2012 NFL Fantasy Football: Quarterbacks Rankings, Projections

Sean E. DouglasSenior Writer IIIJuly 24, 2012

Could we see a 6,000-yard season in 2012?
Could we see a 6,000-yard season in 2012?Chris Graythen/Getty Images

This is probably the deepest class of quarterbacks I’ve seen in over 20 years of playing fantasy football. While we have at least 12 quarterbacks that could legitimately throw for over 4,000 yards and 30 touchdowns, only a few have the likely potential to go beyond 5,000 and 40 touchdowns.  


5,000/40The New Elite

Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees, Matthew Stafford

The four quarterbacks listed above are those who I feel fit this criteria. That isn’t to say options like Cam Newton or Michael Vick won’t find themselves producing in the same tier, but they will have to make up for it on the ground.

We also can’t discount Philip Rivers to reach 5,000 yards if healthy, but I don’t feel confident he can reach 40 touchdowns with his receiving core, and the balanced offense San Diego runs.

As you will notice below, Stafford is ranked as the fourth quarterback on my list, but (if he can stay healthy) he may end up throwing for close to 6,000 yards.

Why? Simple, if the Lions continue to struggle in pass-protection and have issues establishing a consistent run game, they will lean on the passing game to win. This isn’t a team we should expect to run away with the division title, and that means they will be fighting for a playoff spot, deep into December, again.

My concern for Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers has little to do with the weather conditions they will face during the playoffs, but more if they wrap home field up early. If so, it could hurt fantasy owners as it did Rodgers owners last season.



Manning Brothers Likely To Disappoint


Both Eli and Peyton Manning have proven in the past to overcome difficult challenges in terms of personnel but with the depth at quarterback this year, maybe we should have some caution in trusting either to be a regular starter.

In Eli’s case, the continued health problems of Hakeem Nicks are troublesome and while he should find his way into the starting lineup before October, concerns of re-injuring himself in more than one way are real.

Victor Cruz should still be a top ten fantasy option, but can he beat press coverage on the outside consistently, and do so without Nicks on the field? Only time will tell.

Rookie Rueben Randle has flashed in OTAs and should be an impact rookie but it’s hard to know if he can be an accountable option, early in his career.

These concerns and the lack of a tight end presence could slow Eli down to just a low end QB1 that you look to rotate weekly with someone like Ben Roethlisberger or possibly Robert Griffin III.

As for Peyton, he has two solid starting receivers and good depth at the tight end position, but how healthy is he really? Even if he shows good arm-strength and accuracy in the preseason, it will be tempting for the Broncos to lean on the running game early, to help Manning out.

With matchups against the Steelers and Texans in two if the first three weeks, it would be wise to have a solid, go to option as your backup.


2012 Position Rankings: Top 200RB | WR | TE | Cheat Sheets