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Regular Season, Updated: 9/6/16

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 Ben Roethlisberger, PIT (Bye: 8)
Height: 6’5”   Weight: 241   DOB: 1982-03-02   Age: 34
College: -   Draft: 2004 Round 1 (11) 
SeasonTeamGameComp Att Yard TD INTAtt Yard TDFPtsFPts/G
2013PIT16375 584 4,261 28 14 26 99 1 341.0 21.3
2014PIT16408 608 4,952 32 9 32 27 0 378.3 23.6
2015PIT12319 469 3,933 21 16 15 29 0 283.6 23.6
2016 (Projected)PIT 381 577 4,558 30 15 17 26 1 356.5  

Outlook: Playing in his fewest games since 2010, a litany of injuries threw a wrench into what could have been a truly remarkable fantasy season for Big Ben. Oddly enough, despite finishing 21st overall in quarterback scoring, Roethlisberger scored the same exact points per game (23.6) last year as he did during his top-5 season in 2014. Injuries and subsequent missed games have been a hallmark of Ben’s career. During his impressive 12-year career he has only played a full 16 games just three times. Luckily for fantasy owners, Roethlisberger is also one of the toughest guys in the league, able to shrug off injuries and play at an elite level even in pain and discomfort. His game, and stature in the pocket make him a candidate for big hits, and his size and bravery in the pocket often lead to lower leg injuries. In an effort to be more agile, Ben has worked hard this offseason to shed weight and be lighter on his feet.

What helps maintain Roethlisberger’s elite fantasy value is the draw dropping arsenal of skill players at his disposal. A healthy Le’Veon Bell, and an always motivated Antonio Brown give Big Ben a duo of all-pros to funnel the offense through. The year-long suspension of supremely talented Martavis Bryant will certainly be a blow, but Roethlisberger had over 700 yards passing and 4 touchdowns in two games without him early in the year and the addition of Ladarius Green, and development of Sammie Coates should certainly help offset the loss. With an aggressive play caller in Todd Haley, and a goal of 30 ppg for the offense, Roethlisberger should again be in line for a top-10 fantasy season as long as he remains upright for 15-plus games.

 Tony Romo, DAL (Bye: 7)
Height: 6’2”   Weight: 228   DOB: 1980-04-21   Age: 36
College: Eastern Illinois   Draft:
SeasonTeamGameComp Att Yard TD INTAtt Yard TDFPtsFPts/G
2013DAL15342 535 3,842 31 10 20 38 0 319.9 21.3
2014DAL15304 435 3,705 34 9 25 61 0 327.4 21.8
2015DAL483 121 884 5 7 4 13 0 65.5 16.4
2016 (Projected)DAL 217 329 2,470 16 7 13 28 0 190.3  

Outlook: Tony Romo’s weak collarbone made him a fantasy bust last season when he missed 12 games after breaking the bone two different times. In the two games where he left with injury his fantasy owners were left with poor results as he failed to reach 200 yards or throw a touchdown in either game. The Cowboys’ offensive skill players suffered as a result. The team has once again failed to add a competent backup, so the Cowboys will need to pray the best offensive line in the game and a strong running game will help keep Romo on the field instead of on the sidelines in street clothes. After spending the fourth overall pick in the draft on Ohio State running back Ezekiel Elliot, the coaching staff is likely preparing to return to the 2014 run-heavy game plan which led to a playoff appearance for the Cowboys. Fantasy owners must keep in mind that although Romo was very efficient and productive during that season, the team finished 31st in pass attempts capping Romo’s upside. He did throw for 34 scores that season, but was held to only 3,705 yards in 15 games, finishing as only a fringe fantasy QB1. At nearly 37 years of age, it’s hard to imagine Romo becoming less brittle than he’s been, making him an option on draft day only if he drops into double digit rounds.

