Fantasy Football 2012 Tiered Rankings: Top 30 Quarterbacks

GREEN BAY, WI - AUGUST 16:  Aaron Rodgers #12 of the Green Bay Packers looks for a receiver against 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
Eric StashinSenior Writer IAugust 28, 2012

With the start of the NFL season less than two weeks away, let’s take a final look at our positional rankings (barring something significant).  Which quarterbacks are on the rise?  Which are taking a fall?  Here's a look:

Tier 1 – The Elite

  1. Aaron Rodgers – Green Bay Packers (1)
  2. Tom Brady – New England Patriots (2)
  3. Drew Brees – New Orleans Saints (3)

Tier 2 – Could Become Elite In 2012

  1. Matthew Stafford – Detroit Lions (4)
  2. Cam Newton – Carolina Panthers (5)

Tier 3 – Not Elite, But Who Is Going To Complain?

  1. Eli Manning – New York Giants (6)
  2. Matt Ryan – Atlanta Falcons (8)
  3. Tony Romo – Dallas Cowboys (9)
  4. Philip Rivers – San Diego Chargers (10)

Tier 4 – Solid QB1, But With Concerns

  1. Michael Vick – Philadelphia Eagles (7)
  2. Peyton Manning – Denver Broncos (11)
  3. Ben Roethlisberger – Pittsburgh Steelers (12)

Tier 5 – Preferred QB2

  1. Matt Schaub – Houston Texans (13)
  2. Jay Cutler – Chicago Bears (15)
  3. Robert Griffin III – Washington Redskins (14)
  4. Joe Flacco – Baltimore Ravens (16)
  5. Andrew Luck – Indianapolis Colts (19)
  6. Andy Dalton – Cincinnati Bengals (17)

Tier 6 – Question Marks, But High Upside QB2

  1. Josh Freeman – Tampa Bay Buccaneers (20)
  2. Sam Bradford – St. Louis Rams (21)
  3. Jake Locker – Tennessee Titans (27)
  4. Christian Ponder – Minnesota Vikings (23)
  5. Carson Palmer – Oakland Raiders (18)
  6. Ryan Fitzpatrick – Buffalo Bills (22)
  7. Matt Cassel – Kansas City Chiefs (24)
  8. Russell Wilson – Seattle Seahawks (NR)

Tier 7 – Best Left As Depth Options

  1. Alex Smith – San Francisco 49ers (25)
  2. Mark Sanchez – New York Jets (28)
  3. Blaine Gabbert – Jacksonville Jaguars (NR)
  4. Ryan Tannehill – Miami Dolphins (29)

Dropped off the rankings – Matt Flynn, Brandon Weeden


  • We don’t make much about preseason performance, especially when a player is excelling against second and third stringers.  However, what about when a player struggles mightily?  Carson Palmer has gotten his opportunities, but the production hasn’t been there.  So far he has gone 33-56 for 321 yards, 0 TD and 4 INT.  Those numbers certainly aren’t encouraging and, while Palmer does have potential, he needs to be dropped in our rankings.
  • Michael Vick is an elite talent, at least potentially, but are you willing to bet on him staying healthy all year long?  While his current rib issue does not appear likely to keep him out, it just highlights our biggest concern as it feels like just a matter of time before he is sidelined.  With injuries constantly hanging over him, he is becoming a very risky play.
  • Peyton Manning made quite an impression in the third preseason game.  He went 10-12 for 122 yards, 2 TD and 0 INT against the 49ers defense.  That’s impressive stuff, preseason or not, especially considering the opponent.  There are still concerns, obviously, but he is giving us hope that he is the same player that he once was.  If I ended up with him as my QB1, I wouldn’t be too upset (which highlights the depth at the position this season).
  • Matt Schaub has been incredibly impressive this preseason, completing 76.3 percent of his passes (29-38) for 374 yards, 2 TD and 1 INT.  However, we all know the offense is going to run through Arian Foster.  That is going to help to limit his potential fantasy appeal and cap him as a QB2.
  • Russell Wilson joins our rankings, having beaten out Matt Flynn for the starting job in Seattle.  He has a lot of upside, but I’d much rather have a young QB with experience like Jake Locker or Christian Ponder.  There’s just no guarantee that Wilson is able to keep the job all year long.

Make sure to check out our 2012 fantasy football rankings:

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