A fantasy draft is all about obtaining the most value with each selection. There is value available throughout a draft, and grabbing it is one of the most important keys to a successful fantasy team. In an attempt to point out this value, we asked our staff to look through the top 150 players and identify players that should outperform their draft position.
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Player Receiving 9 Votes
Matthew Stafford, Detroit
Sigmund Bloom: Stafford was a top ten quarterback under new offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter last year, and he has had a whole offseason to prepare for a more uptempo offense that will feature three quality wide receivers to help compensate for the loss of Calvin Johnson. Look for Stafford to be among the league leaders in pass attempts and contend for the top 6-8 among fantasy passers as long as the offensive line holds up.
Ryan Hester: Last season, Detroit was very pass-heavy – even when they began playing better and not trailing in games as they did early in the year. The loss of Calvin Johnson hurts, but adding Marvin Jones and retaining pass-catching back Theo Riddick and possession receiver Golden Tate should keep offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter dialing up passes often. Tight end Eric Ebron should also continue to develop and be a big-bodied option for Stafford in the red zone. In the team’s second preseason game, they ran almost exclusively no-huddle, suggesting they’re going to be an up-tempo offense all year. That benefits all parties involved, and with no true elite receiver or running back, all roads should lead back to the quarterback.
Dan Hindery: Stafford finished the 2015 on fire (19 touchdowns and just two interceptions in the second-half of the season). We have seen mid-career fantasy breakouts at quarterback often over the past decade (Tom Brady, Ben Roethlisberger, Drew Brees, etc.). At age 28, Stafford might be following a similar path. In Jim Bob Cooter's scheme, the game finally seemed to slow down for Stafford. The loss of Calvin Johnson could also be a blessing in disguise. Instead of dealing with specially designed new coverages every week (and feeling compelled to force the ball to the superstar regardless), Stafford will see teams play the Lions more traditionally. He will be tasked with spreading the ball around to the pass catching crew of Golden Tate, Marvin Jones, Eric Ebron, Theo Riddick, and Ameer Abdullah. There are enough weapons for Stafford to pick up where he left off last season and emerge as a true QB1.
Ari Ingel: The teams early 2015 struggles weren't his fault if you actually watched the tape. Stafford came on big time after new OC Jim Bob Cooter took over, throwing 19tds and only 2ints, as the leagues 5th best quarterback after Week 10. Additionally this is a team that has no foundation run game and one that also beefed up their offensive line in the off season. Furthermore, Stafford's efficiency in the redzone is lethal. He finished with the highest redzone completion percentage (65.75), the second highest number of touchdowns in the redzone with 26 (only 1 behind Tom Brady) and had zero interceptions in the redzone. How accurate was Stafford last year? His overall completion rate was 67.3% (#5 in the league), inside the 20-yard line 65.75% (#1 in the league) and inside the 10-yard line 75.0% (#1 by a mile). He's a top ten quarterback.
Bob Magaw: Stafford has generally muddled along in the wake of his brilliant 5,000 yard and 40 TD breakout season in 2011, but enjoyed a resurgence at the midpoint of the 2015 season with the introduction of replacement OC Jim Bob Cooter. He finished 6-2 after a 1-7 start, including a 19/2 TD/INT ratio. While it is hard to spin future Hall of Fame WR Calvin Johnson's abrupt departure into a positive, mitigating factors include Marvin Jones being a solid if unspectacular replacement, and being forced to distribute the ball to other receiving weapons such as WR Golden Tate and TE Eric Ebron could hasten the development of a vitally important skill in any QB's game - throwing to the open man.
John Mamula: Matt Stafford is being shunned by the fantasy community after the retirement of Calvin Johnson. Stafford is coming off the board as the 16th QB even though he finished last season as the 8th best QB. The Lions revamped their aerial attack with the additions of Marvin Jones and Anquan Boldin. With the loss of Calvin Johnson, Stafford’s passing totals may suffer a slight downgrade but he will still finish in the Top 5 in attempted passes this season.
