Fantasy football 2012 debate: Naming the top 5 redraft quarterbacks

On a cold, rainy day in May, football should be the furthest thing from my mind. But it is not.

The NFL offseason gives us time to evaluate the player pool, to plan ahead for fantasy football drafts – and to debate hot topics.

Today’s hot debate topic? Who will be the top five fantasy quarterbacks in redraft leagues this year?

Before I begin, remember that the whole method behind the chinstrapninjas madness is that we’re a site of people forming a community to help each other excel at fantasy sports. For my list of five to really make a difference, it needs analyzed, critiqued and debated. Feel free to do so below in the comments.

Check back soon for top five debates at the other major positions (RB, WR and TE).

1. Aaron Rodgers, GB. No surprise here, and likely no debate from the masses.

Rodgers is just that good, surrounded by a great supporting cast and the lack of a running game only enhances what Rodgers will need to do to keep adding points to the scoreboard.

Greg Jennings is of course a top receiver and Jordy Nelson showed his true worth last year. James Jones is back, and if he can learn to hold onto a football, he should see a step forward in production. Tight end Jermichael Finley also has no where to go but up. And don’t forget about last year’s rookie receiver addition: Randall Cobb.

2. Drew Brees, NO. Probably the consensus No. 2 on most boards, as well.

Brees has all his weapons back, except for Robert Meachem, and Meachem has been replaced by rookie Nick Toon, who should see value right off the bat in that offense. The running game is still a question mark in second-year Mark Ingram who is looking at more knee procedures. Darren Sproles provides Brees with a great weapon out of the backfield and tight end Jimmy Graham will continue to sit in the top three of all fantasy tight ends this season.

The offseason turmoil involving Brees’ contract, the bounty-gate scandal and other distractions will actually only improve Drew’s performance this season by giving him a vested interest in proving everyone wrong and by also giving him more control in the huddle without key members of his coaching staff on the sidelines.

3. Ben Roethlisberger, PIT. Now comes some of the debate.

Big Ben is not a QB you’ll find in many Top 5 arguments, but give me a moment to explain. First, he’s coming off a season where he saw a career-high in passing attempts despite missing one game totally and being banged up in several others. He also recorded his second-best total yards (4,077) and third-highest TD total (21) of his NFL career thus far.

A large part of that equation was the emergence of Antonio Brown, who has become an elite receiver on a team that already boasts Mike Wallace. The fact that the Steelers have been able to keep Wallace this offseason means that Roethlisberger will have two elite receivers to stretch the field, and a strong supporting cast behind them.

The running game can not be relied upon, as Rashard Mendenhall will miss most, if not all, of the season and Pittsburgh did nothing to augment Isaac Redman in the backfield. The team will have to win through the air, which is just what Big Ben wants.

Some feared that new offensive coordinator Todd Haley would lead to a more smash-mouth style of play to the offense, however, few remember that Haley was the mastermind behind two years of Arizona offensive output that left the Cardinals second in the league in passing attempts.

4. Tom Brady, NE. Old reliable nails down the next ranking, with likely little fanfare.

Personally, I can’t stand Brady, and I’m always quick to think/hope he’ll start to see the decline we’d expect out of an older QB with that many miles on his arm.

However, Brady just seems to get better with age, helping both Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez break out as tight ends while Wes Welker continues to shine. Add in new OC Josh McDaniels’ favorite toy, Brandon Lloyd, and it is impossible to expect anything but stellars numbers again from Mr. Brady.

5.  Eli Manning, NYG. Perhaps another head-scratcher considering some of the other names still available.

However, Eli proved last season he is willing and able to be the type of quarterback that can power a fantasy team to elite status. Of course, the same can be said about Matthew Stafford and Cam Newton, among others, but I get the feeling Eli is just getting started.

For one, he has better weapons than either Stafford or Cam Newton when you consider the depth. Hakeem Nicks is a true elite receiver. Victor Cruz came out of no where to become another elite option. While the G-Men lost Mario Manningham, they drafted a receiver I personally was pretty excited about in Reuben Randle. I also have a feeling we haven’t heard the last of Ramses Barden in fantasy circles.

Don’t forget about the intangible weapons, too. While the team was hit hard with injuries at tight end, they brought in Jason Witten’s understudy Martellus Bennett, who has the potential to be a solid tight end option. The running backs are able to snag their share of passes out of the backfield and even fullback Henry Hynoski has shown the ability to make important yardage when it counts.

After Calvin Johnson in Detroit, I find myself lacking enthusiasm for the rest of the receiving corps. Newton has an aging Steve Smith and not a lot after him (although Brandon LaFell should take a step forward this year).

Ultimately, Eli just feels like the safer pick.

Who are in your top five QBs for 2012? How would you rank them? Feel like debating my list? Let’s hear it all in the comments below, and don’t forget to check back for debates at the other key positions!

3 Responses to “Fantasy football 2012 debate: Naming the top 5 redraft quarterbacks”


  1. Sockonfl

    I don’t think anyone can argue with the selections of Rodgers, Brees or Brady to anyone’s top five fantasy redraft list. All three of them clearly belong with no question.

