With OTA’s underway and training camp right around the corner, it’s time to get a jump on the 2013 Fantasy Season. The most important position in this writers mind has become the position with the most depth. Quarterback. The last two seasons, I’ve seen QBs fly off the board in the first two rounds at an alarming rate–this year is shaping up to be much different. In order, point leaders at QB for 2013 were: Brees 432.48, Rodgers 420.3, Brady 408.78, P. Manning 384.16, Ryan 367.66, Newton 360.86, RG3 357.5, Romo 331.62, Wilson 327.62, Luck 322.56, Stafford 313.48, Dalton 305.06. (All point totals are based upon the following scoring system: Passing Yards 1 pt. per 25 yards. Rushing Yards 1 pt. per 10 yards. Receiving Yards 1 pt. per 10 yards. Receptions 1 pt. per catch. Touchdowns 6 pts. Fumbles Lost/Interceptions -2pts.) In my last fantasy article, I reminded everyone out there that in this basic scoring system, 25 QBs outscored the likes of AP, Foster, and Calvin. This shows me how important the position is when putting together a championship team–also gives me the impression that you can get a quality QB in later rounds.
Let the Big Dog Eat.
In my opinion the only three worthy of a first round pick are: Brees, Rodgers, and Brady. Each has consistently been at the top of their position for the past few years. Yes, Brady lost his best buddy, Wes Welker, and the potential loss of Aaron Hernandez may seem devastating, but I believe one of the 20 WRs on the New England roster will step up and fill the void. I know what you’re thinking and no, not Tim Tebow. I’m still not worried.
On the outside looking in we have Matt Ryan and Peyton Manning. Both have the potential (and weapons) to put up top 3 numbers as well. Matt Ryan has shown the ability to light up fantasy scoreboards over the last two seasons–really coming into his own during 2012. With Roddy White and Julio Jones improving each year, and the addition of Steven Jackson (who I’m already calling for top 10 stats this year), Ryan will have a duel-threat behind him for the first time to go with the man-trees on the outside. I’m not expecting 70 catches from S-Jax, but anything is better than the 19 he got out of Turner last year. Peyton may sneak his way into top 3 numbers by the end of the year, but there are still a few question marks with him. Last year he threw for the second highest yardage total in his career and third for attempted passes. Yes, I understand the addition of Wes Welker provides another weapon to wideout duo “Black and Decker”. But you have to remember that this is a 37 year-old QB who has had allegedly 4, maybe 5 (rumored), neck surgeries in the last 20+ months. The big question is: Can those nerves withstand another 550 attempts?
Staying on the doctor theme, if RG3 is healthy, he slides into the back end of the first (giggity), no later than early second round in my eyes. Even though they will be “cutting back” on his rushing attempts, there have been comments made that the ‘Read-Option’ is still a huge part of the playbook. This means two things: His 800 rushing yards drops off a little and his 3,200 passing yards is on the rise. Look at the added speed they have given him on the outside with Devery Henderson and old man, Dante Stallworth. Those two with Santana Moss and Pierre Garcon, he has the weapons to unleash his cannon of an arm. Fellow mobile QB’s Cam Newton and Russell Wilson pose to be duel threats as well. If Cam can regain his rookie season stature, he has a ceiling up around the area of where Felix Baumgartner skydived from. Hell, if Cam can improve on last year’s numbers, he will easily finish in the Top 5 for all scorers–The man has the potential to be a ‘Fantasy King’. Wilson, on the other hand, is also very intriguing. I took him last year in a few drafts and had the luxury of letting him collect a ring while being my backup. This year, the rumor is that Pete Carroll is going to open up the playbook even more to see exactly how dangerous Wilson can be. While he only had 4 rushing TD’s last year (three coming in one game), I wouldn’t be surprised to see him flirt with 6-8 TD’s with an expanded playbook. He’s got a bulldozer behind him he can rely on game-in-and-game-out–that will open up more than enough opportunities down the road.
