Archive for category Quarterbacks

Fantasy Rookies 2009: The Quarterbacks


Now that we’ve had a little bit of time to digest the draft and overcome our shocks, hangovers, or disappointments, it’s time to start breaking down the players from the most important direction possible—their impact on your fantasy football squad.

Priorities, right?

This is the first in a series of articles which will cover various positions for both Dynasty and Redraft leagues.

I’ll start by saying something I have said multiple times already prior to and after the draft, and will say pretty much at the top of all of these articles—do not be fooled by last year’s numbers. We will—in all likelihood—not see the success that we did last year.

So for Dynasty, keep thinking about long term ramifications as much as (if not more than) short term. In redraft, do not over-value a rookie and leap on one too early, as it is unlikely most of them will pay off this season.

There will be precious few studs with immediate impact this season—and I would hazard a guess that none of them will reside in today’s category, the quarterbacks.

If this class was a weak one from a pure football standpoint, it isn’t much better from a fantasy one. There are a few who might play this season, a few with long term upside, and many who will be sitting on a waiver wire for a very long time.

With that, here are my thoughts on the 2009 rookie quarterbacks, ranked in order of their draft position, with a rank at the end of how effective I think they will be long and short term.

Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions

Stafford has the arm to take advantage of Calvin Johnson’s vertical game and, yes, he’s a guy who can either buy time in the pocket or throw on the run, which he will need unless that offensive line pulls a miracle.

Stafford looks like he might have the tools to succeed down the road, but that’s my biggest concern—will he be allowed to develop or will he be rushed out this season?

The Lions are saying all the right things; that Daunte Culpepper is the guy this year, that Stafford needs time to learn and get used to the NFL.

But six or seven games in, will he be on the bench if the Lions stay lousy?

I know I have been in the midst of arguments that the Lions’ offensive line isn’t that bad off, but I have my doubts about that. And on top of that, I prefer a quarterback to sit for a season before being thrown in to the fire. A QB’s psyche is sometimes a fragile thing.

Yes, Peyton Manning survived and got better in spite of that initial hellish season one. Many, many quarterbacks did not and they far outnumber the survivors.

If he gets most of the season to adjust to the NFL, I like Stafford quite a bit. His arm, his feet, all the little things he does well. But I like him less if he gets thrown to the wolves in the NFC North too soon.

That offense would live and die by his arm and I don’t think it has the tools for him to bring that off. If he goes in, and they double cover Johnson or stack the box against Kevin Smith, what then?

He can’t win it all and behind that offensive line, I worry about the pounding he might get and its results.

Dynasty Rank

First round rookie, with the hopes he gets the time to work up to starter. If you own Culpepper, you almost have to have him unless you have better.

Redraft Rank

A late addition—probably near QB 28-30. He could bump up if he wins the job outright, though not much and I’m hoping sense prevails and he sits.

Mark Sanchez, NY Jets

Sanchez’s situation is at once similar to Stafford’s and also wildly different.

Let me explain. I love the upside of Sanchez, he can make all the throws you need, is a natural leader, a hard worker, and a very smart player.

That said, like Stafford, he’d benefit from a little time to develop.

Unlike Stafford, though, he has a better chance of survival if he is thrown in the mix early.

Whereas the Lions would need Stafford to do a ton of heavy lifting, the Jets built their offensive line to be a power run blocking line.

Yes, they utterly got away from that when Favre showed up. That’s reason number 4,546 why Eric Mangini is a Brown.

But ultimately, that’s what they are. And in that case, the quarterback’s burden is much easier.

Sanchez is a guy who has already impressed the team with his hard work and overall play and while they—like the Lions—say all the right things about it being a competition, it isn’t looking like that.

Sanchez has a better chance of being stuck in a No. 1 spot at the beginning of the season and he also has a better chance of survival if he is thrown directly into the fire.

That said, even if he’s wildly successful, he’s not likely to have to throw often (assuming the Jets’ defense and run offense work out) and so he won’t be a guy who blows up this season.

Longer term, until they get him a legit No. 1 wide receiver, he will lag behind Stafford assuming he (Stafford) survives.

