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Regular Season, Updated: 9/6/16

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 Aaron Rodgers, GB (Bye: 4)
Height: 6’2”   Weight: 225   DOB: 1983-12-02   Age: 33
College: California   Draft: 2005 Round 1 (24) 
SeasonTeamGameComp Att Yard TD INTAtt Yard TDFPtsFPts/G
2013GB9193 290 2,536 17 6 30 120 0 206.8 23.0
2014GB16341 520 4,381 38 5 43 269 2 410.0 25.6
2015GB16347 572 3,821 31 8 58 344 1 355.5 22.2
2016 (Projected)GB 353 551 4,297 35 7 64 262 2 393.1  

Outlook: I guess the bar has been set pretty high when 3,800 yards passing and 31 touchdowns is a down season, but that’s life for what has been one of the NFL’s best quarterbacks over the last half dozen seasons. Even though he was able to win a playoff game on the road, and nearly came up with a miracle win over the Cardinals, Rodgers’ play slumped noticeably, enough so that his end of year fantasy rank tumbled out of the top 10. He had only three 300-yard games in 2015 (compared to 9 in 2014) and only three 3-plus touchdown games (yup, 9 of those in 2014 too). So while his season numbers look decent, most of the fantasy season he was an uninspiring starting quarterback, but someone you wouldn’t dare sit. Owners with enough discipline or a deep bench may have had the guts to sit him, especially in the fantasy playoffs when he was particularly dreadful, but most were forced to ride it out.

But enough about 2015, it’s a fresh new year of possibilities, and Rodgers is back hungry and healthy, and again being considered in the top 2 at his position. So what changes in Green Bay bring about such a positive outlook? A few things. The anticipated return of Jordy Nelson, the development of young receivers, and the return of Mike McCarthy to play-calling duties. Lot’s of blame has been placed on the shoulders of Rodgers for last year’s offensive showing, but one must understand the importance of timing and continuity of the Green Bay offense. Nelson went down late in the preseason, the young receivers failed to develop as fast as was required, and the offensive line was a sieve. Randall Cobb couldn’t get open with extra defensive attention, and the play-calling failed to compensate. I anticipate that Green Bay learned a lot from their struggles, and the players and coaching staff are too good to have it happen again. If Nelson even approaches his pre-injury form, and the running game can be a threat, Rodgers should be right back at the top, and a surefire QB1 as one of the first selected.

 Cam Newton, CAR (Bye: 7)
Height: 6’5”   Weight: 244   DOB: 1989-05-11   Age: 28
College: Auburn   Draft: 2011 Round 1 (1) 
SeasonTeamGameComp Att Yard TD INTAtt Yard TDFPtsFPts/G
2013CAR16292 473 3,379 24 13 111 587 6 359.7 22.5
2014CAR14262 448 3,127 18 12 103 539 5 312.3 22.3
2015CAR16296 496 3,837 35 10 132 636 10 455.5 28.5
2016 (Projected)CAR 294 489 3,620 28 11 118 588 7 393.8  

Outlook: Cam Newton’s running abilities as a quarterback have always tantalized the fantasy community; however his arm failed to muster more than pedestrian stats in an era where passing stats have exploded. Last season, Newton and the Panthers were able to find a more efficient balance that paved a way to the Super Bowl. His dynamic approach allowed him to become one of the most consistent and highest producing fantasy players on a weekly basis. Can Newton sustain this new level of production in the passing game? Will his rushing totals decline after posting career best in rushing attempts and touchdowns in 2015? Yes and Yes. The receiving corps is stronger by getting their top man back, but veteran Ted Ginn Jr. also proved he can cut out a complementary role in the offense. The team moved up in the 2015 draft to select Devin Funchess and he looks ready to make a larger contribution with a year under his belt. Additionally, Carolina has one of the best red zone tandems in Kelvin Benjamin and Greg Olsen. Newton will deliver on the ground but it would be wise to factor in some regression when forecasting his 2016 season. The absence of Benjamin likely contributed to the approximately 30 percent increase in Newton’s rushing attempts. Though the upside for double-digit scores on the ground is possible Carolina will have better supporting options available in 2016. Nonetheless, Newton figures to be a force again this season and worthy of anchoring your team on draft day.

