Of course, guys could end up surpassing the best-case numbers or not even reach the baseline numbers, but this exercise gives fantasy owners a good idea of what to possibly expect in 2018 from the quarterback options (under the assumption that they start all year). Also, the stat lines only include passing statistics, so keep in mind that guys like Russell Wilson and Cam Newton will obviously get a big boost as runners.
Aaron Rodgers, GB
Best case: 4,702 yards, 46 touchdowns, 7 interceptions
Rodgers sets a career-high in passing yards and passing touchdowns with Davante Adams and Jimmy Graham scoring a bunch while Randall Cobb reemerges as a big-time threat.
Worst case: 3,863 yards, 30 touchdowns, 9 interceptions
Being without Jordy Nelson for the first time since the 2015 season causes Rodgers to put up numbers similar to that campaign, as Graham doesn’t prove to be much of a factor outside of scoring territory and the wideouts behind Davante Adams don’t step up.
Russell Wilson, SEA
Best case: 4,427 yards, 34 touchdowns, 8 interceptions
A more balanced offense takes the pressure off Wilson, who throws for the most yards of his career while carrying Seattle in the playoff race and putting himself in the MVP discussion; for fantasy owners, he has his second overall QB1 finish in a row.
Worst case: 3,559 yards, 23 touchdowns, 11 interceptions
The running game is unable to keep defenses honest and the offensive line doesn’t improve, but Seattle wants to continue trying to be a ground-and-pound team, which keeps Wilson out of rhythm with an ailing Doug Baldwin failing to be a No. 1 option.
Tom Brady, NE
Best case: 4,931 yards, 40 touchdowns, 6 interceptions
Brady proves yet again that it doesn’t matter who he’s throwing to for the first four weeks of the season, and the offense is unstoppable once Julian Edelman returns to pair with Rob Gronkowski and Chris Hogan, not to mention reborn options in Phillip Dorsett and Cordarrelle Patterson.
Worst case: 3,948 yards, 26 touchdowns, 12 interceptions
32-year-old Edelman isn’t the same player when he returns in Week 5, and defenses are able to focus on Gronk to make things tough on Brady, who settles in as a low-end QB1; people begin to seriously wonder whether this is finally where the GOAT falls off as New England gears up for a Super Bowl run.
Cam Newton, CAR
Best case: 4,101 yards, 32 touchdowns, 9 interceptions
Cam and new offensive coordinator Norv Turner are a perfect match, as the former NFL MVP excels in targeting Devin Funchess and Greg Olsen in the intermediate passing game with secondary options proving themselves and Christian McCaffrey doing damage underneath.
Worst case: 3,276 yards, 19 touchdowns, 15 interceptions
The Panthers are now McCaffrey’s team, and Newton doesn’t adjust well to that with the peaks in his play getting smaller and the valleys getting deeper; Carolina has to decide after the season if they want to move in a different direction at the position.
Deshaun Watson, HOU
Best case: 4,577 yards, 39 touchdowns, 12 interceptions
Last year was no fluke, and the Texans air it out early and often with Watson having one of the best fantasy seasons of all-time; the former Clemson star is hotly debated as a potential first-round pick in fantasy drafts next year.
Worst case: 3,784 yards, 28 touchdowns, 17 interceptions
Instead of the top-tier QB1 that he was as a rookie, Watson settles into solid to low-end QB1 status as defenses somewhat figure out Bill O’Brien’s offense, and turnover concerns remain with the touchdown rate declining significantly.
Drew Brees, NO
Best case: 5,092 yards, 37 touchdowns, 10 interceptions
Brees’ modest 2017 campaign was the outlier, not the new norm, and he leads the league in passing yards once again at 39-years-old; a balanced offense leans more pass than run this season, and it leads to perhaps the most efficient year yet for the future Hall of Famer.
Worst case: 4,314 yards, 24 touchdowns, 9 interceptions
The Saints stay committed to the running game and limit the responsibilities for Brees as he inches closer to 40, so the days of him as an elite fantasy option are officially over.
