Top 15 Young NFL Quarterbacks for the 2014 Season
We all know the top quarterbacks that have established themselves over the years, but with so many young quarterbacks in the NFL, who should you trust on your fantasy team? This article ranks the top 15 QBs drafted since 2011 (or Cam Newton's class for those who are better with names than numbers). Even the top QBs aren't sure fire QBs after their third season.
- Aaron Rodgers sat behind Favre and was pretty much an unknown, while Drew Brees really struggled early in his career to the point he was almost considered a bust. This led to the Chargers acquiring Phillip Rivers, and Brees headed off to New Orleans.
- Even the mighty Peyton Manning struggled early in his career with interceptions, despite always putting up big time numbers.
- Tom Brady never really put up huge fantasy numbers until the Pats brought in Moss and Welker. His numbers were rather modest compared to today's passing stats, even though he was considered the top QB in real life.
A lot can change with a young QB from year to year, positive or negative. I will try to sort through them, and put them in order for your fantasy draft.
QB Andrew Luck, IND - Solid/Safe Pick
In my eyes, Andrew Luck is clearly the #1 young quarterback. Luck is the next great QB in this league. He has already had a very strong beginning to his career, and I only expect him to get better. He will have almost a whole new arsenal of weapons to work with in 2014. The Colts added Hakeem Nicks, a receiver with superstar talent that seemed to wear out his welcome in New York. He will also be getting his two favorite targets from 2012 back from injury, Reggie Wayne and Dwayne Allen. They have made efforts to improve the O-line, which always helps. The Colts' line has been one of the worst in the league since Luck was drafted. Luck is also probably the best runner on the team that knows how to find the end zone. It also doesn't hurt that the Colts spent a 1st round pick on Trent Richardson, a running back that seems like the only thing he can do well is catch the ball. This all adds up to a monster year for Andrew Luck. Don't be surprised to see him ranked as a top 5 QB overall in 2014.
QB Cam Newton, CAR - Stud (low risk)
A lot has been made of Cam Newton's receiving core (or lack-thereof) this year. I honestly don't think they are that bad, and he has a lot of guys who know how to find the end zone. Cotchery, Underwood, and Avant have all performed very well, with limited opportunities. None of them are a top guy, but all can make a play when called upon. I also really like Marvin McNutt, a young receiver that had a very good preseason with Miami in 2013. Let's not forget the rookie WR Kelvin Benjamin. He's a huge target that can pull the ball down out of a crowd. When Newton's in trouble, Benjamin is a guy who can be thrown open. He also has a handful of running backs that can catch passes, and have a knack for the end zone. It goes without saying that Newton may be the best running QB in the league, especially when it comes to the red zone. His size allows him to do a lot more between the tackles than a Mike Vick or RG3 can. This may be the year Newton really pulls away from the pack as a SUPERSTAR!
QB Robert Griffin III, CLE - Solid/Safe Pick
RG3 has a lot of questions after tearing his ACL in 2012, then struggling for a good portion of 2013. He looked like the next big thing his rookie season before suffering the ACL tear, but Griffin may have the highest ceiling of any fantasy QB. Not just on this list, ANY fantasy QB. He has great accuracy and arm strength, and his expected returning speed leads to big time explosive plays on the ground. He has all the tools in the pocket, with a Mike Vick like ability to run. The team brought in a big time weapon in Desean Jackson. Jackson can take the top off a defense, which will open up everything for Griffin. A new head coach may make a huge difference too, due to the tumultuous relationship between RG3 and Mike Shanahan. The only concerns are questions about RG3's durability and confidence. When you think about it, RG3 may be the only QB in the league throwing to two Top 20 Wide Receivers (Jackson and Garcon) and a potential Top 5 Tight End. (Jordan Reed)
QB Russell Wilson, SEA - Solid/Safe Pick
I know everyone says this now, but I loved Wilson coming out of college. I watched him a lot, and saw how special and amazingly accurate he was. It sounds strange coming off a Super Bowl victory, but Wilson has nowhere to go but up. As an individual, Wilson hasn't even come close to reaching his full potential. Wilson (like all the QBs ahead of him) is a duel threat with scrambling ability. He doesn't seem to need to rely on the run as much as Cam or RG3, but he still runs plenty. With Golden Tate departing for Detroit, this leaves Wilson with Percy Harvin and Doug Baldwin as his main go to targets; Jermaine Kearse and veteran Sidney Rice round out the group. If Harvin can manage to stay healthy this season, Wilson should have a spectacular Top 10 fantasy season. It wasn't that long ago that Harvin was considered a Top 10 Fantasy Wide Receiver either.
QB Nick Foles, KC - Solid/Safe Pick
Foles received a chance to start thanks to a Mike Vick injury, and never looked back. Foles played shockingly well in the Kelly machine and unquestionably earned himself the starting job. He will again get plenty of opportunity in Chip Kelly's high paced offense, and has two of the best receiving RBs in the NFL to go along with the returning (Toolbox Comeback Candidate) Jeremy Maclin, Riley Cooper and 2nd round rookie and potential slot sensation, Jordan Matthews. The most impressive part of Foles' season was the fact that he almost never throws interceptions, a trend fantasy owners hope carries over into 2014. Also, Foles isn't afraid to tuck the ball away and take off, as evidenced by his 56 carries last season in limited time. He is not nearly as effective running the ball as any of the QBs ahead of him on this list. Fantasy owners will draft Foles hoping he can build off a very strong 2013.
QB Andy Dalton, CIN - Solid/Safe Pick
Dalton has faced plenty of scrutiny and criticism in Cincinnati. He has struggled in big moments, especially against the pass rush. However, if you look deeper at the numbers, the fantasy production is there. Dalton threw for 4,296 yards last season, and accounted for 35 TDs. His interceptions are high, but if he can get them under control, he can be a big time fantasy QB for years to come. He has the talent and definitely has tremendous young weapons in AJ Green, Tyler Eifert and Giovani Bernard. It remains to be seen whether or not new offensive coordinator Hue Jackson will stick to his ground game mentality he's bringing to the Bengals.