2017 Quarterback Big Board: Kickoff Edition

2017 Quarterback Big Board: Kickoff Edition

*Featured image artwork by Dave Chow – 248-613-0566 – www.davechowillustrations.com


The 2017 NFL season is upon us and I could not be more excited to see some real game action and how the quarterback landscape will unfold. Most of us have already drafted, and have some idea of which quarterbacks will lead our virtual teams to glory. Below you will find my tiered rankings big board of the quarterback position that will be updated throughout the season in order to give owners a sense of what direction their QB may be headed. Hopefully, you will also be able to use my tiered rankings when it comes to evaluating trades at the position.

Expect quarterbacks to move up and down the board as rookie QB battles develop further in places like Chicago, Cleveland, and Houston, or as veteran signal-callers begin to falter or establish themselves as elite fantasy options.

To develop these rankings, I considered recent statistical outcomes, team personnel changes, and overall team outlook. As a result, there were no minimum or maximum limits for how many QBs could reside in any one tier. Because this was a pretty subjective process, I want to take a moment to remind everyone of the many tools available on TwoQBs.com to help you develop your own rankings and analysis as needed.

Good luck in your leagues and be sure to check back in for updates to these quarterback tiers throughout the season.

2017 Quarterback Big Board – Week 1, 2017

TierPlayerTeamComments
Elite QB1Tom BradyNEDespite serving a four game suspension in 2016, Brady still managed to rank 3rd in QB points per game (21.5). With arguably the best supporting cast of his storied career, which includes a healthy Rob Gronkowski, Brady’s production could look very similar to his 2011 season where he posted 5,235 yards, 39 TDs and a 6.4% TD rate. Of course the loss of Julian Edelman for the season will hurt in many regards, but if there was ever a quarterback to overcome such a setback it's Brady.
Elite QB1Aaron RodgersGBAaron Rodger IS the Packer offense. In a season which a converted WR, Ty Montgomery, became the team's lead back, the Rodgers-helmed offense resembled the equivalent of a high-octane backyard football team. Rodgers may not hit career highs in rushing attempts (67) and yards (369), but he'll undoubtedly eclipse 4,000 yards and 35 TDs in 2017.
Elite QB1Drew BreesNOMuch like his counterpart in Green Bay, Drew Brees is the catalyst for all things offense in New Orleans. While the running back makeover that took place this off season may eat into Brees' pass output, he still stands a very good shot to repeat as the league's passing attempts leader. The addition of Ted Ginn to fill the void left by Brandin Cooks isn't expected to impact Brees too much. That may sound crazy to some, but when you consider that Brees has finished as the league's QB6 or better every year since 2005 it's clear that nothing can stop him.
Elite QB1Russell WilsonSEAIf you haven't come around to Russell Wilson being an elite QB then expect free drinks from your league-mates this season for passing him up as a top-flight QB in your 2QB leagues. A career-low 3.8% TD rate barely kept him out of the top-10 for QBs last season, so bank on him residing in the top-5 as he did in 2015 and 2014.
High-end QB1Andrew LuckINDAndrew Luck's Week 1 availability is currently in question but that alone shouldn't scare you off for 2017. Even if he mises two or three games to start the season, Luck can still be considered a high-end QB1 in our format. In 2016 he missed two games and still finished as fantasy's QB4.
High-end QB1Kirk CousinsWASFor whatever reason, the Washington football club seems completely uninterested in signing Kirk Cousin to a long-term deal. But this doesn't mean we can't love him. Captain Kirk will be surrounded by a mix of new and familiar faces this year, including Terrelle Pryor, adding size at a WR position that lacked it from the departed Pierre Garcon and DeSean Jackson. Cousins improved in areas like adjusted yards per attempt and total passing yardage from 2015 to 2016, but will look to restore his TD percentage to 2015 form compared to the 4.1% TD rate from last season.
