A Look at the Top Fantasy Football QBs so far in 2012
Fantasy Football QBs
We are on the verge on week 4 in the NFL. How is your fantasy team doing? What sort of QB play are you getting? What QB does your opponent have this week have? This article is a look at the top fantasy QBs. A look at their production, plus their upcoming opponents.
We would probably expect that guys like Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, Cam Newton, and in some minds Peyton Manning would at/near the top of the list. We will see, however, that they are not. The top QBs are not doing a lot of winning. Only Matt Ryan at 3-0.
In March of 2012 the Washington Redskins traded a pair of #1 draft picks, plus a #2, in exchange for a shot at turning around their organization. Robert Griffin III was drafted to lead the 'Skins for years to come.
His start to his career has produced plenty to be exited about. He is a play-maker, and a stud-in-the-making. We will look at his production, plus this week's opponent too.
Ryan is the only 3-0 QB on the list. I know many of us felt this sort of production was en route from Matty Ice. He is just getting better and better. His weapons just keep getting better and better. If you tuned in to @RantinBenCraig for our NFL preview you know I feel that Hotlanta will represent the NFC in the Super Bowl. The Ryan Express passing game is a big reason why.
Drew Brees must feel like he is in bizarro-world. Bounty gate, and the subsequent reperecusions, have blindsided the veteran. His play has been somewhat mixed, but despite the Saints 0-3 record Bress has put up fantasy #'s
Lost in the kerfuffle of week 3 was the blown lead of a surely winnable game for the Pittsburgh Steelers in their (eventual) loss to the Oakland Raiders. That dropped the Steel Curtain to 1-2. Last time that happened was 2009, and despite a solid 9-7 record to finish that season they did not make the playoffs. Despite the disappointing record we see that Ben Roethlisberger has been putting up fantasy #'s. I like the idea of new offensive coordinator Todd Haley working the passing game with Big Ben.
We will look at these guys, plus others.
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Fantasy Football QBs
Robert Griffin III is scoring a ton of fantasy points with a combo of his arms and his legs. He exploded on the scene in week 1 with a 320 yards game that started the plummet for the Saints. In week 2 at St Louis Rams he threw his first career INT, and his passing yards dipped to 206, but he threw a TD and ran for 2 more (plus 82 yards rushing). Last weekend we saw 221 passing yards with 1 TD and 0 INT, plus another big ground game with 85 yards and a TD.
This week RG III takes on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. No team has allowed fewer rushing yards than the Buccs, but no team has yielded more passing yards either. I give Mike Shanahan credit for the play calling and strategy they have used with Griffin. They do a nice job with play calls early that allow RG III to get a rhythm and a confidence early on, and then roll.
He did just lose Roy Helu for the season, and Pierre Garcon may not play (he has not played since week 1) which is disappointing as RG III had targeted those 2 a combined 11 times, completing all 11 passes. Fans are down on Josh Morgan, but he and guys like Leonard Hankerson and Santana Moss have had pretty good rhythm with RG III.
After a very slow (almost invisible) start to 2012, we saw tight end Fred Davis have a big game last weekend. This Buccs secondary was better last week than the previous 2 stinkers, but still are vulnerable. I could see the combo of Griffin/Davis getting a lot of work in this game too.
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Fantasy Football QBs
Big start for Matt Ryan to 2012. His Falcons are 3-0, while the Buccs and Carolina Panthers are both 1-2. The rival Saints are lowly these days at 0-3.
In 2011 the Falcons traded 5 draft picks to the Cleveland Browns so they could get the #6 overall draft pick which they turned into Julio Jones. The plan was to add him to Roddy White, plus veteran Tony Gonzalez to give their promising QB Ryan an arsenal that he can march up and down the field. The Falcons play in a climate control scenario (dome) so to build a team through the passing game works for me.
Ryan opened the season with a 2nd half beat-down at the Kansas City Chiefs. In total he had 299 passing yards with 3 TDs and 0 INTs. He also added 25 rushing yards with a rushing TD. Week 2 vs the Denver Broncos he tossed just 219 yards, but 2 TDs and again 0 INTs. Last weekend against the San Diego Chargers he threw his 1st INT of 2012, but he had 275 yards plus 3 TDs.
Ryan is even getting Jacquizz Rodgers involved in his passing attack. Last week those two were 5 for 5 when Ryan targeted Rodgers.
This week Ryan faces a Panthers defense that has been good vs the pass, but struggled to stop the run. The secondary is middle-of-the-pack in the NFL so far. Not good, not bad. #18 overall vs the pass. Ryan is killing blitzes in 2012 so we will see if Ron Rivera can dial up enough pressure to keep Ryan from going for 250+ and likely multiple TD passes. This game is home game for Ryan, and his home #'s have always been great (his home passer rating is actually getting better and better each year)
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Fantasy Football QBs
It has been a nightmare 2012 for the New Orleans Saints. At least so far, anyway. Bounty Gate. Wire tapping investigation. Who said what? What info does the Commissioner have? Who is the interim coach? Who is the interim-interim...etc...oh boy.