Tony Romo may be hated by some and loved by many, but he has been consistent in one aspect of football, fantasy scoring. His play may not make the Dallas Cowboys fan base very happy, but he hasn’t disappointed many fantasy owners come seasons end–331.62 points last season and 332.56 the year before with an average of 20.75 points per game over the two seasons. I will be happy to take him in the 5th or 6th round after filling my skill positions.
Matt Stafford may have had an “off year” last year, but that “off year” still had him ranked just outside the top 10 in points scored for QB’s, averaging 19.59 points per game. He and Lions fans are looking forward to a year where he will regain his possession receivers (Nate Burleson and Ryan Broyles) and a new dual-threat weapon behind him for the first time since Jahvid Best in veteran Reggie Bush. Stafford could be on the verge of a monster season. The addition of Bush adds an element that the Lions have not had in the last two seasons. I’m not going to call Reggie the “Second Coming of Barry Sanders”, but he definitely is a candidate for 1,400 all-purpose yards and 10-12 touchdowns. Hometown story Joique Bell is also going to be a big factor in the Lions passing game and will help give Stafford all the opportunities he needs to succeed as a QB.
Andrew Luck and Andy Dalton confuse the hell out of me to be honest. Dalton seemed to light up the first half of last year in the fantasy world, but slowly fell off the map following week 12 (he averaged 22.57 ppg first 11 weeks and only 12.94 weeks 12-17). If they can put weapons around him he seems to find them, but with a questionable running game and only AJ Green standing out, I don’t like his odds. Luck is heading into his second year and needs to make some adjustments. He was consistently able to score fantasy-wise but was struck with a turnover bug throughout the year. With the addition of Ahmad Bradshaw to the backfield, Luck’s stock is set to rise if he can improve on the 23 turnovers from last season. Just beware of the sophomore slump.
He’s even the best photobombing QB
After all that noise here are my Top 10(11) Fantasy Football QBs for 2013:
1. Aaron Rodgers
2. Tom Brady
3. Drew Brees
4. Peyton Manning
5. RG3 (If healthy)
6. Cam Newton
7. Matt Ryan
8. Russell Wilson
9. Matt Stafford
10. Tony Romo
11. Andrew Luck
Watch list consists of Andy Dalton, Eli Manning, Mike Vick, Josh Freeman, Sam Bradford, Jay Cutler and Joe Flacco.
Each QB on the ‘watch list’ is a candidate with a serious chance to crack the top 10 by the end of the year, but they all come with a warning label. Vick has only one season in his career in which he has played 16 games. if you’re going this route, make sure to draft a backup almost immediately.
Eli Manning has been up-and-down over the last three years. He has always been a solid backup for me in the past but I still do not trust him enough to be a consistent starter.
Sam Bradford has always been talked up pre-fantasy season, but never has fully flourished in his team’s system. With the addition of Tavon Austin and the emergence of Daryl Richardson last season, he could surprise a few people this year.
J Free Getting GQ
Josh Freeman intrigues me the most of this group. With a season under his belt with Vincent Jackson and “Muscle Hamster” Doug Martin establishing himself as a top tier running back, Freeman could very well end up inside the top 8 by the end of the year.
Cutler and Flacco are the same to me. Both have been hyped for years and neither has found consistency inside their offense. Flacco just signed a monster deal and lost his safety blanket in Anquan Boldin. With a young offense having to lean on a running game to keep them going, I say Flacco is on the decline.
As far as Jay Cutler goes, I have no idea what to think of this guy. Some say he’s a coward, some say he’s a true leader. All I know is that he has: 1. Brandon Marshall, who WILL be a top 5 WR this year. 2. Alshon Jeffery–coming off a disappointing rookie season due to injuries but they drafted him because he’s 6’3 214 lbs and runs a 4.5. He will be a weapon in the near future. 3. A running game behind him in Michael Bush and Matt Forte that has proven to be successful. 4. My wildcard for Cutler this year is the addition of Martellus Bennett. Cutler now has a 6’6 265 target over the middle that shined for Eli Manning at the beginning of last season. If he can’t do it with what they have given him this year, I don’t know if he ever will.
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