2016 Fantasy Football Rankings: Top 25 Quarterbacks

Via our friends at numberFire.

Drafting quarterbacks early in your fantasy football drafts generally isn’t the right thing to do.

There are a variety of reasons for this, but at its most basic level, it breaks down to the fundamental economic concept of supply and demand. In any given week, every member of your league is going to be starting double or triple the number of running backs and wide receivers as they are quarterbacks. That makes for a short supply of quality running backs and receivers, forcing your hand to draft them earlier.

Whether you want to draft a late-round quarterback like the cool kids — and increase your chances of winning your league — or grab an elite quarterback early, let’s take a look at our algorithm’s top-25 quarterback rankings for the 2016 season.

You can find the full list of quarterback projections as part of numberFire’s Draft Kit.

1. Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers

Rodgers certainly struggled in 2015, but we have him back at the top of our quarterback rankings for 2016.

Our own John Prandato gave us an in-depth look at Rodgers’ numbers in 2015, as he looks at Rodgers returning to form this season. “Rodgers indeed struggled, at least by his lofty standards, completing just 60.7 percent of his passes on 6.68 yards per attempt (both by far career lows)… His 0.06 Passing Net Expected Points (NEP) per drop back — a statistic in which he led the league in 2014 with a mark of 0.34 — ranked in the bottom fifth among quarterbacks with at least 300 drop backs in 2015.”

While many fantasy owners were disappointed with his results last season, it’s important to remember that, according to our Passing Net Expected Points metric, 2015 was the first year Rodgers didn’t finish as a top six passer since 2010.

2. Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers

3. Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints

Over the last eight seasons, Brees has never thrown for fewer than 4,300 yards, and he’s thrown for more than 5,000 yards in four of those seasons. According to our Passing NEP metric, he’s had 5 of the best 20 seasons for any quarterback with at least 300 drop backs since 2008. No one would blink if Brees finished 2016 as the highest-scoring fantasy quarterback.

4. Andrew Luck, Indianapolis Colts

5. Carson Palmer, Arizona Cardinals

In 2015, Palmer ranked first in Passing NEP, second in Passing NEP per drop back, and third in Success Rate (the percentage of positive plays made by a player). Palmer’s 0.33 Passing NEP per drop back was good enough to be tied for seventh-best mark since 2000. In 2016, the Cardinals return one of the best supporting casts in the NFL, and we fully expect Palmer to take advantage.

6. Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks

7. Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers

Roethlisberger was a top-10 quarterback in 2015 according to both Passing NEP and Passing NEP per drop back.He’s now finished in the top 10 in each of these two metrics every year since 2009. We’re projecting that Roethlisberger will throw for approximately 4,763 total yards this season, which is our second-highest projected total, second only to Drew Brees.

8. Blake Bortles, Jacksonville Jaguars

In 2015, Bortles threw for over 4,400 yards and finished tied for second in passing touchdowns with 35. However, our NEP metric shows us that, while he did accumulate big stats, he really wasn’t a great quarterback — he finished the year ranked 23rd in per drop back efficiency. Big-time volume allowed Bortles to finish as top-10 fantasy quarterback in 2015, and it will allow for the same in 2016, despite some regression coming.

9. Tyrod Taylor, Buffalo Bills

Per FantasyFootballCalculator.com, Tyrod Taylor is being drafted, on average, as the 16th-best fantasy quarterback. Meanwhile, our initial projections have Tyrod finishing less than one point behind Bortles on the season, but Bortles is currently being drafted much earlier as the eighth quarterback off the board.

Taylor somewhat surprisingly completed 2015 as our 10th-best quarterback according to Passing NEP per drop back, but he also finished as our 3rd-best rushing quarterback according to Rushing NEP. We believe Tyrod will take another small step forward in what will be just his second full season as a starting quarterback.

10. Philip Rivers, San Diego Chargers

Since 2008, Philip Rivers has been a top-12 fantasy quarterback in all but one season. He finished as the 12th-highest scoring fantasy quarterback last year, and did so via massive volume, dropping back to pass 702 times. For those keeping track, that’s 184 more drop backs than the average among the 31 quarterbacks who threw at least 300 passes.

Rivers also managed to maintain a solid level of efficiency despite the high volume. He finished as our 13th-ranked quarterback according to Passing NEP per drop back. With the newly acquired Travis Benjamin and the dynamic Keenan Allen back and healthy — Rivers was a top-five passer with Allen last year — we’re looking forward to another top-10 season from Rivers.

Continue reading at numberFire.com… (@numberfire)


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