Dynasty Rank

Like Stafford, he’s a first round rookie, and in his case is probably safer to start in a bye week. But long term right now, I put him behind Stafford. Until the Jets get him some vertical weapons, he is unlikely to match Stafford’s potential long term production.

Redraft Rank

Again, a guy who you probably look at after most of the veteran starters are gone. I think the same things that might limit his long term potential—the offensive schemes, the defense—make him a safer bet than Stafford to put consistent points up. Those points still won’t make him reliable as much more than a bye week or emergency filler.



Josh Freeman, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

After leaping over non-existent teams desperate to grab Freeman and all the “I know this kid, he’s AWESOME” talk from the head coach, I don’t know I believe Freeman doesn’t start at some point.

Still, there is a good chance we see Byron Leftwich as the starter come week one, despite Freeman’s really ill-advised (and perhaps flat out incorrect) statement that Leftwich was just “smokescreen” to throw people off the scent.

Riiiiiiight.

Freeman is a big, tough, quarterback with a strong arm who has lots of experience and pretty good mobility.

Two things don’t work for me about him.

First, stuff like that statement about Leftwich really tell me he’s not much of a leader, no matter what many sites have said otherwise. How is that the way you want to enter a locker-room? How do you win that place over?

Not smart. Worse, it smacks (in my mind) of Ryan Leaf. He expects to be “the man.” I wonder if that work ethic, which was a plus in college, will exist at the Pro level.

More importantly is that he was incredibly streaky in college and, as much as he would succeed, he would go a game throwing picks and bad passes. For example, his November 1 game against Kansas. Freeman threw no touchdown passes in the 52-21 loss, while tossing three interceptions and getting sacked three times.

The fact that the Bucs were at that game disturbs me. So does the fact that he didn’t throw any touchdown passes in four games against Texas A&M, Colorado, Kansas, and Missouri.

Yes, he lacked big time players. I still say some of the best—most successful—quarterbacks had success at the college level despite a dearth of top talent.

And who does he have in Tampa? Antonio Bryant, who finally lived up to expectations last year but who isn’t a sure bet to repeat, and a decent run game. And some real questions on the defensive side of the ball.

Does it really sound all that much better?

That doesn’t mean he won’t succeed. I just don’t like his chances.

Dynasty Rank

A distant third behind Stafford and Sanchez and even then I don’t like him. To me, he’s a project (which really all these guys are to some extent) and I’d rather grab another skill position and pick up another quarterback later or trade out for a QB in next year’s draft.

Redraft Rank

I wouldn’t even draft him unless he was sure to start and even then, I don’t know if I would go for him when he might get drafted. I would rather pick up a backup earlier and then value at another position while someone risks a pick on Freeman.

Pat White, Miami Dolphins

Is he a quarterback or is he a wide receiver? Is he an every down player or is he a gadget guy like Brad Smith of the NY Jets?

These questions make him a risky pick in any draft.

Still, taking him in the second is a sign they expect something of him and reports are that he will challenge Chad Henne for backup duties.

Henne had the locker room and skills last season, and might have started if Pennington hadn’t arrived. Until the draft, many were predicting Henne would start sometime in 2010.

On top of the extreme athleticism and trick play skills, White is actually a decent quarterback and many scouts stopped looking at him as a hybrid or wide receiver conversion. He’s smart and looked very accurate in every workout the past few months.

Still, it’s one thing to throw balls in shorts and perfect weather (or no weather like at the Combine) and another with Bart Scott bearing down on you.

It’s a little soon to guess which way this is going to go and how White will adjust to the NFL. Many players like him have failed as QBs and either transitioned to another position or dropped out of the league.

But he has the upside and potential to be a dynamic player at this level too. It’s a coin flip.

Do keep in mind—if he is categorized as a quarterback by the league, most league sites will do the same and then he may not be available to you as a flex player, which might be his best value if he gets used in the Wildcat formation a ton.

