by Nick Ercolano
April 17, 2018
Y'all should play in 2QB leagues, or 6-Point Per Pass TD leagues... but that's a whole nother article in itself. So, for the time being, we're gonna still to plain ol boring ass standard QB scoring (TD = 4 points, 25 yards/point) for these rankings. My early look at 2018 Fantasy Football Top 10 QB Rankings.
Finished as QB4. Same old. While the loss of Brandin Cooks might hurt, the return of Edelman and the addition of Jordan Matthews should help mend the wounds. Looking back over the last 5 years, Brady's a much better fantasy QB with Edelman on the field than without him.
Nothing in his 2017 play indicates to me that Brady is near falling off. He might not have the highest upside of the remaining top-5 guys, but I like his floor as much as anyone's.
Finished as QB2. Cam's early 2017 season struggles as an NFL QB can likely be attributed to him entering the season with a less than 100% shoulder. His slow fantasy start can be chalked up to the lack of ground game, where he's made a living in fantasy football. Once those things started to click (around Week 4/5) - he was fantasy's QB2 from that point forward. Over the team's final 11 games, Newton averaged 10 rushes and over 66 rushing yards/game. I love the addition of Torrey Smith as well. Cam desperately needed a Ted Ginn replacement after losing him last summer.
Finished as QB3. hed as QBRW is a tough one this year - I had him ranked as my #2 QB entering last year, and he finished as QB1. But this time around things are a little bit different. He loses Jimmy Graham and Paul Richardson. Between the two of them, that's 1,223 yards (31%) and 16 TOUCHDOWNS (47%). They're very likely going to have one of the worst lines in football again, along with a backfield that'll probably be on the lower end of productive.
Here's where things are interesting. Their defense is going to be completely different in 2018 than it was in 2017. They lose Richard Sherman, Sheldon Richardson, Michael Bennett, Deshawn Shead, Jeremy Lane, they're listening to trade offers for Earl Thomas, we don't know where Kam Chancellor's at mentally and physically.
This could mean one of two things. They give up a lot of points, so RW will continuously be on the attack. But at the same time, you have to be logical... If you have a bad defense, yes the other offense drives down the field and scores often, but that also takes a HUGE chunk of clock. It's a double-edged sword.
Overall I'm not as high on RW as I was last year after losing those key offensive pieces, but I still like him in the top-5.
QB6 DESPITE MISSING 3 GAMES. A lot of this ranking will come down to Wentz' rehab from his December ACL tear. Eagles team reps are impressed by how quickly is rehab is going, which I've never not heard a team say, I think the Colts are even impressed by Andrew Luck's recovery. But that they are "confident" Wentz will ready for Week 1, but he's out for OTAs indefinitely.
I think the big teller will be what happens in the draft later this month. If Philly is truly confident Wentz will be healthy, they'll probably look to capitalize on draft stock by moving Foles for a hefty price.
Regardless, Wentz was incredible in 2017 in the 13 games he played. Only Russell Wilson averaged more FPPG than the Eagles QB, with a Tom-Brady like 33:7 TD-to-INT ratio pre-injury. He brings both a great passing and rushing upside, averaging nearly 5 attempts/game last year. He has a stacked personnel and a stud defense that should set them up with great field position more times than not.
QB1 in PPG in the 7 he played. I don't think the ACL tear should be a concern for 2018. HC Bill O'Brien said "he should be able to do some things by the time OTA's come around", so I think he'll be ready for the summer and fine for training camp.
But, before you get mad I have him ranked this low, think logically here. The efficiency Watson put up in his limited time in 2017, specifically through the air, would be nearly impossible to replicate. I felt like EVERY TIME I turned on the TV and Watson was playing, it was hail mary pass, after hail mary pass, all completed for touchdowns.
There's so much to love about Watson, but there are reasons for skepticism. First being their defense. They were the worst defense in the NFL last year, allowing over 27 PPG - setting up shootout's almost weekly for Watson. Their defense will be exponentially better in 2018. They will have J.J. Watt back from injury, same with Whitney Mercilus, two cornerstones of this defense. They resigned Jonathan Joseph and went out and grabbed the honey badger, Tyrann Mathieu, as well as arguably the league's best slot CB in Aaron Colvin, formerly of the Jacksonville Jaguars. I don't expect those type of shootouts again in 2018.
As for Watson as a passer, he was unbelievably good. And that's obviously not something that should be counted against him, but I think too much of his production came on these crazy deep balls. His adjusted completion %, as per PFF, ranked 38th of 39 QBs, only DeShone Kizer was worse. He averaged 0.73 FPs per dropback in 2017, which was by far and away tops among QBs. Guys that hit that mark historically were Cam back in his 45-TD campaign in 2013 and primetime Michael Vick. Maybe you do believe he can be that type of player, I'm not so sure I can buy into that just yet. I'm not shunning Watson, but the fact that he's going around like pick 35 as QB2 in bestball leagues is a little bit crazy IMO.
Finished as QB11. It's clear Brees' days as an elite fantasy QB are over. Not because he doesn't have the ability, but it's the way this team is built. They realize they have this 2-year Superbowl window with Brees under center. They have an excellent ground game, an impressive defense, all they need is efficiency and longevity from Brees, exactly what they got from him last year. Brees set a career high in completion % in 2017 and had his lowest interception total ever in a Saints uniform. But, that came at the cost of downfield shots volume and RZ throws. Brees' aDOT (6.9) in 2017 not only dead last in the NFL, but a career-low for Brees. He only attempted 537 passes,136 less than 2016 and his lowest total since 2009. NO's team rushing TD numbers increased from 17 in 2016 to 23 in 2017. Drew Brees pass attempts/TDs inside opponent's 10-yard line: 2017 - 33/13 | 2016 - 62/24. Their game plan just isn't the same.
Finished as QB12. Stafford played arguably the best football of his career in 2017, and it translated into fantasy goodness.
The additions of T.J. Lang and Rick Wanger on the line turned out to be good ones, slowly transforming this offensive line which was a laughing stock for the last few years. They still have a lot of ground to make up in run-blocking but their pass-blocking is dramatically improved.
Jim Bob Cooter's done a really good job here with this offense, and he'll stay on board as the OC even with new HC Matt Patricia taking over.
Finished as QB10.
Rivers, like Stafford, a veteran whose talent has been questioned over the last few years, proved doubters wrong by posting top-5 QB numbers in completions (360 - 4th), passing yards (4,515 - 2nd) and passing TDs (28 - t-5th).
The Chargers should have a full squad of stacked weapons entering 2018, led by Keenan Allen, Hunter Henry taking over as the TE1, last year's 1st round pick out of Clemson Mike Williams and Tyrell Williams.
What's even better is the Chargers o-line improvements. Most people probably forgot, their 2nd round pick last year Forrest Lamp was slated to start at guard before tearing his ACL in the preseason. On top of Lamp's return, LA went out and signed Mike Pouncey, the super talented, but oft-injured center from Miami. If the line can stay healthy, they're in line to be one of the better groups in the league next year.
This is probably lower than most people expected given Kirk's change of scenery to gorgeous weapons. I think it's a great move from a football sense, but I can't imagine Kirk having much more success statistically then he's had over the last few years in Washington.
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