 Matt Ryan, ATL (Bye: 11)
Height: 6’4”   Weight: 220   DOB: 1985-05-17   Age: 31
College: Boston College   Draft: 2008 Round 1 (3) 
SeasonTeamGameComp Att Yard TD INTAtt Yard TDFPtsFPts/G
2013ATL16439 651 4,515 26 17 17 55 0 335.3 21.0
2014ATL16415 628 4,694 28 14 29 145 0 361.2 22.6
2015ATL16407 614 4,591 21 16 37 63 0 319.9 20.0
2016 (Projected)ATL 384 572 4,236 25 15 41 78 0 319.6  

Outlook: Matt Ryan continues to be a good but not great fantasy quarterback. The problem is, he has been reaching his pedestrian fantasy output with the help of above average receiving targets and a completion percentage over 65 percent in each of the past four seasons. It is quite possible that we have already seen Ryan’s best fantasy season (2012) as he enters his ninth year at the helm of the Falcons’ offense. The yardage is right in line with the game’s top passers, yet his total number of 300-yard games has decreased in each of the past three years (he notched five in 2015). The down year (QB16) didn’t sit too well with Ryan because he made a point of holding his own camp this off-season to go over basic schemes and communication in the passing game to prepare for his second year in Kyle Shanahan’s system.

A glass half full fantasy owner will see an upgrade on the outside with Mohamed Sanu providing far more impact plays than Roddy White could in the twilight of his career. On the inside, the addition of center Alex Mack could prove to be a difference maker not only in the ground attack but in calling out pass protections. A few more passing touchdowns and status quo everywhere else seems to be the logical projection for Ryan in 2016. A lower ceiling than most of his peers will cause Ryan to slide down many preseason rankings, but he represents a more consistent option than most other fringe starting fantasy quarterbacks (Romo, Stafford, Tannehill).

 Mark Sanchez, DAL (Bye: 7)
Height: 6’2”   Weight: 225   DOB: 1986-11-11   Age: 30
College: -   Draft: 2009 Round 1 (5) 
SeasonTeamGameComp Att Yard TD INTAtt Yard TDFPtsFPts/G
2014PHI9198 309 2,418 14 11 34 87 1 191.6 21.3
2015PHI359 91 616 4 4 6 22 0 49.0 16.3
2016 (Projected)DAL 12 19 135 0 1 1 2 0 7.0  

Outlook: The starting quarterback job in Denver is one of the most highly contested, extremely important training camp battles in the entire league this offseason. The job is primarily expected to be a battle between newcomers Mark Sanchez and Paxton Lynch, but keep an eye on Trevor Siemian who has already spent a year in the system and has been the recipient of quite a bit of praise from the coaching staff.

Nevertheless, the man who most believe will start the season behind center for the Broncos is the only player who has played a meaningful NFL snap thus far in his career – Sanchez. A quarterback who once led his Jets to back-to-back AFC Championship appearances, Sanchez has seen quite a fall from grace in recent seasons as he will now be playing for his third NFL team after his runs in Philadelphia and New York fizzled out.

Taking over as the starting quarterback for a team that won the Super Bowl just a few months ago is a daunting task on its own, but replacing arguably the greatest quarterback of all-time, Peyton Manning, is going to be on the mind of whoever ends up winning this job. Sanchez has been in a similar situation when he replaced another one of the all-time greats, Brett Favre, the season after Favre left the Jets.

Of course, Sanchez now steps into a situation where he has much higher expectations, but it’s worth considering that he’s not replacing a prime Manning. He’s replacing the version of Manning who played the worst football of his career, who nearly lost his job to Brock Osweiler, and was statistically speaking one of the worst quarterbacks in recent memory. Manning’s 9-to-17 touchdown-to-interception ratio was humiliatingly bad and quite frankly was one of the main reasons why the Broncos weren’t expected to completely run through the AFC Playoffs on their way to the Super Bowl in 2015. Despite Manning’s terrible play, the Broncos were still able to get the job done where it counted – on the scoreboard. Much of that came from the reality that while Manning was a shell of his physical prime, he was still mentally sharp and was able to get players into the right positions to succeed.

