Quarterback Rankings Recap
April 10, 2014 | Jeff
Now that we have unleashed The Fake Football’s 2014 Quarterback Rankings, we can take a step back, exhale, and have a little discussion about the state of our rankings. I cannot speak for the Chetster (I tried that once and the subsequent caning was not fun), but there were a few players I personally found notable as I scanned through my own 2014 quarterback projections and began to rank these fellas for the upcoming season. Some seem high, some seem low, and some found their porridge juuuuuuuust right. Below, you will find these quarterbacks of note along with their rank and a brief explanation of my thoughts.
(Jeff #3, Chet #3, Composite #3)
Last season, elder brother Manning topped Drew Brees, fake football’s second highest scoring quarterback, by 52.3 points. Cam Newton, third in the season-end fantasy rankings, was smoked by 112.3 points by Manning. So why on this forsaken Earth is Peyton Manning not number one in our 2014 rankings? WHY? Well, my friend, career seasons are just that…career seasons. Let’s take a peak at Peyton Manning’s last record breaking season (2004) where he chucked a whopping 49 touchdown passes, then look at how he followed up that campaign:
|Year||Team||G||Comp||Att||Pct||Yds||Y/G||Y/A||TD||Int||Fan Pts||Fan PPG|
I am not going to try to convince you fine fake football fans that the situations surrounding these seasons were all comparable or that they equate to the current conditions in Denver, but it simply illustrates the fact that throwing north of 40 touchdowns is HARD. In Manning’s illustrious career, he has topped the 40 touchdown mark only twice. Drew Brees has surpassed that same mark only twice as well. 2013 was a historic run for Manning and Denver (until the Super Bowl) but the odds of Peyton repeating those numbers are not great. Having said that, Manning is still a lock for a healthy 300+ point/20+ ppg fantasy season and is strapped in as a Top Three option for 2014. Manning is great, just don’t don’t get unreasonably excited on fantasy draft day.
(Jeff #5, Chet #7, Composite #5)
I have to admit, I was in deep. I had stars in my eyes and there were no bounds to the extravagant numbers I had projected for Cam Newton’s 2014 season. Cam’s completion percentage was the highest of his career and his incomparable rushing statistics remained strong last season. Then, NFL free agency hit and the Carolina Panthers were the lone team standing in the bar at 2 a.m. when the lights came on and the janitor wheeled out the mop bucket. Seemingly overnight, the Carolina wide receivers had turned from bad to simply nonexistent. Steve Smith (cut), Brandon LaFell (free agent), and Ted Ginn Jr. (free agent) all departed and were replaced with this laughable group of options for Cam to throw to in 2014:
Jerricho Cotchery (32 years old when Week 1 rolls around)
Jason Avant (31 years old this month and proud owner of 12 touchdowns in eight seasons)
Tiquan Underwood (63 career catches)
Tavarres King/Marvin McNutt (zero career catches combined/cartoon character names)
Unless Greg Olsen morphs into Jimmy Graham and both DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart relieve themselves in the same wishing well as Marshall Faulk, Cam is going to struggle to move the ball through the air. Even acquiring a top rookie through the NFL Draft will still be too little to take Cam’s passing game to the next level. Newton’s wheels still keep him in the upper tier of fake football quarterbacks, but this effort from the Carolina front office is frustrating for Panthers and fantasy fans alike.
(Jeff #9, Chet #10, Composite #9)
2013 was a rough season for Ryan and the dirty birds, as Atlanta failed miserably to live up to lofty preseason forecasts. While last season was unfortunate from Atlanta’s point of view, it has created pure profit for the land of fake football in 2014. Ryan finished up the 2013 season as fantasy football’s 14th highest scoring quarterback, just behind Alex Smith. Considering that Ryan lost perennial stud Roddy White for a large portion of the season and had All-Universe thoroughbred Julio Jones for a mere five games, it is an impressive feat that Ryan even cracked the Top 20 at the quarterback position. Out of necessity, Ryan was forced to throw a career high 651 passes, as the Atlanta running game and defense were largely invisible last season. This led to Ryan throwing for 4,515 yards (fourth most in the NFL), but only 6.9 yards per attempt (Ryan’s lowest average since 2010).
2014 will be far different for Matt Ryan, as Julio Jones and Roddy White will be back to full health and ready to lead Atlanta’s offense. The defense and running game for the Falcons are still questionable, but a return to 4,500 passing yards and 30+ passing touchdowns is definitely in the cards for Matthew Ice, who will carry an extremely favorable ADP (Average Draft Position) in fantasy drafts this summer.
(Jeff #12, Chet #11, Composite #12)
I covered Cutler’s 2014 potential in-depth in our “Extrapolation Station” series, but I would like to take another moment to highlight the fact that I will be chairman of the 2014 Jay Cutler Fantasy Fan Club. Chet is also a card carrying member (after paying his annual dues, of course). The Marc Trestman passing offense was a thing of beauty last season, and a healthy 16 game slate is all that is needed from our man Jay to turn in a Top 10 fantasy quarterback season in 2014. Armed with a pass friendly offensive scheme, a pass catching threat at running back and two of the most fearsome wide receivers in the National Football League, big numbers are in Cutler’s future. Naturally, Cutler’s interception total will likely be one of those big numbers, but Andy Dalton chucked 20 passes to the wrong team in 2013 and still managed to finish as the fifth highest scoring fantasy quarterback (I know, seems weird to me as well). Cutler is my top quarterback target for 2014 fantasy football drafts, as adding a quarterback with this type of ceiling late in drafts is almost cheating. Your team will be stuffed to the gills with wide receiver and running back talent and drafting Cutler in round 9 will be the cherry on your title winning sunday. Mmmmmm.
(Jeff #15, Chet #8, Composite #11)
I readily admit that after submitting my quarterback rankings, this name did stick out a bit at #15. I could bore you with reasons why I ranked 14 other quarterbacks ahead of Mr. Romo but you would be nodding off and/or checking Twitter on your phone by the time I finished. The bottom line here is that Romo finished the 2013 season as our QB10. A Top 10 season is nothing to sneeze at, but there are other quarterbacks who finished behind Romo in 2013 (Ryan, Cutler, RGIII, Foles, Rodgers, etc..) that have a bit more ceiling in 2014 in my eyes. The quarterback position is extremely deep this season and someone had to slide down the rankings ladder. Sorry Tony.
The elephant in the room here is the Scott Linehan hiring in Dallas. I acknowledge the fact that I may not be giving this aspect of Romo’s 2014 potential it’s full due. Perhaps the play calling of Linehan, who oversaw Matthew Stafford’s crazy numbers before moving on to Dallas, will indeed push Romo into the Top 5-7 range of fantasy quarterbacks but I am personally not ready to make that adjustment quite yet. However, it is a long offseason, so we will see how time (and watching Dez Bryant highlights) impacts this ranking over the coming months.