Fantasy Football 2012 Quarterback Rankings by Tier

Ryan Lester@LestersLegendsSenior Writer IAugust 19, 2012

GREEN BAY, WI - AUGUST 16:  Aaron Rodgers #12 of the Green Bay Packers rolls out past T.J. Ward #43 of the Cleveland Browns during a preseason game at Lambeau Field on August 16, 2012 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. The Browns defeated the Packers 35-10.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images


Here’s a look at the LestersLegends 2012 fantasy football quarterback rankings by tier.

Tier One:  Truly the elite. They have routinely put up monster numbers. These QBs should be taken within the first two rounds.

Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers: I had him ranked No. 1 last year. After a season in which he accounted for 4,643 passing yards, 257 rushing yards, 48 total TDs (45 passing) and six interceptions, I haven’t changed my opinion.

Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints: The team is in a crap storm right now, and he will miss Sean Payton, but Brees shattered the single-season passing record last year with 5,476 yards and 46 TDs.

Tom Brady, New England Patriots: I foolishly thought because he had some monster games along with some stinkers that he wasn’t a top-five fantasy QB last year. I won’t make that mistake again. Adding Brandon Lloyd to Rob Gronkowski, Wes Welker and Aaron Hernandez makes him even more dangerous.

Tier Two:  Both are coming off monster years, but need to prove that they are for real. These QBs should be taken in the third or fourth round.

Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers: They added Mike Tolbert, who could cut into the 14 TDs Newton ran for last year. Still, with 4,051 passing yards, 21 passing touchdowns and 706 rushing yards, it’s hard not to imagine another monster fantasy year from Cam.

Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions: Am I giving him too much credit? Hard to say that when you have the game’s most dominating receiver. Not to mention coming off a 5,038-yard, 41-TD season.


Tier Three:  They have routinely delivered, but they have had warts at time. Still, they are quality QB1s. These QBs should go in rounds five through seven.

Eli Manning, New York Giants: With more passing yards (4,933) than his brother Peyton ever threw, along with 29 TDs and two Super Bowl rings, it’s safe to say he’s out of his brother’s shadow. Call me crazy, but I think he’s a safer fantasy play too.

Philip Rivers, San Diego Chargers: 4,624 yards and 27 TDs is considered a bad year (20 INTs) for Rivers. I’ll take that to the bank.

Tony Romo, Dallas Cowboys: Romo threw for 4,184 yards and 31 TDs, with just 10 INTs. He has as many weapons as anybody.

Tier Four:  Still solid QB1s. Come at a better value, but aside from Matt Ryan, who has yet to turn in an elite performance, they have some injury concerns. These QBs should be taken in the sixth through eighth rounds.
Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers: The Steelers are committed to becoming a more pass-happy team. With his weapons, Big Ben should deliver.

Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons: With Roddy White and Julio Jones, there aren’t many QBs with a better 1-2 punch at WRl.

Michael Vick, Philadelphia Eagles: Last year was a disaster for Vick, though he threw for a career-high 3,303 yards. I expect more rushing TDs and some explosive games, but you are going to have injury issues.


Peyton Manning, Denver Broncos: He’s Peyton, so I suppose I have to give him the benefit of a top-10 ranking. But he’s in a new place, where weather could be a factor, and he has potentially worse weapons. All of which puts Peyton in an unfamiliar spot (out of the top five).

Tier Five:  These are either backup fantasy QBs or they are starters if you decided to address other needs. Still have QB1 potential, but they have some concerns. These QBs should be taken in rounds eight through 10.

Jay Cutler, Chicago Bears:  Reuniting with Brandon Marshall and adding Alshon Jeffrey in the draft gives Cutler the best weapons since his days in Denver.

Matt Schaub, Houston Texans:  If he and Andre Johnson can stay healthy, Schaub will be a fringe QB1.

Tier Six:  Solid backup fantasy QBs.  These QBs should be taken in rounds nine through 11.


Alex Smith, San Francisco 49ersRandy Moss is said to be looking good. With Mario Manningham, Michael Crabtree and Vernon Davis, Smith has plenty of options.

Andrew Luck, Indianapolis Colts:  He’ll have bumps along the way, but he also brings a lot of anticipation. Having Reggie Wayne to lean on helps.

Andy Dalton, Cincinnati Bengals:  Had a solid rookie year and should continue to progress with A.J. Green.


Carson Palmer, Oakland Raiders:  He looked OK with the Raiders last year. Seems to be back to form.

Joe Flacco, Baltimore Ravens:  I expect more from Torrey Smith this year, which will help Flacco’s numbers.

Robert Griffin III, Washington Redskins:  RG3 seems to have what it takes to deliver right away, but you never quite know with rookies.

Ryan Fitzpatrick, Buffalo Bills:  He’s thrown 23 and 24 TDs the past two years. If he can bounce back from his second-half slide, he should be a decent QB2.

Tier Seven:  Riskier backup QBs. These QBs should be taken in rounds 10 through 16.

Christian Ponder, Minnesota Vikings:  He has better weapons and a better grasp for the game. Should take a step forward in his second year.


Jake Locker, Tennessee Titans:  Has to beat out Matt Hasslebeck, which isn’t inevitable at this point, at least for Week 1.

Josh Freeman, Tampa Bay Buccaneers:  Had a miserable 2011 campaign, but the Bucs added Vincent Jackson, which should help.

Mark Sanchez, New York Jets:  I wouldn’t draft him to be my backup, but I’d keep an eye on him if he has early success.

Matt Flynn, Seattle Seahawks:  Getting the big bucks going from backup to starter for a new team doesn’t always pan out.

Sam Bradford, St. Louis Rams:  He had success as a rookie before floundering as a sophomore. I’m not writing him off just yet.

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