AFC East QBs & RBs Fantasy Rankings

Fantasy Football Fantasy Football Rankings

By Guest Writer Matt Campion:

 

Quarterbacks:

1. Tom Brady – New England Patriots

Courtesy of ICON SMI

Courtesy of ICON SMI

Brady is easily the top quarterback in the division.  I say “easily” mostly because of his lack of serious competition rather than his impressive résumé; however, Brady should still be considered a top-five quarterback.  The veteran has thrown for over 3,500 passing yards and 20 touchdowns in his last ten seasons, excluding 2008 when he suffered a season-ending injury in week one.  He will be losing four of his top five receiving options from 2012, and the remaining one is set to begin the preseason on the Physically Unable to Perform list after undergoing multiple offseason surgeries (Rob Grownkowski). The offseason addition of Danny Amendola from the Rams instantly gives Brady better options than his 2006 campaign.  His top receivers in 2006: Reche Caldwell, Ben Watson, Troy Brown, Kevin Faulk, and Doug Gabriel.   One final statistic to prove he’s just as good a fantasy option now as ever is his seven rushing touchdowns in the past two seasons.  He has fourteen total in his thirteen-year career.

Projected 2013 statistics:  4,400 passing yards, 34 touchdowns, 9 interceptions. 

 

2.  Ryan Tannehill – Miami Dolphins

Tannehill is a candidate for most improved player in 2013.  He displayed plenty of raw talent last season, but failed to make headlines due to the lack of talent around him and extreme success of fellow rookie quarterbacks Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III, and Russell Wilson.  The Dolphins spent the offseason trying to surround Tannehill with better receiving options.  Top receiver Brian Hartline was the only productive pass catcher for Miami in 2012.  Deep-threat Mike Wallace and reliable tight end Dustin Keller will now join him.  Losing left tackle Jake Long will certainly hurt, but overall I expect Tannehill’s numbers to improve in basically every category in his second year in the league.

Projected 2013 statistics: 3,650 passing yards, 20 touchdowns, 14 interceptions. 

 

3. EJ Manuel – Buffalo Bills

Only one quarterback was selected in the first round of the 2013 NFL draft.  That quarterback was EJ Manuel to the Bills with the sixteenth overall pick.  This pick came as a surprise to many draft experts, with most expecting Geno Smith or Matt Barkley to be the first quarterback taken.  Manuel, however, has perhaps the most upside of any quarterback taken in the 2013 draft due to his impressive athleticism and 6’5 frame.

New head coach Doug Marrone brings plenty of experience coaching the offensive side of the ball, being a former offensive coordinator and offensive line coach in the NFL.  Manuel will have a tough first year, but will benefit from his ability to run as well as the opportunity to work with a very underrated receiving group.  Stevie Johnson has never had a good quarterback in his career, and rookie second-round pick Robert Woods has earned rave reviews in workouts with the team. Tight end Scott Chandler had a quietly productive 2012, and running back C. J. Spiller is a multi-dimensional threat, providing the pieces for a young quarterback like Manuel to succeed early on in his career.

Projected 2013 statistics: 3,100 passing yards, 15 passing touchdowns, 10 interceptions, 300 rushing yards, 4 rushing touchdowns. 

 

4. Mark Sanchez – New York Jets

Don’t draft Sanchez.  I don’t care how deep your league is or if you need a bye-week starter.  Former Jets GM Mike Tannenbaum has said that his firing was a result of offering Sanchez a large contract extension a year ago, which is entirely believable.  In fifteen games last season, he had only thirteen touchdowns and eighteen interceptions, while passing for fewer than 3,000 yards.  Any quarterback that can’t average at least one touchdown or 200 yards passing per game should be ranked at the very bottom of any fantasy list.  You don’t even need to look as far as his insane turnover ratio to know passing on Sanchez is an obvious choice. Jets fans are hoping to see Geno Smith start at some point in the season, even if he’s terrible.  It’s hard to fathom him performing any worse than Sanchez did in 2012.

