The 2012 With Leather Fantasy Football Draft Guide: Knowing Your Quarterbacks

Before last season, I took my first shot at making a set of fantasy football guidelines – I hate calling them rankings, even though I technically ranked players – in which I offered my humble advice for the average football fan taking his first dip in the fake sports pool. The results were 6 readers who claimed they won their leagues drafting with just my guidelines, which is impressive because only 5 people typically read my posts, and I won one league, finished third in another and missed the playoffs in the third (it’s my auction league, so it really doesn’t count).

The point is, I trust my gut when it comes to fantasy football because I have faith in my common sense. Obviously, some of you have probably already drafted – I drafted 2 of my 5 leagues (ugh) this past Monday – but I believe that in this time of holdouts and no-shows it’s best to wait. If you share that philosophy, and your draft is still ahead of us – I still have 2 more (ugh) – then this is for you. If you have already drafted, then you can at least offer your insight into why I’m wrong. Lord knows you guys love doing that.

That said, I give you the first installment of the 2012 With Leather Fantasy Football Draft Guide: Knowing Your Quarterbacks.

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Acting shmackting, Ashley Greene is perfect.

The Top Tier

My personal theory on winning your fantasy football league suggests that the ideal lineup would feature a top tier QB/RB/WR. Obviously, that’s not always possible, because there are only so many to go around. Consider these your “can’t-miss” quarterbacks (like this is any shocking revelation):

Aaron Rodgers – Everybody has ol’ photobomber ranked No. 1 and I can’t necessarily argue it. He’s an awesome QB and the Miami Dolphins could have had him, but they’re run by sock puppets, so he keeps the Green Bay Packers relevant every season with a huge passing attack.

Drew Brees – I feel like Drew Brees might have the best statistical passing season (translating to bigger fantasy numbers) because I assume every game is going to be a shootout. I could be wrong. I often am. But between the chip on the shoulder from “Bountygate” and all those receivers, I feel like it’s a safe bet.

Tom Brady – Every time someone mentions that Tom Brady is 35, I say: “Wait, what?” For some reason it never sinks in. It has to sink in with his skills eventually, but I think he’s safe for at least one more season with all of those guys who catch things well. Football.

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Yes, Minka Kelly is wonderful, but Fez? Always room for a letdown.

The Next Best

These are guys who should be great, and they will probably give you awesome numbers, but the tiniest little voice in the back of my head keeps whispering, “Dude, watch them be terrible.” Basically, I need to see them repeat last season before I crown them.

Matt Stafford – I love Calvin Johnson. I love Titus Young. I love Brandon Pettigrew. I even love Kevin Smith if his paper ankles stay healthy. So Stafford should be awesome this season and this is just me being paranoid. (I spent $54 on him in my auction league, so my paranoia is warranted.)

Cam Newton – I have a rule about never using an early pick on rookies or guys who are coming off their first big seasons. I call it my “Miles Austin Rule”. This isn’t a knock on Newton’s talent, and I’m sure he’ll put up good numbers, but will he be consistent? I’m comfortable letting someone else take that chance.

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