It’s draft week for most leagues, so there’s no better time to reveal our rankings.
But first, let’s have a little primer on quarterbacks, how to draft them and how to approach rostering them in daily fantasy football.
Quarterbacks are the only skill position players to put their hands on the football every play. They have the option to audible to a pass or out of a pass if they believe the situation warrants it. That’s part of the reason why they get blamed when teams are bad — even if their offensive line doesn’t give them enough time to make good decisions or they have a bunch of knuckleheads for receivers.
This can be both good and bad for fantasy football owners.
Studs like Aaron Rodgers and Andrew Luck are rarely affected by this blame game because they, and their teammates, are so very good. You have to pay a premium to roster them.
One winning strategy in season-long leagues is to wait and draft a quarterback after the second-tier QBs — like Ben Roethlisberger, Matt Ryan and Matthew Stafford. This usually leaves you with quarterbacks in new situations or quarterbacks that might not finish the season as a starter.
Draft one of those quarterbacks with sweet matchups to open the season and discard them for another middling quarterback who’s primed for big games because of new opportunities or great matchups. This method is called streaming quarterbacks. It’s a proven winning strategy, but many people don’t employ it because there are several good and great set-it-and-forget-it options that take less work.
Personally, I like to have one quarterback I use for the whole season. But I usually try to target a value play. I got Russell Wilson in a handful of leagues last season, when his preseason ADP was the 10th pick of the ninth round. ADP this year: sixth pick of the fourth round, according to Fantasy Football Calculator. He ended up being a huge value play for me. That’s the kind of quarterback I’ll be looking to target again in 2015. But I know if my 2015 Wilson doesn’t pan out, I can opt for the stream-a-QB-of-the-week.
The best place to find those kinds of quarterbacks are in the 9th-12th rounds in my opinion. By then you have three or four running backs, three or four wide receivers and maybe a tight end.
This season, Carson Palmer, Teddy Bridgewater, Sam Bradford, Jay Cutler and Marcus Mariota are being drafted in that range, according to Fantasy Football calculator.
Daily fantasy leagues
In daily leagues, my lineup-building strategy always begins at quarterback. They are expensive. You can only roster one of them and they score more points more consistently than the other positions. Picking the right quarterback can make or break your DFS fortune.
Here’s what’s crazy: I don’t think there’s a set-in-stone method to winning quarterback at DFS. Just this morning I read conflicting articles at the worldwide leader, written by one of the smartest DFS players on the planet, and at a smaller — but still renowned — statistics-centric site. Both arguments made sense to me.
Here’s how I go about drafting quarterbacks at Draft Kings and FanDuel. For 50/50s, I’ll almost always take the best top-end quarterback with a decent matchup. For tournaments, I’m going low tier, trying to scrape up an extreme value who will allow me to get a decent running back and two stud receivers. But if a mid-tier or upper-tier QB has a matchup that smells like 400 yards and four TDs, I’m not afraid to pay up if I can swing it.
That said, I have pivoted off every theory from time to time with varying success.
Remember: Each week is independent of the last.
Yes, Ben Roethlisberger can have another 6-TD game.
Yes, Drew Brees can have another 3-interception game.
Even the most dominant daily fantasy sharks know they can’t win every 50/50 or head-to-head because the unthinkable does happen from time to time.
We, and other fantasy football prognosticators, look at the probability that something is going to happen. That’s all we can do.
Top-50 quarterbacks for 2015
These rankings may seem a bit off to you. Here’s the methodology: We took three-year fantasy point season averages (fpts) and assigned them to players based on the free fantasy football rankings at Fantasy Pros. The ADP is by position from Fantasy Pros, to give you an idea where these players are being drafted compared to their peers. Then we modified the points (xfpts) using a formula that factors in age-based performances and projected schedule based on defense-adjusted value over average.
