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Fantasy Football Rankings 2012: Quarterback Dissection Part II

An author critiques a second set of SB Nation fantasy football quarterback rankings.

Aug 9, 2012; Foxboro, Massachusetts, USA; New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (9) looks to make a pass during the first quarter against the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium.  Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-US PRESSWIRE
Aug 9, 2012; Foxboro, Massachusetts, USA; New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (9) looks to make a pass during the first quarter against the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-US PRESSWIRE

This week, we've had a pair of quarterback rankings posted by separate authors. In order to help you better break down your QB options, we decided to have each author critique the rankings of the other. Yesterday, Scottie Gerhart broke down Mike Gallagher's rankings. Today, Mike is here to break down Scottie's rankings.

Drafts are in full swing this week and we'd love to hear your feedback, so feel free to drop us a comment or question below or in the Fantasy War Room, which is live every night, from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET Monday through Friday, and from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. ET on Saturday and Sunday.

Here are Scottie's rankings, followed by Mike's thoughts:

1 Aaron Rodgers
2 Tom Brady
3 Drew Brees
4 Matthew Stafford
5 Cam Newton
6 Michael Vick
7 Matt Ryan
8 Eli Manning
9 Tony Romo
10 Philip Rivers
11 Peyton Manning
12 Ben Roethlisberger
13 Jay Cutler
14 Robert Griffin III
15 Matt Schaub
16 Carson Palmer
17 Andrew Luck
18 Joe Flacco
19 Josh Freeman
20 Ryan Fitzpatrick
21 Jake Locker
22 Andy Dalton
23 Alex Smith
24 Christian Ponder
25 Russell Wilson
26 Sam Bradford
27 Matt Cassel
28 Mark Sanchez
29 Brandon Weeden
30 Blaine Gabbert
31 Ryan Tannehill
32 John Skelton
33 Matt Flynn
34 Tim Tebow
35 Matt Moore
36 Kevin Kolb
37 Colt McCoy
38 Vince Young

Newton over Brees and Stafford is probably the most debate-provoking section of my rankings. I get it. Stafford had the fifth-most attempts per game ever by a QB last season, while Brees set records for completions and passing yards. How soon we forget that Stafford struggled to stay healthy before last season, and that he already got injured in the preseason. The Lions have had a really tough time protecting their franchise player and he'll be going up against some of the league's best pass rushers throughout the season.

As for Brees, well, I'd say this is a little more bold on my part. The loss of head coach Sean Payton really hurts. The Saints completed a ridiculous 57 percent of their third downs last year, which is almost 8 percent higher than the second-place Chargers, and anyone who has ever played "Madden" knows that play-calling is a huge part of how to be successful on third down. The loss of wide receiver Robert Meachem also could hurt, since Devery Henderson only really knows how to run one route.

Even though Brees gets all the glory of the huge season, Newton finished just 19 total fantasy points behind him in standard scoring. (That's just a shade over one point per game for you math majors out there.) While I fully don't expect him to run for 14 scores again, I'm also not expecting him to throw 17 picks, either. Cam also faced a tougher schedule and had eight games with less than 225 passing yards. A full offseason should get him on the same page with his team and further his understanding of NFL defenses.

Things set up nicely for Newton this year -- he has the fourth-best schedule for a QB, coach Ron Rivera says wide receiver Brandon LaFell has looked fantastic and projects Greg Olsen as a 1,000-yard receiver, and offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski will reportedly be looking to stretch the field. LaFell, Olsen and the always dangerous Steve Smith rank among the league's better players at their respective positions, which leads me to believe Cam will be doing a lot of Superman celebrations in the first three weeks against the Buccaneers, Saints and defending Super Bowl champion Giants.

Besides that, Scott and I are really on the same page for the top half of the rankings outside of me being a little higher on Matt Ryan and lower on Tony Romo. The rest of the rankings are really based on an ideology that I've always lived by when it comes to fantasy football: Why would you draft a backup QB who doesn't have a high upside? I've always viewed the bench on fantasy football rosters as a chance to take a shot on a guy who could emerge as a true must-start option.

This year, it seems abundantly clear that Russell Wilson and Jake Locker fit that bill. Wilson is armed with the sixth-best schedule for fantasy QBs and Seatttle's improved offensive line should be able to protect him. His receiver corps isn't took shabby either, with Sidney Rice, Doug Baldwin, Braylon Edwards and Golden Tate capable of doing damage on the outside. Yes, this isn't exactly Julio Jones and Roddy White, but the Seahawks' wideouts should be able to keep defenses honest down the field. It's really never a good idea to talk about preseason stats, so (insert awesome preseason stats here).

In Tennessee, Locker is loaded with weapons. Kenny Britt was one of the best players in fantasy football before tearing his ACL, rookie Kendall Wright looks like a fantastic flanker in two-wide sets as well as a guy that knows how to get open in the slot, and Nate Washington has always been a home-run threat. And obviously, everyone knows that these two project to be among the league's elite in terms of quarterback rushing yards.