Throughout the week, the Yahoo! fantasy team will review each of the four major positions, with an eye toward 2014 drafts. Taking a Q&A approach, we're looking at trends, sleepers, rookies, free agents, potential busts and breakouts, priming the pump for plenty of offseason debate. Today we analyze quarterbacks, a position that's transformed the fantasy landscape.
It was the tale of two seasons for second-year quarterbacks. Many dominated (e.g. Nick Foles) while others were demoted (e.g. RGIII). Among the sophomore class, which one has the highest ceiling entering 2014?
Brandon – RUSSELL WILSON. We should finally get to see Wilson and Percy Harvin together for a meaningful amount of time next season. And one would expect receiver and offensive line to be points of emphasis in the draft, so Wilson, already established in the QB1 fantasy class, should have more to work with in '14.
Brad – RGIII. His fantasy draft stock will plummet after this season's disaster, but with a likely new coaching regime, another full offseason to recover and, hopefully, enhancements made to the receiving corps, he very easily could return to the position's top-five next fall.
Andy – RUSSELL WILSON, no question. He's been a remarkably useful fantasy asset, despite playing for the NFC's most run-heavy team. What the heck will he do if Seattle ever changes the run/pass mix?
Scott – RUSSELL WILSON gets the nod for now, assuming a healthy Percy Harvin, though I still think Andrew Luck is capable of great things if the Colts get him some help. Heck, he's been the No. 4 quarterback in standard scoring this year, to little fanfare.
Dalton – RUSSELL WILSON. There are a lot of great options, but Wilson is already arguably one of the five most valuable players in the NFL (he's clearly such if you count salaries). Playing for such a run dominated team may limit his short-term ceiling, but Wilson is the real deal who will be a huge fantasy asset for years to come.
Similar to what Carson Palmer accomplished in the desert and, to a certain extent, Ryan Fitzpatrick with Tennessee, what old faces could thrive in new places in 2014?
Brandon – MICHAEL VICK. It's pretty clear that Vick no longer has a future as a starter in Philly. So he's likely moving on and no matter where he lands (Jacksonville? Oakland? Minnesota?), we know his ability to make a fantasy impact needs to be taken seriously. Of course, we also know his injury history needs to be taken seriously, which is why I don't think anyone will be advocating that he be drafted as anything but a fantasy backup QB in '14.
Brad – Vick is, as always, very fascinating. After what he showed over the first half of the season, the tank isn't reading 'empty.' However, JOSH MCCOWN is arguably the most intriguing name of the bunch. Whether or not Jay Cutler bolts, he will get a chance in Chicago or elsewhere. If he improbably winds up the starter in the Windy City, it would be tough to rank him outside the position's top-15 entering 2014.
Andy – Not Jay Cutler, because he ain't leavin' Chicago. I won't let him. And not Josh Freeman, because he's no good at throwing things. So I'll go MICHAEL VICK.
Scott – MICHAEL VICK had a zesty YPA and a bunch of rushing yardage when asked to play this year. His tank isn't empty yet.
Dalton – MICHAEL VICK seems like the obvious one, as Nick Foles is clearly the future in Philly. I also wouldn't be surprised if Matt Schaub succeeded in a new home in 2014. Josh McCown has also clearly earned the opportunity to compete for a starting role next season as well.
In a weak QB rookie class, Mike Glennon and Matt McGloin were the only rookie passers who made measurable noise in their inaugural campaigns. What rookies should owners keep an eye on in next May's draft?
Brandon – JOHNNY MANZIEL. Let's not make a Tebow comparison here. Manziel is much (much, much) better at throwing the ball. And although he's slightly under 6-foot, he's got those big hands like Russell Wilson to help compensate. And, of course, there's plenty of juice here in terms of rushing ability. Let's not forget that Terrelle Pryor, through Week 9, was a top 15 fantasy QB this season thanks to the rushing ability, and Manziel is already a much better thrower than TP. If Manziel finds a starting lineup in the NFL in '14, we'll be taking him seriously very quickly.
Brad – JIMMY GAROPPOLO. The Walter Payton Award winner has drawn little national attention. After all, Eastern Illinois University isn't exactly a warehouse of NFL talent. But Garoppolo shattered school passing records set by Tony Romo and Sean Payton throwing for over 5,000 yards and 53 TDs this season. As a result, he's gained measurable buzz in the scouting community. Some will question his downfield arm strength, but well-built and very accurate, he could be highly productive in this age of spread/West Coast schemes. Remember the name, dynasty leaguers.
