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Risks and Rewards: Quarterbacks

Updated on August 11, 2017
ZaneShaw profile image

A "Sherlock Holmes of Fantasy Football", finding reasons to draft the doubted, and to avoid the greats.

QUARTERBACKS ARE A TRICKY GAME:

PERSONALLY, I wouldn't draft one until round 9 or 10. That is, of course, dependent on how many people are in the league and if it is or is not a 2 QB league. Even with 16 people in the league, and 2 starting on each team, that leads every team to start a starting QB. But, out of the 32 possible guys, who provides the highest reward over risk? We all know Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers are steals, they'll never screw you over two weeks in a row with the plethora of targets they both have. But, when it comes to the other 30 guys, it can be a game of chess figuring out who has opportunity laying in front of their face to both go late in the draft unanimously, and lead to big points if all goes well. QBs rely on NUMBER of reliable TARGETS to pass to, passing touchdowns, personal rush yards/TDs, chance of completion over interceptions, and importantly chance for distractions to allow TIME to PASS.


If I made a "Best to Worst list" for you guys, there wouldn't be huge gaps between each guy. In fact, there would really only be inches between them. Everyone has an up-side, everyone has risk. Different defenses, different injuries, it's all a game-changer at the snap of your fingers. So we'll mark it down to two easy categories: RISK or REWARD. So, in the best case scenario for each quarterback, who is high-risk? and who is high-reward?

RISK OR REWARD:

PERSONAL RANKING:

REASONS WHY:

ARIZONA CARDINALS: CARSON PALMER

REWARD.

David Johnson is the huge threat to every fantasy player looking for a QB, yes, he runs like it's nobody's business and he wants at least 1000 rushing yards this season. However, he also wants 1000 receiving yards, and the whole team is behind that goal of his. With that being said, he also has an elite redzone target in Larry Fitzgerald as well as duel speed-monsters in John Brown and JJ Nelson. Chances of passing TDs in the redzone are high!

TARGETS:

Larry Fitzgerald (WR)

David Johnson (RB)

John Brown (WR)

JJ Nelson (WR)

Jaron Brown (WR)

Jermaine Gresham (TE)

ATLANTA FALCONS: MATT RYAN

REWARD.

After Matt Ryan exploded in accuracy and pass-threats last year, there's no reason to assume he'll be anything less this year. An ELITE wideout long-ball threat in Julio Jones, the speed-monster that is Taylor Gabriel, a pass hungry brick-wall that is Devonta Freeman, an emerging tight-end, and still so many more weapons. Plus, if the Super Bowl taught us anything, even when the score starts running up, they game still won't grow run-heavy haha.

TARGETS:

Julio Jones (WR)

Mohamed Sanu Jr. (WR)

Taylor Gabriel (WR)

Devonta Freeman (RB)

Tevin Coleman (RB)

Austin Hooper (TE)

BALTIMORE RAVENS: JOE FLACCO

REWARD.

He's one a Super Bowl, the talent is there. He honestly wasn't even all that bad last year with limited targets. But, this year is different. An ELITE Jeremy Maclin will run that team, the great-hands Mike Wallace will be a threatening distraction, a speed-monster in Breshad Perriman, and a ELITE pass-threat in the backfield thanks to Danny Woodhead gives Flacco an insane group of options. Plus, with Dixon out for an extended period of time, the risk of a run-threat too often.

TARGETS:

Jeremy Maclin (WR)

Mike Wallace (WR)

Danny Woodhead (RB)

Breshad Perriman (WR)

Benjamin Watson (TE)

BUFFALO BILLS: TYROD TAYLOR

RISK.

He's a run-threat on his own, that's true. Plus the addition of Anquan Boldin gives them a fairly great receiving corp, and as long as all of their receivers stay healthy, Tyrod Taylor stays fairly low-risk. However, Sammy Watkins is really known for never being healthy, and Zay Jones isn't really off to a healthy start himself. In a high-risk injury receiving corp, if one man falls, they have an ELITE running back to fall back on. LeSean McCoy is the most reliable scorer on that team, and with his back-up gone in the backfield, will have no trouble leading the team this year.


