Fantasy Football: How the Quarterback Position Shapes Up in 2012
As the NFL has become more and more of a passing league in recent years, having an elite quarterback is more important than ever in fantasy football. With three quarterbacks coming off the board in the first ten picks in most leagues, being able to have a player that can put up 300 yards and two touchdowns on an almost weekly basis should keep your team in contention throughout the season.
At quarterback, there are four names that stand out as the best the game has to offer:
Aaron Rodgers - The reigning MVP is coming off of a season in which he threw for at least 250 yards and two touchdowns in all but two of his starts (one of which he threw for 247 yards and four scores). Rodgers is currently being taken in the first four draft picks in most leagues and can carry nearly any roster to the playoffs.
2012 Projection - 4,500 yards, 41 touchdowns, nine interceptions.
Tom Brady - Tom Brady is Tom Brady. Consistently one of the top fantasy scorers over the last five years, Brady can almost always be counted on to produce week in and week out.
2012 Projection - 4,200 yards, 37 touchdowns, eight interceptions.
Matthew Stafford - For fantasy owners, the questions about Stafford have always related to his health. Stafford plays in one of the top passing offenses in the league and has the best wide receiver in the game to throw to. When healthy, Stafford can throw for over 5,000 yards, as we saw last season, and carries both the highest ceiling and the biggest risk of the top three quarterbacks.
2012 Projection - 4,750 yards, 34 touchdowns, 16 interceptions.
Drew Brees - Despite the absence of Sean Payton, Drew Brees should still remain one of the top quarterbacks in fantasy football. His intelligence and accuracy, on top of the confidence his coaching staff has in him, should allow him to eclipse the 4,000 yard passing mark for the sixth straight season.
2012 Projection - 4,800 yards, 33 touchdowns, 15 interceptions.
Cam Newton - The second-year quarterback is currently going in the second round in most drafts. Newton's ability to throw the ball deep as well as his threat to score with his legs in the red zone make him one of the most intriguing players in all of fantasy football. If he can duplicate his success, he can establish himself as one of the top five fantasy quarterbacks for the next decade.
2012 Projection - 3,800 passing yards, 22 passing touchdowns, 16 interceptions, 650 rushing yards, 10 rushing touchdowns.
Michael Vick - Like Newton, Vick brings the ability to make plays with his legs that make him an interesting option in fantasy. Though injury concerns can certainly make one hesitant to pull the trigger, his potential makes him a pick that can either win you your league or cost you a playoff spot.
2012 Projection - 3,500 passing yards, 24 passing touchdowns, 15 interceptions, 750 rushing yards, six running touchdowns.
Peyton Manning - The risk with Manning is simple. If his neck isn't fully healthy, it's impossible to know how long he'll play and what kind of numbers he'll produce. However, he is still Peyton Manning and taking him in the fifth round gives you a chance to add an elite quarterback later than almost ever possible.
2012 Projection - 3,900 yards, 28 touchdowns, 14 interceptions.
Matt Schaub - Despite having possibly the best running game in the league, Schaub will still get his share of attempts and red zone opportunities. Obviously health is a significant concern with Schaub, but on a high-scoring offense with an upper-echelon wide receiver, he is a risk worth taking when he is currently the 15th quarterback off the board.
2012 Projection - 3,600 yards, 26 touchdowns, 13 interceptions.
Jake Locker - Locker has the misfortune of being locked in a quarterback battle that has made his draft stock fall into the later rounds. However, on a roster filled with talent with an offensive coordinator that is committed to throwing the football, Locker has the potential to be a top ten quarterback. Taking a shot on him as your backup quarterback has the chance to provide you with either two starters, or a valuable trading chip in the middle of the season.
2012 Projection - 3,800 yards, 27 touchdowns, 17 interceptions.
Ryan Fitzpatrick - Before getting injured midway through the season, Fitzpatrick was one of the biggest fantasy steals of the 2011 season. With Stevie Johnson locked up long-term and CJ Spiller being used all over the field, Fitzpatrick has the ability to be a top 15 fantasy quarterback in 2012.
2012 Projection - 3650 yards, 25 touchdowns, 14 interceptions.
Top 25 Fantasy Quarterbacks
1. Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers
2. Tom Brady, New England Patriots
3. Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions
4. Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints
5. Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers
6. Michael Vick, Philadelphia Eagles
7. Eli Manning, New York Giants
8. Peyton Manning, Denver Broncos
9. Philip Rivers, San Diego Chargers
10. Tony Romo, Dallas Cowboys
11. Jay Cutler, Denver Broncos
12. Matt Schaub, Houston Texans
13. Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons
14. Robert Griffin III, Washington Redskins
15. Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers
16. Ryan Fitzpatrick, Buffalo Bills
17. Jake Locker, Tennessee Titans
18. Joe Flacco, Baltimore Ravens
19. Josh Freeman, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
20. Andy Dalton, Cincinnati Bengals
21. Sam Bradford, St. Louis Rams
22. Mark Sanchez, New York Jets
23. Alex Smith, San Francisco 49ers
24. Kevin Kolb, Arizona Cardinals
25. Matt Flynn, Miami Dolphins
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