Fantasy Football Rankings 2012: Andrew Luck and More Under-the-Radar QBs

Chris Hummer@chris_hummerAnalyst IAugust 13, 2012

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - AUGUST 12: Andrew Luck #12 of the Indianapolis Colts looks to pass the ball against the St. Louis Rams during a preseason NFL game at Lucas Oil Stadium on August 12, 2012 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Andrew Luck put on an absolute show in his preseason opener, and his performance there speaks volumes about his potential fantasy value in 2012.

However, he's still ranked in the bottom third of starting quarterbacks in most fantasy football rankings.

He's not the only signal-caller who's running below the radar heading into the 2012 fantasy season, either.

So, let's examine Luck and some under-the-radar QBs who could be a steal come draft time.


Alex Smith, San Francisco 49ers

Like Luck, Alex Smith is a former No. 1 overall pick, but that's where the similarities seem to end.

The former Utah Ute struggled mightily in his first five seasons in the league, but that all changed in 2011 under Jim Harbaugh.

Last year Smith passed for a career-best 3,144 yards and near-bests in touchdowns and interceptions thrown. He also had an outstanding QB rating of 90.7.

Perhaps even more impressively, he did it with a subpar group of receivers who couldn't even stay on the field. 

Still, despite all of that, he's ranked 20th or worst in most fantasy rankings, including all three by CBS experts.

But Smith is set up for even more success in 2012 than last season. The 49ers added a pair of stud wideouts in Mario Manningham and Randy Moss, who bring in the ability to stretch the field, which is an element the 49ers lacked last season.

Plus, Smith is now in his second season under Harbaugh, meaning he will be even more comfortable with his system.

Smith is set up for another great campaign. He will be a steal in the late round of a draft.


Ryan Fitzpatrick, Buffalo Bills

After an incredible six-week run to start the 2012 season, the Bills awarded Ryan Fitzpatrick with a huge contract.

However, once the deal was signed, Fitzpatrick and the Bills started to struggle, finishing the season with a 6-10 record despite their hot start.

The former Harvard QB was the biggest part of that collapse. He looked bad the whole second half of the season and seemed to be pressing to live up to his deal. And it certainly didn't help that he "played the last nine games of the 2011 season with two cracked ribs," per

Now, after an offseason of hard work and some low-key additions, the Bills and Fitzpatrick are primed for a playoff run.

Not only that, but Fitzpatrick is also ready to deliver a top-10 fantasy season.

Last year he was on pace to do so the first seven weeks, but this season he'll finish the job.

So, when you’re looking to add a backup QB late in the draft, remember Fitzpatrick. He could very well end up being your starter in the middle of the season.


Andrew Luck, Indianapolis Colts

Andrew Luck is supposed to be the best prospect in decades, and on Sunday, he showed why.

The No. 1 overall pick in the 2012 draft went 10-16 for 188 yards and two touchdowns, looking to be in total command on the field.

Sure, it was just an exhibition game, but Luck looks to be NFL-ready only a few weeks into camp.

Still, despite the hype surrounding him, he's still ranked quite low in the preseason fantasy rankings. Actually, he's even placed below fellow rookie Robert Griffin III in most lists, including this one from

The pair won't end the season in that order, though.

Luck is set up to have one of the steadiest rookie years in NFL history. He may not put up Cam Newton-type numbers from last season, but 3,500 yards, 22 picks and 10 touchdowns isn't out of the question.

The Colts rookie could very well be the steal of a draft by the end of the year.