Death and taxes are the two aspects of life said to be the only sure things out there. In my case, however, I believe it is acceptable to go ahead and expand on that oh so pleasant list, seeing as there is one part of my life that is just as reliable as death and taxes seem to be. My list of inevitabilities reads like this: death, taxes and the fact the guy that sits next to me at work will play his radio loud enough for everyone in the surrounding area to hear.
Sure, this isn’t the worst thing in the world when I find myself dozing off on one of those lazy Friday afternoon and some very office-inappropriate death metal comes on to give me that pep in my step that Folgers just wasn’t providing, but, typically, I just find it annoying. That annoyance is at its worst every morning when I have to listen to the bane of my existence: talk radio.
Talk radio is right up on there with Lady Gaga, traffic and the Twilight saga on my list of things to avoid at all costs; however, due to this noise-polluting co-worker of mine, I get to “enjoy” it on a daily basis. A funny thing happened recently, though, I found myself enjoying one of the talk radio segments that I was forced to hear from my desk.
This segment was entitled “Fail Stories” and it was all about people and their blatant disregard for common sense, which would ultimately lead to rather humorous consequences. One such fail story was a man who decided the best place to deal his drugs was out front of a police station: FAIL.
Another was the story of thieves who decided to break into a store, steal large amounts of food and liquor and then tried to make their getaway….on a donkey. Needless to say, a donkey doesn’t quite have the horsepower of a police car, so the criminals were chased down pretty easily: FAIL.
My personal favorite, however, was the story of man who decided it was a good idea to prevent his pipes from freezing by heating them up with a blow torch (you may think you know where this is going, but I promise you it is even better than you think). The man proceeded to move around his house with his blow torch blazing until he came to a section of his basement where he kept a bunch of old junk. In this pile of junk happened to be a massive pile of old fireworks. Sure enough, the heat from the nearby blow torch was enough to spark one of the fuses, which then began a chain reaction that caught all the fuses on fire. This caused the fireworks to all go off at once and cause an explosion that literally blew up than man’s entire house: FAIL. Fortunately for him, the man did survive to tell his story of forgoing the use of obvious better judgment another day.
After hearing all these stories, I got to thinking about how beneficial stating the obvious can be sometimes. Just think, if someone had told the drug dealer that police sort of frown upon that kind of activity, he might have chosen a better location for his “business.” Or if someone had told the would be thieves that a) stealing is illegal or b) a donkey is probably the worst form of getaway transportation you could possibly choose, then maybe they wouldn’t have ended up in jail. Then there is our friend with the blow torch – if someone had only told him that mixing an open flame with a room full of explosives was not a good idea, he could have saved his house, his belongings and a decent chunk of his self-respect.
Yes, there is something to be said for taking note of the obvious, which brings us to the 2012 football season. As I’m sure is blatantly obvious to all of you, 2012 saw quite the class of rookie quarterbacks: the collective efforts of Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III and Russell Wilson (among others) may very well never be duplicated. Let’s take a minute to check out the tales of the tape for these three rookie sensations.
Andrew Luck, QB IND
This was not supposed to be a good year for the Colts. This was supposed to be a year of transition, a year of watching their young quarterback show flashes of greatness, a year to see how great the Colts could be for years to come. Apparently, no one informed Luck. In a year that saw the Colts trade away nearly any semblance of a supporting cast they had, Luck played so well that he led a group of players that no one would have expected to succeed to be one of the best teams in the AFC. The stats look fairly impressive on their own – 4,374 yards passing, 23 touchdowns, 54% completion rate and even over 250 yards rushing. As the rest of the team progresses and additional moves and draft picks are made, Luck will find himself with better talent around him. This would lead to the obvious conclusion that Luck’s numbers will only get better and the Colts will experience more and more success as his career develops.
Robert Griffin III, QB WAS
There were few players in 2012 that were more electrifying than RG3 – he was incredibly fun to watch, and, for the most part, that translated into great success. Similar to Luck and the Colts, this was not necessarily supposed to be a big year for RG3 and the Redskins, but the talent of their young quarterback exceeded the team’s expectations. Griffin also had an impressive stat reel with 3,200 yards passing, 20 passing touchdowns, a 65% completion rate and a staggering 815 yards rushing. Watching RG3 play, Redskins fans were thrilled not only by his unique running talents, but also by his ability to throw the deep ball. With a rookie running back excelling at his side, RG3 looks like he has the potential to turn into one of the most effective weapons in the NFL.
Russell Wilson, QB SEA
There were supposed to be a few incredibly talented rookies to watch this past season; everyone was really excited to see how these young future stars would turn out. The Seahawks were just excited to see how their acquisition Matt Flynn would perform at quarterback. Then Seahawks coach Pete Carroll decided to add one more rookie to the list of players to watch when he named Wilson the starter at the last minute. Any other year, the stats that Wilson put up this year would have made him a shoo-in for Rookie of the Year. This season, however, it wouldn’t be entirely implausible to see him fail to crack the top three in the voting for that award. Wilson posted 3,118 passing yards, 26 passing touchdowns, a 64% completion rate and nearly 500 rushing yards. Wilson has a relatively young superstar running back at his disposal in Marshawn Lynch as well as one of the top-rated defenses, so one would believe that he has a great deal of team success in his future as well.
In addition to these elite rookie quarterbacks, there was one other young signal caller that made a big splash in 2012. This quarterback was not a rookie in the 2012 season, but it was his first chance to see any real playing time—Colin Kaepernick.
