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Fantasy Football: QB Rankings

While more athletic QBs will be sexier picks on draft day, Matthew Stafford could end up being a huge bargain.

While more athletic QBs will be sexier picks on draft day, Matthew Stafford could end up being a huge bargain.

  1. Aaron Rodgers, GB – Rodgers is without question 2013’s top fantasy QB. He has 89 TDs in the last two seasons and will return almost all of his playmakers. Throw in the fact that Rodgers is usually good for 300 rushing yards, and you have a player who stands alone in a league of elite passers.
  2. Drew Brees, NO – Though Brees has eclipsed the 5,000 yard mark in each of the last two seasons, the Saints want to rededicate themselves to the ground game. Expect a dip in passing yardage, but Brees will still put up great numbers week in and week out. Expect around 4,800 passing yards and 40 scores.
  3. Peyton Manning, DEN – After putting up MVP-caliber numbers in 2012, Manning’s forecast looks equally bright in 2013. The Broncos want to run a faster-paced offense and signed Wes Welker in free agency. Denver might look to run the ball more with Montee Ball, but this offense is showing no signs of slowing down. Count on Peyton as a high-end QB1.
  4. Tom Brady, NE – With Wes Welker gone, Rob Gronkowski recovering from back surgery, and Aaron Hernandez in deep legal trouble, fantasy owners should be wondering who Brady will throw the ball to. While Brady can get the job done no matter who lines up at receiver, his production could take a steep hit in 2013, especially considering the emergence of Stevan Ridley at tailback. Brady is still a rock solid QB1, but he’s not worth taking in the first two or three rounds.
  5. Cam Newton, CAR – Wilson, Griffin, and Kaepernick are the hot names right now, but don’t forget about Cam Newton. Of the four, Newton is the only player to have thrown for more than 4,000 yards or run for more than 7 touchdowns. He has great size and has shown impressive durability. He could be a huge steal if he falls on draft day.
  6. Matt Ryan, ATL – As far as fantasy football goes, there isn’t a much safer pick than Matt Ryan. He’s durable, productive, and has elite weapons. The scary part is that he and his receivers are still young enough to get even better. There’s no reason to believe Ryan won’t repeat his 4,700 yard, 32 TD season in 2013.
  7. Tony Romo, DAL – Dallas is a pass happy offense that makes Romo comfortable in a gunslinger role. That’s a great recipe in fantasy football, and with Dez Bryant, Jason Witten, and Miles Austin at his disposal, Romo is a great bet to surpass 4,500 yards for the second consecutive year. He won’t post elite TD numbers, but he can hang around with the top fantasy QBs.
  8. Matthew Stafford, DET – Do not sleep on Matthew Stafford this year. The Lions added Reggie Bush to a wide open offense and figure to let Stafford throw the ball 700 times again in 2013. Given the staggering number of opportunities Stafford will have, he’s a lock to approach 5,000 yards. If he can find the end zone more often, he could easily finish as a top 3 fantasy QB.
  9. Russell Wilson, SEA – Wilson is for real as an NFL QB, but in the fantasy world, Seattle’s grind-it-out, conservative offense won’t do him many favors. In 2012, he threw for fewer than 3,200 yards in 16 games. On the bright side, he will have opportunities to make plays with his legs and could throw the ball more with Percy Harvin in town. His running ability makes him a QB1, but be careful not to overvalue him.
  10. Colin Kaepernick, SF – Like Wilson, Kaepernick plays in a run-oriented offensive scheme, but he has enough talent and athleticism to thrive despite his system. Unlike Wilson, Kaepernick’s receiving corps remains a major question mark heading into 2013. The 49ers have almost nothing behind Anquan Boldin and Vernon Davis, and neither of those two have broken 67 receptions since 2009. Kaepernick’s talent and legs solidify his QB1 status, but expect him to be overdrafted.
  11. Andrew Luck, IND – There’s no denying Luck’s big-time talent, but he will take the field with average weapons and with Bruce Arians gone, the Colts will be less aggressive offensively. As a result, expect his already pedestrian 7.0 yards per attempt to decrease. Luck will still throw the ball well over 600 times, but can’t be counted on to improve on an impressive rookie season. He’s still a QB1, albeit a low-end one.
