Move past Cam Newton and Aaron Rodgers. From there, the debate over the best fantasy football quarterbacks rages on.
Ranking the top 10 fantasy quarterbacks is a tough errand because of the position’s depth. As has been the trend, you can find plenty of quality and value if you wait on quarterback in your draft. For 2016, the top of the class seems fairly obvious. Then it gets interesting.
1. Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers
The point differential between Newton and the No. 2 QB in standard leagues last season, Tom Brady, was greater than the differential separating Brady and the No. 7 QB, Aaron Rodgers. Oh, and he actually gets to play with Kelvin Benjamin this year.
2. Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers
Rodgers was so short-handed last year – no Jordy Nelson, an underachieving Randall Cobb, an awful running game, etc. – and yet he was still fantasy’s seventh-best signal-caller. This ranking assumes those 2015 problems get corrected.
3. Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks
He has finished as fantasy’s No. 3 QB for the last two years, so why not make it three in a row? With Marshawn Lynch retired, Wilson may have to do even more for this offense. If 2015 was no fluke, Doug Baldwin and Tyler Lockett represent the best wide receiving duo he’s ever had.
4. Andrew Luck, Indianapolis Colts
Luck is just one season removed from totaling 43 touchdowns and more than 5,000 yards. If he can just get some better protection, the sky’s the limit.
5. Carson Palmer, Arizona Cardinals
He’s got Bruce Arians and so many playmakers around him. Just stay healthy and the numbers will be there for Palmer. Even entering his age-36 season, he feels like a safe choice.
6. Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints
How much of Brees’ success can be credited to Sean Payton? I guess we’re going to find out. I believe Brees will put up numbers no matter who is coaching him. On paper, he has better weapons this year than last.
7. Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers
The season-long loss of Martavis Bryant is going to lead to some up-and-down outputs from Big Ben. But a lot of great things are always possible with Antonio Brown and Le’Veon Bell around. How much of the slack can Markus Wheaton and Sammie Coates pick up?
8. Blake Bortles, Jacksonville Jaguars
Fantasy No. 4 quarterback last year, Bortles’ stats were inflated by an amazing amount of garbage-time points. Don’t expect a repeat there, but Allen Robinson and Bortles’ rushing ability keep his floor high.
9. Eli Manning, New York Giants
Odell Beckham Jr. is in his third season, rookie Sterling Shepard is a Victor Cruz clone, and Cruz himself should be able to contribute at some point this year, right? Manning threw for many TD passes as Palmer and Bortles in 2015.
10. Derek Carr, Oakland Raiders
As of this writing, Tom Brady is suspended for the season’s first four games. So he falls out from around No. 4 or No. 5 and in pops Carr. He should only get better in his second season with Amari Cooper, Michael Crabtree and Co.