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Goal Line Stand

Silva's Best-Ball QB Tiers

by Evan Silva
Updated On: October 4, 2018, 4:04 pm ET

Tier One

Aaron Rodgers (QB1) > Tom Brady (QB2) > Russell Wilson (QB3)

Summary: Tier-one signal callers are rare weekly difference makers at the most replaceable position in fantasy football. Waiting for the double-digit rounds is always an optimal approach in start-one-quarterback-leagues, but members of this elite group warrant single-digit reaches as high-floor, high-upside scorers with dominant track records. Rodgers has finished as the first- or second-highest-scoring fantasy passer in seven of the last eight seasons in which he’s played at least 15 games. Brady has been a top-four QB in five of his last seven full years. Wilson led the NFL in touchdown passes (34) in 2017 and has averaged 34.8 rushing yards per game over the past four seasons. Seattle’s defense is falling apart, enhancing Wilson’s shootout-game probability.


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Tier Two

Drew Brees (QB4) > Cam Newton (QB5) > Deshaun Watson (QB6) > Carson Wentz (QB7)

Summary: Tier-two quarterbacks have shown weekly difference-making upside but have more question marks than tier-one passers. Although Brees remained highly efficient by leading the league in completion rate (72%) and yards per attempt (8.1) last season, New Orleans’ defensive and run-game improvement limited his ceiling; Brees’ 33.5 pass attempts per game were the fewest of his 12-year Saints career. Newton has been a top-four quarterback scorer in 5-of-7 seasons, but his weapons are unimpressive, and it’s fair to wonder whether old-school OC Norv Turner will effectively design an offense to suit Cam’s strengths. Watson was the QB1 by a whopping six points per game (!) from Weeks 2-8 last year, then tore his ACL for the second time since 2014. Early drafters have been very aggressive on Watson, typically selecting him in the single-digit rounds ahead of Brees and Newton. Wentz was the QB2 behind Russell Wilson before tearing his ACL and LCL last Week 14. Wentz is expected to be ready for Week 1, but medical experts believe he won't be fully mobile until midseason at earliest.

Tier Three

Kirk Cousins (QB8) > Marcus Mariota (QB9) > Matthew Stafford (QB10) > Jimmy Garoppolo (QB11) > Ben Roethlisberger (QB12) > Matt Ryan (QB13) > Jared Goff (QB14) > Philip Rivers (QB15) > Pat Mahomes (QB16) > Dak Prescott (QB17) > Jameis Winston (QB18) > Derek Carr (QB19) 

Summary: This is my favorite tier to target; ideally, I’m emerging from drafts with two quarterbacks from this group. These are job-secure starters who can score in the same range as first- and second-tier quarterbacks but don’t cost nearly as much. Minnesota was Cousins’ ideal landing spot, playing indoors with Stefon Diggs, Adam Thielen, Kyle Rudolph, and Dalvin Cook. Mariota is an obvious leap candidate with positive-touchdown regression forthcoming in a new offense coordinated by ex-Rams OC Matt LaFleur. After a down 2017, Ryan should bounce back into the top-12 range, where he’s finished for most of his career. Garoppolo was the QB7 in Weeks 13-17 last season and now enters his first full year with Kyle Shanahan. Stafford, Goff, and Rivers are especially safe investments. Roethlisberger (health), Prescott (second-half fade), Winston (inconsistency), and Mahomes (unproven) are riskier but offer high ceilings. Carr is another positive-touchdown regression candidate who was drafted as a top-eight passer last year. Carr now lasts until the QB15-QB20 range.

Tier Four

Alex Smith (QB20) > Blake Bortles (QB21) > Mitchell Trubisky (QB22) > Andy Dalton (QB23)

Summary: Tier four consists of more job-safe quarterbacks whose ceilings aren’t quite as high as those in tier three. Smith was last year’s overall QB3 in Kansas City, but it was the first top-12 season of Smith’s 12-year career, and he seems likely to regress with worse weapons in Washington. Bortles was last year’s QB1 in Weeks 12-16, and the Jaguars’ coaching staff embraced using him more as a runner as the season progressed. Trubisky offers dual-threat upside, and the Bears upgraded his supporting cast with Allen Robinson and Trey Burton. Cameron Meredith (ACL) also returns. Dalton has hovered in the QB16-18 range for the last four seasons. He is always best viewed as a high-floor, low-upside QB2.

Tier Five

Andrew Luck (QB24) > Tyrod Taylor (QB25) > Joe Flacco (QB26) > Eli Manning (QB27) > Josh McCown (QB28) > Sam Bradford (QB29) > Ryan Tannehill (QB30) > Case Keenum (QB31)

Summary: Luck would be ranked at the top of the third tier if we knew for sure he’d be ready for Week 1. His supporting cast looks ugly right now with continued offensive line concerns and questionable pass-catching talent (Eric Ebron/Chester Rogers/Ryan Grant/”K.J. Brent”) behind T.Y. Hilton and Jack Doyle. Taylor was a fringe QB1 throughout his Bills tenure. He has coaching staff and job security concerns in Cleveland, which will draft a quarterback at No. 1 overall. Tyrod's rushing value and improved weapony still give him boom-bust appeal. Flacco’s job is likely safer, but he has never posted top-ten quarterback stats through a decade in the pros and finished as the QB26, QB20, QB24 in the last three years. 39-year-old McCown will have to hold off Teddy Bridgewater and a rookie. Eli may have to hold off the No. 2 pick, and Keenum the No. 5 pick. Bradford and Tannehill have major health concerns.

Tier Six

Sam Darnold (QB32) > Baker Mayfield (QB33) > Lamar Jackson (QB34) > Josh Rosen (QB35) > A.J. McCarron (QB36) > Nick Foles (QB37) > Teddy Bridgewater (QB38) > Jacoby Brissett (QB39) > Mike Glennon (QB40) > Nathan Peterman (QB41) > Josh Allen (QB42) > Mason Rudolph (QB43)


Summary: Rest of the quarterbacks with a chance to see the field this year.

Evan Silva
Evan Silva is a senior football editor for Rotoworld.com. He can be found on Twitter .