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FANTASY FOOTBALL DRAFT KIT

2012 Player Rankings: Top 10 Quarterbacks
Updated: September 2, 2012
Top 10's:        
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Tier One
Aaron Rodgers - GBP YEAR TM GMS CMP ATT PYD PTD INT CAR RYD RTD
Huddle Rank: 1
Keeper: 1
Auction 10: 20%
Auction 12: 22%
2009 GBP 16 350 541 4434 30 7 58 316 5
2010 GBP 15 312 475 3922 28 11 64 356 4
2011 GBP 15 343 502 4643 45 6 60 257 3
Avg   15 335 506 4333 34 8 61 310 4
Proj GBP       4800 45 10   240 4

Rodgers blew up real good in 2011, and unless your league played its title game in Week 17—when Matt Flynn replaced Rodgers and set a franchise record for TD passes—he was quite likely your MVP. The Packers still don’t have a running game to speak of, and their stable of receivers won’t miss a beat with Randall Cobb and Tori Gurley ready to step in when Donald Driver hangs it up. In other words, Rodgers should remain a dominant fantasy quarterback for the foreseeable future.

Drew Brees - NOS YEAR TM GMS CMP ATT PYD PTD INT CAR RYD RTD
Huddle Rank: 2
Keeper: 2
Auction 10: 20%
Auction 12: 22%
2009 NOS 15 363 514 4388 34 11 22 33 2
2010 NOS 16 448 658 4620 33 22 18 -3  
2011 NOS 16 468 657 5476 46 14 21 86 1
Avg   16 426 610 4828 38 16 20 39 1
Proj NOS       4920 42 14   80 1

Brees may have had a slightly contentious contract situation but there is no denying what he has done since landing in New Orleans. For the last six seasons, Brees has never throw for fewer than 4388 yards or 26 touchdowns and comes off his career mark of 5476 yards and 46 scores - good enough to shatter the all-time mark for yardage and actually his second time over the 5000 yard mark. He has averaged 4732 yards and 34 touchdowns while a Saint and he just keeps getting better and better. At the age of 33, he still has several more years of high production before age should have any affect. As fate would have it, Brees is faced with one of the lighter schedules in the NFL this year which includes a trip through the AFC West. There are also plenty of reasons to assume that the Saints defense is not going to perform as well this year. That should only force Brees into more passing situations and there have been no upgrades to the rushing attack. Assuming the contract situations is resolved to his satisfaction, Brees should be in line for yet another nice season. The wins and losses may be different, but the passing stats should always remain high.

07-13-12 Update: Signed for $100 million. 5 years. No dissatisfaction here.

Tom Brady - NEP YEAR TM GMS CMP ATT PYD PTD INT CAR RYD RTD
Huddle Rank: 3
Keeper: 4
Auction 10: 20%
Auction 12: 22%
2009 NEP 16 371 565 4398 28 13 29 44 1
2010 NEP 16 324 492 3900 36 4 31 30 1
2011 NEP 16 401 611 5235 39 12 43 109 3
Avg   16 365 556 4511 34 10 34 61 2
Proj NEP       4490 37 12   90 1

His holiness Tom is a lock for a great season when healthy and even a bad year for him is better than almost any other QB. He's coming off his astronomic 5239 yards season with a second best 39 passing scores during the pass-happy days of 2011. Brady is 35 and entering his 13th season so at some point he will start to decline but 2012 is not a concern since he never runs and takes fewer hits than most. What is germane is that the Patriots have one of the tougher passing schedules in the NFL this year and one that is significantly more challenging than 2011 when he delighted fans in each AFC West match-up. Until Brady shows any signs of slowing down, he has to be considered a top 3 QB who always delivers. Perhaps no QB will roll up scores like Brady and with that comes fantasy wins. One more caveat to his production - the Pats have perhaps their best backfield in many years.

Tier Two
Matthew Stafford - DET YEAR TM GMS CMP ATT PYD PTD INT CAR RYD RTD
Huddle Rank: 4
Keeper: 3
Auction 10: 18%
Auction 12: 20%
2009 DET 10 201 377 2267 13 20 20 108 2
2010 DET 3 57 96 535 6 1 4 11 1
2011 DET 16 421 663 5038 41 16 22 78  
Avg   10 226 379 2613 20 12 15 66 1
Proj DET       4500 37 18   70 1

Apparently all Stafford needed to do was to remain healthy for an entire season. After two seasons cut short by various ailments, Stafford exploded in 2011 with 5038 passing yards and 41 touchdowns. He went from being a marginal player with injury problems to being an elite in just one season. This schedule this year is somewhat more difficult than last year but he does return all the same offensive players to help him including the incomparable Calvin Johnson. They also added 2.22 pick WR Ryan Broyles from Oklahoma but spent their first round pick on the offensive line - another good thing. Stafford doesn't yet have the track record of the other elites - Brady, Brees, Rodgers and Manning - but he's already produced as well as any. One season doesn't mean he is past the injury problems as well but Stafford delivered huge for those who believed in him last year.

Cam Newton - CAR YEAR TM GMS CMP ATT PYD PTD INT CAR RYD RTD
Huddle Rank: 5
Keeper: 5
Auction 10: 16%
Auction 12: 15%
2009                    
2010                    
2011 CAR 16 310 517 4051 21 17 126 706 14
Avg   16 310 517 4051 21 17 126 706 14
Proj CAR       3500 23 12   500 8

The 706 rushing yards weren’t a surprise, and while the 14 rushing scores was more than expected it wasn’t as if Newton didn’t enter the league with a track record of ground success. But blowing Peyton Manning’s rookie passing record out of the water? Didn’t see that one coming, not with the Panthers’ offensive philosophy and dearth of pass-catching talent after Steve Smith. Newton’s encore might involve fewer rushing scores—why risk your franchise QB at the stripe when you have a stable of backs like Carolina does—and his receivers didn’t receive much of an upgrade. But flip it around: that just means the offense once again flows through Newton, and as of yet the league hasn’t demonstrated the ability to cap this gusher.

