2018 QB Rankings

While you often see rankings in a numerical list, I prefer to rank players in tiers so you can see where the real gaps in rankings are.  The goal of your draft is to get the last player remaining in a tier, providing you with the best value for your pick.   This ranking is just for quarterbacks, future rankings for RB, WR, and TE will be coming out in the next couple of weeks.

Rankings assume a scoring of 25 yards passing = 1 point, Passing TD = 4 points, Rushing TD = 6 points, 10 yards rushing = 1 points, Interception = -1.

What I’m Doing

Unless it’s a 2QB or Superflex league, I will be waiting until round 8 or later to draft my QB.  My goal is to get multiple QBs in Tier 3 that have schedules that allow me to mix and match depending on the match up.  My favorite combinations so far are Roethlisberger/Maholmes and Stafford/Trubisky.

Tier 1

1 – Aaron Rodgers

The best fantasy QB over the past 5 years and still in his prime, easy #1 choice even with losing Jordy Nelson.

Schedule Strength – Very Hard

2 – Russell Wilson

The #1 Fantasy QB last year loses Jimmy Graham and will see his TD numbers fall as the Seahawks learn to run the ball with some level of competence.   The good news is his defense is going to get worse, so expect to see his yards and attempts rise.

Schedule Strength – Average

3 – Tom Brady

A bad defense is good for your QB and the Patriots defense is expected to struggle again this year.  He may not lead the league in attempts again in 2018, but he’ll be close.  Brady is always a risk due to his age, but his year over year consistency can’t be questioned.

Schedule Strength – Hard

Tier 2

4 – Cam Newton

Cam already has #1 QB finishes on his resume’ and was the #2 overall QB last year.  His rushing success provides a nice floor, and the addition of DJ Moore won’t hurt.

Schedule Strength – Average

5 – Deshaun Watson

Last year’s #1 overall in points per game by 3 points!  Watson put up numbers we’ve never seen before, let alone for a rookie.  Still, the TD rate is unsustainable and he is behind one of the league’s worst o-lines.  Tons of upside, but probably going to soon in drafts.

Schedule Strength – Very Easy

6 – Drew Brees

Brees had his worst fantasy scoring year in a long time in 2017, finishing 14th in points per game amongst QBs.  With the best O-line in football and an emerging defense the attempts just weren’t there like they used to be.  He’ll bounce back, but he is no longer the top 5 lock he used to be.

Schedule Strength – Average

7 – Carson Wentz

Wentz would be higher on this list if it wasn’t for the ACL injury being a risk.  It’s possible he misses the first couple of games or even has a setback.  Additionally, Wentz is a classic regression candidate, he can’t keep up a TD rate higher than 7%.

Schedule Strength – Very Easy

Tier 3

8 – Ben Roethlisberger

Big Ben is becoming a notoriously slow starter, but it’s hard to argue with his end of season results.  With Antonio Brown, Le’Veon Bell, and Juju Smith Schuster it’s hard to imagine a scenario where Ben doesn’t produce points.  The downside with Roethlisberger is his injury risk, typically he does not play 16 games a year and he’s only getting older.

Schedule Strength – Very Hard

9 – Matthew Stafford

Stafford is consistent, but doesn’t typically offer the weekly upside of a #1 QB.  The good news is Stafford is throwing downfield at a much higher percentage than ever before in his career, and with Kenny Golladay getting some more snaps we may see more long touchdowns.  Unfortunately, Stafford is facing one of the hardest schedules for QB’s next year (#28).

Schedule Strength – Very Hard

10 – Jimmy Garoppolo

Take Jimmy G’s 5 game sample size with the 49ers last year and prorate it for the season and you have the league leader in passing yards.   The question is can he throw for TDs?  Kyle Shanahan offenses traditionally get a ton of yards but often run in the red zone.  Another hurdle for Jimmy G, the 49ers receiving corps is one of the worst in the league.

Schedule Strength – Hard

11 – Andrew Luck

Luck is throwing with no pain in his surgically repaired shoulder which is exactly what we needed to hear.  Taking a couple years off from throwing may leave him a little rusty, and we will have to watch closely to see if his arm strength has returned in full.  A lot of questions here, but tons of upside. For where he is going in drafts I won’t be getting him but I don’t blame you for taking a shot.

Schedule Strength – Easy

12 – Patrick Mahomes

Mahomes may have the biggest arm in the NFL and a Top 5 receiving corps.  He looked the part in week 17 last year playing with the second string against a top tier Denver defense.  While there is some risk with him having started only 1 game in his career and having the NFL’s toughest schedule for QBs, I’m buying the hype and drafting Mahomes all over the place.

