Quarterback is a deep class this year, there are 10 quarterbacks I would be happy having as my starting QB and 2 more who could blossom into top 10 starters that you should be able to nab in the later rounds.
Last year there were 18 QBs who threw 20+ TDs, 12 who threw 25+ TDs, and 4 who threw for 30+ TDs. There were also 12 QBs who threw for 3,750+ yards and 10 QBs who threw for 4,000+ yards. Last year QBs 2 through 9 were separated by just 23 points in a standard scoring league. That’s less than 2 points per week, waiting on a QB this year should pay off as much as it would have last year. Now, for the rankings.
1. Aaron Rodgers, Packers – The consensus seems to be that Drew Brees is the #1 QB this year. I’m not sure everyone feels that way. Both guys have their entire offenses back (beside Mike Bell), but the Packers will have a healthy offensive line as well as one of the steals of the NFL draft, Brian Bulaga, starting. With Greg Jennings healthy and a full season of Jermichael Finley starting, Rodgers will be the #1 fantasy quarterback this year.
2. Drew Brees, Saints – Like I said earlier his entire offense is back aside from Mike Bell and T Jammal Brown, so it’s hard to foresee a drop off in production this year for Brees. Expect a 4th consecutive 4,000 yard season and 30+ TDs for the 3rd straight year.
3. Tony Romo, Cowboys – It’s hard to find an offense that has more options than the Cowboys offense. Felix Jones, Marion Barber, and Tashard Choice are all good receiving options out of the backfield, Jason Witten was 2 off his career high in receptions last year and Dez Bryant has been added to a receiving core that already had home run threat Miles Austin, Patrick Crayton and Roy E. Williams. Expect Romo to throw for 4500 yards if everyone can keep their egos in check.
4. Peyton Manning, Colts – Manning has thrown for 4000 yards 10 of the last 11 years and barring some sort of injury he’ll throw for 4,000 yards and at least 28 TDs. A healthy Anthony Gonzalez gives the Colts 4 very good WRs in this system, the only downside to Manning is the Colts may be taking weeks 16 and 17 off for the 3rd consecutive season.
5. Philip Rivers, Chargers – The Chargers will be without Vincent Jackson for at least 3 games (suspension), but could be without him for more (holdout), but don’t expect Rivers to miss a beat with Malcolm Floyd, Legedu Naanee and Antonio Gates still on the roster. Floyd is a 6’5″ superstar in waiting and with the addition of Ryan Mathews the Chargers won’t have the worst rushing offense for the second consecutive year.
6. Tom Brady, Patriots – Brady is the guy in the top 10 who has the most upside, but also has the most risk involved. Last year he was the 7th rated QB, but he threw for 16 TDs in just 4 games and had 9 weeks of 0 or 1 TDs. Randy Moss is a year older and Wes Welker is unlikely to start week 1, but Julian Edelman filled in nicely for Welker when needed and Torry Holt is still a big play threat. Brady has been told he can’t thrive for most of his career and with his contract status in question, he will have a big year in 2010.
7. Matt Schaub, Texans – Schaub played 16 games for just the first time as a starter last year and his stats reflected that. Andre Johnson is an absolute beast and Jacoby Jones is poised for a breakout season this year.
8. Joe Flacco, Ravens – Last season Derrick Mason had his usual, quiet 1,000 yards and Ray Rice wass as good of a pass catching RB as there was. Add a PPR machine in Anquan Boldin and a big play guy on a one year contract in Donte Stallworth and it’s hard to imagine Flacco not improving on his totals from last season.
9. Jay Cutler, Bears – Word on the street is Mike Martz likes to pass the ball, a lot. Cutler has a quartet of young receivers and they should mesh together for Cutler’s best passing year yet. Cutler has a chance to throw 30 TDs, but he has just as good of chance to throw 26 INTs for the 2nd consecutive year. He will be a frustrating player to watch, but at the end of the day you’ll be happy with his point total.
10. Brett Favre, Vikings – Favre had double digit fantasy points in 12 of 16 weeks last year and threw for single digit interceptions in his first year as a starter (18 years). The interceptions should return to around 12-15 and the TDs to 25-28, but he’ll still finish as a top 10 quarterback this year. This is all assuming he comes back.
11. Eli Manning, Giants – The Giants have always been a run first team and this year should be no different, that will limit Eli’s TD throws, but will also keep his INT total low as well.
12. Kevin Kolb, Eagles – The Eagles have been a top 10 team in pass attempts each of the past 8 years and this year will be no different. Kolb will throw for 23 or 24 TDs, but his INT total should hit 15 or 16 in his first full year as a starter.
13. Matt Ryan, Falcons – Michael Turner’s workload will be limited this year compared to previous years, but Jason Snelling and Jerious Norwood are both capable back and the Falcons shouldn’t see a huge drop off if either gets 100+ carries. The return of Harry Douglas will help the passing game, but Ryan won’t be more than a backup fantasy QB.
14. Chad Henne, Dolphins – Henne is my favorite sleeper this year. He threw for 300 yards in 3 of the last 5 games in 2010, but threw just 5 TDs to 7 INTs. The addition of Brandon Marshall will definitely help Henne as will another year of off season film study. If Henne can limit his interceptions, he could vault into the top 10 this year.
15. Donovan McNabb, Redskins – His offensive line is terrible, his wide receivers are terrible and his running backs are all past their prime. Expect a below average year from McNabb.
16. Carson Palmer, Bengals – The additions of Antonio Bryant and Jermaine Gresham should help out the passing game, but the Bengals are still a run first team and Palmer’s stats will reflect that.
17. Jason Campbell, Raiders – Campbell is an interesting guy this year, the Raiders have a lot of young WRs and a lot of potential in their RB core as well as a good young TE in Zach Miller. If the running backs thrive Campbell could have a good year, but it’s hard to imaging him becoming an every week fantasy starter.
18. Vince Young, Titans – Young always seems to be a trendy sleeper, but I just don’t see it. Obviously they have a great RB in Chris Johnson and WR Kenny Britt emerged last year, but there isn’t much else on the offense.
19. Matt Leinart, Cardinals – Having Larry Fitzgerald can make any QB look good, but he can’t prevent Leinart from throwing INTs.
20. Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers – Roethlisberger will be a great late round steal as long as your starting QB doesn’t have a bye the first 6 weeks, he should finish as a top 10 QB in per points per game, but can he stay out of trouble?
21. Alex Smith, 49ers – Smith showed some potential late last year, but I think Frank Gore has a monster year and I don’t think Smith will hit 20 passing TDs.
22. Matthew Stafford, Lions – Stafford isn’t ownable unless you’re in a 2 QB league, Megatron should have a bounce back year, but Stafford’s overall stats won’t be 2nd starter worthy
23. Mark Sanchez, Jets – He’ll be put in a good position with the Jets’ great running game, but that’s also why he won’t have great stats. This is a case where Sanchez will be a much better real life quarterback than fantasy quarterback.
24. Josh Freeman, Buccaneers – The Buccaneers should be throwing a lot because it’s hard to imagine them winning a lot of games this year, he could throw for 16 or 17 TDs, but expect the same amount of INTs.