Kirk Cousins, MIN
Best case: 4,998 yards, 36 touchdowns, 8 interceptions
The dynamic duo of Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs repeat what they did last season, but Laquon Treadwell also surprises in his third season, which helps Cousins put up All-Pro numbers and lead his team to the No. 1 seed in his first year under center.
Worst case: 4,035 yards, 27 touchdowns, 13 interceptions
Even with an excellent supporting cast in Minnesota, Cousins’ numbers look eerily similar to what they did last year with the Redskins, as people might have undervalued the offensive mind of Jay Gruden; it turns out that Cousins isn’t the missing piece for the Vikings.
Carson Wentz, PHI
Best case: 4,653 yards, 40 touchdowns, 10 interceptions
Wentz is in the lineup for the season opener and picks up right where he left off in his breakout 2017 season as a dual-threat magician that hasn’t lost any of his tricks; he gets the MVP award that he was in contention for last year and fantasy owners are thrilled they took a chance on him.
Worst case: 3,709 yards, 25 touchdowns, 12 interceptions
After missing one or two games, Wentz returns and tries to do too much, which causes him to slowly lose confidence as Philadelphia hopes that the magical playmaker they saw last season just needed a year to return to form.
Andrew Luck, IND
Best case: 4,699 yards, 38 touchdowns, 8 interceptions
Time on the sidelines allowed Luck to see the game from a new perspective, and he no longer feels he needs to put the team on his back, leading to fewer turnovers in a shoo-in Comeback Player of the Year campaign and top-three fantasy finish.
Worst case: 3,941 yards, 22 touchdowns, 14 interceptions
Luck plays in all 16 games, but he just doesn’t quite have the same zip on his ball that he did before shoulder surgery, and the Colts haven’t added enough talent to help him make up for it in 2018.
Matthew Stafford, DET
Best case: 4,911 yards, 37 touchdowns, 11 interceptions
Detroit produces three 1,000-yard receivers as Kenny Golladay lives up to his “Babytron” nickname, which allows Stafford to basically flashback to 2011 when he threw for 5,038 yards and 41 touchdowns.
Worst case: 4,030 yards, 22 touchdowns, 8 interceptions
New head coach Matt Patricia wants the Lions to pound the ball with LeGarrette Blount and rookie Kerryon Johnson, so the conservative attack in recent years becomes even more reigned in, and Stafford’s rocket arm is rarely on display.
Ben Roethlisberger, PIT
Best case: 5,003 yards, 41 touchdowns, 10 interceptions
An in-shape Big Ben matches the pace he was on through the second half of 2017 for an entire season with the best trio of wide receivers in the league combined with more control of the offense; he was an absolute steal for fantasy owners.
Worst case: 3,814 yards, 21 touchdowns, 15 interceptions
It turns out that former offensive coordinator Todd Haley was the guy that made Pittsburgh’s attack go, and Roethlisberger having increased input backfires completely; the Steelers miss the postseason and Big Ben is suddenly talking about retirement again.
Philip Rivers, LAC
Best case: 4,769 yards, 34 touchdowns, 9 interceptions
Rivers matches his career-high with 34 touchdowns as Mike Williams proves to be the perfect compliment to Keenan Allen, and Los Angeles opts for a full-blown spread with Allen, Williams, Tyrell Williams, and Travis Benjamin all contributing.
Worst case: 3,910 yards, 25 touchdowns, 14 interceptions
Melvin Gordon is the clear centerpiece for the Chargers offense, so Rivers’ upside is limited, and he presses more consistently after making some head-scratching mistakes in 2017.
Jimmy Garoppolo, SF
Best case: 4,992 yards, 36 touchdowns, 6 interceptions
Garoppolo takes what he learned from Tom Brady in New England and—combined with a full offseason in Kyle Shanahan’s offense—brings the 49ers (and fantasy teams) back to prominence by carving up everyone on the schedule like he did Jacksonville last year.
