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Fantasy Football Rankings: 2018 Quarterbacks

Updated: Tuesday, July 31st

Scoring: These rankings are based on standard-scoring formats -- one point per 25 passing yards and one point per 10 rushing yards plus four points per passing touchdown and six points per rushing touchdown. They are for the full 2018 NFL season.

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Our 2018 Fantasy Football Quarterback Rankings from Kevin Hanson:

1. Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers (Bye: 7)

Since becoming the starter in 2008, Rodgers has missed roughly a half-season twice (2013 and 2017). In the other eight seasons, he has finished as either the QB1 or QB2 in fantasy football seven times. Assuming good health, Rodgers is a virtual lock for a top-two season. The only concern with Rodgers or any quarterback selected early is the lost opportunity to acquire an impact player at a position of greater scarcity/value.

2. Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks (Bye: 7)

A top-three fantasy quarterback in three of the past four seasons, Wilson has rushed for 2,777 yards and 20 touchdowns in his six NFL seasons. But he's also averaged over 4,000 passing yards over the past three seasons and threw for a league-high 34 touchdowns in 2017. Despite his dual-threat abilities, Wilson has never missed an NFL game. So, in other words, he has tons of weekly upside with a solid floor.

3. Tom Brady, New England Patriots (Bye: 11)

Wanting to play until "cuarenta y cinco," Brady will turn 41 before the start of the 2018 season yet he has shown no signs of slowing down. That said, the Patriots traded away 1,000-yard receiver Brandin Cooks and trusted slot receiver Julian Edelman returns from a torn ACL but not until Week 5 due to a PED suspension. Finishing as fantasy's QB4, Brady threw for a league-high 4,577 yards in 2017. He remains a top-five fantasy QB with the upside to lead all players in fantasy points scored in 2018.

4. Deshaun Watson, Houston Texans (Bye: 10)

Offensive line woes and lack of experience did not slow Watson down as a rookie. Unfortunately, an ACL tear did. Before the injury, however, Watson finished with the most or second-most fantasy points in each of his final four games and eclipsed the 30-point mark in three of those four outings. Expectations are high entering season two, but he has legitimate QB1 upside for 2018 if he can stay healthy for a full season.

- MORE: Fantasy Football ADP Risers/Fallers

5. Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers (Bye: 4)

Since entering the league in 2011, Newton has finished as a top-four fantasy quarterback in all but two seasons (2014 and 2016). Of course, a huge part of his fantasy success is generated by his rushing production. Averaging 7.7 rushing scores per season, Newton has 100-plus rush attempts and 500-plus rushing yards every year except for 2016.

6. Carson Wentz, Philadelphia Eagles (Bye: 9)

Missing the final three (regular-season) games, Wentz avoided the active/PUP list and appears more likely than not to be under center for Week 1. Before last year's injury, Wentz threw 33 touchdowns to only seven interceptions in 13 games and trailed only Russell Wilson in fantasy points scored (through Week 14). With good health in 2018, Wentz could perform as a top-five fantasy quarterback.

7. Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints (Bye: 6)

After throwing more than 625 pass attempts in each of the previous seven seasons, Brees threw it only 536 times for 4,334 yards and 23 touchdowns, both of which were lows of his 12 seasons in New Orleans. Even so, his 4,334 passing yards still ranked fourth in the NFL behind Tom Brady (4,577), Philip Rivers (4,515) and Matthew Stafford (4,446).

8. Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions (Bye: 6)

Interestingly enough, Stafford's lone Pro Bowl season (2014) was the last time that he finished outside the top-10 fantasy quarterbacks. Not counting that QB15 finish in 2014, Stafford has finished as a top-12 fantasy quarterback in the other six of the past seven seasons. Part of that consistent production is aided by his durability (no missed games over past seven seasons) and the team's reliance on the passing game, but he actually set a seven-year low in pass attempts (565) in 2017. Even so, Stafford threw for 4,446 yards, a four-year high, and 29 touchdowns, tied for the third-most in his career.

9. Andrew Luck, Indianapolis Colts (Bye: 9)

Assuming Luck is under center against the Bengals in Week 1, which seems likely at this point, it will be 616 days in between meaningful games. In his past three full seasons, Luck has finished as fantasy's QB4 (2013), QB2 (2014) and QB4 (2016). If he can stay healthy for the entire season, there is plenty of profit potential for those willing to roll the dice on Luck.

