Quarterbacks can single-handedly win leagues in fantasy. In almost all leagues, quarterbacks score the most points. Since most leagues only allow one starting quarterback per team, it’s very important to choose the right one. Here are the twelve best options for the 2013 season.
Rodgers is the only player to finish in the top three in fantasy points over the past three seasons. That’s some serious consistency. He’s more mobile than Drew Brees, gaining more points through rushing. He also does a great job of limiting turnovers, finishing with the best touchdown to interception ratio the past two seasons. Rodgers is probably the safest pick in the draft regardless of position.
Brees is a passing machine. He broke the NFL record for most passing yards in a season in 2011. In fact, he appears three times in the top five performances all-time for passing yards in a season. Expect him to finish the season with about 5,000 passing yards. If not for his interceptions and lack of mobility, he would be the top choice.
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Manning shut up critics that were wondering if he could maintain his position as a top quarterback in 2012. The injury that kept him out the previous season is now an afterthought as he put up his typical Peyton-like numbers. Yes, he is year older, but quarterbacks can play longer than most other positions. Add in the acquisition of Wes Welker, Tom Brady’s former main target, and this year could be one of Manning’s best.
Newton could easily finish with the most fantasy points of anyone. He needs to show more consistency, as he frustrated owners early on last season. What good is a player who dominates the fantasy playoffs if your team missed out because of a poor start? Newton brings the extra value of rushing touchdowns and yards without the injury risk that comes with most mobile quarterbacks. His frame allows him to recover from taking hits, and he doesn’t have much of an injury history at all.
Brady should always be considered one of the best fantasy quarterbacks because he’s extremely consistent. He has finished in the top four in fantasy points for the position in each of the past three seasons. It might hurt his numbers that his favorite target, Wes Welker, left for the Broncos. Nevertheless, new acquisition Danny Amendola has the potential to fill in Welker’s role for less money at a younger age, despite coming off a season-ending injury. The other big question mark that remains is the health of Rob Gronkowski coming off multiple offseason surgeries. Brady was a good fantasy quarterback when he was throwing to Jabar Gaffney and Reche Caldwell, so it’s hard to fathom him having an off year, even with his receivers and tight ends coming off of major injuries.
Ryan has everything in place to succeed as an elite quarterback in the league. He has great receivers in Roddy White and budding star Julio Jones. He also has a solid offensive line, a future Hall-of-Famer in Tony Gonzalez, and the services of new running back Steven Jackson. His passing yards per game has improved by over 30 in each of the past three seasons. This could be the year he breaks out as a top two or three fantasy quarterback.
Romo is now one of the highest paid quarterbacks in the league after receiving a six-year $108 million extension with $55 million guaranteed. With all of the critics on his back and a lot to prove, I expect Romo to capitalize on what could be his final chance to prove he can be an elite passer. He certainly has the numbers (4,900 yards last season) and weapons (Dez Bryant, Miles Austin, and Jason Witten) to live up to the pressure and deliver his best fantasy season yet.
Griffin is a wild card because of his knee injuries suffered late last season. This could either make him a steal or a bust in 2013 depending on how he responds. In 2013, he set rookie records for passer rating (102.4) and touchdown to interception ratio (4:1). This level of passing combined with his impressive running could propel him to finish with more fantasy points than anyone, however, he could also re-aggravate his knee and sit out for a good portion of the season.
Wilson was extremely efficient as a rookie, and Seahawks management is likely to allow him to spread the ball more in 2013. He’s a threat to both throw and run, giving him the edge over fellow second-year quarterback Andrew Luck. He may not have thrown for as many yards, but he finished within one fantasy point of Luck with far fewer interceptions. He also got hot late in the year and carries momentum into the new season. Acquiring the dynamic Percy Harvin should move Wilson up a few spots as well.
Kaepernick has the potential to be the highest scorer on any given week, as evidenced by his 181 rushing yards and two rushing touchdowns in the playoffs against Green Bay. I’d like to see more consistency from him, but we can expect a bit more with the extra year of experience. This is only his first offseason as a starting quarterback, but at the same time, this is the first offseason that opposing teams have a chance to watch his game tape and prepare for the pistol offense. I expect him to average around 230 passing yards and 50 rushing yards per game, but there will be games where he has low scoring outputs. Losing top target Michael Crabtree to injury will ultimately hurt his stock.
In any other year, Luck would have been revered as the best rookie quarterback possibly of all time. Unfortunately for him, 2012 featured 3 of the greatest rookie quarterback performances of all time. Luckily, this will allow Luck to get drafted later than he should be. Luck was given many opportunities to throw the ball since the run game was weak, and he capitalized with over 4,300 passing yards and 23 touchdowns. With an extra year of experience, these numbers are sure to improve.
Two years removed from throwing 5,000 yards and 41 touchdowns in a season, Stafford certainly offers the upside you look for when drafting a quarterback in the middle rounds. Last year he disappointed owners by throwing more interceptions and less than half of his touchdown count from the previous year. He is still young, a former first overall pick, and threw for the second most yards in the league last year. Stafford could be a draft day steal, especially with the new assistance of versatile pass-catcher Reggie Bush.