Daniel Simpkins: In 2015, former Offensive Coordinator Joe Lombardi reined in Matthew Stafford during the course of the season. When Lombardi was fired, Jim Bob Cooter took over and allowed Stafford more freedom to open up the passing game again. Cooter remained the Offensive Coordinator this season. The running game continues to be a work in progress, meaning the Lions will need to pass by necessity. While Marvin Jones isn’t Calvin Johnson in his prime, he is a competent receiver who can do the deep route work that this team desperately needs. Golden Tate, Anquan Boldin, and Theo Riddick are more than capable of handling the short and intermediate passing duties. Currently going off the board in the 11th round of 12-team leagues, Stafford projects to once again post an over 4,000-yard, 30-touchdown season.
Matt Waldman: Last year, the Lions quarterback was the first passer in NFL history to complete 60 percent of his passes in every game for an entire 16-game season. Obviously, this stat is not an indication of great upside but it's a sign that Stafford is maturity as a player despite the upheaval that occurred with the offense last year. The passing game should prove more efficient with the subtraction of Calvin Johnson from the equation. No one wants to see of player of Johnson's caliber retire but the pressure to lean on a player who can convert high-risk plays will be gone. In his place will be a savvy zone player in Anquan Bolden and a complete receiver in Marvin Johnson. The Lions defense will still struggle and it means the team will lean on Stafford to keep Detroit in contention.
Mark Wimer: Stafford showed how successful he can be in the offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter's system at the end of last season. Some are worried that the subtraction of Calvin Johnson will slow down the passing attack - and it certainly will make the unit work differently than it did last season. However, Golden Tate and Marvin Jones (combined with Theo Riddick and Eric Ebron/Cole Wick) provide plenty of talent for Stafford to throw at, and the Detroit running back stable is not a strong unit in the other phase of the game. I think Stafford will challenge for top-12 status at his position this season despite losing Johnson (I have him as my QB 11 as of August 23).
Player Receiving 7 Votes
Ryan Tannehill, Miami
James Brimacombe: Tannehill comes in as QB20 at his current ADP as he enters into his fifth NFL season. Tannehill was supposed to have his big breakout season in 2015 and was over drafted and might have burned a lot of owners. He still finished as QB15 in fantasy despite the average season of 24 touchdowns and 4,210 passing yards. Tannehill has a bunch of young talented wide receivers in Jarvis Landry, DeVante Parker, Kenny Stills, and Leonte Carroo and Jordan Cameron at the Tight End position.
Mike Brown: It seems like we've been waiting a long time for Tannehill to take that next step forward, but for one reason or another it hasn't quite happened yet. Enter the man who turned Jay Cutler of all people into an efficient passer a year ago. With the offensive line additions, the presence of Arian Foster, and an offense tailor-made for quality quarterback play, there is no reason why Tannehill shouldn't have a career year in 2016.
Chris Feery: Based on current draft positioning, there are 19 quarterbacks being selected prior to Ryan Tannehill. That’s simply way too many, and Tannehill has a real chance to finish the season as a Top 10 QB. Noted quarterback whisperer Adam Gase will now be roaming the sidelines in Miami, and he just may be the spark that’s needed for Tannehill to reach his full potential. He’s surrounded by a talented group of young receivers, including Jarvis Landry and DeVante Parker, and the Dolphins offensive unit appears headed for marked improvement in 2016. Tannehill can be had on the cheap as a QB2 in most drafts, but he may very well finish the season as the lead signal caller for fantasy squad owners that pull the trigger.
Stephen Holloway: Tannehill came into the league with abundant promise and not a lot of experience. He has shown improvement over his first four seasons, passing for his career in yards last year with 4,210 and averaging a career high 7.17 ypa. The Dolphins return their two top wide receivers in Landry and Parker and have an athletic tight end in Cameron. The combination of Tannehill’s improvement with his new leadership from Head Coach Adam Gase provides plenty of upside.
