QB Predictions

Working The Wire has broken down all 32 starting NFL Quarterbacks for the 2012 season.  We have ranked them based on who we think will end the season with the most Fantasy Points in standard scoring leagues.

Team Quarter Back Fantasy Value QBRK
Green Bay Packers Aaron Rodgers So, last year we said that Aaron Rodgers was worth the number one pick in all fantasy formats. We were right. This year we feel very similar. We can understand the debate between Brees, Rodgers and Brady and if you really want to get into it feel free, either way you have an elite Quarterback on your squad and much like the real NFL you maybe able to squeak through a championship once a decade without a top tier QB but its much easier with one. No longer are running backs the predominate necessity in Fantasy Football, its Quarterbacks and if you can draft your way into getting said QB’s number one threat you are two steps ahead of the game. 1
New England Patriots Tom Brady We battled back and forth here last year whether Aaron Rodgers or Tom Brady were the best QB in Fantasy, Turned out it was Rodgers. That’s not to say that Brady wasn’t right there. The New England offense did what it does, throw the ball and they look to do it again this year. They have already secured Wes Welker for the season with the Franchise Tag and brought in deep threats Brandon Lloyd and Donte Stallworth. The additions allow for the dynamic Tight End duo to have more open field to work with and Welker to be able to roam free over the middle of the field and working the sidelines. The Patriots currently do not have a running back that can carry the load which means more passing from the best passing team in the league. Expect another fantastic Fantasy performance from Brady, again its either him, Rodgers or Brees. 2
New Orleans Saints Drew Brees Drew Brees was the player last year we were not sure was going to be able to reproduce the numbers we expect from the former Superbowl MVP. We knew he was a top 3 talent at the position but was he also worth a first round pick like we believed Brady and Rodgers were, he was. This year we have the same questions, but none of them revolve around if Brees can do it. Our questions this year all surround “Bounty Gate” and how the penalties were handed down over the origination, with Sean Payton sitting out the entire season, will that effect the way the play calling on offense. The Saints did bring back Marques Colston but lost Robert Meachem, and they do still have Jimmy Graham, but have lost several contributors on defense as well as loosing Defensive Coordinator Gregg Williams. Brees is still a top Fantasy producer at the QB spot but may fall to number 4 depending on how Cam Newton, Matthew Stafford or even Philip Rivers shows up. 3
Detroit Lions Matthew Stafford If you were not convinced by Matthew Stafford’s performance at the end of 2010, then please tell me you apologized by mid season of 2011. Stafford showed great arm strength and accuracy on the deep ball and a utter lack of anything resembling fear as he regularly chucked the ball high and hard into double and triple teams to receiving god Calvin Johnson. Stafford is one of the few talents at Quarterback that does not need an overly talented receiving corp. Like Tom Brady, Stafford reads coverages well and has faith in knowing which one of his guys can beat their match up. He throws the ball with great touch and has an offense that is designed to let him break passing records. The running game in Detroit is going to fall apart, its what it does since Barry Sanders left, luckily Stafford has the arm strength of a young Drew Bledsoe and will have no problems throwing the ball 45 times a week. 4
San Diego Chargers Philip Rivers Philip Rivers had by far the worst season of his career as a starter. All he did was throw for 4,600 yards and 27 touch downs. And yes that was the worst season of his career. Rivers may have had an off year, and the San Diego Chargers may have been a lousy team for most of the season, but Philip Rivers is a starting NFL Quarterback and more importantly to this article is an absolute Fantasy Starter. We had him ranked as the #5 Fantasy Quarterback last year and that’s just where we are putting him again. 5
Carolina Panthers Cam Newton In 2011, Cam Newton thrust his way to a top 4 fantasy performance at quarterback. In 2012, expect the same. His passing yards will be nothing spectacular (roughly 3000 – 3400 yards) but the rushing yards (750), rushing TD’s (7) and his ability to open up passing seems inside the red zone will be vital to another dominating fantasy performance, He’s not Rodgers, Brees or Brady but he is right on the door step. Remember your Vick expectations last year, Newtons going to make that happen. Look for him to be the #6 overall producing QB this year 6
