7.17 – 2015 QB Ranks and Tiers (Pre- Pre-season)

I have a metric shit-ton of free time while proctoring tests or waiting for public transit, so what I do? Ranks of course! I had to do these by hand either because I didn’t have my laptop with me or didn’t want to be typing while people were testing. I just listed all the teams (shout out to sporcle!) and listed the QB (and WRs, RBs, and TE in other lists) and then made my rankings off those. So here is my updated QB Rankings/Tiers!

I recently heard a great point on ranking QBs and how it changes with your league’s scoring settings. It basically comes down to how much are Pass TDs worth. If each pass TD = 6 pts, than pocket passers are favored, but if pass TDs are 4pts, than mobile running QB’s (esp ones that score rushing TDs) get a boost. Kind of intuitive, but nice to see in words. I’ll make my rankings based on my league’s settings (pass TD = 4pts).

Some things that go into how I evaluate QBs. First, how good are they. Pretty obvious, but if you’re a shit QB, it doesn’t matter how good your receivers are if you cant get them the ball properly. Conversely, if you’re an elite QB, you can overcome having lesser receiver and even a poor OL. Next is their weapons, do they have elite skill positon players to catch the ball? Then, what is the offense’s goal in context of their team. Is the offense trying to control the ball to cover up a poor defense? Is the offense trying to outscore other teams? With this, what is the QB’s role in the offense? Play conservative to minimize turnovers, or look for those big plays?

Tier 1

  • Andrew Luck
  • Aaron Rodgers

No changes here. These guys are still the best. Luck will still sling the ball, maybe less rush TD with Gore in the mix. Rodgers also may scramble a little less to try and avoid unnecessary injuries. Still, these two could be top picks just off the strengths of their arms alone, their modest rushing stats are just the cherry on top. Once the top RB and WRs are gone around the 2/3 turn, these two are super tempting. Id anticipate Luck going before Rodgers most drafts.

Tier 2

  • Russell Wilson
  • Cam Newton
  • Peyton Manning

A little conflicted on where I want to place Wilson. On one hand, I don’t think the yardage totals he put up last year are repeatable and I think the rush TDs go down with the addition of Graham in the red zone. On the other hand, I think Graham helps Wilson’s passing numbers. A smaller concern is his contract situation. Im not sure how willing a runner Wilson will be when he’s playing for his next contract, though he is pretty good at protecting himself when he does run (unlike RG3). Still, his ability to extend plays and the constant threat of his legs makes him very appealing.

Cam gets a huge boost from my last rankings. Again, now fully-healthy, I think we see the Cam of old and a return to top-5 QB fantasy production. While not the best passer in the league, this receiving corp is arguably the best one he has ever worked with. The production of a QB2 and a RB2 wrapped up into one player is mighty tempting. I don’t expect the rules change of moving the extra point back a couple yards to affect anyone significantly, but if any one were to benefit, it would be Cam, especially with Riverboat Ron making the call to go for 2 or not. Criminally underrated in the ESPN mock drafts Ive been doing, Im reading to jump all over Cam this year.

Part of me would rather be out of Peyton a year early than a year late, but it’s hard to rank him any lower than here. I think a lot of people, myself included, have come to understand that you can (and maybe should) wait on QB these days in drafts. With a possible shift to a more balanced offense, tenuous situation with DT, and the injury to Clady (tho he was injured when Peyton had that monster season 2 years ago) lots of uncertainty surrounding Peyton. Many people also seem to be turned off by Peyton’s poor end to the season last year where his production really fell off and as a result Ive been seeing Peyton really fall in drafts. I don’t think he’s worth the price of like a 3-4th rounder, but if he starts falling to round 5-6, it’s really hard to pass on him at that price.

Tier 3

  • Matt Ryan
  • Drew Brees

I don’t know why Ive always been a huge fan of Matt Ryan, but it always seems like I like him a lot more than others do. He’s a good QB for sure, but not sure if he is up there with the elite ones (Peyton, Brees, Brady of old; Rodgers and Luck more recently). He is a pretty solid lock for top-10 QB status however. Im really high on him and Julio this year. Roddy, Im sadly down on, even with the departure of Douglas; just too many signs of decline in recent years. Hopefully Coleman brings some more balance to the offense and the OL improves (not too hard from last year’s dumpster fire) enough to make Ryan’s life a little easier. Compared to the other QBs around here, Ryan can be had a little later in drafts at nice value.

