The 2016 Fantasy quarterback rankings are littered with players that should have big years, players that could have big years and players whose big years are likely far behind them.
Last year, we thought Andrew Luck would replace Peyton Manning as a top-three quarterback for the next decade.
But in the end, not only did Manning drop back, but so did Luck, and so did Drew Brees and Aaron Rodgers (neither of whom should be faulted). With Jordy Nelson healthy again, we should expect Rodgers to return to top form, but Brees remains Jimmy Graham-less.
The big surprises might have come from Cam Newton and Tom Brady – two players drafted in the middle of Fantasy Football drafts because there were some hiccups expected for both players.
For instance, Brady was supposed to serve a four-game suspension. Instead, he played in all 16, and he finished with the second-best Fantasy points in all the world!
Even better, Newton was an afterthought pick at quarterback because his superstar sophomore receiver Kelvin Benjamin (knee) suffered the same fate as Nelson. Instead, Newton blew up for a monster Fantasy season, leading the position – and all of Fantasy Football – in points.
And we didn’t even mention the surprise season from Blake Bortles, who went from undrafted Fantasy QB to a top-five player at his position.
There’s no doubt that Newton will be among the highest picks at quarterback this summer, likely in the first two or three rounds. Brady, on the other hand, is expected to serve the DeflateGate suspension this season, instead of last season, so his ADP is much farther down.
But despite Bortles’ projections to be a great player once again this year, Fantasy owners are acting a little cautious. In a 12-team draft I’m doing for the Athlon Fantasy Football Preview magazine, I took the Jaguars’ quarterback in Round 9 – after nine other quarterbacks were picked.
Young Guns: For Real or For Faux
It wasn’t that long ago that we thought young quarterbacks were taking over the Fantasy world, with players like Sam Bradford, Robert Griffin III, Jake Locker, Colin Kaepernick and Christian Ponder giving us reason to think they’d be Fantasy viable for several years.
We were wrong.
The current group of young quarterbacks are showing similar potential for solid Fantasy careers. Bortles, Teddy Bridgewater, Derek Carr, Marcus Mariota and Jameis Winston are above-average talent at the QB position – or so we think! They each have a chance to be top-15 Fantasy QBs in the next two years.
We expect them to eventually take over in the rankings for older quarterbacks like Brady, Brees, Carson Palmer, Eli Manning and Philip Rivers.
But what about the young quarterbacks coming into the league? Are we as excited about the futures of Jared Goff, Carson Wentz and Paxton Lynch!?! Maybe not for this season.
Goff is a rookie with bad receivers and a great run-heavy offense, and Wentz will have to battle to get ahead of Bradford in Philadelphia’s offense.
Lynch, however, has a chance to post a season like Kaepernick’s second season, mostly because Lynch can move, and he has a stellar set of weapons around him. He’ll have to win the starting job, though, beating out Mark Sanchez.
From one year to the next, there usually isn’t much change at the quarterback position, other than a couple players coming from the top 15 and moving into the top 10, like Bortles and Palmer did in 2015.
Don’t spend high draft picks on quarterbacks, since there are quality players to be chosen in the second and third tiers that aren’t that far back from the first echelon, which is quite different than at other Fantasy positions.
2016 Fantasy Quarterback Rankings
These rankings are for standard non-PPR scoring systems.
As you can see, we don’t expect a ton of change from last year to this year, although, we do think there will be some minor ups and downs in the 2016 Fantasy Quarterback rankings.
David Gonos spent 5 years as a CBSSports.com Senior Fantasy Writer and three more years writing with SI.com. Over the past 17 years, his work has been published on NFL.com, MLB.com, FanDuel, FoxSports.com and USA Today. Since 2001, he has been tracking down the Top 50-plus Free Fantasy Football Draft Tools online. You can contact David Gonos here.