This offseason has been one of the more interesting ones than in years past. The Brett Favre drama was still there, but with free agents and trades, there were quite a few change of address forms being filled out this off season. With QBs such as Kurt Warner and Drew Brees coming off monster 2008 campaigns, one might think the media would focus on their success.
Instead, the focal point was what Favre had for dinner, how long it took him to cut his grass, and why he was wearing blue socks on Thursday afternoon. The Jay Cutler trade was quite interesting to watch develop, especially if you’re into people acting like 5th graders that just had their lunch stolen (on pizza Friday nonetheless!). If that wasn’t enough, the drama surrounding Michael Vick was out of control.
You know things are getting bad when people are following his drive home from prison in the secured SUV. Combined with all of the talks surrounding what team will take a chance on Vick in 2009, one might think Vick and Favre are the only two quarterbacks in the league. Well I’m here to put the kibosh on that notion and will help you out as I go over my QB rankings for the upcoming fantasy football season. Get your notebooks ready!
Top Ten QBs
1. Drew Brees – New Orleans Saints – In 2008, Brees fell just 15 yards short of Dan Marino’s all time record for passing yards in one season. His 5,069 yards were almost 500 yards more than the next closest QB, and his 34 touchdown passes were tied for the league lead. The Saints offense is as explosive as it comes, and considering their defense ranked 27th in points allowed last year, their offense will need to keep a foot firmly planted on the gas pedal in ’09 in order for them to be competitive.
2. Peyton Manning – Indianapolis Colts – Manning won his third MVP in 2008 with yet another great season. 2009 will prove to be a true test of his talent, however. With long time receiver Marvin Harrison now gone and a new coaching system in Indy, Manning will rely on Reggie Wayne, Anthony Gonzalez, and Dallas Clark more than ever to get the Colts into the playoffs yet again. A nice little note about Manning: In 11 seasons, he has thrown for over 4,000 yards in nine of them. Also, if your fantasy league gives extra points for being in hilarious commercials, Manning will help you out big time!
3. Tom Brady – New England Patriots – Coming off a monster 2007 season, Brady was lost for the year during the first game of the year against the Chiefs. Now back and ready to go, Brady will return under center for one of the most explosive offenses in the league. With wide receivers Randy Moss and Wes Welker at his disposal, look for Brady to pick up where he left off in 2007. Bonus points also awarded to Brady for marrying supermodel Gisele.
4. Philip Rivers – San Diego Chargers – 2008 was an amazing season for the young Rivers. Leading the league with a 105.5 QB rating, Rivers took his Chargers into the second round of the playoffs where they fell to the eventual Super Bowl Champion Pittsburgh Steelers. Rivers tied Brees for the league lead in TD passes with 34, and Rivers set a personal best with 4,009 passing yards. This season, with RB LaDainian Tomlinson fading out of the picture, look for Rivers to continue his development as one of the premier quarterbacks in the NFL.
5. Aaron Rodgers – Green Bay Packers – Brett who?? Aaron Rodgers made an immediate impact in his first full NFL season, throwing for 4,038 yards and 28 TD’s. What’s more impressive is Rodgers also took to the ground 56 times for 207 rushing yards and four TD’s. Maybe Brett should’ve retired the first time.
6. Kurt Warner – Arizona Cardinals – Kurt Warner had a monster 2008 season for the Cardinals. Warner threw for 4,583 yards and 30 touchdowns while leading the entire NFL in random acts of kindness, which won him the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award. He had three receivers gain 1,000 yards last year (Larry Fitzgerald, Anquan Boldin, and Steve Breaston) and has a new rookie RB ready to help out in the backfield. So why is Warner not ranked in the top 2? Because Warner is only one big hit away from retirement. With that amazing Super Bowl run last year, people seem to forget he was talking about retirement right after Boldin suffered a face injury. If he can stay healthy however, there is no reason he cannot duplicate last seasons numbers.
7. Donovan McNabb – Philadelphia Eagles – What a year for McNabb and the Eagles. During the Baltimore Ravens dismantling of the Eagles in week 12, McNabb found himself on the bench after his poor performance in the first half. McNabb kept his starting job, but had a short leash. How did he respond? By throwing nine TD passes compared to only one interception over the final five regular season games, and got the Eagles within a touchdown of the Super Bowl, as they fell in a classic game against the Cardinals. This year should be another big one for McNabb. The Eagles spent their first round draft pick on wide receiver Jeremy Maclin, and combined with DeSean Jackson, the Eagles passing attack should be even more explosive in 2009.
