Andrew Luck


This is the first in an ongoing series over the off season, predicting who will be starting at each position in 2013.  Of course there will be many changes based on the results of the draft in April, as well as other happenings during the off season, so I’ll re-visit each column later in the summer.  But for those of us in dynasty and keeper leagues, some shrewd moves early in the off season based on forward thinking can really pay off.  In this column we’ll take a look at the quarterback position in the AFC.  The predictions are who will be the starting QB on opening day 2013.





Baltimore Ravens

Starter – Joe Flacco
Backup – Tyrod Taylor

Flacco is an unrestricted free agent at season’s end but all signs point to him re-signing, and the organization ponying up the dough now that the Ravens are in the Super Bowl.  Assuming he signs he will be the undisputed starter again in 2013.  If he doesn’t re-sign, there will likely be a training camp competition between Taylor, the Raven’s 6th rounder in 2011, and whoever they can bring in via the draft, a trade or Free Agency.  Obviously Flacco will start somewhere in 2013 if he doesn’t stay in Baltimore.

Probability Flacco will be the starter in 2013: 90%
Probability Taylor will be the starter in 2013: 5%
Probability someone else will be the starter in 2013: 5%

Buffalo Bills

Starter – Ryan Fitzpatrick
Backup – Tarvaris Jackson, Tyler Thigpen

Fitzpatrick is seemingly on thin ice in Buffalo.  The front office has come out and said they will be looking for a franchise QB over the off season, presumably in the draft.  But that doesn’t necessarily mean they will get rid of Fitzpatrick.  Both the free agent market and the draft look thin for QB talent.  If they don’t bring in a replacement they won’t release Fitzpatrick, but there will be a fairly open competition with Jackson and Thigpen in camp.  Don’t forget Jackson essentially won the starting Seahawks job in training camp, only to see it given to Wilson regardless.  If Fitzpatrick is let go he may find another team willing to at least let him win a starting job, but in that scenario it’s 50/50 at best that he starts.

Probability Fitzpatrick will be the starter in 2013: 60%
Probability Jackson will be the starter in 2013: 20%
Probability Thigpen will be the starter in 2013: 10%
Probability someone else will be the starter in 2013: 10%

Cincinnati Bengals

Starter – Andy Dalton
Backup – Bruce Gradkowski

General opinions seem to be split on Dalton’s progression as a starting quarterback in the NFL.  But he is showing upside and he’s shown great chemistry with superstar WR A.J. Green.  No rumors out there that the Bengals are thinking of making a change.  Gradkowski isn’t really a starting option.  Cinci gives Dalton at least one more year.

Probability Dalton will be the starter in 2013: 100%

Cleveland Browns

Starter – Brandon Weeden
Backup – Colt McCoy, Thaddeus Lewis, Josh Johnson

At 29 years old Weeden is not your typical quarterback just completing his rookie season.  He had what should be considered a fairly successful rookie season.  With the ownership change and resulting housecleaning, Weeden’s future is very much up in the air.  The new front office may be looking for a potential franchise quarterback either via trade or in the draft.  McCoy had his chance but remains committed to the organization.  Lewis has not had enough of a chance to determine whether he’s starter’s material or not.  Johnson is a UFA and likely won’t be back.  If the Browns do decide to let Weeden go there’s a good chance he will catch on and be the starter somewhere.

Probability Weeden will be the starter in 2013: 70%
Probability McCoy will be the starter in 2013: 0%
Probability Lewis will be the starter in 2013: 10%
Probability Johnson will be the starter in 2013: 0%
Probability someone else will be the starter in 2013: 20%

Denver Broncos

Starter – Peyton Manning
Backup – Brock Osweiler, Caleb Hanie

It’s clear the only reason Manning wouldn’t be the starter again in 2013 is if he chooses to retire or if there are health issues.  He played the whole season without getting injured but questions persist about his arm strength.  The organization has already said Manning will be back.  I have heard zero indication he is even thinking about hanging them up.  Osweiler was drafted as the potential heir to Manning, and all signs point to that still being the case.  If Manning does pack it in Osweiler will be given every chance to start in 2013.  Hanie is not a viable option.

