2014 Fantasy Football: QB Preview

The NFL is back and that brings the welcome return of fantasy football. Over the past two seasons we’ve begun using oddsmakers projections to shed a new light on fantasy rankings, and the results have been categorically successful.

Last season we recommended taking Drew Brees ahead of the higher ranked Aaron Rodgers, and Brees outscored the Packers young gunslinger by 180 points in a standard Yahoo public league. We also projected a bounce back season for Lions QB Matthew Stafford, who finished last year as the 12th overall ranked fantasy player.

This season we decided to break down our fantasy preview into three parts, where we will separately examine quarterbacks, running backs and wide receivers/tight ends. In our first installment, we will be telling you which QB’s to target and which to avoid.

The table below shows the odds for each player to lead the league in passing at Sportsbook.com and compares that to their 2013 passing yards and 2014 Consensus Position Ranking from Yahoo! Sports.

Yahoo Rankings
2013 Passing Yards
Peyton Manning +300 1 5,477
Drew Brees +400 2 5,162
Aaron Rodgers +600 3 2,536
Matthew Stafford +700 4 4,650
Tom Brady +1000 10 4,343
Matt Ryan +1400 5 4,515
Andrew Luck +1600 8 3,822
Jay Cutler +2000 T-12 2,621
Eli Manning +2000 20 3,818
Philip Rivers +2000 T-14 4,478
Tony Romo +2500 11 3,828
Nick Foles +6000 9 2,891
Robert Griffin III +7500 6 3,203
Ryan Fitzpatrick +10000 N/A 2,454
Russell Wilson +10000 T-12 3,357
EJ Manuel +10000 29 1,972
Sam Bradford +10000 25 1,687
Ryan Tannehill +10000 22 3,913
Joe Flacco +10000 23 3,912
Josh McCown +10000 19 1,829
Ben Roethlisberger +15000 16 4,261
Andy Dalton +15000 17 4,293
Carson Palmer +15000 21 4,274
Matt Schaub +15000 N/A 2,310
Colin Kaepernick +20000 T-14 3,197
Jake Locker +20000 N/A 1,256
Cam Newton +20000 7 3,379
Teddy Bridgewater +20000 28 N/A
Johnny Manziel +20000 18 N/A
Alex Smith +25000 24 3,313
Chad Henne +50000 N/A 3,241
Geno Smith +50000 26 3,046
Blake Bortles +100000 N/A N/A

One player that immediately jumps off the page is Giants QB Eli Manning. The 2-time Super Bowl champion is tied for the 8th best odds to lead the league in passing yards (+2,000), has played in all 16 games in every season dating back to his rookie year, and has thrown for at least 3,800 yards in each of his past five seasons. Although he did throw a career-high 27 interceptions last season, a healthy Victor Cruz and the addition of first-round pick Odell Beckham should allow Manning to outperform his #20 ranking.

Another big name being undervalued by the fantasy community is Patriots QB Tom Brady. Although there has been much discussion of whether Brady is still an elite quarterback this off-season, it would seem that his decline is being vastly overstated. Despite playing with a hodgepodge of rookie receivers while star tight end Rob Gronkowski sat with an injury, Brady finished sixth in the league with 4,343 passing yards.

Brady currently has the fifth best odds of leading the league in passing yards (+1,000) but is ranked as just the tenth best fantasy quarterback. That means you can be one of the last teams to select a quarterback and still bring in an elite player.

Now some of the quarterbacks that would immediately appear to be overvalued are Robert Griffin III, Colin Kaepernick, Russell Wilson and Cam Newton, however, because of their rushing ability they have additional value that is not considered by these odds. In fact, all four of those players finished last season ranked among the top five rushing QB’s in the NFL.

With that in mind, it would appear that Nick Foles is being vastly overvalued by the fantasy community. Foles has just the 11th best odds of leading the league in passing yards but is currently ranked as the 9th best fantasy QB. Considering that Foles is quite limited as a rusher, we could safely rank the following signal callers ahead of the Eagles young quarterback (In no particular order):

Peyton Manning, Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers, Matthew Stafford, Andrew Luck, Matt Ryan, Tom Brady, Philip Rivers, Jay Cutler, Tony Romo, Russell Wilson, Cam Newton, Colin Kaepernick, and Robert Griffin III. It would be a toss-up between Eli Manning and Nick Foles, which means Foles should rank as either the 14th or 15th best fantasy quarterback.

Which quarterbacks will you be targeting? Do you agree or disagree with our selections? Make your voice heard in the comment section below.

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4 comments on “2014 Fantasy Football: QB Preview
    • Quite frankly quarterback is so deep that I would be surprised to see any QB’s taken in the first round in a standard 12-team league. With Brady ranked as the #10 QB, I would be content being one of the last team’s to draft the position. Peyton Manning would be the only fringe first rounder in my mind.

  1. I agree. With most leagues being under 14 teams QB in the first round is not the best idea. The QB position is very deep. Of course everyone will probably want Peyton Manning, however, since he seems like he could throw for another 40-50 TD’s if need be. But I think a solid RB like Peterson would be the best overall number one. RB is light this year.

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