2013 Fantasy Football Quarterback Rankings(updated 7/9/2013)
1) Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints
Brees hasn't thrown for less than 4,300 yards in any of his 7 seasons in New Orleans. He hasn't thrown for fewer than 33 TD passes in any of the last 5 seasons. In 3 of the last 5 seasons he's thrown for over 5,000 yards. His consistently high production makes him the safest pick of the elite QB's in fantasy football.
2) Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers
Rodgers is in the prime of his career and has exploded the last two seasons for a combined 8,938 passing yards, 84 passing TD's, and only 14 interceptions. A down year for Rodgers would be to have under 4,100 passing yards and under 33 TD's. When your floor is that high, your ceiling is ridiculous. He is an easy choice as the 2nd ranked QB in 2013.
3) Peyton Manning, Denver Broncos
Manning answered all concerns about how well he'd return from the neck issues that caused him to miss the 2011 season. His 4,659 passing yards, 37 TD's, and 68.6 completion percentage were the second highest of his storied career in those categories. While the combination of the neck injury and his age (37) have reduced his arm strength from what it used to be, he more than makes up for it with his accuracy and smarts. With DeMaryius Thomas and Eric Decker in a second season with him in the system, along with the addition of Wes Welker, it should mean another stellar campaign from Peyton in 2013.
4) Matt Stafford, Detroit Lions
Stafford nearly reached 5,000 passing yards for a second consecutive season in 2012, but what disappointed fantasy owners was that his TD passes dropped from 41 in 2011 to only 20 in 2012. An examination of the game logs from 2012 show that Lions WR's were tackled at the one yard line 7 times in 2012 while another 9 times they were tackled inside the five yard line. Stafford was really close to having 30+ TD passes in 2012 and I think that type of anomaly happening again in 2013 is unrealistic. The Lions are a passing team and with the best WR in the game (Calvin Johnson) there's no reason to think they won't be a heavily pass oriented team again. A return to near elite fantasy status is going t happen for Stafford in 2013.
5) Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers
For the first half of the 2012 season, fantasy owners who burned a 1st or 2nd round pick on Newton were extremely disappointed in him as he had only 6 TD's and 8 interceptions while his rushing only produced 347 yards and 4 TD's. But he got it turned around the second half tossing 13 TD's, only 4 interceptions, 394 yards rush yards and another 4 rush TD's. He managed to finish as a top 5 fantasy QB in 2012 in most formats. It's a bit disappointing the Panthers didn't add any better weapons for him to throw the ball to but Newton has proven to be a guy who can put up big fantasy numbers and makes for a strong fantasy starter.
6) Tony Romo, Dallas Cowboys
Romo doesn't get the respect he deserves in fantasy football. Since 2007, he has averaged 275.1 passing yards per game and 1.9 passing TD's. In the 4 seasons he's been the starter for all 16 games, he has eclipsed 4,000 passing yards in each and thrown 121 TD's. In the last 8 games of 2012 he threw for 2,300 yards (287.5 avg) and 16 TD's. Romo takes a lot of heat for the Cowboys not winning more NFL games or winning in the playoffs, but for fantasy purposes, he's been just outside of the elite QB's. While several QB's lower on this list will be selected before Romo in most fantasy drafts, he is a good bet to produce better fantasy numbers than them.
7) Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons
While the addition of RB Steven Jackson should provide the Falcons with a better rushing attack, I don't expect much of a drop from the 4,719 passing yards and 32 TD's Ryan posted in 2012. In fact, the numbers may not drop at all, and could possibly increase now that there is an Atlanta RB opponents have to respect. With WR Julio Jones likely to take another step up in his development and the return of TE Tony Gonzalez (along with the presence of WR Roddy White), there's no reason to not expect Ryan to be a great choice for a starting fantasy QB in 2013.
8) Colin Kaepernick, San Francisco 49ers
Things were looking better for Kaepernick's fantasy prospects in 2013 before Michael Crabtree tore his right Achilles tendon on May 21st. The loss of Crabtree hurts, but Kaepernick proved to be capable as a quarterback and he and his WR's will have plenty of time to get to know each other in training camp. Kaepernick is also a huge rushing threat as well. In 2012 he was 4th in rushing yards and tied for 3rd in rushing TD's for QB's despite only starting 7 games and not even playing a snap in 3 games. His 181 rushing yards in the playoff game vs. Green Bay were most ever by a QB in a single game. Kaepernick is an exciting young QB who if not for the injury to Crabtree would be in the top 5 of 2013 fantasy football rankings. As it is, I'll still take a chance on his huge upside before several others.
9) Tom Brady, New England Patriots
The losses of Wes Welker (free agency; Denver) and Aaron Hernandez (total stupidity; prison) combined with concerns about TE Rob Gronkowski's ability to be ready for week 1 because of arm and back surgeries has some concerned about Brady's fantasy fortunes heading into 2013. And while that does give pause for thought, I am not about to downgrade him too much. With the exception of his injury shortened 2008 season, Brady has been an elite fantasy QB the past several seasons. Approaching 36 years old though, he is getting into those years where QB's start seeing a decline in production. But I believe that even with a new set of WR's, Brady is comfortable in an offensive system that has proven to produce big numbers from the QB position. While he drops from the ranks of the elite, Brady is still a fantasy QB1 with the upside to be elite again if his WR's prove to be fast learner's in the offense.
