Fantasy Football 2012: Quarterback Rankings

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I do pre-season fantasy football pieces a little differently these days.

There are plenty of rankings out there already, both on the newsstands and online. It is a well worn trail – the downside being that such analysis quickly becomes outdated as events occur during training camp and the pre-season. A player that one could be trumpeted for success one day could be lost for the season the next.

First I have to give a quick tip of the hat to Fantasy Football Index out of the Seattle area. Below you see their just-released 2012 edition alongside one of the covers for what was known then as ‘Fantasy Football ‘92’.

fantasy-football-quarterbacks

After a quarter-century the publication remains timeless. only minor tweaks have been done over the years. They now do segments on offensive lines as well as individual defensive players – but other than that FFI remains a meat-and-potatoes read, in particular explaining the potential upsides and downsides on individual players.

They also did a closing piece this year on the Oakland Raiders employees and Bay Area writers who started what was believed to be the first ‘fantasy football league’ 50 years ago. One of the participants was a Raiders staffer named Ron Wolf.

Wolf, of course, wound up becoming a real-life NFL GM who traded a first-round draft pick one year for a QB project who had some potential but who, at the time, was also attempting to drink the city of Atlanta dry. (You know who I’m talking about…)

All I know is any publication I end up buying off the newsstand 24 out of 25 years (FFI went online only in 2011 due to lockout uncertainty) has to be doing something right.

As for my rankings, instead of just merely ranking say, 40 QBs/70 RBs/100+ WRs/etc. and drone on with endless situational stats, I will do some rankings but also give reasons why you should or shouldn’t consider such players in various draft/auction formats.

With that, I start with profiling the quarterbacks for 2012.

Chad Henne is unfortunately not included, though he ought to be taking Blaine Gabbert’s job soon enough…

1.  Aaron Rodgers (GB)

For the last couple years, I have personally targeted Rodgers as a first-round pick over most of the top tier running backs. Yes, there are other prolific QBs out there who will produce numbers near that of AR.

But if you are drafting say, number four or five overall, would you rather have the top QB who is likely to play the entire season or a top running back who could be carted off with a torn ACL at any moment (hello AP/Jamaal Charles)? Even at number one overall, I might just opt to take my chances on #12. And also keep in mind the refs will be protecting the QBs even more than ever this year.

2.  Tom Brady (NE)

#12 in ’12. Sounds like a nice campaign slogan.  And Brady remains near unstoppable, throwing 75 TDs against just 16 INTs the past two years. And this year may prove to be the best since 2007. Let’s check down with Tom – Brandon Lloyd, then look for Welker, then Gronk, then Aaron Hernandez, or dump off to Joseph Addai if really desperate. More than ever Brady is in paradise this year and is worth a #7 or #8 overall pick.

3.  Drew Brees (NO)

He is coming off setting the league’s single-season passing yards record, but I will personally be unlikely to draft him in any leagues considering Drew has lost a couple of his weapons and the other events that have swirled around the Saints organization this off-season. No city in America knows what karma can do to a person quite like New Orleans, and Brees has enough of it going against him that he might as well have Robert the Doll along with his NyQuil on his nightstand. How many opposing teams are going to be (secretly) passing the hat to have HIM carted off this year???

4.  Cam Newton (CAR)

Like Michael Vick in 2010, Cam won a lot of money for owners fortunate enough to draft him late or grab him off the waiver wire (even if it meant an enormous FAAB) after Week 1. After 14 rushing touchdowns to go along with 21 passing TDs (equivalent to 42 pass TDs/0 rush TDs in standard formats), Cam’s value is now through the roof and many fantasy owners will now reach in Round 1. Newton’s Law in this case says that what rushing stats come up in a rookie year now must come down, at least somewhat.

5.  Matthew Stafford (DET)

Right now I love seeing him listed as the number 4/5 QB on most boards. Coming off a year in which Stafford threw 663 times for 5,000+ yards and 41 TDs?? Sign me up!!!

