2017 fantasy football position rankings: Quarterbacks

Over the next few weeks we’ll take an early look at our 2017 fantasy football position rankings. This week we’ll talk about the signal callers before turning our attention to running backs next week. We’ll rank the QBs from 1 to 32, the running backs from 1-36, the wide receivers 1-36 and the tight ends 1-24. Defenses and kickers will be ranked 1-12.

First up we’ve got the quarterbacks. You’ll notice Matt Ryan is still in the top-5, but he’s not the No. 1 quarterback like he was at the end of the 2016 season.

Quarterbacks

1. Aaron Rodgers, Packers—He still has Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb. Davante Adams is a rising star and the addition of Martellus Bennett should help Rodgers have the best season among QBs.

2. Tom Brady, Patriots—He’ll be 40 by the time the season starts but he seems to have a lot of tread left on the tires. The addition of Brandin Cooks and Mike Gillislee adds more weapons for the Super Bowl MVP.

3. Drew Brees, Saints—Probably one of the most underrated quarterbacks in the history of the NFL, Brees just seems to put up numbers with whatever talent he has on the roster. His home-away split is a factor, but he should still end up top-3.

 

Drew Brees #9 of the New Orleans Saints drives for a touchdown during the first half of a game against the Los Angeles Rams at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on November 27, 2016 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)

4. Andrew Luck, Colts—All the guy needs is time in the pocket and he’ll feast. The Colts got some protection help in the draft so his production should improve over last year.

5. Matt Ryan, Falcons—Last year was a career year for Ryan, his tenth in the league. He lost his offensive guru in Kyle Shanahan, so I’m expecting a bit of a regression in numbers.

6. Russell Wilson, Seahawks—Wilson’s best seasons have been when he’s been able to run around and make plays with his legs. Last season he was hurt early in the year. If he’s healthy to start the season he’ll start strong and possibly play well wire to wire.

 

Quarterback Russell Wilson #3 of the Seattle Seahawks looks to pass against the New York Jets in the fourth quarter at MetLife Stadium on October 2, 2016 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

7. Derek Carr, Raiders—Carr was very solid last season and he seems on the verge of breaking into the top-5. He’s got Amari Cooper, Michael Crabtree and now Marshawn Lynch to help him out.

8. Jameis Winston, Buccaneers—A big winner after free agency and the draft was Winston. He got DeSean Jackson, a big-play threat, and O.J. Howard, a versatile rookie tight end, as new weapons.

9. Dak Prescott, Cowboys—You worry about a sophomore jinx, but with how poised he played last season he might be immune. He’ll have a full offseason to work with his receivers and you can’t forget about Zeke Elliott who can take a seemingly harmless screen pass 80 yards to the house.

Dak Prescott #4 of the Dallas Cowboys rushes in the first half against the Cleveland Browns at FirstEnergy Stadium on November 6, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

10. Philip Rivers, Chargers—If Keenan Allen can stay healthy, Rivers can be even better than last year. He finished in the top six in standard scoring last season with a bunch of nobodies catching passes. Now he has Mike Williams, the top receiver in the draft, as another option.

11. Kirk Cousins, Redskins—He was actually one of the best fantasy quarterbacks last season and nearly threw for 5,000 yards. Losing DeSean Jackson hurts, but Jamison Crowder is coming on and the Redskins added Terrelle Pryor.

12. Cam Newton, Panthers—He’s still in my top-12, but barely. The addition of Christian McCaffrey should help him. He’s just not an accurate quarterback and his value drops when he isn’t running, which is something he cut back on when he was getting punished weekly.

Cam Newton will have to utilize his running ability to keep his fantasy value high. (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
Cam Newton will have to utilize his running ability to keep his fantasy value high. (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)

13. Marcus Mariota, Titans

14. Eli Manning, Giants

15. Andy Dalton, Bengals

16. Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers

17. Matthew Stafford, Lions

18. Carson Palmer, Cardinals

19. Alex Smith, Chiefs

20. Blake Bortles, Jaguars

21. Tyrod Taylor, Bills

22. Ryan Tannehill, Dolphins

23. Carson Wentz, Eagles

24. Joe Flacco, Ravens

25. Sam Bradford, Vikings

26. Trevor Siemian, Broncos

27. Josh McCown, Jets

28. Brian Hoyer, 49ers

29. Tom Savage or DeShaun Watson, Texans (will update as starter becomes clear)

30. Mike Glennon or Mitch Trubisky, Bears (will update as starter becomes clear)

31. Jared Goff, Rams

32. Cody Kessler, Browns

Fantasy football Week 5 recap and waiver wire suggestions

In a way Week 5 was just the beginning for some fantasy owners. It marked the return of Tom Brady and was the second week Le’Veon Bell was allowed to run at full throttle.

And both performed as expected with Bell amassing 154 total yards while Brady threw for 406 yards and three touchdowns.

It was like Brady never missed a game and if you had trouble deciding which tight end would be the most useful on the Patriots, either one was a good call. Martellus Bennett scored three touchdowns while Rob Gronkowski caught five passes for 105 yards.