I think the days of Brees putting up 5000 yds/40+ TDs are gone. NO has lost too many receiving weapons this offseason, and unless you expect Cooks to rack up 2000 yds, the projected projections just don’t seem to add up. NO also seems to be investing in their running game, with additions to the OL and signing Ingram. Brees has made lesser receivers relevant before, buts it’s yet to be seen if he can make it happen again at age 36. Brees strikes me as a relatively safe “floor” option, but Im not sure we will see those huge 25+ pt fantasy games much more. As the 5th QB off the board, Im not sure there’s enough between him and the #6-10 QBs to get much value.

Tier 4

  • Philip Rivers
  • Ben Roethlisberger
  • Tom Brady

Brady’s rank is based on the number of games he is supposed to miss. If his suspension is reduced, I’d move him up I guess… Ive never been that much of a Brady fan since he always seems like a better real-life QB than fantasy QB. As long as he has Gronk, he will be fine. Edelman is also someone I severely underestimated last year, especially in PPR formats. The rest of the WRs are ok, they have their roles in the offense, but the main guys that are gonna feast in this offense will be Gronk and Edelman. I do expect to see his suspension reduced (same amount of games as Hardy??? Really??? Goodell, do you even PV=nRT????)

Ben seems to be a good fit for Todd Haley’s offense and has a great receiving combo in Brown and Bryant. That pretty deep ball and Ben’s ability to extend plays and find receivers down the field lends itself to some big chunks of yards. The PIT defense will probably still be a weakness, meaning the offense and Ben will be relied on to win games for the team. The absence of Leveon Bell in the first three games makes me think Ben might get off to a hot start. Im so used to seeing Ben put up ~16 fantasy pts/game, it’s odd to see him rise up the QB ranks. I wonder how much of an outlier those two huge games he had last year were. I will also say, one nice thing I noticed about Ben and the PIT offense last year was their willingness to chase points. Whether it was throwing in the 4th with a lead to keep Antonio’s receiving streak alive or refusing to just run out the clock in garbage time, this offense seemed perfectly comfortable just yolo-ing down the field.

Rivers is another guy I love this year. The loss of Gates for the first four games hurts a bit, but I think Allen, Floyd, and Johnson are capable of holding down the fort. It’ll be interesting if this is finally the year if Ladarius Green lives up to the hype. Rivers does have a bit of a history of fading down the stretch, I think this is due to his willingness to try and play through injury. Im sure it’s a great morale boost in the locker room, seeing your leader gut it out on the field, but it severely cramps his fantasy production sometimes. Last year, his offensive line was ass (what were they using, their 3rd center? 4th?) and yet Rivers was able to overcome it and carry his team to some solid games/wins despite the OL’s poor play leading to his back injury that slowed him down. I would caution not playing Rivers vs defenses that boast strong pass rushers, especially ones that can generate pressure with just their front 4 since the SD OL is very shaky.

Tier 5

  • Eli Manning
  • Ryan Tannehill
  • Tony Romo
  • Matt Stafford

If you waited on QB, this tier and the next tier are full of decent QBs that have the upside for some big games.

Eli fkn Manning. The loss of his LT hurts and the raw Flowers will be thrown immediately into the fire. …but he has Odell. Haha of course there is more to it than that. Odell is obviously elite, but Im not so sure about Randle and Cruz. Ive seen rumblings of Randle as a sleeper this year, Im not buying it. This is probably just me being salty, but after seeing Randle drop so many balls last year, Im not a believer. Also, it kills me to say this, but I don’t expect Cruz to return to form. For a player that relies so much on cutting in small spaces to get open, that kind of injury to his knee doesn’t make me too hopeful for a return to form. If he is able to adapt and adjust his game than it may be a different story. After a disastrous preseason and beginning of the season, Eli did seem to settle into his new offense. The shorter reads seemed to play to Eli’s strengths. The addition of Vareen also gives him a capable receiver out of the backfield and one would guess that he will fit well into McAdoo’s offense. Eli finished strong last season, but still has the rare INT-fest game. The defenses in the NFC East aren’t too intimidating, so the potential for big games is there.

