Quarterbacks are putting up CRAZY numbers these days. But which quarterback has the best chance to hit the fantasy football jackpot for your team? Read on to see who ranks first in our Top 10 Fantasy Football Quarterback Rankings...
1. Drew Brees, Saints
Yeah, I know Saints head coach Sean Payton is suspended for the year. And I don’t care. Brees doesn’t need Payton to light up opposing defenses. He’s coming off a record-setting season, and I expect him to pick up right where he left off.
2. Aaron Rodgers, Packers
If Drew Brees is Number 1, then Rodgers is Number 1A. These two are really close. But two things bother me with Rodgers: (a) The Packers defense struggles to stop the run, meaning opponents can control the clock and keep Rodgers off the field, and (b) The Packers often get down near the goal line and then hand it off to John Kuhn for the touchdown. Brees and the Saints, on the other hand, just throw, throw, throw.
3. Tom Brady, Patriots
Brady is already awesome. He could be even better with Brandon Lloyd joining the Pats. Lloyd gives Brady a top-notch deep threat for the first time since Randy Moss started sulking and got booted out of New England. Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers and Brady are the clear-cut top three among quarterbacks.
4. Matthew Stafford, Lions
Hey, even I could throw for a couple thousand yards if I had Calvin Johnson on my team. Stafford had a breakout year in 2011, and there’s no reason he can’t repeat the feat in the Lions’ wide-open offense this season. The one concern: Stafford holds on to the ball and takes a lot of hits, making him quite injury-prone.
5. Cam Newton, Panthers
Newton is by far the best running quarterback in the NFL. When the Panthers get down near the goal line, they often just have him bust his way into the end zone. But until he does a better job breaking down defenses as a passer, he’ll be just outside that group of elite fantasy quarterbacks.
6. Matt Ryan, Falcons
The Falcons are going to really open up the offense this year, and Ryan has a chance to be the breakout star of the 2012 season. He has a pair of elite receivers in Roddy White and Julio Jones, a Hall of Fame tight end in Tony Gonzalez, and don’t forget about slot receiver Harry Douglas and scat back Jacquizz Rodgers, a couple of dangerous catch-and-run threats.
7. Michael Vick, Eagles
Vick is incredible as a passing and running threat. If healthy, he could easily be among fantasy’s top five quarterbacks this year. But he, more than any other quarterback in the NFL, holds on to the ball until the absolute last moment before making a pass. That, not his tendency to run, makes him very, very injury-prone. I’d be shocked if Vick didn’t miss at least a couple games again this year.
8. Eli Manning, Giants
The Super Bowl MVP is just solid in fantasy, year in and year out. And this year he might have the most talented group of receivers he’s ever had, led by Victor Cruz and Hakeem Nicks.
9. Philip Rivers, Chargers
Rivers struggled last season because of a lack of protection from his offensive line. The Chargers need left tackle Jared Gaither to stay healthy if Rivers is going to have a bounce back year. Also of concern is the fact that top receiver Vincent Jackson signed with Tampa in free agency, and super tight end Antonio Gates has battled injury after injury of late. Rivers has the ability to be a top five fantasy quarterback, but there’s a little too much risk involved with him.
10. Peyton Manning, Broncos
I’d love to say we’ll see the Peyton of old, but I’m not so sure. Peyton himself has said that his arm strength isn’t quite all the way back after the neck surgeries that kept him out all of last year. And going from playing his home games indoors in Indianapolis to outdoors in sometimes snowy and cold Denver could make things even tougher on him. Of course, his smarts will always give him an edge over opposing defenses.