Last year, we previewed the fantasy football season with a series of position-by-position predictions, followed by our overall rankings for the 2012 season.
It's mid-July, which means we're getting closer to
more Patriots going to jail draft season. Which means it is also time for us to crack open the prediction machine once again.
We'll begin each position by looking back at how we did last year, and then make our predictions for this year. At the quarterback position, we're going to limit our rankings to 20 players.
So how did we do last year? I would say pretty well. Here are a few predictions from last year's rankings, and how the player actually performed.
Peyton Manning, Denver
Prediction: 3,900 pass yards, 35 TD, 10 INT
Actual: 4,659 pass yards, 37 TD, 11 INT
Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay
Prediction: 4,500 pass yards, 41 TD, 14 INT
Actual: 4,295 pass yards, 39 TD, 8 INT
Tom Brady, New England
Prediction: 4,800 pass yards, 42 TD, 14 INT
Actual: 4,827 pass yards, 34 TD, 8 INT
Tony Romo, Dallas
Prediction: 4,200 pass yards, 28 TD, 17 INT
Actual: 4,903 pass yards, 28 TD, 19 INT
Joe Flacco, Baltimore
Prediction: 3,100 pass yards, 25 TD, 12 INT
Actual: 3,817 pass yards, 22 TD, 10 INT
Andy Dalton, Cincinnati
Prediction: 3,500 pass yards, 30 TD, 18 INT
Actual: 3,669 pass yards, 27 TD, 16 INT
Matthew Stafford, Detroit
Prediction: 5,000 pass yards, 42 TD, 20 INT
Actual: 4,967 pass yards, 20 TD, 17 INT (so we were off by a couple touchdowns...)
So how do we feel about the quarterbacks headed into 2013? There are some significant players moves to keep in mind this year as you plan ahead to pick your quarterback(s).
- New England
Wes Welker is in now a member of the Broncos. Aaron Hernandez is in jail now. Rob Gronkowski is... still in whatever world he lives in... but his arm still ain't right. The fact is, over 75 percent of Tom Brady's targets in 2012 went to players that are either wearing an orange uniform (either in Denver or a Massachusetts penitentiary) or a cast. Is Danny Amendola going to catch 150 balls this year? Will Tim Tebow be a... dare I say it... starting tight end?
I'm a seller on Brady this year. I don't like betting against him, but they just lost too much for me to put top-five faith in him this year. With that being said, I'm on board with Stevan Ridley in the first half.
I just told you that Welker is in Denver, where Peyton Manning had a fantastic season with a nice group of wide receivers. The biggest thing missing from their offense was a consistent intermediate weapon; their tight ends weren't as good as many would have liked last year. The addition of Welker, and a full, healthy season past his surgery, should push the elder Manning back to the top of your draft board.
- Green Bay
Aaron Rodgers' numbers did a great job of making me look smart, but his line forced Rodgers to run for his life too often. The Packers lost Greg Jennings to Minnesota, but should be able to adequately replace him internally. The biggest question I had before last season remains, however: will the Packers be able to establish a running game, or will their entire season rest on Rodgers' right arm once again?
Here comes your homer play of the year: I honestly believe Jay Cutler is worth of a starting spot in fantasy football this year. Alshon Jeffery showed some signs that he could be a special player last year, and he spent the offseason working out with Brandon Marshall. Add Martellus Bennett, a tight end that can run a route and catch the ball, and a healthy Matt Forte to the mix, and Cutler has more weapons now than at any point in his Chicago career. The improvements made to the offensive line should buy him more time as well. But how long will it take for Cutler to feel comfortable in another new offense?
The headache that was Titus Young is gone, and the Lions have added Reggie Bush. A threat out of the backfield will can only help Stafford, who almost got back to 5,000 yards despite only having confidence in Calvin Johnson for a big part of last season.
Now, to the rankings. We'll provide our statistical predictions for the coming season in our second annual complete draft guide later in July, but here are our top 20 quarterbacks for the 2013 fantasy season (with a sleeper and someone to avoid).
- Peyton Manning, Denver
- Drew Brees, New Orleans
- Matt Ryan, Atlanta
- Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay
- Matthew Stafford, Detroit
- Tom Brady, New England
- Tony Romo, Dallas
- Andy Dalton, Cincinnati
- Jay Cutler, Chicago
- Eli Manning, NY Giants
- Alex Smith, Kansas City
- Andrew Luck, Indianapolis
- Joe Flacco, Baltimore
- Colin Kaepernick, San Francisco
- Matt Schaub, Houston
- Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh
- Cam Newton, Carolina
- Robert Griffin III, Washington
- Sam Bradford, St. Louis
- Philip Rivers, San Diego
Sleeper: Andy Dalton, Cincy
With a handful of pitchers going over 4,000 passing yards last year, a guy like Dalton can fall. But AJ Green is still figuring out how ridiculously good he can be, and there have been significant losses to defenses all over the Bengals' division. Look for Dalton to improve on his 27 touchdowns from last year, and get closer to joining the guys over 4,000 yards.
Buy Low: Alex Smith, Kansas City
I liked him in last year's preview, and he rewarded my confidence with a really nice season... until a concussion handed the future of the Niners to Kaepernick. There are so many good, talented players desperately begging to be unleashed in KC that were wasted last year; the additions of Andy Reid's scheme and Smith's not-being-Matt-Cassell should open the flood gates for the Chiefs.
Avoid Like A Kardashian: Joe Flacco, Baltimore
Anquan Boldin was a man for the Ravens last year, and he's playing in San Francisco now. Dennis Pitta snuck up on people until Week 14 last year, but everyone's seen the tape now. And, perhaps most importantly, the Ravens' defense will be without their heart (Ray Lewis) and soul (Ed Reed) this year. Either the Ravens will rely more on Ray Rice to keep their defense off the field, or they'll ask Flacco to chuck more than he's comfortable. I know he won a Super Bowl, and I know he had a fantastic postseason... but I'm still not buying. Let someone else roll the dice with Flacco.
Filed under: Fantasy Football
Tags: 2013 Fantasy Footbal, Aaron Hernandez, Aaron Rodgers, Alex Smith, andrew luck, Andy Dalton, Brandon Marshall, Calvin Johnson, Colin Kaepernick, Drew Brees, Eli Manning, fantasy football draft, Jay Cutler, Joe Flacco, Matthew Stafford, Michael Vick, NFL, Peyton Manning, quarterback, Reggie Bush, RGIII, Tom Brady, Tony Romo, Wes Welker