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.

Update: On Wednesday, August 27th, Bovada posted an incredible number of player specific props including an over/under on passing yards for nearly every single starting quarterback in the NFL. While most of the yardage totals matched up with the odds to lead the league in passing, there were a few notable discrepancies including Aaron Rodgers, Nick Foles and Carson Palmer.

Name Yardage O/U (8/27) Odds (7/26) Yahoo Rankings 2013 Passing Yards
Peyton Manning 4900 +300 1 5,477
Drew Brees 4900 +400 2 5,162
Matthew Stafford 4700 +700 4 4,650
Matt Ryan 4500 +1400 5 4,515
Tom Brady 4400 +1000 10 4,343
Aaron Rodgers 4400 +600 3 2,536
Tony Romo 4400 +2500 11 3,828
Nick Foles 4200 +6000 9 2,891
Andrew Luck 4200 +1600 8 3,822
Jay Cutler 4000 +2000 T-12 2,621
Carson Palmer 4000 +15000 21 4,274
Eli Manning 4000 +2000 20 3,818
Philip Rivers 4000 +2000 T-14 4,478
Ben Roethlisberger 3900 +15000 16 4,261
Ryan Tannehill 3900 +10000 22 3,913
Andy Dalton 3900 +15000 17 4,293
Joe Flacco 3800 +10000 23 3,912
Robert Griffin III 3700 +7500 6 3,203
Josh McCown 3500 +10000 19 1,829
Colin Kaepernick 3500 +20000 T-14 3,197
Cam Newton 3500 +20000 7 3,379
Alex Smith 3400 +25000 24 3,313
Russell Wilson 3400 +10000 T-12 3,357
Geno Smith 3200 +50000 26 3,046
EJ Manuel 3200 +10000 29 1,972
Blake Bortles N/A +100000 N/A N/A
Chad Henne N/A +50000 N/A 3,241
Sam Bradford N/A +10000 25 1,687
Teddy Bridgewater N/A +20000 28 N/A
Jake Locker N/A +20000 N/A 1,256
Matt Schaub N/A +15000 N/A 2,310
Ryan Fitzpatrick N/A +10000 N/A 2,454
Johnny Manziel N/A +20000 18 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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David Solar

David Solar is the Content Manager at Sports Insights. He specializes in sports betting analytics and creating data-driven betting systems. He can be reached directly at david@sportsinsights.com or on twitter at @TheDavidSolar.

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7 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. Good stuff…. not sure Brady will rank as high as predicted here. Gronk’s health is still a question mark, and his receiving corps has no marquee names. Of course, Brady is still Brady! 🙂

  2. 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.

  3. Dave good insight. I do see and can see 1 or more of these 3 qb’s going 1st rd or early-early 2nd rd in 12 man leagues with 6pt td’s to answer the above question. Peyton, Brees, Rodgers. They can win you games! I do recommend that our fellow fantasy diehards check out http://www.statchat.com the site provides leagues with a national ranking and the entire league wins prizes. Take it easy.

  4. Why is Foles limited as a rusher? He had 56 rushes last year in basically 11 games avg 4 ypc and had 3 TD’s. If playing all 16 games he should have well over 60 rushing attempts. Definately would not call that limited, and is an additonal 40-50 fantasy points.

  5. Hi David, fyi for 2015 fantasy football leagues hosted on espn, cbs, yahoo, and others will get a national ranking from StatChat.com.

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