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Andrew Swanson | Archive | Email |
Staff Writer

Way Too Early Quarterback Rankings
Andrew Luck

Andrew Luck overcame some early-season ugliness to finish as the fantasy QB4 in 2018.

Chances are if you are looking for quarterback rankings in February you do not subscribe to the notion that it is too early in the year to talk about fantasy football. If you are looking to see who will be the No.2 ranked quarterback behind Patrick Mahomes in 2019 this early in the process, chances are you are an avid fantasy football owner looking to get an early leg up on your competition.

And I would assume that someone like yourself, who is looking for fantasy intel before the even the combine kicks off, understands that free agency, the NFL draft, injuries, and roster moves over the next six months will significantly affect these rankings.

With that said, my fellow fantasy football fanatics, here are my top 12 way too early quarterbacks for 2019.

1) Patrick Mahomes, KC: No surprise here. Mahomes was a revelation in 2018, becoming only the third player in NFL history to reach 50 touchdowns and over 5000 passing yards in a season. When you score 74 more points than the No.2 quarterback, it would be a ridiculous error not to be ranked as the top QB in the following draft. Will Mahomes continue with his astonishing 8.6% TD rate? I doubt it, but even a negative regression to 6% would give him a solid chance to repeat as QB1.

2) Aaron Rodgers, GB: Speaking of TD% regression, Rodgers posted his worst TD% (4.2) of his career in 2018 and the fewest passing touchdowns in a full 16-game season as a starter in the NFL. The remainder of Rodgers’ metrics seem in line or close to his career norms, indicating that his TD regression was more of a fluke than something to be concerned about. Even with a down year, Rodgers still finished as the QB7 last season. Hopefully, the move to a new offense and more elaborate route schemes will help A-Rod return to being an elite fantasy QB.

3) Andrew Luck, IND: The shoulder looks fine, and the offensive line in Indy is one of the best in the league. As the No.4 ranked QB last season, Andrew Luck was the second-most consistent QB behind Patrick Mahomes. The Colts offensive line is young, and under contract, Luck’s favorite skill position players are coming back and the Colts have a ton of cap space to improve on both sides of the ball.

4) Matt Ryan, ATL: It may surprise many readers to know that Matt Ryan posted even better fantasy numbers last season than when he won the MVP trophy in 2016. Ryan threw for 35 touchdowns and only seven interceptions while adding three rushing touchdowns on the ground. Some may question how Ryan will do now that offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian is gone. But I am not worried, as Ryan and new OC Dirk Cutter have worked well together in the past.

5) Deshaun Watson, HOU: We all knew that Watson’s ridiculous 9.3% touchdown rate would not continue (at least those not drinking the Watson cool aide). But even with a more reasonable 5.1 TD %, Watson provided enough passing touchdowns and yards to go along with his five rushing touchdowns to finish as the QB5 last year.

6) Cam Newton, CAR: Although never the most accurate passer, Cam Newton was clearly injured for most of the season and his fantasy stats suffered. But with the assumption that offseason surgery will address his ailing shoulder and with a collection of young skill position players, look for Newton to bounce back in 2019 and return as one of the better dual-threat fantasy QBs.

7) Drew Brees, NO: Ask any Drew Brees owner from last season if they plan on drafting him again, and the answer will most likely be no, as Brees burned owners in the fantasy playoffs with three total passing touchdowns from Weeks 13 through 16. While the frustrations are understandable, it should be noted that Brees set career-highs in completion percentage and rushing touchdowns, while throwing just five interceptions.

8) Russell Wilson, SEA: After quietly finishing as the QB1 in 2017, Russell Wilson burned fantasy owners who used an early pick on him in drafts last summer. Although consistently ranked as one of the best deep ball throwers in the league, Wilson’s pedestrian 427 pass attempts in the run-heavy Brian Schottenheimer offense kills his fantasy value. It also did not help that Wilson rushed for a career-low 67 attempts in 2018 while failing to score a rushing touchdown for the first time in his career.

9) Ben Roethlisberger, PIT: The uncertainty surrounding Antonio Brown makes me a bit nervous to rank Big Ben any higher in my way-too-early rankings. Sure, you can argue that JuJu Smith-Schuster is a very talented No.2 WR who can slide right into Brown’s spot as the top option in Pitt, but we don’t know how he will fare in a full season going against the No.1 cornerback on the opposing teams.

10) Jared Goff, LAR: The Super Bowl painfully reiterated my belief that he is not an elite quarterback and the Rams often win in spite of him and not because of his play. With that said, the quarterback playing in Sean McVay’s offense is going to put up numbers, especially when Cooper Kupp returns to the field.

11) Philip Rivers, LAC: Rivers is a boring fantasy option who is often overlooked by fantasy owners looking for an upside play on a more exciting offense. But if you are looking for someone who will give for at least 21 points per game, Rivers is your guy. You can also argue that with Keenan Allen, Mike Williams, Hunter Henry, and Melvin Gordon, Rivers boasts the best skill position set in the league.

12) Jameis Winston, TB: While there is always the threat of a Winston meltdown and subsequent benching, you cannot argue the fact that Winston has the ability to put up monster fantasy numbers. The former first overall pick ranked ninth last season in fantasy points per game, and the combination of stats between Ryan Fitzpatrick and Winston would have resulted in nearly 5000 passing yards and 37 passing touchdowns. I also think that the Bucs are going to be a prime landing spot for Le’Veon Bell.

Just missing the cut: Tom Brady, Baker Mayfield, Mitchell Trubisky, & Carson Wentz