As Fantasy Football owners continue to list and re-list their cheat sheets for the 2012 NFL Season, several quarterbacks are getting a bit too much love as we head into May. Between coaching changes, injury history or roster turnover, some quarterbacks find themselves either losing value or getting overvalued compared to 2011. Below are my top 5 players who I won’t touch with a ten-foot pole come Fantasy Football Draft time.
1. Michael Vick (Philadelphia Eagles) - I’m not avoiding Vick because of his stats. The guy can put up 3500 passing yards and toss in another 500 on the ground without blinking. The problem with Vick is he can’t stay healthy. Because of his continued “I’m going to run when the pressure is on” attitude, he has yet to play a full 16-game season since 2006. There is no doubt that the guy has weapons. DeSean Jackson, Jeremy Maclin, Brent Celek and LeSean McCoy set Vick up for a promising season again in 2012, but the chances of him missing 2-3 games because of an injury are always too great. If you do draft Vick, you better as hell get a really strong QB2 to make up for that missed time. As of now, I don’t trust any of the team’s other quarterbacks to carry the load if Vick is out. Mike Kafka? I don’t think so.
2. Alex Smith (San Francisco) - Smith not only gets too much love because of the 49ers’ playoff run last year, but also because the team added Randy Moss to the mix at receiver. To me that signing means jack squat. Smith was and will continue to be one of the more inconsistent starters in the entire league. Looking at his stats from 2011, Smith was only able to put up a little over 196 passing yards a game and had 5 games in which he didn’t have a touchdown pass. Even as a QB2 in a bye week, those numbers aren’t exactly spectacular enough to get me a win. Now don’t get me wrong. In a 16-team league, you almost have to take Smith in order to have 2 starting quarterbacks. But in 12 teamers, Smith just isn’t worth the time. If my QB1 went down, I’d rather look elsewhere.
3. Tim Tebow/Mark Sanchez (New York Jets) - So the Jets get in the mix for Peyton Manning, supposedly give Mark Sanchez more money as an “apology,” but then trade for Tebow? Are the Jets quietly trying to kill Sanchez’s self esteem? I give it around Week 6 or Week 7 until Rex Ryan starts feeling pressure from the fans and the front office to put Tebow in as the starter. It’s not like Sanchez was lighting it up before the trade. However, I don’t like Tebow or Sanchez as QB2s or as starters in two-quarterback leagues. Sanchez may not last the whole year. And even if he does, he wasn’t that good of a fantasy option even before Tebow came to the Big Apple. As for Tebow, there is still mystique surrounding him, but he’s going to get torn to shreds in the media and in the locker room if he doesn’t start throwing the ball more. Eventually, both of these guys could cancel out each others’ fantasy value, making both undraftable.
4. Joe Flacco (Baltimore Ravens) - Flacco wants to be paid like a top-5 NFL quarterback, but does he really deserve it? Under Flacco, the Ravens have gotten to the playoffs every year from 2008-2011, but his regular season numbers don’t translate very well fantasywise. In 2011, he averaged around 15 fantasy points a game. Which might be fine for a QB2, but the problem is Flacco continues to be drafted as a QB1 in many leagues and I really don’t know why. The team failed to upgrade their offense in free agency and the draft, instead relying on Anquan Boldin and second-year Torrey Smith. Cam Cameron, whose offenses have been critiqued as “too predictable,” figures to continue the run-first mentality with Ray Rice. But Cameron won’t do much to help Flacco progress as a passer. Which is why many fans and analyzers were surprised Cameron was re-signed. The team also lost top guard Ben Grubbs to the Saints. Add that all up and I would rather let someone else deal with the headache.
5. Anyone from the 2012 Rookie Class – (Non-Dynasty leagues) I know it’s tempting to take a rookie quarterback in your redraft league, especially when it’s starting to get in the late rounds. But please don’t do it. While I envision both Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III having great success in the NFL, no rookie is worth taking in your initial draft. Cam Newton may have lit it up last year, but how often do we see a rookie put up those kinds of numbers in their first year as a pro? Newton was the exception, not the rule. If anything, I would rather let all these guys go undrafted and pick one of them up off the waiver wire if one of them does wind up having success early.