Ahh, finally. The 2016 fantasy football season is closing in, and just as I have done since 2014, I will bring out my positional rankings leading up to the 2016 NFL regular season. The NFL has become a passing league, making the QB position an extremely important position in fantasy football, but that does not mean drafting one high. Value can be had in the middle rounds, and that will be notated (V) on players who can post a breakout season without costing a high round draft pick.

2016 Fantasy Football
(Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports)

1. Aaron Rodgers- GB

  • No questions here. Rodgers is the most reliable fantasy option who is getting his No.1 target back in Jordy Nelson for the 2016 season.

2. Cam Newton- CAR

  • The 2015 NFL MVP will be one of the first names called on draft day, especially at the QB position, but I am not sold he will have the same success he saw last year.

3. Russell Wilson- SEA

  • Come the end of the 2016 season, I believe Wilson will be ranked higher than Cam Newton. The Seahawks will be a more pass-first team and without Marshawn Lynch it will be Wilson who will become the focal point of the Seattle offense.

4. Andrew Luck- IND

  • The newly highest paid QB in the NFL is looking to improve on a 2015 season that saw him playing behind a sub-par offensive line and getting hurt left and right. If healthy, Luck is in play for the most valuable QB in fantasy football.
  • In a BOLD prediction, Dan says Eli Manning could be the No.1 Fantasy QB in 2016. (USA TODAY Sports)
    In a BOLD prediction, Dan says Eli Manning could be the No.1 Fantasy QB in 2016. (USA TODAY Sports)

5. Eli Manning- NYG

  • BOLD prediction— Eli Manning will be the No.1 fantasy QB in 2016. Hear me out, the Giants will be a pass-first team with Ben McAdoo taking over as head coach. They have arguably the best WR in the game in Odell Beckham, the best rookie WR in my eyes in Sterling Shepard and will struggle defensively, giving Manning and the Giants plenty of shootouts in the regular season to score a lot of fantasy points.

6. Blake Bortles- JAC

  • Blake Bortles burst onto the scene last season making him not only a viable fantasy QB, but one who must be owned. He won’t be sneaking up on anyone this season, and with offensive weapons around him he can amass one of the best seasons ever by a Jaguar quarterback.

7. Drew Brees- NO

  • ‘Mr. Consistent’ Drew Brees is always a Top 10 option, but since 2010 he has decreased his TD passes and passing yards every season. I see no different in 2016, so do not expect 35+ TD’s and 4k+ passing yards, he isn’t the same player he once was now at age 37.

8. Tom Brady- NE

  • Tom Brady would be higher on this list without his ridiculous 4-game Deflategate suspension. Until we see a different Tom Brady on the field he is a Top 10 QB until further notice.

9. Tony Romo- DAL (V)

  • One of my favorite QB’s to own in fantasy football. Romo, when healthy, is capable of being a Top 5 fantasy quarterback who is drafted usually in the 12-15 range. As a fantasy owner you may be wary of his injury history, but before last season he missed two games in four years—he’s not as scary as you would think.

10. Ben Roethlisberger- PIT

  • Big Ben rounds out the Top 10, and similar to Romo, comes with some injury history. When healthy, Roethlisberger is a solid fantasy option who has weapons scattered all over the field—when they are not suspended of course. The Martavis Bryant suspension and the pending Le’Veon Bell suspension will hurt Big Ben’s value at least early on.
(AP Photo)
(AP Photo)

11. Marcus Mariota- TEN (V)

  • Mariota’s transition to the NFL game was more fluid than I thought it would be, and while he was a dual-threat in college, he is a pass-first quarterback with the Titans. If he can avoid the big hits, I really like what the Titans are putting together on the field and are going to surprise many in 2016—led by Mariota.

12. Carson Palmer- ARZ

  • At age 36, Palmer had arguably his best season yet as he hit career-high’s in TD’s (35) and passing yards (4,671). I don’t see him hitting those same numbers again, but he will stay within the Top 15 of all fantasy quarterback’s this season.

14. Philip Rivers- SD

  • When you draft Philip Rivers you know two things: 1. You will get more than 25 passing TD’s (hasn’t had less than 26 since 2007) 2. You will get at least 4,000 yards passing (Has hit the 4k mark every season except one since 2008).

15. Jameis Winston- TB

  • Winston has a great rookie season, eclipsing 4,000 passing yards to go along with 22 TD’s. Bottom line, he is a stud who could sneak into the Top 10 of all fantasy QB’s this season. New HC Dirk Koetter knows how to get the most out of the QB position, and Winston has weapons all over the offense.