Bob Magaw: Prior to 2015, Tannehill had seen his passing numbers rise pretty much across the board in each of the two years following his 2012 rookie season. A continuation of that interrupted earlier trend could still happen after the anomaly and delay of last season. The positive side of his projection ledger includes passing game guru and new HC Adam Gase, a talented trio of young WRs in record breaking third year slot WR reception machine Jarvis Landry, second year downfield threat DeVante Parker and highly regarded rookie Leonte Carroo, as well as a potentially improved defense capable of getting the ball back to the offense earlier and more often.
Daniel Simpkins: Despite Adam Gase becoming the new Head Coach in Miami, the needle hasn’t moved much on Tannehill’s redraft stock. Gase has a reputation for improving offensive production by finding what a player does well and building upon that. He will utilize Tannehill’s abilities as a competent scrambler and accurate short-to-mid-range passer. The receiving weapons that Tannehill has at his disposal--DeVante Parker, Jarvis Landry, Leonte Caroo, and Jordan Cameron-- are enviable. Tannehill is only one season removed from top-ten fantasy quarterback production. Expect Tannehill to climb back into that stratosphere in 2016.
Jason Wood: Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. We'll see if Tannehill has me looking in a mirror in a shameful way in a few months because I'm ALL IN on him this season in spite of a woefully disappointing 2015. The reason? Adam Gase. Tannehill is a talented quarterback. He was the 6th best fantasy quarterback in 2014 before things went off the rails last season. Gase was hired for his stellar reputation working with quarterbacks. I'm giving him a chance to right the Tannehill ship. The offensive line should be stabilized by the addition of left tackle Laremy Tunsill. DeVante Parker should be healthy for the full season. Rookie Leonte Caroo gives the team insane depth at the receiver position (when paired with Parker, Landry and Stills). For his price, Tannehill is a perfect option for those committed to drafting quarterbacks late.
Players Receiving 5 Votes
Derek Carr, Oakland
James Brimacombe: Coming in as the 12th ADP quarterback, Derek Carr gives you as much upside as any of the quarterbacks in the 6th-11th range (Bortles, Brady, Palmer, Manning, Rivers). While the others quarterbacks in this range may feel like safer options, you have to remember that Carr is entering his third season and continues to prove his worth as a star QB in the NFL. Carr threw for 32 touchdowns last season, and there is no reason he cannot duplicate those numbers again this year with Amari Cooper, Michael Crabtree, and Clive Walford as big play targets.
Chris Kuczynski: Building off of a nearly 4000 yard, 32 TD effort in his second year (which put him squarely in the QB8-10 range last year), Carr will look to improve all of those numbers. Last year he had a completely new coaching staff, new offensive scheme under Bill Musgrave, new starting RB in Latavius Murray, and his top 4 targets in the passing game (Amari Cooper, Michael Crabtree, Seth Roberts, Clive Walford) were all new as well. He’s had an entire offseason to build chemistry with all his returning weapons, along with being protected by arguably a top 2 offensive line that got even better through free agency. Getting a locked in mid-level QB1 after 11 or 12 are already off the board could be the steal of the position in your draft.
John Mamula: Derek Carr is currently being drafted as the 12th QB but offers Top 10 value. Last season, Carr finished 14th at the QB position but his numbers tailed off during the second half of the year which coincided with Amari Cooper’s foot injury. Carr enters his third season with one of the top offensive lines in the league and 2 high-upside wide receivers, Cooper and Michael Crabtree. If you are the type who waits to select your QB1, Carr offers supreme value at quarterback.
Jeff Pasquino: Derek Carr enters his third season as a starter in 2016 with Oakland, and I expect him to elevate even further up the fantasy football hierarchy. Carr improved in Year 2 in all major categories (32 touchdown passes vs. 21 in 2014, 61.1% completions vs. 58.1% in 2014, 3,987 yards vs. 3,270 in 2014) and now the Raiders have Amani Cooper and TE Clive Walford both entering their second NFL seasons. Carr should show continued improvement and looks to be a near lock of a Top 10 quarterback for 2016.