Chicago Bears Jay Cutler Jay Cutler has been a Fantasy disappointment since joining the Chicago Bears. The Mike Martz experiment is over now and a more traditional offense may just be the thing that puts Cutler back into an elite level Fantasy Quarterback. The Bears have put Cutler together with Brandon Marshall who they acquired from Miami, and Jeremy Bates who was signed as the Bears Quarterbacks coach. Cutler, Marshall, and Bates all teamed up in Denver when Cutler was throwing for over 4,000 yards a season. Cutler will not challenge for the top 5 spots but given his new pieces he just may return to the form that made him a Fantasy starter and Pro Bowler in 2008. 7
Houston Texans Matt Schaub Matt Schaub is coming off yet another highly productive season. He has never been able to break that top 5 Fantasy Quarterback like many thought he would 3 or 4 years ago, but he is productive and puts up 20 fantasy points per game when healthy. Matt’s health becomes a slight question mark, he has taken severe hits in the past but nothing as severe as the broken foot he suffered at the end of last season. The concern is how well will Schaub be able to plant his foot in his drop back, if he can not get stable footing you can expect a lot of balls to be thrown either very short or too high even for a receiver the likes of Andre Johnson to bring down. If he’s health and if Johnson himself can stay healthy he is a valuable starting Fantasy Quarterback who should still be around in the late 4th to 6th round of the draft. 8
Denver Broncos Peyton Manning Did anyone hear that Peyton Manning is no longer an Indianapolis Colt? Its true. Peyton is now in Denver and The Broncos have wasted little time developing an offense around him. Denver already had 2 exciting wide outs in Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker, and so far this offseason have added Tight Ends Joel Dreessen from Houston and Jacob Tamme from the Colts. The predictions for Peyton are a hit or miss guess. If he’s healthy, with the weapons around him and the offensive line in Denver Peyton could easily return to his old self, 4,500 yards and 30 TD’s, however if the neck is not 100%, Denver could be looking at the next rendition of the Caleb Hanie experiment, which did not work out to well for the Bears last season. 9
Buffalo Bills Ryan Fitzpatrick Ryan Fitzpatrick show flashes of brilliance last year, especially early on in the season. The Bills brought back Stevie Johnson to keep an over-achieving receiver corp together and TE Scott Chandler and RB C.J. Spiller are creditable passing threats. If Fred Jackson comes back healthy and runs like he did last year the Bills offense can be productive especially when considering a relatively easy schedule. 10
Atlanta Falcons Matt Ryan Ryan has 2 amazing receivers in Roddy White and Julio Jones, they still have a solid running game with Michael Turner and one more year of future H.O.F. Tight End in Tony Gonzalez. He has the weapons and a schedule against some top tier offensives which will keep him throwing. I see big things from Ryan this year and would take him as my #6 QB on the board. 11
Cincinnati Bengals Andy Dalton Andy Dalton proved as a rookie that he could make an impact in the NFL. He has a solid passing attack with A.J. Green, Jordan Shipley and Tight End Jermaine Gresham. The offensive line is under rated in the passing game and will give Dalton plenty of time to throw. What they don’t have right now is any kind of running attack. If they are unable to resign Cedric Benson then Bernard Scott looks to be the starter and I don’t believe he can carry a load or force a defense to go 8 in the box. Add to that the Cincinnati schedule and Andy Dalton is a low second tier quarterback, with possibly only spot start capabilities 12
Baltimore Ravens Joe Flacco Flacco and the Ravens have the same problem this year they did last, no secondary threat to relieve coverage on Anquan Boldin and a running back in Ray Rice that should get 30 touches a game. The Tight Ends of Ed Dickson and Dennis Pitta should open up more Red Zone Touch Downs but not enough to make Flacco fantasy viable this year. 13
New York Giants Eli Manning He beat Tom Brady and the Patriots in the Superbowl for the second time, he must be a better quarterback, right? No! Eli is a quality NFL quarterback and can make almost all the throws, but Eli is just barely a Fantasy Quarterback. This year Eli is down a major Red Zone weapon by loosing Mario Manningham to the 49ers, now Victor Cruz will slide into the Y position but without Cruz running in the slot defensive coverages will be able to roll over safety help and allow even average secondaries to spy on Eli and read his passes, mark my words Eli throws 22 TD’s to go with 26 INT’s. Eli is the #14 rated Fantasy QB this year, almost a starter but only barely. 14
