Top 20 NFL QB’s – Ryan’s 2013 Fantasy Football Preview Series
It’s that time of year where you and all your buddies are putting fantasy leagues together. The final weeks of every person still having hope they will have a dominant team this season. But do you really have the ultimate plan for drafting an inferior team? How well do you really know all the players? Don’t worry, because I’m gonna break down every position for you. Lets get things started with the game managers.
We all know that scoring settings effect how early or how late you draft your QB. Standard leagues usually have QB’s TD’s worth 6 points. Some also have each completion worth (.5), which is known as a Points Per Reception League (PPR). So if your league has both those settings, you definitley don’t need to wait til the later rounds to draft a QB. QB’s in PPR leagues are the highest scoring players on the team. Which makes this your most imporant draft pick. You usually don’t see the last place team in a PPR league with Drew Brees at the helm. This is a huge pick in these leagues and you can’t afford to make a bad one.But if your passing TD’s are only worth 4 points, and you have no PPR, you can nab those all important RB’s in the earlier rounds. Now that you know how your QB is in correlation to your league settings, let’s take a look at how each QB will measure up this season.
I’m gonna give you personal projections and rankings for QB’s.
1. Drew Brees. I like players that I already know what I’m getting when I draft them. Brees is that high volume passing QB who will still put up double digits in his worst game of the year. He was the only QB last year in the Top 3 in completions, yards and touchdowns. He has a huge target in Graham, who I think will improve on the season he had last year.
2. Peyton Manning. It was hard to put Manning in front of Rodgers, but I did it for multiple reasons. The Broncos added Welker while the Packers cut ties with Jennings. I think the Broncos are gonna run through the AFC, not to mention they have a much easier divisoin than the Packers. I think the Packers OL is awful and don’t like the way they protected Rodgers last season. Even with the Koppen out, Peyton will get that protection he needs in his second year as a Bronco. Don’t expect anything less than a 35-40 touchdown season for Manning.
3. Aaron Rodgers. The guy really does have an unbelievable arm. He makes throws from positions and angles that look impossible. With the departure of Greg Jennings, health issues with Jordy Nelson and inconsistencies from Finley, a lot fantasy season depends heavily on Randall Cobb and James Jones. Gonna be very interesting to watch this offense with two rookie RB’s as well. I think the Packers will build a strong chemisty on offense as the season goes on. Look for Rodgers to have a 40TD 10INT type season.
4. Tom Brady. I think people are split down the middle on Brady this season. They see Welker leaving, Hernandez going to jail and the health status of Gronk up in the air still. But if their is one quarterback who will make it work, it’s Brady. We have all seen him be successful with make-shift WR’s before, and he’ll do it again this season. I project him to have around 33TD and 10INT this season.
5. Matt Ryan. This guy falls late in every draft I do. Why? Because people judge him by his name, not his numbers. Ryan was in the Top 5 in completions, yards and touchdowns last season, that’s impressive. And don’t think for a second Ryan won’t have another good year, cause he will. This guy took me to a money league championship last year. He’s got a new RB in Jackson, and the ultimate WR weapons in Jones-White-Gonzalez. I also love how 8 times a year the weather won’t effect his game. If he can improve on his interception count (14), look for him to have a monster year.
6. Andrew Luck. Sophomore slump? I don’t think so. This guy broke Cam Newton’s rookie QB passing yards record with 4,376 yards last season. I think he can throw for even more yards this year. If he can limit his interceptions from last year (18), he can really put together a great season. Reggie Wayne (who turn’s 35 this season) seems to be turning into the ageless wonder. They added Darrius Heyward-Bey and Ahmad Bradshaw in the offseason which can only make Luck better. T.Y. Hilton is a really underrated WR who can line up in any formation and be productive. I expect Andrew Luck to have a great season.
7. Robert Griffin III. He is easily the biggest question mark on all draft boards due to his knee. But I’m gonna rank him here based off of him being healthy and ready to go Week 1. He is an extremely effecient fantasy QB. As crazy as it sounds, after he was drafted, many people doubted he had the arm of an NFL QB. After 393 pass attempts as a rookie, he only had 5 interceptions. Pretty clear that he has a great arm, he is a threat running the football, and he’s a very smart quarterback. Not to mention he had over 4,000 total yards, which includes over 800 yards rushing.
