10) Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers
The 2015 league MVP saw a steep decline in production last year. Newton threw for only 3,500 yards with 19 touchdowns and 14 interceptions, leading to a 53.1 quarterback rating.
In the 2017 draft the Panthers selected the offensive Swiss army knife in Christian McCaffery. This addition will be great for Newton, giving him a more versatile backfield to go along with his own versatility. After rushing for another five touchdowns last year, Cam is still regarded as a top dual threat QB along with Russell Wilson.
If Cam Newton can reproduce some of what he was able to accomplish two years ago, and McCaffery continues to dominate the field like he did at Stanford, Cam could end up having another fantasy MVP season.
9) Andrew Luck, Indianapolis Colts
Andrew Luck had a quietly good year in 2016, despite the Colts ending up missing the playoffs and finishing with an 8-8 record. Luck ended up with 31 touchdowns against only 13 interceptions, but did not have much help from his team.
T.Y. Hilton is the lone star on the Colts offense besides Luck. Donte Moncrief and Jack Doyle have yet to come to relevance yet, but when they do it will boost Luck’s production. The team has struggled the last few years with poor offensive line play and an aging Frank Gore has so far proven that running backs can play into their 30’s, but his productivity will have to decrease at some point.
If Luck can recover from his injuries in 2016 and stay healthy throughout the entire 2017 season, he could turn out to be a fantasy machine, but that is looking to be a big “IF”.
8) Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks
Seattle’s franchise quarterback has been consistently a top tier player since he was drafted in 2012. Wilson’s dual threat ability and his elusiveness has kept defenses in check. The Seahawks have limited his production though because they run a ground-and-pound scheme.
The main factor keeping Wilson out of the top five is that the offensive line has been questionable at best. If the o-line can have a decent season this year, Wilson might be able to lunge himself into the top five in fantasy production.
7) Derek Carr, Oakland Raiders
After an MVP caliber season, Derek Carr has leaped into elite status for quarterbacks. The Raiders realized how important the position is to the future of their franchise and made Carr the highest paid player in the league.
The skill positions surrounding Carr are nothing short of great. Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree are one of the best duos in the league and the Raiders were able to coax Beast Mode out of retirement. Oakland also has a top 5 offensive line starring Osemele, Jackson, Hudson, and Penn.
Do not expect Carr to have another MVP worthy season for your fantasy team, because Oakland will try to utilize Beast Mode as much as possible which puts a cap on Carr’s potential.
6) Tom Brady, New England Patriots
The reigning Super Bowl MVP does not top the list, not because he is not one of the greatest to ever play, but because his team does not need him to have elite production to win games. The Patriots have a top 10 defense, a top 10 offensive line and enough quality running backs to take as much pressure as possible off Brady as possible.
Tom Brady is a great quarterback whose production should not decline much but the Patriots should be ahead in most games meaning there will not be many games where his stats are fluffed. He will be still a valuable fantasy asset because the AFC seems to be a weak division, especially the defensive backs.
5) Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers
The Pittsburgh Steelers offense heads, yet again, into a new season bolstering arguably the top offense in the league. With top receiver Antonio Brown and top running back Le’Veon Bell, Big Ben looks to lead them deep into the playoffs.
The problem with the Steelers offense is that the three stars never seem to be on the field together. There are also some injury concerns with Roethlisberger, although if he is able to play the full 16 games, his fantasy production could go unmatched.
4) Kirk Cousins, Washington Redskins
Although the Redskins seem noncommittal on signing Kirk Cousins to a long term contract, he was one of the top preforming quarterbacks of 2016. Cousins threw for nearly 5,000 yards while completing 67% of his passes.
The Redskins experienced the losses of major contributors to the offense in Pierre Garcon and DeSean Jackson, but they were able to add former Ohio State quarterback-turned-receiver Terrelle Pryor. On face value this would appear to make things worse for Cousins, but Jamison Crowder was an excellent slot option last year, and 2nd year wide out Josh Doctson is looking to rebound after an injury riddled season. These three receivers will complement each other well and help Cousins create similar statistical seasons as before.
Even without the help of a solid running game, Kirk Cousins should be in store for another solid fantasy season, especially if his young wide receiver corps develops quickly.
3) Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints
Even at 37 years old, Drew Brees was able to shred every defense that came his way. Brees was able to pass for over 5,200 yards and 37 touchdowns while completing an incredible 70% of his passes.
With the addition of Adrian Peterson, the Saints offense could be even more powerful than in years prior. Defenses across the league have always stacked the box with A.P. on the field and usually bring in extra defensive backs with Brees on the field.
The Saints go into yet another year with a poor defense, which bodes well for the pass heavy offense that Brees can run. He will be expected to, much like every other year, to beat the opposing team in a shootout. This might not look great for the Saints record, but it will look like fantasy gold.
2) Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons
Matt Ryan’s MVP season was one to remember. He threw for nearly 5,000 yards with 38 touchdowns and only seven interceptions. He also was league leader with an 83.3 quarterback rating.
The Falcons offense was clicking on all cylinders last year, with the excellent play calling of former offensive coordinator and now 49ers head coach, Kyle Shannahan. Even though Shannahan has left Atlanta, the offense should remain unchanged with no major contributors on offense leaving.
Julio Jones is arguably the best wide receiver in football, and the chemistry between himself and Ryan last year was unmatched. Atlanta also sports the top pass catching backs in the league with Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman.
1) Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers
Aaron Rodgers is the best quarterback on the planet. His continued dominance over the past several years has been unmatched by another other quarterback. Last year he had 40 touchdown passes while also running for another four.
Rodger’s supporting cast is also one of the best in the NFL. Big play threat Jordy Nelson, slot machine Randall Cobb, and red zone threat Davante Adams make up the best receiving trio when healthy. With the addition of Martellus Bennett, Rodgers deep receiving core becomes even deeper.
Aaron Rodgers was the number one overall quarterback in fantasy football last year and he will continue to be the best for years to come.