Mark Wimer: Carr has an outstanding supporting cast in Amari Cooper, Michael Crabtree, Clive Walford and Latavius Murray, and the Oakland offensive line is improving as well. This is a young offense that reeks of upside rather than downside risk - give me Carr over Tom Brady any day of the week and twice on Sundays this year, friends. At least Carr should start all 16 games (barring injury).
Eli Manning, NY Giants
Ryan Hester: Ryan Hester: Bob McAdoo has shot life into this offense – particularly Manning and the passing game – over the last two seasons, and he remains after his promotion from Offensive Coordinator to Head Coach. Manning also benefits from playmaker extraordinaire Odell Beckham Jr. Manning has been rising in my ranks lately due to the camp emergence of rookie Sterling Shepard, whose clinical route-running and “bigger-than-his-true-size” ball skills add an element to this offense that Rueben Randle (aka: the interception was his fault) never brought. Add in the fact that the team’s run game is just okay, and that means they’ll be leaning on Manning’s arm to gain yards and score points.
Stephen Holloway: Manning has had his ups and downs throughout his career, particularly with interceptions. He has topped 20 interceptions in three seasons. However, teamed with McAdoo, Manning has only 14 interceptions in each season and his completion rate topped 62.5% both years. Expect the Giants’ offense to continue to produce. They have two excellent receivers out of the backfield (Vereen and Jennings), two experienced tight ends and Odell Beckham Jr. That sounds like enough, but expectations are also very high for their second round wide receiver Sterling Shepard as well. Maybe Victor Cruz won’t make it back, but they probably won’t miss him. Manning has finished as QB8 and QB7 in his two seasons with McAdoo and could improve on that in 2016.
John Mamula: Eli Manning is poised for a career season. Manning has recorded career passing attempt totals in each of the past two seasons. The Giants will pass early and often under new head coach, Ben McAdoo. Manning will have the best receiving options of his career with third-year superstar WR, Odell Beckham and 2nd round draft pick, Sterling Shepard. If Victor Cruz can make it back into the game plan, that will be a bonus. Manning also has reliable check down options in Rashad Jennings and Shane Vereen. Manning is one of a handful of QBs that you can target late that offers Top 5 QB upside.
Chad Parsons: Eli Manning has been a top-10 fantasy quarterback since Odell Beckham has been in the lineup. Sterling Shepard marks a significant upgrade as the No.2 option and Shane Vereen is an above-average pass-catching running back. At QB10 in the ADP, Manning is priced at his recent floor with top-5 upside.
Jason Wood: Those of us who correctly banked on a career year from Eli Manning last season were handsomely rewarded. Manning set career marks in completions (387), attempts (618), yards (4,436), touchdowns (35), TD:INT ratio (+21), TD rate (5.7%), and passer rating (93.6). Some might argue against paying for a career year, but I think Manning is a good bet to beat last year's marks. Ben McAdoo has opened up the offense and Manning is flourishing in the system. McAdoo was elevated to head coach – which I think will lead to the Giants fully embracing the wide open passing attack. On top of that, rookie Sterling Shepard is set to be a giant upgrade at WR2.
Matt Ryan, Atlanta
James Brimacombe: After five straight seasons as a top 10 fantasy quarterback, Matt Ryan finally tailed off as just a middle of the road QB2. Last season was a struggle for Ryan as he had a TD/INT rate of 21/16 with 4,591 yards. Julio Jones is one of the best wide receivers in the NFL and Ryan will continue to feed him the ball but the problem last year was the lack of no Tight End and no clear WR2 with Roddy White on the downhill slope of his career. The Falcons went out and signed Mohamed Sanu, and drafted TE Austin Hooper in the third round. For the current ADP of QB19 right now it is worth taking a shot on Ryan to see if he can get back to a top 10 quarterback once again.