Dynasty Rank

A guy you take later in your rookie draft as a pure upside pick. If you don’t have a ton of holes, he’s worth a look. But if you have other needs, don’t burn the roster spot. When he takes a year or two to develop, owners may get frustrated and you could find him on the waiver wire to pick up at your leisure.

Redraft Rank

You’ll have to wait, but if you can hold on until the last quarter of your draft, he could be a really interesting upside pick.

If he is integrated as a new wrinkle on the Wildcat, he might prove a useful flex player assuming your league is set up to accommodate. But the trick will be waiting long enough to where you won’t be angry when you drop him for more consistent injury or bye week help.

Nate Davis, San Francisco

You have to keep an eye on the guy who has only Shaun Hill, Damon Huard, and Alex Smith ahead of him on the depth chart.

Davis has a strong arm, is a good team leader, and has great touch and timing. He’s a hard worker and exceedingly competitive, which strikes me as a very Singletary trait.

He does have a learning disability but that hasn’t fazed the 49ers, and he definitely needs some work both in mechanics and the fact that he rarely worked under center.

Still, there isn’t a lot of incredibly impressive talent in front of him and with Josh Morgan, Isaac Bruce, and the newly drafted Michael Crabtree, whoever the starter is has some fantasy potential.

Davis is likely a longer term project but you never know and he’s worth keeping an eye on.

Dynasty Rank

More attractive if you happen to have Alex Smith on your roster already but Davis is likely to slip out of a rookie draft in all but the deepest leagues with a long rookie draft. Watch the QB battle in San Fran over the summer closely and be ready to hit the waiver wire. Just in case.

Redraft Rank

Not someone you’ll be drafting in a redraft league unless you draft late and he’s won the job. But like in a Dynasty league, you’ll want to keep an eye on the QB battle and a finger on the waiver wire trigger. The weapons in that offense could be very productive, and in that case, Davis could be as well.

The following two QBs are worth noting in Dynasty leagues but not worth looking at really at all in a redraft.

Stephen McGee, Dallas Cowboys

McGee is a very underrated quarterback who could take over down the road if he develops well and Romo keeps losing games late in the season. Very raw though and will burn a roster spot unless you have a taxi squad in your league.

Tom Brandstater, Denver Broncos

While it’s unlikely he’ll see the field anytime soon, Brandstater has a nice touch, timing, and is very smart. Is this McDaniels’ attempt to replicate Cassel? Probably not due to a lack of arm strength but there is enough confusion at the Denver QB position to keep an eye on him in Dynasty leagues.

This will be worth revisiting during the summer and we will, here as well as on The Thundering Blurb Football Show every Wednesday. Some street free agents may end up being worth a Dynasty look and some of these players may find themselves firmly in possession of a clipboard.

But for now, here’s hoping this helps you start to get ready for your Fantasy Football drafts.

I’ll be back next week with a breakdown of running backs.

NFL Draft: Positional Class Grades

Each season a new crop of college athletes take part in the NFL Draft Process, and every year what the overall strengths and depths of the class are will change as often as the needs of the teams doing the drafting.

This year is no exception.

In 2008, we saw a class with good overall running back talent, quicker than anticipated impact at the quarterback position and great depth at the defensive spots.

The 2009 class has its own set of advantages and strong spots, but also more than a few positions of questionable depth and talent.

When the layman looks at the Draft, they think in terms of the ‘sexy positions’. The quarterback, the running back, the high profile names on the offense. It’s where many new draftnicks and casual observers get caught up.

But once you’ve spent any time listening to any analyst or scout worth his salt, it turns out that’s not always where the value is in any given year.

This year is no different and while there is some value and depth in those skill positions, once again the most value appears to be in the trenches and on the defensive side of the ball.

Let’s take a look at the overall talent in the NFL Draft class of 2009.

