Quarterbacks have become dominant in today’s NFL. The prevalence of good quarterbacks in the league today means there are fewer sleepers than there are at other positions, and also that there is no clear choice for No. 1. Nevertheless, all of the following players will be successful in the coming season and should be a crucial part of your fantasy team. Here are the top quarterbacks for fantasy football in 2012.
Rodgers had the league’s highest passer rating last season at 122.5, threw for 4,643 yards and 45 touchdowns with only 6 interceptions. It’s unlikely that Rodgers will be able to keep his touchdown-interception ration as low as he did last season, but with an offense built around the pass his 310 yards per game should remain constant. He was second in the league in Touchdowns and completion percentage (68.3) and also rushed for 257 yards with an average of 4.3 yards per carry and an additional 3 Touchdowns. Rodgers has thrown for over 4,000 yards three of his last four seasons and is clearly in the prime of his careeer. The Packers also haven’t changed very much from last year’s 15-1 team, and Rodgers shows no signs of slowing down.
Brady ranked 4th in Touchdowns and completion percentage last season, (39 and 65.6), second in total yards with 5,235 and third in passer rating with 105.6. Brady is the quintessential elite NFL quarterback, and has passed for over 3,000 yards and at least 20 touchdowns every season since 2002 (and his injury shortened season in 2008). The New England offense is absolutely loaded with weapons, and Brady should continue to be the elite player that we have become accustomed to. And although Brady will never be known as a rushing threat, he also had one of his most productive rushing years last season, rushing for 109 yards and 3 touchdowns.
Although the Saints have had a turbulent offseason, fantasy fans should rest easy knowing that Brees has signed one of the richest contracts in NFL history and will be returning to work. The coaching situation for the Saints this season will be unusual, but Brees is a veteran going into his 12th year in the league and is capable of running the offense on his own. He had the most dominant performance of any quarterback last year, leading the league in passing touchdowns (46), completion percentage (71.2), broke Dan Marino’s all-time passing record and led the league with 5,476 total yards, and was second in passer rating at 110.6. He has been absolutely unstoppable since joining the Saints in 2006, throwing for at least 4,300 yards every season and for over 5,000 yards twice. The Saints are going into a difficult year this season, but can help weather the storm with Brees under center.
Stafford is incredibly young at only24 years old, and has some of the biggest upside among quarterbacks on this list. He ranked third in touchdowns (41) and total yards (5,038), and fifth in both completion percentage (63.5) and passer rating (97.2). He has had issues with injuries in his first two seasons, but a full healthy season last year showed whsat he is really capable of. The Lions also passed the ball 66.35% of the time last season, more than and other team in the league. He also has a lot of weapons to throw to, including the league’s best wide receiver in Calvin Johnson. Assuming he’s healthy, Stafford should continue to put up incredible numbers in 2012.
Cam Newton is only in his second year, but also has a lot of upside on this list. In his rookie year, Newton took over an uninteresting Carolina offense and threw for 4,051 yards with a 60% completion rate and 21 touchdowns. Now, with a full offseason of work Newton should be even more explosive in the Carolina offense. Newton’s real appeal comes as a rusher, and as a dual-threat quarterback Newton ran for 706 yards and 14 touchdowns with a league best average of 5.6 yards per carry. He led the Panthers to a 6-10 record after going 3-13 the year before.