As someone who made hay once in the day by having both Jerry Rice and Steve Young (1991) on my roster, my dream would be to draft Calvin Johnson at #3 or #4 overall, and then pray that Stafford is somehow still on the board at #21 or #22. Although I see a lot of mocks where Stafford lasts until the third round, I also see others where he goes top-15 or even top-10. What will happen in most drafts is someone will grab Stafford just to make sure he does not fall into the laps of whomever drafted Cal in Round 1.

6.  Tony Romo (DAL)

This starts the ‘second tier’ of the QB rankings, but also contains outstanding values to be had in Rounds 4-5 in typical 12-team formats. The oft-maligned Romo now gets compared to a vintage Brett Favre by many. Don’t know about you, but Favre was usually decent on a fantasy football roster.

In 2011 Romo ended up throwing 31 TDs v only 10 picks (that would be a slightly better ratio than Favre), and his stock could end up going even a little higher if Miles Austin is healthy the entire season. Romo still has the monkey of coming up empty in the playoffs – or not making the playoffs – but that fault does not come into play in regular season fantasy football.

If you do draft Romo, then handcuffing backup Kyle Orton in the late rounds is a must. Orton would be a top-ten QB for the Cowboys if Romo goes down, and you would need to burn 50-60% of the FAAB allotment if he were on the waiver wire with a long-term Romo injury.

7.  Peyton Manning (DEN)

This year presents the unique opportunity to possibly own Peyton Manning with a 4th-5th round pick rather than late 1st-early 2nd. Yes, this is a gamble. Upside is Peyton returns to near 100%, adjusts quickly to his new surroundings, and you end up with a bargain. Favre wound up having the best season of his career in 2009 after showing up with the Vikings without an off-season – and Manning has had OTAs to work with his new teammates. Downside is Manning re-injures the neck and is done, then at least you didn’t burn a top pick and hopefully you have devised a contingency plan. There will be leagues where someone reaches and takes Peyton third-round out of name recognition – don’t worry at that point, you’ll have similar talents available.

8.  Eli Manning (NYG)

Seeing him ranked a little higher on some boards. The Giants have slowly evolved into a passing team over the past few years, with Eli’s pitch count going up from 509 to 539 to 589 last year. Eli also has the benefit of now having two stud wideouts with Victor Cruz and Hakeem Nicks. Eli sometimes throws a few too many to the other guys for my liking (25 picks in 2010) but is still now one of the top QBs and does have his name on a couple of Super Bowl trophies.

9.  Michael Vick (PHI)

The waiver wire wonder of 2010 was WAY overvalued as a first-round pick last yea, and at age 32 now has even more tread on the tires, even if he did take that two-year sabbatical. If your league rewards for yards per completion, Vick will still be good with Maclin/DeSean Jackson. But in many leagues this will be another brand name that will be reached for perhaps a round or two before he should.

10.  Robert Griffin III (WSH)

I’m ranking him higher than I see him on many mocks, and that’s because someone will reach in many leagues. That’s part of the fallout of Cam Newton’s rookie season, which means the expectations for RG3 amongst fantasy owners will be much higher. He will be a fun player to own, but I would suggest perhaps rolling the dice with him in the kiddie pools where you’re not investing much $$$ wise. In the big boy leagues I would go with someone with a more proven track record.

Click here to find out who else makes the top 30.

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About Kurt Allen

Have written/blogged about sports since 2000, along with starting my popular Twitter feed in 2009. I also closely follow fantasy sports developments, along with events such as the NFL Draft.

