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Rookie Quarterback Rankings - Week 1
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Friday, September 7, 2012We have an unprecedented situation here with 5 rookie QBs set to start for their new teams this week. While more than a few teams transitioned to younger signal callers over the last couple of years they typically did so gradually. There's a reason for that. These rookies have tons of learning to do and are immediately being asked to establish a leadership presence. They allow opposing defenses to get more creative as they try to throw all sorts of different looks at the new guy - whatever it takes to make him uncomfortable. Some are capable of passing the test while others buckle under the pressure.
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They represent a big risk if you decide to start one on your fantasy team, but for those of you who are thinking about rolling out a rookie QB in week 1 or simply don't have any other choice, we have ranked them from best to worst.
Robert Griffin III - Redskins
Washington's young QB has a lot going for him and he also has the talent to back it up. The Redskins obviously have a lot of faith in him after making him the 2nd overall pick in the draft. He brings a lot of skill to the table with the ability to make accurate throws, quality reads, and also the versatility to break off a play with his legs.
He is also surrounded by a good set of weapons. In addition to Santana Moss the Redskins added another deep threat in Pierre Garcon. He also has a rising power at TE in Fred Davis and a pair of running backs that have been able to catch a lot of passes out of the backfield (Evan Royster and Roy Helu). In other words, even if he finds himself in trouble, he has more than one safety valve to get himself out of a jam.
Finally, you have to love the matchup against the Saints. Don't get me wrong, Washington loses this game unless the Saints melt down, but RGIII can still rack up tons of fantasy points. Playing catchup with the likes of Drew Brees should help him to post some big numbers.
Andrew Luck - Colts
Although Luck went before Griffin in the draft, he finds himself ranked below him here. The primary reasons for that are pretty simple. His weapons aren't as good as Griffin's and he's playing against a tougher defense in the Chicago Bears.
If it weren't for his incredible level of play, which I really don't want to underestimate, I'd actually be dropping him to third on this list based on matchups. However, he's earned this spot by posting the most passing yards in the AFC this preseason and can also boast a 62.1% completion percentage.
The Bears can be had through the air. They ranked 17th in the NFL against QBs a year ago allowing 268 yards per game on average and 1.38 TDs. If he plays as well as he's capable of, he should have no problem earning this spot in the opener.
Russell Wilson - Seahawks
Wilson is undersized, coming in at under 6 foot tall, and that has quite a few people discounting him already. However, he has proven that he has talent and he has the poise and presence to succeed at the position. He's also another guy that can use his legs to keep the chains moving.
I mentioned above that I considered swapping Luck and Wilson for this list and there's a perfectly good argument to be made. That argument is known as the Arizona Cardinals.
They are a team that doesn't have it all together right now. Their offense is going to struggle as they did a year ago. It definitely doesn't help them that the Seahawks' defensive squad is pretty darn good either. That's the sort of situation that keeps the ball in Wilson's hands more. He may even be called upon to take more of the offense into his own hands with Marshawn Lynch a game time decision.
Brandon Weeden - Browns
Let's face it, you were really only concerned about the top 3 guys, but maybe you're curious about how we fall on the bottom two. To be honest, we'd hate to start either of them right now, but in this opening weekend, we can see a little bit more potential for Weeden.
As usual, when it comes down to it, the matchup makes the difference. I don't think Weeden and the Browns can hang with the Eagles, and I think the Eagles dominate this game with their speed. That means Weeden and company are stuck playing catchup and we all know how garbage time helps out the quarterback.
Ryan Tannehill - Dolphins
I think the most important thing we've learned about Ryan Tannehill so far is how hot his wife is. Unfortunately, despite the name, that doesn't get you any extra credit in Fantasy Football.
The Dolphins look to be a team that wants to throw the ball, but simply lacks the weapons to do so effectively. If Reggie Bush can keep up last year's pace, that will help, but it could be a struggle if opposing defenses can spend the entire day loading the box.
That's not the kind of outlook you want right before your team squares off against a premier defense like the Texans. They ranked 4th against QBs a season ago and I don't see that ranking changing much after this matchup.
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