clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Fantasy football 2016 rankings: Quarterbacks

The SB Nation Fantasy staff determines how to size up fantasy football's top quarterbacks for 2016.

There’s a changing of the guard underway at quarterback in the NFL. Peyton Manning has retired, while Tom Brady and Drew Brees are getting ever closer to the dreaded age of 40. Meanwhile, the younger talent (Cam Newton, Russell Wilson, Andrew Luck) have all emerged as new faces of the NFL. But rather than shrink away, the old gatekeepers continue playing at the top of their game, making quarterback one of the deeper positions in fantasy football.

Due to the amount of high-caliber talent available, fantasy owners have multiple viable options. You can pay a premium for guys like Newton, Wilson or Aaron Rodgers and never have to worry about the position outside of the player’s bye week. Or you can wait until the middle-to-late rounds and find solid value in the form of Eli Manning, Philip Rivers and Kirk Cousins. Heck, you can probably punt the position entirely and get by on weekly streaming, so long as you make up for it with depth at other positions. There is almost no wrong draft strategy when it comes to quarterbacks ... unless you draft Mark Sanchez.

That said, quarterback is not without its question marks this season. Let’s take a look at some of the bigger concerns:

— Brady finally gave up and accepted his four-game DeflateGate suspension, knocking his fantasy value down considerably. Maybe you’re a believer in Jimmy Garoppolo, but we aren’t.

— Tony Romo's injury woes continue, as he's missing half of the season with a broken back. Will rookie Dak Prescott do enough to be useful in fantasy leagues?

— Carson Palmer stayed healthy, but he’s another year older and has his own long injury history. Last year’s meltdown in the NFC Championship won’t soon be forgotten.

— Ben Roethlisberger missed four games with various injuries and is now 34. He won’t have Le’Veon Bell for three games and won’t have Martavis Bryant at all.

— What exactly do we make of Luck, who was downright bad in the few games he was healthy last year?

So there are a lot of gambles to take into consideration when picking your quarterback this season.

If you’re looking for a rookie-year breakout, this is probably not the year (man, did we get spoiled by 2012). Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota were the top rookie quarterbacks last year, and they finished as Yahoo’s QB13 and QB22, respectively. Not exactly earth-shattering production. Among this year’s class, Jared Goff and Carson Wentz are both buried on the depth chart, and neither player will be making an early impact. Paxton Lynch could make starts in 2016 and Prescott is a risky gamble even after his impressive preseason. All of these players are better dynasty league investments than re-draft assets.

Rank Consensus Team DC AW SK MG DG
1 Cam Newton CAR 1 1 1 1 2
2 Aaron Rodgers GB 2 2 2 2 1
3 Russell Wilson SEA 4 4 3 3 3
4 Andrew Luck IND 3 3 4 4 5
5 Drew Brees NO 8 5 5 7 4
6 Carson Palmer ARI 5 6 7 8 6
7 Ben Roethlisberger PIT 6 7 6 5 12
8 Philip Rivers SD 7 9 9 9 9
9 Blake Bortles JAC 9 8 10 10 7
10 Tom Brady NE 10 10 11 6 10
11 Eli Manning NYG 14 11 8 11 8
12 Tony Romo DAL 12 12 13 14 13
13 Kirk Cousins WAS 11 13 15 15 15
14 Derek Carr OAK 13 14 14 18 11
15 Tyrod Taylor BUF 15 15 12 12 20
16 Marcus Mariota TEN 19 16 19 13 14
17 Jameis Winston CIN 16 18 17 19 18
18 Andy Dalton TB 17 19 18 20 16
19 Matt Ryan ATL 18 17 20 16 19
20 Matthew Stafford DET 21 21 16 21 17
21 Jay Cutler CHI 24 22 23 17 22
22 Ryan Tannehill MIA 23 20 22 22 23
23 Joe Flacco BAL 20 25 24 24 21
24 Ryan Fitzpatrick NYJ 22 23 21 26 25
25 Alex Smith KC 25 24 25 23 24