Surprise, surprise… Peyton Manning sits as the top dog on just about everyone’s fantasy football quarterback rankings this year. Short of seeing the future and knowing that he’s going to get folded up like a lawn chair in week one, there’s not much logic to suggest he won’t be the top thrower of balls in the fantasy realm once again.
That being said, quarterback is extremely deep and most everyone beyond Manning is subject to change over the next month. Andy Dalton and Philip Rivers saw astronomical rises into the top-six a year ago, as injury and newfound opportunity shook things up to a whole new level.
Needless to say, with training camps opening up, now is a good time to unleash an updated list of the top quarterbacks available in fantasy football. Draft accordingly:
1. Peyton Manning (Denver Broncos)
Manning is fresh off of a record-breaking season, in which he unloaded 55 passing touchdowns and over 5,400 passing yards. He lost Knowshon Moreno in the backfield and security blanket WR Eric Decker. Denver’s schedule won’t be as easy this year either, but Manning has plenty left in the tank and has his eyes set on getting back to the Super Bowl.
2. Aaron Rodgers (Green Bay Packers)
Rodgers missed half of last season due to a random broken clavicle, but was actually on pace for over 5,000 passing yards before he went down. When healthy, Aaron Rodgers is without a doubt a top-five fantasy quarterback, if not a likely lock for the top-two. He’ll give Manning a run for his money in 2014.
3. Drew Brees (New Orleans Saints)
Brees was fantasy’s second best passer a year ago, so to push him down any further would be a bit crazy. He’s always a threat for 5,000 passing yards and even though he might be slightly regressing with age, he still has the ability, advanced IQ and surrounding talent to be one of fantasy’s top weekly performers. He’s unlikely to slide out of the top three spots at any point during the season.
4. Andrew Luck (Indianapolis Colts)
Luck operated out of a ridiculous run-based offense for most of 2013, yet he still finished the year as the #4 passer in fantasy circles. He should be right there again at the very least not, if not make ascension up the rankings. His passing ability is off the charts and his rushing ability adds extra value. Luck’s day at the top is coming, but he won’t get quite there in 2014.
5. Cam Newton (Carolina Panthers)
Newton lost Steve Smith and underwent ankle surgery this summer. He’s reportedly 100% now, however, and his surrounding weaponry hasn’t downgraded quite as much as some may project. He’s also finished in the top-four for quarterback all three seasons he’s been in the league, so it’d be silly to start betting against Newton now.
6. Matthew Stafford (Detroit Lions)
Stafford found a nice balance last year after a shaky 2012 campaign, and he finally looks to be realizing #1 pick potential. New head coach Jim Caldwell is an offensive guru who should only aide his shaky fundamentals. New weapons Eric Ebron and Golden Tate should make the offense as balanced as ever. Stafford remains a threat for the top-five and a lock for the top-10.
7. Robert Griffin III (Washington Redskins)
Despite performing like a shell of his healthy self a season ago, RGIII still was a top fantasy option early on in the season. He’s since shed his knee brace, and reports from Washington having him looking as explosive and confident as ever. Add new toy DeSean Jackson to the mix, and he stands a pretty good chance to enjoy a significant bounce back season.
8. Matt Ryan (Atlanta Falcons)
Ryan has been a repeat visitor inside the top-10. He was fantasy football’s sixth best passer in the first half of the year, but injuries and shaky pass protection killed his value. Somehow he still found a way to finish inside the top-15. With a revamped offensive line and Julio Jones returning, Ryan should regain his spot near the ceiling.
9. Nick Foles (Philadelphia Eagles)
Foles was insanely awesome in 2013, but can we trust that awesomeness to continue into the 2014 season? There’s no way to be sure, but Foles operates out of a sweet system and a 27:2 TD: INT ratio is hard to shrug off. A regression wouldn’t shock, but the odds suggest he’s got a decent shot at cracking the top-10.
10. Tom Brady (New England Patriots)
Last, but certainly not least, is Tom Terrific. Brady took a dip last year due to numerous injuries and losing familiar faces, but he actually wasn’t atrocious (everything considered). He gets everyone back at full strength to kick off 2014, so he deserves a mulligan. Many pundits will rank him much lower, but a closer look suggests his inconsistent weapons really left him hanging. Another year with rookie receivers Aaron Dobson and Kenbrell Thompkins should prove wildly beneficial.