Archive for June, 2013

I know it’s not even July yet, but I’m already pumped up off the reports from minicamp. QB looks like it could end up crazy deep this year thanks to an infusion of young talent and league’s growing penchant for pass heavy offenses. I’m considering the rankings to be in flux and will update as necessary.

1. Drew Brees, Saints (2012 Rank: 1): Jimmy Graham is healthy, Sean Payton is back. Still not convinced? LT Jermon Bushrod and WR Devery Henderson are liable to miss New Orleans more than the Saints miss them. I two promising rookies to fill their shoes Combine Hero and owner of one of the NFL’s most fun name’s to say Terron Armstead at LT and Kenny Stills at WR.

2. Aaron Rodgers, Packers (2012 Rank: 2): Even with Greg Jennings doning purple and gold this season Green Bay features one of the better WR corps. Jermichael Finley is still in town and Eddie Lacy and Jonathan Franklin are both adept at catching passes out of the backfield (though they may end up stealing a few TDs.)

3. Peyton Manning, Broncos (2012 Rank: 6)
I’m iffy putting Manning this high, but the addition of Wes Welker gives Manning 3 stellar options in the passing game, and I expect the Broncos may actually run a bit less the year in hopes of easing Montee Ball’s legs into the transition of NFL bell cow back.

4. Tom Brady, Patriots (2012 Rank: 3): Welker left via free agency, Hernandez has been released following his arrest and Rob Gronkowski is still working his way back from injury. But Brady is far from dead in the water: Jake Ballard will likely pick up the slack at TE, rookie WR’s Aaron Dobson and Josh Boyce have the ability to contribute from day 1 and Donald Jones is a previously undrafted 3rd receiver who flashed his potential with a division rival (Bills) before signing with the Pats…If that’s not just the classic Patriots recipe for success I don’t know what is.

5. Matt Ryan, Falcons (2012 Rank: 7): In a year full of QB question marks Matt Ryan is an exclamation point. Atlanta returns all it’s offensive firepower from a year ago minus Michael Turner, but adding Steven Jackson. Going from one of the league’s worst pass catching backs to one of the best pushes Ryan into the top 5.

6. Cam Newton, Panthers (2012 Rank: 4): If the Panthers had Robert Woods or DeAndre Hopkins lining up across from Steve Smith I’d probably have Newton at #3. I like the addition of Ted Ginn, but when OC Mike Shula talks about Cam running less and throwing more I worry about who’s on the other end of those throws.

7. Robert Griffin III, Redskins (2012 Rank: 5): Surgically reconstructed knees and questionable week 1 status could have Griffin drop further, but for now well if Adrian Peterson is Wolverine consider RG3 Deadpool (another comic book character with supernatural healing powers.) Unfortunately Griffin and fellow rookie, RB Alfred Morris made the Redskins O-Line look better than it was last year. Still, I like the weapons and the talent.

8. Andrew Luck, Colts (2012 Rank: 8): The Colts cleaned up the O-Line a bit and brought in Darrius Heyward-Bey to line up across from Reggie Wayne. The thought is that new OC Pep Hamilton is going to reel in Luck’s big play number’s from his rookie season with a more conservative offense in 2013. If that’s true then the speedy, 6’2 Heyward-Bey was the wrong guy to add to the line up. RB Ahmad Bradshaw was a nice add, but make no mistake, he’s not a bell cow back and I expect the Colts to be throwing early and often in Luck’s second year.

9. Colin Kaepernick, 49ers (2012 Rank: 1): If Michael Crabtree hadn’t gotten hurt he’d be higher, like flirting with the top 5 higher. Still Kaepernick has weapons. Anquan Boldin has already established himself as the top target, and I expect TE Vernon Davis will be second, building off the chemistry built in last season’s playoff run. After that it’s all about who you ask with AJ Jenkins receiving most of the praise after taking his rookie year to learn the playbook, but don’t count out this year’s rookies WR Quinton Patton and TE Vance McDonald. It’s important to remember the 49ers still love to run the ball, luckily for Kaepernick he does that pretty well too.

10. Russell Wilson, Seahawks (2012 Rank: 10): The talent is there, but the question with Wilson is opportunity. As a 49ers fan I hate admitting it, but the Seahawks have a top defense and running game. They added an explosive receiver in Percy Harvin, but I just don’t know how many chances Wilson will get to light up the scoreboard like some of his peers.

11. Tony Romo, Cowboys (2012 Rank: 9): While the rest of the NFL was busy googling Travis Frederick, Cowboys GM Jerry Jones was bolstering the Cowboys passing game by adding TE Gavin Escobar and WR Terrance Williams. Escobar has a chance to take over the #2 role vacated by Martellus Bennett two seasons ago and Williams is an ideal fit to play on the outside in 3 receiver sets. Bottom line: Romo will be throwing plenty, and while it won’t always be pretty, he’ll get his numbers.

