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Ranking QBs often is about fantasy vs. reality


Separating fantasy from reality is often easy. When I was just a wee lad playing in fantasy leagues, I always wanted to have Troy Aikman on my fantasy squad. He was the best quarterback of his generation (that's right, I said it), so it figured you would want him on your fantasy team.

But you didn't.

While Aikman led the Cowboys to three Super Bowl titles, he didn't win you many fantasy leagues.

Tom Brady is in a very similar situation. Brady, like Aikman, won three Super Bowl titles in four years but he wasn't a fantasy superstar. He broke out with a monster fantasy season in 2005 but really made his fantasy hay with his record-breaking 2007 season. Of course, that was the year the Patriots added Wes Welker and Randy Moss.

Team-by-team fantasy previews:
AFC East
» Bills | Dolphins | Jets | Patriots
AFC North
» Bengals | Browns | Ravens | Steelers
AFC South
» Colts | Jaguars | Texans | Titans
AFC West
» Broncos | Chargers | Chiefs | Raiders
NFC East
» Cowboys | Eagles | Giants | Redskins
NFC North
» Bears | Lions | Packers | Vikings
NFC South
» Buccaneers | Falcons | Panthers | Saints
NFC West
» 49ers | Cardinals | Rams | Seahawks


So let me be very explicit about this. Tom Brady is a winner. Tom Brady can win with anonymous receivers. But I would be very wary of him as a fantasy option without the majority of his top pass catchers from 2012. Especially with so many decent options out there.

So let's just look at quarterbacks today and I will give you my recommendation for each.

Oh, and in case you missed it. I gave out some stern advice on when to draft a quarterback recently. Make sure you read that.

Drew Brees: I really believe the Saints are going to switch into video-game mode and set the settings to freshman level. Not to be all sports cliché-ridden, but the Saints have a chip on their shoulder. They are going to circle the wagons. The only ones who believe in them are in that locker room! All right, you get the point.

Peyton Manning: If Von Miller is suspended and the Broncos defense does suffer a bit, this means more passes for Manning. This is big.

Aaron Rodgers: I'd hate to think I'm rating Rodgers lower because of his whole support for Ryan Braun. But how big of a story is this going to be in Green Bay when camp starts? You know, this guy was seemingly untouchable after he won Super Bowl XLV.

Colin Kaepernick: Remember how great Kaepernick was last year? Now imagine him with a full training camp under his belt. And don't give me Michael Crabtree. He helped make Crabtree. As long as he can still run, he will be fine.

Cam Newton: I had a horrible breakup with Newton last year, but I think we can remain fantasy friends.

Andrew Luck: He's going to be great in Pep Hamilton's West Coast offense. Luck will cut down the interceptions and increase his production.

Robert Griffin III: He's going to start from Week 1 and he's going to be fine. Don't think about it too much. And if you're that scared, back him up with Romo, Ryan or Stafford.

Tom Brady: We've talked about this.

Russell Wilson: I like Wilson a lot. I might even move him ahead of Brady at some point.

Tony Romo: Romo finished eighth in fantasy points last year. And he's got Dez Bryant with him. Give me some more time and I will eventually move him ahead of Brady. Don't tempt me to do it now.

Matt Ryan: He's not a starter in 10-team leagues? Seems impossible. This is also why you wait to draft a quarterback. If I got "burned" and ended up with Ryan, I'd be cool with that.

Matthew Stafford: He will throw more touchdowns this year.

QB Eagles: No, this isn't a throwback to the old Super Tecmo Bowl. Rather, whomever is the starter in Philadelphia should be the first backup taken in a 12-team league.

Ryan Tannehill: At this point, you're either going to take a chance that Tannehill can break out. Or you're going to take an inconsistent veteran.

Josh Freeman: Again, I'd rather take a chance on the potential here.

Philip Rivers: Ken Whisenhunt and Mike McCoy could make him fantasy relevant again.

Joe Flacco: The Super Bowl MVP might win the playoff challenge, but he's still not a QB1 in fantasy football.

Andy Dalton: He's got an improved receiving corps and there are high hopes for the Bengals this year. But he's yet to take the leap.

Sam Bradford: A lot of Bradford's value is going to be contingent on Tavon Austin. That is a lot to ask of a rookie receiver.

Eli Manning: We've tried this before, Eli. It just never works out.

Did you know that Adam Rank won last year's Expert's League title? Oh that's right, it's like the only thing he ever talks about. Well congratulations, Rank. You finally did something. What have you done for us lately? Let's worry about 2013 and stop living in the past. Typical Lakers fan, am I right? Oh, if you found this useful (as if) check him out on the latest "Dave Dameshek Football Program". And follow him on Twitter, please. He's taking us to lunch if he gets 22 more Twitter followers today. And we only got 19 the last time, so step up fantasy enthusiasts!