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Regular Season, Updated: 8/17/17


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 Aaron Rodgers, GB (Bye: 8)
1
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
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
2016GB16401 610 4,428 40 7 67 369 4 442.3 27.6
2017 (Projected)GB 403 610 4,455 36 7 58 325 2 411.3  

Outlook: By his own outlandish standards (and those of his fantasy owners), Aaron Rodgers was a major disappointment in 2015. Despite being burned by him consistently during the second half of that year, I thought the return of Jordy Nelson would help return Rodgers to the fantasy quarterback throne in 2016.

Let's be honest, there were a few games to start the 2016 season where it looked like the 2015 malaise, might be a harbinger that Rodgers could be on the downfall. Both he and the Packer offense couldn't find rhythm during a dicey season opener against Jacksonville, and he played terribly in a loss against the Vikings in Week 2. He predictably carved up the Lions, but then two mediocre weeks followed. But a Week 6 victory over the Bears, where Rodgers went for nearly 30 fantasy points was the beginning of a lights out run that saw A-Rod score 30-plus points in six of the final ten regular season games.

While the running game all but disappeared, Rodgers was forced to take his team on his back, and luckily for his fantasy owners, he's still strong enough to do it. He single handedly kept the Packers competitive while their defense was melting, and the running game was held together with street free agents and former wide receivers. The return of Nelson to his Pro-Bowl form, and the long awaited emergence of Davante Adams gave Rodgers big, athletic pass catchers to throw to at all levels of the field. He finished the season with his 4th, 40 total touchdown season, good for the top spot among fantasy quarterbacks.

Rodgers enters his age 33 season, better than ever. He'll add Super Bowl winning Martellus Bennett to the mix at tight end, should have an improved running game, and barring injury, has the fast track to being the top overall at his position once again. I do think they'll be a bit of regression in the yardage and touchdown department, but if you want a shot at one of the surest picks in all of fantasy, take the plunge.


 Tom Brady, NE (Bye: 9)
2
Height: 6’4”   Weight: 225   DOB: 1977-08-03   Age: 40
College: Michigan   Draft: 2000 Round 6 (33) 
SeasonTeamGameComp Att Yard TD INTAtt Yard TDFPtsFPts/G
2014NE16374 583 4,109 33 9 36 57 0 343.2 21.4
2015NE16402 624 4,770 36 7 34 53 3 405.8 25.4
2016NE12291 432 3,554 28 2 28 64 0 296.1 24.7
2017 (Projected)NE 403 610 4,760 36 8 29 50 1 393.0  

Outlook: At league age 40, Tom Brady continues to defy odds and father time by delivering elite fantasy numbers at a time in his life when most quarterbacks are playing golf. In just 12 games in a suspension shortened season, Brady threw 28 touchdowns and only two interceptions, as the Patriots went on to win the Lombardi Trophy in dramatic fashion over the Atlanta Falcons.

Brady is the consensus No.2 quarterback behind only Aaron Rodgers, but could certainly finish the season with the most fantasy points considering the cache of weapons he possesses in both the passing and running game. Often praised for the amount of success he has achieved in his career without elite level receivers, no other quarterback in the NFL boast more surrounding skill position talent than No.12 in 2017.

Although the first ballot Hall of Famer is performing at a level never seen before for an age 40 QB, he will eventually lose his skills and the drop off could be steep like the final years of greats like Peyton Manning and Brett Favre. But the upside of owning a top quarterback that produces consistent top 5 points makes Brady worth the risk.


 Drew Brees, NO (Bye: 5)
3
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
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
2016NO16471 673 5,207 37 15 23 20 2 422.4 26.4
2017 (Projected)NO 445 644 4,961 33 14 17 17 1 387.8  

Outlook: The Saints offense is led by one of the game's best quarterbacks. Anyone thinking an old quarterback can't get it done obviously missed out last season on a guy who led the league in passing yards in route to the fourth best fantasy season of his Hall of Fame career. With Brees leading the way, the Saints produced two top ten fantasy wide outs in 2016. That's not as likely with Willie Snead and Ted Ginn, Jr. serving as secondary options opposite Michael Thomas. New Orleans was faced with tough cap decisions and ultimately decided to trade from strength dealing Brandin Cooks to help offset the burden in other areas.