Philadelphia Eagles Michael Vick Michael Vick was poised to be the greatest thing to happen to Fantasy Quarterbacks since pass interference. Vick had come off a brilliant 2010 campaign where he took over for concussed Kevin Kolb and led the Eagles to a division title and the playoffs. The Eagles then went out and signed every player known to man during the 2011 offseason and they had everything going for them when the season started. Of course, everything fell apart, the offensive linemen could get on the same page, the defense could not stop anyone when it counted and the season was less then stellar for Vick as well. We learned early on that the injury risks are very real with Vick and they will cost him games every year. I see Vick being slightly more healthy this year and playing in at least 14 games, because of that he is still a second tier Fantasy Quarterback, look for him in the mid to late 3rd round or 4th and if you can grab him in the 5th round good job, but what ever you do, have a back up QB in mind. Shoot for Andy Dalton or Tony Romo although they may be highly over-rated by other teams. 15
Dallas Cowboys Tony Romo Tony Romo is coming off a season that left him battered and bruised. Tony has a solid receiving corp if Dez Bryant and Miles Austin can stay healthy and still has one of the best Tight Ends in football in Jason Witten. What Romo does not have is the support of his franchise or his city. He is also lacking a productive offensive line that can stay consistent and a running back that can handle 20 – 25 carries a game. The Cowboys offensive playing calling is easy to read and leaves nothing to the imagination of a defensive coordinator. Add it all up and Romo is possibly the 15th best Quarterback in a Fantasy format, he’ll have a few big games but better suited for a backup position on your Fantasy team. 16
Pittsburgh Steelers Ben Roethlisberger Ben Roethlisberger has seen his finest days as a Fantasy Quarterback come and go. We think he probably has more in the tank but an offense that is falling apart around him will prevent the once ferocious down field passer from being able to throw those 65 and 70 yard bombs. The Steelers O-line is crumbling and Rashard Mendenhall has not panned out to be as reliable as the Pittsburgh coaching staff would have hoped. Ben can still make big plays, but he’ll need a lot more time to do that this year, and time is exactly what he will not have. Ben moves down from a bottom of the top 10 Fantasy Quarterback to bottom of the top 15, he becomes a solid spot start against weak pass rushes and very good bench QB in case of injury. 17
Indianapolis Colts Andrew Luck Andrew Luck may wind up starting his career very similar to his predecessor, Peyton Manning. And by that we mean losing a lot. The Colts are a team still built around Peyton Manning’s decision making skill and not quality talent. The offensive line took a hit when Saturday went to Green Bay, the receiving corp was depleted when Tamme went to Denver and Piere Garcon went to Washington. Luck is a pro-style quarterback and will be successful in the NFL but this is not going to be his year. He’s a solid player to pick up late in the draft but don’t expect Cam Newton break out numbers from him in his rookie season 18
Washington Redskins Robert Griffin III Robert Griffin fits the new mold of NFL Quarterbacks. He fits the Cam Newton mentality of throw first, run often. He does not have the pure size and strength in the running game that Newton possesses however he does have remarkable fluid movement and very quick feet which will allow him to create space and break away from defenders in the box. His arm strength is great and his delivery is smooth, however he has one major drawback that will keep him from being a Fantasy starting Quarterback this year, he’s playing in Washington. The Redskins offensive line showed last year that they need improvement, they can not sustain their blocks to allow big plays to develop and they were often pushed off their spots in the running game. RGIII will be a high caliber starter in the NFL, but its going to take Washington developing around him, which will not happen this year. 19
Arizona Cardinals Kevin Kolb Kolb has a dominate receiving threat in Larry Fitzgerald however a sub par offensive line and no guarantees in the running game Kolb is a spot starter on any Fantasy Team at best. 20