 Russell Wilson, SEA (Bye: 5)
Height: 5’11”   Weight: 206   DOB: 1988-11-29   Age: 28
College: Wisconsin   Draft: 2012 Round 3 (12) 
SeasonTeamGameComp Att Yard TD INTAtt Yard TDFPtsFPts/G
2013SEA16257 407 3,357 26 9 96 539 1 331.8 20.7
2014SEA16285 452 3,475 20 7 118 849 6 374.7 23.4
2015SEA16329 483 4,022 34 8 103 554 1 398.5 24.9
2016 (Projected)SEA 324 498 3,885 28 9 110 562 4 386.5  

Outlook: It was the tale of two halves for Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson last season. The young passer was supposed to see a significant upgrade in fantasy value, but few could have predicted what actually happened. Wilson’s perceived top target, new tight end Jimmy Graham, was a huge disappointment prior to suffering a season-ending injury. But Wilson thrived through the adversity, absolutely lighting up the fantasy scoreboard in the second half to the tune of 25 touchdowns and just two interceptions.

Now coming off of his most impressive fantasy season, Wilson is finally being looked at as an elite fantasy option – and he should be. Wilson’s confidence as a passer was off the charts toward the end of 2015 and with Jimmy Graham back, there’s no reason why he shouldn’t be able to continue to put up big time fantasy numbers. His rushing ability is elite but it appears the team or Wilson himself has decided that his long-term health needs to be taken more seriously. His 553 rushing yards in 2015 were still among the league’s best at the position, but are a far cry from the 849 yards and six scores he produced on the ground in 2014.

Replicating his 2015 season might be difficult, but Wilson’s rushing numbers give him a high floor, which is extremely valuable when coupled with his high ceiling. With Marshawn Lynch retired, Seattle will presumably look to Wilson to increase his passing workload in 2016, which gives him the opportunity to be a top-5 fantasy quarterback.

 Andrew Luck, IND (Bye: 10)
Height: 6’4”   Weight: 234   DOB: 1989-09-12   Age: 27
College: Stanford   Draft: 2012 Round 1 (1) 
SeasonTeamGameComp Att Yard TD INTAtt Yard TDFPtsFPts/G
2013IND16345 572 3,830 23 9 63 377 4 345.2 21.6
2014IND16380 616 4,761 40 16 64 263 3 442.4 27.6
2015IND7162 293 1,881 15 12 33 196 0 173.7 24.8
2016 (Projected)IND 368 624 4,368 32 14 54 225 2 380.9  

Outlook: Andrew Luck had a poor fantasy showing in 2015 due to injuries and an underperforming team. Nonetheless, the team is confident he can lead them to a championship and inked him to the largest deal in the history of one of the wealthiest sports on the globe. But the question remains, can Indy’s face of the franchise return to the top of the quarterback rankings in 2016? In a relative down year, Luck’s 24.8 fantasy points per game paced him alongside Russell Wilson and Carson Palmer as a clear cut top ten performer. Those choosing to support a full rebound from Luck this year, will see an offense that isn’t fit to run the ball 30 times a game and quality options in the passing game. The interior line was reinforced when the team used its first round selection on the best center in the draft, Ryan Kelly. Simply put, the Colts will lean heavily on their quarterback’s arm and legs to put points on the board.

On the outside, T.Y. Hilton leads a receiving corps that is young and emerging as one of the most explosive and dangerous in the league. The largest knock on Luck from a fantasy perspective is simply the influx of other talented quarterbacks to provide elite production. The evolution of the passing game within today’s NFL has narrowed the gap between signal callers in the top three and those just outside of the top ten. The talent, scheme and weapons surrounding him give Luck a much higher ceiling than most fourth round draft picks so expect his ADP to rise slightly throughout the preseason.

 Drew Brees, NO (Bye: 5)
Height: 6’0”   Weight: 209   DOB: 1979-01-15   Age: 38
College: Purdue   Draft: 2001 Round 2 (1) 
SeasonTeamGameComp Att Yard TD INTAtt Yard TDFPtsFPts/G
2013NO16446 650 5,162 39 12 34 54 3 437.5 27.3
2014NO16456 659 4,952 33 17 27 68 1 392.4 24.5
2015NO15429 627 4,878 32 10 24 14 1 379.3 25.3
2016 (Projected)NO 410 613 4,655 31 15 14 26 1 365.4  

Outlook: Drew Brees has been one of the most consistent players in the fantasy realm for over a decade, yet there will be ample opportunity to buy him at a reasonable price heading into the 2016 season. On the surface, it is easy to write off the New Orleans veteran quarterback due to his advancing age (37) and three-year decline in total passing touchdowns and yardage. He also failed to finish amongst the top three fantasy QBs for the first time since 2005. Although it is hard to imagine Brees rebounding to elite status at this point in his career his “regression” may be getting overblown. This is not a case where a good quarterback has entered decline, but one where an elite option has seen his numbers fall back towards the pack. He finished 2015 as a top three fantasy quarterback on a points per game basis by throwing for more yards than anyone else while playing one fewer game than his peers. The quarterback position is tougher to navigate in today’s pass-happy NFL. Not only are the gaps between tiers closer, but the number of options within each tier have grown in the past year as well. Fantasy owners who choose to wait and watch the more popular flashy names come off the board will likely find themselves scooping up a boring old top six fantasy option.

