So you've decided that you will not be taking Rodgers, Brady or Brees in the first two rounds... and instead, want to focus on skill positions early. My thoughts exactly! With the NFL becoming a "passing league" and the QB position considerably deep this year, the chance of a young upstart QB becoming a significant force is pretty high. Hit on one of these guys, with a loaded WR and RB corp, and you're a contender. Just ask Cam Newton owners from last season. So here are three young QB's that are in line to have a big season and that you can take in the last few rounds of your drafts.
Jake Locker - The Titan's have made the switch for good... Locker is their QB of the future. Locker didn't get much playing time in 2011, but when he started he played well... passing for four touchdowns with no interceptions and rushing for 56 yards on eight carries with a touchdown run in four games. Not bad. The kid can play given the chance. Couple that with no Britt, an off track CJ2K and an unsettled team all together - players, coaches and owners. An obvious rebuilding year. 2012 is different and a lot has changed in Tennessee - CJ2K is back and focused, new coach, new QB, the team is focused and flying under the radar. Britt will face a suspension for a July DUI, but he should only miss a handfull of games. When healthy and focused, Britt is a stud. We all know what Johnson can do. The 6'5" Jared Cook will get a ton of targets from Locker this year. I like Locker a lot this year... having a RB like Johnson is a luxury, who will no doubt take some dump off passes to the house. Cook is a solid safety valve and a sleeper in his own this season. Britt, when active, will be icing on the cake.
Alex Smith - Most fantasy owners think they know Alex Smith and the 49ers... and most of those are ignoring the fact that he posted career stats under Jim Harbaugh last season. Do not sleep on this guy! The 49ers are loaded with talent and battle proven players. Smith didn't throw for 300yards or more at all last season. Which is a evidence of the 49ers "grind it with Gore" game plan that's been in place for years. Well Harbaugh, an ex QB, made all of the moves during the offseason to change that philosophy... adding both RB's and WR's to the mix. In one off season, the 49ers offensive depth chart went from resembling the "run first" Ravens to resembling the "air it out" Patriots. We've never seen these 49ers before. We're starting Smith's 8th year in the pros, career bests last season, retooled offense, QB-Coach and a string of weak defenses at the end of the season (leading into fantasy playoffs)... this guy could very well be the steal of the 2012 fantasy draft.
Andy Dalton - AKA, the Red Rifle. I freaking love this guy. Sporting a cannon arm and good accuracy... Dalton can make all of the throws, and AJ Green can catch'em. I feel like Dalton and Green will continue to improve this season... so do a lot of folks, because Green's ADP is on the rise. In addition, the 6'5" 260lb super athletic Gresham is slated to be a major weapon in Cinci. Two things that stand out to me about Dalton is his confidence level and fearlessness in the face of pass rushers. He doesn't let the defense get into his head, which is rare for a rookie. The guy is a natural. The only knock on Dalton for 2012 is the Bengals' schedule... which shouldn't be a major factor on whether to draft him or not. Dalton had 6 games with multiple TD's last season, 13 with at least 1 TD and only 3 without a score. That is very consistent for a rookie, and in fantasy, consistency is huge. A bump in production (as expected) would elevate Dalton into #1 QB territory.