The advent of NFL training camps is upon us as teams approach their first preseason games. With the return of football comes the return of our favorite form of legal sports betting, fantasy football. As you scour the internet for the latest news and rankings getting ready for your league’s draft, we’ll be providing you lists of the top fantasy prospects by position for this season. We’ll begin with the most important position on the field and likely on your team: quarterback. (Note: All fantasy stats are based on CBSSports.com scoring/rankings from last season)
Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers
Rodgers led all quarterbacks in fantasy points last season, posting 461 total or about 28.8 points per week thanks to a 40-to-7 touchdown-to-interception ratio and over 4,000 yards passing. He actually ranks as the top guy in terms of three year averages done by the guys at CBS Sports as well. Entering 2017, the Packers added another weapon to Rodgers’ arsenal in the form of tight end Martellus Bennett, who himself has ranked in the Top 10 of his position both last year and by three year average. The Packers are still looking for a consistent running game so Rodgers will likely be asked to do even more (if that’s even possible) in the Packers offense. He projects as the top QB this year in the CBS Sports rankings with 4,578 yards, 35 TDs and nine INTs for 433 total fantasy points.
Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons
Ryan and the Falcons are looking to shake off February’s epic collapse in the Super Bowl, but the end of that game has overshadowed a bit just how good Ryan was last season. He finished tied for second among QBs in fantasy points last season with Drew Brees at 421 for the season. That works out to an average of about 26.3 points per game and this year, he projects as the number two guy behind Rodgers according to CBS Sports. The Falcons return all of the weapons from last year’s team, but they do lose offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan to the 49ers. He’s not projected to rack up as many fantasy points as last year (386), but still a very good season looks to lie ahead.
Tom Brady, New England Patriots
Surprise, surprise. Brady finished with 304 fantasy points last season, which likely seems unimpressive, until you consider that he did that in just 12 games because of the Deflategate suspension that forced him to miss the first four weeks. That works out to 25.3 points per game which puts him right behind Brees and Ryan. With a full 16 game schedule on hand this year, Brady looks poised to once again put up big numbers. Especially when you consider some of the Pats offseason moves. They added Brandin Cooks and Dwayne Allen via trade adding two more pass catchers to their ranks along with a hopefully healthier Gronk. Brady’s projections are 4,731 yards 33 TDs 8 INTs and 380 total fantasy points.
Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints
Another veteran QB, Brees has been a consistent star in fantasy football under head coach Sean Payton. He finished last year tied with Matt Ryan in total points at 421. This season, the Saints do lose Cooks, but they still have a variety of weapons including last year’s receptions leader in Michael Thomas and the team added Adrian Peterson who could bring more defenders into the box, thereby opening up passing lanes. His projections for the year are 5,124 yards with 31 touchdowns and 16 interceptions for a total of 376 fantasy points.
Jameis Winston, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Winston finished in the Top 10 among fantasy QBs in his sophomore season, checking in at number eight with 328 fantasy points (20.5 average). He has struggled with interceptions in his first two years (33 total) and that number needs to drop to further his fantasy value since interceptions are negatives against you in any game. The Bucs did all they could to help Winston this offseason, adding tight end O.J. Howard and speedy receiver Chris Godwin in the draft and Desean Jackson in free agency. Adding those weapons has Winston projected for 4,574 yards, 27 TDs and 18 INTs for a total of 343 fantasy points.
Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers
Injuries, wide receiver drops and a struggling offensive line limited Newton’s effectiveness last year after his 2015 MVP campaign. He ranked near the middle of the league in fantasy points with 293 (18.3 average) but, the Panthers did go out and get him some help this year. The team drafted RB Christian McCaffrey, who is one of the best route runners out of the backfield that we’ve seen in awhile while also adding RB/WR Curtis Samuel out of Ohio State. Those two will likely take some carries away from Newton, but should also give him a few dangerous options out of the backfield. That said, CBS Sports has him projected for 90 carries once more, the same as last season, and a total of 342 fantasy points.
Kirk Cousins, Washington Redskins
Cousins has been a Top 10 QB in fantasy in each of the past two seasons, he was eighth in 2015 and fifth last season. He finished last year with 356 total fantasy points after throwing for 4,917 yards with 25 touchdowns and 12 interceptions, but this year he could drop some, which is why he’s back in seventh this year. That’s due in part to the loss of offensive coordinator Sean McVay, who’s now in LA with the Rams, but also due to the loss of big play threat Desean Jackson and reliable possession receiver Pierre Garcon. The team will be hoping that last year’s first round pick Josh Doctson can provide more impact this year, and they did bring in Terrelle Pryor after he had a solid season with Cleveland’s carousel of QBs. CBS Sports projections have Cousins throwing for 4,716 yards 25 touchdowns once more, but an uptick to 16 interceptions for a total of 341 points.
Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks
Wilson, thanks to his running ability and continued improvement as a passer, ranks third overall among QBs over the past three years. Last year, ankle injuries hampered his scrambling ability, but his passing numbers were impressive with 4,219 yards and 21 touchdowns (11 INTs). This season, Wilson is presumably healthier, though the Seahawks still have to prove that the offensive line can protect him, which they haven’t done well in the past few years. This year, he’s projected to tie Cousins with 341 fantasy points though with more Wilson-like numbers in the running game at 80 carries for 354 yards.
Phillip Rivers, San Diego Chargers
Rivers, like most of the other names on this list, has been a Top 10 fantasy QB by the averages over the last three years. He did it last year largely without top receiver Keenan Allen who missed most of the year with an injury. This year, Allen will hopefully be healthier, though injuries have already struck with both first round pick Mike Williams and second round pick guard Forrest Lamp expected to be out for the season. The projections have him throwing for 4,438 yards with 30 touchdowns and 18 interceptions that totals up to 335 fantasy points.
Andrew Luck, Indianapolis Colts
This one is contingent on Luck being healthy come the regular season which should be the case, but there’s still some question as he remains on the teams’ PUP list. He hasn’t gotten great protection in the past few seasons and the Colts didn’t do much of anything to upgrade the offensive line this offseason. He did play 15 games last season despite taking a beating and he finished fourth among QBs in fantasy points with 377. This season, projections have him putting up 331 points by throwing for 4,092 yards with 26 touchdowns and 20 interceptions.