EDIT: Saying goodbye to Sammy Watkins and hello to Jordan Matthews I'm going to say actually raises his fantasy stats. This being mainly because Matthews will probably play the whole season.

TARGETS:

Jordan Matthews (WR)

Zay Jones (WR)

Anquan Boldin (WR)

Charles Clay (TE)

LeSean McCoy (RB)

CAROLINA PANTHERS: CAM NEWTON

RISK.

Don't get me wrong, I want to have faith in this guy. Plus, he has two ELITE deep-threat and redzone targets in Kelvin Benjamin and Greg Olsen. Plus, McCaffery adds a backfield pass-threat, not to mention the fact that Cam is rushing TD threat himself. Honestly, Cam is a prime example of when I say "every QB has there upside". He has every reason to have a kickass season. However, he's got an injury risk right now mixed with a shaky offensive line and shaky accuracy as of late, he's stuck in the "prove yourself" stage again.

TARGETS:

Kelvin Benjamin (WR)

Curtis Samuel (WR)

Devin Funchess (WR)

Damiere Byrd (WR)

Greg Olsen (TE)

Christian McCaffery (RB)


CHICAGO BEARS: MIKE GLENNON

REWARD.

Trust me, I'm from Chicago, and even I didn't want to throw him in the rewards category let alone that high on the ranked list. Heck, he's not off to as great a start as Trubisky preseason-wise that's for sure. But, the Bears have a nicely revamped inner offensive line, an ELITE run-threat, and ELITE pass-threat, multiple proven receiving wideouts, AND multiple proven tight-ends along with a promising rookie. He, as well as Trubisky, may not have many games under his belt, and he may throw interceptions, but I'm looking at that treasure trove of targets, and I just think there are too many not to work in his favor at least a little bit. The risk here is the lack of team chemistry here. But, I think Glennon, of all QBs expected to do horribly this year, has the absolute highest upside fantasy-wise.

TARGETS:

Kevin White (WR)

Cameron Meredith (WR)

Victor Cruz (WR)

Kendall Wright (WR)

Adam Shaheen (TE)

Dion Sims (TE)

Zach Miller (TE)

Jordan Howard (RB)

Jeremy Langford (RB)

CINCINNATI BENGALS: ANDY DALTON

RISK.

Three words: No offensive line. Dalton has a solid arm, and ELITE target, speed-monsters, redzone threats, the works. However, they lost the only notable pieces of their offensive line. Dalton is going to be loaded with pressure this year, and that could mean extra passing (very true), but in return that could mean an upsetting amount of interceptions or pick-sixes.

TARGETS:

AJ Green (WR)

Brandon LaFell (WR)

John Ross (WR)

Tyler Eifert (TE)

Joe Mixon (RB)

CLEVELAND BROWNS: CODY KESSLER

REWARD.

Do you think I'm crazy yet? Look at it this way, they have an ELITE target in Corey Coleman, a proven veteran in Kenny Britt, a redzone threat in David Njoku, backfield pass-threat in Duke Johnson Jr., and it's all topped off by a shiny new offensive line which will immediately start to show in their pass game.

TARGETS:

Corey Coleman (WR)

Kenny Britt (WR)

Rashard Higgins (WR)

David Njoku (TE)

Duke Johnson Jr. (RB)

DALLAS COWBOYS: DAK PRESCOTT

REWARD.

I should really just copy and paste what I said about Carson Palmer. Ezekiel Elliott is a heavy run-threat, but if there's anything to learn from a running back having a badass running season, it's that they're never fully relied upon the very next season. It's too predictable. Plus, the Cowboys took a big hit in their offensive line which isn't good. Zeke is learning to be a pass-threat, an ELITE target in Dez Bryant, a heavily reliable Cole Beasley, a never-doubted Jason Witten along with other threats, Dak was good at throwing against coverage last year when he threw. This year, just expect him to throw more often.

TARGETS:

Dez Bryant (WR)

Cole Beasley (WR)

Terrance Williams (WR)

Brice Butler (WR)

Jason Witten (TE)

Ryan Switzer (WR)

Ezekiel Elliott (RB)

DENVER BRONCOS: TREVOR SIEMIAN

RISK.