Luke McCown is currently slated to open the season holding the clip board for New Orleans. He could become a plug and play option if forced to fill in on a short-term basis. However, the team has been very pleased with the progress of 2015 third rounder Garrett Grayson this off season. Grayson is raw and untested at the NFL level but will be given every opportunity to overtake McCown as the primary backup. He is on track to take over for Brees as the team’s quarterback of the future and carries speculative value in dynasty formats.

 Blake Bortles, JAC (Bye: 5)
Height: 6’5”   Weight: 232   DOB: 1991-12-16   Age: 25
College: Central Florida   Draft: 2014 Round 1 (3) 
SeasonTeamGameComp Att Yard TD INTAtt Yard TDFPtsFPts/G
2014JAC14280 475 2,907 11 17 56 419 0 231.3 16.5
2015JAC16355 606 4,428 35 18 52 310 2 404.4 25.3
2016 (Projected)JAC 320 542 4,062 29 16 61 333 2 364.4  

Outlook: One of the absolute best values of the 2015 fantasy season, Blake Bortles showed obvious progress in his second year at the helm of the offense. His season was so good, narrowly finishing behind Tom Brady as fantasy’s third best QB, that it is difficult expecting more improvement in 2016. In fact, regression seems almost inevitable when looking more closely at the situations that paved the way for Bortles to reach such lofty totals. After a year that saw the offense toss up 40 or more passes six times and its quarterback sacked a league leading 51 times, the team went out and bolstered the rushing game. Look for OC Greg Olsen to mix high-percentage passing routes with a more effective play-action scheme to leverage Allen Robinson’s play-making ability down field. Any decrease in passing attempts will likely translate into a few less points this year but he the team should be more effective at moving the ball down field and creating scoring chances. He should be a solid QB1, but projecting another top five fantasy quarterback season from Bortles would be a bold move for 2016.

Chad Henne didn’t hesitate to resign with the team after not playing a single down in 2015. At this point in his career he is more of a mentor than a true backup quarterback. Brandon Allen was drafted out of Arkansas and could develop into a worthwhile backup down the road.

 Ben Roethlisberger, PIT (Bye: 8)
Height: 6’5”   Weight: 241   DOB: 1982-03-02   Age: 35
College: -   Draft: 2004 Round 1 (11) 
SeasonTeamGameComp Att Yard TD INTAtt Yard TDFPtsFPts/G
2013PIT16375 584 4,261 28 14 26 99 1 341.0 21.3
2014PIT16408 608 4,952 32 9 32 27 0 378.3 23.6
2015PIT12319 469 3,933 21 16 15 29 0 283.6 23.6
2016 (Projected)PIT 381 577 4,558 30 15 17 26 1 356.5  

Outlook: Playing in his fewest games since 2010, a litany of injuries threw a wrench into what could have been a truly remarkable fantasy season for Big Ben. Oddly enough, despite finishing 21st overall in quarterback scoring, Roethlisberger scored the same exact points per game (23.6) last year as he did during his top-5 season in 2014. Injuries and subsequent missed games have been a hallmark of Ben’s career. During his impressive 12-year career he has only played a full 16 games just three times. Luckily for fantasy owners, Roethlisberger is also one of the toughest guys in the league, able to shrug off injuries and play at an elite level even in pain and discomfort. His game, and stature in the pocket make him a candidate for big hits, and his size and bravery in the pocket often lead to lower leg injuries. In an effort to be more agile, Ben has worked hard this offseason to shed weight and be lighter on his feet.

What helps maintain Roethlisberger’s elite fantasy value is the draw dropping arsenal of skill players at his disposal. A healthy Le’Veon Bell, and an always motivated Antonio Brown give Big Ben a duo of all-pros to funnel the offense through. The year-long suspension of supremely talented Martavis Bryant will certainly be a blow, but Roethlisberger had over 700 yards passing and 4 touchdowns in two games without him early in the year and the addition of Ladarius Green, and development of Sammie Coates should certainly help offset the loss. With an aggressive play caller in Todd Haley, and a goal of 30 ppg for the offense, Roethlisberger should again be in line for a top-10 fantasy season as long as he remains upright for 15-plus games.

