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IT’S THE MOST WONDERFUL TIME OF THE YEAR!!! Yes, it is time to discuss Fantasy Football and I am so excited that the season is almost here. Training camps are starting and there’s a lot to discuss. This season, especially in a 12 player league, are a lot of good quarterbacks that could lead your team to a fantasy football championship. Despite the good production from last year, there were a few injuries that makes me believe that quarterbacks have fallen a bit from the first round to now mid-second to third round in standard drafts. So without further due, here’s my top five fantasy quarterbacks and sleepers.
1.) Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers (Bye week 7) – Who would have thought Newton would have done what he done last season in fantasy without a true wide receiver? He averaged almost 25 fantasy points per game and now he gets back a healthy Kelvin Benjamin. With his great arm (35 touchdowns in 2015), running ability and knows how to get in the end zone, Newton is at the top of his game and should go in the second round as the first quarterback selected.
2.) Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers (Bye week 4) – Rodgers production took a big hit in 2015 (3,821 passing yards) but still threw for 31 touchdowns and only eight interceptions. With a healthy Jordy Nelson coming back and a slim Eddie Lacy, Rodgers should definitely be a top five fantasy quarterback this season.
3.) Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks (Bye week 5) – After losing Jimmy Graham and Marshawn Lynch last season, the Seahawks went to a spread attack that truly went in Wilson’s favor. He set career numbers in completion percentage (68.1), passing yards (4,024) and touchdowns (34). Not having Lynch will hurt a little, but a healthy Thomas Rauls along with Doug Baldwin, Jermaine Kearse, and Tyler Lockett should open the field more for Wilson to excel.
4.) Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers (Bye week 8) – Big Ben would be No. 2 and possible No. 1 if he had Martavis Bryant playing this year and now could be without Le’Veon Bell for the first four games. Last year was not a good season for the often injured Roethlisberger (3,938 passing yards) and only 21 touchdowns (16 interceptions). There’s no reason to think “Big Ben” will regress this season because he still has the best wide receiver in the league in Antonio Brown.
5.) Tom Brady, New England Patriots (Bye week 9) – He FINALLY decided not to fight anymore with the court system and take his four game suspension. I feel bad for the Cleveland Browns in Week 5 because when Brady’s mad, his production skyrockets. Don’t be surprised if he’s top 10 by season’s end.
Here are my Top 5 Sleepers (in no particular order)
1.) Ryan Tannerhill, Miami Dolphins (Bye week 8) – Ryan was on my sleeper list last year and was ranked No. 9 with 4,208 passing yards and 24 touchdowns. He showed some flashes of greatness, then disappeared in other games. With the running game a little suspect, Tannerhill should have better touchdown numbers from last season, especially with Jarvis Landry and DeVante Parker improving from last year.
2.) Derek Carr, Oakland Raiders (Bye week 10) – Carr had an excellent sophomore season posting a career high in passing yards (3,987) and touchdowns (32) with only 13 interceptions. He has built a great rapport with Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree so I expect similar numbers heading to this season.
3.) Marcus Mariota, Tennessee Titans (Bye week 13) – Before the injuries, Mariota was at top the of the league in touchdown passes early on in the first few weeks of the season. I’m still figuring out just how good he can be, but he has a running game now in DeMarco Murray and good wide receivers in Delanie Walker, Kendall Wright, Dorial Green-Beckham, Rishard Matthews, Harry Douglas, and possible Andre Johnson (former Houston Texans and Indianapolis Colts) if he signs. Mariota also showed potential as a runner so he’ll have plenty of options to make plays.
4.) Kirk Cousins, Washington Redskins (Bye week 9) – My personal favorite sleeper pick is Cousins, who finally took over the starting quarterback position in Washington last season and did not disappoint fantasy owners – 69.8 completion rate, 4,166 passing yards, 29 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. In the weak NFC East, Kirk should post great numbers with a healthy core (DeSean Jackson, Pierre Garcon, Jordan Reed, Matt Jones, Chris Thompson, and rookie sensation Josh Doctson).
5.) Blake Bortles, Jacksonville Jaguars (Bye week 5) – I personally gave Bortles the nickname “The Young Gunner” because he’s getting better every year and now he has two stud 1,000 yard wide receivers in Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns. Adding running back Chris Ivory and a healthy tight end Julius Thomas in the mix, Bortles will take another big step forward in his development to be a top 10 fantasy quarterback this season.
Next week, I will give you my top five fantasy running backs, wide receivers and sleepers.