Ok, he's not good. Sanders is a badass, Thomas used to be ELITE, McKenzie is their Taylor Gabriel, yeah they have targets and threats, BUT Siemian is not good. Along with that, their running game is fantastic. And for having such an insanely strong defense, once the Broncos have the lead, they can just run the clock out all they want.

TARGETS:

Emmanuel Sanders (WR)

DeMaryius Thomas (WR)

Isaiah McKenzie (WR)

AJ Derby (TE)

CJ Anderson (RB)

Jamaal Charles (RB)

DETROIT LIONS: MATT STAFFORD

REWARD.

Oh, he has plenty of targets, great running backs (although none of them have taken over as the ELITE leader per say), but this man acts like Aaron Rodgers minus the amazing roster of targets. He does so much with so little, so considering his players are more experienced going into this year, that only increases his upside.

TARGETS:

Golden Tate (WR)

Marvin Jones Jr. (WR)

Kenny Golladay (WR)

Eric Ebron (TE)

Ameer Abdullah (RB)

Theo Riddick (RB)

GREEN BAY PACKERS: AARON RODGERS

REWARD.

ELITE targets, speed-monsters, multiple TE threats, a badass backfield pass-threat out of Ty Montgomery... Aaron Rodgers is has no downside.

TARGETS:

Jordy Nelson (WR)

Davante Adams (WR)

Randall Cobb (WR)

Jeff Janis (WR)

Martellus Bennett (TE)

Lance Kendricks (TE)

Richard Rodgers (TE)

Ty Montgomery (RB)

HOUSTON TEXANS: TOM SAVAGE

RISK.

If Will Fuller was ok, I'd look at the positives, but DeAndre Hopkins is the only other proven pass-threat on this team and he can't carry the load all by himself. If Deshaun Watson starts, there might be another story alive there, but with Tom Savage, I don't see much getting done besides gaining a couple yards every now and then.

TARGETS:

DeAndre Hopkins (WR)

Will Fuller V (WR-Injured)

Braxton Miller (WR)

Jaelen Strong (WR)

CJ Fiedorowicz (TE)

Lamar Miller (RB)


INDIANAPOLIS COLTS: ANDREW LUCK

RISK.

TY Hilton, again the only reliable guy. Well, Hilton and Doyle. But, Luck is just a huge risk factor nowadays, plus that Colts offensive line still seems pretty transparent. Trust me, I know he's an ELITE player and will have ELITE games, that's unavoidable, but I don't trust him durability-wise.

TARGETS:

TY Hilton (WR)

Donte Moncrief (WR)

Philip Dorsett (WR)

Kamar Aiken (WR)

Jack Doyle (TE)

Frank Gore (RB)


JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS: BLAKE BORTLES

RISK.

We all know the risk here haha he honestly does have a stronger offensive line, ELITE and fast targets, and a badass new running back who could prove to be a good distraction for defensive formation. But, interceptions, am I right? Bortles loves those things. I WISH I could say "Fournette will be such a good distraction, Bortles will be able to get away with targeting Allen Robinson open in the redzone", but instead I feel left saying "Fournette is the Jaguars offense this year".

TARGETS:

Allen Robinson (WR)

Allen Turns (WR)

Marqise Lee (WR)

Mercedes Lewis (TE)

Leonard Fournette (RB)

TJ Yeldon (RB)


KANSAS CITY CHIEFS: ALEX SMITH

RISK.

They just lost Maclin. He may not have done much, but he was a threat and a distraction at the least. Tyreek Hill may work out as the ELITE guy, and Kelce is a threat too, but there just aren't enough distractions on this team to rely on Smith completing more passes than handoffs to Spencer Ware.

TARGETS:

Tyreek Hill (WR)

Chris Conley (WR)

Travis Kelce (TE)

Spencer Ware (RB)

Kareem Hunt (RB)

LOS ANGELES CHARGERS: PHILIP RIVERS

REWARD.

The veteran is absolutely loaded with targets. ELITE wideouts, speed-monster wideouts, dual-threat tight ends, and a pass-threat in the backfield through Melvin Gordon. Rivers has no reason not to put up points non-stop week after week.

