The fantasy football quarterback position is a tricky one. For 2014, your fantasy draft strategy is going to dictate how/when/where you draft a fantasy quarterback. What most fantasy football experts will admit is that the quarterback position is extremely deep for 2014.
In my eyes that means you have a chance to get some elite fantasy players at other positions in the early rounds of the drafts. I have no doubt that the early fantasy quarterbacks will produce. They continually provide consistency, which is why they are ranked where they are. However, the price on fantasy draft day may be just too rich for my blood.
The thing to keep in mind is value. You'll hear it over and over in the fantasy football world. It's important to know that even if you plan to wait on a fantasy quarterback, there is a point in every draft that each of these stud play callers becomes a value. When you see a value you need to take it, but odds are these top guys will reward your faith. That's how you win fantasy championships, by seizing value when you can and taking a leap of faith when you have nothing to lose.
Fantasy Football Quarterbacks 2014
My advice for drafting a fantasy football quarterback in 2014 is to wait. There is a ton of talent as you slide down these ranks, which is why I'll take a chance on a guy a little bit later in the draft.
Below I've provided some great stats and general thoughts behind why each fantasy quarterback is ranked where they are. Please keep in mind that some of these fantasy quarterback rankings may differ from the ones I stood behind during our fantasy football podcast. If you play fantasy you know that rankings rarely ever stay the same.
There are some great arguments why certain guys can move up and down the board, I simply just went with my gut on a few of them. Without a further ado....heres numero uno:
1. Peyton Manning
We all saw how impressive Peyton Manning was in 2013. The question isn't whether or not the 38 year-old quarterback with regress, it's simply a question of how much. It's clear Emmanuel Sanders is a downgrade from Eric Decker and the Broncos now have a featured back in Montee Ball (at least I believe so). It's possible that offensive coordinator Adam Gase calls for more runs in 2014 as Denver's schedule shifts from the NFL's easiest in 2013 to one that is projected to be the second toughest of 2014. Peyton stays my number one QB, but Rodgers and Brees are knocking at the door.
2. Aaron Rodgers
It's arguable that Rodgers is the biggest threat to Peyton repeating as the #1 fantasy football quarterback. What's not arguable is his past production. In the past 5 season where Aaron Rodgers has played at least 15 games he has finished 2nd, 1st, 2nd, 2nd & 2nd in fantasy quarterback scoring. That's pretty damn consistent if you ask me. I'll throw out 2013 since he missed 7 games with a broken collarbone. That injury also doesn't worry me for 2014. In fact, I think Rodgers could be looking at his best season yet with a balanced offense and second year running back Eddie Lacy. I have no problem if you want Rodgers over Peyton.
3. Drew Brees
Look, he's Drew Brees. They guy comes from a pass aggressive attack from an offensive genius. Over the past 6 seasons Brees has finished 2nd, 1st, 1st, 3rd, 2nd & 1st among fantasy quarterbacks. He's another standup model of knowing what you're getting from your investment. Quite frankly I don't believe he'll be slowing down in 2014 with a new wide receiver joining the squad. Although I prefer to take my quarterbacks late, I've seen Brees sliding a bit too far in mock drafts. Even to the point where I've contemplated making him my fantasy quarterback. Brees could be a fantasy value depending on your league in 2014.
4. Matthew Stafford
Matthew Stafford enters 2o14 with 5 years of experience under his belt. He's shown that he can be a fantasy performer in the past, which is part of the reason I believe he'll be a top fantasy football quarterback in 2014. The Lions offense has Jim Caldwell and Joe Lombardi, whom previously coached Manning and Brees. They're pass-first offensive minds who will look to maximize Stafford in 2o14. Did I mention that the Lions added Golden Tate, who is an improvement to that offense. They also drafted Eric Ebron who should be a nice receiving threat down the seams. Don't forget about Calvin Johnson (no explanation needed). That offense in Detroit looks stout, I believe Stafford will provide the performance that fantasy owners demand.
5. Cam Newton
Cam Newton has finished the past three fantasy seasons as a top-5 fantasy quarterback. There's a chance he returns to the promised land again in 2014. However, there's also a chance that things come crumbling down. In fact, I'm more concerned about the offensive line losses the Panthers suffered than Cam's ankle surgery or the loss of Steve Smith. The Panthers brought in Jerricho Cotchery (ugh) and drafted Kelvin Benjamin. They'll be viable receiving threats in 2014 for Cam while Greg Olsen provides some stablity for the offense. Cam's fantasy production typically comes from his legs anyway, which means these receiving options don't scare me. Cam's ankle is going to be fine come the preseason, which means he'll be back in old form in no-time. Cam repeats as a top-5 fantasy quarterback, or so I believe.
6. Andrew Luck
The Colts sure have had it rough with quarterbacks, first Peyton and now Luck. Okay that wasn't funny. However what is funny is the potential for Andrew Luck to explode in 2014. The Colts have the ability to open their offense up with TY Hilton, Reggie Wayne, Hakeem Nicks, Coby Fleener and Dwayne Allen. They brought in the ex-Panthers offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski. While Cam played under him he ranked 4th and 4th in fantasy quarterback scoring. If the Colts can manage to game-plan for the pass just a bit more than they did in 2013, Andrew Lucks fantasy value can surely take off.
7. Tony Romo
I haven't been shy about my love for Tony Romo in 2014. Sure I may not have been behind him in past years, however he has still finished as a top-10 fantasy quarterback in each of the past 5 seasons. That's consistency. Sure he'll drive you absolutely crazy week to week, but this year he becomes the beneficiary of Scott Linehan's pass happy offense. Linehan runs an up-tempo offense that has ranked 6th, 3rd, 1st, 1st and 5th in NFL pass attempts with Detroit. Romo is playing on a team that has a brutal defense and an offensive line that is one of the best in the league. The sky is the limit for this fantasy football quarterback.
