2016 Fantasy Football PPR Rankings: Remaining QB1 options

The RSJ continues to rank 2016's fantasy football quarterbacks, this time breaking down Tiers 3 and 4, the last remaining QB1s

Previously, we covered Tiers 1 and 2 of Fantasy Football Quarterbacks, aka Cam Newton and the guys who might challenge him for that top spot (Andrew Luck, Russell Wilson, and Aaron Rodgers)

Below, we continue our 2016 Fantasy Football PPR Rankings with Tiers 3 and 4 of QBs, which round out the players I consider QB1 locks. This isn’t to say I’ll overextend if 10 of these 11 are off the board; there’s still plenty of depth to be comfortable drafting 2-3 QB2s and playing match ups or letting one surprise. Nonetheless, acquiring the floor of an established option is obviously preferable, and those lie below:

Tier 3 – Upside QB1s

Quick tier breakdown: Outside of Brady if he plays all 16 games, I can’t envision any of these four threatening Cam for the top spot like Tier 2 might. Nonetheless, this group will almost always produce, while also offering at least 2-3 week-winning efforts. The sureness of any of these would be well worth a sixth rounder if they fell.

5. Drew Brees – After missing Week 3 with a shoulder injury, Brees played incredible ball the remainder of the year, throwing for 300+ yards in 9 of 13 games and finishing as the fantasy QB3 over that span. The Purdue product now gets explosive rookie Michael Thomas and athletic freak Coby Fleener added to his weapons cabinet. He’s overdue for a 5,000 yard season, and I think 2016 will be just that.

6. Carson Palmer – The fine wine of fantasy QBs. Fortunately for Palmer’s value, the system and weapons that helped facilitate a 2015 QB5 finish all remain in place for similar 2016 production. While I do expect a slightly heavier run-game focus with David Johnson’s emergence and an improved defense, Arians consistently orchestrates explosive aerial attacks. Given Palmer’s top-3 wideouts may be the best in the game, another season of consistent points seems on the docket for the wily veteran.


7. Ben Roethlisberger – Big Ben had some monstrous efforts in 2016, but also flashed serious injury risk. Even when on the field, Ben occasionally disappeared like in his Week 16 debacle against the worst ranked Baltimore pass defense. The loss of Martavis Bryant is also significant. Todd Haley is an aggressive, smart coordinator, but I’m not reaching for Ben with the amount of similar ceiling but higher floor QBs available at the same or lower prices

8. Tom Brady – If the ban is erased and we get 16 games of “Fuck you NFL” Tom, he’ll jump to my #2 overall QB. God Almighty’s supporting cast was boosted with the addition of redzone monster Martellus Bennett and the nifty Chris “7/11” Hogan. Dion Lewis’ return is also massive.

When his team was fully healthy, Brady was unstoppable; he had thrown for 275+ yards and multiple TDs in every contest, alongside only two total interceptions, and was outscoring the next closet QB by 30 points.   Not until he lost Dion Lewis (knee in Week 9) AND Julian Edelman (foot in Week 10) was Jesus impacted. Now, the backups to Gronk (Bennett) and Edelman (Hogan/Amendola) offer at least some type of insurance that the offense won’t regress as majorly should the injury imp return.

Even if he’s on the bench for 4 games, the GOAT is worth the #8 spot given just how deep he will bury his beautiful rod of justice into every NFL defense during his other 12 games.  With the depth at QB, a few patchwork Round 11 and 12 options should keep you afloat before Brady returns and leads your team to the ‘ship.  While I always want Tom Brady, there’s something even sexier when he’s in full-out vengeance mode.


Tier 4 –  Solid, steady QB1s (last desirable starters)

Quick tier breakdown: While these three aren’t quite as “sexy” as the above options, they’ll produce more weeks than not. The skill position talent would have to be high-quality for me to overlook any of these QBs in the 8th or 9th. I’ll likely end up dipping into this Tier more often than others.

9. Blake Bortles – His talent is ascending, and his weapons (Robinson, Hurns, Julius, and Yeldon) are strong. Nonetheless, the aerial volume which helped him achieve a surprising QB4 finish in 2015 might not be there for Bortles. The defense should be on the rise with the talented draft and free agent additions, and the signing of battering ram Chris Ivory should lessen Bortles’ workload, especially in the red zone.

Gus Bradley seems to be recreating the formula he learned while in Seattle: keep the game tight with defense and pound the opposing team into submission with a battering ram. While this is a successful real-life setup, it doesn’t generally equate to huge fantasy numbers for signal callers.

While my gut calls for regression, ascension shouldn’t be ruled out until the D’s on-paper talent actually matches the on-field results. Thus, Bortles is well worth an investment as the 9th signal caller off the board.


10. Phillip Rivers – Year in and year out Rivers gets absolutely no love. He seems so unsexy…and yet consider his start to 2015: 300+ yards in 6 / 8 games, and double digit TDs in all but one. This had him as the overall QB2 through 8 weeks, trailing only Tom Brady (yes, that means he was outscoring Cam Newton at this point of the year). Keenan unfortunately went down, and Rivers was never quite the same.

Capitalize on recency effect / unsexy vibes, and use Rivers’ awful, but excusable, finish to your advantage. Why is Rodgers so willingly handed the Jordy excuse but no one recognizes this for poor Phil? Regardless, Keenan is back, new OC Ken Whisenhunt coached Rivers to a brilliant 2013 campaign, and now the high-floor option gets a shiny new deep threat in Travis Benjamin. The stars are aligning for a career year which no one is talking about, making Rivers the ideal QB to wait for and pair with a “sexier” back up (Jameis, Cousins).  The floor is high, and the ceiling is very underrated, if not completely ignored.


11. Eli Manning – Thanks ODell, for making Eli highly fantasy relevant. Since you’ve played together, Eli has been a Top 10 QB in back to back years.  Indeed, this hints at a highly safe floor. Let’s also not forget the newfound upside that Ben McAdoo’s promotion to head honcho creates. McAdoo was highly involved in some explosive, fast-paced aerial attacks in Green Bay , and I feel some shackles might be removed with Coughlin gone. Sterling Shephard’s addition is also a major boost on the perimeter. This floor and ceiling is available all the way down here at #11, another sign that waiting on a QB is prudent.

Eli’s fantasy value has come a long way since these days… thanks ODell
While these Top 11 already hint at the absurd amount of QB Depth, wait until you see how vast the QB2 pool is tomorrow. Be sure to check in and find out which QB2’s we feel will be 2016’s Carson Palmer or Blake Bortles.


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