Yes, it's still baseball season. However, it's close enough to September to start thinking about Fantasy Football.
Life in the National Football League is mostly about staying healthy. Therefore it's really hard to know which direction to go with your team. And that's why, just like in the NFL, it's important to have two good fantasy quarterbacks.
In a 12-team league, there aren't enough elite options to go around even once. However, getting a guy in the top end of the second tier can be the difference between a winning or losing season if injury takes down the big dog.
With the way injuries have been occurring this preseason, things could get shaken up a little before the real games begin. But here's a look at how the “experts” view quarterbacks along with some different viewpoints.
Elite of the elite
The experts have four guys at this level, but they could be missing the boat on one.
Everybody seems to agree on Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers and Peyton Manning as the cream of the crop, in that order. However, Manning could offer one more grand season and finish above Brees and Rodgers — although his age and recent injury history make him a bit of a risk.
Many experts are putting Cam Newton in the can't-miss group. I'm not buying it. He did most of his damage in four brilliant games last season, and he finished very weakly against San Diego, Oakland and New Orleans. There were at least seven weeks last season where Newton could have cost your team a victory with sub-par performances.
This group houses the likes of Tom Brady, Matt Ryan, Robert Griffin III, Colin Kaepernick and Newton.
Brady falls into this group because he just doesn't have same type of weapons at receiver this season. Still, he's Tom Brady, and he will throw touchdown passes to somebody. And if he ever has a healthy Rob Gronkowski, it will make a big difference.
Depending on who your favorite expert is, Kaepernick may or may not belong in this group. I think he belongs because the raves on him came before he started putting up the ridiculous numbers late in the season and the playoffs — things like reading defenses, calling audibles and making the tough throws.
It's the same reason RG III belongs. Griffin doesn't have to be a scrambler. He can be an elite fantasy quarterback based on his decision making and throwing skills.
Some folks want to downgrade Ryan from this group, and he might not be as good as last year. But don't buy it. The Falcons will be good and so will he.
Good quarterbacks who may not be able to carry a fantasy team
Russell Wilson, Matthew Stafford, Tony Romo, Andrew Luck, and Eli Manning fit the bill here.
Stafford was fairly consistent last year, but only had a couple of real good games. In most fantasy leagues, your quarterback needs to win more than a couple of games.
Some people might think Luck should be rated higher, but a change in offensive philosophy could limit his big plays.
Romo is always the guy Cowboys' fans grab early, and then usually stay mad at him. He's very consistent, but doesn't deliver enough giant games — pun intended.
As for Manning, he's prone to slumps and not the fantasy front-liner he once was.
The darling of this group could have been Wilson, but the injury loss of receiver Percy Harvin tempers expectations. Also, the Seahawks rely too often on the ground game for Wilson to be an every-week stud.
Risking a few losses by starting these guys
If your fantasy team is going to count on Ben Roethlisberger, Michael Vick, Andy Dalton, Joe Flacco, Sam Bradford or Jay Cutler at quarterback, the rest of the positions better be loaded with top-10 studs.
Losing Mike Wallace hurts Ben Roethlisberger's already dwindling appeal, and Joe Flacco has never been a reliable fantasy option.
There was a time when Vick was near the cream of the fantasy crop, but then NFL defensive coordinators realized he couldn't smell a blitz if it was tied to a stick with a piece of pizza and dangled in front of his nose.
Dalton has certainly fallen from the ranks of the promising all the way to promising mediocrity.
Bradford appears to be the best bet to emerge from this group, but still has an inadequate supply of receiving weapons.
If Cutler could stay upright — OK, never mind.
If these guys are starting for you, it's time to brush up on fantasy baseball for 2014
There just doesn't seem to be a lot of hope for Josh Freeman, Carson Palmer, Matt Schaub, Philip Rivers, Ryan Tannehill, Alex Smith, Jake Locker, Christian Ponder, Brandon Weeden, or any other middling quarterback.
Of this group, Freeman is the easy pick to break loose and move up. He can make any throw, and has enough weapons to have a big season. However, until he finds consistency, it's hard for me to be a believer.
Two other possibilities for better things are Tannehill and Locker. There's something to like about both guys, but they sure do have a lot of proving to do.