Below I have listed my Top 20 Fantasy Football Quarterbacks heading into 2012 — I’ve pulled these rankings straight from our 2012 Fantasy Football Redraft Rankings; I have added commentary to each player listed.
The scoring is based on a standard redraft PPR format.
1. Aaron Rodgers (GB)
Aaron Rodgers is arguably the No. 1 overall player in all formats – We have already drafted him in the top 4 overall in several early expert mock/league drafts. Rodgers might just be the safest 1.04-1.12 pick heading into all 2012 fantasy football drafts.
2. Cam Newton (CAR)
After Aaron Rodgers, Cam Newton really has the most QB upside heading into 2012. He can rush for 10+ scores and 700 yards. Throw in 4,000 passing yards and probably 23-25 passing TDs, and it’s just crazy not to like Newton as a top 10 overall player.
3. Drew Brees (NO)
Drew Brees, like Cam Newton and Aaron Rodgers, really does command top 4-12 overall value. Brees threw for 5,400 yards and 46TDs last year, which is absolutely insane. Even though the upside is present for more, I think 4,500-4,600 and 35-40 scores can be counted on heading into 2012, and that makes Brees a safe top 4-10 overall player heading into all fantasy football drafts and formats.
4. Tom Brady (NE)
This year is crazy, because we essentially have four quarterbacks that command first-round consideration. Tom Brady is one of those four passers! He threw for 5,235 yards and 39TDs in 2011 – While Brady is certainly capable of duplicating those numbers in 2012, I think he is a safe bet for 4,500-4,800 passing yards and 35-39 scores. That makes you a first-rounder heading into all 2012 yearly league drafts.
5. Matthew Stafford (DET)
While I’m a bit more cautions than most in terms of tossing Matthew Stafford into the Rodgers/Newton/Brees/Brady tier, I can understand if anyone has this guy ranked inside their top 2-4 fantasy QBs heading into 2012. He is a stud, and he has the best receiver in football, but I still take him in the second-round if I’m going to target him in 2012, which is roughly a round below the four top dogs.
6. Michael Vick< (PHI)
I can understand if anyone doubts Mike Vick this upcoming season, but his ADP is sitting around the 4.05-5.04 range. Given he still has top 3-5 fantasy QB ceiling value, that’s how you win a league right there!
7. Philip Rivers (SD)
After a disappointing 2011 season, mainly due to a string of inconsistency, Philip Rivers enters 2012 as a doubted man. Don’t doubt him, not at his 5th- to 6th-round ADP — He is a bargain at that value!
8. Eli Manning (NYG)
I have Eli Manning ranked No. 8, and every year he seems to fall a spot or two too low for most people’s liking. Manning is undervalued, even on my rankings list, I admit it, but it’s tough ranking him higher than Rodgers, Newton, Brees, Brady, Stafford, Vick and even Rivers. Is he capable of beating out a few of those names when all is said and done in 2012? Absolutely.
9. Tony Romo (DAL)
Tony Romo can be a top 5-10 passer, and he has great early ADP value in the 5th- to 7th-round range. Dez Bryant becoming a top 4-7 fantasy WR will do numbers for Romo’s TD production. Yes, you heard me right, I just said top 4-7 numbers for Dez!
10. Matt Ryan (ATL)
With Roddy White and the emerging Julio Jones, it feels wrong not ranking Matt Ryan higher than this. If Ryan can’t produce enough to make both White and Jones strong fantasy WR1s in 2012, my guess is that Julio is the fantasy WR1 and Roddy drops off a bit (but not much past WR1-type value).
11. Peyton Manning (IND)
It’s tough to know what to expect out of Peyton Manning in 2012, or how players like Eric Decker and Demaryius Thomas will step up. I think it’s safe to draft Peyton in that late 5th- to early 6th-round range, as he can easily outperform that kind of draft slot. As strange as this sounds, Peyton Manning is officially a fantasy football sleeper. If he bounces back, those who draft Manning in 2012 (at his current ADP) could really clean up.
12. Ben Roethlisberger (PIT)
Underrated, but for good reason, as injury is always a concern. Ben Roethlisberger makes a great low-end QB1 if you’re pairing him with a similar-type player.
13. Sam Bradford (STL)
We predicted a breakout season in 2011, yet Bradford just did not deliver. I truly believe we were a year early, and if the Rams can provide Bradford what he needs, that breakout season is still on the way.
14. Jay Cutler (CHI)
Underrated, but with so many elite-like QBs in fantasy football, it’s hard to draft and start a Jay Cutler. Know that with Brandon Marshall catching his passes again, it’s not hard to imagine a top 10-12 fantasy season out of Cutler in 2012. Cutler is going to make Marshall a top 4-7 fantasy WR in 2012!
15. Tim Tebow (NYJ)
How can we have a QB that isn’t even starting ranked inside our top 15-20 heading into 2012? No one stood by Tebow like we did last year, and I’m talking before the NFL season even started (when he was a back-up on Denver’s roster). I give Mark Sanchez 3-4 games max before the crowd forces him out due to inconsistent play… then get ready for the “highly criticized” Tim Tebow show!
16. Kevin Kolb (AZ)
With Larry Fitzgerald and Michael Floyd pulling in passes, Kevin Kolb really could have a much better season than most expect. His recent disappointments in 2011 have him as a tough player to trust, but he could certainly surprise and outperform this ranking.
17. Andy Dalton (CIN)
A.J. Green is going to explode in 2012, and I’m talking top 1-2 fantasy WR numbers. This will have Andy Dalton becoming more fantasy relevant in 2012.
18. Josh Freeman (TB)
Josh Freeman should rebound a bit in 2012, especially now that he has a true WR1 in Vincent Jackson. Top 10-14 fantasy QB numbers is possible given Freeman’s new weapon.
19. Joe Flacco (BAL)
Joe Flacco has solid upside given his current ADP, but with all the elite passers in fantasy football right now, Flacco is merely a back-up fantasy passer until further notice.
20. Matt Schaub (HOU)
Andre Johnson will have a nice year, and that alone will have Matt Schaub in a position to produce solid fantasy numbers… but will he stay healthy? Will he win games? Will he fend off T.J Yates? I’m going to say it… T.J. Yates is going to shock some people in 2012, and one way or another, he will find his way back into that Texans’ line-up.
View our Top 20 Running Backs here.