Worst case: 4,005 yards, 23 touchdowns, 18 interceptions
The book is out on Jimmy G, and a No. 1 receiver that’s needed in Shanahan’s offense doesn’t emerge between Marquise Goodwin and Pierre Garcon; talking heads debate whether the Patriots robbed San Francisco for even getting a second-round pick for Garoppolo.
Matt Ryan, ATL
Best case: 4,902 yards, 37 touchdowns, 8 interceptions
Offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian is much more comfortable calling plays for Atlanta’s high-powered offense in Year 2, and Matty Ice is able to prove that he belongs in the top-five quarterback discussion with a repeat of 2016.
Worst case: 4,121 yards, 21 touchdowns, 12 interceptions
The Falcons just don’t click offensively with Sarkisian in charge, while Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman continue to convert their scoring opportunities on the ground; Ryan is barely a streaming option in good matchups by the fantasy playoffs.
Patrick Mahomes, KC
Best case: 4,510 yards, 32 touchdowns, 11 interceptions
Kansas City has the league’s top scoring offense with gunslinger Patrick Mahomes at the controls, and it seems like he hits Tyreek Hill or Sammy Watkins for a big play every week on his way to a QB1 finish.
Worst case: 3,444 yards, 21 touchdowns, 17 interceptions
Mahomes looks overwhelmed and is solely dependent on broken plays and designed throws to Tyreek Hill, which frustrates fantasy owners; the Chiefs take a huge step back, and their trade of Alex Smith looks questionable at best.
Jared Goff, LAR
Best case: 4,582 yards, 41 touchdowns, 9 interceptions
While many are expecting regression from him, Goff takes a significant leap in the second year with Sean McVay; the chemistry with Bradin Cooks is quickly apparent, and the former No. 1 overall pick leads the league in touchdown passes.
Worst case: 3,874 yards, 26 touchdowns, 13 interceptions
It didn’t take long for defensive coordinators to figure out the Rams offense, and they are merely an average unit after leading the NFL in points per game (29.9) a season ago; Goff still has questions to answer after three years in the league.
Marcus Mariota, TEN
Best case: 4,066 yards, 30 touchdowns, 7 interceptions
Mariota’s 2017 season can be chalked up to health, as he solidifies himself as Tennessee’s franchise quarterback by looking like the guy we saw at Oregon (or more recently, 2016 when he tossed for 26 touchdowns and just nine interceptions).
Worst case: 3,411 yards, 19 touchdowns, 12 interceptions
A new offense doesn’t help Mariota, who struggles early against a difficult schedule—in large part due to an inconsistent receiving corps not taking the leap that many were expecting; he needs rushing production to even be worth a start for fantasy owners.
Alex Smith, WAS
Best case: 4,403 yards, 29 touchdowns, 6 interceptions
Whether or not Washington upgraded at quarterback is no longer a debate, as Alex Smith doubles down on his downfield approach from his final year in Kansas City, but has even more success under Jay Gruden, establishing himself as an every-week QB1 until further notice.
Worst case: 3,490 yards, 20 touchdowns, 8 interceptions
A lack of consistency from the team’s playmakers forces Smith to become more conservative again, which helps the Redskins win games but doesn’t endear him to fantasy owners; he is better left on the waiver wire outside of cupcake matchups.
Dak Prescott, DAL
Best case: 3,987 yards, 26 touchdowns, 5 interceptions
Prescott looks like he did two years ago as the perfect quarterback to operate the Cowboys’ run-first offense, and the skill-position players are better than expected, especially with Ezekiel Elliott getting more involved as a receiver.
Worst case: 3,449 yards, 22 touchdowns, 15 interceptions
Injuries to the Dallas offensive line turned out to be more impactful than Zeke’s suspension last year, and the elite starting five is never able to get on the field together; some are suddenly calling for Dak to be replaced, but realistically, the Cowboys need to get him a lot more help in 2019.
