NFL training camps are getting ready for action. Shrewd fantasy football players are busy scouting players for their drafts. Here's my quick top to bottom rankings for 2009 QB's based on potential fantasy value...
1- Tom Brady (NE) - He's back after getting hurt in 1st game of '08. Plenty of weapons. Top notch coaching staff. If sound, Brady should be good for 4000+ yards and at least 30 td's (40+ possible).
2- Phillip Rivers (SD) - Plays for throw heavy scheme coupled with NFL top back Tomlinson is a deadly combo. Sluggish beginning to '08 season must not repeat in '09. 3800+ yards and 30+ TD's within reach once again.
3- Drew Brees (NO) - 5069 yards passing nearly eclipsed Dan Marino's NFL record (5084). Wide open attack will have Brees throwing at will again in '09. 4500+ yards, 30+ TD's. Watch out for costly interceptions.
4- Matt Ryan (ATL) - 2008 Rookie of the Year has a new weapon in record setting TE Tony Gonzalez. Acquiring Gonzo will open up deep passing lanes, gaps for running game and keep Ryan from any hints of a sophmore jinx. 3500+ yards, 25+ TD's.
5- Peyton Manning (IND) - Manning enters 13th pro season. A strong Indy running game is needed to keep opposition from focusing on passing attack. Crafty vet is hungry for another title. 4000+, 27+.
6- Aaron Rodgers (GB) - Great future in store for Rodgers if he becomes consistent from game to game. It's still a learning experience in progress. He'll make great strides in '09. 3500+ yards, 25+ TD's, 5+ rushing TD.
7- Jake Delhomme (CAR) - I like Delhomme here. He's a winner and gutsy competitor. Defenses will try clamping down on Panthers running attack after 28 rushing TD's from DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart in '08. Carolina's arsenal is full for '09. Delhomme comes through with Pro Bowl type season. 3600+, 25+.
8- Tony Romo (DAL) - Warning... draft a solid backup for December games! Romo is a great 3/4 season QB with well documented end of season failures. Perhaps Cowboys will have a change of fortune down the stretch without team drag Terrell Owens mucking up team chemistry? Romo must get on same page with speedy young wideouts. Needs to drastically cut down on INT's and fumbles. 3300+, 25+. Beware of turnovers on mis-executed routes to young wr's.
9- Kurt Warner (AZ) - Risky ranking Warner this high as he's always one play away from injury. Had a terrific fantasy stat year during Cardinals '08 Super Bowl chase. Can he get it done again in '09 minus WR Boldin and Offensive Coordinator Haley (now KC Head Coach)? Arizona figures to test opposing secondaries early and often. 4000+, 30+ if healthy and winning! Buyer beware.
10- Carson Palmer (CIN) - Will Cincy have NFL's worst team chemistry again this season? Self destructing turmoil followed this team every step of the way last year before season began. Palmer might put up great numbers if infighting has subsided. Playing catchup football late in games will pad fantasy stats. If healthy, he's good for 3500+, 23+.
11- Eli Manning (NYG) - The great unknown... will any Giants WR step up as a major NFL threat in '09? New York's devastating running game will open up many play action opportunities for Eli. Stern task master Coughlin hopes for no more off field fiasco's in '09. 3200+, 23+
12- Ben Roethlisberger (PIT) - Plain a simple, a pure winner. One of NFL's strongest field generals and clutch performers. Big Ben's winning ways do not necessarily translate into solid game to game fantasy stats. One of my favorite NFL signal callers. 3100+, 20+.
13- Donovan McNabb (PHI) - Tough to rank McNabb as one never knows which QB will show up from week to week. Rebounded nicely after subpar beginning in '08. Led team to NFC Championship game with precision passing in December. Eagles fans are hoping for an encore. An enhanced WR corps should help. 3300, 20+, and a few scrambles for added yardage.
14- Jay Cutler (CHI) - Da Bears fans are hoping new arrival Cutler can jumpstart an enemic offense. He finally teamed up with a good running game and swarming defense as supporting cast. Put up nice fantasy numbers in Denver last year. Chicago needs a creative scheme to get him outside the pocket. He's my pick for 2009's anything can happen QB. Potential 3600+, 25+ and 400+ yards rushing. Also potential for 20+ INT's learning a new system.
15- Chad Pennington (MIA) - 2008 Comeback Player of the Year play action pass specialist has deep threats to compliment a wide open running attack. Excellent protector of the pigskin, usually makes smart throws and throwaways. 3300+, 19+.
16- Joe Flacco (BAL) - Upside appears to be poise under pressure. Led Ravens to 11-5 record as a rookie. Don't count on big numbers from a QB ranked this deep. But, don't be surprised to be the recipient of a few big totals when Ravens win field position battles. 3000+, 17+ and maybe a few goal line bursts from one of NFL's physically stronger QB's.
17- Matt Schaub (HOU) - At first glance, you'd better have great point producers from RB/WR is Schaub ends up being your starting QB. Then again he did complete 66.1% in 11 starts for 3,043 yards. Looks great on paper but not great scoring wise from week to week. Has great WR and spirited running attack. Defense must win battle of field position for offense to excel. Could be a great sleeper pick overlooked in most leagues. 3300+, 20+.
18- David Garrard (JAX) - One year removed from a masterful 2007 campaign. Team turmoil and injuries derailed everyone in '08. Garrard will be given a chance to rebound. 3000+, 19+ if regains old form. You're in trouble if he faulters.
19- Matt Hasselbeck (SEA) - Is his arm sound? If so, he's only one year removed from 3,966 and 28 TD's. A good sleeper pick and/or compliment to Tony Romo, Kurt Warner & Flacco if you're lucky enough to nab 2 solid starters. Another anything can happen QB. Good arm will net 3000+, 20+. Bad arm 2800+, 17+, 20 INT or worse (benching)! Training camp will determine his true value heading into '09. Keep an eye on pre-season games. They'll actually mean something for Hasselbeck.
20- Matt Cassel (KC) - Cassel's 2009 value is unknown. Downside: New QB for rebuilding franchise coming off 2-14 2008 & no future Hall of Fame target TE Tony Gonzalez. Upside: Creative new Head Coach was Arizona's Offensive Coordinator last year (Todd Haley). No doubt Haley will transform an underachieving offense. BIG question: Is Cassel a bonified NFL starting QB? He played for a talent rich Patriots team. How will he do for a less talented roster expecting miracles? 2800+, 15+. Numbers will significantly increase if KC trails by large margins and faces prevent defenses (including interceptions).
21- Trent Edwards (BUF) - Buffalo's man of the future. That's what they're hoping to get with Edwards. Bills went out and signed outspoken Terrell Owens. Whether or not TO's talent helps this team on the field or disrupts from the sidelines remains to be seen. Solid progression by Edwards is expected by fans in northwestern New York. 2800+, 17+.
22- Kerry Collins (TEN) - It's a very thin and uncertain pool of remaining QB's. No need to worry unless you play in large leagues. Collins could be a decent spot starter/backup on fantasy teams. Main advantage is an outstanding coaching staff creating solid game plans. Turnovers were always a big concern earlier in his career. Don't expect more than token points with Collins at QB. 3000+, 15+. Be wary of interceptions and sack fumbles.
No QB rankings representing 23-32 as remaining teams starters have yet to be finalized. Redskins, Jets, Browns, Lions, Bucs, Raiders, Vikings, 49ers, Rams and Broncos starting nods will be won in training camp.
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