The quarterback position has gotten a huge youth injection in recent years. While the late ’90s had a nice influx of talent, with the likes of Peyton Manning, Donovan McNabb and Daunte Culpepper, Fantasy rookie QB rankings were still just an afterthought in most leagues because they were rarely worth starting in any formats.
But the early 2000s brought a relatively large talent drought at the position, Tom Brady and a couple others notwithstanding. David Carr, Byron Leftwich, Kyle Boller, and a host of other busts littered Fantasy rookie QB rankings for years.
But in 2007 and 2008, that started to change a bit. For the next few years, players like Matt Ryan, Joe Flacco, Sam Bradford, Jay Cutler, Josh Freeman and Matthew Stafford, all provided Fantasy help in their Rookie seasons.
Then 2011 happened.
Fantasy Rookie QBs Gone Wild
Cam Newton turned in the greatest single season statistically by a rookie QB in fantasy Football history. His ascension in the Fantasy ranks makes him an easy top-25 pick in many leagues this season.
And Andy Dalton turned in the seventh-best rookie QB season in history, but hardly anyone noticed because of newton’s success!
Then there’s a handful of other rookie QBs that saw plenty of action in 2011, like Blaine Gabbert, Christian Ponder and Jake Locker, that might have seen a random start or two last year.
Good luck with Andrew
That brings us to this year and the arrival of the “best quarterback prospect since John Elway” in Andrew Luck. And it brings a player like Robert Griffin III, who many will instantly compare to Newton because of their speed and style. But despite their talents and the recent history of rookie QB Fantasy production, neither of these quarterbacks will produce like Newton — or Dalton. It’s much more likely you could see Fantasy output more along the lines of Ryan/Flacco’s rookie seasons (with more ground yardage from Griffin, obviously).
Grabbing them as backups for random spot starts against weak teams is one thing. But drafting them as your starter? That’s a mistake.
Even so, rookie QB rankings are helpful for keeper leagues and dynasty leagues. This wasn’t an entirely deep draft, but by season’s end, we could see four different rookies leading their teams.
Brandon Weeden is a 28-year-old rookie that would have a stellar running back and two young talents at wide receiver in Greg Little and Josh Gordon, who the Browns picked up in the supplemental draft with a second-round pick. Weeden has already been named the team’s starter.
Ryan Tannehill could also start, although he no won’t have Brandon Marshall as a teammate.
2012 Fantasy Rookie QB Rankings
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David Gonos spent 5 years as a CBSSports.com Senior Fantasy Writer and three more years writing with SI.com. Over the past 17 years, his work has been published on NFL.com, MLB.com, FanDuel, FoxSports.com and USA Today. Since 2001, he has been tracking down the Top 50-plus Free Fantasy Football Draft Tools online. You can contact David Gonos here.