Quarterback Projections 2014

Quarterback Projections 2014

Our initial QB projections (projections updated 8/21)
By: Pete Davidson : May 30, 2014 9:28am

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In the words of Cosmo Kramer…. We’re back!

I’ve been a little under-the-weather the last week, but I have been busy. This article represents the fruits of said business. These are Rotobahn’s initial quarterback projections for 2014, and they are worth digging into as they illustrate, what we think, is a key point.

The depth at the position is immense.

By our projections, the top 25 quarterbacks will average 354 fantasy points for the season. At the the top we have Peyton Manning with 408 points and at the 25th spot we have EJ Manuel with 301. This means that you pay about a 100 point price for waiting out the position on draft day. Think about that.

Now consider a more tactical and less extreme approach…. waiting for optimum value. We’ll define this as we move towards draft day and get our projections for the other positions completed, but right now I am inclined to target passers like Foles or perhaps a top six passer that’s slipped out of the top fifty selections. That guy would probably be either Matt Stafford or perhaps Andrew Luck. We see this as a far better strategy than taking any QB in the early rounds. The absolute earliest we would ever take a QB is late round three … and even then, the conditions need to be right.

It should be noted that these projections reflect 16 game seasons. We’re not going to predict any injuries or guys losing jobs, though that will invariably happen. Once you get past Flacco at 24, you see a lot of guys who could lose their jobs at some point.

Take this data for what it is. These are projections rather than rankings. Johnny Manziel is projected aggressively because we’ve got him playing 16 games. His redraft value will not be that high in August unless he’s announced as the starter. And, even in that scenario, you’ll likely be able to get him a bit later if you use ADP as a guide. 

It's late May, so ADP (Average Draft Position) is still a developing thing, but you can see the current FFC numbers right here.

Here are the initial projections.

You can link to our RB, TE and WR projections below.

