RotoViz Rankings: The Top 12 Quarterbacks for 2016
Continuing our trip down rankings lane. Up next: a review of the top 12 fantasy football quarterbacks for 2016. These rankings are derived from our staff composite projections, which can be found here.
1) Aaron Rodgers – 374.1 Total Points / 23.4 Points per Game
The RotoViz Projection Bros forecast a return to form, with over 4500 yards passing, 33 TDs, and another 200 yards rushing. Ben Gretch did a detailed analysis of Rodgers 2015 and explained why he should return to form in 2016. Also check out Dave Caban’s Green Bay projections. Our projection is higher than the QB Sim App’s high projection (4-point TD scoring), so we’re all in.
2) Cam Newton – 370.6 / 23.2
Newton has a special place in my memory, as a frequent (high) flier on my 2015 rosters. Unfortunately, he’ll probably take a step back statistically in 2016. But just a tiny dab step to No. 2 in our overall rankings. The QB Sim App agrees, noting a decline in the majority of his comps.
Our forecast: about 3800 yards passing but just 27 TDs, with another 560 yards and six TDs rushing.
3) Russell Wilson – 366.1 / 22.9
Goodness gracious. Wilson was hot fire last season, and now gets a more seasoned Tyler Lockett to go along with his returning weapons. Adding in pass catching back CJ Prosise also doesn’t suck. He earns a projection eerily similar to Newton’s: 3945 yards, 26 TDs, with 534 yards and five TDs on the ground. Their QB Sim Scores and N+1 comps are also eerily similar. Both cost too much for my tastes in redraft, but I prefer Wilson in dynasty where his ADP (44th overall) is much more palatable than Newton’s (28th).
4) Andrew Luck – 360.2 / 22.5
Assuming good health, few other QBs have the combination of likely passing volume and quality receivers. Justin Winn thinks Luck is a bargain. Meanwhile, Mr. Contrarian Shawn Siegele thinks you should sell sell sell. Supporting that notion is the QB Sim App, where the high projection comes in below our composite. Put it all in the blender (along with the rest of the staff’s projections) and out comes a forecast for roughly 4700 yards and 30 TDs, with a couple hundred rushing yards thrown in.
5) Drew Brees – 351.9 / 22.0
Remember when I said few QBs have Luck’s combination of volume and quality receivers? Okay, Drew Brees is one of the few. His virtually identical projection is available a round later than Luck’s as well. Brees offers a higher floor too. In fact, only Carson Palmer gets a better floor projection. And Brees N+1 comps are as favorable as Newton’s and Wilson’s. We’ve earmarked him for 4950 passing yards and 31 TDs, so another 5000 yard season – and No. 1 overall finish – are possible.
6) Tom Brady – 348.1 / 21.8
Much like Justin Winn did with Le’Veon Bell, I’ll have to make some allowances for our projections here. Our projection machine generates seasonal stats, so compensating for a four-game suspension is a challenge. So focus more on the per-game projection, which is in line with the QB Sim Apps expectations. If you can weather the suspension, Brady’s affordable. But how long will his fantasy relevance last?
7) Eli Manning – 341.2 / 21.3
Jason Laso explains why the Giants offense can be Eli-te in 2016. Not to be outdone, Joshua Lake explains why Manning is a great MFL10 target. We’ve come up with a 4700 yard, 32 TD projection. The QB Sim App however, sounds a note of caution, giving Manning the lowest ceiling projection thus far.
8) Blake Bortles – 336.8 / 21.1
Before you get too surprised at this ranking, remember it actually represents a decline from last year, when Bortles was fantasy’s No. 3 QB. He’s certainly a candidate for regression, and we’ve only got him pegged for the 13th most pass attempts. But he still represents a good value, and his weapons return intact, including a healthier Julius Thomas, which leads us to a 4250 yard, 29 TD prediction.
9) Ben Roethlisberger – 330.2 / 20.6
Roethlisberger looks a little over drafted right now, going off the board as the sixth QB but coming in ninth in our projections. Ladarius Green has yet to practice, and both Le’Veon Bell (four games) and Martavis Bryant (season) are missing. And even though he was banged up for part of last year, his N+1 comps don’t suggest much chance of improvement.
Roethlisberger was QB9 last season on a per-game basis, and that’s probably fair for this year too. Prediction: 4740 yards, 29 TDs.
10) Tyrod Taylor – 322.2 / 20.1
Taylor was a player I’ve liked as a buy low target for a long time. Count Brian Malone in too. Oh and you can get him in the 13th round. High efficiency offsets Buffalo’s run-heavy nature. Of course Taylor benefits there too, as we see 475 yards rushing and five TDs in his future, along with 3600 yards and 21 passing TDs. He was QB16 on a per-game basis last year, so we’re forecasting a sizable step up. Coordinator Greg Roman oversaw Colin Kaepernick’s QB12 and QB16 seasons back in 2013 and 2014. So a QB1 season is certainly possible.
11) Matthew Stafford – 318.8 / 19.9
Stafford’s had an erratic career, and projecting 2016, with all the new weapons and a new coordinator, is a challenge. We’ve given it our best shot though, and see a serviceable QB1 campaign. Stafford still has something to offer. We think that something is 4425 yards and 27 TDs.
12) Andy Dalton – 318.2 / 19.9
Dalton was having a terrific 2015 before going down with an injury. But Justin Winn ran the numbers and still sees a QB1 season. Matt Wispe even gives him a chance to be this year’s Carson Palmer. Fittingly, he’s also the cheapest QB1 signal caller in current ADP. A 4170 yard, 28 TD campaign is our bottom line.
You may have noticed that there’s not a lot of spread in our projections. Just 3.5 points between our top-ranked and 12th-ranked QBs. There will of course be surprise over- (and under-) performances during the season, but saying who those will be is a tricky task. With so little to differentiate in terms of projected per-game scoring, it’s easy to see why “Late Round QB” is a popular and successful strategy.
If forced to pick an “early QB” however, I’d take Drew Brees. Of the first six QBs by ADP, Brees seems to have the best combination of cost, weapons, volume, and history.
If I’m going late-round QB (aren’t we all?), Tyrod Taylor is still my favorite target. He’s not quite as cheap as Dalton, but he offers more with his legs, which should give him a better floor.