TARGETS:

Keenan Allen (WR)

Tyrell Williams (WR)

Travis Benjamin (WR)

Dontrelle Inman (WR)

Mike Williams (WR-Injured)

Antonio Gates (TE)

Hunter Henry (TE)

Melvin Gordon (RB)


LOS ANGELES RAMS: JARED GOFF

RISK.

He's just not there yet, target-wise. He was chances through a couple guys, but nobody is ELITE status on that team except for Gurley from year one. If the re-vamped offensive line can help Gurley remember how he played his first year, Goff won't need to throw it even once the entire season.

EDIT: Nobody lost, and the gain of speed-monster ELITE Sammy Watkins? The stats are raising for Goff for sure.

TARGETS:

Sammy Watkins (WR)

Tavon Austin (WR)

Robert Woods (WR)

Cooper Kupp (WR)

Gerald Everett (TE)

Todd Gurley (RB)

Lance Dunbar (RB)

MIAMI DOLPHINS: JAY CUTLER

REWARD.

I didn't like him on the Bears. I never liked seeing his passes, they always looked too easy to pick-off to me. But, here he is playing for the Dolphins. He's got speed-monsters, a monster of a threat in Julius Thomas, and an ELITE running back threat. When it comes to guys that even surprise me ending up on the rewards side of the list, Cutler is near the top. He's got plenty to work with this year to be a great fantasy option. And if people want to avoid them because he sorta retired recently, that's there loss.

TARGETS:

Jarvis Landry (WR)

DeVante Parker (WR)

Kenny Stills (WR)

Julius Thomas (TE)

Jay Ajayi (RB)

MINNESOTA VIKINGS: SAM BRADFORD

RISK.

Ok, honestly, I don't like the guy. I didn't like him on the Rams, and I'm upset he's starting over Bridgewater in Minnesota. No targets are monsters here, and certainly not ELITE except for Murray in the backfield. Murray and Cook could run the team this year in the backfield quite honestly, and if the wideouts don't finally start proving themselves, don't be surprised to see that happen.

TARGETS:

Stefon Diggs (WR)

Adam Thielen (WR)

Michael Floyd (WR)

Kyle Rudolph (TE)

Dalvin Cook (RB)

Latavius Murray (RB)


NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS: TOM BRADY

REWARD.

He has every target he'd ever need through any injuries or situation or anything. He's golden.

TARGETS:

Brandin Cooks (WR)

Julian Edelman (WR)

Danny Amendola (WR)

Chris Hogan (WR)

Malcolm Mitchell (WR)

Rob Gronkowski (TE)

Dwayne Allen (TE)

Dion Lewis (RB)

James White (RB)

Mike Gillislee (RB)


NEW ORLEANS SAINTS: DREW BREES

REWARD.

ELITE targets, Peterson adding pass-threat in the backfield, and overall Brees is notorious for an incredible arm and incredibly long throws.

TARGETS:

Michael Thomas (WR)

Ted Ginn Jr. (WR)

Willie Snead (WR)

Brandon Coleman (WR)

Coby Fleener (TE)

Adrian Peterson (RB)

Mark Ingram (RB)

Alvin Kamara (RB)


NEW YORK GIANTS: ELI MANNING

REWARD.

ELITE target, veteran ELITE, reliable rookie, redzone threat in Engram and Vereen in the backfield. Plus, this team hasn't been a run-threat team for the past couple years so Eli has no reason to have a throwing frenzy.

TARGETS:

Odell Beckham Jr. (WR)

Brandon Marshall (WR)

Sterling Shepard (WR)

Dwayne Harris (WR)

Evan Engram (TE)

Will Tye (TE)

Shane Vereen (RB)

Paul Perkins (RB)


NEW YORK JETS: JOSH MCCOWN

RISK.

I would have been so bold as to put him in the reward category, and then Enunwa went down for the year. Sefarian-Jenkins is a tank, and Powell is a great backfield pass-threat, but there is just way too much missing on this offense not to consider him the highest risky pick there is.

TARGETS:

Quincy Enunwa (WR-Injured)

Robby Anderson (WR)

Charone Peake (WR)

Austin Sefarian-Jenkins (TE)

Bilal Powell (RB)

Matt Forte (RB)

OAKLAND RAIDERS: DEREK CARR

RISK.

