Tier 1: Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady
Tier 2: Drew Brees, Matt Ryan, Andrew Luck
Tier 3: Russell Wilson, Cam Newton, Jameis Winston, Derek Carr, Kirk Cousins, Ben Roethlisberger, Marcus Mariota
Tier 4: Matthew Stafford, Philip Rivers, Dak Prescott, Eli Manning, Tyrod Taylor, Andy Dalton
Tier 5: Carson Wentz, Carson Palmer, Joe Flacco, Jay Cutler, Blake Bortles
The NFL's two best real life QBs comprise tier 1 this year - no additional explanation needed. The tier 2 group also contains a very safe group of top level starters, just a smidge below Rodgers and Brady. The quality doesn’t drop much even as we get into tier 3, and arguably tier 4. Tier 3 provides some options with massive upside, along with familiar, safe veterans. The tier 4 group lacks the ceiling of the tier 3 options, but could serve as serviceable starters if needed.
With incredible depth at the position, I strongly suggest that you wait to the QB situation until the mid to later rounds. Grab a QB from tier 3, and another from tier 3 or 4, and go with matchups from there. No need to spend early draft capital to address the QB position, unless your league starts two QBs.
Finally, quick hits on two QBs who I expect will outperform their ADP, and are therefore reflected higher in my rankings:
Jameis Winston – The Bucs QB has passing weapons galore, with receivers Mike Evans and DeSean Jackson, and tight ends Cameron Brate and rookie OJ Howard. Winston will throw 15-20 interceptions (less of a problem for fantasy than for real life), but he’ll be chucking the ball around frequently. It would be no surprise to see him post mid-level QB1 fantasy numbers.
Marcus Mariota – The Titans were threatening to reach the playoffs last year, up until Mariota broke his leg in week 16. Reports suggest Mariota is healthy and ready to go. The young QB passed for more than 3,400 yards, with a 26 to 9 TD/INT ratio, with more than 300 yards rushing to boot. Look for Mariota to expand on those numbers, with another year under his belt and improved weapons (hello Corey Davis and Eric Decker) at his disposal in the passing game.
And two QBs who I consider to be overdrafted with respect to their ADP, and are therefore reflected lower in my rankings:
Ben Roethlisberger – Roethlisberger teases historic statistical seasons, and certainly has the ability to deliver monster numbers. However, his name has outpaced his stats the last few years. Roethlisberger has struggled on the road the last two seasons (16 TDs to 19 INTs), and he’s frequently been nursing injuries. I see him as a perfectly fine back end QB1, just not in the elite group of fantasy QBs.
Dak Prescott – The Cowboys surprised the NFL world in large part due to Dak Prescott’s sensational rookie year. While I don’t think last year was a fluke, I’m not sure that I see improved stats in the offing this season. The Cowboys face a tougher slate of defenses this year, and teams have a better idea of how to scheme against Prescott. So for fantasy purposes, I’m just not as high on him as others.