Fantasy Rankings Analysis: The “QB1’s”

Written by Mikey Ostrowski

Before I get started into this article, take a look at Ben, DJ, and my Rankings for the Loaded Box for the upcoming fantasy football season. Did you do it? Great, let’s get to talking.

So in this edition, I am going to breakdown my QB1s. Basically, I will be briefly explaining why I have these twelve quarterbacks ranked in the top 12.

Typically, I like small talk before jumping into something but I’m feeling frisky. Let’s get it on.

Mikey’s Top 12 Quarterbacks for 2018:

  1. Aaron Rodgers
  2. Russell Wilson
  3. Cam Newton
  4. Carson Wentz
  5. Tom Brady
  6. Deshaun Watson
  7. Drew Brees
  8. Kirk Cousins
  9. Matt Stafford
  10. Jimmy Garoppolo
  11. Ben Roethlisberger
  12. Philip Rivers

It should come to no surprise to anyone that Rodgers is my overall QB1, as I am fairly certain most of you would agree with me. Between Davante Adams, Randall Cobb, Jimmy Graham and the combo of dicey RBs they’ve got, Rodgers should have a tremendous amount of opportunity to perform this year and if healthy all year should be an obvious name in the MVP race.

Next, we have Russell Wilson and Cam Newton. Believe it or not, these two were the top-two quarterbacks from a fantasy standpoint in 2017. Wilson totaled nearly 4,000 yards in the air, with an additional 586 on the ground for a total of 37 touchdowns on the year. There is some cause for concern, as Jimmy Graham and Paul Richardson have moved out of Seattle, but as long as Doug Baldwin starts and finishes the regular season healthy, Russ should have no issues producing similar numbers in 2017. Cam, on the other hand, only threw for 3,300 yards and 22 touchdowns, but added on 750 rushing yards with an added six touchdowns. We all know that Cam’s big appeal comes from his running game, and he clearly hasn’t shown any signs of slowing down. Add in a healthy Greg Olsen and the elite receiver of tomorrow in D.J. Moore, and his passing numbers may increase, making his numbers even more valuable to have on your fantasy squad.

Carson Wentz… lots of questions around this guy. Keep in mind that I fully expect this guy to return to 100% before the season starts in September, which is why I have him ranked so high. Wentz was an incredibly obvious MVP candidate in 2017 until going down with a season-ending knee injury.  In only THIRTEEN GAMES this guy had 3,300 yards, 33 touchdowns and only 7 interceptions. He also added on about 300 rushing yards. He was on pace for roughly 362 fantasy points, which would’ve been enough for the second overall finish, just behind Russel Wilson. Wentz has his entire squad returning to him, which includes a stud receiver, a stud tight end, and a handful of average receivers… but the cool thing about Wentz is that he makes all of these guys look even better than they actually are, and he’s going to continue to do that in 2018. If, and it is a big IF at this point in time, he starts 2018 at full health, he absolutely will finish as a top-5 quarterback.

Tom Brady and Deshaun Watson come in at #5 and #6 in my rankings. I’m not really even going to explain why Brady is in my top 5… I mean if you don’t know why then you need a lot more fantasy help than I could ever give you. Watson, on the other hand, I will explain. Correct me if I’m wrong, but Watson is currently the 2nd quarterback off of the board in fantasy drafts, and has been being grabbed as early as the 4th round. Look, the kid’s good. I mean, I clearly agree if I have him as a mid-tier QB1, but I just can’t see picking him up that early in my draft. He was on pace for 3,885 yards, a whopping 43 passing touchdowns, and 614 rushing yards with four ground touchdowns. Those numbers are ludicrous, especially for a rookie, and I just don’t see how he could match that pace of production again. There is also the concern that he won’t be fully recovered from the ACL injury that he suffered in 2017, which is always scary. However, I do still believe in him, and although I don’t think you’re going to get anything monstrous from him, you should still expect modest QB1 numbers from this guy week in and week out.

Coming at #7 is Drew Brees, a guy that I want to hate but I just can’t. I’m a Panthers fan, so praising Drew is painful, but ya gotta give credit where credit is due. He’s consistent, he’s got big weapons, and he rarely disappoints. Brees is a guy like Brady, if you don’t understand why I have him ranked where I do, then all hope is lost for you.

Kirk Cousins comes up next on the list. Usually a sneaky late-round flyer, Cousins will be more sought-after this year due to his gigantic signing with the Vikings. In Minnesota, Cousins will have access to something he’s never had before; a good supporting cast. He’s going to have two elite receivers, a borderline elite tight end, and a stud running back lining up behind him. There is absolutely no reason to believe that he can’t surpass his 4,093 yards and 27 touchdowns that he threw in 2017. If Cousins is a dud, it’ll shock the world. He’s a safe bet to finish as, at the very worst, QB8.

Matt Stafford is, without a doubt, the most disrespected fantasy quarterback in the entire league. He had 4,450 yards with nearly 30 touchdowns in 2017 and finished only four fantasy points behind Kirk Cousins. Granted, Detroit’s offense might not even be half of what Minnesota’s is, but the receivers are still very good and the running backs show a lot of promise. To be completely honest, I’m buying Stafford hard this year. I am a firm believer in not using a high pick on a QB, and if you’re in the same boat, then Stafford will be the perfect pick for you. Let’s make 2018 the year that Stafford gets some fantasy respect. He ABSOLUTELY is a viable fantasy starter.

The last quarterback in my top 10 is Jimmy Garappolo. While this guy isn’t on dates with porn stars, he’s on the field winning some football games. He’s got a loaded arsenal between his outside receivers and newly-acquired running back Jerick McKinnon that should ramp up his production in 2018. If I’m being honest, I have him ranked here to try and keep everyone in check. In no way, shape, or form should anyone be reaching on this guy too early in your draft (unless he’s available in a dynasty draft). He’s good, but he’s not as good as he thinks he is. Jimmy G believes he’s better than Tom Brady… which is laughable. He’s got a cocky attitude, and though he’s got skill to back it up, it may work against him from time to time. Regardless, I’m seeing a top ten finish for this guy, and as long as you don’t take him over the previous nine QBs I’ve mentioned, then you’re doing pretty damn well for yourself.

To wrap up the article, we’ve got Big Ben and Philip Rivers coming in at #11 and #12. Ben should no longer be considered an elite quarterback. In fact, I’m not sure he ever was considered to be elite. But Ben does have an absolutely phenomenal supporting cast (i.e. the best receiver and pass-catching running back in the NFL) and, if you’re desperate, could be your starting fantasy QB… After all, Ben does have the potential to put up 25+ points any given week but is inconsistent. If you want consistency, then Rivers is your guy. He’s got a multitude of receivers, including Keenan Allen, and a fairly decent line in front of him. He doesn’t run, and he won’t score a mass amount of touchdowns, but his yardage will always be there. The only QB that had more passing yards than him in 2017 is Tom Brady. I believe his yardage trend will continue, and if he can add in maybe five extra touchdowns this year, he could be a very sneaky mid-range QB1.

 

Be sure to check out the latest episode of the Loaded Box Podcast as the guys discuss our consensus ranked 13-24 running backs. Also be sure to check out our overall consensus fantasy football rankings here

Mikey Ostrowski is a blogger for the Loaded Box Podcast.  Check out his article archive and find more from the Loaded Box on Twitter & Facebook

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