1. Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers (Bye 4)
Projected Stats: 4,400 yards, 38 TD, 8 INTs
Rodgers is an elite fantasy QB, who should be able to get you top tier point totals every single week. You always hate playing against the guy who has Aaron Rodgers. He should be a near-consensus #1 QB in most fantasy leagues. He gets the nod over Peyton Manning because of his ability to create with his legs.
2. Peyton Manning, Denver Broncos (Bye 9)
Projected Stats: 4,600 yards, 40 TDs, 10 INTs
Peyton Manning is in line for a monster season. After an MVP runner-up season in 2012, Manning is healthier than he has been in years, and is spreading the ball as well as he did in his early 30s. He now has another elite target in Wes Welker that should help him become a top fantasy QB once again. You really couldn’t go wrong drafting him in the first round if you ask me.
3. Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks (Bye 12)
Projected Stats: 3,500 passing yards, 30 TDs, 12 INTs; 500 rushing yards, 5 TDs
Wilson is in line for a huge season and could be the best of the QBs taken in the vaunted 2012 NFL Draft. What a bright future ahead for this guy.
4. Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints (Bye 7)
Projected Stats: 4,800 yards, 40 TDs, 14 INTs
Brees should be back to his normal self with Sean Payton on the sidelines again. He will cut down on his INTs but based on the volume of passes he throws, he might still throw quite a few. It was an odd 2012 season for him.
5. Robert Griffin III, Washington Redskins (Bye 5)
Projected Stats (if healthy week one): 3,300 passing yards, 28 TDs, 12 INTs; 600 rushing yards, 8 TDs
Griffin has the potential to finish this year as the top fantasy QB if he turns out to be fully healthy by the time week one rolls around. It would be a Peterson-esque comeback, but Griffin appears to be on the right track.
6. Tom Brady, New England Patriots (Bye 10)
Projected Stats: 4,200 passing yards, 33 TDs, 10 INTs
I think Brady could have a bit of an average season this year. Gronkowski’s heath is up in the air, Wes Welker is gone and has been replaced with injury prone Danny Amendola, and Aaron Hernandez is a suspect in a murder case. Things are not looking great for Tom’s targets this year, so we’ll have to see how he adjusts. He is not the 6th best QB in the league, but he might not be in the top 5 fantasy quarterbacks without his best targets on the field.
7. Colin Kaepernick, San Francisco 49ers (Bye 9)
Projected Stats: 3,300 passing yards, 25 TDs, 15 INTs; 600 rushing yards, 6 TDs
Kaepernick could explode this year, or he could struggle mightily. I tend to lean on the side of explosion since I really liked him coming out of Nevada, but I’m going to take a wait-and-see approach on this guy. He has a ton of arm talent, but how will losing Michael Crabtree affect him?
8. Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers (Bye 4)
Projected Stats: 4,000 passing yards, 24 TDs, 18 INTs; 700 rushing yards, 9 TDs
I think Newton is in a unique situation. He may have been humbled for the first time in a very long time in his life last year as the Panthers’ offense struggled to get much of anything going most of the season despite the fact that they were expected to be one of the most explosive in the league. I think he could take a big step forward this year, and might be a bit of a sleeper that you can snag in the third or fourth round.
9. Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons (Bye 6)
Projected Stats: 3,800 yards, 30 TDs, 10 INTs
Matt Ryan is always a solid option as a fantasy QB, but the Falcons love to establish a ground game. Steven Jackson is a beast, and will be a huge upgrade over Michael Turner. I think they will lean even more on the running game, but there’s no denying the explosive ability of the Atlanta offense.
10. Andrew Luck, Indianapolis Colts (Bye 8)
Projected Stats: 4,200 yards, 28 TDs, 13 INTs; 300 rushing yards, 4 TDs
Luck should be in the top five by season’s end, but I’m just not quite ready to put him there yet. He should be the #1 QB before too long, but his time has yet to come. He is still growing, and the loss of Bruce Arians hurts a bit.
11. Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions (Bye 9)
Projected Stats: 4,800 yards, 30 TDs, 16 INTs
Stafford has one of the strongest arms in the league, and could go off for 40 touchdowns. Or, he could play like he did last season. Though Stafford was a huge disappointment for fantasy owners in 2012, he could go off and be a huge steal in 2013 coming off a bad year.
12. Tony Romo, Dallas Cowboys (Bye 11)
Projected Stats: 4,500 yards, 33 TDs, 14 INTs
Romo makes some bonehead throws, but he can also light it up at times. I have rolled with Romo a few times, and gotten to the final four, but he’s too inconsistent if you’re trying to win a championship. If you are the last team in your league to pick a QB, I suppose he’s not a bad #1 option.
13. Eli Manning, New York Giants (Bye 9)
Projected Stats: 4,300 yards, 30 TDs, 15 INTs
Manning had a terrible stretch to end the 2012 season, but he still has terrific targets in the passing game and can light it up on occasion. He is my top #2 QB on the board.
14. Ryan Tannehill, Miami Dolphins (Bye 6)
Projected Stats: 3,500 yards, 23 TDs, 14 INTs; 400 rushing yards, 5 TDs
This is one of my top sleeper picks. I think Tannehill grew a lot as a rookie, and he has a completely revamped WR and TE group for the 2013 season. The Dolphins’ offense should go through him a bit more in 2013, and I think he could have a big year throwing and running.
15. Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers (Bye 5)
Projected Stats: 4,000 yards, 26 TDs, 12 INTs
Big Ben is going to have to suffer through the loss of Mike Wallace, but the Steelers still have a good receiver group. I think he is a solid #2 option in any league.
16. Andy Dalton, Cincinnati Bengals (Bye 12)
Projected Stats: 3,800 yards, 27 TDs, 13 INTs
Dalton has a plethora of targets in Cincinnati, but the running game got exponentially better this season as well. Dalton also doesn’t have many career 300 yard passing games.