I’m not sure I could draft Matt Ryan over Wilson, but these rankings will certainly make me consider it, which is kinda what we do here at Chinstrap Ninjas.
|1||Andrew Luck IND, 10||QB||25||466.7||1||493.9|
|2||Aaron Rodgers GB, 7||QB||31||399.0||2||448.8|
|3||Matt Ryan ATL, 10||QB||30||378.0||7||376.8|
|4||Russell Wilson SEA, 9||QB||26||376.8||4||411.5|
|5||Ben Roethlisberger PIT, 11||QB||33||357.9||6||379.3|
|6||Drew Brees NO, 11||QB||36||355.6||5||396.7|
|7||Cam Newton CAR, 5||QB||26||350.6||9||359.7|
|8||Ryan Tannehill MIA, 5||QB||27||342.7||13||355.8|
|9||Tony Romo DAL, 6||QB||35||335.7||8||367.4|
|10||Matthew Stafford DET, 9||QB||27||322.2||10||329.6|
|11||Philip Rivers SD, 10||QB||33||316.8||14||326.6|
|12||Eli Manning NYG, 11||QB||34||315.7||12||337.7|
|13||Sam Bradford PHI, 8||QB||27||311.0||18||315.5|
|14||Colin Kaepernick SF, 10||QB||27||288.9||17||305.5|
|15||Joe Flacco BAL, 9||QB||30||285.8||16||288.7|
|16||Peyton Manning DEN, 7||QB||39||272.6||3||403.9|
|17||Andy Dalton CIN, 7||QB||27||241.5||23||256.7|
|18||Carson Palmer ARI, 9||QB||35||241.4||22||276.5|
|19||Teddy Bridgewater MIN, 5||QB||22||238.8||15||301.6|
|20||Jay Cutler CHI, 7||QB||32||228.8||19||262.6|
|21||Robert Griffin III WAS, 8||QB||25||213.5||29||221.8|
|22||Tom Brady NE, 4||QB||38||205.0||11||319.2|
|23||Alex Smith KC, 9||QB||31||203.9||24||226.6|
|24||Jameis Winston TB, 6||QB||21||203.8||21||236.0|
|25||Marcus Mariota TEN, 4||QB||23||188.2||20||224.1|
|26||Derek Carr OAK, 6||QB||24||174.9||26||202.9|
|27||Blake Bortles JAC, 8||QB||23||163.0||27||191.1|
|28||Nick Foles STL, 6||QB||26||155.4||25||178.6|
|29||Ryan Fitzpatrick NYJ, 5||QB||32||154.2||28||171.4|
|30||Tyrod Taylor BUF, 8||QB||26||148.1||154.9|
|31||Brian Hoyer HOU, 9||QB||29||136.0||128.5|
|32||E.J. Manuel BUF, 8||QB||25||127.6||133.1|
|33||Geno Smith NYJ, 5||QB||24||123.6||32||145.4|
|34||Matt Cassel BUF, 8||QB||33||118.0||119.0|
|35||Ryan Mallett HOU, 9||QB||27||112.4||108.1|
|36||Mark Sanchez PHI, 8||QB||28||108.8||30||107.0|
|37||Mike Glennon TB, 6||QB||25||108.7||99.6|
|38||Kirk Cousins WAS, 8||QB||27||103.1||101.1|
|39||Chad Henne JAC, 8||QB||30||101.1||99.6|
|40||Johnny Manziel CLE, 11||QB||22||99.0||126.9|
|41||Josh McCown CLE, 11||QB||36||98.2||31||113.2|
|42||Brock Osweiler DEN, 7||QB||24||94.7||99.6|
|43||Garrett Grayson NO, 11||QB||24||87.2||99.6|
|44||Jimmy Garoppolo NE, 4||QB||23||84.8||33||104.0|
|45||Zach Mettenberger TEN, 4||QB||24||84.7||99.6|
|46||Bryce Petty NYJ, 5||QB||23||83.7||99.6|
|47||Austin Davis STL, 6||QB||26||81.2||99.6|
|48||AJ McCarron CIN, 7||QB||24||77.2||99.6|
|49||Logan Thomas ARI, 9||QB||23||76.2||99.6|
|50||Brett Hundley GB, 7||QB||22||74.7||99.6|
|51||Sean Mannion STL, 6||QB||23||71.2||99.6|
Do you snag a quarterback early, go ninja and pick your QB last or do you shoot for a middle-tier option? Let us know in the comments.
May variance be in your favor today and every day. Draft well this season.