The face of the franchise is clearly Drew Brees. In 2012 he has been called on the lead the offense through the passing game more often than not. His running backs have had some good runs, but the defense has been so bad that the in-games scenarios have constantly called for the Saints to pass rather than run the football.
In his last 2 seasons Brees has been north of 650 pass attempts each season. He was #2 for attempts each of the last 2 seasons, and in 2012 he is #1 currently with 137 attempts (That is a pace of 731 pass attempts! That would surpass the record of 691 from 1994 Drew Bledsoe). In 2011 Brees set a record with at least 35 pass attempts in all 16 games. His attempts have actually increased in 2012. This guy throws...a lot. Fantasy potential through the roof.
This week will be telling. If Brees can put up #'s vs the Green Bay Packers and Clay Matthews (playing at a extremely high level currently) then we can assume 2012 will be even bigger than 2011 for him (which is saying a lot). At some point I wonder if his fantasy #'s will regress. His completion %, INTs per game, and QB rating are all on pace for career lows, and the Packers are #1 vs the pass. This will be a tough task. In a 2011 loss to Green Bay, Brees went off for 419 yards, 3 TDs and 0 INTs. Thing is, this looks like a different Packers pass-D in 2012.
Brees is better at home than on the road, but only slightly. His road numbers are very good, but his lone road game in 2012 was just 1 TD with 2 INTs. He did throw for 325 yards so it was not that bad, I guess. It is just rare to see Brees toss multiple INTs in a game. Traditionally he is a TD machine who does not throw many INTs. He is dealing with a banged up ankle which may explain his game vs the Kansas City Chiefs. Just 240 yards, but 3 TDs and 1 INT. Great TD stats, but the other #'s were not Brees-like (especially the loss as a heavy home favourite).
We can expect the Saints to try to be balanced vs the Packers, but the likely course of the game is that the Saints will be in passing-scenarios sooner ratrher than later. 0-3 is really bad, 0-4 is season-ending. The 2012 Saints, despite the off-field nightmares, certainly had higher expectations than an 0-4 start. We may even see Brees and the offense dial up some trick plays, or plays designed with a bit of a risk but that provide big reward. This is a team on the verge of desperation, if not already there.
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Fantasy Football QBs
The Pittsburgh Steelers have alternated loss, win, then loss to open the season. QB Ben Roethlisberger has not been as inconsistent as his team. In fact, he is getting better and better. His yards have increased each week. 245, then 275, and last week a whopping 384 for Big Ben. He only has 1 INT, and his passing TDs have been consistent (2, then 2, then 4).
New offensive coordinator Todd Haley and the offense will use this bye week to try to shore up some offensive-line issues, and see if they can get healthier in the backfield. Big Ben will likely spend some time with Mike Wallace to further develop their 2012 chemistry. Wallace joined the team just prior to the start of the season, but to be honest he has been awesome and does not look like he missed any time. But he did, and these 2 still have work to do as far as fine-tuning their timing. Antonio Brown needs to get in better rhythm with Roethlisberger too.
To be fair all the WRs, plus tight end Heath Miller, are off to very good starts in 2012, I just think they can get even better. Hard to imagine, but going forward in 2012 I think the Steelers will make the play-offs, but it will be through the strength of Big Ben's passing game (traditionally of course the Steelers are led/carried by their defense). The running game has been decent-at-best in 2012, and I think the passing game can (and will) continue to roll.
Next time we see Big Ben will be week 5 in a home game vs the Eagles. Philly D vs the Steelers O promises to be a good match-up.
Fantasy Football QBs
Here are a few other QB matchups for week 4 that are of interest
Kevin Kolb vs Miami Dolphins At home in 2012 he is 23 for 32 with 3 TDs and 0 INTs. 72% completion percentage. The 'Phins rush defence is awesome. We can expect the Cardinals to either throw as part of their game-plan (Miami yielding over 300+ yards per game threw the air) or be forced to throw because Miami is dominant vs the run.
Peyton Manning vs Oakland Raiders This is a home game for Denver. The struggling Raiders secondary comes to town, and they may get lit up by the crafty veteran. Manning's overall numbers are pedestrian with 5 TDs vs 3 INTs, but at home different story. 4 TDs and 0 INTs at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. 2 good games at home, one vs the Steelers, the other vs the Texans. His arm strength has become a tad of an issue. His pass attempts over 20+ yards are where all of his turnovers have come. His yards per pass has decreased every game, but this Raiders secondary is unlikely to provide issues for Manning this weekend.
Jay Cutler at Dallas Cowboys Interesting match-up here. The Cowboys secondary is surely improved, but the last 2 opponents have been the Buccaneers and the Seahawks who are amongst the worst passing games in the NFL. The mercurial Cutler should provide a good test for any defense, but his 2012 his completion %, yards per pass, and QB rating are way down, while his INTs are waaay up (currently at 3 TDs and a whopping 6 INTs...In the 10 games he played in 2011 he had a total of 7 INTs).
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