Andy Hicks: After five consecutive seasons as a bottom end QB1, Matt Ryan dropped to being a backup fantasy option. His yardage and percentage completion didn't change, but his touchdown number dropped significantly. This will be his 2nd season in the Kyle Shanahan offense and I expect a return to his numbers from the 2010 to 2014 period. It looks like he will never become the next elite fantasy QB, but he still should outperform his draft slot and be a nice bottom end QB1 or the anchor of a committee.
Devin Knotts: Matt Ryan is coming off his worst season since his rookie year and his ADP reflects that as he is being taken as the 20th quarterback off the board. In the offseason, the Falcons bolstered their offensive line by signing Pro Bowl center Alex Mack and signing wide receiver Mohammad Sanu who should be an upgrade over Roddy White from 2015 who struggled mightily prior to his retirement. The changes around Ryan are more exciting than Ryan himself as he is likely the same player that he has been his entire career. Ryan is in a position to bounce back to his consistent 2012-2014 numbers where he will have close to 30 touchdowns and 4,600 yards. This presents a great opportunity for him to exceed his value where he is currently being selected.
Jeff Pasquino: Matt Ryan had a down year in 2015, but Atlanta worked to address some of the shortcomings of the supporting cast this past offseason. Ryan now gets Mohamed Sanu, formerly of the Cincinnati Bengals, as his WR2 to complement Julio Jones in the passing game. Atlanta also drafted one of the best rookie tight ends in Austin Hooper (Stanford), who should help Jacob Tamme stay in to block more often. Couple these additions with two capable receiving running backs in Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman and I see Ryan getting back to QB1 fantasy status again this year.
Mark Wimer: Last season was one of growing pains for Atlanta's offense as they transitioned to Kyle Shanahan's system. In year two of this system, they have added a new red zone threat in rookie tight end Austin Hooper and replaced aging Roddy White with a solid role player in Mohamed Sanu. The influx of new weapons plus an additional year of reps in their offense should boost Ryan back into the mid-to-top of the fantasy QB #2 ranks, making him worth a long look as your backup fantasy quarterback, with starting upside during 2016.
Players Receiving 4 Votes
Drew Brees, New Orleans
Sigmund Bloom: Brees has maybe the best set of weapons in his career with Brandin Cooks, Willie Snead, rookie sensation Michael Thomas, free agent tight end Coby Fleener, and a healthy CJ Spiller, not to mention Mark Ingram in the backfield. He was a top five quarterback after he got over his shoulder injury last year, and that was while the offense was adjusting to the post-Jimmy Graham era. With a defense that always bleeds points, Brees should contend for QB1 numbers this year.
Ari Ingel: In a supposed down year for Brees due to a shoulder injury, he still finished tied for third in fantasy scoring last year. Brees has now been a top 5 fantasy quarterback in every season he has been a member of the Saints. With a good offensive line, a slew of new weapons (Coby Fleener, Michael Thomas) and younger players (Willie Snead, Brandon Cooks, Mark Ingram) coming into their prime, Brees going off the board as the 6th ranked quarterback makes no sense.
Devin Knotts: Drew Brees being taken as the 5th quarterback behind Andrew Luck provides excellent value for you to wait to get great value from Brees. Many people will look at Brees’ statistics and just see a drop-off to 4,870 yards and 32 touchdowns; however what they are not considering is that he only played 15 games last year. Even with the loss of Jimmy Graham and the decline of Marques Colston, had Brees played all 16 games, he would have thrown for 5,194 yards and 34 touchdowns. The addition of Coby Fleener and the second round draft pick of a big wide receiver in Michael Thomas will provide Brees with a significant boost to his receiving options which should reflect in an increase in his passing statistics for the 2016 season.
Jason Wood: Did I miss the memo? Did Drew Brees lose a step? Did he lose major offensive weapons? Is he injured? Otherwise, I don't understand how he's falling to the 6th round of 12-team drafts. Brees remains one of the few ELITE quarterbacks in the game. This is a guy who completed 68% of his passes LAST YEAR. He led the league in passing with 4,870 yards. He threw 32 touchdowns against just 11 interceptions. As if that weren't enough evidence, let's remember the Saints added Coby Fleener in free agent and Michael Thomas in the draft. If Brees' ADP doesn't normalize, he should be on your short list on draft day.