St. Louis Rams Sam Bradford Sam Bradford could easily be Matthew Stafford. What Sam Bradford lacks is not skill or confidence, health or coaching, Sam Bradford lacks a team. The receivers in St. Louis may be the worst receiving corp in the NFL. The offensive line has seen once solid pass protectors give way to undersized zone running block line on a team that does not zone block. The organization has failed to find weapons to team with Bradford and that’s why there is no reason to draft him. His skill set will have some Fantasy players clamoring to make him their sleeper in the late 5th or 6th round, let them, Bradford will look great on the highlight reals but never in the box score. 21
Tennessee Titans Matt Hasselbeck Matt Hasselbeck has been one of the NFL’s most under-rated QB’s for many years now. At this point his skill level may finally be catching up with the critics. Hasselbeck still has great decision making, but no longer has the push on the ball that he used to. Hasselbeck is a solid fantasy backup quarterback and will deserve some spot starts against weaker secondaries like the Colts during the season. Where once he was a solid top 10 Fantasy Quarterback, he has fallen down to just inside the top 15. 22
Tampa Bay Buccaneers Josh Freeman Josh Freeman may have single-handedly tanked more fantasy teams last year than any other player, including Peyton Manning. (who did not take a snap) Freeman showed in 2010 that he had a strong arm and quick decision making often firing balls down field on perfect back shoulder throws or leading a player straight to the pylon. In 2011 he showed that he can throw the ball equally well to players in both uniforms and if at all possible it is better to heave a ball into heavy traffic than take a sack. Freeman will be a gamble for many Fantasy players this year. And he may be worth it, the Bucs brought in Vincent Jackson to sure up the receivers and Carl Nicks to help keep together the offensive line, these are two dynamic impact players at their position and if Freeman can regain his swagger from 2010 he may just break out again. Solid backup QB to be taken in the 7-9 rounds. 23
Oakland Raiders Carson Palmer Carson Palmer is the question mark with biggest possible upside. If he is 100% focused on playing; he has the pieces next to him to be dominant. He has deep threats that can make plays down field, a running back who forces teams to play close to the box, and an offensive coordinator in Greg Knapp that likes to air it out regularly as seen while QB coach for Houston the last 2 years. Palmer still has a strong arm and showed brief moments towards the end of last season that he still has the decision making skills to be a elite passer, he is a player that I wouldn’t mind having but I’m not going to reach for. 24
Seattle Seahawks Matt Flynn The Wild Card, Matt Flynn. He may have had the most impressive 2 game career a quarterback can have. He went throw for throw with Tom Brady in 2010 and out dueled Matthew Stafford in the 2011 season finale’. Can he be a consistent week in and week out quarterback in the NFL, we do not know. What we do know is he has played in a pass friendly offensive system and knows how to read standard defenses flawlessly. We know he has several weapons in Seattle which if coaching staff can put together a game plan can attack from a lot of different ways, we know that Seattle plays in an overall weak division once you get past the 49ers. (if they resign Smith) The big question will be, is Matt Flynn the next Aaron Rodgers, or the next Scott Mitchell? I think Fantasy draft wise, he’s worth a late round flier, no higher than the 12th round. 25
San Francisco 49ers Alex Smith Alex Smith is not worthy of a draft choice in Fantasy Football. I firmly believe he has what it takes to lead the 49ers to the Superbowl (if they resign him), but that does not mean he can win me my Fantasy league. Smith is a control passer who wins games by not making mistakes, the way you win those games is by not taking big risks and that means no deep balls, no throws into tight coverage, and no throwing it up to let a bigger receiver make a play. In the 49ers offense you take what they give you or throw it away, and that can win in the NFL, but not in Fantasy. 26
New York Jets Mark Sanchezand

Tim Tebow