12. Matt Stafford, Lions (2012 Rank: 11): The much anticipated encore to an impressive 2011 season fell flat. While a sub par line and injuries to the receiving corps may have been a part of that it still wasn’t pretty. Adding Reggie Bush and returning Ryan Broyles will help, but this is still a team with a lot to prove in a tough division.

13. Eli Manning, Giants (2012 Rank: 1): I’m a little torn on Eli. Hakeem Nicks’ injury issues hurt him bad last year, but with Nicks and Cruz both playing for contracts I think Eli could have a big year. Brandon Myers fits what they want to do at TE and 2nd year receiver Reuban Randle’s progress and free agent acquisition Louis Murphy’s quick chemistry with Eli make this a much deeper group at WR. With the defense ailing he’ll be throwing plenty.

14. Andy Dalton, Bengals (2012 Rank: 12): If the Bengals threw more I’d probably like him more than Stafford. Still, despite playing on a run-first team lacking offensive firepower Dalton finished 12th in scoring among fantasy QBs. I love the additions of Eifert as the TE #2 and Bernard as a change of pace and passing down back, but until the Bengals show their willing to put the game in Dalton’s hands this is where he ranks.

15. Ryan Tannehill, Dolphins (2012 Rank: 24): Nine spots is a big jump for a second year QB, but I think Tannehill is in a much better spot this year than last. Mike Wallace is a deep threat to showcase Tannehill’s arm strength. Brian Hartline is one of the best pure possession receivers in the NFL, Brandon Gibson could develop as a threat in the slot and Dustin Keller is also an upgrade at TE. Following all the free agent signings and the Patriots offseason troubles the biggest difference for Tannehill and the Dolphins could be confidence.

16. Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers (2012 Rank: 18): The offensive line is healthy and that’s big. Roethlisberger’s tendency to get dinged up bothers me, but not nearly as much as the fact that I’m not sure he buys in to OC Todd Haley’s short and intermediate passing game and that’s a problem.

17. Sam Bradford, Rams (2012 Rank: 16): Despite playing in a tough NFC West with a lack of offensive talent he finished 16th among QB’s last year. Jeff Fisher likes to run the ball, but until one of the 3 young backs proves he can be a work horse the offense will run through Bradford. Tavon Austin is a play maker in the slot, Chris Givens developed chemistry with Bradford in the second half of last season, Austin Pettis quietly blossomed as a red zone target and Jared Cook reunites with the coach that drafted him on a team desperate for the presence of a big man over the middle (sorry Lance Kendricks.)

18. Matt Schaub, Texans (2012 rank: 20): The offense goes through Arian Foster in Houston, but look for this year’s team to be more balanced. Foster is nursing a calf injury and after carrying the ball 351 times in 2012 scaling back on his work load might not be a terrible idea. After all Schaub now has a plethora of weapons in the pass game to go along with Foster: First round draft pick DeAndre Hopkins joins last year’s rookies LeStar Jean and Keyshawn Martin and offensive staples Andre Johnson and TE Owen Daniels return to give the Texans the weapons to air it out if they so choose.

19. EJ Manuel, Bills (2012 rank: n/a): Okay fine, he has to win the job first, but I think he could be the week 1 starter, and I really like what the Bills have done. Robert Woods is a perfect compliment to Stevie Johnson, Da’Rick Rogers was a steal as an undrafted free agent (I’m hoping he earns playing time on the outside if Stevie is moved to the slot in 3 wide sets) I also think Marquise Goodwin is better than people think and could contribute early. I see Manuel as this year’s Josh Freeman. He won’t and shouldn’t be drafted, but he’ll put up some big number games and be owned in more than a few leagues by the end of the season.

T20. Philip Rivers, Chargers (2012 Rank: 21):
Rivers has become something of a sleeper. The Chargers boast a formidable stable of WRs when they’re all healthy, unfortunately that’s no guarantee. Even 3rd round draft pick Keenan Allen is only recently recovered from injury.  Throw in an aging Antonio Gates and the oft injured Ryan Matthews and you see how things can get bad quickly in San Diego. Former Patriot pass catching HB Danny Woodhead was brought in to spell Matthews and perhaps even serve as the primary back up which I find encouraging, and new Head Coach Mike McCoy is respected for his work with QBs so maybe there’s a decent chance Rivers numbers improve.

T20. Carson Palmer, Cardinals (2012 Rank: 17): Playing in a Bruce Arians offense with Larry Fitzgerald and promising 2nd year WR Michael Floyd is a big upgrade for Palmer. Unfortunately the opposition is getting upgraded too as he’ll trade the spotty secondaries of the AFC West for some of the leagues best in the NFC West.