Tyrod Taylor, Buffalo
Phil Alexander: Taylor has seen a slight bump in ADP since earlier this summer, but he's still coming off the board too late in drafts. He finished as the QB16 on a per-game basis last season and averaged nearly 25 fantasy points per game over the last five games, which coincided with the ascension of Sammy Watkins to WR1 status. With Watkins ready to play in the preseason, Taylor's ceiling remains intact after he proved himself as a capable passer last season (solid 64% completion rate and 7.1 adjusted net yards per attempt). Plus, he does more with his legs to pad his fantasy stats than any quarterback besides Cam Newton. Taylor finished only 71 rushing yards behind Newton for the league lead at quarterback despite playing two fewer games in 2015.
Jeff Haseley: The Bills have been dealt with a series of injuries, mostly on the defensive side of the ball, which leads me to believe Buffalo will need to pass the ball to keep up with their opponents. Taylor has developed and grown quite a lot over the last few years and now he's starting to get comfortable as a starting quarterback. He has the athleticism to make plays with his feet, which is always a good characteristic to have for fantasy quarterback success. The presence of Sammy Watkins alone should elevate his game to the next level. Both players are in their prime and I am expecting the two to gel this season.
Devin Knotts: The only way to explain Tyrod Taylor’s draft value as the 18th quarterback is that people believe he was a one year wonder and since he is 27 doesn’t show upside to improve off of last season. This presents an excellent opportunity to draft Taylor as in his first season as a starting quarterback he showed significant upside. Tyrod’s 2015 season was very similar to Russell Wilson’s 2014 season where Wilson broke out in the following season. The upside is there for Tyrod to improve on his first year as a starter and he should run enough that his floor is relatively high even if he does not take a step forward in the passing game.
Daniel Simpkins: While Taylor was recently extended by the Bills, his deal is structured in such a way that he will need to play well to earn his money from year to year. Every year is essentially a contract year for Taylor. While Taylor won’t throw for as many yards as other quarterbacks in his range, his abilities on the ground should more than compensate for that. The Bills face one of the toughest run defense schedules in the NFL, meaning going to the air attack will be imperative. Reports tell us that Sammy Watkins is healthy and motivated to shake the injury prone label that many have ascribed to him. When Watkins isn’t ailing, these two have one of the best quarterback-to-receiver connections in the NFL, one that should make this late-round quarterback a relevant value in all leagues.
Jameis Winston, Tampa Bay
Mike Brown: Don't forget, Winston was a rookie last season. He still performed as a top-flight quarterback for most of the season, and now he gets a healthy Vincent Jackson back. Mike Evans also seems poised to take a step forward after a down season a year ago, and the Bucs are tailoring their offense around their young quarterback. If the theory holds that the biggest improvement a QB makes is between season 1 and season 2, we're in for a treat from the former #1 overall pick.
Chris Kuczynski: Winston accomplished what few have in his rookie season- his 4,042 passing yards were the 3rd most for any first year QB only behind Cam Newton and Andrew Luck. He had a plenty of success on the ground as well with 6 rushing TDs. He’ll have his top two weapons Mike Evans and Vincent Jackson fully healthy after they were banged up last year, and he has two effective pass catchers in the backup field with Doug Martin and Charles Sims. Being in year 2 of Dirk Koetter's system, the training wheels will come off and he will have more of the offense fall on his shoulders. He is capable of putting up QB1 numbers in the right situation (plays NO and ATL twice) but can be had after most owners already drafted their starter.
Bob Magaw: Winston was just the third NFL rookie QB ever to throw for 4,000 yards, with Cam Newton (2011) and Andrew Luck (2012), and is the only signal caller to do so under 22 years of age in NFL history. His 22/15 TD/INT ratio also stacks up favorably with the rookie campaigns of Newton (20/17) and Luck (23/18), which bodes well and represents a promising start to his pro career, extending an ascendant arc and trajectory to his resume. Winston had 6 rushing TDs in 2015 and has dropped close to 20 lbs. in order to play at or under 230 lbs. in year two of his meteoric development. The Bucs figure to be in a lot of NFC South shootouts with QBs Newton, Drew Brees and Matt Ryan, and have the ammo to compete with RB Doug Martin and WR Mike Evans.
