Fantasy Football 2012: Backup Quarterbacks to Keep Tabs on This Season

Alec NathanFeatured ColumnistJuly 2, 2012

Fantasy Football 2012: Backup Quarterbacks to Keep Tabs on This Season

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    Make no mistake about it, 2011 was the year of the quarterback in the NFL.

    Three quarterbacks topped 5,000 yards last season, and while the likes of Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Matthew Stafford and Aaron Rodgers will continue to be elite, the same can't be said for many of the league's other signal-callers.

    With several starting spots still up for grabs, here are some backup quarterbacks to keep an eye on throughout your fantasy football season. 

Mike Kafka (Philadelphia Eagles)

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    Although the Philadelphia Eagles selected Nick Foles in the third round of this year's NFL draft, Mike Kafka should continue to back up the oft-injured Michael Vick.

    The case for keeping an eye on Kafka is simple: Vick rarely makes it through an entire season injury-free.

    Only once has Vick played in all 16 games (2006), and his reckless style of play simply can't be trusted.

    Already a capable backup, Kafka has weapons aplenty to throw to should he be forced into a few starts.

    With DeSean Jackson, Jeremy Maclin, Brent Celek and LeSean McCoy comprising one of the NFC's elite offenses, you could do worse than Kafka if Vick goes down due to injury.

John Skelton (Arizona Cardinals)

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    While the Arizona Cardinals' starting quarterback job is still very much up in the air, let's assume for now that Kevin Kolb will win the spot.

    With a full offseason to absorb the offense and get comfortable with his receivers, Kolb could become the quarterback the Cardinals thought they were trading for last summer.

    In eight games last season, John Skelton posted 1,913 yards and 11 touchdowns, however he also tossed 14 interceptions.

    With Kolb likely on a short leash heading into the 2012 season, expect Skelton to be at the ready from Week 1.

    With All-Pro wideout Larry Fitzgerald and rookie Michael Floyd set to become one of the league's more talented receiving tandems, Skelton could be a nice pickup for fantasy owners.

Tim Tebow (New York Jets)

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    The most notorious backup in the NFL, Tim Tebow will begin his tenure in New York sitting firmly behind Mark Sanchez on the Jets depth chart.

    Tebow's play in Denver last season was nothing short of a revelation, and while the Jets haven't made his role crystal clear yet, there will be work to be had.

    The Jets' extended financial commitment to Sanchez will put some added pressure on the fourth-year quarterback, and any slip up will have fans clamoring for Tebow.

    His arm may still be a question, but the aura surrounding Tebow will continue to lure fantasy owners to the Jets quarterback throughout the 2012 season.

Jake Locker (Tennessee Titans)

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    With Matt Hasselbeck currently penciled in as the Tennessee Titans starter, second-year quarterback Jake Locker will be looming large on the sidelines.

    A versatile prospect out of the University of Washington, Locker is a threat with both his legs and his quality arm strength.

    Playing in five games last season, Locker posted 542 yards and four touchdowns while completing just a shade over 50 percent of his passes.

    After a truncated and hectic offseason in 2011, expect Locker to come into the 2012 season energized, looking to steal the starting job from the incumbent Hasselbeck.

Chad Henne (Jacksonville Jaguars)

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    Once the man under center for the Miami Dolphins, Chad Henne has moved on to another Florida franchise.

    Now Blaine Gabbert's backup in Jacksonville, Henne is one of the league's most experienced backup signal-callers.

    A starter for head coach Tony Sparano, Henne completed over 60 percent of his passes in his two years at the helm.

    While his touchdown-to-interception ratio never exceeded 1:1 in his time with the Dolphins, Henne is a capable backup who should be able to work in spot duty should Gabbert fail to live up to expectations.

Matt Flynn (Seattle Seahawks)

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    With reports that Tarvaris Jackson will enter camp as the starter for the Seattle Seahawks, Matt Flynn will hold down the No. 2 role for the time being.

    After inking a three-year deal with the Seahawks in the offseason, many believed Flynn would become Seattle's immediate solution at quarterback.

    However, without any extended playing time with the Green Bay Packers, Flynn must show Pete Carroll and the rest of the coaching staff that he is capable of leading a team for an entire season.

    Although Flynn's situation is reminiscent of Matt Cassel's a few years back, he will look to prove that his talent is as good as advertised.

Brady Quinn (Kansas City Chiefs)

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    After a stellar 2010, Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Matt Cassel failed to make it through the 2011 season after suffering a hand injury.

    While Cassel isn't a likely candidate to be benched for subpar play, another injury could propel Brady Quinn into the spotlight in Kansas City.

    Quinn has been limited to backup duty since entering the league in 2007, but some believe his potential has still gone untapped.

    If Cassel does go down this season, Quinn could be a nice surprise, especially with a supporting cast that boasts receivers Dwayne Bowe and Jonathan Baldwin.

David Garrard (Miami Dolphins)

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    It remains to be seen whether David Garrard will officially lose out on the Miami Dolphins' starting job, but running back Reggie Bush sure thinks he will.

    Rookie Ryan Tannehill is one of the league's hottest young names at quarterback, but his limited time as a signal-caller at Texas A&M has some people questioning his ability to lead an NFL squad.

    Although he sat out the entire 2011 season after being cut by the Jacksonville Jaguars, Garrard is still a very capable quarterback.

    In his last full NFL season, Garrard threw for 2,734 yards and 23 touchdowns in 14 games, completing a career-high 64.5 percent of his passes.

    Not to be forgotten is last year's starter, Matt Moore. In 12 starts, Moore threw for 2,497 yards and 16 touchdowns; solid numbers for a team with a relatively depleted receiving corps.

    While it remains to be seen who wins the backup job, both Moore and Garrard are qualified, veteran candidates.