Sometimes, fantasy point totals can deceive.
Case in point. Drew Brees finished ninth in points among quarterbacks this past season. That seems pretty good, right? Well, he was a top-10 fantasy quarterback in just 25 percent of his 16 starts. What's more, Brees scored fewer than 16 fantasy points in 50 percent of his games. That's a far bigger statistical factoid than his overall finish at the position. Anyone who had Brees on their fantasy teams (like me) knows that he was actually one of the bigger disappointments in fantasy football last year. So, who were the best players when it came to putting up solid totals on a regular basis, and who was more name than numbers?
Here's a look at the quarterbacks who finished in the top 10 most often last season (minimum seven games), along with some interesting notes on players to watch in 2018.
1. Carson Wentz, Philadelphia Eagles (76.9 percent): Wentz had a legitimate chance to push Wilson as the top fantasy scorer before a knee injury cost him the final three games. Before he went down, the Eagles field general ranked in the top 10 in 10 of his 13 starts. He also ranked second to Wilson in points scored per contest (21.7). His rehab from surgery will be a huge offseason fantasy storyline.
T-2. Deshaun Watson, Houston Texans (71.4 percent): Watson missed nine games as a rookie, but he was an absolute beast when he was out on the gridiron. In fact, no player in the NFL averaged more fantasy points per game (24.1). While there's some questions about his value coming off a major knee reconstruction, Watson's immense ceiling will make him a potential top-five fantasy signal-caller in 2018 drafts.
T-2. Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers (71.4 percent): This should come as a surprise to no one, as Rodgers has long been an elite fantasy quarterback. While losing him for nine games cost a lot of owners a chance at a title, his consistent production while he was on the field was evident. Rodgers has been mostly durable in his career, so he'll remain the consensus No. 1 quarterback in fantasy football next season.
4. Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks (68.7 percent): The highest-scoring player in fantasy football, Wilson finished as a top 10 quarterback in 69 percent of his games. That includes five games where he ranked in the top five. The Seahawks quarterback also scored 20-plus fantasy points 10 times, which is the most of any player at his position. Wilson will be a top-three signal-caller in 2018 fantasy drafts.
5. Alex Smith, Kansas City Chiefs (53.3 percent): This was one of the biggest surprises in fantasy football, as Smith ranked fourth in points among quarterback and finished in the top 10 in 53 percent of his starts. Now that he's been traded to the Redskins, Smith is unlikely to make such an impressive impact in the stat sheets. Still, he'll be selected as a No. 2 fantasy quarterback in most 2018 drafts.
T-6. Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers (50 percent): Newton had a brutal start to last season, averaging 11.1 fantasy points in his first three games. He would go on to rank in the top 10 in points at his position in eight of his final 13 games. Newton, who was second in points behind Wilson, will be a top-five quarterback heading into next season even with a new offensive coordinator (Norv Turner) at the helm.
T-6. Tom Brady, New England Patriots (50 percent): Brady continued to cement himself as the best quarterback in the history of fantasy football, as he recorded eight top-10 finishes and averaged 18.5 points per game. That's the most for a quarterback at age 40 or more. Overall, Brady finished in the top 15 in almost 70 percent of his starts. Despite his extended age, he'll be a top-five quarterback in 2018.
7. Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers (46.7 percent): It was a tale of two seasons for Roethlisberger. He averaged a mere 12.6 fantasy points in his first eight starts, but turned it around with a 22.7-point average in his final seven contests. Overall, he averaged the sixth-most fantasy points (17.4) among quarterbacks who played in at least eight games. Big Ben will be a good late-round target in 2018.
8. Jameis Winston, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (46.1 percent): Winston missed three games due to injuries, but he did rank as a top 10 fantasy quarterback in six of his 13 starts. The Bucs signal-caller was all or nothing in the stat sheets, however, as he also ranked outside of the top 20 four times (31 percent). There's potential for Winston to be a good fantasy option, but he's worth just a late rounder in drafts.
9. Kirk Cousins, Washington Redskins (43.7 percent): Cousins ranks among one of the best quarterbacks in the league in terms of fantasy points, finishing in the top 10 in 44 percent of his starts. Here's where he hurt fantasy owners, however ... of the top 10 signal-callers, no one had more finishes outside of the top 20 (31 percent). Scheduled to be a free agent, Cousins' 2018 stock is still to be determined.
T-10. Case Keenum, Minnesota Vikings (40 percent): Keenum turned into one of the better quarterbacks in fantasy football when Sam Bradford went down with a bum knee. He had six top-10 finishes at the position, and he ranked in the top 15 in more than 53 percent of his games. Keenum, Bradford and Teddy Bridgewater are all scheduled to become free agents, so the Vikings have decisions to make in the offseason.
T-10. Tyrod Taylor, Buffalo Bills (40 percent): Taylor, who had very limited options in the Buffalo pass attack most of the season, finished with six top-10 performances among quarterbacks. Unfortunately, he was also 16th or worse in more than half of his 15 games. Taylor's status with the Bills is a major question mark at this point, so don't be surprised if he's playing for a different NFL team come next season.
Notes:Josh McCown missed three games last season, but he did finish in the top 10 five times and was also a top-15 performer in 61.5 percent of his starts. ... Dak Prescott looked like a fantasy superstar to start the season, but the loss of Ezekiel Elliott put a major damper on his success. In fact, he finished in the top 10 in fantasy points among quarterbacks once in six games without him. With Zeke's suspension now served in full, I like Prescott to be one of the best draft bargains of 2018. ... Philip Rivers had just six top-10 finishes among quarterbacks last season, which tied for eighth at the position. However, he was also tied for second in top-15 finishes (11). ... Brees had just three 20-plus point performances and four top-10 finishes in his 16 starts. By comparison, Watson had five 20-plus point performances and five top-10 finishes despite played in nine fewer games. Brees also had fewer top-10 finishes than McCown and Andy Dalton. ... Jared Goff experienced a breakout season, but he was a top-10 fantasy quarterback in just four of his 15 games (26.7 percent). Goff did rank 11th in terms of top-15 finishes with eight. ... One season after ranking second in points overall, Matt Ryan finished in the top 10 twice at the position. ... Jimmy Garoppolo started five games for the 49ers and averaged 16.3 points. A projected 2018 fantasy football sleeper, he ranked in the top 10 once and was a top-15 performer three times in limited time.