High-end QB1Matt RyanATLMatt Ryan is the regression candidate everyone is talking about. Of course, this stance is warranted given that he achieved career highs in areas like yardage, TDs, completion percentage and adjusted yards per attempt - and it wasn't even close compared to previous seasons. I'm willing to accept the inevitable regression, however, I think that the offensive personnel surrounding Ryan is too strong and familiar for the built-in regression to drastically hurt his 2017 outlook too much. Expect a drop in production, but don't be afraid to lean on Ryan as your QB1.
Solid QB1Matthew StaffordDETIt's easy to forget that Matthew Stafford finished as the QB7 last year. In his first year without Calvin Johnson by his side, Stafford proved to be just as effective with a WR group lacking a true star. With upgrades to the offensive line and running game, by way of Ameer Abdullah's return, and more support from the slow-emerging Eric Ebron all point to Stafford having yet another quiet QB1-type season.
Solid QB1Derek CarrOAKDerek Carr's fantasy production has steadily climbed each of the last two seasons, since his rookie year in 2014. Heading into 2017, Carr's ceiling is the highest it's been in his short career. To cash in, he'll need to post interception and sack percentages similar to what he did in 2016, while attempting to diversify his red zone scoring by finding more of Amari Cooper and the newly acquired Jared Cook.
High-end QB2Ben RoethlisbergerPITBig Ben missed two games due to injury in 2016, adding the speculation of how much more time he has left as a starting quarterback in the NFL. While the laundry list of injuries and six missed starts, over the past two seasons, is alarming it's hard not to be tempted by weapons around him in addition to a looming reinstatement for WR Martavis Bryant. Additionally, Roethlisberger flirted with career highs in passing TDs and TD percentage, while missing those two starts. Big Ben may not be exactly what you're looking for in a QB1, but the potential is there. He will, however, be a great QB2 for owners that may come cheap depending on league size.
High-end QB2Tyrod TaylorBUFWith the trade of Sammy Watkins to the LA Rams, it's easy to want to bury Taylor in your rankings, but let's not forget that he was 2016's QB9 while not having Watkins for eight games. The return of Watkins to the Bills lineup was my insurance against any built-in regression Taylor was carrying into 2017. The addition of Jordan Matthews has the potential to nullify some of that regression as well. Taylor's rushing ability, as well as the team's overall run game, will once again propel him to top-10 territory for the upcoming season.
High-end QB2Andy DaltonCINFor as much as we hear about Matt Ryan's upcoming negative regression, we should hear just as much about the positive regression on its way for Andy Dalton. When the Bengals added Joe Mixon and John Ross it felt like Dalton had been placed on a whole new team. And with the, hopefully fully healthy, return of AJ Green and Tyler Eifert, Dalton is primed as anyone to make fantasy hay.
High-end QB2Marcus MariotaTENFor the already run-first Titans, surrounding Mariota with a deep receiving corp was music to fantasy owners ears. The rookie duo of Corey Davis and Taywan Taylor will grab the summer headlines, and hopefully be long-term options to Mariota, but Mariota's owners will be making their money from veterans like Eric Decker and Rishard Matthews. A strong TE and RB cast only add to Mariota's value, so don't be surprised if he overcomes the team's run-first approached and cracks the top-10 this year.
High-end QB2Jameis WinstonTBThe additions of DeSean Jackson and rookie tight end O.J. Howard will undoubtedly add to Jameis' value and help address some offensive efficiency issues. Winston will look to improve on his 20th-ranked, 16 points per game from 2017 despite having attempted the 11th-most passes. It will be worth keeping an eye on Winston's efficiency to see what kind of QB he could be moving forward, but for now I expect him to aid owners as a high-end QB2.
High-end QB2Philip RiversLACPhilip Rivers has been the picture of consistency for fantasy quarterbacks. He lives, perennially, in the QB12 range, and has started 16 games every year since 2005. Rivers has also thrown at least 25 TDs every year since 2008. The return of Keenan Allen and another year with red zone-monster Hunter Henry has me excited for Rivers' 2017 season.
High-end QB2Cam NewtonCARCam has positive regression written all over his upcoming season. He followed up his QB1 2015 campaign with a, by comparison, disastrous 2016. In fact, this has been Cam's m.o. in recent years. Skill position additions by way of Christian McCaffrey and Curtis Samuel are sure to provide support to both Cam and the Carolina offense as a whole. The athletic ability of a QB like Newton will be better served by McCaffrey and Samuel, who both have the ability to play as RB and slot WRs. A dynamic Panthers offense means a more dynamic Cam Newton in 2017.