PositionQuarterback
High SideMatthew Stafford, Mark Sanchez
Low SideCurtis Painter, Graham Harrell
Overall GradeC+
Explanation – While I am a big fan of Stafford and Sanchez, I don’t know either would have cracked the top of last year’s class. Still, both athletes have the tools to be worthy of a top pick in 2009. Stafford solidified a high pick slot with an outstanding Pro Day showcasing his accuracy and arm strength while Sanchez will have an opportunity to prove his doubters wrong by showing off his own accuracy and allaying injury concerns on April 1st at USC’s workout. In his own tier behind them is Kansas State quarterback Josh Freeman. I’ll be honest – any other year and Freeman isn’t going in round one. His accuracy issues, streaky nature and occasional lapses in decision making worry me. Still, after Sanchez and Stafford, Freeman is the guy you want, though he’ll take more time to develop than the first two. After that – it’s personal choice. Every quarterback behind them is a big question mark and a project, so it becomes about who teams fall in love with. One team might love Pat White’s versatility, while another may love Sam Houston State QB Rhett Bomar’s huge arm and intangibles. Or a team may wait a bit and snag any number of high upside, long term projects like Fresno State’s Tom Brandstater (good short touch vs shaky deep throws), Alabama’s John Parker Wilson (great intangibles vs lack of size and arm strength) or recently hot prospect Mike Reilly from Central Washington (good short accuracy and touch vs spread offense worries). My choice for dark horse? Rudy Carpenter, Arizona State. Tough, determined and with good accuracy on the West Coast-Style slants and short passes, Carpenter played behind an atrocious offensive line, with no run game and still managed to put up very good numbers. Sure thing? Not at all. But in the right scheme? Could be very successful. But he’s indicative of the class – all upside, all projects. Few sure things. Here is where I think a smart team can make a big future impact with a pick that’s low risk, but potentially high reward. One of these guys in the right system and with patience could turn out to be another Matt Cassel – assuming people remember the patience it took over almost four years to develop him.

PositionRunningback
High SideKnowshon Moreno, Chris Wells, LeSean McCoy
Low SideIan Johnson, Marlon Lucky
Overall GradeB
Explanation – These backs don’t have the marquee value of a Peterson or a McFadden but that doesn’t mean there aren’t any solid backs here. Knowshon Moreno has great instincts and is a big, tough runner with good hands. Chris Wells is a strong runner with good burst, but injury and durability worries. UCONN running back Donald Brown is quick to the hole and had very good vision and can catch the ball well out of the backfield. Behind the big three are a ton of solid, though perhaps unspectacular running backs. It’s not to say that a guy like Pitt’s LeSean McCoy, Liberty’s Rashad Jennings or Andre Brown from North Carolina can’t have a very good and very productive careers. But none of these backs hold the excitement that the top of the line studs usually do. The class has some depth, players with defined roles versus the projects that litter the quarterback class. A guy like Jeremiah Johnson out of Oregon would make an outstanding change of pace back. While he doesn’t have elite speed and has never been a workhorse, he’s shown ability, can play in special teams and has shown good vision and patience. He may never become the bell cow, but he also shouldn’t take three years to develop into a solid player. Or a team can grab a guy like Marlon Lucky from Nebraska, a runner who has a good combination of size and speed, who can run for tough yards but doesn’t have the ability to be an every down back. He can certainly fill in – and quickly – on special teams as well as be the type of back to grind yardage out and get the hard yards. Though he will never be a home run hitter, Lucky could be another guy who can be picked late and yet still contributes early in his career. The running back class is filled with these solid, though perhaps unspectacular, backs. Because of this, a team can lay in the weeds and fill other positions of need, yet still have a shot at a quality back who can contribute in a specific role pretty quickly. While the ceiling isn’t extraordinarily high, the floor for many of these guys is pretty good.

