1. Aaron Rodgers
2011 stats: 4,643 Passing Yards, 45 TDs, 6 INTs, 257 Rushing Yards, 3 TDs
As if he needs it, Rodgers has the second easiest schedule in ’12 (per ESPN).
2. Tom Brady
2011 stats: 5,235 Passing Yards, 39 TDs, 14 INTs, 3 Rushing TDs
You know which team has the number one easiest schedule? The Patriots. Brady amassed last season’s numbers with a banged up Aaron Hernandez and without the newly acquired Brandon Lloyd. A repeat season is in store.
3. Drew Brees
2011 stats: 5,476 Passing Yards, 46 TDs, 1 Rushing TD
Brees is a mastermind, so I don’t expect the scandal to effect the offense too much. Even if the team does struggle a bit more than they should, it just means more time for Brees to air it out.
4. Matthew Stafford
2011 stats: 5,038 Passing Yards, 41 TDs, 16 INTs
As always, the only concern with Stafford is him being on the field for 16 games. However, with how the large the drop-off is after these four, the risk is certainly worth the reward.
5. Cam Newton
2011 stats: 4,051 Passing Yards, 21 TDs, 17 INTs, 706 Rushing Yards, 14 TDs
To be completely honest, I’m not high on Cam this year. The only reason I have him listed #5 is because Rivers lost Vincent Jackson, there’s too much risk associated with Vick, Eli has the hardest schedule of all teams, etc. There’s a good chance Cam catches a case of the sophomore slump, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see slight uptick in INTs, along with passing numbers closer to his final 6 games in ’11 when he averaged 194 yards per contest.
6. Phillip Rivers
2011 stats: 4,624 Passing Yards, 27 TDs, 20 INTs, 1 Rushing TD
I love Rivers as a bounce-back candidate this year, as I think his struggles last season were the result of him trying to do a little too much. Again, because of the loss of Vincent Jackson, his ceiling won’t be quite as high, though.
7. Michael Vick
2011 stats: 3,303 Passing Yards, 18 TDs, 14 INTs, 589 Rushing Yards, 1 TD
What to do with Michael Vick? That’s the million dollar question. My approach is almost sacrificial: Draft him knowing that there’s top three potential there, but then also burn a pick shortly after on another (solid) QB for insurance.
8. Matt Ryan
2011 stats: 4,177 Passing Yards, 29 TDs, 12 INTs, 2 Rushing TDs
Although he doesn’t get much love, from a Fantasy perspective Matt Ryan equals progression:
- ’08: 3,440 Passing Yards, 16 Touchdowns
- ’09: 2,916 Passing Yards, 22 Touchdowns
- ’10: 3,705 Passing Yards, 28 Touchdowns
- ’11: 4,177 Passing Yards, 29 Touchdowns
Had he not missed a little time in ’09, the picture would look even better. With Michael Turner on the decline, and Julio Jones on the incline, I fully expect Ryan to hit 30+ TDs.
9. Tony Romo
2011 stats: 4,184 Passing Yards, 31 TDs, 10 INTs, 1 Rushing TD
The weapons are there (Bryant, Austin, Witten, Murray, Jones), but is the offensive line? Coming into the season the offensive line was the biggest question mark, and Monday’s preseason game against the Raiders didn’t do anything to ease concerns. Nonetheless, Romo is pretty good both in and out of the pocket, and I expect him to hover around his usual 4,000 yards and 25-30 TDs.
10. Eli Manning
2011 stats: 4,933 Passing Yards, 29 TDs, 16 INTs, 1 Rushing TD
Manning is coming off of the best season of his career, but a slight regression seems likely: 1) Possible Super Bowl hangover/teams gunning for the Giants, 2) hardest schedule in football, 3) loss of Mario Manningham, 4) an offense that could be more focused on establishing the run.
On a side note, I’m not a fan on Eli’s inconsistency. Yes, he finished as the 6th best QB last season, but for seemingly every great game he had, there was a dud to soon follow.
Just Missed: Peyton Manning