Here at DailyRotoHelp.com, we want to give you the information you need to draft your winning DFS and championship season-long rosters. This year, that begins with our 2016 Fantasy Preview Series. Each week leading up to the start of the regular season we will provide you analysis and information you need to succeed and bring home that BACON! For even more insight and access to our NFL Optimal Lineups, check out our membership options for daily, monthy subscriptions!
Without a lot of DFS contests really kicking off until September, and a lot of season-long drafts coming up, this week’s preview looks at season-long format draft strategy: who we like, who we don’t, and who we recommend avoiding at all costs. We’ve run thousands of mock drafts to generate ADP (average draft positions) and strategies to help you lock up those 2016 championships.
This week, we take a look at who you need to target, and avoid, at the quarterback position.
Positional Breakdown: Quarterbacks
Cam Newton – Newton finished last year with 3,837 passing yards, 35 touchdowns and 10 picks. He had his best season as pro with Kelvin Benjamin, the top receiving option for the Panthers, sidelined for the season with an ACL injury. Benjamin is back, healthy, and primed for a return to his rookie form that saw him score 9 touchdowns on 1,008 yards receiving. In addition to Benjamin, second-year receiver Devin Funchess appears ready to breakout. ESPN has projected Newton to finish with 28 passing touchdowns on 3,777 yards. Expect him to eclipse both.
Aaron Rogers – Rogers is coming off an uncharacteristically down year. He lost stud WR Jordy Nelson in preseason and Randall Cobb was unable to create any separation filling in. Now, even in a “down” year, Rogers still threw for 3,800 yards and 31 touchdowns. Nelson is back, Eddie Lacy appears to have put down the cheeseburgers, and the Packers signed TE Jared Cook in free agency. All signs point to Rogers having a major bounce back season. ESPN has him projected at 4,222 yards and 32.5 touchdowns. He puts those kinds of numbers up in his sleep. Health permitting, expect an MVP-caliber season out of Rogers.
Andrew Luck – The only QB that I see giving Rogers a serious run for his MVP money is Luck. Luck is a warrior. His broken ribs, lacerated spleens, punctured lungs and a variety of other ailments are testaments to his heart and desire to win. Luck has worked this offseason on learning to avoid unnecessary contact in an effort to keep him healthy, upright and on the field for 16 weeks and a playoff run. With T.Y. Hilton, Phillip Dorsett, Donte Moncrief and Dwayne Allen healthy and ready to roll, Luck should easily surpass his 4,207 and 32.5 TD projections.
Drew Brees – Brees has thrown for at least 4,870 yards in each of the last 5 seasons. He’s thrown at least 32 touchdowns in each of the last 8. It just doesn’t get much more consistent than that. If you need a reason to be high on Drew Brees, you haven’t been watching football.
Russell Wilson – I keep counting Wilson out, and he keeps proving me wrong. I’ve been down on him since he’s been in the league, and all he does is produce a 65% completion rate, 4,000 yds, 35 tds and nearly 500 rush yards per season. Well, this year, I’ve learned my lesson. The Seahawks return their top 4 receivers from last season. Wilson should ball once again in 2016.
Tom Brady – Do you really want to bet against Tom Brady coming off a 4 game suspension from arguably the most prominent, public, strangest investigation in NFL history? I pity opposing defenses. Throw Gronk, Edelman, Amendola, Hogan and Martellus Bennett in the mix and you’ve got a recipe for a monster 12 weeks of Tom Brady.
Ben Roethlisberger – I love Big Ben. He’s everything you want in a starting quarterback. He’s big, strong, cannon for an arm and great in the pocket. He’s also got an elite, if not the best, receiver in Antonio Brown in addition to Le’veon Bell in the backfield. Ben falls out of our top tier of QBs because of his inability to stay healthy. Roethlisberger plays all out and takes hard shots that keep him out of a few games each year. Concussions and lower leg issues have plagued him throughout his career. He’s projected at 28 touchdowns and that’s right where we expect him to finish.
Andy Dalton – Before breaking his thumb attempting to tackle a defender returning an interception he just threw, Dalton was on pace to have one of his best seasons as a pro. He was ranked in the top 6 QBs for passing touchdowns at the time of his injury thanks, in large part, to AJ Green and a monster season from Tyler Eifert. Dalton’s thumb has healed, but Eifert has some question marks with an ankle injury in the Pro Bowl and subsequent surgeries have called his availability for week 1 into question. AJ Green remains an elite WR option and, if Dalton stays healthy, the Bengals offense should hum.
