll play 16 games for Tampa this year? What do you like about the veteran? Yes, the rank does reflect the opinion he’ll go 16. I expect Tampa to be right in the thick of it in the NFC and McCown a big reason why. One of the main pro’s for McCown is some familiarity in Tampa reuniting with Coach Lovie Smith and he’s got probably the biggest receiving core in the league right there with Chicago
I know it’s no Marshall and Jeffery combination, but Vincent Jackson, and Mike Evans both listed as 6’5”, plus three big TE’s including 6’6” rookie Austin-Seferian Jenkins, and we’re talking about a darn good receiving core and a lot of jump ball TD’s. McCown went on a three game stretch where he threw for 1,055 yards and eight TDs! Impressive stuff, this guy is going to one of the best bye-week fill-ins in 2014.
Quarterback Rankings: Neil Parker prefers McCown’s former teammate Jay Cutler
You’ve ranked him at the very back-end of QB1 status, but why should owners look to Jay Cutler when looking to fill their starting QB spot?
Firstly, the Chicago Bears quarterback position scored all kinds of fantasy points last season. Secondly, here are five more reasons why Cutler should be considered a QB1: Marc Trestman, Matt Forte, Brandon Marshall, Alshon Jeffery and Martellus Bennett. Cutler and Josh McCown posted 4450 yards passing and 32 touchdowns combined in 2013. Only three quarterbacks threw for more touchdown passes last year, and only five threw for more yards. Is Cutler a sure-thing QB1? No, but as long as he is healthy, he will produce QB1 numbers. Expect Cutler to post a career-year statistically in his second season manning Marc Trestman’s offense.
Quarterback Rankings: Jon Collins is avoiding Big Ben
You’re three points behind consensus on Ben Roethlisberger ranking him just inside the top-20 and behind a number of uninspiring names. He has never finished outside of the top-20 in his 10 seasons, and finished as QB12 last year. What gives?
As Pittsburgh moves to get younger on defense, and transition from salary cap purgatory brought on by a few bloated contracts of aging stars in recent years they have let a number of tools go on offense as well. In back to back seasons Big Ben has lost Mike Wallace and last year’s number two Emmanuel Sanders. With Heath Miller another year older and Markus Wheaton requiring a big leap in production in his second season to come anywhere near Sanders’ offensive contributions, I’m just not sure that Ben has the tools to post strong fantasy numbers. Look for the Steelers to run the ball plenty, including in the redzone. Expect fewer yards and more interceptions as Roethlisberger tries to work in an inexperienced receiving corps.