A lot of people are high on Tannehill this year after seeing him finish as the #9 QB last year. The additions of Stills/Cameron/Jennings more than makes up for the departure of Wallace. Miller is also a plenty capable back to bring balance to the offense and the OL is solid, though it was crippled by the loss of Albert. Im still hesitant however. In my opinion, Tannehill just took advantage of the easiest schedule for passers. He definitely did show growth from previous seasons and seems to be trusted more with the keys to the offense. My favorite part of his game is his ability to run, especially on the read-option with Miller. Those runs didn’t turn into many rush TDs for Tannehill, but if Im getting 20-30 rush yds/game from my QB, I’ll take that all day. If you believe Tannehill will keep growing as a passer, you’ll probably love where you can get him in drafts.

Romo is…Romo. You can be pretty sure he’ll finish somewhere outside the top-5 QBs, but probably within the top-12. He was having a nice season up until he got hurt. Im not sure how worried you should be about injuries since that OL will keep him clean most plays, but he is a little on the older side. With Murray gone, maybe the offense becomes a little more balanced. Led by Dez, Romo has a plethora of weapons from the big play TWill, gadget-y Beasley, safe Witten, and big Escobar. I dont think you can really go wrong picking Romo around where he is going.

Oh Stafford, how the mighty have fallen. You cant really count out they guy that gets to throw to Calvin tho. The presence of Tate, an amazing YAC receiver and nice complement to Calvin, as well as the hopeful development of Ebron provide some optimism for Stafford. I think Bell and Abdullah share the backfield, while providing slightly different skill sets. If there is a 2-year bounceback candidate, I think Stafford would be my pick. His spoiled brat attitude aside, he’s still got a cannon for an arm and decision making is something that can be fixed.

Tier 6

  • Carson Palmer
  • Teddy Bridgewater
  • Colin Kaepernik
  • Joe Flacco

Old man Palmer. In reality, he is younger than Brady/Brees/Peyton, but he seems so much older. Id love to rank the grandpa higher. The games that he did play, he was pretty good in. With a trio of Fitz/Floyd/Brown and Arians calling the shots, Palmer was in a great situation before getting hurt. That’s really the major knock on Carson, injury. Two ACL tears later, you really wonder how much of that is bad luck and how much is just a propensity for knee injuries. I think Palmer is a great pick if you’ve loaded up on RB/WR and are looking for a late-round QB. Palmer can fill that position nicely, while not costing you much on draft day making streaming the position if (when? Knock on wood…) he gets hurt a viable strategy.

Teddy is another popular sleeper. This is the guy that had a #1-pick grade at one point that fell to the end of the first due to concerns about his hand size (???). When given the reigns of the MIN offense, he did seem like a capable commander.  With Wallace in town and Johnson/Wright returning, the receivers aren’t necessarily elite, but they are skilled. Rudolph hopefully can be the red zone monster everyone thought he would be. The biggest addition however is the return of Purple Jesus, Adrian Peterson. This is probably the best offense that AP has found himself on. Always being able to fall back on the age-old strategy of just hand it off to AP should take some of the pressure off Teddy to carry the offense. Im not so sure that Teddy makes the jump to like 3500+yd, 30+ TD production levels, but I do think he is in store for a nice season and continues to grow as a passer.

For Kaepernick, his season is going to come down to his legs. If the new regime lets his stretch them out and run, he’ll be great as he is capable of ripping off chunks of yards with those monsterous strides. If not, Im not sure he’s a good enough passer to make up for the lack of running yards. That’s the main difference I see between Cam and Kaep; the former’s running production is mostly in his TD ability and the latter’s is more about the yardage. Boldin/Torrey are solid receiver’s that complement each other nicely and Ellington/Davis are intriguing. If streaming/waiting on QB is your strategy, Kaep is a great upside pick that could pay huge dividends at an affordable price.