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  18. Linda (#31). Thanks for joining the conversation over here. And thanks for taking the time and trouble to write the comment you did.My most general, overall response is that you and I have vastly didn’t ideas about the issues we’re dealing with. I’ll address what I see as the bulk of these ideas.I find useful as a general principle your statement that (put in the plural) “distinctions depend on how the circles are drawn.” One way that you and I differ is that I am drawing a much, much larger circle than you are. You say that my first faulty conclusion is based on the shaky assumption that the diversity that is Secular Buddhism cannot all be painted with the brush of Batchelor. That is the case if we are looking from within a narrow circle. The ramifications entailed by this distinction are behind my twin ideas of “fitting proximity” and “exile.” (Whenever I say “you” I mean, of course, the writer in your texts, the rhetorical you.) You are like a person inside a crowed bazaar. Picture one of those Moroccan bazaars–throngs of people going from table to table shopping for wares. And droves of merchants hawking their wares. From your perspective, going from table to table, examining each item, there are real differences. I don’t stand there. I stand far removed from the throng of shoppers and merchants. What I see is a breathing, undulating, interwoven pattern. Where I stand, the piercing vibrato of the merchants is silenced. It all appears as a sort of surreal dance to me. The differences you see do not appear as differences to me. Another example: If we zoom in on a printed image, we see the minute dots that make it up. One version shades some dots light grey, another black, another blue. When you look up close, those differences make a difference; when you step back, they don’t. On this blog, I am not interested in the close-up view. I am not interested in comparing wares or buying them, and least of all in hawking them. I am interested in the pattern of x-buddhism as discerned from a distance. So, I agree with the first two sentences of this statement, but not the last two:

    It may be a matter of those circles. Your stance here and in past posts seems to put you pretty firmly outside the circle of the sorts of people you’re identifying as members of the hive; to you it looks like we’re all drones. But inside what passes for the hive we aren’t all buzzing with the mantras Batchelor has given us; we actually have independent minds and do frequently disagree with him. Far from “unchallenged, unquestioned axioms” what you seem to be seeing is what you expect to see:

    The details of what you’re all buzzing with–like the details of what the different people are talking about in the bazaar–are inconsequential to the patter as a whole. I even go further than to say that all Secular Buddhists are alike (in their rhetorics of self display–that’s all I have access to). I say that all Buddhists, Buddhists of every variety–x-buddhists–are identical. To your point that I see what I expect to see; namely:

    1) That we perceive the dharma as unconditioned (it is not, and I’d be happy if you’d point out those who say it is — unless you’re redefining “unconditioned”)

    I don’t know what it could mean to “perceive the dharma.” So, I have to ask you in return what it is you are referring to as “the dharma.” I am referring to the very basic x-buddhist notion of a timeless, unconditional truth, one that was “discovered” or “recovered” by the Buddha. Please search Google for “the dharma + unfabricated” or “unconditioned.” You will find dozens and dozens of versions of Yeshe Rabgye’s comment that “The real beauty of all of the Buddha’s teachings is that they are based on natural laws and are not fabricated.”Now, it might be that your interpretation of “the dharma” does not permit it to be conditioned. But engaging in those sorts of debates is precisely the dance of the x-buddhists. One of the tell-tale signs of an x-buddhist is that s/he participates in endless exemplification of x-buddhism.

    2) That SecB’s all believe the Buddha to have been a real guy (you clearly need to get out more if that’s your perception — I seem to be the staunchest holdout to that view, and I feel beleaguered most of the time)

    First–and I’ll return to this point later–if you really believe that I “clearly need to get out more,” presumably into the world of Buddhism and Buddhist, you must be completely unaware of my life-long, intense involvement with x-buddhism. I have been out among x-buddhists, in some form or another, virtually every day for the last thirty-five years. I have been, and am, more involved with x-buddhism than virtually anyone you will ever meet. Anyway, about the point. I obviously don’t know what Secular Buddhists, as actual people, believe. I do, however, know what they say and what they write. They speak and write as if the historicity of the canonical Buddha were (1) taken for granted, and (2) a necessary condition for the authoritativeness of “the Dharma.” Even when they say it is otherwise, they inevitably invoke, if often implicitly, the authority of the Buddha. Secular Buddhists simply what to have their amrita and eat it, too–in so many regards.Why are you a holdout?

