2013 Keeper League Rankings
1. Aaron Rodgers, QB, GB - Age 30
The current gold standard among NFL quarterbacks. Even without Greg Jennings, Rodgers has plenty of weapons. Now he might also have a ground game to play off of, imagine that.
2. Drew Brees, QB, NO - Age 34
Sean Payton returning to the Saints sidelines might be single biggest transaction this offseason and a certain boon for Brees - and it's not like he was disastrous in 2012.
3. Andrew Luck, QB, IND - Age 24
Prolific and clutch. Considering where the Colts ended 2011 and 2012, Luck's MVP candidacy last season arguably should have received more hype. Hopefully Indy's OL is passable enough so the Colts' franchise passer is not always running for safety.
4. Cam Newton, QB, CAR - Age 24
First half of the season, looked like we had a case of regression on our hands. Second half, we had a guy carrying fantasy teams to glory. Imagine the heights if Panthers straighten ground game and WR2 slot.
5. Robert Griffin III, QB, WAS - Age 23
Seeing as reports of RGIII's recovery from knee surgery are seemingly on par with Adrian Peterson's, we'll give him the benefit of the doubt on this deep list. Without the injury/surgery, Griffin was a top-3 lock seeing as he led all of fantasy in scoring until he went down the first time. The 2013 risk is a bit steeper, but over the next 2-3 seasons we should be looking an elite option who is pure fun to own.
6. Matt Ryan, QB, ATL - Age 28
Throwing to Julio Jones and Roddy White is a good start for any quarterback. Picking up a playoff win should help the mental healing after blowing NFC Championship game lead. Now having Steven Jackson and Tony Gonzalez (at least for another year) should keep Ryan rocking with the production. The pocket passer has only missed two games in five seasons.
7. Colin Kaepernick, QB, SF - Age 26
We could easily flip this electric dual threat with Griffin seeing as the second-year QB directed the 49ers into the Super Bowl on the strength of his arm, the speed of his legs. Chemistry with Michael Crabtree is sincere, but that will wait until 2014 with the receiver injured. Finding such consistency with Vernon Davis would make Kaep uber scary and the pair showed signs of exactly that during the postseason.
8. Russell Wilson, QB, SEA - Age 25
Cannot underestimate how Wilson thrived despite no wide receiver studs on his side during his rookie season - and how the trade for Percy Harvin changes that. Prefer Luck, RG3 and Kaepernick over him, but Wilson's outkicked the coverage regarding his potential many times before.
9. Tom Brady, QB, NE - Age 36
Finished tied with Drew Brees atop the standard scoring rankings despite not having his stud tight ends for chunks of the season. Obviously Brady won't have one of them regardless...or Wes Welker...or apparently Brandon Lloyd...and we'll see about Rob Gronkowski. Adding Danny Amendola as a move-the-chains threat helps. Bet against the Golden Boy if you dare.
10. Tony Romo, QB, DAL - Age 33
After veering into QBBC territory for a while, Romo dominated in weeks 12-16, scoring at 20 points four times in that stretch. If Dez Bryant stays cool, if DeMarco Murray and Miles Austin stay on the field, the Cowboys passing game should click again.
11. Matthew Stafford, QB, DET - Age 25
Stafford can thank Calvin Johnson for this lofty status. Touchdowns cut in half from the 41 he threw in 2011. Injuries to his receivers didn
12. Peyton Manning, QB, DEN - Age 37
Though a top-5 fantasy option this year, we're taking it season-by-season with the 37-year-old passer at this point. Doubters ate a healthy amount of crow after Manning not only survived a full 16-game schedule, but thrived. The multi-time MVP winner has stud WR options and that AFC West isn't overly formidable. Will be interesting to see how defenses adjust, especially since Manning looked shaky on deep balls.
13. Eli Manning, QB, NYG - Age 32
After moving off the QB1 bubble in 2012, the younger Manning moved right back on it after his latest up and down season. Needs a healthy Hakeem Nicks and a less leaky OL, not to mention more consistency with his own arm. It wouldn't surprise anyone if Eli has two top-8 seasons out of the next three -- or if he remains no more than a high QB2.
