2012 fantasy football profiles and projections (QBs 1-18)

QB RANKINGS 19-36![](http://www.nfl.com/goto?id=09000d5d8297b5a2)

Statistical projections are provided by EA Sports

  • Player
  • Analysis

Rodgers has emerged as one of the elite players in fantasy football, and there's no reason to think 2012 will be any different. The lone quarterback to finish among the top two in fantasy points in each of the last four years, Rodgers combines a rocket-like right arm with uncanny accuracy and the ability to pick up yards (and touchdowns) with his legs, all of which makes him the ultimate fantasy weapon. Rodgers, who posted career bests in passing yards and total touchdowns in 2011, is still just 28 and in the prime of what could be a Hall of Fame career. He is well worth the top overall pick and is a lock to be a top-five selection in drafts.

One of the greatest quarterbacks to ever grace the gridiron, Brady is coming off one of the best fantasy seasons of his career. Not only did he throw for 5,235 yards - the second most in NFL history - but Brady also scored 42 total touchdowns while finishing fourth in fantasy points. His feat is even more impressive because he did it all without a true downfield threat, instead using Wes Welker and the dynamic tight end duo of Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez. While he does have a tough schedule ahead based on 2010 fantasy points allowed, Brady's statistical success should continue this season. He'll be well worth a first-round selection in the majority of drafts.

Brees has developed into one of the most productive and consistent quarterbacks in fantasy land. He has finished in the top two in fantasy points at his position in three of the last four years - the only year he failed to reach that status was when he was on the cover of the Madden video game. (Hey, we're just saying.) Last season, Brees broke the single-season record for passing yards in a season with 5,476 and tossed a career-best 46 touchdown passes. In a league that is now built for quarterback success, Brees will be considered for the top overall pick in 2012. At worst, he'll be one of the first 10 players selected in Round 1.

A breakout candidate on NFL.com last season, Stafford more than met expectations with 5,038 passing yards, 41 touchdown passes and 343.32 fantasy points. Not bad for his first full season at the NFL level, right? Stafford has a cannon for a right arm, and has a complement of offensive weapons in Detroit, led by superstar Calvin Johnson, that makes him a threat to post huge numbers week in and week out. While there still might be a small concern about his durability - Stafford missed 19 games in his first two NFL seasons due to shoulder injuries - he'll be tough to pass up if he's still on the board at the end of the first round.

Simply stated, Newton had the best fantasy season of all time as a rookie quarterback. He put his personal stamp on several records, including passing yards (4,051), total touchdowns (35) and rushing scores (14). The Auburn product also finished third in fantasy points with 369.34, also a record for rookie success. His rare skills as a passer and runner make Newton a huge threat on the field, and a fantasy-point monster in the stat sheets. While a potential decline in statistical output looms, the dreaded sophomore slump, Newton will be tough to pass on based on his capacity to post huge totals. He's a virtual lock to come off the board in the first round.

Though he takes a ton of criticism for the Cowboys' failures as a team, Romo had one heck of a 2011 season. In addition to throwing for 4,184 yards and score 32 total touchdowns, Romo recorded a career-best 102.5 passer rating while averaging 17.2 fantasy points per game. Take away the Eagles game, which he left after throwing just two passes, and that average swells to 18.4. With a solid cast of characters around him in the pass attack, there's no reason Romo can't repeat or even surpass some of this 2011 totals this season. He's not a first rounder in most fantasy leagues, but Romo does have second- to third-round value in drafts.

It can be argued that Vick was the biggest bust in fantasy football last season. Failing to meet ridiculously high expectations after a magical 2010 campaign, Vick missed three games with injuries and finished just 11th in fantasy points at his position. Based on his first-round price tag, he was a poor draft value. On a positive note, Vick did average just fewer than 18 fantasy points per game despite scoring one touchdown on the ground. He had nine the previous season. While he remains a No. 1 fantasy quarterback, the injury risk his style of play carries makes Vick a risk-reward option. He'll be selected between the second and fourth rounds in drafts.

Rivers is coming off a 2011 campaign that saw him finish with 4,624 passing yards and a total of 28 touchdowns, and he was still considered a huge disappointment in fantasy circles. That's because of his sudden turnover-prone status. He had 25 in all, including 20 interceptions. In standard leagues, that's a total of 50 lost fantasy points. Rivers still ranked ninth in points at his position, though, and it's hard to envision a scenario where he doesn't dramatically reduce the number of turnovers he commits. As a result, Rivers could be a decent draft value if he falls to the fourth or fifth round in 2012. Regardless, he's still a No. 1 fantasy quarterback.

One of the biggest stories of the offseason surrounded Manning, who was released by the Colts before signing a deal to become the starting quarterback for the Denver Broncos. While he will come with some risk, being 36 years old and having had multiple neck surgeries, Manning has long been one of the NFL's elite fantasy quarterbacks. In the 2010 season, he threw for a career-best 4,700 yards with 33 touchdowns, so he wasn't showing signs of slowing down in the stat sheets. With quarterbacks putting up huge numbers these days, Manning could come off the board as soon as in the third round in most fantasy leagues.

