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2013 Pre-season QB Rankings
- Updated: August 3, 2013
Without further ado, let’s rank Quarterbacks going into the 2013 season. Feel free to comment by dropping us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org Enjoy!
- Aaron Rodgers – This guy is a machine. Yes, I know Drew Brees has almost 2,400 more passing yards than Rodgers in the last four years, but consider this: In those last four year, Rodgers has only 14 less passing TDs than Brees, and 34 LESS interceptions. Rodgers has exactly 1,000 more rushing yards in that timeframe and 10 more rushing TDs. Rodgers is bigger, runs better and throws less picks. I won’t waver from Rodgers as numero uno!
- Drew Brees – When spouting off about Rodgers, I better be comparing him to my #2 and I am. Brees is nothing less than money in the bank. He does throw quite a few picks, but he throws A LOT of passes! Consider 19,641 passing yards in the last four years with 156 TDs. You cannot go wrong. The 66 interceptions are a concern, but with all you have in the upside, you can make hay with those stats any day. Don’t forget that the Bountygate is behind them, Shawn Payton is coming back and things should be pretty high flying in the Big Easy in 2013.
- Peyton Manning – Yes, he is getting up there in age, but with the weapons at his disposal in Denver along with a defense he never had in Indianapolis, this Manning is back on top as (get ready for air quotes!) an Elite Quarterback. He is a solid 4,700 yard, 35 touchdown guy every year and with a year of chemistry under their belt with him, Damaryius Thomas and Eric Decker will be looking more like Harrison and Wayne with him. Throw in Wes Welker for good measure and Manning has to be licking his chops considering 6 games are against the AFC West. I really like this offense. Even Knowshon Moreno was succeeding in this offense when McGahee went down, but when Monte Ball gets comfortable, they rushing game should be more than adequate. He won’t be the bargain this year as in 2012, but you won’t go wrong paying to live in Peyton’s Place this year.
- Cam Newton – Here’s a guy that looked like he was taking a step back at the beginning of his second year, but he finished with 3,869 passing yards with 19 TDs. I know he has only 40 passing TDs in two years, but he has nearly 8,000 yards passing and combine that with 1,447 rushing yards and 22 rushing TDs, PLUS he is coming into his third year looking more mature and confident than ever. We’ll forget the pouting press conference from early last year. I am focusing on the Cam of the second half of the season and looking forward to fantasy prime time for him in 2013.
- Tom Brady – Until somebody can force themselves into this realm, or until they all retire, Mr. Brady finishes off the top 5. 18,360 passing yards since 2009 with 137 TDs and a magnificent 37 Int. Also, let’s not forget what he did in 2007 as well! Danny Amendola is set to take over as the new Wes Welker and his health is critical, to be sure. But if he stays healthy combined with the strides Aaron Dobson has been taking this early, Brady may not miss a beat. Jake Ballard may actually become relevant in this offense. The Patriots’ window may be closing and the merry-go-round of receivers may start anew, but Tom Brady can make an offense hum and although they may not win the Super Bowl, we are talking fantasy gold here.
- Matt Ryan – Matt Ryan hasn’t risen to that status of clutch playoff winning QBs in real life, but in our fantasy world, he has improved every year. Last year’s 4,719/32/14 campaign is testament to that fact. The Falcons will still be loaded next year. Roddy White and Julio Jones are one of the best tandems in football. Tony Gonzalez is back and that is another studly presence to throw to. Now they have a proven RB1 in Steven Jackson running the ball. Some people are comparing his numbers to Turner and Forte, but SJAX put up his numbers on crummy teams. Atlanta isn’t a crummy team. He will catch the ball and provide that serious run threat Ryan needs.
- Tony Romo – Hey, I’m talking fantasy! Like Romo or not, he puts up numbers. Let’s not look at 2010 when Romo missed most of the season with that broken collarbone, but with 2009, 2011 and 2012 to look back on, I see a guy averaging 4,523 yards, and a tad over 28 TDs. He threw 19 picks last year. That is a concern; but is it what I look for from Tony Romo this year? We have short memories and I know that, but in 2009, he only threw 9 and in 2011 only 10. I think Dez Bryant has matured, Jason Witten is back, Miles Austin is a concern, but rookie Terrance Williams and Dwayne Harris can help. Demarco Murray needs to stay healthy. If all of these happen, Romo could be huge, if even a few happen, he will still be a fantasy stud you can get at a decent value.
- Russell Wilson – This Seattle team is a rough and tumble bunch that is now run by a smart, mobile, accurate passer in Russell Wilson. 26 passing TDs plus 4 more rushing with only 10 INT’s as a rookie? I’ll take it. But the kid’s poise is what struck me. He was cool down the stretch, and although he looked a little shaky in the playoff game against Atlanta early, he brought them to the brink of stealing it back. Wilson is good folks, and don’t be surprised he is still there on the draft board when some other bigger names who I have lower than him are already gone. It was disappointing to see Harvin go down already, but they still have a decent corps of receivers.
