Before I rank my top five fantasy quarterbacks heading into the 2016 NFL season, I want to make one thing clear: I will not have any of these players on any of my fantasy rosters. It’s not because I don’t think the quarterback position in fantasy is important, but it’s because I’d rather use high draft picks on wide receivers, running backs or tight ends. I’d much rather take my chances with a guy like Eli Manning or Philip Rivers in the later rounds, as opposed to skipping a top receiver/running back to land Aaron Rodgers in the first or second round.
With that said, here’s my top 5 guys going into next season.
1. Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers
- The reigning MVP led all quarterbacks with 391 fantasy points (standard scoring) in 2015, and he did so without a true no. 1 receiver. Newton threw for 3,837 yards and added another 636 on the ground. He scored 45 total touchdowns (35 throwing, 10 rushing) and only threw 10 interceptions. With Kelvin Benjamin coming back, Newton will have more opportunity to see those numbers grow. It’s tough to choose a QB ahead of him.
2. Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers
- Rodgers, too, put up efficient numbers without his no. 1 receiver last season, but not enough fantasy points to land him in the top 5 fantasy quarterbacks in 2015. The former MVP threw for 31 touchdowns and only 8 interceptions, but the Packers clearly missed Nelson on offense. He’ll be back, and Rodgers will be Rodgers. I expect a big year from him and the Packers.
3. Andrew Luck, Indianapolis Colts
- Luck let a ton of people down last season, and not just Colts fans. He missed most of the year with an injury, but he was bad even when he played. The Colts’ front office has taken a lot of slack for not protecting their franchise QB, but they finally did so in this year’s draft. It was only two years ago Luck threw for 40 touchdowns (and ran for three), almost throwing for 5,000 yards. I won’t promise that, but I expect Luck to have a huge bounce back year and earn back the respect he was prematurely given in his first few years in the league.
4. Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks
- You can easily make the argument to draft Wilson higher. His numbers have progressed each year in the league, and he threw for career high numbers last season. He had 34 passing touchdowns and only 8 interceptions, and he threw for over 4,000 yards. Oh, and he rushed for another 553 yards, which was actually and underachievement for his rushing standards. But that’s telling of a different story: Wilson is adapting more and more as a passing quarterback, and only using his legs to rush when he feels necessary. Either way, Wilson manages to get better by the season, and he’s in for another big year.
5. Carson Palmer, Arizona Cardinals
- Palmer led me to a fantasy championship last season, and he certainly has the supporting cast to lead you to one this year. Palmer threw for 4,671 yards and 35 touchdowns last season, and he also put up the highest Quarterback Rating of his career (104.6). If it weren’t for Newton and the Panthers’ magical season, Palmer would have been MVP of the league. The Cardinals’ offense should be quite good again, and Palmer is a QB you want leading your fantasy squad.
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