2015 Fantasy Football Quarterback Rankings- Updated: Wednesday, March 25th
Scoring: These rankings are based on standard scoring (one point per 25 passing yards and per 10 rushing/receiving yards and four points per passing touchdown and six points per rushing/receiving touchdown) and are for the 2015 NFL season only.
These rankings are from Kevin Hanson (follow him on Twitter).
Three of the greatest quarterbacks of this generation -- Peyton Manning, Tom Brady and Drew Brees -- all finished outside the top-three fantasy quarterbacks in 2014. From 2005 to 2013, at least one of those three quarterbacks had finished as a top-three fantasy quarterback every season.
Could that happen for a second year in a row? Based on my rankings, my answer is yes even though all three are solid QB1 types heading into the 2015 season.
With that said, here are my post-free agency fantasy football quarterback rankings for 2015:
1. Aaron Rodgers, QB, Green Bay Packers
The best quarterback in (real) football and reigning NFL Most Valuable Player, Rodgers was also the top-scoring fantasy quarterback as well. Becoming Green Bay's starting quarterback seven years ago, Rodgers has finished as either the No. 1 or No. 2 fantasy quarterback in six of those seven seasons with the lone exception being his injury-shortened (broken clavicle) 2013 campaign.
In his past four seasons, Rodgers has compiled a combined 139:25 TD-to-INT ratio with an average of 8.5 yards per attempt, 112.6 passer rating and 67.0 completion percentage. And although he hasn't rushed for 300-plus yards with four-plus touchdowns since 2010, Rodgers still is good for 250 yards and a couple of scores on the ground.
Earlier in the month, it appeared as though the team would lose wide receiver Randall Cobb and/or right tackle Bryan Bulaga in free agency, but they were able to retain both. Therefore, the Packers return all 11 starters on offense in 2015.
2. Andrew Luck, QB, Indianapolis Colts
Throwing for 4,761 yards and a league-leading 40 touchdowns, both of which were career highs, Luck's 40 TDs last season nearly equalled his total from his first two seasons combined (46 TDs). As T.Y. Hilton battled a hamstring injury over the final three games of the season, that coincided with Luck throwing for less than 200 yards in the final three regular-season games of the season. Otherwise, he was on pace for 5,000 yards for nearly the entire year. Earlier in the season, however, Luck had the second-longest streak of 300-yard games (eight) in NFL history. Only Drew Brees (nine games, twice) has ever had a longer streak.
Like with Rodgers, Luck gets a boost from his mobility and he rushed for 263 yards and three touchdowns last year. Luck has rushed 62-64 times in all three seasons with at least 255 yards each year and a total of 12 touchdowns.
It wouldn't surprise me if Luck finishes as the highest-scoring fantasy quarterback in 2015, but either way, he and Rodgers are close and alone in the top tier of fantasy quarterback options for 2015.
3. Russell Wilson, QB, Seattle Seahawks
Rodgers. Luck. That's it.
That's the list of quarterbacks that scored more fantasy points than Wilson last season. Of course, the primary reason behind Wilson's fantasy production was his rushing stats with 849 yards and six touchdowns, both of which were career highs, and he even had three 100-yard rushing games this season. It may be unrealistic to expect 800-plus rushing yards again, but he has at least 489 rushing yards in all three of his seasons and should rush for 500 yards (or more) in 2015.
While his passing numbers haven't been gaudy in Seattle's run-first offense, Wilson has thrown at least 20 touchdowns with 10 or fewer interceptions in all three of his NFL seasons. Not only is Wilson the only quarterback to do that in each of his first three NFL seasons, he's the only one in NFL history to do that more than once over that span, per Pro Football Reference.
The volume of pass attempts may not jump a ton in 2015, but the Seahawks pulled off a blockbuster trade for tight end Jimmy Graham and he significantly boosts the team's weapons in the passing game. Graham (51 TDs) is one of only four players with 50-plus touchdowns since 2010, Graham's rookie season.
4. Peyton Manning, QB, Denver Broncos
With a slow finish to the season, Manning finished the year as the QB4 (312.68 fantasy points) behind Rodgers (354.14), Luck (350.74) and Wilson (327.6). In the first 11 games of the season, Manning averaged 23.96 fantasy points per game (323.45 YPG, 34 TDs and nine INTs). In the final five games of the season, he averaged 9.83 FPPG (233.8 YPG, five TDs and six INTs) and never scored more than 13.02 fantasy points in any of those games. Part of that decline had to do with his thigh injury, but the question remains, how big of a part for the 39-year-old Manning?
5. Tom Brady, QB, New England Patriots
To say Brady got off to a slow start last season would be an understatement as he averaged just 197.75 yards per game with a total of four touchdowns and two interceptions over the first four weeks of the season. From that point on, however, things clicked as only Peyton (31) threw more touchdowns than Brady (29) from Weeks 5 to 17. Provided that Rob Gronkowski remains healthy for the full season, Brady could post a top-five season in 2015.