Manning recorded a magical 2011 season that ended with his second Super Bowl win over Tom Brady and the Patriots. He also helped countless fantasy owners win a title of their own, throwing for a career-best 4,933 yards with 30 total touchdowns and finishing sixth in fantasy points at his position. But while the argument over whether Manning is an elite quarterback on the field has been settled, he hasn't reached that level in fantasy football. Despite all the rave reviews and accolades he's deservedly received this offseason, there's no reason to reach for Manning in fantasy drafts. He's a surefire No. 1 signal-caller, but he shouldn't come off the board until the middle rounds.

While he didn't receive as much attention in fantasy circles as some of his quarterback brethren last season, Ryan did record career bests in passing yards, total touchdowns and fantasy points. In fact, he finished just two fantasy points behind Tony Romo and seven behind Eli Manning. He should continue to see more than his share of opportunities to find statistical succeed under new offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter, who runs a system similar to the one Ryan knew under former coordinator Mike Mularkey. With terrific offensive weapons like Roddy White, Julio Jones, Harry Douglas and Tony Gonzalez around him, Ryan is the perfect middle-round target for fantasy owners who want to wait on drafting their top quarterback.

Big Ben was a big disappointment in fantasy land last season, finishing with just the 13th-most points at his position while coughing up more turnovers per game than he had since 2008. A major reason for his inconsistent play was his offensive line, which gave up 42 sacks. That he also played with a severe high-ankle sprain down the stretch was partially to blame for his horrid finish. On a positive note, he will be back at 100 percent this season and should throw the football a ton under new offensive coordinator Todd Haley. A borderline No. 1 fantasy option, he'll be worth a middle-round selection in drafts.

Griffin, the second overall pick in April's rookie draft, is an interesting option in fantasy leagues. He possesses a strong arm and, just as importantly, the skills to make plays with his feet. While it will be almost impossible to duplicate the success Cam Newton had in his first NFL season, RG3 is going to draw comparisons to the fantasy superstar because of his style of play.Don't be surprised if someone in your draft reaches for him in the early rounds. In reality (and fantasy), Griffin is well worth a middle-round look as a No. 2 fantasy quarterback who could become a low-end No. 1 option as the season progresses.

Schaub had established himself as a No. 1 fantasy quarterback before last season, but his stock has since fallen, thanks to the Lisfranc injury that knocked him out for six games and required a surgical procedure to repair. Before being hurt, Schaub was on pace to post fewer than 4,000 passing yards and his lowest fantasy point total since 2008. He was also on pace to finish with 467 pass attempts, which would have been 111 fewer than his average the previous two years. While he still has one of the NFL's best wideouts in Andre Johnson, the Texans are clearly leaning on the run with Arian Foster. So while Schaub is a solid matchup-based starter, he's no longer a No. 1 option.

Once considered a surefire No. 1 fantasy quarterback, Cutler has seen his stock drop ever since landing in the Windy City. His completion percentage and passing yards have both decreased since 2008, and his total number of touchdowns has dropped in each of the last three seasons. With new offensive coordinator Mike Tice now calling the shots, the Bears figure to lean on the run often. That doesn't bode well for Cutler's return to statistical significance. On a positive note, the addition of his former Broncos teammate, Brandon Marshall, to the roster should help him regain some of his lost statistical prominence. Overall, owners should consider Cutler a No. 2 fantasy quarterback and matchup-based starter to be drafted somewhere in the middle to late rounds.

Locker is an interesting sleeper candidate in fantasy leagues this season. While he saw minimal playing time as a rookie, he did show real flashes of brilliance when he was on the field. In fact, Locker recorded two games with 14-plus fantasy points despite not playing a full complement of snaps. He is expected to unseat incumbent starter Matt Hasselbeck, so consider Locker worth a late-round look as a No. 2 fantasy quarterback with upside.

Considered of the most NFL-ready quarterbacks to ever come out of college, Luck was the No. 1 overall selection in the 2012 NFL Draft. He possesses all the intangibles to be a future superstar, accuracy, intelligence and the ability to make plays with his feet when the pocket collapses around him. He is going to endure his share of growing pains, however, in a Colts offense that doesn't have a ton of reliable weapons in the pass attack. Still, based on his upside alone, Luck is going to come off the board somewhere in the middle to late rounds of most seasonal drafts. The Stanford product will also be the top player selected in countless dynasty formats.

Which Freeman will we see this season, the one who thrived in 2010, or the quarterback who was a bust in 2011? Chances are he'll be closer to the 2010 version. New offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan, who was credited with the development of Eli Manning, is expected to run an offense close to the one he left with the Giants. That's good news for Freeman, who also has a favorable schedule and improved weapons with Vincent Jackson in the mix. If he can cut down on the number of turnovers he committed last season, the Kansas State product could turn into a nice bargain in drafts. He'll come off the board in the middle to late rounds.

QB RANKINGS 19-36![](http://www.nfl.com/goto?id=09000d5d8297b5a2)

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