Last year, the Saints passed the ball 674 times compared to 404 rushing attempts. It's hard to fathom Sean Peyton asking his 38-year-old quarterback to toss more than 650 passes this season when you have two quality running backs in the backfield but that won't prevent Brees from being one of the better fantasy signal callers to own. However, It may be just enough to knock him out of the top three so don't overpay based on last year's totals. As long as Brees is upright, the rest of the Saints' fantasy players will be attractive fantasy assets for the upcoming 2017 campaign. Chase Daniel, Garrett Grayson and Ryan Nassib will compete for clipboard duties behind Brees. Daniel started his career in the Bayou and looks like the best fit as the team's primary backup but the team won't be nearly as explosive if he is called into action.


 Jameis Winston, TB (Bye: 11)
4
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
2016TB16345 568 4,090 28 18 52 168 1 339.3 21.2
2017 (Projected)TB 351 565 4,240 30 17 53 184 3 368.4  

Outlook: Tampa Bay has finished the last two seasons in the middle of the pack when it comes to passing yards per game. The difference in 2017 will be the depth added to the roster. At the receiver position a very capable and dangerous DeSean Jackson will give Winston a much needed consistent receiver opposite Mike Evans. All of the moving parts in the backfield from a season ago have created a deeper, more confident stable of runners that offer multiple pass-catching options for a quarterback that had to force the ball more than he should have in 2016. The Bucs' commitment was personified by their decision to use a first round draft choice on O.J. Howard. The dynamic tight end from 'Bama is a nightmare match up for defenses that should have a positive impact on Winston's red zone efficiency.

Despite increasing his passing touchdown output by 6 TDs from 2015 to 2016, Winston remained on the border of being a true fantasy starter a year ago. He ranked outside the top twelve on a per game basis but finished tenth in overall fantasy points at the position. Nevertheless, he was able to score at least 20 fantasy points in nine of his sixteen games played and failed to post at least 15 fantasy points just once. Winston may not be a top five quarterback but he is the type of quarterback you should be targeting after the top players at the position are gone because he will rarely lose you a week and comes at a much more affordable price. Mike Glennon left for greener pastures in Chicago so Ryan Fitzpatrick was brought in to hold the clip board. The former Jet has seen his completion percentage decline in each of the past three seasons so anyone owning a Buc this year is hoping Winston stays upright for another 16 games.


 Russell Wilson, SEA (Bye: 6)
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
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
2016SEA16353 546 4,219 21 11 72 259 1 326.9 20.4
2017 (Projected)SEA 348 535 4,122 27 10 85 367 2 362.8  

Outlook: Having finished as a top-12 fantasy quarterback in every season of his career, Russell Wilson is once again being looked at as a potential stud heading into the 2017 NFL season. His pass attempts have increased in each of his five seasons, topping out at 546 attempts in 2016 but while he threw for a career high 4,219 yards, Wilson also tossed just 21 touchdown passes with a career-high 11 interceptions. On the bright side, that interception number was still low in comparison to the averages throughout the league. Wilson has typically been extremely efficient which has helped him remain a decent fantasy contributor throughout his career even when he's not having particularly huge yardage or touchdown weeks.

The biggest concern stemming from the 2016 season was Wilson attempted just 72 rushes, resulting in a career low 259 rushing yards. That put him below the elite running quarterback options but also behind the likes of Blake Bortles and Andrew Luck, who are not necessarily known for their running. An ankle injury and MCL sprain contributed to the decreased rushing output but it's also likely the team asked him to reduce his rushing attempts in order to preserve his health. He did drop some weight this off-season which should help him be more elusive, but the team still has major question marks across their offensive line which could be a cause for concern for Wilson's health.

Seattle added players in other positions, but didn't really do much to address their weak group of wide receivers. The team won't have much overturn at the position this season and while that can lead to added chemistry, only Doug Baldwin and Jimmy Graham are likely to be weekly fantasy options this season. Still, look for a return to form for Wilson in both the passing touchdown and rushing yardage areas, which should allow him to finish as a top 10 quarterback provided that he remains healthy. After being ranked in the top three heading into 2016, Wilson's lower ADP heading into 2017 could make him a great value for those who opt to wait a bit on quarterback in drafts.