8. Robert Griffin III
RGIII has had an up and down performance for fantasy football owners. He came out of the gate finishing as the #5 fantasy quarterback in 2012 and finished #12 in 2013 based on points per game. However, in 2014 RGIII gets the best supporting cast he's ever had with Pierre Garcon, DeSean Jackson, Jordan Reed and pass-first coach Jay Gruden. Simply put RGIII has the upside to provide great value on draft day. If you're no longer worried about his knee injury (I'm not) I say go and get him.
9. Nick Foles
Nick Foles was simply out of this world in 2013. He led the league in touchdown rate (8.5%), yard per attempt (8.5), yards per completion (14.2) and QB rating (119.2). As if those numbers weren't good enough he complemented them with a 27:2 touchdown to interception ratio. Many have worried that the loss of DeSean Jackson will greatly impact Foles. I don't believe that will be the case. I love Riley Cooper for 2014 and believe he's being drafted way too late (that's for another day). One of the reasons I'm not worried about Foles is simply that the Eagles ranked 27th in pass attempts in 2013. That means that even if he becomes somewhat less efficient in 2014 he'll finish as a low end QB1 instead of a top 5 QB option. Keep your eye on Foles if he slides down your fantasy board on draft day.
10. Tom Brady
It's simply amazing how much one player can impact another players fantasy value. In fact, Tom Brady is a shining example of just that. If you take a look at the seven games that Brady played with Gronk in 2013 you'll see that he average 315 passing yards and threw 13 touchdown passes. In the nine games that Gronk wasn't on the field, Brady's averages dropped to 237 yards and 12 touchdowns. If you carried those numbers across the season with Gronk you're looking at the 4th highest scoring fantasy quarterback. Eliminate Gronk for the whole season and Brady ranks as the #24 fantasy quarterback. Sure those are both extremes, but if Gronk can stay healthy for all of 2014 I can envision Brady being a great value pick.
11. Matt Ryan
Is is possible that we should let Matt Ryan off the hook for his finish as the 15th best fantasy QB in 2013? Yes it's possible. I mean he lost Julio Jones for 15 games and had a "healthy" Roddy White for roughly 6 games. It's hard to produce without your top-2 receiving threats. Prior to last year, Matt Ryan was a top-8 QB in scoring and he's still just as good as he was for those performances. Ryan plays indoors and will continue to thrive in offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter's pass-first offense. The Falcons defense is also going to be rougher than many people think. I believe he'll be on the field often and that there will be plenty of touchdowns for both Julio and Roddy in 2014. Matt Ryan could bounce back in a big way in 2014.
12. Russell Wilson
Russell Wilson has played admirably in his two season as the starter for the Seahawks. In fact, he's finished as the 11th and 10th ranked fantasy football quarterback in his first two seasons. The scary part about Russell Wilson is that the Seahawks run the ball more often than not. That knocks down the potential impact of Russell Wilson and the Seahawks stone-wall defense keeps them running the ball. Pete Carroll said in the 2014 offeseaon that they want to "Run the football whenever we want to. We are an absolutely committed running football team." Wilson has the potential upside, but that upside is really limited.
13. Colin Kaepernick
Kaepernick has done nothing to impress me. He can be replaced many weeks and will give you average production. What I do like is the potential for fantasy production. The San Francisco offense boasts a ton of weapons and Kaep is always a threat to run or throw the ball. There's a chance the defense struggles slightly in 2014 with the losses of Navorro Bowman and Aldon Smith. That means if there are shootouts he could produce even better numbers than expected.
14. Jay Cutler
You've probably already heard this stat before, but if you combine Jay Cutler and Josh McCown's stats from Marc Trestman's 1st season as the head coach of the Bears, their stats make them the 5th best fantasy quarterbacks of 2013. Josh McCown is now out of Chicago and Cutler is moving into his 2nd year with Marc Trestman aka the quarterback whisperer. If Cutler had finished 2013 he was projected to finished the year with 32 touchdowns and 4,347 passing yards. That would have made him quarterback #7. If you look at the offensive weapons in Chicago you need to fall in love. They have Brandon Marshall, Alshon Jeffery, Martellus Bennett and Matt Forte. The pieces are in place for a monster season for Cutler. He has the chance to disappoint with his injury history, however he has the upside you love to see from a late round quarterback.
15. Philip Rivers
As much as I hate Philip Rivers he finished as the #6 fantasy quarterback in 2013. He looked like a new man in Mike McCoy's pass-happy offense and he look extremely comfortable in the pocket. In fact he lead the NFL in completion rate (69.5) despite losing some receiving options. There is some concern about McCoy's tendency to run more than usual later in 2013. Rivers threw the ball more than 30 times only once in his final 6 games of 2013. The Chargers signed Donald Brown to a sizable contract in the offseason which means they may be more devoted to the run than we think. If Rivers has the chance to throw the ball, he could repeat as he did in 2013. However, I remain skeptical that the Chargers offense will go fully back to their pass-happy ways.
Recapping the Fantasy Football Quarterbacks for 2014
There is a ton of quarterback value to be had in 2014. Outside of the top 3 guys you take a risk depending on where you draft them, which is why I recommend taking a chance on someone a little bit later on. Just make sure you make your own fantasy football rankings. You'll thank me later.
If you're dead set on taking a fantasy quarterback early on, taking one of the studs. You'll always know what you're getting.
What do you think about my fantasy quarterback rankings? Am I off the mark? Let me know below. I always love to talk fantasy football.See Our Thoughts on Fantasy Football
For the record, I never actually played football. I have no doubt that I would get crushed running across the middle for a pass, every single time.
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