Jeff Pasquino: Winston finished just outside of QB1 fantasy status (QB13) as a rookie, and that was with Vincent Jackson only playing in ten games. Winston showed solid growth as a first year signal caller and is poised to push for a lower-end QB1 fantasy season in 2016. With Mike Evans, Vincent Jackson, two tailbacks (Doug Martin, Charles Sims) that can also be capable receivers, Winston can put up solid production in most matchups. Should Winston get a capable WR3 or receiving tight end, Winston could even vie for a Top 10 production, especially if you factor in his rushing abilities (213 yards, six scores in 2015).
Players Receiving 3 Votes
Andy Dalton, Cincinnati
Andy Hicks: The absence of Marvin Jones and Mohamed Sanu will be seen by detractors of Andy Dalton as a sign that he may struggle in 2016. It must be noted however that these guys were the 3rd and 5th leading receivers and A.J. Green, Tyler Eifert and Giovani Bernard are still there. Add in the addition of Brandon LaFell and rookie Tyler Boyd and the Bengals haven't really lost much at all pending the Tyler Eifert injury situation. Dalton was, in a surprise to many, on track to finish as a top 5 fantasy quarterback last year before his season ended early. He is being drafted as a mid-range backup this year and screams value. Draft him as a backup to a high upside, high risk quarterback.
Justin Howe: I don't see why Dalton isn't getting more attention. Sure, he blends into the QB2 tier pretty seamlessly, but he's fresh off an awesome 2015 and theoretically primed for even more. Hue Jackson's run-dominant philosophy is gone, and while the team is likely to retain some of those principles, it likely won't be such a rule in 2016. Dalton should throw with solid volume – I have him projected at a 6% increase from last year – and he'll throw to major touchdown producers.
Chris Kuczynski: Last season before getting injured, Andy Dalton was looking like a top 5 QB through his first 12 games accumulating 3200 yards, 25 TDs and only 6 INTs, which included 9 multi-TD performances. He may have lost 2nd and 3rd WRs Marvin Jones and Mohammad Sanu to free agency, but he still has AJ Green and Tyler Eifert who are both top 5 at their respective positions when healthy, as well as one of the top pass catchers out of the backfield in Gio Bernard. Dalton also lost Hue Jackson as his offensive coordinator, but the Bengals promoted long time QB coach Ken Zampese who will provide continuity for Dalton, so he should be able to pick back up where he left off. Another example of a potential QB1 who is falling to the backup range just because of the saturated QB market this season.
Philip Rivers, San Diego
Sigmund Bloom: Rivers was a top five quarterback before Keenan Allen went down last year, and that included Antonio Gates' four-game suspension. Travis Benjamin should be a deep threat upgrade from Malcom Floyd, and second-year receiver Tyrell Williams is set to make a splash to soften the blow of losing Stevie Johnson. Rivers should be a high volume passer and he has shown that he can put up top-end fantasy numbers as long as he has his #1 receiver. He shouldn't be falling outside of the top 10 quarterbacks.
Jeff Haseley: Before Keenan Allen went down with his kidney injury in Week 8 last year, Philip Rivers was one of the better fantasy quarterbacks and people seem to be forgetting about him. Entering Week 8, Rivers was the 2nd best fantasy quarterback behind only Tom Brady. Rivers finished 11th among quarterbacks in 2015, but it's safe to say the Allen injury derailed his bid for a top season. The Chargers still have not shored up their running game, which leads me to believe they will be passing often once again in 2016. Don't sleep on Rivers, he's an excellent quarterback to target after the Top 9-10 go off the board.