10) Robert Griffin III, Washington Redskins
Griffin's rehab from his multiple torn knee ligaments has reportedly gone as good as it possibly can. While not a sure thing, there is plenty of optimism that he will be ready to start week 1 of the 2013 season. There have been conflicting reports about whether the team will scale back RG3's rushing attempts, but his ability to produce with his legs is proven and I'll need to see a reduction before I believe it. Barring any setbacks between now and the start of the season, RG3 should be a solid starting fantasy QB in 2013.
11) Andrew Luck, Indianapolis Colts
Luck may miss Bruce Arians aggressive vertical style passing attack, but should have no trouble in the new system as his new OC (Pep Hamilton) was the OC at Stanford Luck's final year in college. The transition should be fairly seamless. I expect Luck to throw for over 4,000 yards again in 2013 while improving his TD totals to close to 30. There's always concern with a young QB and whether he will be all that he is expected to be, but in Luck, I buy into it and think him among the low end fantasy starting QB's.
12) Josh Freeman, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
I like Freeman more than many others as I don't buy into any of the talk about the Bucs coaches not believing in him as a starting QB. It helps Freeman too that this will be a contract year for him so motivation for his best season yet will be there. He threw for over 4,000 yards and 27 TD's in 2012 and with the weapons he has to throw to, plus a strong running game to support him, everything is in line for him to surprise and be a solid low end fantasy QB1. Currently he's barely in the top 20 QB's being selected in fantasy drafts (which is ridiculously low). He makes a prime fantasy football sleeper at QB in 2013.
13) Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks
Wilson is a guy I'm concerned about having a sophomore slump in 2013. I fully expect his passing yardage total to go up in 2013 (he threw for only 3,118 yards in 2012), but in a run first offense I wonder if he can really do any better than the 26-10 TD-INT ratio he enjoyed as a rookie. There's no denying that Wilson flashed some skills to be a capable fantasy QB as a rookie. His 489 rushing yards were 3rd best for QB's and that adds value to him. He's a borderline QB1/2 for fantasy purposes who is being drafted a lot higher than I think he should be.
14) Eli Manning, New York Giants
After falling just short of 5,000 passing yards in 2011, Manning threw for nearly 1,000 yards fewer in 2012 as injuries plagued his WR's. Manning is durable (he hasn't missed a start for 8 consecutive seasons) and has the ability to be a capable starting fantasy QB when all his weapons are healthy. A return to top 10 fantasy QB status for him in 2013 is certainly doable but I'd feel better about him being one of the top backup fantasy QB's as consistency eludes him. 18 of his 26 TD passes in 2012 came in just 5 games. In 4 games, he had zero TD passes.
15) Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers
In the first 8 games of 2012, Roethlisberger had 2,203 passing yards, 16 TD's, and only 4 interceptions. But then injuries piled on derailing what was looking like to be his best fantasy season ever. Losing big play WR Mike Wallace in free agency will hurt Big Ben some, but how much will depend on whether this is the year Emmanuel Sanders steps up his game. Also, it's unknown if Roethlisberger's favorite security blanket (TE Heath Miller) will be ready for the start of the regular season. Ben should be drafted as a excellent backup fantasy QB with the upside to be a regular starter.
16) Jay Cutler, Chicago Bears
It's hoped that new head coach Marc Trestman will finally be the one who develops Cutler into the QB he's always had the skills to be. Trestman is known for his passing attacks and that should mean a bump up in numbers for Cutler. While not a true fantasy starter, he is a high upside backup fantasy QB who can become a QB1 if he and the new offense click.
17) Michael Vick, Philadelphia Eagles
Vick would rank higher if I were sure he was going to be the Eagles starter, but we just don't know that for certain. There is a lot of talk about a QB competition between Vick and Nick Foles, but if Vick wins, he should be a good fit for Chip Kelly's offense. Vick can still be a dual threat weapon with the ability to put up fantasy points with his arms and legs as he is only 3 years removed from a 2010 season that made him a consideration as the 1st overall pick in 2011 fantasy drafts. As usual, Vick is a very high risk/very high reward type of fantasy QB.
18) Sam Bradford, St. Louis Rams
There is a lot of enthusiasm regarding Bradford's new weapons in St. Louis, and for the first time in his career he will have the same offensive coordinator for a second year in a row. That type of stability should mean an increase on Bradford's fantasy stats. But I think many are projecting an unrealistic major jump up in statistical production. It may take another year before Bradford develops reliability for quality fantasy production on a week to week basis. For 2013, I think of him as being a capable fantasy backup QB with a high upside if his young WR's and new TE gel quicker than I expect.