Probability Manning will be the starter in 2013: 90%
Probability Osweiler will be the starter in 2013: 10%
Probability Hanie will be the starter in 2013: 0%

Houston Texans

Starter – Matt Schaub
Backup – T.J. Yates

Houston looked to be a lock to be the number one seed in the AFC this year until they struggled the last quarter of the season.  Schaub was certainly a contributing factor to the late season swoon, and his mediocre showing versus the Bengals and Patriots in the playoffs may have the Texan’s executives looking elsewhere for a starting QB.  Schaub’s contract situation however makes dropping him highly unlikely.  Yates had an audition last year when Schaub went down and played OK in the regular season, less so in the playoffs.  Assuming Schaub stays, Yates may get a shot depending on who else the Texans bring in.  If Schaub is let go I don’t see him starting elsewhere in 2013 but it could happen.

Probability Schaub will be the starter in 2013: 70%
Probability Yates will be the starter in 2013: 10%
Probability someone else will be the starter in 2013: 20%

Indianapolis Colts

Starter – Andrew Luck
Backup – Drew Stanton

The first overall pick in the 2012 draft certainly did not disappoint in his rookie year.  He’s cemented his place as the Colts starter for the foreseeable future.

Probability Luck will be the starter in 2013: 100%

Jacksonville Jaguars

Starter – Blaine Gabbert
Backup – Chad Henne, Jordan Palmer

Gabbert struggled mightily in 2012 before getting injured after 10 games and being lost for the year.  The jury is out on whether the Jags will give him another chance in 2013, although the latest word is they will.  Chad Henne came on in relief and performed quite well the first couple of games before coming back to earth to finish out the year.  Jacksonville has the number two pick in the draft and may select a rookie signal caller who would then almost surely be the starter in 2013 but there are no QB’s in the draft worthy of the #2 pick.  Palmer is a 28 year old journeyman 6th round pick who’s only played four games in his career.  Forget about him getting a chance.  I don’t see either Gabbert or Henne starting somewhere else in 2013 if they’re let go.

Probability Gabbert will be the starter in 2013: 60%
Probability Henne will be the starter in 2013: 30%
Probability Palmer will be the starter in 2013: 0%
Probability someone else will be the starter in 2013: 10%

Kansas City Chiefs

Starter – Matt Cassell
Backup – Brady Quinn, Ricki Stanzi

Cassell only played in half the Chiefs games and he struggled badly.  He played well in 2010 so he’s shown he has some talent, but at this point most view him as a bust.  Quinn was brutal in the eight games he started.  New coach Andy Reid has his work cut out for him if he thinks he’s got a viable starter on the roster already.  Stanzi is a bit of a wildcard in the equation, I think if given a chance he could really surprise but he’s looked brutal in practice.  Reid could take a QB in the draft but most likely it would be by trading down or waiting for the later rounds.  Rumors of Michael Vick following his coach to KC won’t go away.  If any of the current QB’s are released or traded I can’t see them getting to start in 2013 elsewhere.

Probability Cassell will be the starter in 2013: 25%
Probability Quinn will be the starter in 2013: 5%
Probability Stanzi will be the starter in 2013: 15%
Probability someone else will be the starter in 2013: 55%

Miami Dolphins

Starter – Ryan Tannehill
Backup – Matt Moore, Pat Devlin

Tannehill had a fairly solid if unspectacular rookie season in 2012, playing in all 16 games.  As a result the Fins almost finished .500 and Tannehill looks to have taken the starter’s job by the reins.  Moore is a competent signal caller but couldn’t beat out Tannehill in 2012 so there’s no reason to think he’ll get the chance to try again.  The latest word is he’ll be looking for a starter’s job elsewhere, I’d give him a 50/50 shot at finding one.  Youngster Devlin surely won’t get the opportunity here.

Probability Tannehill will be the starter in 2013: 100%

New England Patriots

Starter – Tom Brady
Backup – Ryan Mallett

The only way Brady doesn’t start in 2013 is if he retires.  I’ve heard absolutely no mention of it and you’d think after losing the AFC championship there’s even less chance.  But once any player hits 35 I think you have to allow for at least the possibility, however slight.  If the unthinkable happens, Belichik will go with Mallett at least in the short term.

