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NFL Fantasy Preview; Tiered QB Rankings

The title says it all, really. These are the official PSF fantasy QB tiered rankings based on our Fantasy Preview series (check out the series for more in-depth analysis on each player). It assumes 4-point passing touchdowns, -2 for interceptions, 12-team leagues, and everything else is standard as it would show up in any of the typical host sites. Players in each tier are listed in order of descending projected points per game, but if they are in the same tier then they can be considered pretty similar. Without further ado, let’s dive in:

Elite QB1

Aaron Rodgers
Deshaun Watson
Cam Newton

These 3 QBs should pace the NFL and are the main 3 who should be in the running for the honor of top overall fantasy QB. Rodgers is Rodgers. He is in this category by default until age starts getting the better of him. Watson and Cam come with more risk than Rodgers, but debatably have a higher ceiling due to their running abilities.

Surefire QB1

Russell Wilson
Andrew Luck
Ben Roethlisberger
Dak Prescott
Tyrod Taylor
Carson Wentz

These 6 QBs may not have a great chance of being the #1 overall QB, but they should each produce consistent top-12 weeks. Wilson is very close to being in the elite QB1 category, but he generally doesn’t rush for as many touchdowns as his mobile counterparts in that tier which holds him back. Luck and Big Ben are projected for monster years in terms of pure passing numbers, which lands both of them in the thick of the more mobile QBs. Dak is ranked this high on the assumption that Dallas has successfully reconfigured the offense to fit Dak’s strengths as a runner. If this proves to not be the case, Dak would fall a tier. Taylor and Wentz shouldn’t put up quite the same numbers as the others, but both are in good situations where they should reliably produce QB1 numbers.

Borderline QB1/2

Jameis Winston
Tom Brady
Alex Smith
Marcus Mariota
Matthew Stafford
Drew Brees
Ryan Tannehill
Kirk Cousins

These 8 guys are all capable of putting up QB1 weeks, but for one reason or another may not do so on a regular basis. Winston is a huge risk both due to his 3-game suspension and his history of inconsistency. However, he has loads of receiving talent at his disposal and a coaching staff very much on the hot seat. There’s upside there for those willing to take a chance. Brady is the opposite end of the spectrum; consistently excellent QB play but no one to throw it to. He also started losing velocity on his throws last season. Don’t be surprised if the Pats rely more on their run game than we’re used to. Neither Smith nor Mariota are in a position to throw for much volume, but their running abilities should keep them in the conversation. Stafford and Brees both are perfectly capable of taking over games and putting up spectacular weeks, but if they aren’t required to sling it their fantasy numbers suffer since neither is much of a runner. Tannehill figures to simply be slightly above average in volume and running ability. Nothing stands out in particular, but when combining both he should be surprisingly relevant in fantasy. Cousins is in a great position with better weapons than he ever had in Washington, but the stout Minnesota defense will reduce the need for him to throw and he’s not going to make up for it by running.

Backup and Upside QB2

Jimmy Garoppolo
Jared Goff
Matt Ryan
Blake Bortles
Philip Rivers
Andy Dalton

These QBs are not expected to be in the QB1 conversation on any sort of regular basis, but they do provide reliable points for bye weeks or if your starter gets injured. Garoppolo is close to being in the next tier up, but it’s really tough to move him there on the back of 7 touchdowns in 5 starts. Goff, Ryan, and Bortles are all in similar positions where their teams really run through their running games, limiting their passing volume. Ryan in particular has potential to move up, but I need to see a better offensive scheme out of OC Sarkisian before I can give Ryan the nod. Rivers has been a reliable fringe QB1 for a while, but between the improved defense relieving the need to sling the ball and the loss of both safety valve tight ends I just can’t see Rivers reaching quite the same numbers as previous years. He doesn’t have the running ability to make up for it. Just as in real life, QBs in fantasy football are judged based on the Dalton Line. Dalton throws for average numbers and doesn’t run much. If you score below him, you’re probably not worth much value in fantasy.

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