2014 Fantasy Football Quarterback Rankings from Kevin Hanson
Updated: Saturday, April 5, 2014
Scoring: These rankings are based on standard scoring (one point per 25 passing yards, four points per passing touchdown plus one point per 10 rushing/receiving yards and six points per rushing/receiving touchdown) and are for the 2014 season only.
It would be hard to discuss the quarterback position without beginning the discussion with Denver's Peyton Manning.
Manning, a (now) five-time league MVP, broke the single-season records last year for both passing yards (5,477) and touchdowns (55) previously held by Drew Brees and Tom Brady, respectively.
As dominant as Manning was with his record-setting full-season numbers, he was remarkably consistent and dominant on a weekly basis. Throwing a touchdown in every game this season, Manning had only one game (excluding the playoffs) with less than two touchdowns. In addition, he had more games (nine) with four or more touchdowns than he had with less than four scores.
Not only did his nine games with four-plus passing scores set a record, but several great quarterbacks barely had that many in their entire careers. As an example, Hall-of-Fame quarterback and currrent Broncos EVP John Elway has a total of 10 such games in his career while Manning had nearly that many last season alone.
Even though there was some risk that Manning (neck) would not have been cleared medically, he passed his physical and all systems are go for 2014.
While many (fantasy) championships were likely won by Manning-QB'd teams, I would still prefer to wait to on quarterback in my fantasy league(s).
Foles to be Eagles quarterback for next 1,000 years
Like Manning, Eagles quarterback Nick Foles tied the single-game mark of seven passing touchdowns last season by doing so in Week 9 against the Raiders.
Entering the season as the backup to Michael Vick, Foles did not throw his first pass until Week 4 against the Broncos. That said, coach Chip Kelly joked late last season that Foles will be the team's signal-caller for the next 1,000 years. Either way, Vick signed a one-year deal with the Jets and the starting gig in Philly is clearly Foles' job.
Also in similar fashion to Peyton, Foles threw lots of touchdowns to begin his season without throwing an interception. In fact, Foles did not throw his first interception until Week 14 against the Lions in a weekend that was full of inclement weather around the league. Foles had entered that game with a 19:0 TD-to-INT ratio.
Despite being tied with Cleveland's Jason Campbell in pass attempts (317), Foles finished the season with 27 touchdowns, eighth-most in the NFL, and only two interceptions.
While nobody will confuse Foles for Vick, he did have success running the ball last season. Among quarterbacks, Foles ranked 10th in rush attempts (56) and 12th in rushing yards (225) while also scoring three touchdowns.
The Eagles have re-signed Jeremy Maclin, who missed last season with an ACL tear, and Riley Cooper, who had a breakout season last year. Even though DeSean Jackson is coming off a career-best season, the Eagles released him and will now face him twice per season as Jackson signed with Washington.
Before the Eagles released Jackson, Foles was my clear-cut top fantasy quarterback in the NFC East. With Jackson staying in the division, I'd give the edge to Robert Griffin III. Either way, Foles is a bonafide QB1 for the 2014 season.
An up-and-down season for Brady
It was an up-and-down season for Patriots quarterback Tom Brady. To be more accurate, it was a down-and-up-and-then-back-down season for Brady from a fantasy perspective.
To be fair, Brady began the season without five of the team's leading receivers from 2012.
There were various reasons for their absences (injury, free agency, jail, etc.), but the team's leading returning receiver active for Week 1 of 2013 was Julian Edelman, who had just 235 yards in 2012. Edelman posted a career-best season in 2013 with 105 receptions for 1,056 yards, both of which were team highs in 2013. While Edelman tested free agency, he re-signed with the Patriots.
That said, Brady's production seemed to match the presence (or absence) of tight end Rob Gronkowski.
Beginning with Gronk's third game back, Brady began a six-game stretch with five games of at least 344 passing yards that also included two games with more than 400 yards. The one exception during that span was a 296-yard outing on the road against the Panthers, who had the league's second-ranked overall defense.
In the seven games that Gronkowski was active, Brady averaged 315 passing yards and 1.86 touchdown passes compared to averages of 237.56 yards and 1.33 touchdowns in games he missed.
As Gronk recovers from his ACL injury, he once again enters an offseason with questions about his availability for the start of the season. Early reports indicate that there is a good chance that Gronk will be ready for the start of the season. (And his college beer pong tour continues unimpeded.)
With more concrete evidence that Gronk will be good to go to start the season as we (technically, they) approach training camp, I may move Brady up a couple of spots in my rankings.
Lots of upside for Cutler in Trestman's offense
The answer to the question of whether or not Jay Cutler was the long-term answer at quarterback for the Bears has been answered.
After completing the final year of his previous contract in 2013, Cutler and the Bears agreed to a seven-year deal in early January.
While Josh McCown, who has since signed with the Bucs, played exceptionally well in Marc Trestman's system as Cutler was sidelined with injury, the duo combined to throw for 4,450 yards and 32 touchdowns. Only four teams had more passing yards and passing touchdowns than the Bears last season.
To go along with the well-established chemistry between Cutler and Brandon Marshall, owner of the team's single-season receiving yards record (2012), second-year receiver Alshon Jeffery had a breakout season. Not only did he lead the team in receiving (1,421), but he set the franchise's single-game receiving record and had a pair of 200-yard games this season.
In addition to such a talented duo on the outside, Matt Forte is one of the league's most complete backs and excels as a receiver out of the backfield. Forte finished third among running backs in receptions (74) and set a career high in both catches and receiving yards (594) in the process.
Despite being ranked as my "top" QB2 at No. 13, Cutler certainly has upside in his passer-friendly offense with such talented pass-catchers at his disposal and he's a prime example of why waiting on quarterback is a logical strategy to utilize in fantasy drafts.
Here are my updated fantasy quarterback rankings for the 2014 season:
1. Peyton Manning, Denver Broncos
2. Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints
3. Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers
4. Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions
5. Andrew Luck, Indianapolis Colts
6. Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons
7. Tom Brady, New England Patriots
8. Robert Griffin III, Washington Redskins
9. Colin Kaepernick, San Francisco 49ers
10. Nick Foles, Philadelphia Eagles
11. Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers
12. Tony Romo, Dallas Cowboys
13. Jay Cutler, Chicago Bears
14. Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks
15. Philip Rivers, San Diego Chargers
16. Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers
17. Andy Dalton, Cincinnati Bengals
18. Ryan Tannehill, Miami Dolphins
19. Alex Smith, Kansas City Chiefs
20. Carson Palmer, Arizona Cardinals
21. Eli Manning, New York Giants
22. Joe Flacco, Baltimore Ravens
23. Sam Bradford, St. Louis Rams
24. Michael Vick, New York Jets
25. E.J. Manuel, Buffalo Bills
26. Jake Locker, Tennessee Titans
27. Josh McCown, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
28. Brian Hoyer, Cleveland Browns
29. Geno Smith, New York Jets
30. Matt Schaub, Oakland Raiders