8. Cam Newton. I have Newton in the top 8 because of his duel threat in the air and on the ground. He had 714 rushing yards along with 8 rushing TD last season. Newton had more rushing touchdowns then 70% of starting RB’s in the NFL. Newton has tons of talent, but Carolina has equipped him with less than perfect weapons. Newton is going to reply heavily on Steve Smith and Greg Olsen, who combined for 2,000 recieving yards last year. With a mediocre offensive line, Brandon LaFell, Ted Ginn Jr. and Domenik Hixon, it’s hard to believe he’ll improve on his passing numbers.
9. Matthew Stafford. Let’s face it. Their is only 1 reason why Stafford would be in the Top 10. Calvin Johnson. Even with his down year last season, he is still coming off back to back 5,000 yard seasons. His past 2 seasons have been polar opposites though. 2011: 421 completions 5,038 yards 41TD 16 INT. 2012: 435 completions, 4,967 yards, 20TD 17INT. The Lions went from a playoff team in 2011 to arguably the worst team in the NFC in 2012. I expect Stafford to heavily improve on his 2012 season. With the addition of Reggie Bush, I expect him to open of the field for Stafford and the rest of the offense.
10. Colin Kaepernick. A lot of people think he might be overrated or doesn’t stand a chance of putting up numbers like last season. I am not one of those people. After he took the starting job from Alex Smith, in weeks 11-17 last season, he averaged 265 yards a game 230passing/35rushing. He also only had 3 interceptions in 218 attempts. He had 5 rushing touchdowns, which is a lot for only playing half a season. Not to mention his stellar playoff performances. In his 3 playoff games he had a 101 QB Rating and averaged 354 yards of offense. If he stays healthy, it’s honestly scary how good of a year he could have. The Niners have a solid offensive line to protect him all season. They won’t miss a beat not having Crabtree. They added Boldin in the offseason, who’s better than Crabtree anyway.
11. Russell Wilson. Wilson didn’t have Harvin last season, but he still found a way to have a productive year. So let’s not focus to much on the injury. His weapons for the first 10-12 games will still be Sidney Rice and Golden Tate. Wilson, RG3 and Kaepernick have many things in common. They have strong arms, they minizmize turnovers and they can run the football. But Wilson doesn’t compile a high amount of passing yards like most dominant NFL QB’s. But Wilson has a dominant offensive line, can run the football and has one of the best running back’s in the NFL in his backfield.
12. Tony Romo. I know a lot of people don’t like Romo. But at some point, you have to realize what he’s capable of doing. In his last 2 seasons combined he’s had 9.087 yards and 59TD. If you don’t think that’s production I’m not sure what to tell you. He did have 19 interceptions last season, but half of those came in 2 games against the Giants and Bears. I can gurantee you right now he won’t throw 19 again. I am mainly putting the success of Romo this season on Dez Bryan’t shoulders. Dez just seems like a different WR than last year. He looks like he has his head on straight and won’t be dropping balls like 2012. Dallas also added RG’s favorite target at Baylor Terrence Williams via NFL Draft. Jerry gave Romo a $108 Million contract extension in the offseason. The only thing I see holding Romo back this season is the offensive line. Dallas spent a first round pick on the OL and made a huge investment in Travis Frederick. But like any other offensive line rebuild, only time will tell.
13. Eli Manning. At this point in his career, we all basically know what we’re gonna get out of Manning. He’s had 8 straight seasons between 24 to 31 touchdowns. But he has had 56 interceptions his past 3 seasons. That’s what seperates him from being a top fantasy quarterback. One good thing about Manning is his health. He hasn’t missed a game in 8 years. Manning has two big targets in Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz. As long as those two WR’s stay healthy, Manning shouldn’t disappoint to many owners. But if you’re looking for a primetime QB, he’s not your best option. In the big picture, he’s the perfect backup QB for your fantasy team.