 Andrew Luck, IND (Bye: 11)
6
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
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
2016IND15346 545 4,240 31 13 64 341 2 382.1 25.5
2017 (Projected)IND 324 523 4,027 29 14 54 277 2 357.1  

Outlook: Andrew Luck rebounded quite nicely from his injury plagued 2015 season to finish last season as a top five fantasy quarterback. Luck's ceiling is tantalizing and over the past three seasons, he has averaged just over 26 fantasy points per game and has never averaged less than 21 fantasy points per contest.

The Colts offense boasts quality pass catchers in T.Y. Hilton and Donte Moncrief as well as a solid all around tight end in Jack Doyle. Additionally, the holes on the defensive side of the ball (ranked 30th in yards allowed and 22nd in points allowed) should keep Luck throwing the ball deep into games this year. It is rare to consider more passing attempts as a negative but when you factor in an offensive line that allowed its quarterbacks to be sacked the fifth most in the league this scenario represents the exception to the rule. Asking a subpar offensive line to pass block more in 2017 increases the injury risk of a player that has yet to begin throwing after off-season shoulder surgery. Luck's delayed rehab schedule may cause him to miss a good chunk of training camp; possibly lingering into the regular season. It's too soon to move Luck outside the top ten quarterbacks but he carries significant risk for a fantasy player routinely being forecast as a top five player at his position. Scott Tolzien is slated to hold the clipboard this year so the Colts are truly pushing their luck at the NFL's most demanding position.

UPDATE 8/7/17: Andrew Luck has been placed on the preseason PUP list by the Colts as he continues to rehab from offseason shoulder surgery. The surgery on Luck's throwing shoulder isn't taking longer than a typical recovery, but it does mean that the optimistic six-month schedule is not happening either. It's too early to know whether Luck is in danger of opening the regular season on the PUP list but fantasy owners should be aware of that possibility prior to taking him in drafts this season. The team's lack of movement to bring in an experienced backup quarterback hints at how the team expects Luck's availability to play out. It is doubtful that the Colts would be willing to ride Scott Tolzien for a month or more into the year without adding another worthwhile NFL quarterback to learn the offense and be the team's backup to open the year. More likely, Luck avoids the PUP, misses two or three games to build strength in his throwing shoulder and gives fantasy owners top ten fantasy numbers for about three quarters of the fantasy season.


 Matt Ryan, ATL (Bye: 5)
7
Height: 6’4”   Weight: 220   DOB: 1985-05-17   Age: 32
College: Boston College   Draft: 2008 Round 1 (3) 
SeasonTeamGameComp Att Yard TD INTAtt Yard TDFPtsFPts/G
2014ATL16415 628 4,694 28 14 29 145 0 361.2 22.6
2015ATL16407 614 4,591 21 16 37 63 0 319.9 20.0
2016ATL16373 534 4,944 38 7 35 117 0 410.9 25.7
2017 (Projected)ATL 367 548 4,549 30 11 33 82 0 355.7  

Outlook: Matt Ryan finally put it all together in 2016 by becoming a top three fantasy signal caller in his ninth professional season. Surrounded by arguably his best supporting cast since being drafted as the face of the franchise in 2008, Ryan set career marks in completion percentage, passing yards, touchdowns and interceptions in route to the Super Bowl. The explosive nature of players like Julio Jones, Taylor Gabriel and Tevin Coleman led to 69 passing plays gaining 20-plus yards from scrimmage (3rd most in the NFL). Projecting players coming off career seasons usually involves regression but Ryan might not be in for as much as his detractors expect.

The off-season brought very little change to the offense but defenses will certainly be geared up to stop the defending NFC Champs. As a group, Atlanta's receivers are not as dominant as other highly regarded fantasy quarterbacks. The lack of a bona fide pass catching tight end also dampens the prospects of Ryan remaining inside the top five at his position. Nevertheless, the team's strong rushing attack will continue to allow the passing game to flourish with numerous scoring opportunities. As a result, fantasy owners should be able to pencil in at least 30 touchdowns and plenty of yardage to make the former Boston College Eagle a consistent QB1 in 2017.