Blake Bortles, JAX
Best case: 4,261 yards, 34 touchdowns, 13 interceptions
Bortles, who actually led the league in touchdowns passes in 2015, is as confident as ever with a new deal and fresh off an AFC Championship Game appearance; albeit volatile, he is a low-end QB1 option considering the damage he can do as a runner.
Worst case: 3,588 yards, 20 touchdowns, 18 interceptions
Jacksonville struggles out of the gate, and Bortles feels the pressure playing for a team that otherwise feels they are ready to win; he is back under a 60.0 completion percentage while the interceptions creep up towards 20.
Derek Carr, OAK
Best case: 4,453 yards, 33 touchdowns, 8 interceptions
Jon Gruden’s return to the sidelines is a jolt to the entire franchise, but in particular Carr, who turns into a legitimate MVP candidate and solid QB1 like he was before a broken leg ended his 2016 season.
Worst case: 3,910 yards, 26 touchdowns, 12 interceptions
Derek Carr throws for 12+ interceptions for the fourth time in five NFL seasons, and some believe that Gruden will survey the quarterback market in the offseason because he doesn’t believe he has “his guy.”
Mitchell Trubisky, CHI
Best case: 4,228 yards, 30 touchdowns, 9 interceptions
Matt Nagy and Mitchell Trubisky are the 2018 version of Sean McVay and Jared Goff, so the North Carolina product takes full advantage of a stacked collection of weapons; he needs to be owned in all fantasy leagues as a solid QB1 in the right matchup.
Worst case: 3,444 yards, 23 touchdowns, 14 interceptions
A lack of preseason action is called into question when Trubisky and his receivers fail to get on the same page in September; he improves as the year goes on, but he doesn’t look like a slam-dunk franchise quarterback or reliable fantasy option heading into 2019.
Eli Manning, NYG
Best case: 4,205 yards, 32 touchdowns, 9 interceptions
Pat Shurmur is able to turn back the clock for Eli, as he sets a career-high in completion percentage and touchdown-interception ratio while getting back over 4,000 passing yards; he’s a weekly streaming option in all fantasy leagues.
Worst case: 3,560 yards, 20 touchdowns, 15 interceptions
Overall, the offense is improved under Shurmur, but Manning’s play takes another step back and he throws for double-digit interceptions for the 14th year in a row; the Giants will seek a franchise quarterback in the offseason.
Andy Dalton, CIN
Best case: 4,371 yards, 33 touchdowns, 10 interceptions
A full offseason in Bill Lazor’s system allows Dalton to reach new heights and make the Bengals surprise contenders in the AFC North, as A.J. Green proves he is being overlooked, John Ross unlocks his potential, and Tyler Eifert stays healthy.
Worst case: 3,403 yards, 24 touchdowns, 16 interceptions
Despite some summer promise, Dalton falls flat in a make-or-break year for Marvin Lewis, and the playmakers outside of Green are either underwhelming or injured, which makes the former second-round pick a bottom-barrel fantasy option.
Case Keenum, DEN
Best case: 4,096 yards, 27 touchdowns, 7 interceptions
Keenum proves to be a late-bloomer as a clear franchise quarterback, and John Elway turns out to have gotten a steal in free agency; Keenum is a safe, low-end QB1 option with Demaryius Thomas, Emmanuel Sanders, Courtland Sutton, and DaeSean Hamilton making up a loaded receiving corps.
Worst case: 3,574 yards, 21 touchdowns, 14 interceptions
By late October, people are clamoring for Chad Kelly to get a shot with the Broncos sitting at 2-5, as Keenum makes too many inexplicable mistakes, the veteran receivers have fallen off, and the rookies aren’t ready to contribute.
Jameis Winston, TB
Best case: 4,099 yards, 26 touchdowns, 8 interceptions
Knowing this could be his final chance due to off-field concerns, Jameis returns from his three-game suspension as the Bucs’ savior while posting QB1 numbers—and finally cutting down the turnovers—over the final 13 games of the season.