Schedule Strength – Very Hard

13 – Philip Rivers

Rivers has been the opposite of Big Ben, starting hot and fading as the season progresses.  He has been cursed by injuries and that is not changing this year with Hunter Henry already out for the season.  Last year he was 2nd in the league in pass attempts, expect that to drop as the run game improves with a healthy O-Line and the defense is starting to look like one of the best in the league.

Schedule Strength – Average

14 – Matt Ryan

It’s Ryan’s second year under offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian and everyone is expecting a bounce back year.  Ryan’s TD rate in 2017 was well below his average, if it can increase back to his normal rate you have a top 12 QB.

Schedule Strength – Average

15 – Alex Smith

Smith should probably be higher on this list, he finished as the #5 QB last year and threw one of the most efficient deep balls.  On top of that, he gets some points running which provides a nice weekly floor.  He’s getting a downgrade in weapons going from the Chiefs to the Redskins, but Jay Gruden always has his QB throwing.  Smith a nice safe pick in the late rounds of drafts.

Schedule Strength – Very Easy

16 – Jared Goff

Goff is one of the more overrated QBs coming out of last year.  He was very efficient with his TD rate given his number of yards and attempts.  The Rams have made some offseason moves to make their defense one of the best in the league which could limit his attempts even further, if his efficiency drops you could see his numbers collapse.

Schedule Strength – Hard

17 – Marcus Mariota

Mariota is coming off a brutal year as QB19 even with good rushing numbers.   New offensive coordinator Matt LaFleur is coming in to bring some innovation to the offense, and hopefully some more passing TDs.  Mariota is the classic regression candidate after he had multiple very efficient seasons followed by last year’s dud.  Expect him to out-perform his ADP, but his ceiling is not very high.

Schedule Strength – Average

Tier 4

18 – Mitch Trubisky

This year’s Jared Goff?  Maybe.  Matt Nagy’s offense is going to be an improvement for the Bears and adding weapons like Allen Robinson, Trey Burton, and Anthony Miller can only help, but there is still a lot of risk drafting a QB who has never done it before.

Schedule Strength – Very Easy

19 – Dak Prescott

Dak has the worst receiving core in the league and a coaching staff that only wants to run the ball.  On top of that they don’t run many plays per game, reducing his potential even more.  Dak’s saving grace is his ability to run, but that is all he has going for him this year.

Schedule Strength – Easy

20 – Blake Bortles

Finished last year very strong, but the defense should limit his opportunities and the coaches want to feed Fournette.  He’s just not a very good quarterback.

Schedule Strength – Very Easy

21 – Eli Manning

With Beckham, Engram, Barkley all being drafted early, either one them is going to disappoint or Manning has some serious value.  The Giants O-Line improvements are for real with Nate Solder holding down the LT spot.  Manning has some upside if he has anything left in the tank.

Schedule Strength – Easy

22 – Ryan Tannehill

Only relevant in superflex or 2QB leagues, expect the Dolphins to struggle on offense again this year.

Schedule Strength – Easy

23 – Andy Dalton

The O-Line improvements are overrated, but we should still see some improvement over last year.  The Bengals had the least offensive snaps of any team in the league in 2017, if we see improvement it’ll bel because they manage to stay on the field and pick up the pace.

Schedule Strength – Average

24 – Derek Carr

2017 was a very disappointing year for Carr who should bounce back to some degree in 2018.  Cooper needs to be better for Carr to return to form, but the real risk on this team is the coaching staff.  No one knows what to expect from Jon Gruden, but based on the offseason moves, it doesn’t look good.

Schedule Strength – Very Hard

25 – Case Keenum

Denver’s WR core is either to old (DT, Sanders) or to inexperienced (Sutton, Hamilton).  Keenum is just above replacement level at QB, but he will be better than what they had in Denver last year.  This is a team that leans on its defense to win games, don’t expect much from Keenum.

Schedule Strength – Easy

26 – Jameis Winston

The 3 game suspension makes Winston undraftable in single QB leagues.  Even so, keep an eye out for him on your waiver wire.  Winston was hurt last year, but if you look at his healthy games and span them over the entire season, you have the league leader in yards.

Schedule Strength – Average

27 – Lamar Jackson

Lamar Jackson is the best rushing QB since Michael Vick, 10 yards a point for rushing can’t be overlooked.  If Jackson gets a chance this year, he could be Deshaun Watson 2.0.

Schedule Strength – Average

28 – Tyrod Taylor

Not sure how many games he starts, but the weapons are for real.  The defense should still be bad giving Tyrod plenty of opportunities to throw to Josh Gordon, Jarvis Landry, David Njoku, and Duke Johnson.  If your buying Gordon as a 3rd rounder, then you should be buying Tyrod as well.  The risk is Tyrod has never been asked to throw the ball at a high clip before, will they trust him to in Cleveland?

Schedule Strength – Hard

 

Written by Patrick Murphy

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