2012 Top 40 QB's: Fantasy Football Quarterback Rankings, Projections

Sean E. DouglasSenior Writer IIIAugust 9, 2012

Newton Was Focused On Panther Football This Off-Season
Newton Was Focused On Panther Football This Off-SeasonJeremy Brevard-US PRESSWIRE

Let's focus on a couple second-year quarterbacks on the rise in the NFL. While Cam Newton has already flashed top five skills at his position for fantasy leagues, many question if he can do it again. Thus far, the young quarterback has had a terrific offseason and his work from the pocket last year was impressive.

On the other hand, you have Jake Locker who only played in a few games, but when he was on the field, it was easy to see the excitement he brought to the Titans' offense. With a demanding early schedule, Locker will have to earn the trust of his coaching staff to win the job in camp, but it appears he’s headed in the right direction.


Feeling Good About The Future

Cam Newton was clearly one of the top fantasy quarterbacks a year ago, but even with his top-notch production, I will likely have him no higher than the fourth quarterback to select on draft day. While I’m confident Newton will be a great quarterback in this league, defenses will bracket Steve Smith and other options (perhaps Brandon LaFell) need to step up for this team to throw the football as they did a year ago.

Newton proved he’s more than a run first quarterback in this league, but if he should struggle (defenses have had a year to watch tape) it will be tempting for the Panthers to lean on the running game with DeAngelo Williams, Jonathan Stewart and Mike Tolbert on board.

Since defenses will already give the passing game respect, it should open the door for better production on the ground. If that were to happen Newton may not reach 4,000 yards passing like he did a year ago.

Can’t fault anyone for reaching up and taking this guy as high as the first overall pick, but even his early ADP numbers (2.08 in 12 team leagues) would indicate fantasy owners are showing some pause in labeling him as an elite draft selection. If Newton can have another great season, it’s likely we won’t see him fall outside of the top five overall picks next year.


Locker vs. Hasselbeck

Jake Locker is pressing Matt Hasselbeck for the starters role and I now expect him to win the job out of camp. The future is now, and the Titans would be wise to use their talented young quarterback to begin the season, even if they have a tough schedule. In Locker, this offense has a mobile quarterback who can make things happen on the run and with his legs.

Locker will bring new elements to the offense and should help the vertical passing game as well as the running game. I like him as a Top Fifteen quarterback if he should win the job, especially if Kenny Britt can find the field by week one, even if it’s in a reduced role.

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