10. Kirk Cousins, Minnesota Vikings (Bye: 10)

Finishing as fantasy's QB8, QB5 and QB7 over the past three seasons, respectively, Cousins has thrown for 4,000-plus yards and 25-plus touchdowns in each of those seasons. In addition, he has rushed for at least four scores in three consecutive seasons. Now playing for a Super Bowl contender and a defensive-minded head coach, Cousins may not put up the same level of production he had in Washington, but he remains a top-12 fantasy option as he switches teams.

11. Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers (Bye: 7)

Throwing for 3,800-plus yards in each of the past five seasons, Big Ben has thrown 28-plus touchdowns in four of those five seasons. Since being drafted 11th overall in 2004, Roethlisberger has played a 16-game season only three times in his career so there's certainly a strong chance that he'll miss a game or two in 2018. With the league's best RB/WR combo in Le'Veon Bell and Antonio Brown, Roethlisberger has weekly QB1 upside, but he's finished as the QB20, QB13 and QB10 over the past three seasons, respectively.

12. Philip Rivers, Los Angeles Chargers (Bye: 8)

Except for 2012 (21st) and 2016 (14th), Rivers has finished as a top-12 fantasy quarterback in the eight of his past 10 NFL seasons. On my list of 12 Undervalued Players Compared to Fantasy ADP, Rivers has thrown for at least 4,286 yards and 28 touchdowns in each of the past five seasons.

13. Alex Smith, Washington Redskins (Bye: 4)

Setting career highs, Smith threw for 4,042 yards and 26 touchdowns while adding 355 rushing yards last season. Not only was 2017 the first time he finished as a top-12 fantasy quarterback, Smith finished as fantasy's QB3 last season. Now in Washington, he takes over for Kirk Cousins, who has finished as a top-eight fantasy quarterback in each of the past three seasons. Since Gruden coached Andy Dalton (QB5) in 2013, he's now coached a QB to a top-eight fantasy finish in four of the past five seasons.

- MORE: 12 Undervalued Players Compared to Fantasy ADP

14. Jimmy Garoppolo, San Francisco 49ers (Bye: 11)

Starting Weeks 12 to 17, Garoppolo scored the 12th-most fantasy points (17th-most on a per-game basis, 14.5) during that stretch. His mediocre fantasy production was limited by the lack of touchdowns -- seven passing touchdowns in six games -- although he was efficient in terms of completion percentage (67.4) and yards per attempt (8.8). With a full offseason in Kyle Shanahan's offense and better/healthier weapons, there is plenty of upside in 2018.

15. Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons (Bye: 8)

Over the past six seasons, Ryan has finished as fantasy's QB7, QB15, QB7, QB17, QB2 and QB15, respectively. So, perhaps he's due to finish as a top-seven fantasy QB this year? In the first season with Steve Sarkisian calling the plays, Ryan threw for 4,095 yards, a seven-year low, and 20 touchdowns, a nine-year low. On a positive note, the addition of Calvin Ridley in the first round gives a boost to an already talented group of pass-catchers. Even though I expect better year-over-year numbers, Ryan is unlikely to bounce back to his 2016 MVP-level production.

16. Dak Prescott, Dallas Cowboys (Bye: 8)

Through his first two NFL seasons, Prescott has finished as fantasy's QB6 and QB9, respectively. Even though Prescott and Dez Bryant never seemed to get on the same page, the Dez-less Cowboys will have one of the league's least-talented group of pass-catchers in 2018. Rushing for 12 touchdowns in two seasons, Prescott's dual-threat abilities help to raise his floor despite a lack of talented pass-catchers, but it's possible he finishes outside the top-10 fantasy quarterbacks for the first time in his young career.

17. Jared Goff, Los Angeles Rams (Bye: 12)

The No. 1 overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, Goff made huge strides in his second NFL season. A new coaching regime led the Rams from a worst-to-first improvement in scoring offense as Goff exceeded preseason expectations with a top-12 fantasy performance. Assuming the Rams get more production from new addition Brandin Cooks than they got from Sammy Watkins last season, Goff has the potential to build upon last year's success.

18. Marcus Mariota, Tennessee Titans (Bye: 8)

After throwing 45 touchdowns to 19 interceptions in his first two seasons combined, Mariota threw more interceptions (career-high 15) than touchdowns (career-low 13). On a positive note, the dual-threat quarterback ran for 300-plus yards once again and set a career high with five rushing scores. Given a more aggressive philosophy from the new coaching staff, Mariota and the Titans offense should have more chunk plays, which could lead to a bounce-back season.

