I get it, it’s June.
But, like you (since you’re reading this post), I cannot wait for the 2017-2018 NFL season to start. So, that is why I present to you the first installment of my Way-Too-Early Fantasy Football Rankings. First up: QB Edition.
1) Aaron Rodgers
2016: 4,428 Passing Yards, 40 Passing TDs, 7 Interceptions, 369 Rushing Yards, 4 Rushing TDs = 380.02 FP (QB1) (16 Games Played) (NFL.com Standard Scoring)
Analysis: If there is anybody you would rather have commanding your fantasy football roster than Aaron Rodgers, let me know. Rodgers is an artist in the pocket, capable of making any throw on the gridiron. His ability to throw for so many touchdowns with so few interceptions is what makes him unparalleled at his position. Plus, having Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb, Davante Adams, and Martellus Bennett doesn’t hurt. As long as Rodgers plays all 16 games, he’ll be the top signal caller in fantasy.
2) Tom Brady
2016: 3,554 Passing Yards, 28 Passing TDs, 2 Interceptions, 64 Rushing Yards, 0 Rushing TDs = 258.56 (QB15) (12 GP)
Analysis: The 28:2 TD-Interception ratio is a ridiculous figure and Brady will not repeat that. Regardless, even at his age, he is still an elite option at the QB position. Thanks to the acquisition of the speedy Brandin Cooks, Brady has even more weapons at his disposal to dismantle defenses. Look for Brady to continue posting remarkable numbers, somewhere in the range of 35 TDs and 10 interceptions with over 4,400 yards through the air.
3) Drew Brees
2016: 5,208 Passing Yards, 37 Passing TDs, 15 Interceptions, 20 Rushing yards, 2 Rushing TDs = 332.32 (QB3) (16 GP)
Analysis: Brees just keeps on rolling. He had yet another 5,000+ yard season last year and doesn’t look like he’s slowing down any time soon. With the emergence of star wideout Michael Thomas, Brees heads into the season with a bonafide WR1, something he has yet to really have in New Orleans. I know Marques Colston and even Brandin Cooks were very good players, but besides Jimmy Graham, Brees hasn’t had a dominant pass-catcher…until now. So, the sky is the limit with Brees this year, at the ripe age of 38. I think he narrowly misses out on another 5,000-yard season with around 4,800 yards with 37 TDs.
4) Andrew Luck
2016: 4,240 Passing Yards, 31 Passing TDs, 13 Interceptions, 341 Rushing Yards, 2 Rushing TDs = 307.70 (QB4) (15 GP)
Analysis: The talent has always been there for Luck, it’s just a matter of staying healthy for the Stanford product because he can sling it with the best of them. Also, the Colts are stocked with talented pass-catchers with the likes of the receiving yard king in TY Hilton and the talented red-zone threat, Donte Moncrief. If Luck can put it all together this year, he has the talent to be the top fantasy fantasy QB. Huge ceiling pick, with a bit of risk.
5) Cam Newton
2016: 3,509 Passing Yards, 19 Passing TDs, 14 Interceptions, 359 Rushing Yards, 5 Rushing TDs = 254.26 (QB17) (15 GP)
Analysis: Oh how the mighty have fallen. Newton, a year ago was the near consensus top QB in fantasy due to his rocket arm and valuable legs. And, after finishing a very disappointing 17th among signal-callers, he finds himself in the middle of several early QB rankings. Coming in at number 5, he is somewhat high on my list compared to others, but I have confidence in the former MVP to rebound. With Greg Olsen, Kelvin Benjamin, Devin Funchess, and newcomer Christian McCaffrey, Newton should be able to put up top-5 fantasy numbers.