Where you rank Flacco is pretty much a reflection of how much you think the addition of Trestman helps him. You know he’s good for one or two big games a year, but there will also be the duds. Smith is relatively old and slowed down last year, but the young trio of Perriman/Brown/Aiken is intriguing. Im not confident enough in Flacco to take him over the other names in these ranks before him, but Trestman has taken lesser QBs than Flacco and turned them into fantasy starters so color me intrigued to see where this goes.

Tier 7

  • Sam Bradford/Mark Sanchez
  • Jay Cutler
  • Robert Griffin III
  • Alex Smith
  • David Carr
  • Andy Dalton

Pretty unexciting tier. I don’t doubt that the PHL QB will put up great numbers in Chip Kelly’s offense, but knowing who that will be is a real question. If the pre-season reports on Bradford and his knees are good, I would move him up and out of this tier, but as it is now, the whole situation seems pretty risky.

Cutler has great weapons, but cant seem to bring it all together. Could you imagine if like a Peyton Manning was at the helm of an offense with Alshon/White/Bennett/Forte/Royal? I nearly creamed my pants just thinking about it. Maybe new OC Adam Gase can reign in Jay and get him to stop audible-ing at the line and putting the offense in disadvantageous situations. There is the slight risk of CHI completely turning on Jay if the first half of the season goes poorly. I think this chance is very slight considering how much money they have invested in him and the mediocre backups on the roster, but it is something to keep in mind. It hurts me to say all this about my fellow Commodore and Im really rooting for him to have a great season.

RG3…the chosen one…When he came out of college, I thought his ability to throw a football with actual touch was going to separate him from other running QBs. Alas, he relied on his legs and his ignorance/unwillingness to run safely got him hurt. At this point, he’s nothing more than a flier; a prayer for a return to those magical few weeks at the start of his career. The WAS offense isn’t that bad, with a solid runner in Alf, and weapons in Garcon and Jackson, but we’ve seen WAS fuck up too many times to be able to trust them.

This may be the year we learn if the limiting factor in the KC offense was the weapons or if it was Alex Smith. The arrival of Maclin signals a legit #1 WR on the offense and Kelce and Charles return as well. The OL has improved a bit as well. KC does have the look of an offense that has enough weapons such that a defense can’t easily just take one away and cripple the offense, but is also limited such that those offensive threats get a lot of work and produce great numbers. If you draft Smith, I think it’s in the capacity of a bye week filler. He wont win you many, if any, weeks, but he probably wont outright lose you that week with a dud either.

The one thing Im going to be watching out for with Carr is his chemistry with Cooper. As far as Im concerned, Crabtree/Holmes/Streater/Thompkins are replacement level players. As always, you can expect OAK to be in many passing situations, so Carr will definitely get his opportunities. For this season, I’ll probably be passing on him, but I do acknowledge that he has potential for nice upside.

Andy Dalton…meh. This generation’s Alex Smith imo without the slight running chops but a better team around him. At this point, you kind of know what you’re getting with Andy.

Tier 8

  • Jameis Winston
  • Geno Smith/Ryan Fitzpatrick
  • Nick Foles
  • Blake Bortles
  • Marcus Mariota
  • Josh McCown/Johnny Manziel
  • Brian Hoyer/Ryan Mallet

The dumpster tier. There isn’t really an order among these names, but I felt I had to include them on the list somewhere… Unless you’re playing in a 2QB league, I’d imagine these names you’ll find in the FA pool. If you’re desperate, I like Winston/Geno/Bortles most based on the receivers they have to throw to. A lot of the names in their tier play on bad teams so they may have plenty of opportunities to toss the rock. If you want to know how down on the CLE passing game I am, I accidently wrote Luke McCown initially instead of Josh >_>

If you can get any one from tiers 1-4, I think you’re set at QB. If you find yourself with any of the other QBs, I think you need to invest in a backup QB as well.

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One Response to 7.17 – 2015 QB Ranks and Tiers (Pre- Pre-season)

  1. Babu says:

    In what universe is 35 considered “on the older side?” …. though I’m no football expert. Great post! Can’t wait to see your pre-season thoughts.


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