1 Peyton Manning DEN 4 5,230 44 8 0 0 430.2 We expect a bit of a turn towards conservatism after last year’s explosion, that ultimately ended in disaster. Manning owns all the records. Only a SB win can improve his legacy. We expect more balance in 2014 as the Broncos keep their eyes on the prize.
2 Aaron Rodgers GB 9 4,845 38 7 200 2 420.8 While they have upgraded the skill talent around Rodgers, we suspect that Green Bay will run the ball a bit more this year than in the past. Eddie Lacy gives them a presence they’ve lacked for years and now we’ll see a full season of the Rodgers/Lacy offense.
3 Drew Brees NO 6 5,065 38 10 60 1 405.8 We expect a great year from Brees and company, but they have changed their backfield significantly and we expect more power running that we’ve seen in recent years. This should bring back the downfield game with Kenny Stills and Brandon Cooks representing big upgrades over the old Meachem/Henderson model. We expect more big shot plays and a higher success rate, but fewer passing yards overall. Brees is still an elite option.
4 Matthew Stafford DET 9 5,190 37 15 75 1 399.8 They are bringing in the New Orleans scheme and they’ve significantly upgraded and deepened the offensive weaponry. Stafford is primed for a big year and is a better QB than he’s generally given credit for.
5 Andrew Luck IND 10 4,400 31 9 345 4 392.7 Luck’s best asset is himself versus the system or the surrounding talent, and that’s where we see some trouble with upside, but he’s still a great option. If Hakeem Nicks returns to form, then we could be wrong. That’s the wildcard as we see it.
6 Nick Foles PHI 7 4,580 36 11 204 2 391.5 We like the division he plays in and and his (HC Chip Kelly’s) offense is a huge plus. He’s currently a big value in drafts, but that should change a bit in the coming months. We’ll be keeping tabs for you.
7 Jay Cutler CHI 9 4,890 36 11 111 0 386.0 JC could be one of the more extreme values in 2014 if he plays 16 games. In fact, Cutler has elite potential if Chicago’s continues on its current trajectory. The Marc Trestman Era is looking very good so far … as expected.
8 Colin Kaepernick SF 8 3,767 28 8 565 6 384.5 As with Russell Wilson, we envision more improvement for Kaepernick in 2014 and it’ll translate to his fantasy numbers. They finally have a complete WR group with depth and varied skill sets. CK will be the prime fantasy beneficiary. They can play without Crabtree this year if they have to and they will not need to scale back the offense as they did in 2013.
9 Cam Newton CAR 12 3,680 23 11 680 9 383.8 People will sleep on this guy in 2013 because of the receivers, but he’s been light at WR since he’s been in the NFL, folks. He’s been a top five QB, even with a mediocre supporting cast and a conservative coaching staff. So much of the offense goes through Newton. He always gets his. He’s a solid QB1 as long as you don’t reach for him early.
10 Russell Wilson SEA 4 3,950 28 8 515 5 382.9 We expect increases across the board with even more talent around Wilson. The Seattle offense is as complete as we’ve seen it during the Pete Carroll Era and may be a bit less conservative if they stay healthy. We are huge fans of both Seattle rookie receivers. Go to The Rotobahn and read my reports on Paul Richardson and Kevin Norwood.
11 Robert Griffin WAS 10 3,900 24 9 615 6 378.5 You can make up any numbers you want. His upside is the top of the list if everything clicks and he stays healthy. He’s a wonderful dice roll, but make sure you have a very solid Plan B in case of injury. In super deep leagues, you can consider rostering Kirk Cousins once Washington is past the bye.
12 Tony Romo DAL 11 4,965 36 14 30 0 375.6 We have serious concerns about his health, but we like his odds of posting very startable numbers for as long as he’s healthy. You’ve heard of Dez Bryant, yes?
13 Tom Brady NE 10 4,615 34 10 25 1 363.0 The rookies will improve and so will Brady’s numbers. That said, the Pats are not about Brady’s legacy. They are about the fourth ring and that could mean more balance. I see solid QB1 numbers with upside for more high-end performance if Gronkowski stays healthy all year. You just can depend on that happening, so do not reach for Brady early. Let him fall to you.
14 Matt Ryan ATL 9 4,725 31 14 50 0 345.3 Ryan should generally bounce back to form with a healthy Julio, though he will feel the loss of Tony Gonzalez, who played very good football last year. Rookie RB Devonta Freeman’s development is a huge key for Ryan, who has some if you get him late enough. Just don’t expect the moon or a career defining season. There’s only so much upside with Ryan, so don’t reach for him as if he’s an elite option.
15 Ben Roethlisberger PIT 12 4,345 30 9 105 1 343.3 We are loving Big Ben in 2014 as a high value pick that can start for you if need be. There’s a ton of exciting talent around him now, and he’s got the most “relaxed” backfield in the NFL.
16 Philip Rivers SD 10 4,510 31 11 50 0 340.1 He's back, folks. Rivers reestablished himself in 2013. We expect a very similar results this season. Perhaps a tick or so better, but similar. He can be your starter if you go late on your QB, but he doesn’t have a high ceiling.
