Fantasy
Which fantasy quarterback is best?
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - It's a loaded question such as when your wife/girlfriend asks you "whether the dress I am wearing makes me look fat?"

Or a co-worker asks "who are you voting for in the next election?"

The question seems simple, but the answer can be very complicated.

Who is the best quarterback for the upcoming 2013 NFL fantasy season?

To begin to develop an answer you have to look at your league's scoring system.

Six-point touchdown passes versus three-or four-pointers favors the pure passers like Drew Brees and Peyton Manning. Similarly, when passing yards get you one point per 20 or 25 yards, the throwers have a bigger advantage over running quarterbacks than if it's one point for every 50 passing yards.

When rushing touchdowns count for six points and passing scores just three points, then Cam Newton, Colin Kaepernick and Robert Griffin have added value and the disparity between the top passers and the combination quarterbacks shrinks.

It also depends on the team's offensive line which leads directly to the health status of your quarterback over a 16-game schedule. And on their receiving corps.

Weather plays a factor too. Do they play most of their games indoors with perfect conditions or outside in the snow, rain and wind.

Let's evaluate the top-12 quarterbacks being selected based on the latest fantasyfootballcalculator.com information.

Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay (ADP 19.3) - Rodgers has thrown for 84 touchdowns and almost 9,000 yards over the past two seasons. He can also use his feet, rushing for an average of 258 yards and a couple of scores. Even as the first QB off the board, there are questions as he's lost his two favorite receivers from the past: Greg Jennings to free agency and Donald Driver to retirement. He should be ok as he's still got three excellent receivers to target in Randall Cobb, Jordy Nelson and James Jones. You can't go wrong selecting Rodgers.

Drew Brees, New Orleans (25.1) - Brees has thrown for 5,000 plus yards in three of the past five seasons and consistently reaches the 300-yard bonus each week. He gets his play caller/head coach back in Sean Payton, but that could be a double-edged sword as Payton has stated that the lack of a running game hurt Brees last season. Still, with receivers Marques Colston, Lance Moore, Jimmy Graham, Darren Sproles catching the ball out of the backfield and 10 indoor games it's hard to imagine a scenario where he doesn't throw for 5,000 yards again.

Peyton Manning, Denver (35.4) - After missing the entire 2011 season, Manning returned to the field in 2012 as if he never missed a day. He threw for 4,659 yards and 37 touchdowns while leading the league in completion percentage. In the offseason all the team did was sign star wideout Wes Welker. As long as the young running backs learn to pick up the blitz, then Manning is in for another huge season.

Tom Brady, New England (44.5) - The team with the best pair of tight ends in the league could end up starting third string Jake Ballard in Week 1. The concerns for the health of Rob Gronkowski and legal status of Aaron Hernandez have caused Brady's fantasy value to fall over the past week. Brady is a great quarterback, but if his starting receivers are Danny Amendola, Aaron Dobson and Ballard will he be as good as the top three guys? Probably not.

Cam Newton, Carolina (50) - After a monster rookie season, Newton's overall production dropped significantly in 2012. Almost every statistic took a hit from completion percentage, passing yards, and rushing touchdowns. Until the team finds a second wideout to go along with Steve Smith, Newton won't be able to crack into the top-four of fantasy quarterbacks. This year the Panthers will try Brandon LaFell, Domenik Hixon and Ted Ginn Jr. New OC Mike Shula appears to be putting in a more conventional offense which means throwing from the pocket and less running. If true, it's taking away one of Newton's best weapons and we are not optimistic. Beware of selecting him too early.

Matt Ryan, Atlanta (56) - What's not to like? He threw 615 times for 4,719 yards and 32 touchdowns - all career-highs. He led the league in completion percentage. And management convinced future Hall of Fame tight end Tony Gonzalez to stick around for one more season. Gonzalez, Julio Jones and Roddy White make up the best receiving corps in the NFL. Unless new starting running back Steven Jackson finds the "Fountain of Youth," the Falcons will still be a pass-first offense and Ryan should finish just behind Rodgers, Brees and Manning and ahead of Brady and Newton. That makes him an undervalued selection.

Colin Kaepernick, San Francisco (65.2) - Kaepernick did some pretty amazing things in the second half of the 2012 season and the playoffs, but fantasy owners have to be extremely concerned about the effect the loss of No. 1 receiver Michael Crabtree will have on his quarterback. The 49ers figure to run the ball even more than last season when they were one of six teams with more rushing attempts than passing attempts. At this point it's hard to recommend Kaepernick.

Matthew Stafford, Detroit (66.9) - After throwing for 5,038 yards and 41 touchdowns in 2011, Stafford produced less than half the touchdown total last season. He still threw for 4,967 yards and he's still got the best receiver in the game to throw to, but it did take in a league-high 727 attempts. The Lions will have to be more balanced between the run and the pass and hope that they can find a reliable receiver opposition Calvin Johnson. If Stafford returns to form, he could end up being a bargain at this price.

Russell Wilson, Seattle (73.6) - Wilson played mistake-free football last season and was particularly good over the final eight games, accounting for 20 touchdowns (16 passing, four rushing). He didn't put up big yardage totals, but fantasy owners think as a second-year guy the team will allow him a little more leeway. They also brought in the talented Percy Harvin. Wilson should be solid this season, though jumping into the top-five is unlikely as the offense is still built around Marshawn Lynch, not Wilson.

Robert Griffin III, Washington (76.1) - Griffin was the reincarnation of Cam Newton in his rookie season, but without the interceptions. He threw for 3,200 yards and 20 touchdowns against just five picks in 15 games and rushed for 815 yards and seven scores. However, he's being drafted around the eighth round because he trying to recover from a major knee injury. Whether he's another Adrian Peterson who can recover in less than a year is still an unanswered question, but last season's version of RGIII was spectacular and would be a steal at this price ... if 100 percent healthy.

Just outside the top-10: Andrew Luck, Indianapolis (ADP 78), Tony Romo, Dallas (ADP 85.4)




Comments? Criticism? Applause? Contact Steve Schwarz at sschwarz@sportsnetwork.com.