 Philip Rivers, LAC (Bye: 9)
8
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
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
2016SD16349 578 4,390 33 21 14 35 0 355.0 22.2
2017 (Projected)LAC 360 580 4,350 31 15 15 27 0 344.2  

Outlook: One of the league's best leaders, Philip Rivers has never missed a start in the 11 seasons since becoming the Chargers' starting quarterback. Not only that, but he's been a monster fantasy asset, having passed for at least 4,000 yards in eight of his past nine seasons while passing for anywhere between 26 to 33 touchdowns in all nine of those seasons. Rivers has one of the safest jobs in all of football with the Chargers having not spent significant money or draft equity on the quarterback position in quite some time, but there is some concern that his skills are deteriorating. Rivers threw a career-most 21 interceptions in 2016 and his offensive line has allowed him to take some pretty serious licks in recent years. He's also one of the league's least-mobile QB's, having not rushed for a touchdown since 2011. Still, if the team can get back to health remain that way, this may be the deepest group of pass catchers that Rivers has ever played with. Rivers finished sixth at quarterback in 2016 and there's little reason to believe that he won't again finish around that range this season.


 Marcus Mariota, TEN (Bye: 8)
9
Height: 6’4”   Weight: 222   DOB: 1993-10-30   Age: 23
College: Oregon   Draft: 2015 Round 1 (2) 
SeasonTeamGameComp Att Yard TD INTAtt Yard TDFPtsFPts/G
2015TEN12230 371 2,818 19 10 34 252 2 254.1 21.2
2016TEN15276 451 3,426 26 9 59 357 2 323.0 21.5
2017 (Projected)TEN 326 518 3,884 26 11 51 322 2 342.4  

Outlook: The Titans' vastly improved offense in 2016 won't sneak up on fantasy owners this season. Tennessee's remade offense ranked them in the top half of the league in scoring and yards per game last year after placing in the bottom five in both categories following the 2015 season. One of the biggest factor's to the newfound success is Marcus Mariota's development as a quarterback. Playing off a superior ground game, Mariota has become an efficient sniper by picking apart defenses and being effective when forced to scramble. Whether or not fantasy owners want to put faith in a guy who has passed for over 300 yards just three times in two years is the real issue. The Titans are going to be a run first team again in 2017 so any increase in passing attempts will be the result of more snaps on offense rather than a decision to throw more often. Similarly, the addition of Eric Decker adds more floor than ceiling to Mariota's projections. Tennessee's franchise quarterback is progressing well from a broken leg suffered at the end of last season and has taken part in drills during OTAs and mini camp. He should be taking reps with the first team when training camp opens so health shouldn't be an issue. Consider him a favorable backup fantasy quarterback that could become quality trade bait during the year.


 Matthew Stafford, DET (Bye: 7)
10
Height: 6’2”   Weight: 232   DOB: 1988-02-07   Age: 29
College: Georgia   Draft: 2009 Round 1 (1) 
SeasonTeamGameComp Att Yard TD INTAtt Yard TDFPtsFPts/G
2014DET16363 602 4,247 22 12 43 93 2 321.7 20.1
2015DET16398 592 4,262 32 13 44 159 1 363.0 22.7
2016DET16388 594 4,327 24 10 37 207 2 345.1 21.6
2017 (Projected)DET 393 595 4,285 26 12 40 174 1 341.7  

Outlook: The big hubub with the Lions at this time last off-season was how the offense was going to deal with the loss of stud receiver Calvin Johnson. For years Stafford made his living throwing the ball up to one of the most physically dominant receivers in the game, and Lions fans and Stafford owners waited with bated breath to see if the 8th year signal caller could adjust. By most measures, Stafford adjusted rather well as he led the Lions to a wildcard berth, had the second-best completion percentage of his career and tossed a career low 10 interceptions.