  12. Eli Manning, NYG – Owners who wait for a QB on draft day will have plenty of attractive options in the middle rounds. Eli Manning is one of them. With Ahmad Bradshaw gone and a healthy Hakeem Nicks returning, Manning has the potential to build on his customary 4,000 yard, 30 TD season. He doesn’t have much upside, but can keep an otherwise strong fantasy team competitive.
  13. Robert Griffin III, WSH – Griffin is obviously a huge health risk going into 2013, but there’s something about him that makes you not want to bet against him. He’s a great talent who has one of the best, most creative offensive coordinators in football. Owners should be concerned that the Redskins scale back his rushing opportunities and that RG3 only threw for 3,200 yards last season. He’s a boom-or-bust pick who should be a low-end QB1.
  14. Jay Cutler, CHI – Notice the significant dropoff after the top 13 QBs. Jay Cutler isn’t a QB1, but he has one of the top receivers in the game in Brandon Marshall, one of the best pass-catching backs in Matt Forte, and a developing young player in Alshon Jeffery. He could surprise a lot of people under new head coach Marc Trestman, who gets the most out of his QBs.
  15. Josh Freeman, TB – Freeman still has to iron out some issues in his game, but he has two excellent downfield receivers that will allow him to rack up yardage. Vincent Jackson and Mike Williams can both stretch the field and win jump ball situations in the red zone. They can’t turn Freeman into a QB1 by themselves, but they are a big reason why he’s a solid fantasy backup.
  16. Ben Roethlisberger, PIT – Beware of Roethlisberger’s injury history and the loss of Mike Wallace in free agency, but it’s hard not to trust Big Ben as a fantasy backup. His numbers looked pretty good in Todd Haley’s spread offense and the Steelers don’t have a backfield that they can lean on. The Steelers offense as a whole looks messy, but Roethlisberger should be a dependable QB2.
  17. Michael Vick, PHI – Assuming Vick wins the starting job in Philly, he will be an intriguing QB2. Chip Kelly doesn’t figure to throw the ball enough to vault Vick into QB1 consideration, but Vick could post some impressive rushing numbers. Depending on the scheme’s success, Vick could have a bunch of TD opportunities as well. Of course, Kelly’s offense could flame out very quickly as well, so Vick isn’t the safest of picks as a QB2.
  18. Sam Bradford, STL – With Jared Cook and Tavon Austin in St. Louis, Sam Bradford has the most talented receiving corps of his career. A breakout season is possible, but Bradford will have to successfully navigate a brutal NFC West and move the ball with very young and inexperienced receivers. Draft him with the expectation of a 2012 repeat, but the possibility of much higher production.
  19. Matt Schaub, HOU – The Texans want to establish the ground game, but Matt Schaub could provide nice value as a QB2 throwing to Andre Johnson. He’s a good bet to surpass 4,000 yards, but he doesn’t have any real upside.
  20. Philip Rivers, SD – The Chargers can’t protect Rivers at all, to the point where he is developing David Carr deer-in-the-headlights syndrome. Rivers spent much of 2012 running for his life and looks like a shadow of his former self. Still, a head coaching change could help Rivers recapture the magic that allowed him to throw for over 4,000 yards in four out of the last five seasons.
  21. Jake Locker, TEN – Locker hasn’t done much to convince the Titans that he is a franchise QB, but his running ability makes him a potentially solid QB2. Don’t expect much from him as a passer, at least statistically speaking.
  22. Andy Dalton, CIN – At this point, owners know what they have in Dalton. He’s a low-end QB2 who will put up average numbers in a Bengals offense that isn’t very exciting. As long as he has A.J. Green, he will move the ball, but he won’t bail your fantasy team out.
  23. Carson Palmer, ARZ – Some expect Carson Palmer to be the answer at QB in Arizona, but that’s far-fetched. It’s been quite a while since Palmer has been an above average QB, and although he has Larry Fitzgerald and Bruce Arians helping him out, don’t expect too much out of him.
  24. Joe Flacco, BAL – Without Anquan Boldin, it will be very difficult for Joe Flacco to take the next step as an NFL QB, at least statistically. He doesn’t have any QB1 upside, but could be a good plug-and-play during a bye week.

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