    You mention my fourth one but hesitate to pull the trigger on him to name him to your list and that is Cam Newton. He was an absolute fantasy beast as a rookie. He even set the rookie record for yards passing in the season during a year where there were no OTA’s or training camps. Granted we will see a decline from his record setting of rushing TD’s of 14 down to maybe 6 or 7 for the season. But he should also grow as a quarterback and throw a few more TD passes along the way too. The 600-700 rushing he posts is 60-70 points most other quarterbacks don’t get as well. Cam Newton will be a top 5 quarterback in 2012.

    My fifth choice could be a little more controversial, but I feel he has finally turned the page and that is Matt Ryan. He has Julio Jones, Roddy White, Tony Gonzalez and Jacquizz Rodgers all as super targets to throw to. He also really put a good string of games together down the stretch of last season. Look for this to be Matty Ice’s year to jump into the top 5.

  2. Consigliere

    First i think the ability that there is a debate of the top five goes to show that really the quarterback has a very deep position. If I were to start Jay Cutler this year i would likely get very solid numbers out of my quarterback position and he is likely considered anywhere from 8-15 on some peoples list.

    As a Lions fan i think i am a bias but i think Stafford has shown his ability to put up fantasy points and for the most part he did it minus any thing that could pass as a rushing attack. Smith and Morris were ok at best and Burleson, Young, Scheffler, and Pettigrew did well to prevent the triple teams on Calvin (which he still beat). While i will agree none of them consistently stood out, i think they all played well enough. I think with the addition to the OL in Reiff he will have better protection and once Broyles gets healthy he could provide even more stability to the WR’s. Sure he is injured but he should be back by mid season and if he can make an impact that would be right around playoff time for fantasy which could really help anyone. I think i would draft him as a top 5 QB but i think i wouldnt go above late 2nd to early 3rd for him. He is going to do well but with the depth of QB there is no need to reach.

    On to *insert quarterback who rushes the ball more than a quarterback should* I do not i repeat do not build my redraft teams around running style qbs. They expose themselves to more hits than the average pocket style qb and if you spend a high pick to acquire a top 5 quarterback and he goes down your season is in trouble quickly. Do I think that the added rushing yards and possible rushing scores are worth it… sure i do. But i dont see any of the quarterbacks getting more than 5-7 rushing tds and even coupled with the yards i just cant buy into it to take the risk.

    In the end i still think id rather lay in the weeds and scoop up a guy like Romo, Ryan, Big Ben, or Eli in the 6-10th round and load up with running backs, wide outs and tight ends early. If you look at the draft board if you have to take a guy in the mid 2nd round to get a top 5 qb but on the other hand you could snag a guy like Jimmy Graham or Gronk who would you rather have. Personally i am taking the tight end and then waiting on a qb.

  3. jzak

    Good arguments consigliere and sockonfl … my concern with Cam Newton is three-fold.

    First is based on what Consig suggests about running quarterbacks and their additional wear-and-tear. For example, we all know how great Michael Vick can be as a fantasy QB when he is healthy, but there is no denying his tendency to get banged up during the season. Any QB can get hurt, but a high-percentage running QB has a much higher chance of getting nailed. There is a reason that NFL running backs have such short lifespans in the NFL on average … and running QBs are subjected to a lot of the same pressure.

    The second leg is the sophomore slump that so many up-and-coming QBs seem to hit. Look at Josh Freeman, who exploded on the scene in his freshman year only to post a mediocre sophomore campaign last season. He had a lot of similar variables. For example, he had one very good WR that season (Mike Williams, also as a rookie) and very little other support from a weapon standpoint.

    Thirdly, the Panthers suprisingly did nothing to give Cam more weapons. Sure, he has a solid three-headed running back monster, with all three parts capable receivers out of the backfield. Sure he has Steve Smith, but Smith is 33 going on 60 and has his own injury roller coaster ride in the past. Brandon LaFell, for all the potential he has, does not inspire my confidence. Neither does David Gettis. Or Seyi Ajirotutu. There was much talk about the Panthers nabbing a free agent WR upgrade. They did not. There was talk about them drafting a solid young rookie WR. They did not do that, either.

    On the flipside, look at the receiving options Big Ben has. Look at Eli Manning. Both QBs have a whole stable of able options that can spread a defense and allow either QB to find weaknesses and exploit them. Both teams are moving from a more smash-mouth offense to a passing scheme that build up their respective signal callers.

    As far as Stafford, see the paragraph above. Then consider that outside of Calvin Johnson, Stafford doesn’t have much else in proven talent to throw to. That will change as options emerge, I’m sure, and I’m not saying Stafford is a flop. I have both he and Cam Newton as six and seven on my list.

    I do remember Stafford’s checkered injury past. He hadn’t completed a full season without serious injury up until last season. Hopefully he can do it again, but I still side with the overall stats that suggest Stafford is not out of the woods just yet in terms of injury concerns.

    Time will tell on all this, but I feel confident that Eli and Big Ben will continue to emerge as elite quarterback talent … and as Consigliere suggested, both will be available well after the Cam Newtons and Matthew Staffords of your draft.