20 Jul “Stromme the Way”: 2018 Fantasy Quarterback Rankings AND Projections
By: Mike Stromme (@stromme_93)
All rankings are tailored towards 12-team full PPR formats. Rankings are subject to change throughout the 2018 preseason.
Click Here for 2017’s Rankings/Projections.
1) Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers: (Passing: 387/590-4,307-39-8, Rushing: 53-270-3)
2018 won’t be the first time Rodgers will be coming off a shoulder injury, so that shouldn’t keep fantasy owners up at night. Fun fact: Aaron Rodgers has surpassed 4,500 passing yards was his 2011 MVP season. Luckily for us, A-Rod’s a TD machine who can sneak in some rushing numbers.
2) Carson Wentz, Philadelphia Eagles: (Passing: 360/585-4,212-38-11, Rushing: 61-267-2)
… You have NO idea how tempted I was to put Carson Wentz at QB1. But, after some careful scrutinization over his MVP-calibre 2017 campaign, I decided that a TD% of 7.5% was due to regress JUST a tad. The difference between Wentz and Rodgers (in both fantasy and reality) is razor-thin. I have no doubt in my mind in Wentz’ ability to bounce-back from the ACL/MCL tear that ended his season prematurely last year.
3) Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks: (Passing: 337/527-4,111-30-11, Rushing: 101-577-3)
If Hustle Thrillson was a statue in the pocket, he would still be a borderline top-10 fantasy option. His elite mobility vaults him into the top tier.
4) Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers: (Passing: 278/475-3,468-22-13, Rushing: 130-728-7)
Cam might be one of the most inaccurate passers in the league (career 58.5% completion percentage). It’s his elite play-making ability that makes him a fantasy stud. Odds are, he’ll age much quicker than the average QB, but that’s not something to worry about in redraft formats.
5) Tom Brady, New England Patriots: (Passing: 377/564-4,512-34-7)
At 40, he’s still the best pure pocket-passer in football. TB12 averaged around 36 pass attempts per game in 2017; 46/game in the post season. He won’t fall off the map like Peyton and Favre did around this age.
6) Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints: (Passing: 425/598-4,724-29-11)
The days of 5,000+ yards out of Brees are likely done. The Saints threw the ball around 7% less in 2017 than the previous three seasons. Committing to the run a tad more could extend the career of the 39-year-old, who’s more than certainly destined for Canton when he does finally decide to close the book on his career.
7) DeShaun Watson, Houston Texans: (Passing: 331/525-4,095-33-18, Rushing: 82-530-4)
I’m a HUGE fan of this sophomore QB! Love his demeanour, ability and explosiveness on the gridiron. I have absolutely no worries regarding his recovery from the torn ACL that unceremoniously ended his phenomenal rookie campaign; the kid’s a stud! That being said, a 9.3% TD percentage is just NOT SUSTAINABLE! For comparison’s sake, Aaron Rodgers has a career 6.5% TD %; Brady’s is 5.5%. Turnovers might still be an issue as well.
8) Andrew Luck, Indianapolis Colts: (Passing: 376/635-4,572-32-17, Rushing: 63-315-3)
IF Andrew Luck comes back rested, he’s automatically a top-5 QB. If he comes back rusty, this won’t be the case. There’s also a chance of re-injury or timid play. Just depends if you’re feeling risky. Well punk, are you feeling Lucky?!
9) Marcus Mariota, Tennessee Titans: (Passing: 334/539-4,096-29-15, Rushing: 64-422-4)
While Mariota doesn’t have the same injury concerns as the man ahead of him in this tier, he’s still just as much of a wild card. The only two bosses new Titans’ Offensive Coordinator Matt LeFleur has had in the NFL were Kyle Shanahan and Sean McVay, so I do see an uptick in pass attempts. The only question is, will Mariota sink or swim under the increase in workload? While his completion percentage throughout his career has been right around 62%, his INT% has climbed each year in the league. Here’s to hoping a change in offensive philosophy remedies that ailment.
10) Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions: (Passing: 368/562-4,271-30-10)
The Detroit Lions’ offense has been steady in the Jim Bob Cooter-era. I don’t expect things to change this season.
11) Phillip Rivers, Los Angeles Chargers: (Passing: 357/581-4,532-31-15)
You know EXACTLY what you’re getting out of Captain Phillip.
12) Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs: (Passing: 327/545-4,088-26-17, Rushing: 69-315-2)
There’s a reason why Andy Reid (briefly) resumed calling plays for the Chiefs in Week 17 of last season after
relinquishing the duties to now-Bears head coach Matt Nagy. Kansas City doesn’t move safe-and-steady Alex Smith if they thought the move to Mahomes would be a lateral move. The red-shirt season will pay dividends for both Mahomes and the Chiefs.
13) Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons: (Passing: 367/546-4,248-30-10)
He’s not NEARLY as good as his 2016 season. He’s also not NEARLY as boring as he was a year ago. Expect the median in his second season under Steve Sarkasian.
14) Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers: (Passing: 364/566-4,273-30-14)
He might be getting up there, but I believe it will be business as usual as QB Coach Randy Fitchner comes into replace Todd Haley at OC in the Steel City.
15) Kirk Cousins, Minnesota Vikings: (Passing: 376/574-4,420-27-13)
The man put-up 4,917 passing yards two seasons ago! Give Kirk Cousins Diggs, Thielen, Rudolph and Cook to toss to and suddenly the prospect of a 400-500 improvement in passing yards don’t seem that far-fetched. However, the days of 4-5 sneaky rushing touchdowns are likely done.
