The fantasy football regular season is winding down, and for most us (just, mathematically) that means the end of the fantasy football season. If you didn’t make the playoffs this year, maybe you should do a bit more preparation for next year? It’s never too soon to start researching for next year, and it’s never too early to start taking a look at next year’s draft prep. Below are the preliminary top twelve quarterbacks for next season (starting quarterbacks in a twelve-team league).
This was meant to be a top-ten list, but there were too many good quarterbacks to leave out. This is subject to change (heck, two of these guys might straight up retire), but it’s never too soon to start looking.
- Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay
Everything that could go wrong this year is seemingly going wrong in Green Bay (short of a devastating WR injury). The Packers are down to using Ty Montgomery out of the backfield and leaning on Jared Cook. Still, Rodgers has just one game under 15 points this season, and five over 25. Like Brady, you an seemingly put anyone around him and he will flourish. He’s taking Davante Adams straight to the top with him, too.
- Tom Brady, New England
Father Time is undefeated, and this ranking may have me with egg on my face later, but Tom Brady’s march towards Canton continues unabated. A lot rides on how Rob Gronkowski recovers from his back injury, but it doesn’t matter who slots into Bill Belichick’s system; as long as Tom Brady is at the helm, that is a fantasy wonderland.
- Matt Ryan, Atlanta
The poster boy for positive touchdown regression, Matt Ryan vaults back up among the fantasy elite after being left for dead after his 2015 campaign. Mohamed Sanu, Taylor Gabriel, and his running backs give him a diverse array of weapons. They’re no Roddy White & Tony Gonzalez, but they make up a decent supporting cast for Julio Jones, who may just be the best wide receiver in the league.
- Marcus Mariota, Tennessee
The pilot of Exotic Smashmouth, Mariota has put together a ridiculously good campaign under Mike Mularkey. Another year in this offense with these weapons and I see Mariota as a top-five option next year. His name isn’t as flashy as those around him, so he can probably be had at a great value when drafts roll around.
- Drew Brees, New Orleans
Brees continues to defy father time, continuously throwing for the most yards in the league while limiting interceptions. He has the best group of pass catchers he’s ever had around him, and if they can evolve the Mark Ingram-Tim Hightower one-two punch, Drew is set for another QB1 year.
- Andrew Luck, Indianapolis
Luck has one of the best groups of wide receivers in the NFL, but one of the worst offensive lines. He is consistently on the run and fighting for his life. His Hilton-Moncrief-Dorsett weaponry is incredible, but Frank Gore might retire, and they still don’t have a consistent tight end option. Like Cam, he gets knocked down because, well… he gets knocked down because his offensive line stinks.
- Colin Kaepernick, San Francisco
The NFL and fantasy football fans have been clamoring for Chip Kelly and Colin Kaepernick to get together for that sweet fantasy goodness. Now that they have, Kaepernick’s running and uncanny ability to avoid interceptions are the perfect recipe for a mid-level QB1. He will have a high floor… provided he stays with San Francisco. He voided his contract shortly before playing the worst game of his career against the Bears. The 49ers are in desperate need of weapons around him. However, he’ll be back in San Francisco next year.
- Russell Wilson, Seattle
Much like Cam, and Andrew Luck (higher up), the bad offensive line got Wilson injured this season, and it’s something that has to be addressed. With Jimmy Graham returning to form and Doug Baldwin being Doug Baldwin, he should have another good season. He gets dinged for his offensive line, who may betray him again in 2017.
- Cam Newton, Carolina
This year’s near-consensus QB1, Cam has been beaten up left and right this year, as the bad offensive line in Carolina has come home to roost. He doesn’t run as efficiently anymore, but he is still one of the most dynamic goal-line weapons in the entire NFL. He ends the four-quarterback mobile QB run.
- Kirk Cousins, Washington (potential free agent)
Cousins has been on a tear lately, and he has plenty of weapons around him with D-Jax, Crowder, Reed and Josh Doctson. Pierre Garcon is probably gone, as is Vernon Davis, but those are secondary weapons. If he leaves for another squad, his value might plummet, but he’s setup to be a consistent backend QB1.
- Dak Prescott, Dallas
For fantasy purposes, Prescott has been a rich man’s Alex Smith, posting consistently steady numbers. Another year in this offense with Zeke by his side and the Cowboys potentially adding another pass catcher, he could vault up this list.
- Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh
Roethlisberger has high highs (back-to-back six TD games in 2015) and very low lows. The home-road splits with Roethlisberger keep him from being higher on this list. The return of Martavis Bryant certainly helps, but Le’Veon Bell may be seeking greener pastures as he reportedly wants eight figures a year in free agency.