Great arm on the kid, he has a monster in Crabtree, ELITE speed in Cooper, redzone threat in Jared Cook. BUT, that triple-threat in running backs might be a downfall fantasy-wise. Jalen Richard the speedster, DeAndre Washington the strong, and Marshawn Lynch the beast. Goal-line TDs are all Lynch's.

TARGETS:

Amari Cooper (WR)

Michael Crabtree (WR)

Seth Roberts (WR)

Jared Cook (TE)

Marshawn Lynch (RB)

Jalen Richard (RB)

DeAndre Washington (RB)

PHILADELPHIA EAGLES: CARSON WENTZ

RISK.

ELITE targets, but they haven't proven that they're ELITE, speed-monsters missing their hands, and just a completely loaded backfield full of speed, strength, and redzone/goal-line TD opportunity. I'm just saying, don't be surprised if Blount steal most of the touchdowns for that team.

EDIT: No more Matthews, the risk only grows for Wentz.

TARGETS:

Alshon Jeffery (WR)

Nelson Agholor (WR)

Torrey Smith (WR)

Zach Ertz (TE)

LeGarrette Blount (RB)

PITTSBURGH STEELERS: BEN ROETHLISBERGER

REWARD.

All-star cast going for him, he has no-doubter ELITES in Brown and Bell, plus incredible distractions in Martinis Bryant and Eli Rogers and Sammie Coates. The only risk running here is Big Ben's retirement mindset lately. Obviously that means he's past his prime, and he feels breakable. He still has a solid arm, but the engine may run out over the season.

TARGETS:

Antonio Brown (WR)

Martavis Bryant (WR)

Eli Rogers (WR)

Le'Veon Bell (RB)

SEATTLE SEAHAWKS: RUSSELL WILSON

RISK.

I like the guy, I love his speed in his legs and his throws, but a triple-threat in the backfield mixed with another all-star defense leads again to being able to easily run that clock out whenever they want.

TARGETS:

Doug Baldwin (WR)

Tyler Lockett (WR)

Jimmy Graham (TE)

Thomas Rawls (RB)

Eddie Lacy (RB)

SAN FRANSISCO 49ERS: BRIAN HOYER

RISK.

I wish I could put him in rewards. The 49ers are looking nicer and nicer as they rebuild, Garcon is a great target, but I just don't think there's enough to work with here to prevent Hoyer from using the power of Carlos Hyde for each touchdown.

REWARD:

Pierre Garcon (WR)

Jeremy Kerley (WR)

Vance McDonald (TE)


TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS: JAMEIS WINSTON

REWARD.

James was already a steal of an option, and only added a redzone threat and a speed-monster to his arsenal. You'll probably be able to take him dang late which is incredible. This guy is such a steal going into this year,

TARGETS:

Mike Evans (WR)

DeSean Jackson (WR)

Chris Godwin (WR)

Adam Humphries (WR)

OJ Howard (TE)

Cameron Brate (TE)

Doug Martin (RB)

Charles Sims (RB)

Jacquizz Rodgers (RB)


TENNESSEE TITANS: MARCUS MARIOTA

REWARD.

ELITE targets at each position, AND the kid can run. Never forget the day that man ran for his own 80-yard touchdown. He's got too much going for him not to reward you.

TARGETS:

Corey Davis (WR)

Eric Decker (WR)

Tajae Sharpe (WR)

Richard Mathews (WR)

Delanie Walker (TE)

DeMarco Murray (RB)

Derrick Henry (RB)

WASHINGTON REDSKINS: KIRK COUSINS

RISK.

Jordan Reed is a god, I know, but he lost his top two other targets. Reed could lead this team if he wanted, and Cousins isn't necessarily the problem here, it moreso relies on whether or not the younger guys really end up stepping forward this year or not.

TARGETS:

Jordan Reed (TE)

Terrelle Pryor Sr. (WR)

Jamison Crowder (WR)

Josh Doctson (WR)

Same Perine (RB)

WHO DO YOU THINK WILL SURPRISE YOU THE MOST THIS SEASON?

See results

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