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Staff Fantasy QB Rankings For 2013

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Can Aaron Rodgers repeat his past performances and live up to high expectations? Photo by Andy Clayton King/Getty Images
Can Aaron Rodgers repeat his past performances and live up to high expectations? Photo by Andy Clayton King/Getty Images

The "elite" NFL quarterback, a term we hear used quite loosely in recent years. While there are arguments that can be made on the account of any quarterback - wins, playoff appearances, Super Bowl championships - in fantasy these type of things are irrelevant for the most part. We formulate our own concept of elite because to fantasy football team owners, an elite quarterback scores points regardless of their own team's wins or losses. So if wins aren't what counts, what are the qualities to look for? There are several things to take into account, and now more than ever, the idea that a quarterback can only be productive with their arm is a thing of the past. Lets take a look at the major things to pay attention to when selecting a quarterback for your fantasy teams.

Volume: In just about every fantasy football format incompletions are meaningless and don't effect the score in a negative way. To be a great fantasy quarterback, opportunity presents itself in the way of being allowed to throw the ball and throw the ball a lot. In 2012, eight of the top 10 scoring quarterbacks in standard formats had at least 550 attempts, where as three of the quarterbacks ranked from 11 to 20 had more than 550 attempts. It seems like a simple observation and it is but always something to take into account.

Rushing Threat: A new wave of young mobile quarterbacks has change the way we look at what makes a player great. Quarterbacks like Cam Newton, Robert Griffin III, Colin Kaepernick and Russell Wilson showed that a player doesn't need to be an extremely productive passer to have an impact as fantasy quarterback. The one thing to keep in mind is that with more running comes a greater risk of injury, and these types of players, although brimming with upside, are risky in that regard. The two quarterbacks that ended in the Top 10 in scoring, Cam Newton and Robert Griffin, for 2012 had at least 100 rushing attempts.

Rank First Last Tm Jake Nick Zach Jeff Charles Staff AVG
1 Aaron  Rodgers GB 1 1 1 1 2 1.2
2 Drew  Brees NO 2 2 2 2 1 1.8
3 Tom  Brady NE 3 4 3 4 5 3.8
4 Cam  Newton CAR 4 3 4 5 3 3.8
5 Peyton  Manning DEN 5 6 10 3 4 5.6
6 Matt  Ryan ATL 6 5 6 9 6 6.4
7 Colin  Kaepernick SF 10 7 5 7 10 7.8
8 Matthew  Stafford DET 7 8 9 8 7 7.8
9 Russell  Wilson SEA 8 12 7 6 9 8.4
10 Andrew  Luck IND 11 9 8 10 11 9.8
11 Tony  Romo DAL 9 10 11 12 8 10.0
12 Robert Griffin III WAS 12 11 12 11 12 11.6
13 Eli  Manning NYG 13 13 13 13 13 13.0
14 Ben  Roethlisberger PIT 14 14 14 14 16 14.4
15 Joe  Flacco BAL 16 16 18 16 15 16.2
16 Michael  Vick PHI 17 15 15 17 18 16.4
17 Jay  Cutler CHI 15 17 NR 15 14 17.2
18 Andy  Dalton CIN 18 20 NR 18 17 19.6
19 Josh  Freeman TB 19 18 NR 19 20 20.2
20 Philip  Rivers SD 20 18 NR 20 19 20.4

Overall very interesting rankings. As the off-season progresses, and we get closer to the start of the 2013 season, opinions and rankings can most definitely change. Here are my thoughts on the rankings done by the football.com fantasy staff.

General Consensus No. 1 and 2: This is a fairly easy call and hard to argue against either quarterback who are both in explosive offensives and get plenty of opportunities to score a ton of fantasy points. If having a top quarterback is essential to your fantasy team, you can't go wrong with with either. With new player-makers on offense for the Packers and head coach Sean Payton returning for the Saints, these are two options that won't let you down.

Jake Ciely Outliers

Russell Wilson Eighth: Hard to not like Russell Wilson, and in this case I am in complete agreement. Wilson is a complete quarterback who doesn't necessarily rely on legs to make plays even though he is extremely mobile. With the addition of Percy Harvin this offense could be absolutely electric in 2013.

Colin Kaepernick 10th: I can understand why Kaepernick is ranked here, small sample size combined with the loss of Michael Crabtree makes Kaepernick a risky proposition for next year. I think he is extremely athletic and talented playmaker, but I don't think he will live up to expectations and could have issues staying healthy moving forward.

Nick Raducanu Outliers

Cam Newton Third: Absolutely agree here, and although Cam struggled early and was labeled as a self-centered bad guy, he is still one of the top fantasy options due to his running ability. Although it seems Newton had a disappointing season he still finished as the fourth ranked fantasy quarterback in 2012. Hard to imagine how good he can be and the sky is the limit.

Russell Wilson 12th: Although he has tremendous upside and shows potential, Wilson finished just outside the Top 10 in 2012, so I can somewhat understand the low ranking. Hard for me to find a scenario that Wilson finishes outside of the Top 10 baring injury to himself or his receivers in 2013, but it is certainly possible.

Zach Law Outliers

Andrew Luck Eighth: Andrew Luck had a break-out year in 2012 in what was an outstanding rookie season. I think Luck is a great quarterback and should get a lot of opportunities in the Colts offense, but I fear that he will be unable to match his rushing yards and touchdowns that gave his 2012 fantasy numbers a big boost.

Peyton Manning 10th: This is most likely a concern with health and age, and I completely agree, although it is extremely hard to count Manning out no matter what the circumstance.

Jeff Brubach Outliers

Peyton Manning Third: Bold prediction here and I like it. There were a lot of concerns about Manning prior to 2012 after he had season ending neck surgery. These concerns were quickly put to rest as Manning put on an outstanding performance showing why he is considered one of the best quarterbacks in the game. Manning ended up as the fifth overall quarterback, and with the addition of Wes Welker, he could have similar production for a least one more year.

Matt Ryan Ninth: Hard to believe anyone could be low on Ryan with he return of Tony Gonzalez and the dangerous duo of Roddy White and Julio Jones, but I can understand the concern. Ryan has shown that he can be inconsistent and unreliable down the stretch, and with the addition of running back Steven Jackson his touchdown total of 32 in 2012 could regress in 2013.

Charles Murphy Outliers

Tony Romo Eighth: Romo is always undervalued, and with the Cowboys in ability to effectively run the football, Romo will have lots of opportunities to be a big fantasy scorer in 2013. With a great group of receivers including Dez Bryant and Jason Witten, Romo could surprise many next year. There are concerns with turnovers and inconsistency, but if the Cowboys passing game is anything like it was in the last few games of the 2012 season, those concerns are minimal.

Tom Brady Fifth: This ranking has more to do with the state of the Patriots receivers and less to do with Brady. We all know he is talented and can make the most out of nothing, but with the lack of a solid down field target, tight end Rob Gronkowski's health concerns and the Patriots new obsession with running the ball, this could be a slightly down year for Brady who could find himself outside the Top Five. The Patriots drafted some talented wide receivers and also added former Rams wide receiver Danny Amendola, so there is no doubt we could see the same old Tom Brady of past seasons, and he could prove me wrong.