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2013 Fantasy Football Preview: Quarterbacks 

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With fantasy drafts going on all month long it’s time to break it down by positions for now. As far as quarterbacks go I have ranked the top 20 as far as how they will perform this season. Don’t just read ESPN’s and think you know what you are doing. They are biased towards their guys and ultimately lazy. Stay here with us and dominate your league.

The Dark Horses:

20. Philip Rivers

If you read ESPN or any other talking head’s rankings you will find Phil Rivers further down the list with a lot more pessimism. Yes he has struggled in recent years but this year he is Norv free. I expect good things from this team that finally has a new head coach. Norv Turner I think may have actually had that big of an impact that it brought the entire team down. Rivers was an elite quarterback for a few years and sure he has lost a lot of his weapons but he/the Chargers should have a nice bounce back year with someone competent at the helm.

19. Michael Vick

As always Vick is the biggest risk/reward on the board. There is almost no chance of him starting in all 16 games. However with new coach Chip Kelly anything can happen. Kelly could help Vick have the best year of his career or get injured in the first three weeks. Most likely Vick’s performance will land somewhere in between.

18. Sam Bradford

On paper this guy is probably a top 7 QB. He is a big bodied, strong armed presence in the pocket with a lot of young fast options to find. But he has obviously disappointed thus far in his career especially with the step back he took last season, throwing for less yards and more interceptions. But look at his weapons. Tavon Austin will be a top candidate for rookie of the year and Stedman Bailey and dual tight end threats Jared Cook and Lance Kendricks will provide four solid options for Bradford. However the loss of Steven Jackson and perhaps the run game all-together will hurt him. Grab him if you end up with a lower class starting quarterback and you may end up lucking out and winning your league.

The Inconsistent Names:

17. Joe Flacco

Flacco is going to go far too high in your draft, I can assure you that. So most likely you won’t have to even worry about having him. But if he does fall to you at the right position he can be an asset. The problem with Flacco is that A. He has never been a top 10 fantasy QB. Or B. He has never eclipsed 25 touchdowns nor come within one full game of 4,000 yards. Flacco is going to give you exactly what you should expect; 3,800 yards and 22 touchdown passes with nine or ten interceptions. Despite losing Ed Dickson, their starting tight end, the upside for Flacco is that he still has Ray Rice to carry the load and he has a speedy wide receiver in Torrey Smith that is only getting better.

16. Andy Dalton

There are two ways to look at Dalton this season. First is to say okay he has AJ Green and Jermaine Gresham to go along with a solid running game. He has shown flashes of brilliance but at the same time you know you aren’t going to hit the lottery. The other way to look at him is that after the Bengals sixth game last year Dalton had exactly zero 300+ yard games. Over his final five games (including playoffs) Dalton averaged 158 yards through the air and threw for six touchdowns as well as six interceptions. Expect exactly middle of the pack numbers from Dalton this year. He didn’t by any means connect at a high rate on passes down the field despite Green’s abilities but Gresham should take the next step and provide some extra help. The point is that Dalton will miss more than the occasional open guy and may be better than the average NFL QB but as a fantasy starter he won’t win you any weeks. He is a good number two but even at that I may try and stay away.

15. Ben Roethlisberger

I like Roethlisberger as one of my sleepers this year. He may have lost Plaxico but if Le’Veon can prove to be a moose (yes I said moose), like he was in college, Ben might be able to bye enough time to hit some of his very underrated receivers. The Steelers might have the most underrated receiving core in the game. The offensive line will determine how far the Steelers go this year. They obviously struggled mightily last year but they still have the pieces to compete for a title this year and Ben could win your fantasy league in the meantime.

14. Eli Manning

Eli Manning has two stud wide outs yet has been the poster child for inconsistency. Eli has the talent around him to churn out some big numbers this year but will suffer from the strength in their division. Their offense has a few more question marks than normal however. They have a question mark in the run game, which is where they have made most of their offense work in years past and they have a question mark at the tight end position where they have made stars out of duds in years past. With two studs Eli should put up big numbers but maybe not as nice as people might think he is capable of, especially if either Cruz or Nicks go down with an injury.

The Unproven Starters:

13. Russell Wilson

The Seattle offense should be a little bit better with Sidney Rice currently at 100% and with another year under Golden Tate’s belt. The issue is that they lost Percy Harvin indefinitely. If he does make his way back it won’t be until late in the season, which is a shame because he was the perfect fit for that team. In keeper leagues I would suggest taking him much higher simply because Harvin should be back next year. The Seahawks should have the same nice run game and the same-ish pass game but should have a much tougher defense. The point is they are going to be one of the best teams in the NFL and there is value in having the QB of that team.

12. Tony Romo

The sleeper of the year yet again. Every year the majority of people think of Romo as a total joke. But he doesn’t keep circulating back to the top because he sucks. He keeps finding his way to the limelight because he is going to through for nearly 5,000 yards and 30 touchdowns a year. This he gets Dez Bryant as another year more mature as well as other WR’s that he can make talented. Not to mention young DeMarco Murray having another year under the belt to become a fantasy stud. Romo is yet again my favorite underrated starter for your fantasy team.

11. Jay Cutler

Cutler is mostly ranked this high because of his surrounding cast. Between Matt Forte, Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffrey, Forte should be a stud. The problem is that his offensive line is so poor. Cutler gets sacked far too much and that will hurt his surrounding fantasy parts.

