The 2017 fantasy football season is coming, and it’s time to check out rankings, highlight sleepers, and pour over cheat sheets and any other tidbit of analysis within reach to help develop your draft strategy. Your draft might be off in the horizon right now, but early bird gets the worm — and you’ve got a fantasy league to win — so get started right now with fantasy’s highest scoring position.

For the quarterbacks this year, the usual culprits for top-tier status stay on that pedestal (Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, Drew Brees), but there are several more QBs that seemed poised to either break through into the elite fantasy level for the first time (Kirk Cousins, Marcus Mariota) or return to that level once again (Cam Newton, Russell Wilson, Andrew Luck).

Even more than in past seasons, this seems like a good year to draft a quarterback in the later rounds. Several players in our top 12 have a chance to break into the elite level. Also, keep in mind that the No. 8 quarterback last season (Blake Bortles) finished just 20 points ahead of No. 18 (Ben Roethlisberger), so don’t let the relatively low rankings of some push you away when realistically there’s only a one- or two-point difference each week.

6. Andrew Luck, Indianapolis Colts. Taking away an injury-plagued 2015, Luck has been a top-five QB for the past four years, including No. 1 in ’14. This year, Luck falls outside the top five because of concerns from his latest shoulder surgery. Injuries have been a big part of Luck’s career lately, and the Colts walk into the season with one of the worst offensive lines again. But even still, Luck will get the passing yards and touchdowns (top eight in both) he always gets, and he still poses a threat with his running ability. Luck plays in a pass-first offense in a weak division, so he should still be considered a top QB1 option.

6. Andrew Luck, Indianapolis Colts. Taking away an injury-plagued 2015, Luck has been a top-five QB for the past four years, including No. 1 in ’14. This year, Luck falls outside the top five because of concerns from his latest shoulder surgery. Injuries have been a big part of Luck’s career lately, and the Colts walk into the season with one of the worst offensive lines again. But even still, Luck will get the passing yards and touchdowns (top eight in both) he always gets, and he still poses a threat with his running ability. Luck plays in a pass-first offense in a weak division, so he should still be considered a top QB1 option.