Probability Brady will be the starter in 2013: 95%
Probability Mallett will be the starter in 2013: 5%
Probability someone else will be the starter in 2013: 0%

New York Jets

Starter – Mark Sanchez
Backup – Tim Tebow, Greg McElroy, Matt Simms

Sanchez was brutal in 2012, but people forget that in 2011 he finished as the 10th overall fantasy QB, and in the top 25 his first two years in the league.  He has shown the potential ability to be a viable starting NFL QB but this season’s fiasco may have killed any chance he had.  The Jets fired their OC among others, and coach Rex Ryan has indicated that the starting job will be an open competition and Sanchez will get a chance to compete.  Tebow has no chance of sticking around.  McElroy looked OK and has a realistic shot of unseating Sanchez.  Phil’s son Matt has almost no chance but given the other in-house options you never know.  Tebow is the most likely to get a shot at starting somewhere else if they’re not with New York in 2013, but another team may think Sanchez can recover if he gets away from the Big Apple.

Probability Sanchez will be the starter in 2013: 40%
Probability Tebow will be the starter in 2013: 0%
Probability McElroy will be the starter in 2013: 35%
Probability Simms will be the starter in 2013: 5%
Probability someone else will be the starter in 2013: 20%

Oakland Raiders

Starter – Carson Palmer
Backup – Terrelle Pryor, Matt Leinart

Palmer’s results were mixed but he proved he still has what it takes to start in the NFL.  At season’s end Oakland decided to give Terrelle Pryor a chance and opinions were mostly on the negative side.  Leinart’s time has come and gone.  I don’t see the Raiders drafting a QB early in the draft but it may depend on who’s available.  Anything other than a first rounder most likely means Palmer’s the man again in 2013.  If Palmer somehow isn’t in Oakland in 2013 he will start somewhere.

Probability Palmer will start in 2013: 80%
Probability Pryor will start in 2013: 10%
Probability Leinart will start in 2013: 0%
Probability someone else will start in 2013: 10%

Pittsburgh Steelers

Starter – Ben Roethlisberger
Backup – Byron Leftwich, Charlie Batch

The Steelers may have struggled this year but Roethlisberger didn’t.  He’ll be thirty-one in a couple of months but there’s nobody behind him on the depth chart and he’s still performing at a high level.  The biggest concern is injuries, Roethlisberger’s never been a pillar of health and that’s likely only going to get worse as he gets older.  All reports indicate he’s fully recovered from his latest rib and shoulder injuries.  Both Leftwich and Batch showed they’re not about to be starters again.  I think it’s time for Pittsburgh to start looking for their QB of the future, but even if they do go that route in this year’s draft, Roethlisberger’s job looks to be safe for at least the coming season.

Probability Roethlisberger will start in 2013: 95%
Probability Leftwich will start in 2013: 0%
Probability Batch will start in 2013: 0%
Probability someone else will start in 2013: 5%

San Diego Chargers

Starter – Philip Rivers
Backup – Charlie Whitehurst, Jarrett Lee

San Diego was a mess in 2012, and the organization finally cleaned house this off season.  For several years now the team has underachieved but up until this season Rivers was pulling his weight, so I think this was just a down year for him and the new regime will help him recover.  Either way there isn’t anyone in the pipeline for Rivers to worry about over-taking him right away so the only way he doesn’t start is if the Chargers draft a QB or trade for one.  Whitehurst won’t ever be more than a back up at this stage of his career and Lee is too raw of a prospect.

Probability Rivers will start in 2013: 90%
Probability Whitehurst will start in 2013: 0%
Probability Lee will start in 2013: 0%
Probability someone else will start in 2013: 10%

Tennessee Titans

Starter – Jake Locker
Backup – Matt Hasselbeck, Rusty Smith

Locker improved marginally over his rookie season, and still has considerable upside.  Hasselbeck performed OK when called upon but he’s too long in the tooth to be a potential starter.  Smith will not get a realistic opportunity to win the job.  I’ve heard no rumors that the Titans are planning to make a change.

Probability Locker will start in 2013: 100%

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Comments (2)add comment

Steve Braun said:

... Thanks, appreciate the feedback
January 21, 2013
Votes: +1

Michael Amato said:

Michael Amato
... Nice job with this. Really enjoyed the breakdowns.
January 21, 2013
Votes: +0
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