TDG Consensus Dynasty Quarterback Rankings, January 2017
Welcome to the first installment of the The Dynasty Guru Consensus Positional Rankings. Over the next several weeks we’ll release consensus rankings for running backs, wide receivers and tight ends. The process is for five trusted dynasty players to make their own lists, we average them, fight about it, tinker and then mercifully release them to the wild for your enjoyment.
After the conclusion of these consensus rankings I will make one more pre-draft top 250 list followed by a post-draft list. (I strongly prefer not to rank 2017 rookies until they’ve been drafted, because as much as we like to play pro-scout and analyze stats, NFL draft position is the number one predictor of future success.)
Tier 1: The Consensus Top Asset
All five rankers had Andrew Luck first overall. As I stated in my my curiously timed quarterback rankings from week 15, Luck has the best combination of track record, durability and age.
Tier 2: Consensus Top Five
As the top fantasy quarterback in 2016, one could make a strong case that A-Rod deserves his own second tier, but there’s only so many hours in the day, folks. If I were a spiteful person, which I am, I would pull an Elway on all the heat I took for ranking Rodgers as dynasty QB2 during his struggles in the fall.
“Consensus” is a bit of a misnomer here because as you can see one ranker (me) had Cam outside the top five, but on average the group believed Cam was still comfortably a top five quarterback. I’m not jumping off the bandwagon for the same reason I stayed faithful to Andrew Luck coming off his down ’15, but Cam is older and has always relied on high volume, high efficiency scrambling, which was way down in ’16. Athleticism doesn’t improve with age, folks.
Speaking of scrambling and down, our group collectively believes Russell Wilson’s decline in rushing yards was a blip on the radar due to an early season ankle injury. If we’re wrong… unlike Cam, he also has the benefit of many years as a high efficiency thrower.
Tier 3: Consensus Top 10
Mariota, Carr, Prescott and Winston have earned our confidence as high end dynasty quarterbacks, but it’s reasonable that we want to see a little more in terms of development and/or consistency before they’re elevated into a higher tier. Indeed, the quarterback graveyard is littered with quarterbacks who enjoyed early success only to falter (Josh Freeman comes to mind). Make no mistake, though, Dak Prescott had a historic rookie season.
Matt Ryan was fantasy’s 2nd overall quarterback in ’16 and despite a pristine track record of health and consistency,but too many rankers remember the years of “meh” to elevate him any higher.
And then there’s Kirk Cousins, who has put up back-to-back top ten fantasy quarterback seasons, but has nevertheless failed to earn the trust of the organization who writes his checks or fantasy owners. Whether you care about yards per attempt, passer rating, QBR, Pro Football Focus grades, everything points to Cousins being legitimately very good, but (perhaps since he he kind of looks like a dweeb) he has been slow to enter our hearts.
Tier 4: Consensus Top 20 Assets
Brees, Ben and Brady make up their own mini-sub-tier of end-of-days elite plays. For single quarterback leagues, I’d be targeting these three for any contender. As disciplined and talented as he is, who’s to say Brady can’t play another few years at a high level? He’s in his own world and therefore historical aging curves aren’t particularly useful when applied to him.
For all the heat he takes and glory his detractors seem to take for “calling” his 2016 demise, Blake Bortles now has back to back top six fantasy seasons and reportedly played 2016 hurt. We saw enough ugly moments from the “Garbage Time Hero” to wonder if he’s a long-term fixture, but at just 24 years old let’s not write his obituary just yet.
One lesson I learned in 2016 is that ol’ reliables like Philip Rivers are often safer bets to provide many years of starting caliber quarterbacking than the latest Goff du’ jour.
I worry about betting big on anyone who relies heavily on his legs for fantasy value, but there’s evidence that Taylor is discount Russ Wilson (apologies for the race comps). I’ll be buying up Taylor shares whenever possible, especially if he lands in Denver.
Tier 5: Streamers and Prospects
Romo stands out from this list as having the most short term upside. He’s only ever been excellent when healthy and there are sure to be a long list of suitors vying for his services next year.
Garoppolo needs a trade, else he becomes a free agent in 2018. To rank him 24th overall, you’d have to be reasonably confident he’s either a legitimate future starter and/or is likely to get that trade. Personally, I hope he never does anything because I find it hard to remember how to spell his name. Meanwhile, Mike Glennon is mercifully free from Tampa this offseason and many GM’s have been quoted as saying they view him as an average NFL starter (a compliment).
Alex Smith is my pick for “safest” player on this list to still have a job in two years. No one gets less respect for providing consistently good-enough-to-win production.
I’m the “low guy” on Kaepernick and I don’t think the upside is high enough to justify ranking him here, because I doubt he has a starting job ever again absent an injury to a starter.
Tier 6: End of Days and Spec’ Plays
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Carson Palmer should be good for one more QB2 season and if you can ride him out to avoid a down ’17 quarterback draft class, I would go ahead do that.
I’m the high guy on Bradford, whom NFL teams continue to agree is a starting quarterback even if he doesn’t inspire confidence. Bradford finished 8th overall by Pro Football Focus grades and set the single season completion percentage record.
Curiously, it was Brett Hundley who garnered the most debate. I have always loved his upside as a YOLO quarterback, but two years (his time until free agency) is a long time to stash a speculative quarterback who was drafted in round five. I can see both sides of the coin and recently traded him for Mike Wallace.
Tier 7: The Rest
AJ McCarron stands out from this list as someone who could develop into a starter under the right circumstances. He’s also a free agent after next season. I don’t believe in anyone else from this list other than to be an intriguing caddy / backup to a starter.
(Anyone who did not get ranked at all was automatically ranked 46th, hence the bottom ranking of 46.)
If you’re interested in some 2017 rookie prospect fun to supplement these rankings, I recommend checking out this NFL mock draft or the Twitter Hashtag
#Nerds17RookieMock1 for a dynasty rookie mock draft.