You will hear plenty leading into the season that Mark Sanchez will not be as productive as he has been in the past, this year. You will hear that the tension in the locker room is weighing on him, and his relationship with Rex Ryan is shaky. You will hear that the Defensive stars have no faith in him and that his running game will let him down. You will hear all of these things, and they are all true, and none of them have anything to do with Mark Sanchez’s fantasy performance. The one thing that will… Mark Sanchez is not very good. He has below average arm strength, makes bad reads, and worse throws on those bad reads. Mark Sanchez has the capability of being a starting quarterback in the NFL, but he is not a Fantasy relevant QB.  Add to that the addition of Tim Tebow to the Jets locker room, and you melting pot of crap fantasy football quarterback play.  Tebow’s locker room pressance will undoubtably turn teammates to his favor, and when Sanchez struggles it will Tim Tebow that the players call for, and when that happens, losses are soon to follow.  Tebow may have beat up on a weak AFC west division last season, but he’s playing with the big boys now in the AFC East and he will not be as lucky this year as he was last. 27
Kansas City Chiefs Matt Cassel Matt Cassel is back and appears to be healthy the question for him is how healthy will his team be. The Chiefs looked to have a very efficient offense last season for roughly a drive and a half. Once Jamal Charles went down the rest of the Chiefs offense seemed to loose a step. The Cassel injury last year only increased that affect. This year they are healthy though, Charles appears to be back as is tight end Tony Moeaki who burst onto the season late in 2010. The Chiefs were able to bring back Wide Receiver threat Dwayne Bowe who had a career year when all parts were in place in 2010 with 72 catches and 15 TD’s. Cassel is a mid second tier Fantasy QB with an upside, but no one to trust your team to all season long. 28
Minnesota Vikings Christian Ponder Christian Ponder… We know so little about you. We know you like to throw picks as often as touch downs, we know you have trouble getting the ball down field where your weapons are, and we know that there is a good chance you are the second best quarterback on the Vikings behind Joe Webb. Ponder has problems with low end receiving corp where the play maker Percy Harvin is usually 20 yards further down field than Ponder can throw it. They do have a dynamic young Tight End in Kyle Rudolph and have brought in John Carlson from Seattle which will help Ponder in the Red Zone, Adrian Peterson should be healthy again which will only take more throws out of Ponders hand. Fantasy wise put him in the Matt Moore category, in other words, stay away. 29
Miami Dolphins Matt Moore Matt Moore may be one of the most under-rated passers in the league last year. He had an 87.1 Quarterback ranking 12th in the league and carried a 60.5% completion percentage. Having said that Brandon Marshall is gone, Matt Moore’s confidence was sold to Tom Condon for either Peyton Manning or Alex Smith, which got them neither and now Moore has to a sub-par receiving corp who the best receiver on the team now is a running back in Reggie Bush. The Miami Defense has gotten older and doesn’t have the play makers to keep the ball in the hands of Moore and the Miami offense. Moore although a better quarterback than this, is probably the worst Fantasy quarterback in the league. 0
Jacksonville Jaguars Blain Gabbert Blaine, Blaine, Blaine. Poor Mr. Gabbert, there is not much he could have done worse last season, and the hard part is, none of it was his fault. Gabbert was thrown to the wolves after David Garrard was released basically during the week one coin flip. Gabbert went out and did the best he could however his best option on nearly all plays was handing the ball off to NFL leading rusher Maurice Jones-Drew. (which was not a bad idea) The Jags passing game is just plain bad. They have no consistent wide receiver threat, Mike Thomas is as close as they come, and their tight end, Mercedes Lewis, who was a pro-bowler two years ago, did not seem to want to make an effort for his rookie quarterback. Gabbert may have what it takes down the road, but this year, he is fantasy irrelevant and should be avoided, along with the rest of Jacksonville’s offense, with the exception of MJD 31
Cleveland Browns Colt McCoy Colt McCoy is coming off a season of rough hits and worse play calling. The Cleveland Browns in general under performed at all offensive positions with the line allowing to much pressure from the edges and not being able to open holes in the middle, the running game could not stay healthy and the passing attack was a case of bad passes after dropped balls. McCoy is a heck of a competitor but as a Fantasy Quarterback deserves little consideration, unless, wait, are you his mother…? 32

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