Colin Kaepernick, QB SF
I must admit, as a 49ers fan, I felt very uneasy about Coach Harbaugh’s decision to permanently hand over the reins to the young, unproven Kaepernick instead of going back to the reliable Alex Smith after Smith had recovered from his injury, but that decision turned out to be brilliant. Colin Kaepernick, much like RG3, appears to be a new breed of quarterback that cannot be classified as simply “running quarterback” or “pocket passer.” He has the speed and agility to hurt defenses with his arm, but also has the strength and precision to pick opponents apart. In about a half of a season, Kaepernick has passed for nearly 2,000 yards, thrown 10 touchdowns, completed over 62% of his passes and rushed for over 400 yards. Moreover, Kaepernick has gone on to shine even more in the playoffs. The supporting cast around him is stellar, which sets him up for great success in the immediate future assuming he can remain healthy.
Obviously, all four of these quarterbacks are owned in your dynasty leagues; however, your team may find itself in need of a franchise quarterback, so assuming you have some pieces to deal for one of these up-and-comers, the following is a rundown on who I want leading my dynasty team and why.
First Choice: Andrew Luck
While many teams seem to be going to the new read-option offenses, there is still something to be said for the more traditional pocket passers. Luck will likely prove to be the more reliable option at quarterback over the next 15 years, which is one of the major reasons why he is the young quarterback that I want the most. As his wide receivers T.Y. Hilton and LaVon Brazill and young tight end Coby Fleener play with Luck more and develop into more dangerous weapons, Luck will only continue to improve. There is no such thing as a sure thing in a draft, but he was touted as the closest thing to it, and he has lived up to the billing during his rookie season. Luck would certainly cost you a lot to acquire, but for a quarterback who is this good at this young of an age, I would sell the farm to get him.
Second Choice: Robert Griffin III
In terms of fantasy, RG3 had the best year of these youngsters in 2012; however, I’m still very skeptical of hitching my wagon to him for years to come. Undoubtedly, RG3 is explosive, dynamic, talented and loaded with potential. In fact, Griffin has the potential to be the most effective fantasy football player in the history of the game…but, then again, so did Mike Vick at one time. Griffin already had an injury history as a rookie, and then went on to miss one regular season game and get knocked out of a playoff game due to a gruesome looking injury. Griffin is not a large man, and his high running frequency and inability to slide to avoid more hits make him vulnerable to injury. Fantasy football is all about minimizing risk, and as long as RG3 is your quarterback, you are not effectively doing that. The upside here is tremendous, but, to me, Luck is more of a sure thing which is why ranking Griffin lower is an easy choice for me.
Third Choice: Colin Kaepernick
Here is another dynamic talent who has the ability to earn you fantasy points with both his arm and his legs, but, as with Griffin, that always leaves the door open for more injury risk. Kaepernick is a little bigger than Griffin and seems to have embraced sliding a little more, so I see him as slightly less of an injury risk, but at the same time, he doesn’t quite match Griffin’s skill set so he finds himself at number three in these ranks. Luck and RG3 stepped into bad teams and made them good, Kaepernick stepped into a good team and made them better. Without the very good supporting cast that he has around him now, I’m not sure Kaepernick can continue to be an elite fantasy quarterback option. However, with that skill set and his winning mentality, I feel he is definitely worth acquiring if reasonably possible. Unlike with Luck and Griffin, however, I won’t give up anything and everything to get Kaepernick. Franchise quarterbacks are wonderful things to have, I just haven’t quite been entirely sold on Kaepernick as that guy just yet. Like I said, Kaepernick walked into a great situation—do you really see him putting up similar numbers had he walked into a team like the Colts? I want to believe in Kaepernick, but, for now, it is guarded optimism.
Fourth Choice: Russell Wilson
In this, the year of the rookie quarterback, Wilson found his very impressive season overshadowed by his remarkable rookie peers. This, however, does not mean that Wilson was any kind of a slouch in the fantasy department. More so than the others on this list, Wilson can fall into the category of game manager more than that of flashy or dynamic. The Seahawks didn’t necessarily always need 300 yards passing and four touchdowns out of Wilson to win a game and sometimes his fantasy numbers reflected that fact. Wilson did do more than enough, though, to show he was a legitimate talent at the quarterback position and is worthy of having a team built around him. Wilson may never be the best quarterback in the league, he may never set records or lead his position in fantasy points, but it does appear that he will be a solid, consistent starter for years to come, and there is something to be said for that in a dynasty format. In regards to dealing for Wilson, it all really comes down to your strategy and methodology—the ceiling is not as high for Wilson as it is for the other three on this list, but he may very well be the most reliable choice out of any of them. If consistency and reliability are more of what you’re after, then I say go for Wilson and be willing to give up a lot to acquire him.
Well there you have it, in an unprecedented year for young quarterbacks, those were the four who went above and beyond all expectations. At the end of the day, committing your dynasty team to any of these four players will likely keep you from ending up on any talk radio Fail Stories. Obviously, these guys are good, but I think they are all only going to improve. If this next season isn’t “the year” for your team, go out and get one of them. It will be pricey and your team may very well be worse for a year or two, but these guys are going to be top-tier quarterbacks for years and years to come (barring injury). I recommend going out and making it happen, because a draft class like this may very well never come around again.