14. Andy Dalton, QB, CIN - Age 26
Two seasons, two playoff appearances. Dalton threw seven more touchdowns and 400 extra yards than as a rookie. A.J. Green rules and Jermaine Gresham remains potent with Tyler Eifert joining him to form a 1-2 TE punch. The Bengals solidifying the WR2 slot could raise Dalton's value.
15. Joe Flacco, QB, BAL - Age 28
Props for the Super Bowl win, but Flacco remains largely an interesting backup or QBBC option in the fantasy world. Frankly, nobody deserves being lumped in the middle of the pack more than the hot and cold Flacco - and that was with a steady target like Anquan Boldin around. Has never thrown for more than 25 TDP in any of his five seasons, but when he gets going, look out. Is worthy of rostering unlike many below him, but no fun in owning him. Blah, but not so bad.
16. Ryan Tannehill, QB, MIA - Age 25
Suffers by comparison to the rock star rookies in his class, but Tannehill had a more traditional first year campaign. Now with a true deep threat in Mike Wallace and emerging RB in Lamar Miller, Tannehill moves into the legit sleeper discussion, especially for 2014 and beyond.
17. Sam Bradford, QB, STL - Age 26
No longer the next rising QB star, though Bradford showed promise with 21 touchdowns and 3,700 yards in 2012. Some interesting playmaking options now exist in St. Louis so let's see what happens.
18. Josh Freeman, QB, MIN - Age 25
His 2011 season seems like a looong time ago. The final five weeks last season, yikes: 6TD, 10 INT, 51 completion percentage. Bucs have a strong WR pair plus Doug Martin. Not a favorite upside play, but at least Freeman has legit help around him, including a healthier offensive line. Still...
19. Ben Roethlisberger, QB, PIT - Age 31
Remains a better NFL than fantasy QB, but strong in all areas when healthy. Of course, Big Ben's health is always a concern; hasn't played a full season since 2008.
20. Philip Rivers, QB, SD - Age 31
How the mighty have fallen. By the time training camp closes and Rivers bonds with his new coach - and hopefully upgraded receivers - the perennial top 10 option might be closer to that range for 2013. Until then, yeesh.
21. Jay Cutler, QB, CHI - Age 30
The Bears landed a stud WR last season in Brandon Marshall plus an intriguing young stud in Alshon Jeffery. This offseason they added TE Martellus Bennett and made some needed OL tweaks. Not saying it's perfect, but enough for Cutler to shine. That is, assuming he can. Only 32 TDP combined over last two seasons and he's now 30.
22. Matt Schaub, QB, HOU - Age 32
Sure, Schaub threw for over 4,000 yards, but the Texans' QB is no longer one of the fantasy world's elite options. If anything, he's going the other way unless Andre Johnson gets younger - or DeAndre Hopkins emerges quickly.
23. Jake Locker, QB, TEN - Age 25
Just entering his third season. Feels like he's been around forever and a day. Still more athlete than passer, but it's those athletic gifts that make Locker interesting, along with the numerous young receivers on the Titans roster. It's the injuries and inconsistency that should make fantasy owners leery.
24. Carson Palmer, QB, ARI - Age 33
The veteran QB basically remains on this list by default because, well, it's still hard to completely dismiss him. By season's end, we might view the receiving tandem of Larry Fitzgerald and Michael Floyd among the NFL's best, a scenario that would certainly help Palmer's position. Then again, Arizona's line play remains suspect and if the losses pile up, the coaching staff could give Drew Stanton a look.
25. E.J. Manuel, QB, BUF (R) - Age 23
A surprise first round pick, Manuel has the basic run-and-throw skill set of other recent young stud QBs, but for now he lacks the upside - and help compared to some. Actually, it's not all bad (Spiller, Stevie Johnson), but Buffalo's recent track record suggests owners take a wait and see approach. Gets the nod over Jets' rookie Geno Smith simply because Manuel should enter the starting lineup sooner.