Now that we are all done celebrating America’s birthday, it’s time to celebrate one of America’s favorite activities, the return of fantasy football. The Pug is here to guide you to another successful season. For the next few weeks we will take a look at the rankings , according to The Pug, of the top fantasy producers at their respective positions. Rankings will use a standard PPR league point system. 1 pt. for every 20 yards passing, 1 point for every 10 yards receiving and rushing, 1 pt for receptions 4 points for passing touchdowns and 6 points for rushing and receiving touchdowns.
Starting with the quarterback position…….
The Pug’s Fantasy Football Quarterback Rankings
1. Cam Newton (Carolina Panthers)- Cam Newton lit up the fantasy football scoreboard last season without a number one receiver. This year, Kelvin Benjamin makes his return to the NFC champions, and Newton’s passing numbers should increase accordingly.
2. Aaron Rodgers (Green Bay Packers)- Solid numbers year after year, last year was an ‘off’ year if you want to call it that for the Packers franchise quarterback. With his number one guy Jordy Nelson returning from a ACL injury, Rodgers looks to be in the top tier of fantasy quarterbacks yet again.
3. Russell Wilson (Seattle Seahawks)- Russell Wilson has improved every season. Behind a porous offensive line last year, he went on an amazing mid-season streak and developed amazing chemistry with his wide outs. If he plays like he did in the middle of last season out of the gate, Wilson could rise to the top position on the board.
4. Drew Brees (New Orleans Saints)- Regardless of age and lack of team success, Brees just continues to torment defenses through the air. Over the last five seasons he has averaged 5,127.4 yards passing and 38.6 touchdowns per year. Until he shows signs of slowing down, I am comfortable keeping him in my top five.
5. Carson Palmer (Arizona Cardinals)- Like a fine wine, Palmer continues to get better with age. With all his main weapons returning, and the expected growth from last year’s surprise running back David Johnson, Palmer will be looking to improve upon last year’s career year for the red birds.
6. Ben Roethlisberger (Pittsburgh Steelers)- Even though Big Ben had trouble staying healthy last year, he still managed to throw for almost 4,000 yards. He is a numbers monster with his ability to extend plays. As long as he has a fantastic supporting cast around him, it’s hard to allow him to slip any further down this list.
7. Philip Rivers (San Diego Chargers)- Even though the offense around him wasn’t all that spectacular, Rivers still put up solid numbers last season. He put up those numbers without his number one wide receiver Keenan Allen, who went down with a lacerated kidney in week 8. With the return of Allen and the addition of Travis Benjamin this off-season, Rivers may see a career year.
8. Blake Bortles (Jacksonville Jaguars)- Welcome to the top 10 young gun! Although the progress of Bortles and the offense didn’t equate to much success for the Jaguars, he made a huge leap forward last season putting up 4,428 yards and 35 touchdowns. With the team improving all around him, and the young nucleus intact, don’t be surprised if Bortles actually plays better than he did last year.
9. Andrew Luck (Indianapolis Colts)- Last season is one that Luck would like to forget. He battled injuries all season long and just wasn’t himself. After what he has shown us he can do in the past, though, it’s hard to say Luck won’t return to form and be dominate in the fantasy football world once again.
10. Andy Dalton (Cincinnati Bengals)- In the midst of a career year Dalton went down in week 13 with a thumb injury, costing him the rest of his season. Dalton was playing lights out, limiting mistakes and putting up numbers. Dalton rounds out the top ten as he looks to pick up where he left off last season, his biggest problem will be the loss of some of his receivers.
11. Tony Romo (Dallas Cowboys)- Romo has constantly been a fantasy football stud. Problem for owners has been his inability to stay healthy, especially last year. With a healthy Dez Bryant, some production from the running game, and a healthy season, there is no reason to believe Romo won’t be a solid fantasy contributor once again.
12. Eli Manning (New York Giants)- Manning has put up some solid numbers for fantasy managers, but he has been widely inconsistent as far as fantasy numbers go. Eli quietly put together a decent season last year throwing for 4,436 yards and 35 touchdowns. With the return of Victor Cruz and Larry Donnell, and promise shown by rookie Sterling Shepard, Eli will have plenty of weapons at his disposal.
13. Tom Brady (New England Patriots)- Year after year, Brady continues to put up stellar fantasy numbers. The only reason he is this low in the rankings is because between the four game suspension and bye week, he will miss 36% of the regular fantasy football season. If you can secure a solid QB2, Brady will reward owners with top five production, but not until week five.