Matt Waldman: The Chargers' quarterback always has top-five upside when he's paired with a good receiving corps. The duo of Keenan Allen and Travis Benjamin is the best Rivers has worked with since Vincent Jackson was in his prime. As long as this offensive line stays healthy enough to power a competent ground game, Rivers can play aggressive football that leads to big plays and consistent points.
Player Receiving 2 Votes
Carson Palmer, Arizona
Stephen Holloway: Palmer had an amazing season a year ago in the desert passing for 4,671 yards, 35 TDs and averaging 8.68 ypa, all career highs. It should be noted that he had four seasons where he threw more passes than last year, a real testament to his efficiency. The team returns all their offensive weapons so there is no reason that he can’t approach similar production (QB5) this year.
Matt Waldman: David Johnson's emergence has fantasy owners downgrading Palmer as if the Cardinals stop throwing the ball as much. I think Johnson will be more efficient this year but it won't change the Cardinals' approach when they have the trio of Larry Fitzgerald, Michael Floyd, and John Brown. Johnson and Fitzgerald will also earn a lot of their production as extensions of the run game but those "runs" will be passes to the flats and shallow zones. They may be run plays philosophically speaking, but technically they still count as passing yardage. Palmer has top-five upside.
Players Receiving 1 Vote
Kirk Cousins, Washington
Ryan Hester: The 2015 season was one in which Cousins went – in NFL terms – from fringe starter to "wait a minute, this guy might actually be worth a franchise tag a long-term deal." His fantasy production was even more surprising. And even if he regress on the rushing side (five touchdowns but only 48 yards), Cousins could actually progress on his passing numbers. Due to an unproven run game and a coach who has a penchant for red zone passing (this is the guy who coordinated an offense in which Andy Dalton threw 60 combined touchdowns in the second and third years of his career), Cousins should be throwing early, often, and where it counts.
Andrew Luck, Indianapolis
Mike Brown: Last offseason, the Colts went out and added RB Frank Gore and WR Andre Johnson to an already-impressive stable of offensive weapons. The theory was that the Colts would hang forty points on their opponents each and every week. As we know, it didn't quite work out that way. They failed to adequately protect Luck, and the entire offense collapsed around him. Well he's back healthy, the weapons are still there, and now he's going off the board late in the fourth round.
Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh
Andy Hicks: There is every chance that Ben Roethlisberger will miss a few games in 2016. He averages about 2 missed games a year in his career to date, despite never missing more than 4 in any year. Roethlisberger does give excellent production on a per game basis though and would be considered an elite fantasy prospect if he played more 16 game seasons. He therefore strikes as value. You get elite production without the draft price. Just make sure you grab a good backup though.
Tony Romo, Dallas
Justin Bonnema: There are plenty of excuses for Tony Romo’s current ADP (QB16 per our consensus rankings): he’s now 36 years old, coming off of another major injury, on a team that looks poised to run the ball more than it has in many years. But all of that overlooks his past performance and current potential as a fantasy asset. Romo, when healthy, has been an elite performer both in real and fake football. Since 2007, when playing at least 13 games, he has finished no worse than QB13 with four of those finishes eighth or better. Fears of the Cowboys running the ball more than average are not misplaced, but we often forget that efficiency is a better producer of fantasy points than volume when it comes to quarterbacks. Romo’s current price is fair but he’s a much better option than four or five quarterbacks going ahead of him, especially considering he has the league’s best red zone receiver.
Russell Wilson, Seattle
Dan Hindery: If drafting a quarterback early, Wilson is the one to target. Currently going off the board fourth at the position, Wilson has the best chance to finish as the top fantasy scorer in 2016. Wilson threw for an astounding 25 touchdown passes in the second-half of the 2015 season. With Marshawn Lynch having retired, the Seahawks offense unquestionably belongs to Wilson now. Pete Carroll has indicated a preference for more spread sets with Wilson alone in the backfield, which should be a major boon to Wilson's fantasy prospects. Do not be surprised if Wilson's torrid second-half pace is the "new normal" as the 27-year old superstar enters his prime years.