All this week the Washington Post will be rolling out its fantasy football rankings by position, starting Monday with the top 30 QBs. Gene Wang offers his best bets at the position for 2014, while Neil Greenberg expounds upon the best and worst QB values in the Fancy Stats blog.
Top 30 QBs
1. Peyton Manning, Denver Broncos: Temper expectations somewhat for the undisputed No. 1 fantasy quarterback after an NFL-record 55 touchdowns last season. The Broncos may run a bit more with Montee Ball too.
2. Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers: He’s capable of silly numbers when healthy, which presumably will be the case after missing seven games last season. Rodgers also benefits from an upgraded running attack behind Eddie Lacy.
3. Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints: Brees is always a threat for 40-plus touchdowns and 4,500-plus yards, regardless of who’s catching the ball. He threw for 5,162 yards and 39 touchdowns last season.
4. Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions: Having Calvin Johnson on the receiving end automatically elevates his ranking into the top five. Stafford’s 2,024 passes over the last three season are the most in NFL history over any three-year span.
5. Andrew Luck, Indianapolis Colts: The former No. 1 overall pick is poised for perhaps the largest leap in fantasy numbers from 2013 to this season. The addition of Hakeem Nicks may help fortify the passing game even more.
6. Jay Cutler, Chicago Bears: Cutler has plenty of playmakers surrounding him, most notably WRs Bandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery. The only concerns are a need to make better decisions and stay healthy. His arm strength is not in question though.
7. Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers: Sure, he’s lost Steve Smith, but Newton has been able to thrive throughout his career without superstars around him. It’s fair to expect a half dozen rushing touchdowns too.
8. Robert Griffin III, Washington Redskins: Presumably healthy again, Griffin also gets a true game-breaker on the outside in WR DeSean Jackson. Also remember Redskins Coach Jay Gruden did wonders for Andy Dalton in Cincinnati.
9. Nick Foles, Philadelphia Eagles: So long as Jeremy Maclin is back to full health, Foles’s numbers should be line with last season, when he threw 27 touchdowns. Don’t expect another season with just two interceptions though.
10. Colin Kaepernick, San Francisco 49ers: Known as a gifted runner (524 rushing yards, four rushing touchdowns last season), Kaepernick proved he could be successful getting the ball downfield. A healthy Michael Crabtree will help.
11. Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks: The Super Bowl champion’s numbers would be better if the Seahawks weren’t as committed to the run. Wilson’s statistics do figure to get a bump if Percy Harvin is 100 percent.
12. Tom Brady, New England Patriots: If Rob Gronkowski can play an entire season, Brady stands to become a top 10 fantasy quarterback again. Last season he had fewer than 34 touchdowns for first time since 2009.
13. Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons: Most quarterbacks would see a significant drop in statistics if they lost a wide receiver the caliber of Julio Jones. Ryan must adjust again with the retirement of tight end Tony Gonzalez.
14. Tony Romo, Dallas Cowboys: A classic fantasy quarterback with Pro Bowl-level statistics during the regular season but one playoff victory in his career. He has thrown for at least 3,828 yards and 28 touchdowns in each of last three seasons.
15. Philip Rivers, San Diego Chargers: He quietly put up quality numbers last season despite not having a game-breaking wide receiver, although Keenan Allen certainly shows promise. Rivers has thrown at least 26 touchdowns in each of the last five seasons.
16. Andy Dalton, Cincinnati Bengals: Dalton finished fifth in fantasy points last season with 4,296 passing yards and 32 touchdowns. His value takes a minor hit with departure of Gruden, his former offensive coordinator, to the Washington Redskins.
17. Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers: The rise of Le’Veon Bell as reliable running back loosened up defenses for Roethlisberger, who threw for 4,261 yards and 28 touchdowns in 2013.
18. Eli Manning, New York Giants: The Giants are seeking a No. 2 wide receiver to take some pressure off of Victor Cruz. Manning and the Giants are hoping rookie Odell Beckham Jr. can be that guy.
19. Carson Palmer, Arizona Cardinals: Palmer wasn’t shy about throwing deep last season, which in part led to his 24 touchdowns and 4,274 yards. Myriad interceptions (22) prevented even higher totals.
20. Ryan Tannehill, Miami Dolphins: Maybe a full offseason of working with WR Mike Wallace as well as the addition of offensive coordinator Bill Lazor will yield a bump in downfield plays for Tannehill.
21. Joe Flacco, Baltimore Ravens: It’s a good thing Flacco cashed in after winning the Super Bowl two years ago. He had below pedestrian numbers last season with 19 touchdowns and 22 interceptions.
22. Alex Smith, Kansas City Chiefs: There’s really no vertical threat in Kansas City, but Smith managed 3,313 yards and 23 touchdowns thanks in part to check-downs to presumptive No. 1 fantasy pick Jamaal Charles.
23. Sam Bradford, St. Louis Rams: Injuries have held back the No. 1 overall pick in the 2010 draft from reaching his potential. Still, when he was on the field, Bradford put up numbers in line with low-end QB1s.
24. EJ Manuel, Buffalo Bills: The Bills better hope WR Sammy Watkins lives up to the hype. Otherwise it figures to be another long season for the No. 16 pick in the 2013 NFL draft.
25. Jake Locker, Tennessee Titans: Offseason foot surgery, plus a dubious injury history, makes Locker a risky proposition.
26. Ryan Fitzpatrick, Houston Texans: The Harvard graduate has flashed moments of fantasy excellence, including 3,832 yards and 23 touchdowns in 2011.
27. Matt Schaub, Oakland Raiders: He’s nothing more than a bye-week fill-in with virtually no upside, especially in the fantasy wasteland that is Oakland.
28. Geno Smith, New York Jets: Coach Rex Ryan says the Jets are a playoff contender. They surely won’t be if Smith can’t better his awful numbers from last season (12 touchdowns, 21 interceptions).
29. Chad Henne, Jacksonville Jaguars: The Jaguars have said Henne will begin the season as starter. We’ll see how long that lasts.
30. Blake Bortles, Jacksonville Jaguars: No. 3 overall pick has compelling physical tools. It’s just a matter of how soon Jaguars will give him a shot to supplant Henne.