6) Russell Wilson
2016: 4,219 Passing Yards, 21 Passing TDs, 11 Interceptions, 259 Rushing Yards, 1 Rushing TD, 14 Receiving Yards, 1 Receiving TD = 268.06 (QB11) (16 GP)
Analysis: Wilson was somewhat underrated last year, as most saw his numbers as disappointing and considered his season a down year. But the guy still placed as the 11th best fantasy QB despite his lowest rushing totals in his career, which are sure to spike up back to his averages of over 500 rushing yards. Especially with the sneaky talented backfield of Thomas Rawls, CJ Procise, and Eddie Lacy, Wilson should have more room to operate and boost his numbers from a season ago. He should be able to get to 4,100 yards through the air and 24 touchdowns with another 500 yards on the ground and 3 scores.
7) Matt Ryan
2016: 4,944 Passing Yards, 38 Passing TDs, 7 Interceptions, 117 Rushing Yards, 0 Rushing TDs = 347.46 (QB2) (16 GP)
Analysis: Ryan had a spectacular year in 2016, posting career marks in completion percentage, yards, yards per attempt, touchdowns, QBR, and QB Rating, all with a career low in interceptions. However, I do not think Ryan’s numbers are repeatable this season, as evidenced by his ranking at number 7 on my list. Ryan has always been a roller coaster of a fantasy commodity, lacking the consistency to be an elite fantasy option. But, respect has to be given to the reigning MVP, but I wouldn’t reach to far for him in my draft. I see a solid season with around 4,600 yards and 31 TDs.
8) Ben Roethlisberger
2016: 3,819 Passing Yards, 29 Passing TDs, 13 Interceptions, 14 Rushing Yards, 1 Rushing TD = 252.16 (QB18) (14 GP)
Analysis: There may not be a more polarizing QB option in fantasy this year. Roethlisberger no doubt has the arm and the weapons to deliver top-5 fantasy numbers, but the injuries always seem to pile up. However, with Antonio Brown, Le’Veon Bell, and Martavis Bryant lining up next to him, Big Ben might be worth the gamble. If he plays all 16 games, which is a big “if,” Roethlisberger has as much upside as anyone at the position. But, there is always the chance of missed games, so you have to weigh the risks with this pick. Nevertheless, I see him posting around 4,400 yards and 30 TDs.
9) Marcus Mariota
2016: 3,426 Passing Yards, 26 Passing TDs, 9 Interceptions, 349 Rushing Yards, 2 Rushing TDs = 259.94 (QB13) (15 GP)
Analysis: Mariota seemingly came out of nowhere last year, finishing 13th among all signal-callers despite a slow start (16.8 fantasy points or less in first four games), a bad end (combined 21.02 fantasy points in final three games), and missing a game. Especially with the addition of fifth overall pick, WR Corey Davis, Mariota might be thrusted into the elite echelon of QBs, as long as he stays just as efficient as he did in 2016. Don’t be surprised if Mariota finishes in the top-7 this year, because the Titans should hand the offense over to Mariota and trust the talented third year out of Oregon.
10) Blake Bortles
2016: 3,905 Passing Yards, 23 Passing TDs, 16 Interceptions, 359 Rushing Yards, 3 Rushing TDs, 20 Receiving Yards, 1 Receiving TD = 270.10 (QB9) (16 GP)
Analysis: This may be my most surprising pick in my list, as Bortles seems to be violated and insulted by most everyone that knows football. But lucky for us, we care about fantasy football, a game in which Bortles is quite helpful in. After finishing 4th among QBs in 2015, Bortles fell a few spots to 9th, despite a season where he was supposedly one of the worst quarterbacks in the game. So, I guess that means as long as Bortles plays a little better than his disastrous year last season, he should do a little better in fantasy. Also, I think the Jaguars’ pick of Leonard Fournette will pay huge dividends for Bortles and the team as a whole this year. I just read a stat on NFL.com the other day which said that teams that pick a RB in the first five picks in the NFL draft since 2000 have increased their win totals the following year by an average of 5 wins. 5 wins! That’s a huge difference from one year to the next, and I think that continues this year with the Jaguars. And if the Jaguars stay competitive in more games this year, then Bortles may return to a slightly above average quarterback.
Photo: Tom Pennington/Getty Images