Fantasy Football 2017: Quarterback rankings

1. Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers. Head and shoulders above the rest, Rodgers led all fantasy quarterbacks last year, scoring at least 30 more points than the No. 2 QB, depending on your league. He was top five in pass attempts, completions and yards, first in touchdowns, and had the seventh fewest in interceptions among starting quarterbacks. The pass-happy Packers will again be pass-happy with the lack of a solid running game, and if you worry he might not be able to repeat last year, just r-e-l-a-x. He’s been a top-two fantasy quarterback seven of the past nine years.
2. Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints. The Saints savior is coming off one of his best years at age 37, posting a career high in completions (471) and his second best mark in passing yards (5,208), both highest in the NFL. Over the past three years, Brees is second to Rodgers (with a 37-point gap from third) for most fantasy points among QBs. Like usual, his offense will still have to score a ton of points to keep up with their own lack of defense. The loss of Brandin Cooks hurts, but Brees seems to turn a no-name wide receiver into a big-name fantasy player each year. By the end of the season, Brees will finish as a bona-fide top-three quarterback.
3. Tom Brady, New England Patriots. Brady hits the big 4-0 this year, but don’t expect him to slow down soon. After being suspended for four games, Brady still managed to finish top 10 in touchdowns and completion percentage and threw only two interceptions. He averaged 21.5 points per game last year in standard leagues; project that over 16 games, he would’ve finished just past Brees and Matt Ryan for the second-best QB. Add in a (hopefully) healthy Rob Gronkowski and speedster Brandin Cooks, and Brady is poised for another big year.
4. Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers. After pure domination in 2015, Newton fell and fell hard in ’16. But Newton, as evident from the many times he got hit last year, will get back up again. Many are beginning to call his MVP season an anomaly, but in the past five years, Newton finished as a top-five fantasy QB three times. He scored 21 fewer touchdowns last year than the year before. If he can get half those back, he’d be catapulted into the top-eight QBs on TDs alone, not even including the additional yardage. The Panthers addressed their offensive woes drafting Christian McCaffrey eighth overall and using second-round picks on a wide receiver (Curtis Samuel) and offensive lineman (Taylor Moton).
5. Derek Carr, Oakland Raiders. In 2015, he was a top-20 fantasy QB; in ’16, he jumped to No. 11 despite missing the final week. What will ’17 bring? Carr has a legitimate case for a top-five jump. Despite his receivers leading the league with 31 drops, Carr managed to have his best year with the most completions and best completion rate. Barring his Week 16 broken leg injury, he most likely would’ve had more touchdowns and passing yards and ended the season as a top-10 fantasy quarterback. Oakland keeps their strong offensive line, and they added WR Cordarrelle Patterson, TE Jared Cook and RB Marshawn Lynch. Based on his rate of improvement each of his three years, Carr’s potential for a top fantasy year is high.
6. Andrew Luck, Indianapolis Colts. Taking away an injury-plagued 2015, Luck has been a top-five QB for the past four years, including No. 1 in ’14. This year, Luck falls outside the top five because of concerns from his latest shoulder surgery. Injuries have been a big part of Luck’s career lately, and the Colts walk into the season with one of the worst offensive lines again. But even still, Luck will get the passing yards and touchdowns (top eight in both) he always gets, and he still poses a threat with his running ability. Luck plays in a pass-first offense in a weak division, so he should still be considered a top QB1 option.
7. Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks. Ankle, knee, pectoral — what didn’t get hurt for Wilson in 2016? He returns fully healthy this year, and there’s no reason to believe he can’t get back to his true form. Wilson’s injuries were most likely the reason for career lows on the ground in rushing attempts, yards and touchdowns. In the air, he posted career highs in completions and yards, but he only found the end zone 21 times, second lowest in his career. Last season was the first time Wilson didn’t finish as a top-10 fantasy quarterback, but now healthy again, expect a bounce-back season.
8. Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons. Ryan easily had the best season in his nine-year career, posting career marks in completion percentage, passing yards, touchdowns and fewest interceptions en route to a MVP and Super Bowl trip. With offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan in San Francisco now, a regression can be expected. Ryan was a top-five quarterback for the first time since 2012, so he doesn’t have much experience in staying as an elite signal-caller. However, the Falcons kept all their offensive pieces from last season’s high-powered offense, so Ryan should still be one of the better fantasy QBs this year.
9. Kirk Cousins, Washington Redskins. Cousins sneaked into the top five for fantasy QBs in standard leagues last year after finishing No. 8 the year before. Playing under the franchise tag, he ranked third in the NFL with 4,915 passing yards, and for the second straight year, he’ll play under the same conditions. If the franchise tag didn’t scare him last year, it most likely won’t scare him again. Cousins is an accurate passer (67 percent completion rate) who also isn’t afraid to use his legs, rushing for four touchdowns last year (tied for sixth most). He lost his top two WRs in Pierre Garcon and DeSean Jackson, but he still has reliable and deep weapons in free-agent pickup Terrelle Pryor and returners Jordan Reed, Jamison Crowder and Josh Doctson.
10. Marcus Mariota, Tennessee Titans. After the first 12 weeks of last year, Mariota actually had the fourth-most points for a quarterback, but then his season took a turn for the worst with back-to-back poor performances and an injury that ended his sophomore campaign. He ended up as the 13th-best QB in 2016, but he easily could’ve finished top 10, maybe better. Mariota lines up behind one of the best offensive lines this year, and he still has great running ability, racking up two rushing TDs and sixth-most rushing yards among QBs. The Titans also added two WRs with free agent Eric Decker and fifth overall pick Corey Davis. For more on Mariota, check out to our QB sleeper picks.

Source: Yahoo
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