With the draft complete and free agency activity winding down, NFL rosters are more or less set for the 2018 season. Of course, that means it’s just early enough to start making fantasy football rankings! We’ll start with the quarterback position, which the dumbest person in your league will probably reach for in the first two rounds of your draft. Running backs and wide receivers should dominate big boards for most scoring formats due to positional scarcity, but steady quarterback production can make or break a fantasy roster. With several starters returning from injury and a few others changing teams, the fantasy quarterback pool is deep and intriguing in 2018.
- Russell Wilson, SEA
The term “one-man show” applies to nobody in the NFL better than Wilson. It was clear last season that Wilson needs more help, and he got some when the ‘Hawks drafted the über-productive Rashad Penny to spearhead their ground attack. Wilson was fantasy’s top QB in 2017 and I see no reason why he can’t repeat that feat in 2018.
- Carson Wentz, PHI
The Eagles won the Super Bowl with Nick Foles at the helm and now they’re getting the guy who would have won MVP if he hadn’t torn his ACL late last season. If Wentz is fully healthy, the Eagles’ stellar offensive line and deep arsenal of skill position players should help him enjoy another MVP-caliber season.
- Deshaun Watson, HOU
Watson’s performance last season speaks for itself. He likely would have shattered the rookie touchdown record if he hadn’t been injured halfway through his premiere season. His combined potential as a runner and a passer is matched only by Russell Wilson. Watson has arguably the highest ceiling of any quarterback in 2018, but his health and the possibility of a sophomore slump push him down my rankings.
- Aaron Rodgers, GB
Rodgers hasn’t quite been himself since his 2014 MVP season, but he’s still one of the premier quarterbacks in the league. At the skill positions for Green Bay, Davante Adams and Randall Cobb are returning, Jordy Nelson is out and Jimmy Graham is in. A-Rod isn’t the slam-dunk top quarterback that he once was, but he’s still a comfortable QB1.
- Tom Brady, NE
I mean…he can’t do this forever, can he? The 2017 MVP will be 41 in August, but he’s playing like he’s 28. As long as he shows no signs of relenting, Brady is a solid QB1 no matter how old he is. Brandin Cooks and Dion Lewis are gone, but Julian Edelman and Malcolm Mitchell will return from injury in 2018. On top of that, rookie RB Sony Michel gives Josh McDaniels (who’s also ‘returning’) and Brady a new toy to play with.
- Cam Newton, CAR
Newton’s rushing numbers always keep him in the top-10 fantasy conversation, but I’m really hoping his passing totals can provide value in 2018. With rookie wide receiver D.J. Moore joining the Carolina offense, hopefully Newton will have the true number one target he’s been lacking since Steve Smith left the team.
- Patrick Mahomes, KC
Here’s the first bold one. To me, it speaks volumes about the Chiefs’ opinion of Mahomes that they traded away a rock-solid starter coming off a career year in Alex Smith. The Texas Tech product showed flashes of brilliance in his week 17 cameo for Kansas City last season and that was with Kareem Hunt playing sparingly and Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce not playing at all.
- Jimmy Garoppolo, SF
Another bold ranking. As a Patriots fan, I am both dreading and anticipating the success that Jimmy G(Q) appears destined for in the Bay Area. Garoppolo and Kyle Shanahan look like the perfect QB-head coach marriage, and the Niners re-signed Marquise Goodwin, Garoppolo’s favorite target. The one concern is that there might not be enough talent around him at the skill positions, but he showed last season that he doesn’t need a ton.
- Matthew Stafford, DET
If clutch fourth-quarter comebacks were a fantasy stat, Stafford might be higher on this list. Unfortunately, it isn’t (though I kind of like the idea now that it’s in my head), so Stafford is in his usual low-end QB1 tier. He’s one of the more consistent starters in the league, so you pretty much know what you’re getting.
- Jared Goff, LAR
Goff’s breakout sophomore campaign might not have impressed some advanced-metric gurus, but there’s no denying his productivity. Adding Brandin Cooks as a sparkplug to this Sean McVay-led offense only makes Goff’s situation more exciting.
- Drew Brees, NO
In an M. Night Shyamalan-esque twist, the Saints transformed into a running team and Brees tossed just 23 touchdowns in 2017. The team added Cameron Meredith and Benjamin Watson in free agency, and Mark Ingram is suspended for four games to start the season. For what they are worth, these signals point towards a possible shift to the passing game in 2018. Brees is still very efficient, and as long as he keeps racking up the yards and avoiding turnovers, he’s a QB1.
- Derek Carr, OAK
Jon Gruden and Derek Carr seem like a perfect match, and I think this will help Carr’s development. Adding Jordy Nelson and losing Michael Crabtree is kind of a wash, but this is still roughly the same offense that helped Derek Carr become a legit MVP candidate in 2016.
- Dak Prescott, DAL
- Kirk Cousins, MIN
- Philip Rivers, LAC
- Jameis Winston, TB
- Ben Roethlisberger, PIT
- Matt Ryan, ATL
- Case Keenum, DEN
- Andrew Luck, IND
- Alex Smith, WAS
- Marcus Mariota, TEN
- Mitchell Trubisky, CHI
- Baker Mayfield, CLE