Top 4 Fantasy QB Busts for 2012

Ready to take the younger Manning as your starting QB? I wouldn't do that if I were you. Check out why not for him and others inside.

In most standard leagues where everybody has a starting quarterback, it’s sometimes hard to find busts. A quarterback may not hit the freaky Madden-esque numbers that Rodgers, Brees and Stafford produced last season – those numbers are reserved for the very few. But on the flip side, quarterbacks still produce something every game. Even the Neckbeard had three 2900+ yard, 18 TD seasons in the past four years.

numberFire has the guys that you may want to avoid this drafting season. This isn’t a flashing Atlantic City neon sign saying to STAY AWAY AT ALL COSTS, because frankly, nobody’s going to stop you if you can get these guys for a deal. Take Stafford in that fourth round if he’s available, don’t be scared. It’s just all about being cautious and not overpaying.

Note: Average draft positions are found here. The draft positions here were accurate as of 8/17/12.

Top Four Fantasy QB Busts

4. Andrew Luck - Indianapolis Colts
numberFire Rank: #160 (#22 QB in our Fantasy Draft Kit)
Average Draft Position: #116 (#16 QB)
Projected Points: 197.08

Look at you, Mr. Slick down there in the 11th round. Think you're so cool, taking the #1 QB out of college in your fantasy draft, don't you? See him as the ultimate high upside guy, right? Well, let's just say you shouldn't have pressed your luck. (As an aside, "Press Your Luck" is one of the most underrated game shows of all-time. Watch that clip if only for the guy's winning reaction and awesome '70s Burt Reynolds-lite mustache.) Andrew Luck has exactly one player at his disposal estimated to catch over 700 yards or 4 TDs this year - that's Reggie Wayne (#25 WR on our fantasy draft kit). And Wayne's fantasy points have dropped in 4 of the past 5 years, even with that Manning guy throwing him the ball much of the time. Fact is, unless you're a dual-threat like Cam Newton (which bodes well for that other rookie drafted right after Luck), there's very little historical precedent for rookie QBs contributing. Even Andy Dalton, by all means a rookie success last year, had less fantasy points at 251 than Ryan Fitzpatrick. Not feeling so cool now, are you?

3. Eli Manning – New York Giants
numberFire Rank: #70 (#13 QB in our Fantasy Draft Kit)
Average Draft Position: #70 (#10 QB)
Projected Points: 230.14

As you can tell in the numbers above, numberFire has Eli ranked in generally the same area that he's been getting drafted in most fantasy drafts to this point. If you have Eli on your plate in the 8th round, he's absolutely a nutritious meal to devour. The issue is that, in a standard 10-team league, Eli Manning should not be your fantasy starting quarterback. Eli's been consistent for sure - he has not missed a single game since becoming the Giants' full-time starting QB in 2005. But he also hasn't been spectacular - he's only topped 300 fantasy points in three of those 8 seasons starting. Most importantly though, the 349 he scored last season sticks out like a sore thumb as an aberration rather than a sign of things to come. None of his previous seasons have even come within 900 yards of the 4933 he put up last year, and he's only matched the 29 TD's that he put up once. Mario Manningham may not be a huge loss with other guys he has on board, but it has to count for something. numberFire sees Eli taking a huge hit in fantasy points this season.

2. Matthew Stafford – Detroit Lions
2 numberFire Rank: #34 (#6 QB in our Fantasy Draft Kit)
Average Draft Position: #15 (#4 QB)
Projected Points: 253.33

There's no denying that the man has talent - 5000 yards through the air will wipe any doubt you could ever have away. And for once, the city of Detroit doesn't seem to be cursed, because the Lions even made the playoffs and everything! Well, I wouldn't say that they're over the curse yet. When numberFire designates Matthew Stafford as a "high" risk candidate, it's for a reason. Last season, Matthew Stafford played in all 16 games... the first time he had completed a full season since the Bush administration. The report isn't pretty. Week 4, 2009: Knee injury, missed 2 games. Week 13, 2009: Shoulder injury, missed 1.5 games. Week 15, 2009: Knee injury, placed on IR. Week 1, 2010: Shoulder Injury, missed 6 weeks. Week 9, 2010: Shoulder Injury, out for season. Taking him in the second or third round should only be for masochists and people willingly wanting heart attacks.

1. Jay Cutler – Chicago Bears
numberFire Rank: #158 (#21 QB in our Fantasy Draft Kit)
Average Draft Position: #96 (#12 QB)
Projected Points: 197.14

For all of you pumped about the prospect of Brandon Marshall elevating Jay Cutler to new heights, I'm sorry that you just walked into that Bear trap. Not only is Cutler not a borderline fantasy starter (as his ADP would seem to indicate), I wouldn't even take him as my backup QB this season. Marshall will be great and Matt Forte will catch some out of the backfield, but then you have... what exactly? Earl Bennett has some fly cleats, but when your main numberFire comparison is Oronde Gadsden, that's not a good thing. (Don't worry, I'll give you a few moments to look him up.) And I wouldn't expect Devin Hester or Kellen Davis to be any better. Plus, there's always the injury risk with Cutler. If you're going to take a chance on a guy, he's not the one it should be.