Last week, when we broke down the most recent running back rankings in fantasy football, there seemed to be a large consensus of just who belonged in the top 10. But as we next turn to quarterbacks there seems to be very little harmony as to which signal callers will be the best fantasy performers in the 2015 season.

The most recent projections largely have some mix of Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers, Indianapolis’ Andrew Luck, Seattle’s Russell Wilson, Denver’s Peyton Manning, and New Orleans’ Drew Brees in the top five, but in the next five there’s some significant parity.

The aforementioned group certainly figures to be among the best fantasy quarterbacks in any league format next season, but as owners know, the chances of landing one of them isn’t great. In a 10-team league you essentially have a 50/50 shot, which are decent odds, but they don’t rule out the chance another owner decides to take two QB1s early to later use as leverage in a trade. In the 12-team format the chances slip to roughly 41 percent, or 5/12.

Thus many owners will end up with a quarterback found in the top 6 to 12 range this season, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing given the heavily inflated passing numbers around the league. But who to choose from the NFL’s second and third tier of QB1s can be rather difficult unless you properly parse rankings.

Once again we’ll breakdown the latest top 10 rankings from ESPN, NumberFire, and Yahoo, and try to figure which is the best for fantasy owners to follow.


1.Andrew Luck, Colts

2.Aaron Rodgers, Packers

3.Russell Wilson, Seahawks

4.Peyton Manning, Broncos

5.Drew Brees, Saints

6.Tom Brady, Patriots

7.Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers

8.Cam Newton, Panthers

9.Tony Romo, Cowboys

10. Matt Ryan, Falcons

After leading the NFL in passing touchdowns last season and coming close to 5,000 yards, Yahoo puts Luck ahead of Rodgers, but their stats should be interchangeable by season’s end. Brees again rounds out the top 5, but this list gives Brady more credit than ESPN’s and pushes Roethlisberger back.

Newton is once again above Romo and Ryan, but other than receiver Kelvin Benjamin and tight end Greg Olsen, the Panthers lack a serious rushing threat. Newton’s accuracy has been inconsistent his entire career, and teams will assuredly sit back and dare him to throw a lot more this season. He really should be no higher than No. 9 or No. 10.

It’s strange to see Romo, coming off his most efficient season ever, scraping by at the bottom of the top 10, but with his back injury last season it makes sense. Still, with probably the best offensive line in the league, and receiver Dez Bryant, Romo’s value as the ninth or 10th QB off the board is tremendous for any owner in any league format.


1.Aaron Rodgers, Packers

2.Drew Brees, Saints

3.Andrew Luck, Colts

4.Peyton Manning, Broncos

5.Matt Ryan, Falcons

6.Russell Wilson, Seahawks

7.Matthew Stafford, Lions

8.Cam Newton, Panthers

9.Tony Romo, Cowboys

10.Philip Rivers, Chargers

NumberFire blazed a different path by slotting Brees ahead of Luck, an interesting move that likely has more to do with the weakness of the NFC South and the fact that Luck and the Colts will have to see defensive end J.J. Watt and the Houston Texans twice in the AFC South. But with T.Y. Hilton, Andre Johnson, deadly tight ends Dwayne Allen and Coby Fleener, as well as running back Frank Gore, Luck has almost too much at his disposal to fail this season.

Wilson moves all the way back to No. 6 on this list, with Ryan hurdling over, and Stafford and Rivers moving into the top 10. Ryan’s passing yardage will be higher, but unless he gets a Pro Bowl season from second-year back Devonta Freeman, overuse could be an issue late in the season. Thus Ryan likely belongs in the No. 6 to 8 range.

Stafford and Rivers move well ahead of Brady and Roethlisberger, a curious decision. Stafford does have Calvin Johnson and Golden Tate, maybe the only duo who can rival Green Bay’s Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb, but until Detroit’s running game comes around Stafford could be ranked too high. Rivers won’t have tight end Antonio Gates for four games, and while rookie Melvin Gordon could be great one day, he’s yet to prove himself in the league. Thus Rivers should really be out of the top 10.

                          Tony Romo Cowboys 2015 The loss of running back DeMarco Murray moves the Cowboys Tony Romo out of the top five fantasy quarterback rankings. Photo: Getty Images


1.Aaron Rodgers, Packers

2.Andrew Luck, Colts

3.Russell Wilson, Seahawks

4.Peyton Manning, Broncos

5.Drew Brees, Saints

6.Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers

7.Cam Newton, Panthers

8.Matt Ryan, Falcons

9.Tom Brady, Patriots

10.Tony Romo, Cowboys

ESPN’s top four all make sense, even Wilson ahead of Manning because of his age and rushing abilities. But once you get to Brees and Roethlisberger things are rather murky. For one the Steelers QB has lots more weapons in receiver Antonio Brown and running back Le’Veon Bell. Whereas Brees’ most reliable weapons are running backs Mark Ingram and C.J. Spiller, both of whom have had injury problems in the past. Also Brees doesn’t have tight end Jimmy Graham anymore.

Then from No. 7 to 9, Newton finds himself above both Brady and Ryan, which is only justifiable due to Newton’s rushing yardage potential. Otherwise, Brady and Ryan will certainly wind up with more passing touchdowns and yards, even if the former sits out four games from the “Deflategate” scandal. Ryan lacks a true rushing threat, but does have Julio Jones. So the proper order should really be Ryan, then Brady, and Newton moved down to No. 10 and Romo at No. 9.

Romo lost running back DeMarco Murray, but still has the reliable tight end Jason Witten and right now no one in the Cowboys organization thinks  Bryant will miss any games due to a contract holdout. Even Romo. ESPN’s list will likely shift around once Brady’s fate is decided, but right now Newton’s ranked too high and Romo and Ryan far too low.

Of the three, ESPN’s appears to be the most realistic and worthwhile to follow when drafts take place next month.