6. Cam Newton, QB, Carolina Panthers
It was a down year for Newton, but he dealt with numerous injuries throughout the season and missed two games. That said, Newton has exceeded 3,000 passing yards and 500 rushing yards in all four of his NFL seasons. Over those four seasons, he has averaged 3,606 passing yards and 20 passing touchdowns per season as well as 643 rushing yards and eight rushing touchdowns. Despite the down year, Newton finished seventh in fantasy points per game (17.78) among QBs.
7. Drew Brees, QB, New Orleans Saints
After three consecutive 5,000-yard seasons, Brees fell short of that mark with 4,952 yards in 2014 and he threw (only) 33 touchdowns, which ties a seven-year low. For the first time since signing with the Saints in 2006, Brees finished outside the top-five fantasy quarterbacks (sixth) in 2014. Brees has thrown at least 650 pass attempts in five consecutive seasons and he led the league in pass attempts per game (41.2) last season, but a transition to a more run-based offense has begun in earnest.
Not only did the Saints trade Graham to the Seahawks (and get one of the league's best run-blocking centers in return), but they traded away Kenny Stills, the team leader in receiving yards last season. In addition to Mark Ingram, they signed C.J. Spiller in free agency and have a three-headed rushing attack with Ingram, Spiller and Khiry Robinson.
8. Ben Roethlisberger, QB, Pittsburgh Steelers
Based on 2014 average draft position (ADP), Roethlisberger was one of the biggest values last season. Only four quarterbacks scored more fantasy points than Roethlisberger -- Rodgers, Luck, Wilson and Peyton. Big Ben threw for a career-high 4,952 yards, which tied Drew Brees last season for the league lead, and 32 touchdowns, which tied a previous career high. Admittedly, it wouldn't surprise me if he exceeded my ranking once again.
9. Matt Ryan, QB, Atlanta Falcons
Over his past five seasons, Ryan has finished as a top-eight fantasy quarterback in four of them. During that same span, he has never finished as a top-six fantasy quarterback. Although he's not a quarterback I typically target, he's a solid option to settle on later in drafts. Ryan has more than 4,500 passing yards in three consecutive seasons and 26-plus touchdowns in five straight.
10. Eli Manning, New York Giants
In the first six games of the season, Eli finished outside the top-12 fantasy quarterbacks in all but one game. Beginning with Odell Beckham's third NFL game (Week 7), Manning finished as a top-five fantasy quarterback in five of his final 10 games last season. (And a sixth game was inside the weekly top 10.) With a full season of ODB, the return of Victor Cruz, the free-agent addition of one of the league's better receiving backs (Shane Vereen) and more comfort and familiarity with Ben McAdoo's offense, Eli has the potential to post career numbers in 2015.
11. Matthew Stafford, QB, Detroit Lions
No quarterback underachieved expectations more last season than Stafford, who finished as the QB15 in 2014. Even with the free-agent signing and breakout season from Golden Tate (99/1,331/4), Stafford threw for only 4,247 yards, a four-year low, and 22 touchdowns with 12 interceptions. With better health from Calvin Johnson, who missed a few games and was a decoy in others, Stafford should post better numbers in 2015.
12. Tony Romo, QB, Dallas Cowboys
Over his past three seasons, Romo's pass attempts have dropped from 648 (2012) to 535 (2013) to 435 (2014). Despite the drop in volume, Romo threw 34 touchdowns, the most for him since 2007, with only nine interceptions, a four-year low. In addition, Romo led the league in Y/A (8.5), completion percentage (69.9), touchdown percentage (7.8) and passer rating (113.2) last year. Assuming the team stays committed to the run game without DeMarco Murray, who signed a free-agent deal with the Eagles, Romo's upside is somewhat limited if he throws in that 450-attempt range again this year. Despite his career year in efficiency, Romo finished just outside the top-10 fantasy quarterbacks last season.
13. Ryan Tannehill, Miami Dolphins
Tannehill posted career highs in passing yards (4,045), passing touchdowns (27) and completion percentage (66.4) with a career low in interceptions (12) in his first year playing for new offensive coordinator Bill Lazor. In addition, he rushed for a career-high 311 yards, which ranked fifth among all quarterbacks last season. Starting in Week 6, Tannehill finished as a top-10 fantasy quarterback in six of 11 weeks.
There has been some turnover among pass-catchers -- Kenny Stills replaces Mike Wallace, Jordan Cameron replaces Charles Clay and both Brian Hartline and Brandon Gibson were released. That said, Tannehill has plenty of upside for those that wait on quarterback in 2015.
14. Philip Rivers, QB, San Diego Chargers
Winning the Comeback Player of the Year award in 2013, Rivers followed up his bounce-back season with 4,286 yards and 31 touchdowns but he also threw 18 interceptions. Dealing with a back injury, Rivers threw seven of those interceptions in the final three games of the season. Fortunately Rivers won't have to have back surgery this offseason and he should be a relatively safe bet for 4,000-plus yards and around 30 touchdowns once again in 2015.
