Fantasy Football 2015 QB Rankings: How Comfortable Are You Taking Peyton Manning Early?

By Jason Lisk
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ELITE TIER

#1 Andrew Luck, IND
#2 Aaron Rodgers, GB

There are two quarterbacks in their prime, one entering and one still at his pinnacle, who have a good group of weapons around them and the pedigree to go near the top of the draft. Luck led the league in touchdowns; Rodgers is usually only limited (in counting stats) by playing with two large of a lead and not always putting up the highest volume of passes.

 

STAR TIER

#3 Russell Wilson, SEA
#4 Peyton Manning, DEN
#5 Ben Roethlisberger, PIT
#6 Cam Newton, CAR
#7 Drew Brees, NO

This group all presents guys who have the ability to be near the top of the rankings at the end of the year. Russell Wilson enters his prime and now has Jimmy Graham as a target. Abstain from hooking up with him on your fantasy roster if he slips too far at your own risk.

Peyton Manning, for all the playoff and end of year trouble, was still one of the most productive fantasy quarterbacks a year ago. Big Ben still has Antonio Brown and another questionable defense that could lead to more passing. Newton was banged up and still finished in the top 8 in fantasy points per game last year, and always provides rushing value. Brees is also getting up there in age, so he is not an automatic top 3 choice like he has been, but still will likely provide a good amount of production.

 

STARTER TIER

#8 Matt Ryan, ATL
#9 Tom Brady, NE
#10 Eli Manning, NYG
#11 Philip Rivers, SD
#12 Tony Romo, DAL
#13 Ryan Tannehill, MIA
#14 Matthew Stafford, DET

Tom Brady is an interesting conundrum. This ranking is based on him missing games. You shouldn’t overreact to that too much though, especially at the QB position. You can fill in with another starter for a few weeks, especially early in the year before bye weeks. Still, it drops him a little. If his suspension is overturned by the federal court, bump him up to the Cam Newton/Drew Brees tier.

After that, it’s a bunch of guys who have a history of solid seasons, some really good ones, and who should be starters all year barring injury.

 

COMMITTEE STARTER TIER

#15 Sam Bradford, PHI
#16 Joe Flacco, BAL
#17 Jay Cutler, CHI
#18 Jameis Winston, TB
#19 Teddy Bridgewater, MIN
#20 Marcus Mariota, TEN
#21 Colin Kaepernick, SF
#22 Carson Palmer, ARI

The Philadelphia quarterback situation has been pretty productive. Last year, Foles and Sanchez combined to roughly equal where Bradford is now. The problem is trusting Bradford’s health. As a fantasy backup, though, he’s worth the risk.  The rest in this group have upside to be QB1 if things break right, but question marks as well. For Carson Palmer, it’s age and health, after another knee injury in 2014. For Flacco and Cutler, it’s bouncing back statistically, in offenses that have new coordinators and targets. Winston and Mariota, two highly drafted rookies, become reasonable risks in this range (we’ve seen the likes of Wilson, Newton, Griffin, and Luck become starting options as rookies, while others like Bortles, Tannehill, Gabbert, and Ponder did not right away, or sometimes ever).

 

BACKUP TIER

#23 Andy Dalton, CIN
#24 Robert Griffin III, WAS
#25 Alex Smith, KC
#26 Derek Carr, OAK
#27 Blake Bortles, JAC

Carr and Bortles both put up pretty dreadful rate stats as rookies, though there is some optimism. Smith is kind of your baseline fall back option. He’ll comfortably start in Kansas City and be safe, but went an entire year without throwing a touchdown to a WR. Dalton is who is at this point, a matchup start. RGIII will try to rebound after two dreadful years, and at least he thinks he is the best in the league.

 

FREE AGENT/QUESTION MARK TIER

#28 Ryan Fitzpatrick, NYJ
#29 Nick Foles, STL
#30 Brian Hoyer or Ryan Mallett, HOU
#31 Josh McCown, CLE
#32 Tyrod Taylor or Matt Cassel or E.J. Manuel or death by fire, BUF

For all you hotshots in start 2-QB leagues, these might be of interest. Fitzpatrick has the most upside, throwing to Marshall and Decker, and is only outside those other bench options because his hold on the position isn’t as strong. As for Foles, going to St. Louis is the opposite of doing wonders for your value. After that, while the QB battles in Houston, Buffalo, and Cleveland may be of real-life interest to fans, you shouldn’t be waiting around to see who wins these appointments except in the deepest of leagues.

 

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