19) Andy Dalton, Cincinnati Bengals
With an average draft position much higher than the 19th QB selected, I'm ready to let someone else take the chance on Dalton. In 2012 he repeated the same late season fade he had in 2011. In both seasons he started the first half of the year with strong performances, but his lack of arm strength became a liability once the weather turned cold. For two years in a row that has proven to be the case and I see no reason to not expect it again in 2013. While he has a great WR in A.J. Green, he needs to step up and prove he can finish a season as strong as he starts them. For fantasy, Dalton is a guy you grab as a fantasy backup and then try to trade away to someone who doesn't know better after the first several weeks when he's having excellent stats.
20) Carson Palmer, Arizona Cardinals
If Palmer truly does still have the arm strength he used to have then he could surprise in 2013 as the Cardinals starting QB. New Cards Coach Bruce Arians has a definite aggressive, vertical offensive style that has proven capable of putting up big numbers from QB's. But I worry how well an eleven year veteran near the end of his career will hold up if the Cardinals offensive line doesn't show dramatic improvement. The weapons are there for Palmer to succeed if he can stay upright and show his arm is still able to whip the ball all over the field. A high upside backup fantasy QB in 2013, but also one that comes with considerable risk as well.
21) Philip Rivers, San Diego Chargers
Rivers clearly regressed in 2012. For the first time since 2007 he failed to reach 4,000 passing yards and 27 passing TD's. There is speculation that he's lost some arm strength and that his career is on a rapid decline. I'm not ready to throw in the towel yet though on a 31 year old player who put up 17,592 passing yards and 119 passing TD's from 2008-2011. A poor offensive line and inconsistent running game could hurt him again though. Rivers was a very good fantasy QB in the past, but I don't see a return to glory in 2013.
22) Joe Flacco, Baltimore Ravens
Fresh off winning the Super Bowl, Flacco still has yet to become a championship caliber fantasy football QB. He has yet to have a season with more than 3,850 passing yards or more than 25 TD passes. He has the natural skills to attain those numbers but it hasn't happened yet. Will it in 2013? I kind of doubt it. Flacco is a safe pick as a fantasy backup as he does have the ability to put up big statistical games, it's just that he doesn't have them consistently.
23) Matt Schaub, Houston Texans
Schaub is one of those fantasy QB's who can be huge any given week, or a complete bust. But more often than not he is just middle of the road mediocre. The Texans are a run first team offensively and I don't think that's going to change in 2013. As long as you aren't counting on Schaub to be more than a spot starter during the season, he makes a fine fantasy backup you can try to trade after he has one of those big statistical games. But if you're hoping he can lead you to a championship, you're going to be disappointed.
24) Alex Smith, Kansas City Chiefs
We're going to find out a lot about Smith in 2013. Andy Reid has usually had a prolific passing attack. But will that be the case with Smith? Smith is a strong game manager type of QB, but never really has he been a strong statistical performer. There is some upside here for Smith as I think he fits Reid's style, but he's best viewed as a fairly safe backup fantasy QB with upside to be a competent starter if he clicks with both the weapons in Kansas City and the new offensive system.
25) Brandon Weeden, Cleveland Browns
Weeden will be given another chance by the new Browns regime to prove he is a capable starting QB in the NFL. While Weeden wasn't awful as a rookie in 2012, he also wasn't much above mediocre. Although the new offense is proven to provide big time fantasy numbers, Weeden needs to step up his own performances for me to buy into him as being anything more than a mediocre fantasy backup in 2013.
26) Jake Locker, Tennessee Titans
This is a make or break season for Locker He is a talented, yet erratic thrower and he could feel some heat in 2013 as the Titans upgraded their backup QB position by signing Ryan Fitzpatrick. Locker needs to produce in 2013 but I'm not sold on his capabilities. There are weapons at his disposal in Tennessee, but the Titans have the feel of a dysfunctional team in 2013 where wins will be few and statistical production will be erratic from the players. There is some upside, but there is also a lot of risk with Locker as a backup fantasy QB.
27) Christian Ponder, Minnesota Vikings
Ponder needs to take a leap up in production or he could find himself eventually benched in favor of Matt Cassel. Losing Percy Harvin hurts, but I think the additions of Greg Jennings and rookie Cordarrelle Patterson give him the best WR tandem he's had yet. While the offense goes through Adrian Peterson (and rightfully so) Ponder still needs to show a lot better than what he has in 2 seasons now. This is a make or break year for Ponder, and while he can probably fare well enough to be a decent NFL QB in a conservative offense, that won't make him any better than a weak backup fantasy QB.
28) Ryan Tannehill, Miami Dolphins
With Mike Wallace and Dustin Keller in Miami, Tannehill has better weapons to throw to in 2013 than he did in 2012. But he needs to show he's able to step up his performance and prove he is the real deal after a so-so rookie season. I'm still not convinced he's a future great NFL or fantasy QB but he does possess some upside as a backup fantasy QB if he proves to be better than I think he is.
2013 Fantasy Football Running Backs Rankings Part 1
2013 Fantasy Football Running Backs Rankings Part 2