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Fantasy Football Advice from former Super Bowl QB Rich Gannon
QB Rankings, Projections and Analysis
Quarterback Sleepers & Busts
Weekly Rankings, Start N' Sit & Sleepers Every Wednesday


QBs title bar graphic
Browns QBs Weeden & McCoy
This is how we rate the QBs for the 2014 fantasy season. Just click on the links to read our complete rationale for each ranking. The ratings are based on a standard league where 25 passing yards equals 1 point, passing and rushing TDs equal 6 pts. and INTs equal -2 points.

The Top 10
Top 10 Slideshow
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Slideshow Photo Credit Links

The Best of the Rest
  1. Cam Newton
  2. Colin Kaepernick
  3. Jay Cutler
  4. Matt Ryan
  5. Tony Romo
  6. Andy Dalton
  7. Josh McCown
  8. E.J. Manuel
  9. Johnny Manziel
  10. Joe Flacco
JaMarcus Russell
Every year there are at least one or two players who fail to deliver on their first-round draft status. Sometimes it's unavoidable, like the player gets injured and is lost for an extended period of time. So long as you made contingency plans and picked up a capable replacement, you should be free of guilt. But other times the signs were there all along and you simply failed to take notice. Successful fantasy players focus on minimizing their risk in the early rounds and gamble on upside as the draft progresses. We'll help you avoid possible early-round busts and identify some players with the potential to emerge as late-round or waiver wire sleepers:

Sleepers
Jay Cutler
Bears QB Jay Cutler
You'd be hard pressed to find a better sleeper than Cutler, who's being selected after a dozen or more QBs are off the board in most fantasy drafts. While he's rarely been a top fantasy performer, he showed in 2008 when he was still a Bronco that he has the potential to put up strong numbers when he has a great supporting cast. Last year with Brandon Marshall and the emergence of Alshon Jeffery he was on target for a career year only to see it derailed by injuries.

Project his stats from last year over a full season and he would have been a top 3 fantasy QB - justification enough to draft him as a potential sleeper. We'd target him around the 8th round as a QB2 with the potential to be your QB1.

Philip Rivers
Chargers QB Philip Rivers
We're not quite sure why Philip Rivers is lasting until around the 10th round in most fantasy drafts. Maybe the bad taste he left in many fantasy owners mouths in 2012 when he passed for only 3606 yards and just 26 TDs still lingers. The fact is Rivers has been a top 10 QB almost every year aside from 2012, including last year when he put up an impressive 4550 total yards and 32 TDs.

We think his down year was due more to the lack of a supporting cast than any decline in his skills. If Keenan Allen plays like he did last year and Ryan Matthews stays healthy, we see no reason he can't duplicate last year's performance. There is a risk TE Antonio Gates begins to decline but third-year player Ladarius Green, who stepped up his game late last season, looks poised to make up for any drop off. Rivers represents a great value where he's currently being picked and we'd be buyers starting around the 8th round in standard 12-team leagues.

Josh McCown
Buccaneers QB Josh McCown
Fantasy owners aren't quite sold on the 35-yr. old McCown, who's being passed over in the majority of drafts. There's always some uncertainty when a career back-up takes over a starting gig and no guarantee they'll duplicate their previous numbers with a new franchise (see Matt Cassel or Matt Flynn). The Buccaneers wideouts, aside from Vincent Jackson, aren't proven commodities like the ones he had at his disposal in Chicago but some of the same ingredients that allowed him to succeed with the Bears are present, including two tall, big-bodied WRs to throw to and a talented group of TEs.

If you haven't drafted a QB2 by the end of the draft, it may be worth picking up McCown as a sleeper. Otherwise, he's worth keeping an eye on as a possible in-season waiver wire pick-up once he's adjusted to the new offense and rookie Mike Evans gains some experience.


Busts
Peyton Manning
Broncos QB Peyton Manning
We're not trying to be Negative Nancies or portending a disastrous season for Manning but he's currently running a very close second to Aaron Rodgers in most fantasy drafts and we think that's a tad too high for a 38-yr. old with a history of serious injuries. There's a tendency in most fantasy drafts to focus too much on last season's results rather than a player's whole body of work. Just like when many fantasy owners made Tom Brady the first quarterback taken in drafts following his phenomenal 50 TD season in 2007, we don't see Manning duplicating his stats. We also think his numbers may suffer from the departure of Decker and Moreno, two of his more reliable short-to-intermediate targets.

We expect Manning's production to come down to Earth and think similar stats to 2012 when he threw for 4659 yards with 37 TDs is a realistic assumption. This makes him a good value around the 4th to 6th round in 12-team leagues.

Cam Newton
Panthers QB Cam Newton
Cam Newton has been a top 5 fantasy QB so someone in your league may grab him early. Thanks to his running ability we don't see him having a terrible fantasy season but don't expect the kind of production he's had the last 3 seasons. This year his top receiving options are Jason Avant, Jerricho Cotchery and the raw but talented rookie Kelvin Benjamin. The Panthers absolutely gutted their receiving corps in the off-season, sending speedster Steve Smith, Brandon LaFell and Ted Ginn Jr. packing. The sole FA acquisition, TE Ed Dickson, is more of a blocking TE than a receiving threat and hardly compensates for the mass exodus in talent.

Newton's passing yards have declined from 4051 to 3869 to 3379 over the past 3 years. We expect that trend to continue this year and can see them declining to around 2800-3000 yards with 20-25 TDs through the air. The lack of open receivers should help his rushing stats so 750-800 yds. on the ground with 6-8 TDs seem likely. However, this won't be enough to push him into the top 10, so we wouldn't be buyers until the middle rounds of a standard 12-team league draft.

Matt Ryan
Falcons QB Matt Ryan
Blindly selecting a player based on past statistical production without considering other factors is a common draft day error that often leads to selecting a bust. Matt Ryan is currently one of the first ten QBs off the board in fantasy drafts. While he's been a top 10 fantasy performer at times, the last two years it occurred he had a healthy trio of Roddy White, Julio Jones and Tony Gonzalez to throw to. Last year Jones was out for most of the season and we saw the result - Ryan's passing yards and TDs suffered a noticeable decline. Now that Gonzalez has retired we're just not confident Levine Toilolo and Bear Pascoe can fill the void.

While the return of Jones to the line-up helps, it's partially offset by the loss of one of the premier TEs in the game. We see Ryan having a season similar to last year and predict around 4,500 yards and 28-30 TDs with a healthy dose of INTs due to the lack of a big target over the middle.
Lions RB Reggie Bush
Photo of Reggie Bush © Xaf
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There's no better source of advice on fantasy QBs than the players who have to face them week-in and week-out. We're very grateful to the following NFL players and retired players who were kind enough to answer our questions and provide our readers with advice:

Rich Gannon
Retired NFL Quarterback
Former NFL QB Rich Gannon

Brian Robison
DE Minnesota Vikings
Vikings DE Brian Robison
Photo of Brian Robison © Rick Burtzel
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Darius Butler
CB Indianapolis Colts
Colts CB Darius Butler
Photo of Darius Butler © NFLfootballfansite.com
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Tank Johnson
Retired NFL Defensive Tackle
Former NFL DT Tank Johnson
Photo of Tank Johnson © Navin Rajagopalan
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