2013 Fantasy Football: Evaluating the Elite Tier of Quarterbacks

Garrett BakerSenior Analyst IAugust 6, 2013

DENVER, CO - DECEMBER 30:  Quarterback Peyton Manning #18 of the Denver Broncos passes against the Kansas City Chiefs during a game at Sports Authority Field Field at Mile High on December 30, 2012 in Denver, Colorado. The Broncos defeated the Chiefs 38-3.  (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images)
Dustin Bradford/Getty Images

In fantasy football, it is often easier to rank and debate players among different tiers, instead of individual rankings, when just two or three places may not really mean any real separation between players.

Quarterback is an extremely deep class this year, with a ton of talent in the top half of the group. I personally advise waiting on your quarterback this year because you can get a quality signal caller in the eighth or ninth round of most drafts.

There is not a huge gap separating this elite group from the next few tiers, which is another reason that it may be advantageous to wait a few rounds instead of getting one of these elite players.

But it's hard to fault someone for drafting the best players at their position, especially ones who are as good and safe as these four studs.


Aaron Rodgers

Aaron Rodgers is the best quarterback in the NFL, and I think he's the best fantasy quarterback, as well. He has a wideout trio to rival Denver's, with Randall CobbJordy Nelson, and James Jones combining to make a formidable group. 

Rodgers is so good that he turned Jones into the NFL's leader in touchdown receptions in 2012, even while Cobb was having a breakout year.

Although he probably won't put up the same passing numbers as Brees and probably even Manning, he can rush for over 250 yards and a few scores, which is what puts him over the top. 


Drew Brees

First up is Drew Brees, who has finished in the top two in fantasy scoring four out of the past five seasons, which is a truly remarkable stretch that should continue in 2013.

The entire Saints organization should bounce back this year, and Brees will benefit from Sean Payton's presence on the sidelines. The 34-year-old threw an uncharacteristic 19 picks last season, yet still finished as the highest scoring fantasy quarterback.

With Payton back, and weapons like Marques Colston, Jimmy Graham, Lance Moore and Darren Sproles, Brees should maintain his yards and touchdown totals, while reducing his interceptions.


Peyton Manning

Although he's a bit old for an elite quarterback, Peyton Manning can still sling it with the best of them and has arguably the best supporting cast in the league. 

Demaryius Thomas is arguably a top-six wide receiver in the NFL, Eric Decker is one of the game's best No. 2 wideouts and now the best slot man, Wes Welker, is in Denver, as well.

Those three make up the best wideout trio in the NFL, bar none. Don't be surprised if Manning approaches 4,800 yards and 40 touchdowns. 


Cam Newton

The final member of this elite tier of quarterbacks is also the youngest and has the lowest floor. Cam Newton has the potential to be a top-three scoring quarterback, and I am confident that he will finally fulfill that potential this year.

He needs to improve his completion percentage, which was a disappointing 57.7 percent in his sophomore campaign.

Although he doesn't have half the arsenal that his counterparts in this tier do, he also has an unmatched athleticism, which vaults him into such high company.

From Week 10 to 16 last season, he scored 18 total touchdowns while throwing just three picks. If he can produce like that for an entire season, he could throw for 4,000 yards, rush for 800 and score 30 total touchdowns. 

While it may be in your best interest to search for value with quarterbacks in the middle rounds, nobody would fault you for grabbing one of these studs early on.