    4) That SecBs ignore useful information from “philosophy, psychology, biology, literature, neuroscience, medicine, and the arts” in preference to the Buddha’s teaching (again, you need to pay more attention to what’s being said; even your visits to your “Facilebook” should show you these aren’t being ignored — but maybe it’s because you have your Facile-Glasses on when you read causing you to miss what’s being discussed).

    I comment on this statement below.

    5) That we fail to recognize that, having accepted what we perceive that the Buddha taught, the change in our worldview affects how we see the world — you say we don’t notice we “have an ideology” but I have also seen it suggested that it’s “indoctrination”. The more one understands what the Buddha is pointing out the harder it is to fail to see that it is true that the worldview affects what we see, but it’s such a chicken-and-egg issue that I can’t deal with it in a bullet point.

    I don’t understand that statement.

    But the suggestion that Secular Buddhism *refuses* “to subject its beliefs to the rigors of humanistic discourse” is just silly. Did we meet and agree on this, did we put out a position statement? Where do you get this from? Did we fail to invite you to the party, along with Thoreau, Nietzsche and Dale Carnegie? That’s not the way it works, Glenn. We don’t have boundaries. If you want to join in the conversation, join in! State your case! You’ve already been invited to the party, and so are all the friends you care to bring. Please, introduce them to us. But if you start off with in-your-face comments (Secular Buddhism a parody and a constriction), and continue on with accusations of dishonesty, and school-yard taunts that we hold onto “childish perceptions”, don’t be surprised if you get mistaken for the party bore who would rather be noticed than heard for his ideas — and find those you’re hoping to engage going off to talk to someone else.

    This is another instance where you and I have vastly different notions. I am paying very close attention to what is being said on the SB Facebook page. If you think the SB FB/SBA forum use of and discussions about the disciplines that you mention is anything approaching the rigors of humanistic discourse, I just don’t know what to say. Deepak Chopra presents information from quantum physics, too. His followers don’t ignore it, either. On the rest: yet again the Secular Buddhist tone police! This is getting tedious. Please see my comment #8. Also, I am not hoping to engage any of you. Please read the WARNING! page. After this comment thread ends, I am through with direct engagement with Secular Buddhists. Secular Buddhism as a whole is not ready for this type of engagement.

    Overall, though, it seems to me that what’s happening is that you are mostly getting a glimpse of the front door,

    I can’t express to you how utterly ridiculous this characterization of my position in relation to x-buddhism–including Secular Buddhism–is.

    I also said that the Buddha’s style of teaching, one that generally isn’t confrontational, is something I admire, along with “his sense of humor, the consistency of his approach, the elegant complexity of the structures he built to convey his message, his ability to draw people in through their belief system rather than to belittle their approaches to life.” I find what he did useful; I’m sorry you find it fictional.

    There is no “Buddha’s style of teaching.” Those “elegant…structures” you see are a product of your imagination. It’s a form of cognitive-affective selectivity. When you say things like this, you are, in my view, displaying symptoms of ideological subscription. There is no “his message;” there is no historically determinate “he” who did “useful things.” That is, I think, a profoundly misguided way to approach the entire tedious tesselation we call Buddhism. It’s wishful thinking. The reason that I “find it fictional” is because, if you look, that’s what you find: fiction, specifically, mytho-religio-fiction. Worse even: mytho-religio-fiction that was written by committees. Also, the reason that the buddha’s teachings appear non-confrontational to you is that the committees of conservative monks who fashioned the texts created completely anemic interlocutors for the protagonist. Compare the protagonist’s dialogues with those of Socrates (also a figure rather than a person). The “consistency” that you “see” is just that. There is no end to the tedious tesselation that is x-buddhism, nor to the detailed exemplification of x-buddhists. By the way, the project here is one of critique. Thanks, again.

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