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The not-so-obvious world of NFL fantasy football QBs

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The sky is blue. The earth is round. You need oxygen to live. Peyton Manning is likely to struggle in a postseason game when the temperature at kickoff is below 40 degrees. Some things are obvious. Unfortunately, the obvious is not always so obvious in the National Football League and fantasy football. In fact, things tend to change often from one season to the next. Sure, your fantasy superstars are almost always going to put up gangbusters totals in the stat sheets (well, unless you're Chris Johnson). However, drafting a fantasy team isn't as simple as looking back at the previous season's stats and making your selections.

Is Russell Wilson a lock to be a superstar again in 2013? Are you sold on Robert Griffin III as an elite field general? Well, maybe past stats can help us find out what the future holds. Below is a look at the top 10 quarterbacks (based on points) in the last six years, and how those players fared the following season. The results and turnover percentage are well, not so obvious.

All of the numbers compiled are based on NFL.com's standard scoring system.


Positional overview: The quarterback position was quite consistent at the top in 2011-2012, as four players (Brees, Rodgers, Brady, Newton) finished in the top five in back-to-back seasons. The high total during the previous five years was just two. ... Rodgers has finished no worse than second in fantasy points at the position in each of the last five years. ... Drew Brees has finished in the top five in points in five of the last six seasons and has been no worse than second in four of the last five seasons. ... Brady has finished in the top four in each of the last three seasons. He's ranked no worse than seventh in points at the position in each of his last five full seasons. He missed most of 2008 with an injured knee. ... Quarterbacks who can run with the football have invaded the NFL and fantasy football alike - four signal-callers rushed for 400-plus yards in 2012 and three (Griffin III, Newton, Wilson) finished in the top 10 in points at the position. The fourth, Colin Kaepernick, would have ranked in the top 10 if you project the numbers from his seven starts over a full 16 games.

Breakdown: The quarterbacks that have finished in the top 10 in back-to-back seasons have been more consistent in recent seasons, as at least five have reached that level since 2011. That means Rodgers, Brees, Brady and Newton will likely be the first four signal-callers to come off the board in 2013 drafts. The influx of young and talented players, especially those versatile field generals using the read option offense, have made the position immensely deep heading into next season. So if you don't land one of the aforementioned top four quarterbacks, there will be plenty of other options to choose from in the middle rounds. If veterans such as Joe Flacco, Eli Manning, Ben Roethlisberger and Philip Rivers can rebound from mediocre 2012 fantasy campaigns, the position would become even deeper and more prosperous for owners in 2013.

New faces for 2013: I wouldn't be at all surprised to see Rodgers, Brees, Brady and Newton back in the top five among quarterbacks. However, Griffin III is a candidate to fall out of that area coming back from the second major reconstruction on his right knee. Wilson and Kaepernick should both move up, with the latter making maybe the biggest move upward at the position. Kaepernick, who finished 25th in fantasy points last season, has a legitimate chance to be a top-eight performer (if not a top five option) with close to a full season of starting experience under his proverbial belt.

Michael Fabiano is an award-winning fantasy football analyst on NFL.com and NFL Network and a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association (FSWA) Hall of Fame. Have a burning question on anything fantasy related? Tweet it to @Michael_Fabiano or send a question via Facebook!

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