Has Andrew Luck Become a Must-Start Fantasy Quarterback?

Gary DavenportNFL AnalystOctober 13, 2012

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - OCTOBER 07:  Andrew Luck #12 of the Indianapolis Colts throws a pass during the NFL game against the Green Bay Packers at Lucas Oil Stadium on October 7, 2012 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

There used to be a prevailing school of thought among fantasy football experts that rookie quarterbacks were simply too inconsistent to be relied upon as weekly fantasy starters, but much like the wing-T offense and Terrell Owens' self respect, those days appear to be long gone.

A quick glance at the top fantasy scorers at the quarterback position through five weeks this season shows a pair of first-year pro among the top 10 signal-callers in fantasy points per game, including one in the top five.

That top-five performer isn't the electrifying Robert Griffin III of the Washington Redskins but Andrew Luck, who was taken one spot ahead of Griffin in April's NFL draft by the Indianapolis Colts.

Luck, who has thrown for 1,208 yards and seven touchdowns so far this season, is coming off the best game of his young career, passing for 362 yards in a comeback win over the Green Bay Packers that impressed interim head coach Bruce Arians, according to the team's website via ESPN.

"That is what you're looking for in a quarterback. That grit. That will to win," interim coach Bruce Arians told the team's official website. "A rookie, I don't put statistically in the categories with (Tom) Brady and those guys. His passer rating is not going to be as high as theirs, but he's playing at a level that far exceeds where he should be at this time."

Granted, the youngster has struggled at times, and that's to be expected from a first-year quarterback, even one as pro-ready as Luck appeared to be coming out of Stanford.

However, even when Luck has struggled from an NFL standpoint (as in Week 1 against the Chicago Bears, when he threw three of his five interceptions so far this year) Luck's fantasy production was serviceable, and the 23-year-old is averaging over 300 yards a start and has already developed a strong rapport with veteran wide receiver Reggie Wayne.

Add it all up and you have a very nice value for fantasy owners that selected the rookie as their backup quarterback in drafts this season and a player worthy of weekly consideration in favorable matchups as a starter, especially after hearing Luck talk that he's only getting started.

"[quarterbacks]Coach Clyde [Christensen] made a reference to the playbook was sort of like throwing a bunch of mud up against the wall and seeing what sticks and the other stuff drips down and you pick it up and throw it again," Luck said. "Everybody took the challenge well...the more we learn, the more effective we can be as an offense."

So, as Andrew Luck continues to improve it's entirely possible that he could rapidly go from matchup play to every-week starter, and while they say that sometimes it's better to be lucky than good, it appears that where fantasy football is concerned it's best to be both.