16. Blake Bortles – Bortles exploded on to the scene with a great 2015. The Jaguars used six of their seven draft picks on defense, which shows they’re more than content with what they have offensively. Bortles will have more expectations this season, but there’s no reason to believe he can’t live up to them.
15. Matthew Stafford – Calvin Johnson’s retirement will be a huge hit to Stafford. Johnson has been the security blanket for Stafford for years. Stafford still has the same rocket arm he’s always had, but don’t expect improvement after a guy loses one of the best receivers in the league. Sidenote: Draft Golden Tate in your fantasy league.
14. Alex Smith – Smith is coming off the best season of his career. He completed more than 65 percent of his passes in 2015 and had 20 TD with only 7 INT. If Jeremy Maclin, Travis Kelce and Jamaal Charles can stay healthy, there’s no reason Smith can’t duplicate that success this season.
13. Tony Romo – It’s hard to put Romo any higher on this list when he seems to be injured more than he’s healthy. The Cowboys window with Romo is closing, and the pressure is on in 2016. The Ezekiel Elliot pick at 4th overall shows the Cowboys are trying to give Romo and the offense every chance to succeed and contend for the Super Bowl. Romo is running out of time.
12. Joe Flacco – Flacco threw just 14 TD next to 12 INT in 2015, the same line he put up during his rookie season. Injuries and a general lack of offensive talent brought Flacco down last season. Flacco is a Super Bowl winning QB, so you have to respect that, but he’s not good enough to make nine figures and have enough around him to do it again.
11. Matt Ryan – Ryan has been somewhat of a disappointment in his career. He’s been good, but never good enough. The Falcons haven’t had enough around him, but with Julio Jones on the outside, it’s not unfair to expect more from Ryan. Unless Cam and the Panthers take a major step backward, I don’t like Ryan’s chances to get his team to the playoffs.
10. Philip Rivers – Rivers has established himself as someone who can put up numbers and lead an offense, but he has trouble winning games. He just has that indescribable unlikeability about him.
9. Eli Manning – Eli no longer has more Super Bowl wins than his far-superior brother, and it’s not likely he wins another. That being said, he does have Odell Beckham Jr., a receiver most QB’s only dream of. The NFC East is there for the taking, but the Giants will have to improve under Ben McAdoo.
8. Carson Palmer – Palmer’s career has been resurrected in Arizona, and that offense is fun to watch. Everyone saw what happened to Palmer against the Panthers, but let’s not forget Palmer’s 35 TD, 11 INT regular season. The Cardinals have had a good offseason and should be Super Bowl contenders again in 2016.
7. Drew Brees – The Saints were horrible last year, but Brees still managed to throw for 4,870 yds with 32 TD’s and 11 INT’s. Brees has been about as consistent as gravity since he got to New Orleans, he just needs more around him.
6. Ben Roethlisberger – The Steelers have an embarassment of riches offensively: Big Ben, Antonio Brown, Martavis Bryant, Leveon Bell. When those four playmakers are healthy, the Steelers are arguably the best offense in the league. Pittsburgh has to be the favorite in the AFC North going in to the season. Also, I would recommend getting as many Steelers as you can on your fantasy team.
5. Andrew Luck – Luck tried to play injured for a good chunk of 2015, and it didn’t work out too well. Luck should be fully healthy and the Colts offense should look more similar to what it looked like in 2014. Luck is going to get the biggest QB contract we’ve ever seen, and he deserves it.
4. Russell Wilson – Wilson is undoubtedly one of the best quarterbacks in the league. He doesn’t have the size, he’s not a typical NFL quarterback, but he knows how to run his offense and he gets the absolute best out of himself and everyone around him. If you’re still a Russell Wilson doubter, stop. You’re embarrassing yourself.
3. Tom Brady – Everyone loves to hate greatness. Greatness is Tom Brady. He’s been the best, most consistent quarterback in the league since 2001. At 38 years old, Brady threw for 36 TD’s with only 7 INT’s. There’s no reason to believe Brady will regress when he comes back from the stupidest suspension of all time.
2. Cam Newton – What would you have said if I would’ve told you a year ago that Cam Newton would be No. 2 on this list? The only reason he’s not No. 1 is because he played his worst game in his last game. Whether you love Cam or hate Cam, you better get used to Cam, because he still has a lot of great things to accomplish in the NFL.
1. Aaron Rodgers – Rodgers can make throws that no one else would even consider attempting. His effectiveness dipped a bit in 2015 when he didn’t have a number one receiver, had a bad offensive line and an out-of-shape running back who had a terrible season. Assuming Jordy Nelson is healthy and Lacy returns to his 2014 form, Rodgers should continue to lead one of the most productive offenses in the NFL.