16) Dak Prescott, Dallas Cowboys: (Passing: 314/482-3,567-23-9, Rushing: 57-319-6)
The lack of viable targets/limited passing attempts will cap the upside on his passing numbers. It’s his mobility that still makes him a viable option if you feel like waiting on QB.
17) Jared Goff, Los Angeles Rams: (Passing: 345/531-3,983-32-10)
In my eyes, Goff is a system QB in an electric offense. A safe, capable fantasy option that can be had in the latter rounds of your draft, and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that.
18) Jimmy Garoppolo, San Francisco 49ers: (Passing: 377/571-4,448-25-14)
Jimmy G’s 67.3% completion percentage and 8.8 yards/attempt last season give some indication that he could be the QB many believe he’ll be. His 7-5 TD-INT ratio in 2017, however, is enough for me to hold him back in my rankings.
I believe the Garoppolo-hype (and his current 9th-round ADP), boils-down to a cocktail that consists of his outrageous winning percentage in his short stint as a starter, his time as Tom Brady’s understudy (and the two Super Bowl rings that came with the privledge) and the memory of Matt Ryan’s 2016 MVP season under then-OC and current 49ers’ HC Kyle Shanahan. What people fail to remember is that, Pierre Garcon, Marquise Goodwin and Jerick McKinnon ARE NOT Julio Jones, Mohamed Sanu and Devonta Freeman; the comrades Matt Ryan had with him in that major outlier of a season.
My projection of Garoppolo is more of a ceiling than a median. I’d much rather look elsewhere in the 9th round.
19) Tyrod Taylor, Cleveland Browns: (Passing: 365/580-4,118-27-9, Rushing: 60-327-5)
This re-vamped Cleveland Browns’ offense is a complete wild card, and Tyrod is no exception. If he plays a full 16 games and maintains his career completion percentage (62.4%) in Todd Haley’s offense, he’s a TOP TEN FANTASY QB!
In 2015, Tyrod’s first year as a starter, he completed 63.7% of his throws at 8 yards/attempt while throwing to Sammy Watkins, Robert Woods, Chris Hogan and Charles Clay; a group that isn’t too far off from his current ensemble of targets: Josh Gordon, Jarvis Landry, Corey Coleman and David Njoku. Only problem was, Greg Roman’s offense only threw the ball 45.7% of the time!
During his last three seasons in Pittsburgh, Todd Haley called passing plays roughly 59% of the time! If Haley believes he can handle the increased number of passing attempts, he’ll let him rip it! If not, it might be Baker Mayfield’s shot to rip, aim and fire.
While there isn’t a 100% guarantee that Tyrod Taylor starts all 16 games this season, all accounts currently standing suggest that Todd Haley is a Tyrod Taylor fan. If that’s the case, his late-14th round ADP could prove to be a STEAL!
20) Alex Smith, Washington Redskins: (Passing: 356/538-3,927-22-8, Rushing: 50-230-4)
Steady Alex Smith will have a surprise or two over the course of the season. But for the most part, what you see is what you get. But hey, Kirk Cousins was able to rush to pay-dirt 13 times over his last three seasons in the nation’s capital, Smith has proved over the years that he’s not a total statue in the pocket, why can’t he rush in for a few this season?!
21) Case Keenum, Denver Broncos: (Passing: 373/603-4,221-22-13)
Case Keenum will be a nice fit in Denver. But, the REAL beneficiaries of this signing are Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders.
22) Blake Bortles, Jacksonville Jaguars: (Passing: 317/537-3,598-21-14, Rushing: 57-359-3)
Aaron Rodger’s mobility with roughly 70% of his passing yards, half his passing TDs and double his INTs is enough to be relevant in 2QB formats.
23) Derek Carr, Oakland Raiders: (Passing: 348/557-3,843-28-11)
The poster child for the “Better Real-Life QB than Fantasy” club. His career completion percentage (61.3%), TD % (4.5%) and INT% (2.0%) without surpassing the 4,000 passing yard plateau in his first four seasons in the league support his candidacy for president of that club.
24) Mitch Trubisky, Chicago Bears: (Passing: 339/538-3,834-23-11, Rushing: 54-299-3)
To say that John Fox and Dowell Loggains were cautious with a Trubisky-led offense a year ago is a major understatement. However, Trubisky handled himself quite well! Considering the fact that he had just 13 NCAA starts going into last season, he still managed to complete just under 60% of his passes and only had a 2.1% INT%. Bad news was, he only had 2.1% of his throws go for TDs. Given the offensive minds hired to lead this team (HC Matt Nagy and OC Mark Helfrich), it wouldn’t be out of the realm of possibility to see Trubisky take a substantial leap forward in offensive output.
He also has some sneaky mobility too, rushing for 41-248-2 in 12 starts a year ago!
25) Jameis Winston, Tampa Bay Buccaneers: (Passing: 302/465-3,581-21-13)
2018 was a make-or-break year for “(In)Famous Jameis” BEFORE he was handed a three-game suspension for allegedly fondling an Uber driver in 2016. He’s a turnover machine while underwhelming fantasy owners in terms of passing yards despite the weapons around him. And, he doesn’t provide much in terms of mobility (3.1 yards/carry), proving that his 6 rushing TDs in his rookie season were probably an outlier.
I REALLY HOPE there’s something there for the 2015 first overall pick, but I have strong doubts.