Unless somebody in your fantasy football league is the world's biggest Detroit Lions fan and jumps on Matthew Stafford earlier than expected, the first three quarterbacks off the board are going to be Tom Brady, Drew Brees and Aaron Rodgers.
In the changing landscape of fantasy football, all three of them will likely get selected in the first round. Gone are the days of quarterbacks slipping in favor of running backs and wide receivers. If you want one of the elite three, it will take a top pick.
With that in mind, let's rank the terrific trio of fantasy quarterbacks and break down what type of upside they have heading into the 2012 season.
1. Aaron Rodgers
Even though the Green Bay Packers were eliminated in their first playoff game last season, they aren't going to change the approach on offense. Rodgers will be given creative freedom and should take to the air more than 500 times once again.
His most impressive stat from 2011, and there were plenty of them, was the fact he scored at least 20 fantasy points in 15 of the 16 games he played. And even in the game he failed to reach that plateau, he still put up 17.
That type of consistency is huge in fantasy football. Knowing you have one player who produces week in and week out leaves some leeway to take a chance on some high-upside picks. He will dominate again and is worthy of the first overall pick.
2. Tom Brady
Just when it looked like Brady's group of weapons couldn't get any more dangerous, the New England Patriots go out and add Brandon Lloyd. Brady adds a deep threat to go along with the game's premier possession receiver in Wes Welker and two dominant tight ends.
That's why the gap between Rodgers and Brady isn't as large as some may believe. The Patriots are a pass-heavy offense and have a head coach in Bill Belichick who isn't afraid to run up the score. Brady has won many fantasy weeks with garbage-time touchdowns.
He doesn't have Rodgers' running ability, which might not seem like much, but it will amount to about 10 points and there's a good chance that's the difference between the two at season's end. Both will be great building blocks with Brady a good pick starting at No. 3.
3. Drew Brees
The New Orleans Saints offense is a well-oiled machine. No matter which players get plugged into which roles, they found a way to produce a lot of points on a weekly basis and that's mostly due to the incredible accuracy of Brees.
Marques Colston and Jimmy Graham give him two top targets while Darren Sproles is a tremendous option out of the backfield. Don't be surprised if Lance Moore ends up taking the next step toward stardom in an increased role as well.
The only reason Brees isn't quite on the same level as Rodgers and Brady is New Orleans' running game. The Saints have four running backs who will be looking for carries, which will hold him back a little bit. He's still worth taking starting in the second half of Round 1.