16. Andy Dalton- CIN (V)

  • Dalton was on his way to his best season as a pro last year until a thumb injury knocked him out of action, but we saw the type of QB he is really capable of being. And that is a potential Top 10 quarterback who will be drafted much later in fantasy drafts. Value pick.
(Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

17. Derek Carr- OAK

  • Carr is the trendy pick for breakout QB in 2016, and for good reason. Not only are the Raiders and up-and-coming team, but they are stockpiling offensive weapons around Carr. With Amari Cooper, Michael Crabtree and others around Carr he can easily have 30+ TD’s and 3,500+ passing yards, but I expect him to be drafted well above this 17th ranked slot.

18. Ryan Tannehill- MIA

  • For a quarterback who will drafted towards the end of most drafts, Tannehill offers some comfort and reliability. He has never missed a game in his career, increased his passing yardage total in each of his first four seasons, and will get very close to 30 passing TD’s.

19. Matt Ryan- ATL (V)

  • I’ve always been a fan of Matty-Ice, but he has taken a step back the last few seasons as a fantasy option. In 2015, he threw the lowest amount of passing TD’s since he entered the league as a rookie in 2008. A lot of his troubles had to do with the Falcons terrible offensive line, and another reason why I see him having a much better fantasy season. The o-line is improving, and with Julio Jones on the outside it’s hard not to like what Ryan can provide to your fantasy team as a value pick.

20. Tyrod Taylor- BUF

  • Tyrod burst onto the scene last year, winning the QB job for the Bills out of camp. He comes into this season as the unquestioned starter, but also involved in a contract dispute with the team (he wants a long-term extension, but the team is doing the smart wait-and-see approach). I don’t expect the same type of success he saw in 2015, outside of Sammy Watkins the Bills are lacking play-makers on the outside and if Watkins cannot show he can stay healthy—-it will be a long season.
  • UPDATE: Tyrod Taylor signed a 6-year $92 million extension.

21. Matthew Stafford- DET (V)

  • Even as I rank these players, Stafford seems low on this list. He will get you at least 4,000 yards with 25 TD’s a season, but with the Calvin Johnson retirement and the state of the Lions as a whole Stafford could see a dip in production in 2016. He still offers value later in drafts.

22. Jay Cutler- CHI

  • Jay Cutler likes interceptions the way I like sandwiches. Meaty and everyday. That being said, he is getting a healthy Alshon Jeffrey and Kevin White back which should see an increase in fantasy production.

23. Kirk Cousins- WAS

  • Kirk Cousins burst onto the scene in 2015 after a few sub-par seasons sharing time with RG3 in Washington, but is he really trustworthy as a starter on your fantasy team? I’d lean towards definitely not, he will suffer one of the sharpest declines from the QB position in 2016.
(Erik Williams-USA TODAY Sports)
(Erik Williams-USA TODAY Sports)

24. Brock Osweiler- HOU

  • Osweiler conned the Texans into giving him a $72 million contract after starting seven games for the Broncos in 2015. His numbers weren’t terrible, but he won’t be a fantasy star despite the offensive weapons in Houston.

25. Teddy Bridgewater- MIN

  • Playing in his first 16-game regular season, Bridgewater showed he is a solid NFL quarterback, but that does not necessarily translate to a solid fantasy QB. With Adrian Peterson in the backfield, the Vikings are a run-first team and Teddy’s 14 passing TD’s from a year ago are low due to that fact. I expect an increase in those numbers, but not by much.

26. Joe Flacco- BAL (V)

  • While doing the research to come up with my rankings, I kept dropping Flacco down the list despite believing in him as a solid fantasy QB. The Ravens are a huge question mark heading into the 2016 season, but Flacco is their one constant. He is capable of being a Top 15 QB but you can get him as a huge value later in most drafts.

27. Jared Goff- LAR

  • The first overall selection in the NFL Draft will likely be the first rookie QB to take regular season snaps, but that doesn’t mean it’ll translate to fantasy success. The Rams will focus a lot on the running game, and Goff will struggle out of the gate.

28. Alex Smith- KC

  • ‘Mr. Reliable’ defines Alex Smith in Andy Reid’s system. It just doesn’t offer a lot in terms of fantasy production.

29. Robert Griffin- CLE

30. Mark Sanchez- DEN

  • It’s been a while since Sanchez has been on this list, and I expect him to stay towards the bottom the whole season with the Broncos using a run-heavy scheme. Or until Paxton Lynch takes over.
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