 Philip Rivers, SD (Bye: 11)
Height: 6’5”   Weight: 228   DOB: 1981-12-08   Age: 35
College: North Carolina State   Draft: 2004 Round 1 (4) 
SeasonTeamGameComp Att Yard TD INTAtt Yard TDFPtsFPts/G
2013SD16379 545 4,478 32 11 28 72 0 359.1 22.4
2014SD16379 570 4,286 31 18 38 104 0 348.7 21.8
2015SD16438 662 4,793 29 13 17 28 0 358.5 22.4
2016 (Projected)SD 417 632 4,680 30 16 24 44 0 358.4  

Outlook: He’s not the sexiest name on the board, but Philip Rivers quietly had another excellent fantasy season in 2015, throwing for nearly 4,800 yards along with 29 touchdowns and just 13 interceptions. It was his eighth straight season of throwing for at least 26 touchdowns and while the Chargers continue to flounder in mediocrity as a team, their leader behind center continues to put up numbers that should one day give him a chance at enshrinement in Canton.

There doesn’t seem to be any reason why San Diego would change their offensive gameplan, but don’t look for Rivers to match his pass attempts from a season ago. Last season was the first time in his career that Rivers attempted 600 pass attempts and he blew by that number with ease (661). Even with a downtick in attempts, Rivers projects to be among the league leaders in the category as long as he stays healthy, especially if Melvin Gordon struggles in the running game, which could lead to more playing time for Danny Woodhead whose skill set is much more in line with a pass-first offensive attack. Rivers has averaged 4519 yards and 30 TDs over the last three years with a QB Consistency ranking of QB8 during that time. Early drafts see Rivers going off the board as a low-end QB1 in some deep leagues, but typically as a high-end QB2. Rivers’ upside is a bit limited with him being one of the least-mobile quarterbacks in football, but he is an ideal streaming option in good matchups whose high floor makes him a safe late-round pick.

 Eli Manning, NYG (Bye: 8)
Height: 6’4”   Weight: 218   DOB: 1981-01-03   Age: 36
College: -   Draft: 2004 Round 1 (1) 
SeasonTeamGameComp Att Yard TD INTAtt Yard TDFPtsFPts/G
2013NYG16317 551 3,818 18 27 18 36 0 266.5 16.7
2014NYG16379 601 4,410 30 14 12 31 1 349.6 21.9
2015NYG16387 618 4,436 35 14 20 61 0 367.9 23.0
2016 (Projected)NYG 377 608 4,378 31 15 10 45 0 347.4  

Outlook: Eli Manning is coming off one of the best statistical seasons of his career, having thrived in offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo’s system the last two seasons. Manning’s success was a huge factor in McAdoo being named the team’s head coach after Tom Coughlin “resigned” from the position. McAdoo was hired by Coughlin after a successful stint as the Packers quarterback coach and runs an up-tempo gameplan – the Giants played at the second fastest pace in the league in 2015. His Packer version of the west coast based offense using short screens and slants, helped increase Manning’s efficiency across the board. The system also helped the offensive line, decreasing the time required to hold their blocks. Manning finished with over 4,400 passing yards for the second consecutive season and he threw for a career high 35 touchdown passes with only 14 interceptions in 2015. He has never been a great fantasy asset, but his steady production and ability to put together 16-game seasons on a yearly basis has always made him a safe bet to finish as a borderline fantasy QB1. Under McAdoo and with the emergence of wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr., Manning’s ceiling has been raised and upside remains even at age 35. The team’s o-line issues have been addressed through free agency and the draft during the last two seasons which can only further help the younger Manning. The Giants added another quick and explosive wide receiver, rookie Sterling Shepard, into the mix which is another factor in favor of Manning continuing his recent success. The veteran makes a nice target for those that like to wait and use a QBBC approach in redraft leagues.

 Tyrod Taylor, BUF (Bye: 10)
Height: 6’1”   Weight: 217   DOB: 1989-08-03   Age: 27
College: Virginia Tech   Draft: 2011 Round 6 (15) 
SeasonTeamGameComp Att Yard TD INTAtt Yard TDFPtsFPts/G
2013BAL31 5 2 0 1 8 64 0 6.5 2.2
2014BAL10 0 0 0 0 4 -3 0 -0.3 -0.3
2015BUF14242 380 3,035 20 6 104 568 4 312.6 22.3
2016 (Projected)BUF 285 452 3,526 22 8 119 645 3 346.8  

Outlook: Former Ravens backup Tyrod Taylor surprisingly won the Bills starting quarterback job over former first round pick EJ Manuel and veteran Matt Cassel last pre-season. He then proved that head coach Rex Ryan and offensive coordinator Greg Roman made the right choice. In 14 games, Taylor threw for 3,035 yards with 20 touchdowns and only 6 interceptions while also adding 568 yards and 4 touchdowns on the ground. Reports from Buffalo’s OTAs and minicamp have been positive about Taylor’s improvement, but the franchise still does not want to commit to him long term. They will let him play out the last year of his contract before deciding whether they want to offer him franchise quarterback type money.