- Andrew Luck – Was Andrew Luck’s first season just luck? I don’t think so. Here is a smart kid who is big, strong and has a fire like his predecessor in Indianapolis. Yeah, he made some rookie mistakes (hence the 19 picks), but that isn’t always a bad thing. He’s not gun-shy and isn’t afraid to throw. They may have found their starting RB in Ahmad Bradshaw, but Vick Ballard is a pretty decent supplement. One more thing; let’s not forget they were in the playoffs after a 2-14 campaign in 2011. I think Luck will be a shoo-in for 4,350 yards and 30 TDs.
- Matt Stafford – I’m ready to defend this. Some will tell me he is a top 5 guy, others have folded on him. He was hurt most of the 2010 season, but consider this: 2011 saw him put up 5,038 yards, 41 TDs and 16 picks. 2012 and 2009 combined were only 7,234/33/33. So the question is: Which Matt Stafford will we get in 2013? Megatron is the best WR in the game with nothing to note after that, although there are high expectations for Ryan Broyles. For some reason, they quit throwing to Brandon Pettigrew last year and Mikal Leshoure didn’t show that he is a full time starter so they picked up Reggie Bush. Will this combination of backs give them a legitimate run game? It certainly gives Stafford another target. I don’t like the coaching staff in Detroit, but I think Stafford will be a legit fantasy starter in 2013.
- 11. Eli Manning – Once talked about as being elite, Eli was nothing short of lackluster last year. I think Eli is still a starter, but you better be prepared with a good backup. He was erratic and the loss of Nicks last year seemed to throw them off. Cruz and Nicks should be good, but Nicks has to stay healthy. Myers at TE should keep defenses looking his way after the year he had with Oakland last year. The Giants could be a force next year, since they were garbage in 2012. Don’t be afraid to take Eli, but have a contingency plan in place.
- Robert Griffin III – The way he was used and abused last year with a knee injury keeps me from ranking Griffin higher. This guy is awesome with speed, agility, accuracy and the ability to see the field and adjust; we have to wait and see if the speed and agility are back after this injury. People are starting to expect a severe knee injury to be ready the next year after seeing AP and J. Charles come back, but all knees are different. We will have to monitor this through training camp. But Griffin still should be a fantasy starter this year. The Redskins have improved immensely and should be in the playoff hunt. Don’t jump too high for Griffin, but don’t let him slip past you when you need a QB!
- Ben Roethlisberger – He’s big and he’s strong and sometimes holds onto the ball too long, but Big Ben can get the job done. If the Steelers can ever hold an O-line together for more than a couple of games, Ben’s health may improve. Of course, that is always a concern with him. But he has averaged 3,718 yds./23 td/10 int. in the last four years and he is a gamer. Many think he embellishes injuries, but whether or not that is the case, he is tough and can run too. He will also give you around 100 yards rushing as well. Ben isn’t Fantasy Elite, but that is reserved to the top 4. Ben is where he should be in the second tier below Elite. If Le’Veon Bell can deliver as a legitimate RB1, Ben’s numbers could soar.
- Andy Dalton – Dalton has one of the league’s best receivers and he is getting better as a QB. 3,669 yards and 27 TDs is pretty good and he is gaining confidence. He didn’t look good in the playoffs, but chalk that up to experience as well. The Bengals, although usually schizophrenic this time of year, so far haven’t had any issues yet again. They may well be becoming a team. Dalton could sneak into your starting lineup sooner than later.
- Colin Kaepernick – Look, I love the kid, but I also understand that defenses will be preparing for him differently and he will not be the hot surprise of the year. I think he will be a real fantasy player and someone will grab him early. He will be ok, but I do not expect cartoon-like numbers from him. One other thing I am concerned about is his mobility. Look at Vick, RGIII, even Big Ben to a degree; they are real risk for injury. He is scary good, but scary at the same time. Don’t jump on him too early.
- Josh Freeman – Big strong kid who is improving. I love Freeman and he could well be moving into a starting fantasy role as well. He is averaging 3,703 yards in his last three years and he can run too; racking up 741 yards in those 3 years. He’s got a big arm and now has a real WR in Vincent Jackson. Mike Williams is better with VJAX there and Doug Martin has solidified the run game. If the Bucs can stop the second half collapses, Freeman could be a top 10 guy.
Others to watch:
Joe Flacco. No, I’m not buying his 2012 playoff air show. He is a 3,700 yd. 22 TD and 11 pick guy. Have him on your team as a solid back up, but I wouldn’t want to bet my fantasy life on him leading my team to a championship.
Jay Cutler. Cutler continues to under impress. He has a top 3 receiver in Brandon Marshall and a top 10 RB, but Butler can’t seem to light it up. He has a gun for an arm, but continues to make poor decisions.
Phillip Rivers. Never thought he would fall so far as fast as he did. San Diego let a lot of talent get away and Rivers suffered for it. He is a backup now.
Matt Schaub. He has potential to light it up, but with the running game and defense Houston has, there is no need to. Schaub is far from being a reliable starter now.
Geno Smith. He may very well be the starting QB for the Jets this year. The receiving corps is lackluster but Chris Ivory is an upgrade at RB. Geno may have a rough ride this year, but he is a keeper.
Carson Palmer. Here’s a guy who threw for over 4,000 yds. on a bad team last year. He now has Larry Fitzgerald to throw to and a potentially good running game to fall back on. He can still move the chains and earn you fantasy points.