Andy – I don't see a superstar in next year's draft, necessarily, so I'll say WHOEVER LANDS IN CLEVELAND. Fine, maybe the Browns roll with Brian Hoyer. It's possible. But if they choose the rookie route — and that rook gets to throw to Gordon and Cameron — you'll love the production.
Scott – The TEDDY BRIDGEWATER experience. It's fun to say, and it's damn fun to watch.
Dalton – I assume TEDDY BRIDGEWATER is the common answer here, and I don't have any real sleepers. The problem is this also depends entirely on the team that drafts the player. Just look at this year's class - while rookie QBs are given a chance to start sooner than in the past, they are still best avoided in fantasy terms.
This season, overlooked vets Philip Rivers, Alex Smith and, when healthy, Jay Cutler turned substantial profits. What signal caller likely available in the middle rounds or later in 2014 drafts will you highlight on your cheat sheet?
Brandon – MATT RYAN - Things went awry quickly for Ryan with injuries to Roddy White (he played through it), Steven Jackson and then, the big blow, Julio Jones. With a healthy White and Jones, Ryan should be a top 8 fantasy QB, where he finished in each of the two previous seasons (and No. 9 in '10). But I'm guessing he'll fall further than that in drafts. I'll be happy to take any discount that drops him out of the QB top 10 in '14 drafts.
Brad – ALEX SMITH. Down the homestretch, the unheralded passer turned a corner and logged gaudy numbers for the fantasy masses. From Weeks 10-16, only Peyton Manning and Nick Foles bested him in points per game. Assuming the Chiefs add a viable WR2, the former No. 1 pick could reach a new career zenith in 2014. Accurate, versatile and never plagued by turnovers, he will be a steal in the middle-to-late rounds.
Andy – COLIN KAEPERNICK. It can't get worse, right? I mean ... he can't possibly throw less, can he? Kap should be a bargain next season, and he has all the tools to be top-shelf.
Scott – MATT RYAN'S 2013 season goes down as an excused absence. I want to draft him right now. I'm also curious to see what Colin Kaepernick can do with a full set of receivers.
Dalton – I expect MATT RYAN to bounce back in 2014, but that's not exactly going out on a limb. So I'll say Eli Manning, who's been truly horrendous this season coming off a disappointing prior campaign. I'm just not ready to totally write off a 32-year-old who's two years removed from throwing the eighth most passing yards in a season in NFL history who will be dirt cheap at fantasy tables.
List your top-14 quarterbacks for '14.
Brandon – 1) Peyton Manning, 2) Drew Brees, 3) Aaron Rodgers, 4) Cam Newton, 5) Tom Brady 6) Nick Foles 7) Matt Ryan 8) Tony Romo 9) Russell Wilson 10) Matthew Stafford 11) Jay Cutler 12) Philip Rivers 13) Andrew Luck 14) Ben Roethlisberger
Brad – 1) Peyton Manning, 2) Drew Brees, 3) Aaron Rodgers, 4) Cam Newton, 5) Nick Foles, 6) Matthew Stafford, 7) Tom Brady, 8) Jay Cutler (If in CHI), 9) Russell Wilson, 10) RGIII, 11) Tony Romo, 12) Alex Smith, 13) Andrew Luck, 14) Matt Ryan
Andy – 1) Peyton, 2) Brees, 3) Rodgers, 4) Cam, 5) Romo, 6) Cutler, 7) Wilson, 8) Stafford, 9) Luck, 10) Big Ben, 11) Foles, 12) Brady, 13) Ryan, 14) Rivers.
Scott – 1) Peyton Manning, 2) Drew Brees, 3) Aaron Rodgers, 4) Cam Newton, 5) Matt Ryan, 6) Philip Rivers, 7) Tom Brady, 8) Russell Wilson, 9) Andrew Luck, 10) Nick Foles, 11) Tony Romo, 12) Colin Kaepernick, 13) Ben Roethlisberger, 14) Andy Dalton
Dalton – 1) Peyton Manning 2) Drew Brees 3) Aaron Rodgers 4) Cam Newton 5) Nick Foles 6) Tom Brady 7) Matthew Stafford 8) Russell Wilson 9) Tony Romo 10) Colin Kaepernick 11) Philip Rivers 12) Andrew Luck 13) Ben Roethlisberger 14) Robert Griffin