Power Ranking the Top Fantasy Football QBs for 2012

Gary DavenportNFL AnalystAugust 30, 2012

Power Ranking the Top Fantasy Football QBs for 2012

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    The National Football League is more driven by quarterbacks than ever before, with more signal-callers topping the 5,000 yards passing mark last season than in every other year of the NFL's existence combined.

    The effects of that statistical onslaught have been felt in fantasy football as well, with many fantasy experts now firmly believing that an elite passer is essential to fantasy success.

    I don't necessarily ascribe to that notion, but whether it's an elite quarterback you seek or a startable option that can be found later in drafts, here's a look at my top 20 fantasy quarterbacks for 2012.

The Studs

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    1. Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers

    Rodgers may not have thrown for 5,000 yards last year, but his 45 touchdown passes against only six interceptions was enough to make him fantasy football's top signal-caller.

     

    2. Tom Brady, New England Patriots

    The 35-year-old topped 5,200 passing yards in 2011, and given all the weapons at his disposal, there's a very real possibility that Brady could better that number this year.

     

    3. Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints

    Brees set an NFL record with 5,476 passing yards a season ago, and while he may not reach those lofty heights again, another big year is a pretty safe bet.

     

    4. Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions

    Given the state of the Lions' running game, The third member of the "5K Club" last year will all but certainly be forced to air the ball out a ton this season.

     

    5. Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers

    Newton was the biggest surprise at the position last season, and while he may not replicate his 14 rushing scores from 2011, Newton's dual threat ability boosts his fantasy value.

The Weekly Starters

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    6. Eli Manning, New York Giants

    Manning just missed throwing for 5,000 yards himself last season, and with Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz at his disposal, he could easily hit that benchmark in 2012.


    7. Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons

    The fifth-year pro has looked absolutely outstanding leading a wide-open Atlanta offense in the preseason, and if that carries over into games that count, look out.


    8. Tony Romo, Dallas Cowboys

    Romo has finished among the top 10 fantasy quarterbacks four out of the past five seasons and is a viable weekly starter for fantasy squads that wait a bit before selecting a quarterback.


    9. Michael Vick, Philadelphia Eagles

    When healthy, Vick's ability to hurt teams with his arm and legs gives him top five fantasy upside, but the 32-year-old's durability is a huge question mark.


    10. Philip Rivers, San Diego Chargers

    The ninth-year veteran has posted three straight top 10 fantasy finishes, but the San Diego offensive line is a big concern heading into the 2012 season.

The Platoon Options

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    11. Peyton Manning, Denver Broncos

    Until his lost 2011 season the four-time NFL MVP had never finished below sixth among fantasy quarterbacks, so if he's truly healthy Manning could represent an excellent value.

     

    12. Jay Cutler, Chicago Bears

    Cutler hasn't cracked the top 10 fantasy quarterbacks since 2008, but perhaps a reunion with wide receiver Brandon Marshall will boost Cutler's fantasy value.

     

    13. Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers

    The Pittsburgh running game is in disarray right now, which may force Pittsburgh to go through the air, boosting "Big Ben's" fantasy stock.

     

    14. Matt Schaub, Houston Texans

    The 31-year-old has posted top-10 fantasy production in two of the past three years, but he's also missed significant time in three of his five seasons with the Texans.

     

    15. Robert Griffin III, Washington Redskins

    This season's top rookie under center from a fantasy perspective, Griffin's mobility and superior receivers give him the edge over Andrew Luck.

The Fantasy Backups

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    16. Ryan Fitzpatrick, Buffalo Bills

    The eighth-year pro was a top-12 fantasy quarterback in 2011, but after a hot start, Fitzpatrick tailed off considerably towards the end of the season,


    17. Andy Dalton, Cincinnati Bengals

    Dalton had a fantastic rookie season in leading the Bengals to the playoffs last year, but Dalton is a much better NFL option than fantasy one.


    18. Andrew Luck, Indianapolis Colts

    The first overall pick in April's draft is as NFL-ready as any quarterback in recent memory, but the Indianapolis offense lacks firepower.


    19. Carson Palmer, Oakland Raiders

    Palmer has slogged through a miserable preseason with no touchdowns and four interceptions, clouding his fantasy prospects for 2012.


    20. Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks

    The third-round rookie has been the talk of the preseason, posting 450 passing yards, 150 rushing yards, and earning the starting job in Week 1 for the Seahawks.