When it comes to fantasy quarterbacks its Drew Brees and Aaron Rodgers vying for the title of 1A and 1B of best in the NFL. Brees has led the NFL in touchdown passes four of the last five years, passed for 5,000-plus yards three times, and completed more than 70 percent of his passes twice in his 12-year career.
Then there’s Rodgers, whose been a model of consistency with near flawless football. He has led the league in quarterback rating and touchdowns-per-attempt for two years running. Rodgers has also averaged 34 touchdowns, 4,266 yards, and completed 66 percent of his passes since taking over full-time in 2008.
It’s safe to say you can’t go wrong with either Super Bowl MVP, but more than likely if you’re a fantasy owner they won’t fall to you. So who do you go with next? And more importantly when?
Brees and Rodgers are going in either the end of the first or beginning of the second round, while other top passers are coming off the board around the third to fourth round. Below are five quarterbacks who could present way more value between the third and sixth round range, allowing you to draft your workhouse running backs and more consistent receivers.
1) Peyton Manning, Denver Broncos
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According to Fantasy Pros, he’s the first one off the board after Brees and Rodgers, which makes complete sense for the quarterback whose second only to Brett Favre for every career passing record. One thing to consider for Manning is if he can help you in the playoffs. Denver has the easiest schedule in the league this season, and should they have the conference wrapped up before your playoffs start, Manning will sit and his value drops.
2) Tony Romo, Dallas Cowboys
Unless running back DeMarco Murray stays healthy, it should be a second straight year of 600 pass attempts and about 4,500 yards for Romo. The 19 interceptions should come down as well. Younger guys who also rush like RGIII and Colin Kaepernick are going ahead of him, but risk of injury and lack of long term experience are huge red flags. You can maybe snag Romo in the fifth or sixth round, using your first five picks to round out the heart of your lineup.
3) Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons
Another year with Julio Jones and Roddy White as the best wide out tandem in the league should ensure Ryan a third consecutive 4,000-plus yard year. But what may limit him is the addition of veteran running back Steven Jackson. Atlanta had the 29th ranked rushing offense last year, and Jackson and his eight straight years of 1,000 yards rushing immediately helps balance the Falcons offense, but also decreases Ryan’s fantasy value.
4) Tom Brady, New England Patriots
He’s battled Manning for best quarterback of this era for the last 10 years, which is why he’s this high, but this season seems rather uncertain. Yes, he’s worked in new receivers before, but Danny Amendola has had plenty of injury issues, and Rob Gronkowski’s status is very uncertain at this point. Brady should put up solid numbers and New England will win as usual, but don’t expect 30-plus touchdowns and 5,000 yards, with running back Stevan Ridley expected to have an expanded role.
5) Joe Flacco, Baltimore Ravens
Flacco is the new leader after Ray Lewis’s retirement, and he’ll do it more by example than vocally. He’s been a guaranteed 3,500 yards and 20 touchdowns over the last five years. If you’re looking for consistency he might be the best value, considering he’s fallen as low as the 10th or 11th round in some leagues.