8. Tony Romo – Dallas Cowboys – No T.O.? No problem! Romo might miss the numbers Owens put up, but certainly will not miss the drama. Romo will still have favorite target, TE Jason Witten in big D, but WR Roy Williams will need to step his game up big time if the Cowboys will have any type of chance to score points this season. With Jessica Simpson no longer a distraction, maybe Romo can keep his focus for the length of the season this year.
9. Matt Ryan – Atlanta Falcons – The 2008 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year certainly didn’t disappoint. On his first pass as a pro, Ryan threw a 62 yard TD pass to Michael Jenkins, and he never looked back. Ryan also helped turn around a dismal Falcons franchise and lead them to a playoff berth. With the Falcons relying on their strong running game with RB Michael Turner, Ryan will not be called upon to win games on his own. With the addition of TE Tony Gonzalez, however, look for Ryan’s numbers to improve this season.
10. Jay Cutler – Chicago Bears – Phenomenal attitude, if he was a 7 year old. After being traded to the Bears this off season, we will learn just how good Cutler is. No longer able to call upon star wide receiver Brandon Marshall, Cutler will need to bring his ‘A’ game if Chicago has any hopes of advancing to the playoffs. Luckily for him, fantasy leagues don’t deduct points for whining.
The Best of the Rest
11. Carson Palmer – Cincinnati Bengals – Coming off an elbow injury that limited him to only four games in 2008. The loss of T.J. Houshmandzadeh will hurt, but Chad Ochocinco looks like a man on a mission. If Palmer’s elbow can hold up, he should have a good year.
12. Matt Schaub – Houston Texans – Speaking of getting injured… Schaub has an unfortunate history of spending time in the trainer’s room. If he can stay on the field, he and WR Andre Johnson are one of the most dynamic duos in the whole NFL.
13. David Garrard – Jacksonville Jaguars – Garrard will welcome WR Torry Holt with open arms this season, giving him his first quality wideout to work with. Garrard can make things happen with his legs to, rushing 73 times last year for 322 yards.
14. Ben Roethlisberger – Pittsburgh Steelers – Unfortunately fantasy leagues don’t award points for Super Bowl rings. If they did, Big Ben would be the number one pick, hands down. If Roethlisberger can stay off his back (sacked 46 times in 2008), he could be useful.
15. Trent Edwards – Buffalo Bills – Edwards might learn to be careful what he wished for. The Bills now boast Terrell Owens in their mix of wideouts, and along with Lee Evans, Edwards could be in line for a huge season…if T.O. keeps his mouth shut.
16. Eli Manning – New York Giants – Manning had a solid 2008 season, throwing for 21 TD’s and only 10 picks. With a ground heavy offense and no real number one WR, look for Manning’s numbers to decline slightly.
17. Kyle Orton – Denver Broncos – The opposite end of the Cutler deal, Orton finds himself behind a top notch offensive line with receivers that can actually get open. If Orton threw for 2,972 yards and 18 TD’s with the Bears, just imagine what he would do in Denver.
18. Matt Cassel – Kansas City Chiefs – Cassel finds himself in KC after a great showing in 2008 while standing in for Gisele’s husband. Cassel played admirably, throwing for 3,693 yards and 21 TD’s with only 11 interceptions. New KC head coach Todd Haley, who was the offensive coordinator in Arizona last season, certainly knows how to utilize the QB to his fullest.
19. Chad Pennington – Miami Dolphins – Pennington led the Dolphins turnaround that saw them go from 1-15 to 11-5 in just one season. Pennington won’t wow you with his arm strength, but his accuracy is top notch, as he led the NFL with a 67.4 completion percentage. He did finish with 3,653 yards last year and 20 TD passes, so don’t discount him totally.
20. Matt Hasselbeck – Seattle Seahawks – Hasselbeck had a miserable 2008 campaign that saw his time limited to only seven games with a back injury. Even if he had played, all of the receivers spent time hurt, which will hopefully change this year for Seattle. The Seahawks welcome wideout T.J. Houshmandzadeh with open arms, and will fit nicely with Nate Burleson. Look for Hasselbeck to regain his form this year.