Fantasy Football 2012: Top 12 Quarterback Rankings
Picking the right quarterback, especially if one is picked in the very early rounds, is key to not only winning a championship, but also making sure that your team is not out of the running early.
To the true fantasy football owner there is no offseason, so it’s time to start looking at early rankings for 2012. Many pundits will list a top 10, but since 12-team leagues are the most prevalent, these lists will provide a starting player at each position for each franchise.
Today we will start with the ever important quarterbacks. Who will repeat? Who will surprise? Read below and find out.
1. Aaron Rodgers, GB—Rodgers is simply the most consistent QB as far as fantasy points are concerned. In the last three years he has never finished lower than No.2 in QB scoring, and with Jordy Nelson finally flashing some talent and last year’s explosive rookie Randall Cobb looking to see more action this year, there is no reason to believe he won’t do it again in 2012.
2. Tom Brady, NE—Over his last six full seasons Brady has averaged over 4,300 yards and 33 touchdowns and has two No.1, one No.2 and one No. 3 finish in those years. He will continue to chuck the rock and after getting handed his second straight SB loss to the Giants, he will be out for blood. Plus the addition of Brandon Lloyd can’t hurt.
3. Cam Newton, CAR—Newton had the rookie season of a lifetime, numbers that might stand as a rookie zenith for a long time. He is a big, strong QB with amazing accuracy, especially on the run, and if he improves his completion percentage (60 percent) even slightly, his passing numbers should soon resemble those of the perennial top dogs Rodgers, Brady and Brees.
4. Drew Brees, NO—Brees is easily a QB that can finish No.1, as can any of these top five, but with all the turmoil in New Orleans this offseason, including the suspension of his head coach Sean Payton for the season, you have to wonder if the affects of this can be undone by Brees and this offense. In his last four seasons he has finished first once and second twice with a sixth finish in 2010.
5. Matt Stafford, DET—We finally got a chance to see Stafford stay on the field for all 16 games, and the results were what many had hoped: over 5,000 yards passing and 41 touchdowns. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that he has Calvin Johnson, and if second-year WR Titus Young can stop fighting his teammates and step up even a little, the sky is the limit for Stafford.
6. Eli Manning, NYG—Eli quieted many critics last year, including this writer. He had always shown that he could be very good, but seemed to continue to make bad mistakes at the wrong times. In 2011, not only did he earn his second Super Bowl win and MVP, but he proved to a lot of people that he is Mr. Clutch. He had seven fourth quarter comebacks in 2011 alone. He finished as the No.6 scoring QB in 2011, his best fantasy finish. He will still be hard-pressed to crack into the top five in 2012.
7. Matt Ryan, ATL—Ryan has finished eighth the past two seasons, so this is not that much of a jump, but this offense is headed in a downfield motion this year. New offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter has already indicated that this team will have to be more of a vertical threat offense if they want to make it past the first round of the playoffs. Look for Matt to operate more out of a no-huddle as they try to lessen the impact of an offensive line that has some issues.
8. Tony Romo, DAL—Romo lost his surprise go-to receiver Laurent Robinson to free agency, but he is lucky to still have wide receivers Miles Austin, Dez Bryant and tight end Jason Witten to see him through. While most will say that Dallas had a great draft, they didn’t even address any of the issues they have in their offensive line. Romo will need to stay healthy and learn how to close out games to get the chance to move up this list this year.
9. Carson Palmer, OAK—This is going to surprise some, but Palmer actually put up very nice stats in his nine starts in 2011. He averaged just under 300 yards and 1.5 touchdowns a game, and that was with no time to work with his new team or wide receivers. This year he has a full offseason and a plethora of good wide receivers. If his receivers can stay healthy, he should flirt with 4,000 yards and 30 touchdowns.
10. Philip Rivers, SD—Rivers had an off year in 2011. He threw for fewer touchdowns (27) than he had since 2007 and threw for the most interceptions (20) in his career. Antonio Gates had a very hard time staying on the field but is said to be the healthiest he has been in a few years. He did lose his No.1 receiver Vincent Jackson to free agency, but they picked up a few new names. Robert Meachem, Eddie Royal, Roscoe Parrish and Michael Spurlock will be joining Malcom Floyd and Vincent Brown. Someone will need to step up as the top receiver.
11. Mike Vick, PHI—Vick has the talent to finish anywhere in the top five, but his durability is still a big concern. He has missed seven games and parts of several others over the last two years, and he has only played a full 16-game season once, back in 2006. When you add in that his rushing touchdowns dropped from nine in 2010 to one in 2011, fantasy owners have to be concerned. He needs to be productive on the ground to be a top fantasy producer.
12. Ben Roethlisberger, PIT—There have been reports of issues between Ben and new offensive coordinator Todd Haley, but let’s face facts, this team is no longer a power running team. We have seen the tide turn, and it will not be helped in 2012, as the team is still looking for a starting running back. Rashard Mendenhall was definitely not special in 2011 and is now trying to return from a torn ACL. Look for Ben to use his outstanding wideouts to move the ball down the field.
Don’t forget to check back often as we review the other skill position players.
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