With the 2012 fantasy season over, now is the time to start thinking ahead while the information is still fresh in our minds. Below is our rankings for the top ten quarterbacks going into 2013. All should be money, barring injury.
1. Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers
Rodgers passed the 4,000 yard mark for the fourth time in the last five seasons, throwing 39 touchdowns to just eight interceptions. Considering that his top two receivers, Gregg Jennings and Jordy Nelson, both missed considerable time due to injury, this was a remarkable feat. Rodgers got better as the year progressed as well, tossing 10 touchdowns to zero interceptions in the final four games.
2. Tom Brady, New England Patriots
Brady is 35 years old but you wouldn't know it by the numbers he put up this season. Brady tossed 34 touchdowns to just eight interceptions and added a career high four rushing touchdowns as well. Like Rodgers, Brady was without his chief option for much of the season due to injuries in tight end Rob Gronkowski.
3. Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers
After a disappointing first half of the 2012 season, Cam Newton exploded in the back half of the year to validate his early fantasy draft position of a year ago. Overall Newton posted 3,869 passing yards on 57.7 percent completion with 19 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. Newton added 741 rushing yards and eight rushing touchdowns as well. It's this dual threat that makes Newton a fantasy stud worth a high pick.
4. Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints
Without his head coach and amid a season full of distractions, Brees still surpassed 5,000 yards for the second straight season. Brees finished his 2012 campaign with 5,177 yards, 43 touchdowns, and 19 interceptions. With a more stable 2013 ahead of him, Brees remains a top tier fantasy quarterback.
5. Robert Griffin III, Washington Redskins
The Washington Redskins took a gamble when they traded for Robert Griffin III and he rewarded them with one of the best seasons any rookie has ever posted. With 3,200 yards passing, 815 yards rushing and a combined 27 touchdowns to five interceptions, RGIII was a fantasy stud out of the gate. Defenses will know how to play him better in 2013 but with his skill and the ability to avoid the bad throws, he will still be a top end quarterback.
6. Peyton Manning, Indianapolis Colts
Peyton Manning came back in 2012 after a year off and went right back to slinging gold. With 4,659 yards, 37 touchdowns and only 11 interceptions, Manning is still elite and will remain so in 2013.
7. Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions
It wasn't the greatest year for Matt Stafford and the Detroit Lions as a whole. Both underachieved in 2012 but even with 17 interceptions, Stafford still tossed for 4967 yards and 20 touchdowns. Look for things to improve in 2013, especially if Detroit can get him a better second receiver.
8. Tony Romo, Dallas Cowboys
Considering that the lasting impression of Romo heading into the offseason is that horrible three interception game against the Redskins, there is a chance that Romo may slide come next summer's draft. That fall would be a mistake, because overall, Romo put up solid numbers that should only improve next year. In 2012 Romo passed for 4,903 yards with 28 touchdowns and 19 interceptions.
9. Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons
Ryan ended the 2012 season with solid numbers that should translate well into next season. He threw for 4,719 yards with 32 touchdowns and 14 interceptions. While not the flashiest name on the board, he is a quality start and is better than most in the league.
10. Eli Manning, New York Giants
It was a tough season for Eli Manning and the New York Giants as they failed to make the playoffs a season after winning it all. This bad season should bode well for fantasy owners who want to take a chance on him as their starter in 2013 as Manning should be motivated to only play harder. In 2012, Manning passed for 3948 yards with 26 touchdowns and 15 interceptions.
James LeBeau is a sports contributor for CraveOnline Sports. You can follow him on Twitter @JleBeau76 or subscribe on Facebook.com/CraveOnlineSports.
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