Solid QB2Dak PrescottDALA regression candidate in the making, Prescott's fantasy production will likely be boosted for the majority of the fantasy season due to the suspension of teammate Zeke Elliott. Dak's rushing efficiency was a key factor in his success last year, as he rushed for the most TDs of any other quarterback despite being eighth in QB rushing. On the passing end, Dak only ranked 23rd in pass attempts but still managed a QB6 finish in 2017, with a very respectable 17.9 PPG. Zeke's suspension remains a wild card for Dak's 2017 production, but I think it's more than safe to assume a more efficient QB2-level production is on its way.
Solid QB2Carson PalmerARICarson Palmer's plummet from QB5, in 2015, to QB19 last year can best be described as head scratching. Much like fellow signal-caller Cam Newton, Palmer doesn't have much choice but to go up. He has the talent around him, and track record, to suggest that last year's campaign was a mirage. Palmer is a great buy-low prospect who should net you QB2-level production by season's end. A questionable wide receiving corps will be his biggest hurdle and should be monitored as the season progresses.
Solid QB2Eli ManningNYGIt's still unclear when the Giants will try to implement an NFL-level rushing attack. And until that happens, it's good news for fantasy owners with Eli Manning shares. Brandon Marshall's added presence should give Eli the bigger body he needs to help boost his TD and TD percentage back to 2014/15 levels. Rookie TE Evan Engram and slot slot specialist Sterling Shepard will loom large in Eli's fantasy outlook, providing the supplementary support that backs most strong fantasy QB seasons. Until a run game begins eating into Eli's production, he's a safe bet to be a reliable QB2.
Solid QB2Sam BradfordMINLike Eli Manning, a potentially weaker running game/O-line could pay off for Sam Bradford in the fantasy department. Coming off a 2016 season in which Bradford reached career highs in nearly every passing category, it's quite easy to once again pencil him in for similar output in 2017. He'll be a late-round darling in most redraft formats but should be taken with confidence when the time comes.
Solid QB2Carson WentzPHIMany may have missed it, but last year Carson Wentz starred in a one-man, 16-week drama called, "A Tale of Two Seasons." Following a nice five or six game start to his rookie season, Wentz and his eagles sputtered out and the rookie finished as an unassuming QB24. The brightside? Volume. Whether by game script or trust from the Eagles coaching staff, Wentz had the fifth-most pass attempts last year at 607. Alshon Jeffery's arrival and continued passing volume is the key to Carson Wentz being more than just the co-chair to your 2QB team. He'll come cheap in drafts but should carry a higher ceiling than most of the other quarterbacks taken near his ADP.
Solid QB2Jay CutlerMIAMemes and Twitter reactions aside, the Dolphins signing of Jay Cutler is good news for savvy fantasy owners. Cutler and Dolphins head coach, Adam Gase, have a history together, and Cutler's familiarity with Gase's offense has him in a good position to start the season despite the late signing. Under Gase's offense, in 2015, Cutler didn't exactly set the world on fire, but he was missing Alshon Jeffery for a large portion of the season as he still managed a respectable fantasy season. With the Dolphins' strong run game, and a nice receiving staff, Cutler should feel right at home and finish the season as a reliable fantasy QB.
Low-end QB2Joe FlaccoBALWhile some people out there in football land like to proclaim Joe Flacco is #elite, reality begs to differ. Even in the fantasy football world, where sputtering on-field talent can still equate to nice fantasy production, Flacco has yet to find a home outside of the second tier. Flacco isn't much more than a value pick in single-QB leagues, but can provide, at times, respectable QB2 output for Superflex leagues. Potential owners are better off passing on Joe in favor of QBs with similar ADP like Sam Bradford or Alex Smith, even it means you have to "reach" for them.
