Carolina Panthers' Cam Newton leaps into the end zone for a touchdown run during the second half the NFL football NFC Championship game against the Arizona Cardinals Sunday, Jan. 24, 2016, in Charlotte, N.C. (AP Photo/Mike McCarn)

2018 Positional Rankings: Top Ten Quarterbacks

The latest installment of top ten positional rankings has us discussing quarterbacks.  As we preach every year at TFFGurus, QB is one of the positions you can absolutely wait on, similar to tight end.  It was tough narrowing down the talented field to just ten, and as we have to almost year, ties had to be broken to get us there.  We’ve got a strong field of quarterbacks this year, with probably 16 that could all be QB1s this year.  Some honorable mentions that barely missed the list include the likes of Andrew Luck, Marcus Mariota, Matt Ryan, and Philip Rivers.  Let’s get this show on the road!

10. Matthew Stafford – Stafford leads the most horizontal passing attack in the league. He’s got himself a pretty efficient and underrated receiving corps with Golden Tate, Marvin Jones, and Kenny Golladay. Eric Ebron is gone but he dropped more passes than he caught anyways.  The difference in this offense could be the additions at running back, where the Lions added LeGarrette Blount and Kerryon Johnson.  This should lead to a more balanced attack and hopefully open things up a bit more for Stafford to spread things out.  I’m interested to see how this offense improves this year in what may be the most turned over division.

9. Ben Roethlisberger – Number nine seems like a perfect spot for Big Ben. Every year he’s right around this seven to ten range. First it was his inconsistent road and home splits, which were then followed by constant retirement rumors.  Big Ben is certainly not the gunslinger he used to be and hasn’t thrown for 30 touchdowns since 2014.  But, he does have an up and coming talent in JuJu Smith-Schuster to go along with the best running back and wide receiver in the game.  Those talented weapons are what bring Ben into our top ten.  The question is how much longer can he do this?

8. Deshaun Watson – Probably the riskiest pick on this list, but with a possible huge reward. This is an up and coming offense and DeAndre Hopkins is a top five receiver who has no issue getting open against the league’s best corners. Will Fuller also provides an above average deep threat option.  Watson is obviously coming back from a torn ACL and only played in seven games (six as a starter).  His rushing ability makes him even more dynamic and has Watson poised to become a fixture on this list every year.  That is of course if he has no setbacks from his surgery and can continue his superb play from last year.

7. Kirk Cousins – They say you should never work with family, but this is the one cousin you can’t say no to. In a new offense with more weapons and a much better defense backing him up, Purple Kirk should thrive this year. Adam Thielen is as reliable as it gets and Stefon Diggs is a star in the making.  Pair them with Dalvin Cook coming back from injury and the consistent Kyle Rudolph at tight end, and this has the makings of one of the most explosive offenses in the league.  If Cousins falls in your draft, make no hesitation in scooping him up.

6. Drew Brees – Brees gets a small tick from me because of the loss of Mark Ingram for the first quarter of the season. Alvin Kamara will obviously pick up the majority of the slack, but you can’t help but assume that Brees will be slinging the ball around more often. Benjamin Watson rejoins the team after a few year hiatus, along with the additions of Tre’Quan Smith and Cameron Meredith, both potential play-makers.  Willie Snead hit the ole dust, but that one won’t hurt too much.  Brees had a crazy down year in 2017 with only 23 touchdowns and a noticeable loss in arm strength, but he’s still one of the most prolific passers in today’s game.  You can’t go wrong with him this year.

5. Carson Wentz – Obviously another risky option heading into 2018 since he’s coming off such a late-in-the-year torn ACL, but again the reward is sky high. Wentz leads one of the most high-powered offenses with Alshon Jeffery, Zach Ertz, and Jay Ajayi, among others. Mike Wallace also fills and improves the role vacated by Torrey Smith.  Wentz was in line for the MVP last season, so if he can get back on that track then this is a high-risk high-reward play at the right price.  Keep an eye on how his knee looks and the type of mobility he has.  That was a small piece of his game last year that really thrust him towards the top of the quarterback ranks.

4. Cam Newton – Our boy Fig Newton has finally hammered it home to his coaches that he needs to be given the opportunity to run the ball. Keeping him in the pocket and not allowing him to improvise obviously is not the solution. Cam’s safety blanket, Greg Olsen will be 100% entering the season and they’ve added deep threat Torrey Smith, who might have a tiny bit left in the tank.  But we do know that Cam makes the most of his deep threat receivers.  They also grabbed draft-darling D.J. Moore who could be a nice compliment to Devin Funchess and Smith.  And don’t forget about Christian McCaffrey who provides a great set of paws out of the backfield.  Obviously, Newton’s main attraction is his rushing ability.  So as long as his role remains the same in terms of rushing opportunities, top five is a no-brainer for Sir Isaac’s long-lost cousin.

3. Russell Wilson – Wilson still sneaks into the top three because of his sheer play-making ability. His offensive line could possibly be worse than last year and even then, he’s still a top-three fantasy quarterback. He’s also had at least 500 rushing yards in four of his last five seasons.  They added Rashaad Penny in the draft but unfortunately lost Jimmy Graham and Paul Richardson.  But talent speaks volumes here, and when it comes to Wilson and his ability to make something out of nothing, you really have to understand just how good he is.

2. Tom Brady – Depleted weapons are nothing new and nothing to worry about for TB12. His recent beach pictures were obviously forged so that the rest of the league continues to think the Patriots are slipping. Malcolm Mitchell is shelved, and Edelman is riding the pine for four weeks, but that opens the door for the Pats to see what else they have on the depth chart.  Chris Hogan, Jordan Matthews, and Phillip Dorsett will have a lot of opportunities to pick up the slack.  Oh, and don’t sleep on their tight end, I’ve heard he’s pretty good and might be one of Brady’s favorite targets.  Until he starts showing signs of slowing down, TB is as cool as it gets at the position.

1. Aaron Rodgers – The only concerning factor when it comes to Rodgers is health. He missed nine games last season because of his shoulder injury and before that he missed time in 2013 with another shoulder injury. His escapability in the pocket in unquestioned but at times it leaves him susceptible to awkward tackles and awkward landings on the turf.  The Packers also lost Jordy Nelson who looked like a mere shell of himself last season, so that loss isn’t as bad as it may have been considered years ago.  They brought in some rookie wide receivers along with Jimmy Graham, who gives Rodgers a bigger threat at the position than they’ve had in recent years.  What vaults Rodgers over Brady is his mobility in the pocket and the fact that he’s six years younger.  You won’t go wrong with either one, but just don’t reach for them.

This will be my final article writing for TFFGurus and I can’t say enough about how great my time here has been.  Thank you to the readers for making this journey worth it and thank you to the Guru Family for bringing me along and giving me this wonderful opportunity.  You’ll still hear my voice now and then on the podcast so make sure you stay tuned in!

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