New England Patriots' Tom Brady looks to throw against the Cleveland Browns during the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Oct. 9, 2016, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Ron Schwane)
New England Patriots’ Tom Brady looks to throw against the Cleveland Browns during the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Oct. 9, 2016, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Ron Schwane)

Brady even raised the value of Chris Hogan, the wide receiver who caught four passes for 114 yards. He had just one catch for three yards in his two previous games.

Other quarterbacks who had big weeks were Ben Roethlisberger, Philip Rivers and Derek Carr, who were all suggested as great starts in my column on Saturday. Roethlisberger, who continues to play better at home than on the road, had the best fantasy week as he threw for 380 yards and four touchdowns. Rivers threw for 359 yards and four TDs to go along with two interceptions. Carr is now a must-start quarterback after throwing for 317 yards and two scores against one pick.

Philip Rivers #17 of the San Diego Chargers looks to pass against the Oakland Raiders during their NFL game at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on October 9, 2016 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
Philip Rivers #17 of the San Diego Chargers looks to pass against the Oakland Raiders during their NFL game at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on October 9, 2016 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

A couple of signal callers who had surprisingly good weeks were Marcus Mariota and Brian Hoyer. Though I did suggest Hoyer as a pickup last week, it was a bit surprising that he had 397 yards and two touchdown passes. Mariota had his best fantasy performance of the year, accounting for four touchdowns, throwing three and rushing for one.

I’ll admit I missed on Eli Manning this week, who really disappointed against a Packers defense that usually lets quarterbacks score big in fantasy. He connected with Odell Beckham Jr. in the end zone for the first time this season, however.

This week’s top receiver was a surprise. Sammie Coates looks like he may turn into a nice replacement for the suspended Martavis Bryant as a deep threat. Roethlisberger connected with Coates six times for 139 yards and two touchdowns, including a 72-yard score.

Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Sammie Coates (14) takes a pass from from quarterback Ben Roethlisberger for a touchdown with New York Jets cornerback Marcus Williams (20) defending during the first half of an NFL football game in Pittsburgh, Sunday, Oct. 9, 2016. (AP Photo/Fred Vuich)
Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Sammie Coates (14) takes a pass from from quarterback Ben Roethlisberger for a touchdown with New York Jets cornerback Marcus Williams (20) defending during the first half of an NFL football game in Pittsburgh, Sunday, Oct. 9, 2016. (AP Photo/Fred Vuich)

Speaking of long scores, Ezekiel Elliott had a 60-yard run as he improved on his fantasy scoring once again, rushing for 134 yards and two touchdowns.

Two other rookies had big days as Jordan Howard rushed for 118 yards and caught three passes for 45 yards and a touchdown for the Bears. Tight end Hunter Henry had three catches for 74 yards and a touchdown, outscoring veteran Antonio Gates.

There was great play from T.Y. Hilton (10-171, TD) and Brandon Marshall (8 catches, 114 yards, TD) while Amari Cooper finally caught his first touchdown of the year to go along with 138 yards.

Indianapolis Colts wide receiver T.Y. Hilton (13) catches a pass against Chicago Bears cornerback Jacoby Glenn (39) on Sunday, Oct. 9, 2016 at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Ind. The Colts won the game 29-23. (Sam Riche/TNS)
Indianapolis Colts wide receiver T.Y. Hilton (13) catches a pass against Chicago Bears cornerback Jacoby Glenn (39) on Sunday, Oct. 9, 2016 at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Ind. The Colts won the game 29-23. (Sam Riche/TNS)

Other great games were had by Cameron Meredith of the Bears and the Vikings’ Adam Thielen. Meredith’s targets continue to increase with Hoyer starting for Chicago. Thielen broke out after being targeted at least three times in every game this year. You could probably pick him up with the Vikings set to have a bye.

Julio Jones, Julian Edelman and Jarvis Landry all had terrible weeks from the wideout position. Jeremy Hill (4 rushes, 12 yards), Lamar Miller (8-20) and Isaiah Crowell (13-22) were the worst fantasy starters running the ball.

Minnesota Vikings middle linebacker Eric Kendricks tackles Houston Texans running back Lamar Miller during the first quarter on Sunday, Oct. 9, 2016 at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minn. (Elizabeth Flores/Minneapolis Star Tribune/TNS)
Minnesota Vikings middle linebacker Eric Kendricks tackles Houston Texans running back Lamar Miller during the first quarter on Sunday, Oct. 9, 2016 at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minn. (Elizabeth Flores/Minneapolis Star Tribune/TNS)

In a surprising turn, both Falcons backs had big games against a tough Broncos defense. Tevin Coleman caught 4 passes for 132 yards and a touchdown. Devonta Freeman rushed for 88 yards and a score.

Finally I’ve got to give credit to the Bills and Vikings defenses for big weeks in which they both had four sacks and scored a touchdown. Vikings are a must-start defense.

Waiver wire suggestions:

Running backs

Matt Asiata, Vikings (17 touches-101 yards, TD)

Wide receivers

Sammie Coates, Steelers
Cameron Meredith, Bears (9-130, TD)
Adam Thielen, Vikings (7-127, TD)
Chris Hogan, Patriots