Low-end QB2Blake BortlesJAXBelieve it or not, Blake Bortles was a top-10 quarterback last fantasy season. Even crazier, he was a top-10 finisher in 2015 as well. Bortles is the perfect example of how fantasy football is a game about a game and how the real, on-field efficiency and quality of work can sometimes have very little value to us in fantasy football. And yet, even knowing this, I cannot see Bortles as more than a meddling QB2. With Chad Henne, of all people, looking over his shoulder, I think it's best to fade Bortles until you have no choice.
Low-end QB2Jared GoffLARWhile fellow rookie quarterbacks Dak Prescott and Carson Wentz had great and promising rookie seasons, respectively, Jared Goff, sadly, did not. On his seven starts, Goff scored 7.6 points per game and posted a 5:7 TD to INT ratio. I hope the additions of Sammy Watkins and Cooper Kupp can do something for Goff in 2017, but I'm not holding my breath given how bad he was.
Low-end QB2Brian HoyerSFOMost of Hoyer's 2017 value is likely to come from his expected passing volume due to negative game script. Additionally, the 49ers are clearly in the midst of a re-build, which could mean a short leash for Hoyer in order to give Rookie C.J. Beathard or Matt Barkley a chance to catch lightning in a bottle.
Low-end QB2Deshaun WatsonHOUDeshaun Watson offers considerably more athleticism than current Houston starter Tom Savage, and presumably a higher ceiling if/when given the chance to take the reigns for the Texans. Until then, I'm not counting on Watson for much of anything outside of a deep-league stash of FAAB target when the time feels right.
Low-end QB2Tom SavageHOUTom Savage is Houston's current starter and represents the complete opposite QB style as Deshaun Watson. Time will tell what we can really expect from Savage (he made just three starts in 2016) but he may also lose his job to Watson before the book can truly be written. Last year's sample size didn't blow me away and I'm not a fan of the QB situation in Houston so I'm staying away from Savage.
Low-end QB2DeShone KizerCLEDeShone Kizer edged out the incumbent Cody Kessler, for the right to be the opening day starter for the Browns. Of the rookie QBs this season, I'm the most excited for Kizer. Expectations seem to be manageable in Cleveland, which could mean a bit of a longer leash for Kizer while he works through the normal rookie growing pains. I'm not likely to pass on any veterans in order to get Kizer to fill out my QB corps, but he would certainly be my No. 1 rookie pick at the position.
Low-end QB2Trevor SiemianDENAfter outlasting Paxton Lynch in Denver's offseason QB battle, Siemian will need to do produce in order to work his way up the fantasy ranks. Siemian may lack Lynch's flash and athleticism but he has an opportunity to build on his 14 starts from 2016 and, in fantasy football, opportunity is half the battle.
Low-end QB2Mitch TrubiskyCHISimilar to Deshaun Watson, it seems to be more a matter of when, not if, we see Mitch Trubisky take over the starting quarterback gig for the Bears. Chicago paid up in order to move up in the draft and get their guy, so it's likely they'll want to see him out there as soon as it makes sense for the team.
Low-end QB2Mike GlennonCHIChicago seems to feel the burden of the $45 million dollar deal they inked Mike Glennon to earlier this offseason, because there doesn't seem to be many other reasons for them to be holding off on starting Trubisky. Glennon has failed to wow in the handful of starts throughout his career and his signing seems to be more a reflection of today's quarterback landscape and less about his on-field talent.
Low-end QB2Josh McCownNYJWith no better options magically materializing for the Jets, Josh McCown is poised to be the team's QB1 for 2017. Long gone are the days of 2013 Chicago Bears era Josh McCown, where he managed impressive numbers during a five-game stint while filling in for an injured Jay Cutler. McCown is clearly playing a filler role for the Jets until they can settle on their QB of the future. There's not much anyone should expect from McCown outside of emergency or bye week usage.

Anthony Spangler

Anthony Spangler is a fantasy football veteran of eight years, but is new to the 2QB world. Season-long and DFS are both in play for Anthony, and his long-winded text messages to fellow league members is what sparked his interest in writing about fantasy football. In addition to his work for TwoQBs, Anthony is the founding editor of the literary and visual arts site, It Must Be Heartbreaking. You can follow him on Twitter at @AnthonySpang


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