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1UP Fantasy Player Rankings: QB
Aaron Rodgers (GB) - Mr. Consistency. 45 TD’s/4,643 yards in 2011 make this no surprise. Rodgers should put up another season in the area of 40+ TD/4500+ yards and with Greenbay still seemingly using the run game as an afterthought, things could not look prettier from a fantasy owner’s perspective. Don’t forget he has tacked on 3+ rushing TD’s the past 4 seasons as an added bonus.
Tom Brady (NE) - Now that Ochocinco has left what is Brady going to…….. Oh wait. This guy is averaging 38 TD’s in his past 4 healthy seasons, regardless of who the patriots jumble in at RB and WR. With the added receiving threats (Lloyd, Gaffney, Stallworth…), expect nothing less than the same.
Drew Brees (NO) - Despite the reality show that is the New Orleans Saints right now, it’s tough to place him much lower after he rewarded owners last season with a 46 TD/5,476 yard season. The contract issues should boil over, as should most of the worries about Brees. The remaining problem: The Saints and Brees were clearly chasing Marino’s passing record last season, as you would see them airing it out late in blowout games. I’m talking about situations when any regular, or respectful team (and most likely the ’12-’13 Saints) will run the ball, the clock, and by effect, NOT Drew Brees’ fantasy points to the level they were last season.
Matthew Stafford (Det) – After playing through an entire campaign for the first time, Stafford did little other than impress… and throw gobbles of touchdowns to Calvin Johnson. Having proven his resilience in the eyes of many, Stafford has crossed into the plane of “elite fantasy QB’s”.
Cam Newton (Car) – His stats don’t lie, with 21 TD’s/4051 yards in his rookie season, many owners were able to grab Cam of the waiver wire in 2011 and ride him, and his 14 additional rushing TD’s, to their league’s championship. His stats will deceive though… a 21 TD/17 Int line is nothing to write home about, and to scare you even more, an astounding portion of his production came from garbage points when the 6-win Panthers were trailing.
Michael Vick (Phi) - Post-rehabilitation, Eagles-Vick has a better arm, legs, and team than Cam Newton. He could be a steal if he slips in many drafts as I predict…. Or he could get injured and screw you over entirely, as he seems hellbent on going shoulder to shoulder with charging linebackers. Maybe the Eagles should take a page out of the Jets playbook and bring in Charlie Manuel to teach him to slide. His preseason injury-scare could see him moved down significantly, and should be tracked on draft day if you are considering him.
Eli Manning (NYG) – You know what you’re getting here. You don’t know what you’re getting receiver wise though, with many expecting Victor Cruz to fall well short of his breakout numbers last year. The unproven yet promising rookie, Rueben Randle, should help also.
Peyton Manning (Den) – Can’t make an intelligent call on this till we see how he does in training. Could find himself right up there with Rodgers, Brady, and Co. and the end of the season. Downside: the Denver O-line is easier to get through than this country’s border, and nothing is worse for a tender neck, than a 300lb lineman charging for sweet freedom.
Tony Romo (Dal) – Luckily playoff woes have no factor for fantasy owners.
Matt Ryan (Atl) – The upside remains, as do the incredible WR’s. With big things expected of the Falcons, this could be the year that Matt Ryan takes that step up to the next level. Being in the NFC south only helps. At the very worst, he will be a solid QB you can rely on being there after the cream of the crop is gone.
Phillip Rivers (SD) – Losing VJax will hurt, as the Chargers will rely on two guys who aren’t quite #1 WR’s in Malcom Floyd and the newly acquired Robert Meachem. A healthy Antonio Gates will help. Consider him a decent bargain at this position, though.
Matt Schaub (Hou) – Everyone expects Shaub to return at 100%, and this could be a great year for him, especially with the exciting WR’s the Texans picked up in the draft to complement Andre Johnson. Throw on the easy schedule, and the consistent threat in the backfield, and you have a pretty nice fantasy option.
Ben Roethlisberger (Pit) – Expect the Steelers to be pass happy this season, with Mendenhall expected to feature on the PUP list after the week 17 ACL tear.
Josh Freeman (TB) – After an impressive 2010 campaign, Freeman was a bit of a disappointment last year. Vincent Jackson will only help him rebound. Consider Freeman a #2 with big upside.
Joe Flacco (Bal)
RG3 (Was) – Expect this guy to get taken way before he should due to Cam Newton syndrome. Incredible upside, but don’t expect Shanahan to have him out there balls to the wall from day one. This assuming you play a seasonal format, as in a keeper/dynasty league his value is boosted significantly higher.
Carson Palmer (Oak) – Could have a better year than last now that he has a chance to learn the ins and outs of the Raiders’ system. Has some scary deep threats at WR too.
Jay Cutler (Chi) – Injury prone with a terrible offensive line, but ditching those 5 step drops that plagued him last season should help under Mike Martz quite a bit.
Alex Smith (SF)
Ryan Fitzpatrick (Buf) – Potential sleeper here; was working with a 270yard, 70% completion, 2+ TD average before he slipped off hard. Post season it was revealed he played the final 9 games with cracked ribs, and if that is to be believed, then odds are he will be back out there in prime form while available on the cheap.
Andy Dalton (Cin)
Andrew Luck (Ind) – Rookie pocket passing QB’s very rarely make an impact from a fantasy perspective their first year in the league, but if anyone could do it, it seems to be him. Worth a late round flier if you have an elite, non-injury prone starter.
Russell Wilson (Sea) – Untested, 5’11″ rookie with good legs. Must have impressed the hell out of Pete Carroll in order to pry the starting job away from Matt Flynn who had just been awarded a solid contract after his breakout performance. Passing numbers should be at least average with a potential for a solid points boost from his running game.
Sam Bradford (StL)
Matt Cassel (KC)
Christian Ponder (Min)
Jake Locker (Ten)
Ryan Tannehill (Mia)
Mark Sanchez (NYJ)
Brandon Weeden (Cle)
Blaine Gabbert (Jax)
Kevin Kolb/Josh Skelton (Ari)
Matt Flynn (Sea) – AKA “That guy who threw 6 TD’s when the Packers rested Rodgers in week 17″. Has some weapons up in Seattle, but despite being given a hefty contract, was benched in favor or Russell Wilson.