Post NFL Draft Tiered QB Rankings for 2-QB Leagues

Three days, 254 picks later, and the 2013 NFL Draft is finally over. Questions have been answered and quarterbacks have been chosen. As 2-QB fantasy league fanatics we obsessed over which quarterback would be drafted first.

nfl draft
New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees passes against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during first quarter of their game at the Mercedes Benz Superdome John David Mercer USA TODAY Sports

Would it be Geno Smith to the Jaguars, Raiders or Browns within the first six picks? Or would it be Ryan Nassib to the Bills at eight overall?

Turns out the answer was none of the above.

We got half of the equation right though. The Bills did draft the first quarterback of the 2013 Draft. But it wasn’t with the number eight pick in the first round, nor was it Ryan Nassib. Instead, the Bills traded down to the second half of the first round (16 overall), and selected Florida State’s E.J. Manuel.

When the 2013 NFL draft was over, nothing about it was textbook. Many of the quarterbacks we thought would get drafted by certain teams didn’t, or in the case of Matt Barkley, they did, but just much later. In the end, a total of 11 quarterbacks were drafted by the NFL this year, and below I have updated my quarterback tiered rankings to reflect that.

When ranking rookies immediately after the draft, you can only base your rankings on opportunity and situation. Just because we might think a certain rookie quarterback is more talented, that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re entering the best possible situation in terms of fantasy football value. That is something to always remember when ranking rookies at any position.

The below quarterback tiered rankings will change many times over between now and week one of the 2013 NFL season—but they’re a good way of gauging the quarterback landscape right now and to help you prepare for your 2-QB fantasy football leagues.

Tier 1: The Elite Mainstays

Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers

Tier 2: Potential Top-3 QBs

Robert Griffin III, Colin Kaepernick, Peyton Manning

Tier 3: The High Five Club

Tom Brady, Cam Newton, Matt Ryan, Russell Wilson

Tier 4: The Rest of the QB1 (non-Brady) Bunch

Matthew Stafford, Andrew Luck, Ben Roethlisberger

Tier 5: Top of the QB2 Zone

Tony Romo, Eli Manning, Joe Flacco, Andy Dalton

Tier 6: Upside QB2s

Jay Cutler, Ryan Tannehill, Michael Vick, Sam Bradford, Josh Freeman, Carson Palmer, Alex Smith, Philip Rivers, Matt Schaub, Jake Locker

Tier 7: Young Guns

E.J. Manuel, Geno Smith, Brandon Weeden, Matt Flynn, Terrelle Pryor, Drew Stanton

Tier 8: Break in case of Emergency

Kirk Cousins, Kevin Kolb, Christian Ponder, Nick Foles, Matt Barkley, Mike Glennon

Tier 9: Out Fishing

Ryan Mallett, Dennis Dixon, Tyler Wilson, Matt Moore, Matt Cassel, Blaine Gabbert, Chad Henne, David Garrard, Mark Sanchez, Matt Scott, Ryan Fitzpatrick

Tier 10: Where’s Tebow?

Shaun Hill, Brock Osweiler, Zac Dysert, Graham Harrell, Landry Jones, Kyle Orton, Jason Campbell, Ryan Nassib, Domanique Davis, T.J. Yates, Matt Hasselbeck, Sean Renfree, Tyler Bray, Seneca Wallace, Colt McCoy, David Carr, Brady Quinn

Let’s start with the rookies.

Why Manuel over Smith? Opportunity and supporting cast.

Both Manuel and Smith find themselves thrust into situations where the current starting quarterback on the depth chart (Kolb in Buffalo and Sanchez in New York) shouldn’t be all that difficult to overthrow. If the Bills and Jets were comfortable with their quarterback situation they wouldn’t have invested early round picks in the position.

Manuel gets the slight bump over Smith because the Bills preferred him over Smith, and with the likes of Stevie Johnson and C.J. Spiller already in the mix, and the additions of rookie wide receivers Robert Woods and Marquise Goodwin, Manuel would have a good group of offensive weapons surrounding him.

The only other rookies to keep an eye on, as of now, are Matt Barkley in Philadelphia, Mike Glennon in Tampa Bay, and Matt Scott in Jacksonville.

We can only assume that Vick is the starting quarterback in Philadelphia, but the addition of Barkley will cause us to wonder which Eagle quarterback to target in fantasy football. Until the dust settles, and Kelly names just one guy as his starting quarterback, all four of them, Foles and Dixon, in addition to Vick and Barkley, are in play.

I like the undrafted Scott because the only competition he faces is Gabbert, Henne, and fellow undrafted rookie, Jordan Rodgers. Also in Scott’s favor is that he’ll be re-united with his college quarterbacks coach, Frank Scelfo, who holds the same position in Jacksonville. If Scott makes the team, and Gabbert doesn’t show much improvement, it wouldn’t totally out of the question to see Scott hold some fantasy value this season. And offense with Maurice Jones-Drew, Cecil Shorts, Justin Blackmon, and Marcedes Lewis is pretty tantalizing.

The drafting of Barkley caused Vick to fall from my pre-draft tiered rankings, which led to Dalton, Cutler and Tannehill rising. Dalton earned the biggest jump, from Tier 5 to Tier 6, because of the great job the Bengals did drafting. Tight end Tyler Eifert and running back Giovani Bernard were the biggest, and most fantasy relevant, players drafted by the Bengals, and they are just two more weapons that Dalton will enjoy playing with.

The other biggest winners in the 2013 NFL Draft were Matt Schaub and Brandon Weeden; while Josh Freeman joined Vick as another rankings loser, which impacted my post quarterback tiered rankings.

The Texans drafted DeAndre Hopkins, who will hopefully provide Schaub with a viable #2 wide receiver that will take pressure off of Andre Johnson. Weeden moves up simply because the Browns didn’t draft a quarterback, and that shows the front office and coaching system will actually be giving him a shot to be their starting quarterback this season.

The opposite of the Cleveland situation is why Freeman slipped in my rankings. Head Coach Greg Schiano isn’t enamored with Freeman, and they went out and drafted Mike Glennon in the third round. Glennon was rumored to be a potential target for the Cardinals, either in the first or second round, but that all changed once they traded for Carson Palmer. Glennon went in the third round, and was the third quarterback drafted overall. With the Bucs taking him in the second day of the draft it should send a message to Freeman that his grasp of the starting quarterback job isn’t as tight as he’d like it to be.

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