Projected 2013 statistics: 850 passing yards, 6 touchdowns, 6 interceptions (in the four games he plays before being benched). 

 

Running Backs:

1. C. J. Spiller – Buffalo Bills

Courtesy of ICON SMI

Courtesy of ICON SMI

Spiller enjoyed a breakout 2012 season in which he finished tied with the great Adrian Peterson for yards per rush attempt.  Spiller and Peterson finished with an extremely impressive 6 yards per attempt, while the next best running back, Jamaal Charles, finished with 5.3.  Spiller has all of the upside you look for in a fantasy running back: talent (former top-10 overall draft pick), age (25 years old), and dual-threat ability (sixth in receiving yards for running backs in 2012).  Owners will rightfully be concerned with former starter Fred Jackson’s role in the offense, but at this stage of his career, he’s more of a goal-line vulture than anything.  Jackson will take away a few touchdowns, but Spiller’s big play ability will guarantee at least a few trips into the end zone, and his yardage numbers should rank among the top in the league in 2013.

Projected 2013 statistics: 1,300 rushing yards, 7 rushing touchdowns, 400 receiving yards, 3 receiving touchdowns. 

 

2. Stevan Ridley – New England Patriots

Ridley finished with the sixth most rushing attempts in 2012.  This amount of usage and dedication to a single rusher is extremely rare in the Bill Belichick era, which can be interpreted as either a good or bad thing.  The last time New England had a rusher finish in the top ten in the league in rush attempts was 2004, when Corey Dillon accomplished the feat.  One of Belichick’s best qualities as a coach is his willingness to use a variety of personnel depending on the game situation.  Most running backs can’t do everything well, and this includes Ridley.  While Ridley was a very impressive runner in 2012, he lacked other skills required to be an every-down running back.  His 64 career receiving yards through two seasons has to be considered underwhelming for the amount of time he has been on the field.  To put things into perspective, fellow Patriots running backs Danny Woodhead (now with the Chargers) and Shane Vereen finished with 446 and 149 receiving yards, respectively.  This leads me to believe Ridley won’t see the field as much in 2013 as he did in 2012, but he will still be a consistent source for rushing yards and touchdowns.

Projected 2013 statistics: 950 rushing yards, 9 rushing touchdowns, 50 receiving yards, 1 receiving touchdown. 

 

3. Lamar Miller – Miami Dolphins

Somebody has to fill the void of Reggie Bush, the Dolphins 2012 starter at running back who signed an offseason deal with the Detroit Lions.  Reports from Dolphins camp say that Miller has shined in practice. The coaching staff, as well as starting quarterback Ryan Tannehill, has hinted at Miller taking over the role of feature back for the offense.  Miller’s pass blocking is said to be the area he has improved the most in the offseason, which makes him an ideal fit for the offense that brought in Mike Wallace and Dustin Keller to improve the passing attack.  Running back Daniel Thomas is a bit bigger than Miller, leading people to believe he will continue getting carries near the goal line.  Regardless of touchdown production, Miller will almost certainly be the top fantasy running back on the Dolphins if he can stay healthy.

Projected 2013 statistics: 950 rushing yards, 5 rushing touchdowns, 125 receiving yards, 1 receiving touchdown. 

 

4. Chris Ivory – New York Jets

2012 was the first year in the Rex Ryan era that the Jets had a subpar rushing attack.  Starting running back Shonn Greene was not re-signed after a woeful year in which his 1,063 yards were largely a result of the Jets overcommitment to feeding him the ball.  His 276 carries ranked ninth in the NFL, but he averaged fewer than four yards per rush attempt.  The Jets attempted to replace Greene by trading for Chris Ivory from the Saints.  Former Raider and Panther running back Mike Goodson was also signed by the Jets, and is expected to play a role in the offense, perhaps as a third down back.  Chris Ivory is a one-dimensional rusher, limiting his upside, but looks to be the unquestioned starter in 2013 for a team that should have an improved running game.

Projected 2013 statistics: 800 rushing yards, 6 rushing touchdowns, 30 receiving yards, 1 receiving touchdown.

 

 


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