5. Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions
It seems that nearly every season in my fantasy league I end up drafting Matthew Stafford, so here is my advice to you. Do not draft Stafford if you are looking for an every week QB1. Stafford tends to be a borderline QB1/QB2 every year but does not have the consistency to be an elite quarterback.
The Lions avoided addressing their running game issues in either the draft or free agency, setting up another year to lean heavily on the passing attack. Golden Tate and Marvin Jones are quality receivers and Eric Ebron has the potential to be special, but none of them are superstars at their respective positions.
Unless Stafford is available extremely late in your draft, and you have a proven starter, I would advise against drafting him.
The Cincinnati Bengal’s franchise quarterback has been above average for his entire career, but has yet to jump into elite status. Over Dalton’s career he has never tossed over 4,300 yards and his touchdown totals in two of the past three years have been below 20. Although he is not throwing as many interceptions, it seems that offensive coordinator Ken Zampese has set a ceiling on Dalton’s production.
During the draft this offseason, the Bengals made an interesting move by selecting Joe Mixon in the 2nd round. The running back was already one of their deepest positions with Giovani Bernard and Jeremy Hill proving to be one of the best duos in the league. With Mixon also looking to be a large contributor, expect Cincinnati to run the ball a lot more.
After an incredible rookie season leading to the Offensive Rookie of the Year award, Dak Prescott has become one of the most popular players in the league. Unfortunately for him and fantasy owners alike, fantasy football is not a popularity contest, but base purely on statistics. There is no doubt he is the Cowboys future at the position, but his fantasy production for the next couple of years is likely to remain low.
Last season Prescott threw for 23 touchdowns and 4 interceptions, but only threw for 3,600 yards. The Cowboys offense does not rely on their quarterback with Elliot in the backfield and a top 5 offensive line. The most likely scenario is that he throws for a similar yardage total while decreasing his TD-INT ratio.
Over the last two seasons Tyrod Taylor has earned his way into the spotlight. In 2015 he beat out EJ Manuel and Matt Cassel to claim the starting job and played at a pro bowl level. Over the summer of 2016 he signed a massive extension with the Bills to remain their star quarterback. During the 2016 season, he played at a similar level but was injured and missed the final game of the season.
Placing the label “overrated” on Taylor is a bit unfair though, because when asked to perform at a pro bowl level, he was able to. The problem is that the Bills love to run the ball, more than anyone in the league, and chances are that is not changing anytime soon. Taylor will put up nearly identical numbers to last season again this year because of the lack of passing attack in the Bills playbook.
Eli Manning has always been in question whether or not he is elite during his entire career, even after taking the Giants to two Super Bowls and defeating the greatest franchise of the century twice. These feats mean, however, nothing to fantasy football, meaning that we need to remind ourselves to only look at the stats of the players.
Eli has been consistently above average throughout his NFL career, but has never made the leap into elite territory. Over the last five years Eli has averaged 4,127 yards, 27 touchdowns, and 21 interceptions; those aren’t particularly excellent numbers for a modern-day quarterback. The hype surrounding him this year in particular because of the Giants additions of Brandon Marshall and Evan Engram propels him above the other quarterbacks for most overrated title.