Matt Ryan - ATL YEAR TM GMS CMP ATT PYD PTD INT CAR RYD RTD
Huddle Rank: 6
Keeper: 6
Auction 10: 8%
Auction 12: 10%
2009 ATL 14 263 451 2916 22 14 30 49 1
2010 ATL 16 357 571 3705 28 9 46 122  
2011 ATL 16 347 566 4177 29 12 37 84 2
Avg   15 322 529 3599 26 12 38 85 1
Proj ATL       4300 33 14   50 1

(+Upside) Have to love Matt Ryan this year. He already comes off a career best mark of 4177 yards and 29 touchdowns last season and has an even better schedule for 2012. The addition of Julius Jones has allowed one more nice weapon for Ryan who still hopes to see Tony Gonzalez provide a meaningful role as well. Ryan was among the most consistent quarterbacks in 2011 with 13 games featuring 300 passing yards and/or two touchdowns. The rushing attack is likely to be slightly less effective this year with Michael Turner hitting 30 years of age and yet without any notable backup. Ryan makes for a great pick once the elite quarterbacks are taken and yet could end up out producing many of them.

Eli Manning - NYG YEAR TM GMS CMP ATT PYD PTD INT CAR RYD RTD
Huddle Rank: 7
Keeper: 7
Auction 10: 8%
Auction 12: 10%
2009 NYG 16 317 509 4021 27 14 17 65  
2010 NYG 16 339 539 4002 31 25 32 70  
2011 NYG 16 359 589 4933 29 16 35 15 1
Avg   16 338 546 4319 29 18 28 50 0
Proj NYG       4600 30 12   50  

Remember prior to the 2011 season when Eli had the audacity to say he considered himself among the league’s best quarterbacks? Twenty-nine TDs, 4,933 yards and a second Super Bowl ring would seem to back up that assertion. The 900-plus yard jump in Manning’s career-best passing yards, thanks in no small part to a career-high 589 attempts, also elevated Manning from fantasy plug-in to the cusp of the elite. Manning loses his QB coach to the Bucs but keeps a talented corps of receivers with Rueben Randle and Martellus Bennett stepping in for Mario Manningham and the Giants’ injured tight ends—as if Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz needed help. Even Eli would find it tough to proclaim himself the best fantasy quarterback, but there’s nothing wrong with settling for pretty doggone good.

Ben Roethlisberger - PIT YEAR TM GMS CMP ATT PYD PTD INT CAR RYD RTD
Huddle Rank: 8
Keeper: 8
Auction 10: 6%
Auction 12: 10%
2009 PIT 15 337 506 4328 26 12 40 82 2
2010 PIT 12 240 389 3200 17 5 34 176 2
2011 PIT 15 324 513 4077 21 14 31 70  
Avg   14 300 469 3868 21 10 35 109 1
Proj PIT       4400 27 15   70 2

The difference between Big Ben being a legit fantasy starter as he’s been in recent seasons and last year’s relatively pedestrian showing is a complete lack of rushing scores after at least two each of the previous six years. Everything else with Roethlisberger’s game was fine, including a career-high 513 pass attempts. Don’t bank on the rushing scores to return, but a consistent 500-plus attempts and 4,000-plus yards puts Big Ben right back in the fantasy starter mix.

Tony Romo - DAL YEAR TM GMS CMP ATT PYD PTD INT CAR RYD RTD
Huddle Rank: 9
Keeper: 9
Auction 10: 6%
Auction 12: 8%
2009 DAL 16 347 550 4483 26 9 35 105 1
2010 DAL 6 148 213 1605 11 7 6 38  
2011 DAL 16 346 522 4184 31 10 22 46 1
Avg   13 280 428 3424 23 9 21 63 1
Proj DAL       4180 29 12   60 2

Romo comes off a nice season with 4184 yards and 31 touchdowns but it just followed his odd trend. In odd- numbered years - '07, '09 and '11 - he passed for around 4200 yards and 30 touchdowns or so. But in even number years, he has been injured and fallen well short of that mark. And this is an even-numbered season. Romo will also be missing Laurent Robinson (54-858, 11 TD) but will aim to get Miles Austin back to his previous form. The schedule is nothing special and the Cowboys have almost all the same returning offensive players. But Romo will have to have his first decent season in an even-numbered year and the Cowboys could have an improved ground game if DeMarco Murray can remain healthy. Romo is worth the risk because he has been a top quarterback in three different seasons but there could be the chance you need to wait until 2013 for his trend to continue.

Tier Three
Philip Rivers - SDC YEAR TM GMS CMP ATT PYD PTD INT CAR RYD RTD
Huddle Rank: 10
Keeper: 10
Auction 10: 6%
Auction 12: 8%
2009 SDC 16 317 486 4254 28 9 26 50 1
2010 SDC 16 357 541 4710 30 13 29 52  
2011 SDC 16 366 582 4624 27 20 26 36 1
Avg   16 347 536 4529 28 14 27 46 1
Proj SDC       4580 27 15   50  

Rivers has been rock-solid consistent, posting a fourth consecutive season averaging 21-plus fantasy points per game. He’s done it without Vincent Jackson before, and now he’ll get to do it full-time. He will have new target Robert Meachem and a healthier Antonio Gates at his disposal, as well as emerging talents Malcom Floyd and Vincent Brown. That elite monster season isn’t likely to come, but there’s nothing wrong with confidently penciling in fringe top-5 numbers at the QB position.

   
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