Fantasy Football 2012: Breaking Down AccuScore's Projections for Passing Yards
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AccuScore, a company that specializes in thorough game simulations, has released its projections for the 2012 NFL season.
Here is my independent breakdown of AccuScore's projections, detailing the 29 quarterbacks slotted for at least 3,000 yards passing from Weeks 1-17:
1. Drew Brees, Saints—5,363
2. Aaron Rodgers, Packers—4,907
3. Tom Brady, Patriots—4,894
4. Matthew Stafford, Lions—4,602
5. Peyton Manning, Broncos—4,516
6. Eli Manning, Giants—4,482
7. Matt Ryan, Falcons—4,383
8. Tony Romo, Cowboys—4,359
9. Philip Rivers, Chargers—4,322
10. Josh Freeman, Buccaneers—3,976
11. Michael Vick, Eagles—3,976
12. Cam Newton, Panthers—3,873
13. Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers—3,835
14. Sam Bradford, Rams—3,834
- At a Vegas casino, I would take the "under" on Drew Brees amassing 5,000 yards passing in back-to-back seasons. When trying to replicate the hallowed 5,000 mark in 2009, Brees threw for "only" 4,388 yards and 34 TDs, and if memory serves, the Saints ended up as world champs that year.
- Aaron Rodgers (4,643 yards passing, 48 total TDs in 2011) is the safest choice among the Magnificent Seven strata of elite fantasy performers—Rodgers, Brees, Calvin Johnson, Arian Foster, LeSean McCoy, Ray Rice, Maurice Jones-Drew. That's not to say all seven won't have stellar seasons, but Rodgers seems like the surest bet to replicate last year's numbers.
- For what it's worth, AccuScore has Carolina's Cam Newton down for 789 rushing yards and 10.07 rushing TDs this season. Doing the math, that's 4,662 total yards and 29.55 touchdowns. BOOM!
- From 2005-10, Peyton Manning only eclipsed 4,516 yards passing one time, and that occurred in his final healthy season with the Colts (4,700 yards in 2010). So with new coaches, new receivers, new fans and an old neck injury to contend with in Denver, I don't see Peyton reaching the magical mark of 4,500 yards this season. Target: 3,976 yards passing.
- If Sam Bradford crosses the 3,500-yard threshold this season—let alone meeting AccuScore's projection of 3,834—it would mean that Jeff Fisher and his coaching staff became miracle workers with a talented but embattled quarterback and a Rams receiving corps (Danario Alexander, Brian Quick, Brandon Gibson, Greg Salas, Austin Pettis, Danny Amendola) that's long on physical talent, but short on difference-makers.
15. Joe Flacco, Ravens—3,811
16. Matt Schaub, Texans—3,803
17. Robert Griffin III, Redskins—3,788
18. Andrew Luck, Colts—3,737
19. Jay Cutler, Bears—3,672
20. Kevin Kolb, Cardinals—3,670
21. Matt Flynn, Seahawks—3,668
22. Matt Cassel, Chiefs—3,535
23. Andy Dalton, Bengals—3,507
24. Alex Smith, 49ers—3,429
25. Matt Hasselbeck, Titans—3,428
26. Brandon Weeden, Browns—3,408
27. Carson Palmer, Raiders—3,340
28. Ryan Fitzpatrick, Bills—3,263
29. Mark Sanchez, Jets—3,209
- Joe Flacco has cultivated a narrow range of 3,610 and 3,622 yards passing in the last three years, complementing his per-season average of 22 passing TDs. AccuScore obviously has big plans for Joe Cool in 2012, with predictions of 3,811 yards and 26 total touchdowns.
- You can interpret AccuScore's yardage projection for Mark Sanchez two ways: Either the Jets plan to run Shonn Greene 35 times every Sunday...or backup QB Tim Tebow will play a larger-than-expected role in New York's offense beyond short-yardage or goal-line situations. And frankly, that's just wrong. (deep sigh)
- I will buy Andrew Luck for more passing yards than Matt Flynn...but I will give Flynn the season-long edge in touchdowns and TD/INT ratio.
- On the flip side, I can't endorse Brandon Weeden for 3,408 yards—but not for reasons that question his talent or age (he'll be 29 this fall). As a result, I doubt Browns head coach Pat Shurmur will commit to either Weeden or incumbent Colt McCoy for all 16 games.
- Ryan Fitzpatrick threw for 3,832 yards and 24 touchdowns last season. Compare that to AccuScore's 2012 projection of 3,263 yards, and something seems amiss. A closer look reveals that AccuScore has Fitzpatrick attempting 42 fewer passes this year; it also projects more runs for the tailback duo of Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller (only 277 combined carries in 2011). For what it's worth, I predict Jackson and Spiller will boast per-game averages of more than 200 total yards.
Jay Clemons can be reached on Twitter, day or night, at @ATL_JayClemons.
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