1. Johnny Manziel, Cleveland Browns
If not for Josh Gordon's potential season-long suspension, we would have loved Manziel's first season in Cleveland for fantasy purposes. Gordon is a game-breaker and Jordan Cameron would become Manziel's proverbial best friend in the play-action game. The Plain Dealer's Mary Kay Cabot tweeted that owner Jimmy Haslam stressed the Browns will feature the running game too.
This leaves Manziel as a mere reserve pick among fantasy quarterbacks. Assuming he starts, he is going to have weeks where he performs like a starter in standard leagues.
Early projections: 3,400 yards passing, 17 touchdowns, 14 interceptions and six rushing TDs
2. Teddy Bridgewater, Minnesota Vikings
Bridgewater might not have been the Vikes' first choice, according to Sports Illustrated's Peter King, but he still will likely be their pick to start when picking between him, Matt Cassel and Christian Ponder. Greg Jennings, the emerging Cordarrelle Patterson and Kyle Rudolph are a decent set of weapons for a rookie quarterback.
This makes Bridgewater a potential sleeper in two-quarterback formats, even if the Vikings are still going to be run-heavy with Adrian Peterson. We wouldn't draft him in a standard league over the veteran options, but he could emerge as a bye-week replacement.
Early projections: 3,000 yards, 16 TDs, 13 INTs and zero rushing TDs
Potential First-Year Starters
3. Tom Savage, Houston Texans
The Texans' inability to draft a quarterback before Savage in Round 4 was a bit perplexing. It sets up the big man with an NFL arm for an opportunity of a lifetime, though. He has just Ryan Fitzpatrick, Case Keenum and T.J. Yates to vault on the depth chart. Fitzpatrick might start over Savage initially, but weapons like Andre Johnson and DeAndre Hopkins make the starter intriguing.
Savage won't be draftable in any fantasy leagues until he rises up the depth chart. Our ranking of him here is more of a critique of the other potential rookie starters' supporting casts than an expectation of Savage starting in Week 1.
4. Derek Carr, Oakland Raiders
Carr will have to beat out Matt Schaub in training camp to earn any draft-day value, but even if he does, the Raiders offense doesn't project to be quarterback-friendly right away. James Jones and Maurice Jones-Drew were solid offseason additions, but they are not-game changers. Neither are Darren McFadden or Denarius Moore.
Carr can emerge as a fantasy stopgap in two-quarterback leagues by midseason, but that looks like his ceiling in Year 1. Consider him a mere dynasty league pick at this point.
5. Blake Bortles, Jacksonville Jaguars
The Jags are hoping veteran Chad Henne can start all 16 games this season so Bortles can have a year as an apprentice, according to The Florida Times-Union's Hays Carlyon. That would be an ideal situation for Bortles, because the Jags will also be breaking in rookie receivers Marqise Lee and Allen Robinson, along with second-year slot man Ace Sanders. Carlyon also notes that Justin Blackmon has been written off.
Bortles might have the highest ceiling as a pocket passer in this class, but his supporting cast and situation slot him a mere fifth for 2014 value. Heck, he might move even lower than that.
Must-Scout Talents in Preseason
1. Zach Mettenberger, Tennessee Titans
Jake Locker is a tough quarterback to love at this point, and Mettenberger had plenty of attention in the predraft season. Kendall Wright and Justin Turner have shown flashes of potential, so Mettenberger could emerge as the Titans quarterback of the future as soon as midseason. It would give him sleeper value off waivers, but mostly in two-quarterback leagues.
2. Logan Thomas, Arizona Cardinals
Thomas is a long-term project, but the fact Carson Palmer doesn't have a lot left gives Thomas some intrigue in fantasy leagues. If the Cardinals' season falls apart, Bruce Arians' offense and a nice set of weapons can make Thomas a potential waiver option down the road.
Surefire Clipboard Holders
David Fales, Chicago Bears—He tops the list here because of Jay Cutler's annual injury woes. That is an aggressive offense with great weapons if Fales sees starts next season.
Jimmy Garoppolo, New England Patriots—He is on a three-year plan with Tom Brady unlikely to retire within the next couple of years. He might even be behind Ryan Mallett out of camp.
AJ McCarron, Cincinnati Bengals—He was going to need some time. It might be just one year backing up Andy Dalton if the Bengals don't re-sign their veteran long term.
Aaron Murray, Kansas City Chiefs—McCarron and Murray are in almost identical situations. Murray has a better quarterback guru in Andy Reid to grow with long term, though.
Tajh Boyd, New York Jets—He won't push Geno Smith or Michael Vick, but the Jets' recent quarterback history suggests they will be itching to take a look at Boyd by season's end.
Garrett Gilbert, St. Louis Rams—He is not polished enough to truly challenge Sam Bradford this season, but Bradford hasn't shown enough to keep any backup at bay either.
Keith Wenning, Baltimore Ravens—With Joe Flacco signed long term, he has to hope for a career as an NFL backup.