14. Andy Dalton. He didn’t have that sophomore slump that many people predicted last season. Two reasons why I think he has another good season. 1. A.J. Green. 2. His health. This guy is a tough quarterback. He hasn’t missed a snap since he came in the NFL 2 years ago. He’s a winner too, taking the Bengals to the playoffs in each of his first two seasons. 27 touchdowns last year isn’t anything to sneeze at either. Just like Romo and Manning, he needs to reduce his number of interceptions. With only 3 games of 300+ yards last season, he is won’t be putting up huge numbers week in and week out. But if you are looking for a decent starter or a perfect backup QB, Dalton is a solid option.
15. Ben Roethlisberger. I honestly don’t know what to expect out of Pittsburgh this season. This is not the same Steelers teams we are used to seeing. They actually like to throw the football a whole lot more now a days. I know 15 is pretty high for Big Ben considering he lost Mike Wallace and the offensive line shared its struggles last season. But Big Ben still had 26TD’s last year and even missed 3 games. I still think Antonio Brown, Emmanuel Sanders and Heath Miller are good enough or Ben to have a decent year.
16. Josh Freeman. Tampa Bay has had some major growing pains the past couple season. But I actually like the team they have this year. Even with the up and down season they had in 2012, Freeman still threw for over 4,000 yards and 27TD’s last season. The addition of Vincent Jackson seemed to really open up the field for Doug Martin and the rest of the offense.
17. Joe Flacco. We didn’t see the same QB at all that we saw in the playoffs compared to the regular season last year. Flacco has never really been a known as a highly productive fantasy quarterback. But we all know one thing, he lost Boldin to the 49ers in the offseason. He’s gonna miss Pitta as well (61 rec. 669 yards 7TD in 2012), who suffered a season-ending hip injury during preseason play. Ed Dickson and Dallas Clark will try and be just as productive out of the TE position. But he still has his stellar offensive line. Torey Smith will step up to the No. 1 WR spot and Jacob Jones to the No. 2 spot, while Brandon Stokely takes the slot position. I think we see the same QB we saw last regular season if not worse. A QB who had 7 games of 199 yards or less.
18. Matt Schaub. Overall, Schaub is a decent QB. But I think he lives and dies by the health of his No. 1 WR Andre Johnson. He doesn’t get to much attention in the fantasy world even though he threw over 4,000 yards and had 22TD’s last season. Turning 32 this summer, I don’t think things will be getting any easier for Schaub this season. I think the Texans have a pretty tough schedule this year as well. Schaub really struggled to close out the season last year. He only had 1 passing touchdown the final 4 games of the season. Don’t expect Schaub to blow the doors off with any suprises in 2013.
19. Sam Bradford. I love what St. Louis did in the NFL Draft. They filled a lot holes with some solid picks. The Rams have been trying to rebuild the offensive line for the past 3 seasons. But Bradford still has basically nobody at WR. The best WR and favorite target from last season, Danny Amendola, is now gone. Not to mention Bradford plays in a division vs. some amazing defensive teams. It looks like Chris Givens will step up and be the No. 1 WR for Bradford in 2013. Even with many questions looming about the offense, I think Bradford improves and has a better season than last year.
20. Phillips Rivers/Michael Vick. Oh how these 2 quarterbacks have fallen from grace. I wouldn’t be suprised if either one of these QB’s get seriously injured or benched this season. Even though Rivers needs a miracle to find his arm again, he would have to be pretty bad to be benched. But I have them to round out the top 20 because of what they are capable of doing. Both these QB’s lost very important WR’s to preseason ACL injuries. But I think Vick has even more to prove than Rivers does. Vick signed a 6-year $100 Million contract in 2011. He looked so awful and injury-prone last season though. Many Eagles fans think bringing in Chip Kelly will help open up the offense.
Those round my top 20 QB’s for this season. I didn’t touch any rookies. I wouldn’t put to much thought into the order of QB’s 16-20. Not to big of a difference between all of them. And if I were gonna put a QB in the top 20 to replace Vick or Rivers, it would be Alex Smith. Smith should benefit from Andy Reid and a new locker room. Remember, these rankings are for leagues that are QB heavy (PPR or 6 points for passing TD).