While it was encouraging to see Stafford spread the ball around the field and continue to make better decisions with the football, the Detroit offense couldn't make up for the loss of Megatron in the redzone. After scoring a touchdown on nearly 70 percent of their trips to the redzone in 2015, the Lions dipped to a woeful 54 percent last season. Stafford's low touchdown total (24) stifled what could have been an easy top-5 overall finish.

So what's in store for the leader of the Lions who has thrown for at least 4,200 yards in six-straight seasons? More of the same that's what. The Lions held pat with their offensive skill positions, not adding much to the depth chart, as they are hoping another year in the system and improved health will help with offensive consistency. Speaking of health, the entire offense was dealt a serious blow when blind-side protector Tyler Decker went under the knife for a torn labrum. It looks as if he could miss at least half the season and after watching Stafford get constantly harassed the last few years, this could have a huge early season effect. I'm also very leary of Detroit's schedule. Among their always tricky in-division games, the Lions face off against the rising NFC south this year, which could be, from top to bottom, the best division in football. Despite a rocket arm and improving game management, I'm down on Stafford this year. The schedule, loss of Decker, and lack of an elite No.1 receiver means he could end up in the low end QB1 tier.


 Ben Roethlisberger, PIT (Bye: 9)
11
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
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
2016PIT14328 509 3,819 29 13 16 14 1 314.4 22.5
2017 (Projected)PIT 351 532 4,205 28 14 19 26 1 330.9  

Outlook: It's either suspensions to high impact skill position players, or lower body injuries that conspire to wreck Roethlisberger's fantasy upside. His annual injury cost him three games last season which contributed to a very mediocre fantasy season.

Despite finishing as the 17th overall scorer in standard leagues, Big Ben was 7th overall with a 22.5 fantasy points per game average. His monster games in Weeks 4, 5 and 10 show that he's capable of winning weeks by himself, but his poor 2nd half (16.5 FPts/G) likely killed his fantasy owners in the long run.

After lightly entertaining retirement thoughts, Ben is back to captain what should be one of the most explosive offenses in the NFL. For the first time since 2014 (barring something goofy in the next few weeks), Pittsburgh is going to open the season with all of their Killer B's (Brown, Bryant, and Bell) healthy and ready to roll. He's playing behind one of the best offensive lines in his career, and once again, his finish relies greatly on his ability to stay healthy. He's got an easy top-5 ceiling if he plays 16 games, or a QB2 floor if he misses time. With the return of Martavis Bryant, I'm more willing to gamble as Roethlisberger as my starter. Bryant gives the Steelers another big-play threat, and monster red-zone target. He's being picked as the 9th quarterback off the board in early drafts, and that's a spot I'd be happy to land him. Just be aware you'll have to prioritize your QB2 to protect from the injury that's likely to come.


 Cam Newton, CAR (Bye: 11)
12
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
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
2016CAR15270 509 3,509 19 14 90 359 5 317.4 21.2
2017 (Projected)CAR 306 518 3,626 23 12 67 316 4 328.9  

Outlook: Cam Newton's 270 completions in 2017 were only nine more than Ryan Tannehill had in two fewer games and tied Tyrod Taylor for the fewest in the NFL amongst quarterbacks who played at least fifteen games. Newton has never relied on volume to buoy his strongest fantasy seasons but his dip in completion percentage and running stats made him one of the most disappointing fantasy players of the 2016 fantasy season. Many owners will likely project Newton's 2017 to land in the middle ground between last year's lackluster campaign and 2015's banner year. The common denominator in Newton's fantasy successes and failures are linked to his work on the ground. Simply put, his best years have come when the added value of rushing yards and touchdowns pushed him ahead of his peers.

Likewise, his worst seasons offer substantial declines in fantasy points produced from the running game. Consequently, Newton's steady five year decline in YPC may foreshadow another down year. Newton had shoulder surgery in March so he might not be at full speed when training camp opens but the team still expects him to be ready by Week 1. Due to his ongoing concussion potential and the league's protocol on quarterbacks taking hits to the head, anyone drafting Newton will also need to invest in a reliable QB2. Ultimately, the below average floor and health risks associated with Carolina's Superman should drop him into fringe starter territory despite his immense upside.