Cunningham’s effortless 98′ season, quickly vanished in 1999

On this father’s day I thought what better day to release my first installment of fantasy quarterback rankings. The same veteran quarterbacks are expected to lead the way in 2014. Much like in 1999, another year dominated by expected veteran quarterbacks, is there a steep decline coming?

In that year prolific quarterbacks suddenly became too old in a span of weeks. Quarterbacks like Steve Young, Randall Cunningham, Troy Aikman, Dan Marino, and a few others saw the door on their careers suddenly come to a screeching halt. Marino’s was by age, but Aikman, Young, and Cunningham had injuries that ravaged their old bodies.

Keep in mind Randall Cunningham was coming off a career year in 1998 with an aerial assault weekly with Randy Moss and Cris Carter. It’s still truly one of the most free flowing seasons a quarterback has had in the last 25 years. Each game Cunningham seemed to be connected.

It was a tough time in the NFL watching the old quarterbacks exit and a new breed of quarterbacks enter. Many failed, Akili Smith, Tim Couch, Cade McNown, and a long list of others.

Keep that in mind when drafting the top veteran quarterbacks with high picks. None are invincible. Here is my first rankings of quarterbacks for the 2014 season.

1. Colin Kaepernick
I fully expect Kaepernick to be outrank current prognostications with this forth coming season. People and fantasy owners expected too much out of the young quarterback last year. Now with a full year under his belt, Kaepernick is going to demonstrate why the 49ers are poised to take that next step. His blazing speed is not going anywhere. The true surge of his fantasy value will come via his improvement of studying the 49ers playbook and working with his wide receivers.

2. Aaron Rodgers
From a handicapping standpoint I profiled that Rogers and the Packers could be in trouble this season. Many are high on them, but I believe they will fall short again. From a fantasy football standpoint there is no doubt that Rodgers will continue to excel; barring any injuries.

3. Andrew Luck
This should be the season that Luck supplants the veteran trio that has been dominating the top five of fantasy football (Brees, Brady, Manning). I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Colts unveil more designated rollouts and quarterback keepers. He has the legs to cause havoc in proper open space. The ceiling still hasn’t been met from Luck, and likely won’t for a few more seasons.

4. Peyton Manning
I have my doubts with Manning this season. He has now completed two seasons as a Bronco after a full year off from surgery. People have quickly forgotten how much rehab Manning had to endure to get back on the field. In fact he had a return stretch where it looked like his arm may never get back to full strength (3 INT’s vs Falcons, etc.) But he shook that rust off and hasn’t looked back. He still has the mental fortitude to shape wins for the Broncos, but has the script been written by the Seahawks? They took away the quick check downs and that was it for Denver. More and more teams may start being more aggressive with an aging Manning.

5. Drew Brees
Will the Saints keep marching in? I was impressed with Brees last season more than any other top performing quarterback. The reason for that was because the Saints had an unusual unreliable offensive system. Whether it was at running back or even receiver, Drew Brees really did not have that main weapon besides Jimmy Graham. Graham truly made the difference in his season. Expect Brees to hold steady as a middle of the pack top ten fantasy quarterback.

6. Nick Foles
Chip Kelly made one of the more gutsy moves last year by pulling the plug on Mike Vick. Many coaches would have let a quarterback controversy roll over into the next season. Instead Vick was allowed to sign as a free agent elsewhere, and the Eagles didn’t have to fork out a heavy amount of money on a quarterback. They know who their starter is in Foles. Many want to label Foles as a system quarterback—so be it. He’ll keep getting the job done.

7. Tom Brady
Brady has kept himself in outstanding shape to further prolong his career the proper way. Some keep themselves in shape to just get by, but Brady believes he is in the best shape of his career. Judging by his body weight he looks to be telling the truth. Something Donovan McNabb could not accomplish in his mid 30’s. Brady is no longer that weekly dominating fantasy quarterback. He’ll have a few duds of low yardage or low touchdown numbers. He keeps his top ten ranking with his steadiness of reliability.

8. Cam Newton
Newton somehow dodged a fantasy bust label with a strong finish to the season. Through the first half of the year though he was looking like a nightmare in Charlotte. Rumors were swirling that the Panthers could be looking for the next option at quarterback along with axing Ron Rivera. They turned things around as a team and did so with a very basic offense. It’ll be interesting to see if they keep things going in that direction. Newton is a borderline top twelve to fourteen quarterback with his arm, but his legs catapult his worth as a top ten quarterback.

9. RG3
The Redskins ran a gauntlet attack last season. Their wide open offense did not produce wins, but kept fantasy owners happy. RG3 has been away from the spotlight this offseason, unlike last year. Hopefully his focus has not deviated. He has the talent to rise above his critics and respond similar to the way Lebron James did in Miami. The Redskins decision to rest RG3 the last two games could prove to be one of the best moves not getting constant media attention.

10. Matt Ryan
Ryan had one of those inevitable seasons that all quarterbacks have happen. Atlanta had been side stepping issues at running back for too long. The addition of Steven Jackson just was not enough. The year was further compounded by endless injuries to the Falcons receivers. A bounce back season should be in-store in the toughest division in football for Matty ice. DeVaunte Smith could end up being a welcome addition for Matt.

11. Russ Wilson
12. Philip Rivers
13. Tony Romo
14. Ryan Tannehill
15. Matt Stafford
16. Jay Cutler
17. Ben Roethlisberger
18. Johnny Manziel
19. Andy Dalton
20. Sam Bradford
21. Alex Smith
22. Joe Flacco
23. Eli Manning
24. Carson Palmer
25. EJ Manuel
26. Jake Locker
27. Ryan Fitzpatrick
28. Josh McCown
29. Mike Vick
30. Matt Schaub
31. Matt Cassel
32. Chad Henne


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