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2012 Fantasy Football: Robert Griffin III, Josh Freeman, Matt Ryan, Carson Palmer, Matt Flynn and More

The NFL is a passing league. I think that’s pretty obvious after last season. Until 2011 there had only been two 5,000 yard passers in the history of the NFL (Dan Marino, Drew Brees) – meaning there were more 5,000 yard passers last year than in the entire history of the league and another player, Eli Manning, just barely missed  it (4,933).

Now all the “experts” and “gurus” are telling people that a quarterback should be the first pick off the board.

I still think that if you have the opportunity to get one of the top three running backs (Ray Rice, Arian Foster, LeSean McCoy) that you should do that. But would I take a quarterback before Maurice Jones-Drew or Chris Johnson? Absolutely.

A stud quarterback the likes of Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady and Drew Brees is not easy to come by, so if you have the chance then by all means go ahead and grab them.

But there’s still no reason to reach for a quarterback. With all the talent and depth at this position, if you don’t snag one of the “studs” you won’t have to find yourself rostering Tim Tebow in the hopes that the Jets finally give up on Mark Sanchez.

I’m going to give you a little strategy when it comes to drafting a back-up QB. Go for someone with some upside. A great example of this last year would be Cam Newton. You draft Cam to back-up your starter with the hopes that he goes off, and when he did owners had one of the more tradable chips you could ever hope for (especially in keeper leagues).

Here are a couple players that you should target as your back up with upside. This could win you a season if it works out. There’s nothing like bolstering your starting line up without having to give up a starter of your own.

  • RG3 – Cam Newton is the ceiling. Josh Johnson is the basement of hell. Don’t reach for him as your starter. I’m begging you. There are too many things that can go wrong and their offensive line is offensive.
  • Josh Freeman - He can’t possibly be as bad as last year. Hopefully Vincent Jackson can teach Mike Williams how to catch the ball again and someone can emerge out of the backfield of LeGarrette Blount and Doug Martin. But if the Bucs are going to go anywhere this year it will be because of Josh Freeman. Let’s hope it was nothing more than a sophomore slump.

“That list is racist!”

Quiet. It’s not my fault they both have upside. I guess you could throw Carson Palmer and Sam Bradford into the mix, but I think whatever early season success they have will be negated when they both can’t finish the season because of injuries.

I’m still not completely sold on Matt Ryan. I think with that with the weapons he’s had his progression should have been a lot better. Obviously having fat Michael Turner allows for more of a ground game, but when you have Julio Jones and Roddy White spread outside you need to throw the fucking ball… a lot.

If redemption is what you’re looking for from Phillip Rivers for last season then you might need to look elsewhere. He just lost what was going to be his best option in Vincent Brown and Antonio Gates is always one step away from blowing out his Achilles. I’m not even totally sure Rivers has the arm strength that he used to have. There are much better options in that 10-15 tier of QB’s. I’m pretty high on Jay Cutler and Ben Roethlisberger. Both offenses they play in have bought in to the fact that their QB’s have big arms and have equipped them as necessary.

Down in Houston the Texans have basically put Matt Schaub’s balls in a jar on the owner’s mantle and there they will stay until Arian Foster is no longer with the team. Schaub will be consistent, but don’t expect the big games of old.

In Seattle, it seems that Pete Carroll has been drinking the cool-aid on Russell Wilson and it’s very possible that Matt Flynn is a less trashy version of Kevin Kolb. Wilson is getting the start next preseason game and will have a chance to be win the starting role. There will be a serviceable fantasy quarterback out of this battle. Wilson probably has the better upside, but Flynn has shown the necessary skills to at least be a middle of the way guy in the NFL. If you’re looking for a back-up, you can do a lot worse than whoever comes out on top in Seattle.

There is a lot of value at the quarterback position outside of the top 10. You just have to be willing to deal with watching all of your friends draft quarterbacks ahead of you. It can be a little scary but down the road you could reap the rewards.

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