10. Colin Kaepernick

Maybe I’m the only idiot but Kaep only started from week 6 on. That really sort of stuns me. I don’t exactly have a spot on memory, more of a photographic memory, but I feel as though Kaep earned this job the year before. Maybe that speaks less towards my stupidity and more towards Kaepernick’s maturity.

9. Andrew Luck

Most websites I have looked at have him far higher on their list and I just don’t understand it. Does everyone really think less of him because of RGIII’s excitement or Russ Wilson’s strong team felt better than the Colts did? The Colts were a crap team last year but Andrew Luck drove them to some success. Last year he was the #9 ranked QB and odds are, based on his smarts/potential, he is going to jump into the top 5 this season and for many seasons to come. You should be able to get him on the cheap and despite leading a team lacking talent he is going to put up some nice numbers. If you are in a keeper league this pick is worth far more. He is going to be a stud for years to come.

The Guys You Would Be Happy With:

8. Matthew Stafford

Stafford may be a bit overrated but for back to back years he has had the most pass attempts. He also has the best receiver in the game. In addition to Calvin Johnson h may not have much so many people may think he’s underrated but trust me when I say Calvin Johnson makes Stafford look really good.

7. Robert Griffin III

This is the guy with probably the highest potential. RGIII is the best, on paper, of the group of mobile quarterback like he is. The problem of course if longevity. Can RGIII stay on the field for 16 games? Can he be a worthy keeper? If those answers were solved he would be a top 3 pick without a doubt, but as of now he is as exciting a pick as Vick a couple of years ago.

6. Cam Newton

By far the best if the mobile quarterbacks. The only problem with Cam is that the Panthers front office gave him zero new weapons and even allowed their ground game become worse. Cam should be taking a step up this year but this Panthers organization isn’t helping him out any.

5. Matt Ryan

Matt Ryan just has too many weapons around him to fail. Between the young stud athlete Julio Jones to the proven Roddy White to the veteran TE Gonzalez to the three deep backfield. This offense is loaded and Matt Ryan, while overrated simply has to put up some stats with the talent surrounding him. He could end up with top three numbers this season but ultimately he is really overrated and his weapons make him look good. They should end up making him look really good this year but I hesitate to put someone I don’t have full faith in ahead of the next couple guys.

The Studs That Have Lost Some Weapons:

4. Tom Brady

Why do the Patriots keep screwing with Brady? First he gives them a break contract wise and they dump his favorite target in Deion Branch. Now he gives them another discount and they let Welker go. Then with the Hernandez stuff and Gronkowski’s constant injuries Brady is going to have to rely on guys he doesn’t quite have a ton of faith in. Danny Amendola, Michael Jenkins, and Julian Edelman are now the veteran wide receivers Brady has. All three of whom have had more than their fair share of injury problems in the past. However it’s still Tom Brady he will make it work and put together another stellar year. But the lack of talent around him drops him to #4 and may make quite a few people ponder taking Matt Ryan over him, and they may be right.

3. Aaron Rodgers

The talent surrounding Rodgers is just as shaky as Brady but Rodgers is really in his prime right now. He has been a top three fantasy QB for five years running now. He is as accurate and strong as anyone in the league and can find the endzone with his legs for bonus points. He will make the guys he has to work with perform much better than they probably should but losing Greg Jennings and Donald Driver certainly isn’t going to help his cause. This year he will be relying heavily on Randall Cobb, James Jones, and Jermichael Finley (and of course Jordy Nelson once he is back and healthy after his knee surgery). The ground game will be led by a rookie and the offensive line still is far from great. That is enough to scare me away from giving him a top two spot even with everyone else putting him #1. He is the QB i would take first if I am starting a real team but this year he won’t have as good of a fantasy football season as the next two guys.

The Eventual 2013-14 Studs:

2. Peyton Manning

Last year Peyton threw for 4,659 yards with 37 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. Last year Peyton was coming off an injury that forced him to miss a lot of the offseason activities in an offseason in which he joined a new team. Last year Peyton was throwing to a bunch of unproven targets. This year Peyton has a full year under his belt not only with this team but a full year removed from the injury. This year he has five proven targets around him including the newly acquired Wes Welker. This year they should have a better run game and this year his arm strength won’t diminish late in the season. This year he will be putting up the best numbers of his career.

1. Drew Brees

Whilst everything I have read has ARo as the obvious #1 QB I can’t see a scenario (barring injury of course) in which he has a better season than this man. Drew Brees has thrown for 5,100+ yards in each of the last two seasons. He has led the league in passing touchdowns four of the last five seasons. Now the Saints get coach Sean Payton back and will be looking for a little revenge. Between Marques Colston, Lance Moore, Jimmy Graham, Ben Watson, and Chris Givens they have probably the biggest and fastest core of threats for Brees to target. Not to mention they still have Darren Sproles, the human pinball, to check down to and bounce around for big yards. Mark Ingram has another year under his belt which should help balance the load and keep defenses guessing which is exactly what Drew Brees wants. This year Sean Payton, Brees and the Saints will be out for blood. I don’t think they can go undefeated by any means but think 2007 Patriots and all those eff you touchdowns.



Saturday, August 10, 2013

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