19. Blake Bortles, Jacksonville Jaguars (Bye: 9)

In an ideal world (according to Doug Marrone), Bortles may not throw a single pass all season. In Marrone's first full season as head coach, however, the Jags were balanced -- 527 pass attempts and 527 rush attempts -- with Bortles throwing it more than 100 times less in 2017 than 2016. Despite five interceptions in the last two regular-season games, Bortles played extremely well down the stretch with multiple passing scores and 300-plus yards in three of the four games through Week 16. Over the past three seasons, Bortles has finished as the QB4 (2015), QB10 (2016) and QB13 (2017) and he has the potential to once again outperform his ADP.

- MORE: Blake Bortles Fantasy Football Profile

20. Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs (Bye: 12)

Playing well in one start as a rookie, Mahomes enters the 2018 season as the starter with Alex Smith traded to Washington this offseason. With a gunslinger mentality a la Brett Favre, Mahomes may be more prone to turnovers than Smith, but he also possesses the ability to push the ball down the field. Adding Sammy Watkins to the receiving corps, the Chiefs have their most talented group of pass-catchers during the Andy Reid era.

21. Case Keenum, Denver Broncos (Bye: 10)

Following a breakout season with the Vikings, Keenum signed a free-agent deal with the Broncos to give them their most stable quarterback situation since Peyton Manning. More than anything, however, the presence of Keenum is a boost to the fantasy value of Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders, but Keenum is a viable streaming option who should have a handful of solid performances in 2018.

22. Mitch Trubisky, Chicago Bears (Bye: 5)

There is plenty of reason for optimism going into Trubisky's second NFL season. Upgrading their pass-catchers and offensive line in free agency and the draft, the Bears also signed ex-Chiefs offensive coordinator Matt Nagy as head coach. Even if we don't see the same type of second-year jump we saw from Jared Goff, we have seen the difference better coaching and an improved supporting cast can make going into a quarterback's second season.

23. Eli Manning, New York Giants (Bye: 9)

Passing on Sam Darnold (or another first-round quarterback) in the draft, the Giants will surround Manning with better talent in 2018. The Giants lacked (the threat of) a running game, had one of the league's worst offensive lines and their receiving corps was decimated by injuries. With healthy receivers, a stud rookie running back and an improved offensive line, Manning will have a chance to bounce back in 2018 after finishing outside the top-20 fantasy quarterbacks in back-to-back seasons.

24. Derek Carr, Oakland Raiders (Bye: 7)

A disappointing season for both the team and Carr, he threw for 3,496 yards, 22 touchdowns and 13 interceptions in 2017. Before last season, he threw for 3,900-plus yards in each of the previous two seasons with a total of 60 touchdowns. It will be interesting to see how Carr and new coach Jon Gruden work together, but Carr's numbers should be better in 2018 than they were last year.

25. Andy Dalton, Cincinnati Bengals (Bye: 9)

Many of Dalton's 2017 numbers were the lowest of his career or since his rookie season -- completion percentage (59.9), Y/A (6.7), YPG (207.5) and number of 300-yard games (one). If Tyler Eifert and John Ross are healthy, however, Dalton could be a high-end QB2. (In fact, Dalton has finished as the QB18 (or better) every season of his career.)

Here are the best of the rest:

26. Ryan Tannehill, Miami Dolphins (Bye: 11)
27. Jameis Winston, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Bye: 5)
28. Tyrod Taylor, Cleveland Browns (Bye: 11)
29. Joe Flacco, Baltimore Ravens (Bye: 10)
30. Sam Bradford, Arizona Cardinals (Bye: 9)
31. Sam Darnold, New York Jets (Bye: 11)
32. Baker Mayfield, Cleveland Browns (Bye: 11)
33. Josh McCown, New York Jets (Bye: 11)
34. Ryan Fitzpatrick, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Bye: 5)
35. Josh Rosen, Arizona Cardinals (Bye: 9)
36. A.J. McCarron, Buffalo Bills (Bye: 11)
37. Lamar Jackson, Baltimore Ravens (Bye: 10)
38. Josh Allen, Buffalo Bills (Bye: 11)
39. Nick Foles, Philadelphia Eagles (Bye: 9)
40. Nathan Peterman, Buffalo Bills (Bye: 11)

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