2017 Fantasy Football Rankings: Quarterback

2017 Fantasy Football Rankings: Quarterback

It's August, which means it's time to rank fantasy football players again.

We'll begin with our top 20 quarterbacks. For the sake of honesty, here's a link back to our thoughts ahead of the 2016 NFL season.

ELITE

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1. Tom Brady, New England
2016: 3,544 yards, 28 touchdowns, 2 interceptions
The Patriots won the Super Bowl and were dominant in spite of Brady missing time because of the bullsh** suspension he had to serve from Deflategate. Not only is he dominant, but he should have a relatively healthy Gronk to start the season and the Pats added a ton of speed in receiver Brandin Cooks and running back Mike Gillislee. I full expect Brady to rival the best individual seasons in NFL history in 2017.

2. Matt Ryan, Atlanta
2016: 4,944 yards, 38 TD, 7 INT
Ryan will forever live with finishing the runner-up to Brady in the Super Bowl, but he had a marvelous regular season last year. He should have a full compliment of weapons back this season, so another strong season is likely for Ryan.

3. Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay
2016: 4,428 yards, 40 TD, 7 INT
Rodgers had a strong 2016 even though the guys catching the ball struggled to stay healthy. The Packers added Martellus Bennett at tight end and drafted a nice sleeper running back in Jamaal Williams from BYU in the fourth round. If he can stay on his feet, Rodgers will have a huge season.

4. Derek Carr, Oakland
2016: 3,937 yards, 28 TD, 6 INT
Carr's season ended prematurely because of a disappointing injury; he was on course to potentially win the MVP. His injury clearly disabled the postseason plans of the Raiders, who somewhat surprisingly used most of their draft picks on the defensive side of the ball this year. The additions of veteran running back Marshawn Lynch out of retirement and seventh round pick Elijah Hood from North Carolina could help stabilize the running game for Carr, who signed a blockbuster contract this summer.

KNOWN COMMODITIES

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5. Matthew Stafford, Detroit
2016: 4,327 yards, 24 TD, 10 INT
As is always the case, drafting Stafford is a massive risk-reward proposition. He's been a lock to get you more than 4,000 yards (if healthy), but the wild card has been turnovers. Last year, Stafford limited his interceptions and the Lions played well as a team. A healthy year from Ameer Abdullah in the backfield should help Stafford, who might be able to use the size of third round pick receiver Kenny Golladay (6-4, 218) in the red zone.

6. Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh
2016: 3,819 yards, 29 TD, 13 INT
Big Ben had to get by without Le'Veon Bell for part of and Martavis Bryant for all of 2016, but should have both of them back for the coming season. Bryant was beginning to emerge as a legit threat before getting suspended for all of last year; Bell is a top-2 running back. If Big Ben stays healthy, he could be in line for a big season.

7. Kirk Cousins, Washington
2016: 4,917 yards, 25 TD, 12 INT
Cousins had an up-and-down 2016 but Washington did a nice job of adding talented players for him to work with in the new year. Terrell Pryor comes in as his new number one receiver after a breakout season in Cleveland. The Skins also added a couple really nice options for Cousins in the draft, picking up Oklahoma running back Semaje Perine in the fourth round and Arkansas tight end Jeremy Sprinkle in the fifth.

8. Drew Brees, New Orleans
2016: 5,208 yards, 37 TD, 15 INT
This is the lowest I have ranked Brees since his first season with the Saints, but it looks like he might be in for a trying season in New Orleans this year. The Saints traded Cooks to New Enland after Michael Thomas emerged as a legit number one receiver last year, but then New Orleans only used one of their seven draft choices on an offensive skill position player. That player was Tennessee running back Alvin Kamara in the third round, a pick many liked, but the confusion then came when he was dumped into a backfield with 1,000-yard back Mark Ingram and newly added future Hall of Famer Adrian Peterson. Brees throws for around 5,000 yards almost every year, but it's hard to see this being a strong campaign for him.

