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Plant a Flag: QB

Footballguys staff members make a stand on a quarterback

Make a call on a quarterback. Who will surprise - either good or bad? Why?

Phil Alexander: I'm afraid this means I'm going to lose my seat at the cool kids table, but Kirk Cousins has zero chance of becoming an every week fantasy starter. Cousins' 2015 is cast in a glowing light because he led Washington to an unlikely playoff berth (in an awful division), but there are plenty of signs his breakout year was fool's gold. For starters, Cousins played seven games against bottom-10 pass defenses. Five of those games came against the Saints, Eagles, and Giants -- the bottom three teams in fantasy points allowed to opposing quarterbacks. Cousins also struggled on the road where his fantasy points per game dipped by 27% in eight starts. What's more likely -- Cousins is the quartback with the 24:27 touchdown to interception ratio over his first 17 career games, or the one with the 23:3 ratio over his last 10? Is he the passer with the 57.6% completion rate from 2013-2014 or the one who led the league at 69.8% last year? And are we really expecting Cousins to score another five rushing touchdowns? Cousins will be a fine streamer when he's playing at home against a bad defense, but streamers belong on the waiver wire, which is exactly where you'll be able to find Cousins once his disappointed owner cuts him loose.

Chad Parsons: Eli Manning is my choice to surprise. His ADP of QB12 is below his recent performance as a top-10 option since Odell Beckham joined the offense two years ago. 2014 and 2015 have been Manning's two finest seasons from avoiding sacks to touchdown/interception rates. Now with Sterling Shepard (and potentially Victor Cruz), Manning has his best collection of weapons in years.

Chris Kuczynski: Gotta go with Derek Carr here. I wouldn't say he will surprise as in "coming out of nowhere" because many recognize him as trending upward, but based solely on ADP, he is being drafted as a fringe QB1, even though he is capable of cracking the top 8. He greatly improved his stats from year one to year two, has the best offensive line in the league, rarely gets sacked and protects the football, and has really solid weapons to throw to in Amari Cooper, Michael Crabtree and Clive Walford.

Stephen Holloway: Agree with both Chad on Eli Manning and Chris on Derek Carr as end of the QB1 ADPs that can and should finish above that. My choice going the other way is Blake Bortles who finished at QB4 last season and is going currently at QB7. Bortles threw 11 touchdown passes as a rookie and the Jaguars totaled only 14 that 2014 season. A year later Bortles threw 35. He has great receivers, but his career completion percentage of 58.7% does not provide confidence of top touchdown production in consecutive seasons. The anticipated improvement in defense as well as the running game further deflates my expectations on Bortles' production.

Andy Hicks: I'm really concerned about Carson Palmer this year. He suffered another playoff spanking, this time against the Panthers and he will be 37 this year. I'm not sure when his cliff comes, but it will and I don't want to have him on my roster when it does. Even if you don't account for his age he has only finished as a top 10 fantasy quarterback once in the last 9 years. When his ADP is closer to his out of nowhere fantasy numbers from last year, then there could be problems for those expecting to 2 top tier seasons from Palmer in a row.

Chris Feery: Great calls on Carr and Manning thus far, I agree that both could see a leap in productivity this season. I’ll add Ryan Tannehill’s name to the list. I view this as make-or-break season in terms of whether or not he has a long-term future as a starting signal caller in this league. If noted quarterback whisperer Adam Gase can’t pull the best out of him and bring him over the hump, there’s a pretty good chance he’s already reached his ceiling. I lean to the side of Gase being able to do just that, and expect Tannehill to deliver solid production in 2016.

John Mamula: I agree with Chad that Eli Manning will surprise and significantly outperform his ADP. Manning has recorded career passing attempts 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. Look for Manning to have a career season.

Devin Knotts: Robert Griffin III will overperform based on where he is being drafted. His current ADP is the 31st quarterback right now. This is Griffin's last chance to become an NFL starter, as if he fails he will be unlikely to get another situation where he can start. Much like last year the Browns defense is going to be one of the worst in the NFL, forcing Griffin to throw the ball for much of the second half, and with players such as Duke Johnson, the return of Josh Gordon, Andrew Hawkins, and then a crop of rookie receivers led by first round pick Corey Coleman, this will lead to a significant amount of opportunity for Griffin to be the king of garbage time points. His running ability should return as we have seen videos of him sliding properly for the first time in his career which is encouraging and should limit his ability to get injured.