At this point, it would be extremely difficult for Sanchez to be worse than Manning from a statistical standpoint. Sanchez has never been a great fantasy performer in the past, but he also hasn’t often had the type of weapons that he does in Denver. There’s practically no question that the Broncos’ passing game is going to be more efficient than it was a season ago. However, it’s also worth noting that the Broncos likely passed the ball more often in 2015 than head coach Gary Kubiak would have preferred. This could mean better efficiency from the position in terms of touchdowns and turnovers, but it might also mean fewer yards.

Sanchez projects as a QB2 in most formats, but does have the upside to produce QB1 numbers in favorable matchups. The other thing to keep in mind with Sanchez is that while he will likely start the season for the Broncos, that doesn’t mean that he will keep the job all season. If the coaches don’t like what they’re seeing and particularly if the team starts the season with more losses than they expected, Sanchez could be on a short leash. Playmaking rookie quarterback Paxton Lynch is looming behind him on the depth chart and Trevor Siemian knows the playbook the best of the three, meaning that he could be given an opportunity if the wheels really begin to fall off the track.

 Matt Schaub, ATL (Bye: 11)
Height: 6’5”   Weight: 239   DOB: 1981-06-25   Age: 35
College: Virginia   Draft: 2004 Round 3 (27) 
SeasonTeamGameComp Att Yard TD INTAtt Yard TDFPtsFPts/G
2013HOU10219 358 2,310 10 14 5 24 0 157.9 15.8
2014OAK25 10 57 0 2 0 0 0 2.9 1.4
2015BAL252 80 540 3 4 4 10 0 40.0 20.0
2016 (Projected)ATL 2 3 22 0 0 0 0 0 1.1  

 Trevor Siemian, DEN (Bye: 11)
Height: 6’3”   Weight: 215   DOB: -
College: Northwestern   Draft: 2015 Round 7 (33) 
SeasonTeamGameComp Att Yard TD INTAtt Yard TDFPtsFPts/G
2015DEN10 0 0 0 0 1 -1 0 -0.1 -0.1
2016 (Projected)DEN 183 305 2,046 12 9 27 64 0 156.7  

 Alex Smith, KC (Bye: 5)
Height: 6’4”   Weight: 217   DOB: 1984-05-07   Age: 32
College: Utah   Draft: 2005 Round 1 (1) 
SeasonTeamGameComp Att Yard TD INTAtt Yard TDFPtsFPts/G
2013KC15308 509 3,313 23 8 75 432 1 306.9 20.5
2014KC15302 463 3,268 18 6 50 254 1 266.8 17.8
2015KC16307 470 3,486 20 7 84 498 2 316.1 19.8
2016 (Projected)KC 308 482 3,469 23 7 73 386 1 310.1  

Outlook: After starting his career with one of the worst winning percentages in the league, Alex Smith has finally started to develop into one of the better game-managing, winning quarterbacks in with a 49-21-1 record over his last five seasons. Of course, those wins don’t mean much for fantasy owners, who likely have been taking a lot of losses if they’ve trusted Smith to be their starting quarterback in their season-long fantasy leagues. It’s not that Smith has been horrible – he just hasn’t been great. This past season, he threw for 3,486 yards and 20 touchdowns with just seven interceptions. The seven interceptions are elite among starting quarterbacks, but without many yards or touchdowns to go along with them, the fantasy points just aren’t there.

One thing to note, however, is that Smith’s rushing numbers (498 yds) were better than ever in 2015. He’s never been one of the elite runners at the quarterback position, but he’s certainly better than average, if for no other reason than that he’s willing to take off and pick up a first down with his legs – something that many other QB’s are simply not willing or able to do. This past season, Smith’s 84 attempts were nearly double the number of attempts that he had in 2014 when he ran the ball just 49 times on the season. It’s important to note that Smith might have been running a bit more often because Jamaal Charles was injured, but even that wouldn’t account for his high total. It appears as if the Chiefs are not overly concerned with Smith getting injured by running the ball, which definitely bodes well for his fantasy potential.

