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In an increasingly pass-happy league, the depth chart for fantasy QBs looks deeper than ever.
1. Andrew Luck, IND.
In his prime, and an upgrade from a hobbled Reggie Wayne to a less hobbled Andre Johnson (and from a gaping hole at RB to reliable old Frank Gore) could push him over the 5,000 yard mark. If he cuts down on turnovers, could we expect a 50 TD season?
2. Aaron Rodgers, GB.
In his last three full seasons (2011, 2012, 2014), he has chalked up 122 pass TDs vs. 19 INTs. If you want efficiency, reliability and few mistakes from your QB, he's your No. 1 choice.
3. Russell Wilson, SEA.
Will the Seahawks unleash his passing game with huge target TE Jimmy Graham in town? If he throws for 4,000 yards, he'll probably run for less than last year's 849, but we'll be plenty happy with a 4,000/450 season, especially if he surpasses 30 total TDs.
4. Ben Roethlisberger, PIT.
Probably higher on him than most, but he has the best veteran WR in Antonio Brown, one of the best young WRs in Martavis Bryant, one of the best pass-catching RBs in LeVeon Bell, and one of the most reliable TEs in Heath Miller. 5,000 yards here we come.
5. Peyton Manning, DEN.
Tough call. He's proven the last few years he can defy age to be a top five passer, and he still has great targets. Rumors of a more balanced offense are somewhat concerning, but even with a slight decrease in yards and TDs, we're still looking at 4,500/35.
6. Drew Brees, NO.
Three of his top five receivers from last year are gone. But, the system is the thing here. It's why Brees threw for 5,000+ yards three years in a row, and only missed that mark by 48 yards last year.
7. Tony Romo, DAL.
Threw for barely 3,700 yards last year with the league's best workhorse RB on his team, but did manage 34 pass TDs, his most since 2007. DeMarco Murray is elsewhere now, which means the passing yard explosion we expected last year should finally arrive.
8. Eli Manning, NYG.
A great array of targets, including sudden star WR Odell Beckham, Jr., returning vet Victor Cruz and new pass-catching RB specialist Shane Vereen, should make the revival of the nearly forgotten Manning complete. Outside shot at 5,000 yards, 35 TDs.
9. Matt Ryan, ATL.
After an underwhelming 2013 season, he was better last year, fifth in pass yards with just under 4,700 yards and 28 TDs. He's got great targets always seems this/close to a 5,000 yard 40 TD season. But we're still waiting.
10. Tom Brady, NE.
The four-game suspension probably cost him one or two spots on my list, but I think he will play with a massive chip on his (non-throwing) shoulder. 4,100 pass yards and 33 TDs last year in 16 games will be hard to match in 12 games, but he'll get close.
11. Ryan Tannehill, MIA.
Up and coming, and I won't be surprised at all if he plays above this ranking. Has increased pass yards, TDs and rush yards, and could come close to 4,500 pass yards, 30 TDs if he cuts down from 12 INTs last year. Dash of running ability makes things interesting.
12. Cam Newton, CAR.
I'm lower on him than most even though I love dual-threat QBs. Pass yards, pass TDs, rush yards and rush TDs all have been down the last two seasons. Still, if he can get 3,300 yards/20 TDs in the air, 550 yards/six TDs on the ground, he's a borderline fantasy starter.
13. Philip Rivers, SD.
After a rebound season in 2013, he took a step back last year, tying Jay Cutler for the league lead in INTs with 18. His 31 TDs give him borderline starter consideration, but it feels like a stretch to expect more than that and last year's 4.200 or so passing yards.
14. Jay Cutler, CHI.
Could he reduce his 18 INTs, increase TDs from 28 to 30+ and put up 4,000+ yards in a system run by the guy who coached Peyton Manning in Denver? Maybe. Could he be benched by Week 6? Maybe. A backup with an outside shot as a lottery ticket.
15. Matthew Stafford, DET.
A big drop from top five fantasy starter to likely backup over the last few seasons. This 5,000 yard passer in 2011 tossed for just 4,257 last year, with just 22 TDs. Also had a career-low 12 INTs, but a more conservative system in DET has killed his fantasy value.
16. Colin Kaepernick, SF.
A less exciting version of Russell Wilson, his 3,300 or so passing yards came with a career-high 639 rush yards, but 19 pass TDs, 10 INTs and just one rush TD dulled his value last year, Still, he can turn into a fantasy stud of the week with the right matchup.
17. Teddy Bridgewater, MIN.
Managed a couple games of 300+ yards passing in his first year, and his 14 to 12 TDs to INTs ratio could be written off as typical rookie numbers. Having Adrian Peterson back in the backfield will take some pressure off. A fantasy starter in the making.
18. Carson Palmer, ARI.
12 TDs in six games before injury last year. Though his best years are long behind him, a talented group of pass-catchers all over the field make him a very safe back-up bet who can be a decent long-term fantasy starter if your No. 1 QB gets hurt.
19. Sam Bradford, PHI.
Some people will surely rank him higher as head of the fast-moving, productive PHI offense, and he was likely headed for a 30 TD season in 2013 before injury, so the talent is there. Hard to say exactly how good PHI will be, but an interesting draft gamble.
20. Joe Flacco, BAL.
3,986 passing yards and 27 TDs last year were somehow both career highs (although nine of those TDs came in just two game). Always a pretty boring fantasy option, but like Palmer, a solid back-up when the occasion arises.
Sleeper: Jameis Winston, TAM.
Not expecting much here, and the Bucs are not likely to turn to a pass-heavy attack, but they do have great WRs in Mike Evans and Vincent Jackson, a good young TE, and an upgraded O-line. Plus, Lovie Smith already named him starter - what could possibly go wrong?
* Your 2015 NFL Top 20!
Fantasy Baseball Update
Get Spanky, if you haven't already - and particularly if you lose the runs scored category every week. Adam Eaton, OF, White Sox, leads all of MLB in the last 30 or so days with 24 runs scored. Yes, he'll probably only deliver when the Sox are winning, and they appear to be on another down-swing in the last few games, but he's also managed a 1.030 OPS over the last month and five of his 10 SBs this season have come in the same stretch. He's still available in about 36% of Yahoo! leagues.
Dan O'Shea is our man in fantasyland. He welcomes your comments.
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