The Sports Cannon prides themselves every year in making the best fantasy football rookie rankings so that you are prepared for success each season. This season we have checked the schedules, the training camp competition and the overall abilities of each rookie to determine which rookie, if any, will be a breakout star.
Let’s face it, a rookie quarterback may seem like a sexy pick somewhere near the end of your fantasy football draft, but in all reality not a single one has a realistic chance of being an everyday starter on your team. That same trend goes for any fantasy football rookie quarterback.
Last year it was Sam Bradford that was the best of the rookie QBs, in reality and in fantasy. Still, Sam wasn’t able to break your starting lineup. Unless you play in a two quarterback league, you probably never started the Heisman Trophy winner.
In the ranks of greatest rookie years for quarterbacks, only Peyton Manning’s inaugural 1998 season was during Fantasy Football’s existence. That year Peyton started a 13-year trend of starting every game for the Colts. Still, in 1998 having what some consider the 6th best rookie season from a quarterback, Peyton was only ranked as the 12th best fantasy option. Last year, Sam Bradford was ranked 21st.
The moral of the story is that there isn’t a Peyton Manning in this draft class, and even if there were, he wouldn’t be worth taking until further along in the draft.
1. Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers
It is an easy pick to say that Newton will have the best rookie campaign. His only competition is Jimmy Clausen, and Matt Moore will likely be playing elsewhere in 2011. Newton has all the physical tools to be a starter in the league, but won’t have much help. The Panthers’ running game has usually been the team’s strong suit, and a strong run game will help a rookie QB immensely. Unfortunately for Newton, the Panthers double-headed running attack will be reduced to one, and last season the offensive line struggled mightily in run support. ADP: 178
2A. Andy Dalton, Cincinnati
Many considered Dalton to be the most pro-ready QB in the draft and will likely be the best QB on the roster come the start of the season (Sorry, Jordan Palmer). Dalton won’t be alone in facing rookie pressure. His offensive coordinator will be starting his first major NFL gig and his top receivers are rookie A.J. Green and Jerome Simpson. Simpson has only played in 13 games in his four-year career. Dalton could play every game, but it will likely be struggle each week. ADP: 266
2B. Christian Ponder, Minnesota Vikings
To this point it appears the Vikings are completely set on starting Ponder from day one in his NFL career. The Vikings were once hot on the rumor mill as far as trading for or hiring a veteran quarterback. Those rumors have tapered off and for now Vikings fans are getting ready for the Ponder era. The Vikings improved the offense by drafting Kyle Rudolph, and if they can keep Sidney Rice in purple (and healthy), Ponder could have a better chance than not to be in consideration for ROY. ADP: 272
4. Jake Locker, Tennessee Titans
The Titans shocked the world when they took Jake Locker with the eighth overall pick in the 2011 NFL draft. The Titans realize that in order to win in the league, you need to have a franchise quarterback. Did they make the right decision by drafting Locker? Only time will tell, but it looks like the Titans will elect to find out for sure next year. If Locker does become the starter in 2011 he will at least have the benefit of handing off to one of the league’s best running backs. ADP: 257
5. Blaine Gabbert, Jacksonville Jaguars
There is almost zero chance that Gabbert starts this year. Everything is working against Gabbert becoming the starter so far this offseason. Every day the lockout drags on is another day he falls behind David Garrard as far as learning the playbook and his teammates’ habits. Even in Locker’s case, where if the team elects to stick with veteran Kerry Collins, Locker has a chance to win the job. Garrard is not a bad quarterback; he just isn’t going to lead your franchise for years to come. Still, Garrard will go in to this season fighting harder than ever in order to keep his starting gig. Check back next year to see where Gabbert ranks. ADP: 267
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