Can you believe we are less than 100 days from the start of the NFL season!? It seems like only yesterday the city of Philadelphia was greasing lightpoles to keep their fans from climbing such great heights after the Eagles brought home their first Super Bowl title. Yet here we are preparing for the 2018 season with a new crop of rookies looking to make an impact and a few intriguing names changing zip codes in free agency.
Starting today, we’ll break down the “Too Early” position rankings to help you get a jump start on your 2018 research. It’s never too early to start, right? We’ll kick things off with what should be the most interesting position of the season: quarterback. The draft provided us with FIVE first round quarterbacks and while there may be a name or two who could make a splash in their rookie season (we’ll get to that in a second), it’s all about tempering expectations in year one.
So without further ado, here’s ChiCitySports.com Early 2018 Quarterback Rankings:
The first and second names atop the rankings should surprise no one as Rodgers is primed to bounce back after suffering a brutal collarbone injury in Week 6 that derailed Green Bay’s playoffs hopes. Wilson meanwhile put up the 23rd best fantasy season ever in 2017. That’s across all positions – not just quarterbacks. There wasn’t much to assist Wilson in terms of adding free agents, but the selection of Rashad Penny hopes to open things up for the passing game in Seattle this season.
As for some names that may be of a surprise where they fell, we’ll start with the third name on this list: Deshaun Watson. Many fantasy players may be scared away due to his lengthy injury history which includes a broken collarbone, finger fracture, LCL sprain and two ACL tears in the span of four years. Despite durability not being his best quality, Watson was averaging 24.1 FPPG (fantasy points per game) last season prior to his most recent ACL tear which had him pacing 2.3 points ahead of the next closest quarterback (Carson Wentz). Both he and Wentz should have no issue in bouncing back barring any setbacks in rehab.
The middle of the pack in the top 12 can be shifted around without much value changing hands. Between Brady and Roethlisberger, any of these four could come out on top at season’s end. Speaking of the former, it’s possible this is finally the year we see Brady start to falter as he faces only two high-start match-ups this year in Kansas City and Green Bay, the latter of which made a serious effort to bolster the secondary in the draft. With a trip to Jacksonville lined up in Week 2 and a match-up with the Vikings in the first week of fantasy playoffs, Brady could cause several teams to hit a wall like he did in 2017 when he had a 6:5 TD/INT ratio over the team’s final five games.
The QB2 tier offers up an interesting combination of rebound candidates, old faces in new places and up and coming signal callers. Coming in at QB14, Jimmy Garoppolo is a guy you’ll want to bench early in the season with games against the Vikings, Chargers and Rams in their first seven. However, the tail end of the season should have Jimmy G sitting pretty with Giants, Bucs, Bears and two games against a much weaker Seahawks defense awaiting him.
Alex Smith managed to post the 4th best FPPG average in 2017 and with a cakewalk of a schedule in his first year in the nation’s capital, it wouldn’t be a shock to see him land near the top of the list again in 2018. A league-leading 10 games will come against teams with a defensive DVOA of 20th or worse this season, which should give the veteran quarterback a chance to thrive.
Towards the bottom of this part of the list, we have a series of what can best be described as dart throws. Mahomes has one start under his belt but the hype is growing quickly for the former Red Raider. While his stats didn’t jump off the page, the question remains can he make the most of the playmakers around him? As for Eli Manning, the hype trains continue to chug on for his weapons: Beckham, Engram, Barkley and Shepard, so why not for the quarterback too? Pat Shurmur’s magic turned Case Keenum into a player who put up more fppg than Marcus Mariota, Matt Ryan, Jameis Winston or Jimmy Garoppolo, so it’s not out of the question he does the same with the 37-year-old Manning.
Can the enigma known as Blake Bortles pick up where he left off in 2017? The schedule says yes, as his hardest defensive matchup looks to be against Buffalo in Week 12. It may take some time to get accustomed to a wide receiver group that is half full of new names, Jacksonville’s 2018 opponents allowed the third highest average FPPG last season.
Ryan Tannehill offers an interesting redemption story but for fantasy purposes there isn’t much to pursue long as the Dolphins’ offensive line continues to look like it will struggle. The former Texas A&M product had one of the worst QB ratings under pressure in 2016, and coming off a torn ACL, chances are he’ll be skittish getting back into the swing of things as a starting NFL quarterback.
The rookies round out the tail-end of the rankings this season, despite how some of them may be putting up some very interesting battles for the starting gig early on – namely Lamar Jackson and Josh Rosen. Considering these two rookies are a Joe Flacco faltering and a faulty Sam Bradford knee away from taking regular season snaps respectively, they should hold value (albeit limited) relatively quick in re-draft leagues.
NEXT: RUNNING BACKS AND GROWING TREND OF ROOKIE STUDS