Roman ran a conservative run-heavy offense, and with Rex Ryan famous for his “ground and pound” philosophy don’t expect that to change much in 2016. Taylor is a bit undersized at 6’1” and 215 pounds, but has decent downfield accuracy and did not turn the ball over making him valuable in the conservative Bills’ offense. He was also a big part of the rushing attack which increases his value against his peers. He finished second only to Cam Newton in rushing yards amongst quarterbacks. Taylor needs to show an improved command of the offense but the former sixth-round pick is only 26 years old and has the upside to improve in his second season as a starter. With his ability to gain yards on the ground and a legitimate difference maker on the outside (Sammy Watkins) Taylor is a perfect high ceiling fantasy QB2.

 Jameis Winston, TB (Bye: 6)
Height: 6’4”   Weight: 231   DOB: 1994-01-06   Age: 23
College: Florida State   Draft: 2015 Round 1 (1) 
SeasonTeamGameComp Att Yard TD INTAtt Yard TDFPtsFPts/G
2015TB16312 535 4,044 22 15 53 210 6 347.2 21.7
2016 (Projected)TB 334 556 4,226 24 17 49 186 3 343.9  

Outlook: Tampa Bay placed 22nd in the NFL for passing attempts in Dirk Koetter’s first year as head coach last season. As the OC for three years prior in Atlanta, Koetter’s offense never placed below eighth in that same category. History suggests that Koetter will ramp up the passing game, allowing Winston to have more opportunity to be a fantasy force in 2016. Winston is fresh off his first Pro Bowl selection and has come into camp lighter and hungry to take the next step. He already has a bona fide number one wide receiver in Mike Evans at his disposal and a healthy Charles Sims gives the team two quality dual threat options out of the backfield. Adding more fantasy appeal to Winston is the buzz surrounding the offense using more of the no-huddle this year. A faster pace would make sense considering the youthfulness of Winston’s supporting cast. The FSU alum’s ability to elude defenders cannot be ignored either. He won’t be expected to lead the team in rushing like Cam Newton, yet his rushing capabilities should yield results similar to Aaron Rodgers. There are plenty of other established or flashier fantasy quarterbacks to choose from on draft day but the potential return on investing in the Bucs’ second year signal caller is too much to overlook. He is currently being taken outside the top 15 at the position despite throwing for over 4,000 yards as a rookie and scoring a combined 28 touchdowns. Expect his draft stock to rise as the preseason moves along.

 Carson Palmer, ARI (Bye: 9)
Height: 6’5”   Weight: 235   DOB: 1979-12-27   Age: 37
College: -   Draft: 2003 Round 1 (1) 
SeasonTeamGameComp Att Yard TD INTAtt Yard TDFPtsFPts/G
2013ARI16362 572 4,274 24 22 27 3 0 310.0 19.4
2014ARI6141 224 1,626 11 3 8 25 0 127.8 21.3
2015ARI16342 538 4,671 35 11 25 24 1 382.0 23.9
2016 (Projected)ARI 352 568 4,429 29 15 6 28 0 340.3  

Outlook: Like a fine wine, Carson Palmer seems to only be getting better with age. The quarterback will be 36 years old when the 2016 season begins, but is coming off the best season of his career, having thrown for a career high in both touchdowns (35) and yards (4,671). Those MVP-like numbers allowed Palmer to finish as a top five scorer at his position (QB5) and that combined with his relatively low ADP (QB17) made him one of the best values in all of fantasy football in 2015.

One of the best things about Carson Palmer is his consistency. He threw for at least 265 yards in all but three regular season games in 2015. The other three games? Oh, he threw for a total of eight touchdowns and two interceptions. Throwing to perhaps the deepest group of wide receivers in the league and having an explosive running game beside him to keep defenses honest, Palmer looks to be in line to put up great numbers this season.

Perhaps the biggest concern about Palmer, aside from his age, is the long history of injuries that he has sustained throughout his career. Thankfully the majority of his injuries have been to his lower extremities and not his throwing arm, but those drafting Palmer should be sure to have a backup plan in case the worst case scenario happens. Palmer doesn’t have quite the upside of most of the quarterbacks being taken above him, but he is an exceptionally safe player so long as he is on the field.