2012 Fantasy Football Rankings: Quarterbacks 21-40
These 2012 Fantasy Football Quarterback Rankings will be updated often throughout the summer, so make sure you check back from time to time. Also, be sure to check out my other 2012 Fantasy Football articles, which will include sleepers, busts, tons of 2012 Fantasy Football mock drafts and other material. Follow me @walterfootball for updates.
Ryan Fitzpatrick, QB, Bills. Bye: 8. AUG. 26 UPDATE: The Bills wanted to see something positive out of Ryan Fitzpatrick because he struggled last week at Minnesota. Fitzpatrick disappointed, unfortunately, going just 7-of-18 for 89 yards. He had three passes batted down, one of which was nearly picked off by LaMarr Woodley. Fitzpatrick and Steve Johnson weren't on the same page on several occasions, which was odd to see because they've been playing together now for a few years.
It's easy to forget that Ryan Fitzpatrick was a fantasy stud prior to suffering a severe rib injury in the middle of the 2011 season. He should function as a borderline QB1 option again early in 2012 - and perhaps he'll be able to stay healthy all year because of the offensive line additions Buffalo made in April.
Christian Ponder, QB, Vikings. Bye: 11.
The Vikings did the right thing when they drafted Matt Kalil in April. He'll be able to protect Christian Ponder from all of the deadly NFC North pass-rushers. He suffered a hip injury last year, so Kalil will help keep him healthy. Ponder had some solid performances prior to getting hurt, such as a 381-yard outing versus Denver. He also maintains good yardage on the ground, making him a strong QB2 option.
Carson Palmer, QB, Raiders. Bye: 5.
Carson Palmer threw for at least 270 yards in six of his nine starts last year. Pretty impressive. Palmer has two young, talented receivers to work with in Denarius Moore and Darrius Heyward-Bey, so if they mature and take a step forward, Palmer's numbers could be even better in 2012.
Jake Locker, QB, Titans. Bye: 11. AUG. 21 UPDATE: Despite an awful showing against the Buccaneers, Jake Locker has been named the starting quarterback. He can be a borderline QB1 if he plays well, but the problem is that his erratic play could cause him to be benched in favor of Matt Hasselbeck. Still, this is encouraging news.
AUG. 18 UPDATE: Locker went 4-of-11 for 21 yards and an interception. The pick was something you'd expect to see out of a high-schooler; Locker threw ridiculously late across his body over the middle of the field, allowing Ahmad Black to come up with an easy pick. Locker managed to pick up a 21-yard scramble at the end of the first quarter, but was awful otherwise. He simply didn't look comfortable in the pocket, and he was nearly picked off a second time when he stared down Kendall Wright in the end zone. After that, Locker showed that he didn't learn from his earlier mistake, throwing across his body again near the end of the first half. Fortunately for him, the Tampa reserves were on the field; otherwise, he probably would have tossed a second interception. Locker can no longer be considered the favorite to start after this miserable performance.
AUG. 1 UPDATE: Michael Lombardi said he's learned that Jake Locker is the favorite to start for the Titans this year, as expected. Locker is a late-round fantasy sleeper, thanks to his ability to pick up rushing numbers with his scrambling ability.
It'll be an upset if Jake Locker doesn't start in 2012. Give me a break about Matt Hasselbeck. He's done, and Locker outplayed him last year as a rookie. Locker has to love the Kendall Wright pick; the Baylor rookie will bolster an already-solid receiving corps comprised of Kenny Britt and Jared Cook. Factor in Locker's rushing ability, and the second-year signal-caller could be a high-end QB2 this season.
Sam Bradford, QB, Rams. Bye: 9.
Josh McDaniels made Kyle Orton look like a superstar, so I figured he could do the same with Sam Bradford. Not quite. Bradford was never comfortable in McDaniels' offense, though Danny Amendola's Week 1 season-ending injury didn't help, and neither did Bradford's own ankle ailment. Bradford and Amendola are both healthy again, but Jeff Fisher wants to run the ball as often as possible. That's not good for Bradford's fantasy prospects.
Matt Cassel, QB, Chiefs. Bye: 7.
Matt Cassel's 27-to-7 touchdown-to-interception ratio in 2010 was an obvious mirage. His 2011 stats (1,713 yards, 10 touchdowns, nine picks) were more realistic. He won't have to force the issue with a great defense behind him, but he won't accumulate a ton of yardage either.
Andy Dalton, QB, Bengals. Bye: 8. AUG. 24 UPDATE: Andy Dalton had a really poor outing versus the Packers, going 5-of-17 for only 40 yards. Though he rushed for 36 yards on three scrambles, Dalton was awful. He was almost picked on a fade route to A.J. Green in the end zone. Green expressed his frustration by motioning at Dalton. It wouldn't get any better, as Dalton had Green wide open deep downfield just a bit later, but overthrew him. I've seen Dalton drafted in the Round 11-13 range as a backup quarterback, but he just doesn't have the upside to be a fantasy QB2.
Andy Dalton had a brilliant 2011 campaign for the most part, but averaged a meager 178 passing yards per contest in his final five regular-season outings. His late struggles could be a sign that a sophomore slump will be forthcoming.
Alex Smith, QB, 49ers. Bye: 9.
The 49ers added Mario Manningham, Randy Moss and a first-round receiver (A.J. Jenkins), so one would think that Alex Smith's numbers will rise. But I don't think that. Smith will have a more taxing schedule this year with tougher defenses to battle. My main concern though is that Moss and newly signed corner Perrish Cox will undoubtedly poison the team after what should be a slow start for San Francisco. It wouldn't surprise me if Smith were benched by November.
Brandon Weeden, QB, Browns. Bye: 10.
Before you decide that Brandon Weeden will be an effective quarterback because he'll be 29 in October, keep two things in mind: First, the Browns have no receivers, so they plan to run the ball a ton with Trent Ricardson. Second, most Big XII quarterbacks have had disastrous NFL careers recently. Charlie calls the Big XII the "Arena League of college football" for a reason.
Ryan Tannehill, QB, Dolphins. Bye: 7.
Ryan Tannehill had just 19 starts at quarterback in college. He's not ready to play, and he doesn't have the receivers to be successful. I hope the Dolphins show patience with him and decide to hold him out until 2013.
John Skelton, QB, Cardinals. Bye: 10. AUG. 6 UPDATE: John Skelton saw limited action in the Hall of Fame Game, but was much better than his counterpart, going 4-of-6 for 32 yards. There is no doubt that Skelton will be the starter at some point during the season. It needs to happen in Week 1.
John Skelton is worth picking up as a waiver-wire addition when Kevin Kolb either goes down with an injury or performance-related issues. Check out Skelton's numbers in his final four games: 1,163 yards, seven touchdowns, 57 rushing yards. Translated over 16 games, that becomes 4,652 yards, 28 scores and 228 rushing yards. Not too shabby.
Blaine Gabbert, QB, Jaguars. Bye: 6.
I'll be shocked if Blaine Gabbert isn't benched by Halloween. If the scary pass-rushers don't spook him, the kids dressed as ghosts and goblins will have him pooping his pants in fright.
Kevin Kolb, QB, Cardinals. Bye: 10.
It's hard to like Kevin Kolb as a fantasy option. Even if he stays healthy - he had major concussion issues last year - it's not a lock that he'll hold on to the starting job with John Skelton playing more impressively in 2011.