GREAT BETS FOR BIG SEASONS

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9. Dak Prescott, Dallas
2016: 3,667 yards, 23 TD, 4 INT
Prescott took the starting job away from Tony Romo last year after another injury put Romo on the bench, and the rookie kept the job for good. He has one of the best offensive lines in football in front of him and some really good receivers - including one of my favorite picks from this year's draft, Ryan Switzer from North Carolina. The fate of Zeke could impact his early production but more experience should only make him more confident.

10. Jameis Winston, Tampa Bay
2016: 4,090 yards, 28 TD, 18 INT
Winston snuck across the 4,000 yard mark last season and the Bucs rewarded him with an entirely new - and dangerously good - group of players to get the ball. Mike Evans was the only player on the team with more than 660 receiving yards last year, but will be joined by veteran addition DeSean Jackson and drafted receiver Chris Godwin from Penn State and tight end OJ Howard from Alabama. Winston might be the best upside buy in the league at the quarterback position this season.

11. Russell Wilson, Seattle
2016: 4,219 yards, 21 TD, 11 INT
It took a while for the Seahawks to figure out how to use Jimmy Graham effectively, and they needed to improve their interior line play in front of Wilson. The addition of second round pick Ethan Pocic from LSU to the line will help, and the Seahawks got tremendous value in receiver Amara Darboh from Michigan at the end of the third. Eddie Lacy will try to save his career in the Seattle backfield, an intriguing player to watch as well.

POSSIBLE STARTERS

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 12. Marcus Mariota, Tennessee
2016: 2,426 yards, 26 TD, 9 INT
Mariota also rushed for 349 yards and a couple touchdowns last year, but spent far too much time running for his life. So the Titans brought in veteran receiver Eric Decker from the Jets and drafted Corey Davis from Western Michigan and Taywan Taylor from Western Kentucky to give Mariota more options. If he can stay healthy and the Titans get a full season from Derrick Henry and DeMarco Murray in the backfield, Mariota could add another 700-1,000 yards to his passing total from last year.

13. Carson Palmer, Arizona
2016: 4,233 yards, 26 TD, 14 INT
Palmer was banged up last year and the Michael Floyd drama certainly didn't help matters. Coming back healthy in what could very well be his final season, Palmer hopes to continue using Larry Fitzgerald at a Hall of Fame-worthy rate. They didn't address their skill positions on offense in the draft.

14. Andy Dalton, Cincinnati
2016: 4,206 yards, 18 TD, 8 INT
Dalton cut down his interceptions last year but mixed results from players not-named-AJ Green hurt the Bengals. So they went right after it in the draft, selecting combine record breaker John Ross from Washington in the first round and Oklahoma running back Joe Mixon in the second. Both players could have a significant impact - and help Dalton's fantasy potential - in 2017.

15. Eli Manning, NY Giants
2016: 4,027 yards, 26 TD, 16 INT
Eli struggled with interceptions last year, and the Giants subsequently made changes around him. Odell Beckham Jr is still his primary target, but former-Bears receiver Brandon Marshall has replaced new-Bears receiver Victor Cruz. The G-men also used their first round pick on a fascinating prospect, tight end Evan Engram from Ole Miss. Manning will have plenty of size to work with this season outside, but needs to keep the ball out of the opposition's hands.

SOLID BACK-UP OPTIONS

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16. Philip Rivers, LA Chargers
17. Alex Smith, Kansas City
18. Sam Bradford, Minnesota
19. Carson Wentz, Philadelphia

These four guys all have some similar upside - and similar problems. All of them have some impressive young weapons: Melvin Gordon in (now) LA, Tyreek Hill in KC, Dalvin Cook and Stefon Diggs in Minnesota and in Philly, Wentz has an entirely new group of receivers including Alshon Jeffery. But they all have significant depth and health concerns around them, making them back-up bets for 2017.

INJURY QUESTIONS

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20a. Andrew Luck, Indianapolis
20b. Cam Newton, Carolina

Both of these guys have really good outside weapons to use, but they need to be able to actually throw them the ball. Luck could be a top-5 quarterback if he can stay on his feet. Newton's lingering issues from shoulder surgery are a major concern, even with some really nice new pieces around him.

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