14. Kirk Cousins (Washington Redskins)- Cousins came out of left field for the left for dead Redskins last season, guiding them to the playoffs. Cousins threw for a least one touchdown in each of the Redskins games, and hit four touchdowns three times, including weeks 15 and 16 which are playoff weeks for most fantasy football formats. He was a solid waiver wire pickup for quarterback hungry owners and will be a solid QB2 option this season, if not a low end QB1.
15. Derek Carr (Oakland Raiders)- Another solid QB2 who grew in the Raiders system last season. He was my sleeper quarterback last year, and didn’t disappoint. As the Raiders improve, and the Carr Cooper connection grows stronger, he should be poised to make a big step and rise up charts next year, if not as early as this year.
16. Jameis Winston (Tampa Bay Buccaneers)- Jameis was everything the Bucs hoped for in his rookie campaign, and then some. He put up fantastic rookie numbers, even though his weapons were battling injuries. With the Bucs planning on opening up different looks to make Winston more comfortable, I might just eat crow by listing Winston as a QB2.
17. Alex Smith (Kansas City Chiefs)- Season after season, Smith continues to be a solid but quiet fantasy contributor. He may never give you eye-popping numbers, but he is a dual threat quarterback that rarely makes mistakes, making him one of the safest QB2’s there is.
18. Matt Stafford (Detroit Lions)- Usually Stafford sits at the low-end QB1 high end QB2 position, but with the unexpected retirement of Calvin Johnson, expect Stafford’s numbers to drop. Signing Marvin Jones and Jeremy Kerley won’t replace Johnson, a guy Stafford played his entire career with.
19. Matt Ryan (Atlanta Falcons)- Although the yardage was there, Ryan had the least amount of touchdowns since his rookie year, and the second most interceptions in his career. Julio Jones is an outright beast and will command tons of attention by opposing defenses, will Mohamad Sanu be the number two guy the Falcons have been missing since Roddy White disappeared? Ryan’s numbers depend on it.
20. Joe Flacco (Baltimore Ravens)- Flacco is usually a solid QB2 option, but finds himself on the lower tier due to the uncertainty of coming off an injury and possible lack of weapons around him. Justin Forsett needs to return to his 2014 form, Steve Smith needs to bounce back from injury, and a receiver has to emerge from the pack as a treat.
21. Tyrod Taylor (Buffalo Bills)- Had a decent season last year, but lack of weapons and a coming back to earth season is very possible.
22. Brock Osweiler (Houston Texans)- Not sold on Osweiler yet, but with offensive weapons around him could rise to a viable QB2 option.
23. Jay Cutler (Chicago Bears)- Too inconsistent for a higher spot on the list. The emergence of Kevin White could change his spot.
24. Ryan Tannehill (Miami Dolphins)- Took a big step back last year after a decent 2014 campaign. Jarvis Landry is a big time threat, but without a decent running game or receiving threat after Landry, QB3 is where he sits.
25. Mark Sanchez (Denver Broncos)- Too many turnovers for Sanchez throughout his career finds him in the bottom tier of the list. If he can curb those turnovers, he could rise as high as QB2.
26. Teddy Bridgewater (Minnesota Vikings)- Hard guy to pin as the Vikings drafted Laquon Treadwell to help improve the worst passing offense in the NFL.
27. Geno Smith (New York Jets)- Set to be the Jets starter with no contract in sight for Ryan Fitzpatrick, Geno could be a wildcard. He has plenty of weapons, but is low on the list due to how he handled the offense in his previous try.
28. Marcus Mariota (Tennessee Titans)- The Titans receiving group is anemic at best, and although the running game should be much improved in Tennessee, someone other than Delanie Walker needs to emerge as a viable option for Mariota.
29. Jared Goff (Los Angeles Rams)- He has a solid running game to back him, but with no true #1 receiver it’s hard to raise him on this list for his rookie campaign.
30. Carson Wentz (Philadelphia Eagles)- Question marks all around this offense make it hard to believe Wentz will find immediate success in Philadelphia
31. Colin Kaepernick (San Francisco 49ers)- After a tumultuous 2015 campaign that saw him benched for Blaine Gabbert, it’s hard to believe that Kaep will bust out of the gate a different man. Also after seeing what Chip Kelly did to the Eagles…..
32. Robert Griffin III (Cleveland Browns )- Stating the obvious, the Browns are not a good football team. RG3 isn’t in the best position to succeed, but maybe he can be this year’s Kirk Cousins. That’s a big maybe.
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