17 Ryan Tannehill MIA 5 4,235 25 13 305 2 336.1 He could be better than these numbers if Miami could put a better team on the field. Bill Lazor and the Globo Gym offense are a plus from what we’ve seen so far.
18 Andy Dalton CIN 4 4,160 30 16 180 2 333.4 He's got a ton of talent around him. That makes him valuable … even though he’s a mediocre talent. New OC Hue Jackson will run more, but he’ll also allow Dalton to make easy reads and perhaps more chunk plays with his arm. Dalton’s a nice value as he was in 2013.
19 Carson Palmer ARI 4 4,725 31 18 10 0 333.2 This is where the depth at QB really kicks in. This guy can be your starter if need be. Palmer’s offense is loaded with talent and HC Bruce Arians always gives his quarterbacks a chance to succeed. Only the OL worries me.
20 Joe Flacco BAL 11 4,375 28 14 90 1 325.3 He was dead meat last year with no Boldin or Pitta and an injured Ray Rice. Things get better in 2014 with Kubiak running the show. I see a career year for Flacco with Kubiak calling the shots and with a deep underrated receiving group.
21 Sam Bradford STL 4 4,245 30 10 40 0 323.4 Assuming the ACL is ready or Week 1, we like Bradford’s chances of posting meaningful statistics. He’s got a lot of tough matchups, so you must have a 1A option or better yet, make Bradford 1A.
22 Josh McCown TB 7 4,345 27 8 22 0 318.7 He's a wildcard because he’s changing offenses. He’ll still has a nice supporting cast, but he was great in Trestman’s system and this … ain’t that. Still, if he plays well, he’ll have Vincent Jackson and Mike Evans to throw to, plus Austin Seferian-Jenkins at tight end. We are also very high on rookie WR Robert Herron, who should get more pub.
23 Eli Manning NYG 8 4,340 29 15 30 0 313.3 Not a fantasy monster by any means, but a return to form is expected.
24 Alex Smith KC 6 3,560 25 8 310 1 305.7 He's running a great offense, so he’ll have some very nice games and he gives you some foot points too.
25 Ryan Fitzpatrick HOU 10 3,655 23 18 205 2 277.9 He’s out choice as best QB in Houston until Savage gets a shot. Who knows how things shake out, but we think Case could do a decent job if given a chance.
26 E.J. Manuel BUF 9 3,745 21 16 195 2 277.5 Another wildcard who could pay off if his team clicks around him. They have serious speed and dynamic playmakers … but they need to get the OL in synch.
27 Jake Locker TEN 9 3,700 20 15 235 2 277.3 He’ll have his moments, but we remain unconvinced with regards to his accuracy. He had a nice run last year before getting hurt, but we need to see a lot more.
28 Geno Smith NYJ 11 3,300 19 13 225 2 255.6 Anything’s possible and the jets certainly made improvements, but we think Smith is a below average talent.
29 Johnny Manziel CLE 4 2,400 21 16 490 4 250.2 They almost have to let him run with such a weak offensive as far as the skill positions are concerned. It’s almost safer to move him around the way Cleveland has looked so far. He’ll be watching for a while—probably until Cleveland’s bye. We think he’ll be a nice fantasy asset on a weekly basis once he gets in there.
30 Teddy Bridgewater MIN 10 3,255 20 12 170 1 247.6 We expect Teddy to be the quarterback and we expect him to do well with Norv Turner as his OC and with substantial surrounding talent. He could be a startable commodity at some point in 2014 in larger formats. We may be making adjustments here as Matt Cassel starting is a real possibility. Still, our money is on Teddy impressing them in camp and winning the job cleanly or early on in the year.
31 Chad Henne JAC 11 2,055 14 9 70 0 151.4 He's just a guy and it’s a conservative offense to date, so don’t expect the moon and stars. He’s a serviceable backup in deeper leagues.
32 Derek Carr OAK 5 2,145 13 17 115 1 146.6 Carr is going to play at some point because they are going to have trouble protecting Matt Schaub. Schaub’s a solid player IF you give him protection and open receivers. He might have one of those things. Carr should be in there some time in October and he’ll develop in real games and make mistakes, but he’ll also make plays with both his arm and his feet.
33 Blake Bortles JAC 11 1,820 8 5 145 2 142.9 Bortles could force the hands of the coaching staff if he continues to perform well, but they are thinking long term and that’s good for the young QB. He’s a solid fantasy threat as soon as he gets in there. He can get you foot-points and, unlike Johnny Football, he has a few receivers with legit NFL chops. He’ll be a waiver wire add at some point and his dynasty value is solid.
34 Matt Schaub OAK 5 1,345 6 9 5 0 76.0 Carr could get the job, but these are the numbers we’d expect from a full season of Schaub.
35 Matt Cassel MIN 10 725 6 4 25 0 56.0 He could get a few games, but we decidedly in the Bridgewater column here. There’s no reason to hold the kid back with Norv Turner running the show and Adrian Peterson forcing extra defenders into the box.
36 Brian Hoyer CLE 4 725 5 3 25 0 54.0 Hoyer “won” the right to start in Cleveland while they open a brutal 3-game stretch. He has few weapons and he’s coming off of an ACL. Avoid him unless you play in a 2QB format.