Still, Smith is not much more than a reliable QB2, bye week fill-in or short-term replacement for those who opt to take Tom Brady. The Chiefs simply don’t pass often enough for him to make a real push to be an elite fantasy quarterback and the best case scenario is that he finishes the season as a low-end QB1.

 Geno Smith, NYJ (Bye: 11)
Height: 6’3”   Weight: 220   DOB: 1990-10-10   Age: 26
College: West Virginia   Draft: 2013 Round 2 (8) 
SeasonTeamGameComp Att Yard TD INTAtt Yard TDFPtsFPts/G
2013NYJ16247 443 3,046 12 21 72 366 6 272.9 17.1
2014NYJ14219 367 2,525 13 13 59 238 1 208.1 14.9
2015NYJ127 42 265 2 1 2 34 0 24.7 24.7
2016 (Projected)NYJ 27 45 316 2 1 9 22 0 26.0  

 Matthew Stafford, DET (Bye: 10)
Height: 6’2”   Weight: 232   DOB: 1988-02-07   Age: 28
College: Georgia   Draft: 2009 Round 1 (1) 
SeasonTeamGameComp Att Yard TD INTAtt Yard TDFPtsFPts/G
2013DET16371 634 4,647 29 19 36 74 2 367.8 23.0
2014DET16363 602 4,247 22 12 43 93 2 321.7 20.1
2015DET16398 592 4,262 32 13 44 159 1 363.0 22.7
2016 (Projected)DET 365 570 4,159 25 16 30 68 1 320.8  

Outlook: Like Linus without his blanket, 2016 will be a big transition year for Matt Stafford as he begins his first NFL season without the security of recently retired Calvin Johnson. Teaming for several dozen touchdowns and thousands of yards over the past seven seasons, Stafford’s continued maturation as a quarterback will come without the aid of one of the all-time greatest receivers.

After getting off to a disastrous 1-7 start to the 2015 season, Stafford and the Lions’ offense was in shambles. He absorbed sack after sack, and the constant pressure led to just a 13-11 touchdown-to-interception ratio. During the Week 9 bye week, Detroit made significant coaching changes on the offensive side of the ball. New coordinator Jim Bob Cooter changed the protection schemes, and worked to get the ball out of Stafford’s hands quicker. Everything clicked in a big way, as Stafford settled into a rhythm, throwing for 19 touchdowns against only 2 interceptions, leading the Lions to an impressive 6-2 finish to close out the year. Stafford finished 2015 with his highest career completion percentage (67%), and second-most touchdowns (32).

So, what do we make of Stafford’s 2016 prospects? Well, losing one of the most unstoppable receivers in NFL history certainly isn’t going to help. Gone from the offense are Megatron’s 88 receptions, 1200 yards, and 9 touchdowns, numbers that can’t be replaced by just newly signed Marvin Jones. Stafford is going to be forced to spread the ball more, a task easier said than done. A 6’5, 230-pound receiver covers up lots of mistakes, and Stafford is going to have to continue to mature as a pocket passer if the Lions and your fantasy team are going to benefit. Despite the solid finish to the year, I think Stafford regresses a bit as he and the offense adjust to the loss of Calvin, especially in the red zone. Back end QB1 status is where Stafford fits for me now, but this offense does have some potent potential, so he does provide a high ceiling.

 Drew Stanton, ARI (Bye: 9)
Height: 6’3”   Weight: 243   DOB: 1984-05-07   Age: 32
College: Michigan State   Draft: 2007 Round 2 (11) 
SeasonTeamGameComp Att Yard TD INTAtt Yard TDFPtsFPts/G
2014ARI9132 240 1,711 7 5 25 63 0 119.9 13.3
2015ARI611 25 104 0 2 13 -13 0 3.9 0.7
2016 (Projected)ARI 22 33 274 1 0 0 2 0 17.9  