Phillip Rivers – Another QB that I just can’t seem to get on board with, Rivers just keeps producing big seasons. I continuously downgrade him, and he continues to prove me wrong. He threw for 4,792 yards in 2016, 2nd in the league. Rivers hasn’t missed a start in nearly 10 years and the offense has flowed through him nearly the entire time. However, things are changing this year. With Ken Whisnehunt’s run first approach and the Chargers using last year’s first round pick on running back Melvin Gordon, expect a shift to a more aggressive run scheme, potentially limiting Rivers’ upside.
Carson Palmer – At 36, Palmer should be on the decline. However, he’s coming off, statistically, his best season as a professional. The Bruce Arians offense is a high-power, high-energy offense and, this season, every Cardinal that scored a TD last year returns. Fitzgerald, still a stud, is getting older. David Johnson is an up and coming superstar RB. Expect a slight drop in Palmer’s production in 2016.
Blake Bortles – There was no sophomore slump for Bortles last year as he roasted opposing defenses for 4,428 yards and 35 touchdowns. He did, however, throw 18 picks and fumbled the ball 13 times, definite focal points for Bortles this offseason. He has an arsenal of weapons at his disposal including Allen Robinson, 2016’s breakout receiver with 1,400 yards and 14 touchdowns. Robinson has looked great in camp and made an amazing catch in week 1 of the preseason. Bortles should easily surpass his 27 touchdown projection.
Eli Manning – With no running game to speak of, and one of the most incredible receivers in the game, Eli Manning could easily ascend into the top tier of QBs this season. Eli has 2 rings, but he’s one of the most unheralded two-time Super Bowl winning quarterbacks in history. He’s consistently mediocre and survived, largely, on the Giants pass rush and his last name. That’s changing. With Victor Cruz a few years ago, Odell Beckham Jr now, and steadily declining rushing attack, Eli has emerged as one of the NFL’s premier passers. Add rookie Sterling Shepard, who, by all accounts, is going to be an excellent receiving option for the Giants, and you’ve got a potentially explosive season for Manning.
Matt Ryan – Ryan has an elite WR option in Julio Jones, but that can’t save him in 2016. With the emergence of Devonta Freeman and the success of the run game in 2015, the Falcons have put the focus on running the ball to set up the play action. Matt Ryan may have more options to throw deep to Julio, but I feel his decline will continue this season. Exercise caution with Ryan in 2016.
Marcus Mariota – Mariota had an average rookie season in 2015. He was banged up regularly with issues all over the Titans offensive line. The rushing attack was nonexistent and the Titans receivers were awful. Things seem to be shifting for the Titan offense with new GM Ruston Webster. The Titans added DeMarco Murray in free agency, spent a top 10 pick on an offensive tackle, and drafted last year’s Heisman Trophy winning running back, Derek Henry. The success of the run game may limit Mariota’s yardage, but expect big things from the 2nd year quarterback.
Jameis Winston – Picked one spot before Mariota, Winston also had a decent rookie season. He threw for 4,000 yards, 22 touchdowns and 15 picks. The Bucs have a solid rushing attack with Doug Martin and a stud WR in Mike Evans. Winston will turn the ball over, but expect big numbers in 2016 for Winston.
Derek Carr – All of Derek Carr’s arrows are pointing up. He threw for 3,987 yards and 32 touchdowns in his 2nd season and his top 2 receiving options, Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree, are back. ESPN has projected Carr to throw for 3,800 yards and 31 touchdowns. Expect him to surpass those projections.
Ryan Fitzpatrick – The Jets and Fitzpatrick finally agreed on a deal to get the career journeyman into camp. With targets like Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker, he should have another solid season.
Kirk Cousins – “YOU LIKE THAT!?” Cousins will never be confused for a top tier quarterback, but he certainly played like one at times last season. Jordan Reed is Gronk Jr. and Desean Jackson remains an elite downfield threat. He threw for 4,166 yards last season and should be just as good, if not better, this season.
Tyrod Taylor – Taylor was signed to a 5 year extension with the Bills, effectively solidifying his role as the starting quarterback. He was solid in 2015, throwing for 3,035 yards and 20 touchdowns on just 6 interceptions. He gets stud receiver Sammy Watkins back after missing 2015 with foot and ankle issues.
Avoid at all cost:
Robert Griffin III
Blaine Gabbart/Colin Kaepernick