Fantasy Football 2012: Ranking the Best Quarterback-Wide Receiver Combinations
Football season is right around the corner. Even more importantly, fantasy football season is coming right along with it.
With all the recent rule changes in the NFL to protect quarterbacks and receivers, passing statistics have exploded over the past few seasons.
A running back is almost always taken first overall in fantasy football drafts. However, with the way offenses have been slinging the ball around, quarterbacks and receivers have become much more sought after.
The chemistry between a quarterback and his receivers is paramount to the production of a team’s passing game.
One must determine the best quarterback-wide receiver combinations when deciding which players to draft.
5) Andy Dalton, A.J. Green
Dalton and Green both had highly impressive rookie seasons last year. It’s a rarity that a rookie quarterback and receiver from the same team each make the Pro Bowl.
Green will come into his second NFL season as one of the most feared receivers in the entire league. He gained 1,057 receiving yards, caught seven touchdown passes and averaged more than 16 yards per catch.
Dalton proved to be a very smart quarterback who can handle the complex and varying formations of opposing defenses. Also, he knows that when all else fails, just lob it up to his big play receiver.
The only setback that these two could face is that opposing defense now have a full season of tape on the two and will be more aware of their tendencies.
Seeing how they did together in their first NFL season, it’s hard to believe that the combination will slow down. Another year together will only help the young quarterback and receiver, and they will prove to be a lethal duo in 2012.
4) Ben Roethlisberger, Mike Wallace
Roethlisberger and Wallace make big plays on a consistent basis. Roethlisberger has a huge arm, and Wallace may be the league’s fastest receiver.
Wallace averaged a very impressive 16.6 yards per catch last season and made explosive plays seemingly every game
Injury issues for Roethlisberger hurt Wallace’s production in the latter half of last season and severely took away from the team’s deep passing game.
The emergence of Antonio Brown, who gained more than 1,000 receiving yards last season, also damaged Wallace’s receiving output during the second half of the season.
If Roethlisberger can stay healthy this season, he and Wallace will once again combine to be one of the league’s premier quarterback-wide receiver combinations.
3) Tom Brady, Wes Welker
The one thing that Brady and Welker have over any quarterback receiver combination is their uncanny chemistry.
It seems that every time the Patriots need a key reception, Welker is the one coming up with it. He is always able to find the hole in an opposing defense, and Brady hits him square in the chest whenever he’s open.
Welker scored a career-high nine touchdowns last season and led the league in receptions as he had 22 more catches than Victor Cruz, who ranked second.
The only reason to doubt the Brady-Welker combination is the fact that the Patriots have so many targets on offense. Welker’s production will most likely drop at least somewhat due to the bevy of offensive weaponry the team possesses.
2) Eli Manning, Victor Cruz
Victor Cruz came out of nowhere last season. The undrafted free agent from Umass gained 1,536 receiving yards and caught nine touchdowns despite his late entrance into the team’s starting lineup.
Cruz is another big-play receiver who has the ability to make spectacular catches down field. Cruz’s 18.7 yards per catch ranked first out of any player with 45 catches or more.
Manning is very proficient at throwing the long ball and proved last year that he is an elite quarterback.
The only problem for Cruz’s production could be that the Giants have another elite receiver in Hakeem Nicks who will take catches away from Cruz.
Still, Nicks will be limited early on in the season due to a foot injury, and there are more than enough passes to go around in the Giants offense.
1) Matt Stafford, Calvin Johnson
Both Stafford and Johnson stormed onto the scene during the 2011-12 season. Johnson had always been a top-tier receiver but finally displayed his all time great potential last season. Stafford had battled with injuries during his first few NFL seasons, but in his first healthy season, he proved he’s one of the league’s most talented quarterbacks.
This combination is so deadly because Stafford has arguably the strongest arm in the entire NFL, while Johnson is undoubtedly the league’s best big-play receiver.
Last season, Johnson led all receivers with 16 touchdown receptions and ranked first in receiving yards with 1,681.
There is no reason that these two will slow down this season. They’re each young and have many years of great football ahead of them. Expect another huge season from both Stafford and Johnson.