 Ryan Tannehill, MIA (Bye: 8)
Height: 6’4”   Weight: 221   DOB: 1988-07-27   Age: 28
College: Texas A&M   Draft: 2012 Round 1 (8) 
SeasonTeamGameComp Att Yard TD INTAtt Yard TDFPtsFPts/G
2013MIA16355 588 3,913 24 17 39 238 1 321.5 20.1
2014MIA16392 590 4,045 27 12 55 317 1 348.0 21.7
2015MIA16364 587 4,210 24 12 32 141 1 326.6 20.4
2016 (Projected)MIA 374 593 4,154 25 13 45 209 1 334.6  

Outlook: 2016 could be a make or break season for Ryan Tannehill. He hasn’t played that poorly over the course of his first four years as a starting quarterback in the league, however he hasn’t been overly impressive either. He’s shown poor footwork and pocket presence and has been unable to lead his team into the playoffs despite the Dolphins being among the “winners of the offseason” each year. Last season he completed 62% of his passes, accumulating 4,210 yards and 24 touchdowns through the air while tossing 12 interceptions. His career high in touchdown passes came in 2014 where he threw 27. Tannehill has shown above average mobility during his first three years in the league but last season only rushed for 141 yards after a career high 311 rushing yards in 2014. He has consistently failed to step up in big games which could ultimately be his downfall if he doesn’t lead the Dolphins to a playoff appearance in 2016. Tannehill has struggled with his deep accuracy in his young career, but he is coming off his best season in yards per attempt (7.2). On the plus side, the Dolphins hired former Broncos and Bears offensive coordinator Adam Gase to be the team’s Head Coach, and Gase was largely responsible for resurrecting Jay Cutler’s career last season and orchestrated one of the best offenses in NFL history with Peyton Manning in Denver. Gase is expected to give Tannehill more freedom to audible at the line of scrimmage and is expected to have his team play at an up-tempo pace. Peyton reportedly worked with Tannelhill this spring in order to help teach him Gase’s offense, and that can only be viewed as a positive. Further, the Miami offensive line should see some improvement after using first round picks at the position during the last two years.

 Tyrod Taylor, BUF (Bye: 10)
Height: 6’1”   Weight: 217   DOB: 1989-08-03   Age: 27
College: Virginia Tech   Draft: 2011 Round 6 (15) 
SeasonTeamGameComp Att Yard TD INTAtt Yard TDFPtsFPts/G
2013BAL31 5 2 0 1 8 64 0 6.5 2.2
2014BAL10 0 0 0 0 4 -3 0 -0.3 -0.3
2015BUF14242 380 3,035 20 6 104 568 4 312.6 22.3
2016 (Projected)BUF 285 452 3,526 22 8 119 645 3 346.8  

Outlook: Former Ravens backup Tyrod Taylor surprisingly won the Bills starting quarterback job over former first round pick EJ Manuel and veteran Matt Cassel last pre-season. He then proved that head coach Rex Ryan and offensive coordinator Greg Roman made the right choice. In 14 games, Taylor threw for 3,035 yards with 20 touchdowns and only 6 interceptions while also adding 568 yards and 4 touchdowns on the ground. Reports from Buffalo’s OTAs and minicamp have been positive about Taylor’s improvement, but the franchise still does not want to commit to him long term. They will let him play out the last year of his contract before deciding whether they want to offer him franchise quarterback type money.

Roman ran a conservative run-heavy offense, and with Rex Ryan famous for his “ground and pound” philosophy don’t expect that to change much in 2016. Taylor is a bit undersized at 6’1” and 215 pounds, but has decent downfield accuracy and did not turn the ball over making him valuable in the conservative Bills’ offense. He was also a big part of the rushing attack which increases his value against his peers. He finished second only to Cam Newton in rushing yards amongst quarterbacks. Taylor needs to show an improved command of the offense but the former sixth-round pick is only 26 years old and has the upside to improve in his second season as a starter. With his ability to gain yards on the ground and a legitimate difference maker on the outside (Sammy Watkins) Taylor is a perfect high ceiling fantasy QB2.