Whew. After what can only be described as a lackluster playoff season we were certainly treated to a very exciting Super Bowl.
Well.. I suppose it was exciting if you are a New England Patriots fan but more along the lines of devastating if you cheer for the Atlanta Falcons. Either way, it closed the door on a very interesting 2016 NFL season.
It also opens the door on a brand new 2017 Fantasy Football season.
Once again the question of how early is too early to start ranking players comes to mind. As always I will answer that particular query with a resounding “It’s never too early!”
So let’s get the ball rolling with a ‘Way too early’ look at the quarterback position heading into next season.
This is a quick hitting look at my current top-20 which I am sure will be tweaked at least a hundred times before 2017 fantasy drafts.
1. Aaron Rodgers, GREEN BAY PACKERS- Rodgers reasserted himself as the top fantasy quarterback down the stretch tossing 18 touchdowns and zero interceptions from weeks 11-17. There’s no reason to believe he doesn’t pick up where he left off in 2017.
2. Tom Brady, NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS- All Brady did once he returned from suspension was throw for over 3,500 yards with 28 touchdowns and two interceptions. Playing a 16 game schedule will allow Brady to challenge Rodgers for the top spot next season. Look for him to ride that great Super Bowl (second half) performance into a big 2017 campaign.
3. Drew Brees, NEW ORLEANS SAINTS- Brees has attempted at least 650 passes in seven of the past ten seasons and reached 5,000 passing yards five times in that time span. He’s averaged 38 touchdown passes per season over the last decade and is an ageless wonder that will once again be tossing the ball all over the field in 2017.
4. Andrew Luck, INDIANAPOLIS COLTS- Luck has all the weapons needed to post big numbers but the offensive line has to be shored up. The man simply takes too many hits and that is the biggest concern for Luck heading into the upcoming season. This ranking implies that I see Indianapolis helping the O-line and if that happens Luck could also challenge for the top spot.
5. Matt Ryan, ATLANTA FALCONS- It’s going to be interesting to see if Ryan can shake off the Falcons Super Bowl collapse. Atlanta already has a plethora of offensive weapons and the emergence of tight end Austin Hooper will give ‘Matty Ice’ another option. Look for Ryan to continue his upswing as he and Julio Jones wreak havoc on defenses once again.
6. Russell Wilson, SEATTLE SEAHAWKS- Wilson suffered an early season lower leg injury that led to a very slow start. Through the first six weeks of the year he ranked well outside the top-20 in quarterback scoring. From week seven on he would get healthier and post top-5 numbers in most scoring formats finishing as a top-10 QB for the season. Wilson has developed a rapport with tight end Jimmy Graham and that bodes well moving forward.
7. Ben Roethlisberger, PITTSBURGH STEELERS- We’ll assume that ‘Big Ben’ returns for the 2017 season after he’s hinted that he’ll have to think about it. Nagging injuries as well as a disturbing difference in his split stats have me wondering if this may be a bit high for Roethlisberger. Playing at home last year he threw 20 touchdowns passes while merely nine on the road. As long as he has wide receiver Antonio Brown Roethlisberger deserves a top-10 ranking.
8. Cam Newton, CAROLINA PANTHERS- Newton has become a tougher player to rank as his career plays out. After finishing as a top-10 fantasy QB in his first three seasons Newton has finished outside the top-10 in two of the past three years. Sandwiched in between those seasons was a phenomenal 2015 campaign. As of now I’m comfortable having him sitting comfortably at #8.
9. Dak Prescott, DALLAS COWBOYS- We have an emerging fantasy star and the Cowboys have their new franchise quarterback. Prescott is the quintessential dual threat having thrown for 23 touchdowns while rushing for six more. The offense is stacked with Ezekiel Elliott, Jason Witten and Dez Bryant at the skill positions for Prescott. Prescott has the chance to easily outperform this early ranking as he avoids a sophomore slump and has another big season.
10. Derek Carr, OAKLAND RAIDERS- Carr was a top-10 fantasy quarterback before breaking his finger in Week 12 and then missing Week 16 as well as the playoffs with a leg injury. He is expected to be 100% before training camp and I see his ascension up the quarterback ladder continuing. The Raiders have above average wide receivers and very good pass catching running backs and Carr will utilize both on his way to a top-10 finish in 2017.