2012 Quarterback Sleepers
Rizzla and Zach discuss their top QB sleepers for the 2012 fantasy football season.
Carson Palmer – I have Palmer ranked as a QB2 with weekly QB1 upside. He definitely has the talent and receiving corps to finish the season as a QB1 but I would not be comfortable drafting him as a QB1. Palmer should not struggle to threaten 4,000 passing yards despite a run heavy scheme. As per ESPN “In his last eight starts last season, Carson Palmer was fifth in passing yards, seventh in completion percentage, ninth in completions, 10th in attempts, fourth in yards per attempt, tied for second in passing plays of more than 25 yards and tied for 12th in touchdown passes, and he had Denarius Moore and Darrius Heyward-Bey on the field at the same time in only five games.” Again from ESPN: From Nov. 6, which was the first game that Palmer started for the Raiders last season, he was top-10 in the NFL in passing attempts, completions, completion percentage, yards and yards per attempt. In fact, he was first in pass plays of more than 25 yards. And 11th in touchdowns.
Robert Griffin III – The more and more I think about RGIII the more I like him. He has ‘fast’ running back speed coupled with pocket QB presence. In Mike Shanahan’s offense where scrubs have thrown for over 4,000 yards over the past two seasons (if you combine QB’s numbers (4058 in 2011, 4261 in 2010) the sky is truly the limit in the passing game for the exciting RGIII. Everything about his game screams fantasy star. Currently the 12th QB off the board there is a very good chance RGIII finishes more than a few weeks as the number one fantasy QB and as a top-5 fantasy QB for the season.
Andrew Luck – Andrew Luck looks as advertised. Luck is one of the most NFL ready QB’s of this generation and that fact has not belied him this preseason. He has some decent weapons around him and has QB1 upside this season. Luck is currently the 16th QB off the board and is not being selected until round nine in standard 12 team leagues. Those in Yahoo! leagues will be excited to know that he is the 20th QB off the board with that provider. Add Luck to your fantasy team and reap the rewards.
Jake Locker – Jake Locker’s fantasy appeal comes from the fact that he can get it done with his legs as well. Locker is at the helm with one of the most talented wide receiver duos in all of football in Kenny Britt and Kendall Wright…oh, and lets not forget Nate Washington who had over 1,000 receiving yards in a career year last season. If that wasn’t enough he has Chris Johnson to keep opposing D’s honest. Locker seems primed for fantasy success and should be bumped up your cheat sheets now that he has the starting job sewn up. We don’t suggest making him your QB1 but stash him on your bench for byes with the knowledge that he may spot start once your confidence in him grows as the season wears on.
Josh Freeman – Freeman has a lot of upside that he hasn’t fully shown yet coming into his fourth season in the NFL. Out of his 551 attempts in 2012 he only threw 16 touchdowns to 22 interceptions. I’ll cut Freeman some slack, though. He didn’t have the best tools around him. Freeman now has one of the biggest deep threats in the game in Vincent Jackson. He has one of the most accomplished tight ends in NFL history in Dallas Clark, and I think the running game will be more successful in 2012 with the dual threat of rookie Doug Martin and big boy LeGarrette Blount. They should open up the passing game more for Freeman. I consider Freeman a very low-end QB1 and a really good backup option for your fantasy team.
Andrew Luck – We know he has the talent, and he’s proven that in Indy’s two preseason games. It hurts his value somewhat if Collie misses and extended period of time, but he seems to be developing a nice rapport with Reggie Wayne. Luck is also looking confident in the pocket. He’s had some miscues, but what rookie doesn’t? If I’m in a dynasty league, I’m seriously contemplating Luck as my quarterback of the future, especially as a backup to QBs like Peyton Manning and Michael Vick.
Alex Smith – The majority of the 49ers’ success last season can be attributed to their stalwart defense. However, Smith had a decent fantasy season in his own right that was hardly talked about. His numbers weren’t jaw-dropping, but he definitely did enough to get the job done. Smith had career highs in completions (273), attempts (445), completion percentage (61.3), and yards (3,144). Additionally, out of those 445 attempts, he only threw five interceptions. Smith is finally becoming the quarterback the 49ers were counting on him to be, and you can count on him during your bye-week. Oh yeah, he has Randy Moss and Super Bowl hero Mario Manningham in town too.
Ryan Fitzpatrick – Fitzpatrick was one of the highest scoring fantasy quarterbacks until the second half of last season. Fitz has the supporting cast to be a successful fantasy quarterback, including Steve Johnson, Fred Jackson, and undervalued tight end Scott Chandler. There’s a lot of promise in Fitzpatrick, especially after 2012 in which he threw for career highs in completions (353), attempts (569), cmp % (62), yards (3,832), and touchdowns (24). Fitzpatrick also threw for a career-high in interceptions (23), but I think he can be a solid backup/bye-week replacement for your fantasy team.
Written by Win My Fantasy League Senior Sports Writer/Fantasy Sports Analyst Raju Byfield (Rizzla).