15. Carson Palmer, Arizona Cardinals
It was mostly a lost season for Palmer, who missed a total of 10 games with significant injuries, but he actually finished as a top-12 fantasy quarterback in terms of fantasy points per game (17.26) last season. Provided he stays healthy, Palmer is a high-end backup fantasy quarterback in Bruce Arians' vertical passing attack with Michael Floyd, Larry Fitzgerald and John Brown forming a strong trio of receivers.
16. Colin Kaepernick, San Francisco 49ers
Kaepernick averaged fewer yards per attempt (7.0), threw fewer touchdowns (19) and more interceptions (10) than he did in 2013 (7.7 Y/A, 21 TDs and eight INTs) despite throwing more pass attempts (478 in 2014 vs. 416 in 2013). Given the changes to the roster and coaching staff, the 49ers should find themselves trailing (and throwing) more often in 2015. (Based on Super Bowl 50 odds from sportsbook.ag, only seven teams are longer shots than the 49ers to win the Super Bowl.)
Not only did he set a career high in pass attempts, but Kaep also set career highs in rush attempts (105) and rushing yards (639). After rushing for nine scores in 2012 and 2013 combined, however, he rushed for only one touchdown last year. Despite that dip, Kaepernick still finished as a top-16 fantasy quarterback last year.
17. Sam Bradford, Philadelphia Eagles
Per usual, there will be uncertainty about Bradford's season-long outlook. In five NFL seasons since being drafted first overall by the Rams, Bradford has played a total of 49 games -- and only seven of 32 games in the past two years. In addition, the Eagles have traded for Bradford, but he's not a lock to remain on the roster. ESPN's Adam Caplan confirmed that the Browns had offered the 19th overall pick in the draft for Bradford and it wouldn't surprise me if he's part of a package deal that helps Kelly get Marcus Mariota. If, a big if, Bradford starts 16 games for the Eagles, however, he has the potential to finish as a top-12 fantasy quarterback in 2015.
18. Jay Cutler, Chicago Bears
Benched a game in favor of Jimmy Clausen, Cutler played only 15 games and led the league in multi-interception games (seven) last season. Despite the massive contract given to Cutler from the last regime in the previous offseason, he's clearly not in the team's long-term plans and could have a short leash if he doesn't cut down on the turnovers. Per CSN Chicago, the plan is to "take some things away from Cutler and shrink the game for him," which will hopefully cut down on his interception rate.
19. Robert Griffin III, Washington Redskins
Benched in the final three games of the 2013 season, the Shanahans wanted RG3 to be healthy for the offseason. While he did have a healthy 2014 offseason, little was healthy about Griffin in the regular season. Not only did he miss time due to injury, but he was benched by new coach Jay Gruden, who also called him out publicly in a press conference. In response to a recent mailbag question, ESPN's John Keim responded, "If it were up to the coach, Griffin would be gone."
In his nine games last season, Griffin threw only four touchdowns and six interceptions. He also averaged only 19.6 rushing yards per game and 4.6 yards per carry, both of which were career lows. Griffin's fantasy upside is derived largely from his rushing ability, but he has just one rushing touchdown in 22 games over the past two seasons. Plus, the rushing attempts exposes him to greater injury risk.
20. Nick Foles, St. Louis Rams
Two seasons ago, Foles had a breakout season (27:2 TD-to-INT ratio and 9.1 Y/A in 13 games) and Chip Kelly said he would be the team's quarterback for the "next 1,000 years." After a disappointing half-season prior to breaking his collarbone, the 1,000 years are up and Kelly has traded him to the Rams. The transition to the Rams is a downgrade on a number of fronts -- leakier offensive line, lesser talent at skill positions (compared to 2013/2014 Eagles) and tougher pass defenses in NFC West compared to NFC East.
Here are the best of the rest:
21. Joe Flacco, Baltimore Ravens
22. Andy Dalton, Cincinnati Bengals
23. Teddy Bridgewater, Minnesota Vikings
24. Blake Bortles, Jacksonville Jaguars
25. Alex Smith, Kansas City Chiefs
26. Derek Carr, Oakland Raiders
27. Matt Cassel, Buffalo Bills
28. Josh McCown, Cleveland Browns
29. Ryan Mallett, Houston Texans
30. Zach Mettenberger, Tennessee Titans
Check out more of our 2015 fantasy rankings:
- 2015 Fantasy Football Quarterback Rankings
- 2015 Fantasy Football Running Back Rankings
- 2015 Fantasy Football Wide Receiver Rankings
- 2015 Fantasy Football Tight End Rankings
- 2015 NFL Mock Draft
- 2015 NFL Draft Big Board - Top 100 NFL Draft Prospects
- 2015 NBA Mock Draft
- 2015 Fantasy Baseball Rankings
- 2015 Fantasy Baseball Mock Draft Simulator
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