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1. Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints
Outlook: No quarterback since 2011, including Aaron Rodgers and Peyton Manning, has more touchdown passes and passing yards than Brees does. He’s the only quarterback in NFL history to throw for 5,000-plus yards in consecutive seasons, and he’s now done it three years running. Last season, he fell one touchdown short of becoming the first quarterback to have at least 40 touchdown passes in three consecutive seasons. As long as he limits his turnovers, he enters the '14 season entrenched as a top two fantasy quarterback.
Projections: 5,253 passing yards, 68 rushing yards, 44 touchdowns (2 rushing), & 14 turnovers (1 fumble)
2. Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers
Outlook: Before breaking his collarbone in week nine, Rodgers was on pace to throw for a career-high 5,008 yards. Even without Rodgers for seven games, the Packers were still one of three teams (Denver & Philadelphia) to average at least 400 yards passing per game. That’s a testament to the quality of Mike McCarthy’s system and the talent of Green Bay’s skill players. Along with those factors, Rodgers’ ability to score fantasy points with his legs makes him one of two quarterbacks projected to exceed 350 fantasy points under standard scoring.
Projections: 4,569 passing yards, 255 rushing yards, 43 touchdowns (2 rushing), & 9 turnovers (2 fumbles)
3. Peyton Manning, Denver Broncos
Outlook: Despite turning 38 last March, Manning is showing no signs of regression. He’s coming off an MVP season that saw him set NFL records for the most touchdown passes and passing yards in a single season. Historically speaking, though, quarterbacks coming off record-setting seasons tend to fail to match their output the following year. Most recently, it happened to Rodgers in '12. In fact, following his epic '04 campaign, Manning saw a significant drop off in his statistical output the next year. Once again Manning projects as one of the league’s elite fantasy signal callers, but don’t expect him to match last year’s milestones.
Projections: 4,811 passing yards, 42 touchdowns, & 13 turnovers (3 fumbles)
4. Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers
Outlook: A large portion of Newton’s fantasy points comes from his ability to create by running. Since entering the league in '11, Newton’s accounted for 2,032 yards and 28 touchdowns with his legs. As long as he continues to serve as Carolina’s de facto goal line back, he projects to finish '14 as a top five fantasy quarterback.
Projections: 3,473 passing yards, 703 rushing yards, 32 touchdowns (9 rushing), & 13 turnovers (1 fumble)
5. Andrew Luck, Indianapolis Colts
Outlook: Because of offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton’s play calling, Luck’s numbers will fail to compete with Brees, Rodgers, and Manning. Nevertheless, the Colts will live and die by the arm of their young signal caller. That was evident in their Wild Card playoff victory over Kansas City, when Luck threw for 443 yards and four touchdowns. An improving passing attack and the ability to score with his legs, has Luck positioned to have his best fantasy season to date.
Projections: 4,201 passing yards, 415 rushing yards, 29 touchdowns (4 rushing), & 12 turnovers (2 fumbles)
6. Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions
Outlook: Over the last three seasons, only Brees has thrown for more yardage than Stafford. Much of Stafford’s success, however, depended upon all-pro receiver Calvin Johnson. The additions of receiver Golden Tate and tight end Eric Ebron allows Stafford to spread the ball around, giving him more upside as a fantasy signal caller. If he can keep his turnovers down (20-plus in back-to-back seasons), he’s a legitimate threat to finish as a top five signal caller.
Projections: 4,937 passing yards, 93 rushing yards, 33 touchdowns (2 rushing), & 21 turnovers (3 fumbles)
7. Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons
Outlook: You don’t look at Ryan as one of fantasy’s top 10 quarterbacks, but he’s coming off back-to-back 4,500-yard seasons. Last year, he was without star receiver Julio Jones for the final 11 games. Getting Jones back will be a huge boon to Ryan, who expects to be in ton of shootouts, as the Falcons feature one of the league’s most underwhelming defenses.
Projections: 4,560 passing yards, 102 rushing yards, 32 touchdowns (1 rushing), & 16 turnovers (3 fumbles)
8. Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks
Outlook: Coming off a Super Bowl championship, Wilson’s scrambling positions him to finish '14 as a top 10 fantasy quarterback. In two years, he has rushed for 1,028 yards and five scores. While he receives a boost because of his dual-threat status, the system he plays in limits his passing output, preventing him from finishing with a top five projection.
Projections: 3,361 passing yards, 542 rushing yards, 30 touchdowns (3 rushing), & 13 turnovers (4 fumbles)
9. Robert Griffin III, Washington
Outlook: Health is the biggest factor in RG3’s fantasy projection. His knee clearly hindered his scrambling in '13, evident by his zero rushing touchdowns. It’s unlikely he’ll be without a rushing score this season, as he‘s more than a year removed from injuring his knee. In addition, he’s embracing Jay Gruden’s system, which allowed Andy Dalton to develop into a good fantasy signal caller. RG3 enters '14 as a top 10 quarterback with legit top five upside should he play in all 16 games.
Projections: 3,323 passing yards, 719 rushing yards, 26 touchdowns (4 rushing), & 15 turnovers (3 fumbles)
10. Nick Foles, Philadelphia Eagles
Outlook: It’s virtually certain that Foles won’t throw 25 more touchdowns than interceptions in '14, a feat he accomplished a year ago. Nonetheless, he plays in one of the most explosive offenses in football, and is an excellent backup choice for a fantasy player that either missed out or bypassed on selecting a signal caller early.
Projections: 3,867 passing yards, 231 rushing yards, 30 touchdowns (4 rushing), & 14 turnovers (4 fumbles)
4 points per passing touchdown
6 points per rushing touchdown
1 point per 25 passing yards
1 point per 10 rushing yards
-2 points per turnover