Worst case: 3,240 yards, 17 touchdowns, 13 interceptions
Winston is back in the starting lineup by Week 4, but he does nothing to suggest that he should be Tampa Bay’s franchise quarterback with the same boneheaded mistakes repeated over and over.
Tyrod Taylor, CLE
Best case: 3,888 yards, 25 touchdowns, 6 interceptions
Tyrod gets a chance to shine in Todd Haley’s offense, and he is a darkhorse MVP candidate with the Browns fighting for a playoff spot deep into the season; Josh Gordon and Jarvis Landry allow him to be efficient while putting up bigger numbers across the board.
Worst case: 3,109 yards, 18 touchdowns, 7 interceptions
Taylor somewhat stabilizes the quarterback position in Cleveland, but not enough to save Hue Jackson’s job or hold off Baker Mayfield for another year; he is an uninspiring streaming option that’s better left on the waiver wire due to unpredictable rushing production.
Ryan Tannehill, MIA
Best case: 4,198 yards, 30 touchdowns, 10 interceptions
Adam Gase establishes himself as one of the league’s best coaches with another playoff berth now that Tannehill is back, and the quarterback does a superb job spreading the ball around to his four receivers, three running backs, and rookie tight end.
Worst case: 3,354 yards, 22 touchdowns, 14 interceptions
Fantasy owners never even give much thought to streaming Tannehill in 2018, as the depth at the position leaves him outside the top 25 from start to finish due to his own play combined with inconsistency from the playmakers on the outside.
Joe Flacco, BAL
Best case: 4,544 yards, 32 touchdowns, 11 interceptions
Similar to Alex Smith last year, Joe Flacco has the best season of his career, including a high in yards and touchdowns, with Lamar Jackson potentially waiting in the wings; Michael Crabtree, John Brown, and Willie Snead are all difference-makers that help get the Ravens back in the playoffs.
Worst case: 3,401 yards, 19 touchdowns, 14 interceptions
Lamar Jackson gets more playing time as a change-up than Flacco would like, and he’s never able to get in a rhythm with the new guys at receiver; it’s clear early that Jackson will be starting in 2019, and fantasy owners in redraft leagues are looking elsewhere.
Sam Bradford, ARI
Best case: 4,360 yards, 28 touchdowns, 5 interceptions
Bradford acts as a surgeon for Arizona’s offense, picking apart defenses with Larry Fitzgerald, David Johnson, and Christian Kirk underneath; he shows the potential that people have been excited about since he was at Oklahoma, and the former No. 1 pick is finally a season-long QB1 for fantasy owners.
Worst case: 3,815 yards, 21 touchdowns, 11 interceptions
Mike McCoy’s offense is too predictable through the air, and no one steps up alongside Fitz at receiver; Bradford does the best with what he’s working with behind a sub-par offensive line, but the team will likely go with Josh Rosen in 2019.
Sam Darnold, NYJ
Best case: 4,012 yards, 25 touchdowns, 9 interceptions
Darnold wastes no time proving himself as the team’s franchise quarterback, getting the Jets in playoff contention and being a useful QB1 in certain spots; he wins the NFL Rookie of the Year award.
Worst case: 3,338 yards, 19 touchdowns, 16 interceptions
He shows flashes, but Darnold averages an interception per game and also loses a handful of fumbles throughout the season, which causes his detractors to point to his turnover issues at USC.
Josh Allen, BUF
Best case: 4,057 yards, 24 touchdowns, 7 interceptions
Seemingly against all odds according to the “experts,” Allen becomes an immediate QB1 thanks to his world-class arm talent combined with his upside as a runner.
Worst case: 3,205 yards, 12 touchdowns, 14 interceptions
The game looks a little big for Allen, who is an extremely volatile fantasy option that could put up 2 points or 20+ points in any given week; fans hope things improve in 2019 with a new supporting cast around him.