PositionFullback
High SideTony Fiametta
Low SideBrannon Southerland
Overall GradeC-
Explanation – Like with centers and kickers, top shelf fullbacks are few and far between and that’s why guys like Tony Richardson get the dollars he does blocking for backs like LT and Adrian Peterson. You aren’t likely to see any fullbacks go on day one, and maybe just a handful will be drafted over all. In the last nine drafts, the top fullback has been selected in the fourth round four times and the fifth round three times. The top fullback has only been pulled in the third round twice including last year when Jacob Hester went to the Chargers. And while he was the top fullback in the 2008 draft he was also the type of guy San Diego looked at as a potential full time running back. Again, it’s rare for a full blown fullback to go early. While a blocking fullback is worth his weight in gold, it’s easier to convert a running back or sign a fullback off the street. So even the top guys like Syracuse’s Tony Fiametta will be unlikely to go earlier than the middle rounds. This is not to say Fiametta isn’t a capable player. The former Orangeman is a fantastic blocker who works hard and has the versatility coaches love which allows him to block for other backs, catch the ball out of the backfield or even work special teams. It’s that flexibility which will attract teams and players like Fiametta. But many other guys have too many question marks. Georgia’s Brannan Southerland has some real conerns about his ability to stay healthy, Eric Kettani needs to fulfill his Naval service before he can play and lack experience in receiving and special teams so is limited while Jason Cook from Ole Miss is basically a blocker – and that’s all. Once you get past the top one or two players, a team might as well wait and sign these guys after the draft or look for a late round running back, see if they can develop him as a regular RB and if not, move him to fullback. Less fullbacks are being used in College football, and Pro teams are using tight ends and other players to block when necessary. As a result, this class which is thin on depth will likely see few players taken on draft weekend and perhaps even during the rookie free agency signing period.

PositionWide Receiver
High SideMichael Crabtree, Jeremy Maclin
Low SideSammie Stroughter, Tiquan Underwood
Overall GradeB+
Explanation – A huge step up from last year and we should see a bunch of receivers pulled in the first round and over the course of the first day. There are some projects, but there are also plenty of very solid top prospects here. You can start with the names we’ve all become familiar with over the last few months. Michael Crabtree with his phenomenal size, body control, reach and outstanding ball skills. Fluid and elusive Jeremy Maclin with his ability to stretch the field and vertical ability. Darrius Heyward-Bey, Kenny Britt, Percy Harvin. All are names you’ve heard about endlessly. But this class differs from the 2008 bunch in more than just the top end players. This class has a full compliment of depth, guys who will be effective early in their career and could have long-term impact. Some, like OSU wideout Brian Robiskie seemingly emerged out of nowhere, lighting up the NFL Scouting Combine with an outstanding 40 and showing more athleticism than expected. He continued to impress at his Pro Day and is poised to get picked somewhere in the second or third rounds. Robiskie’s route running and instincts make him a player who could be ready to contribute immediately and while he may not be the next Calvin Johnson or Randy Moss, he’s a solid player and could be so for a long time to come. Slipping down a few spots to Ramses Barden, from Cal Poly. Barden has the size and strength to dominate defenders, he just needs to use it a little more confidently. And he can get yards after the catch. A little more of a project, but he can still develop into a good wide receiver and an excellent guy to move the chains or red zone target. Other guys who provide the depth on this squad are Washington State’s Brandon Gibson (experience, great hands, good routes, so-so speed, not enough separation), USC’s Patrick Turner off a great Pro Day (great routes, hands and tough attitude but not a great blocker or much of a deep threat), Quon Cosby out of Texas (athletic, quick, great ball skills, but a little older and limited separation) and Dominique Edison from Stephen F. Austin (decent speed, great hands and a good vertical threat, but not too physical nor sudden off the line) all will go second day and could carve out roles as at least #3 receivers. Even guys like the players at the bottom of my list, like Oregon State’s Sammie Stroughter and Rutgers’ Tiquan Underwood could contribute, though it might take a little longer.

PositionTight End
High SideBrandon Pettigrew, Jared Cook
Low SideRyan Purvis, Bear Pascoe
Overall GradeB-
Explanation – There are at least 5 TEs in this class that could be impact players at the next level, but not much depth and overall it won’t dominate the draft. You may never be able to have too many wide receivers or running backs, but you don’t need that many tight ends. Also, the position plays a little different now. You want a tight end who can block AND catch, not one but able to learn the other. Pettigrew is the class of the positional group, he can run, he can block, he can catch – and he’s a tough SOB. The guys behind him are all very athletic – Jared Cook (great speed and quicks, great hands, but little blocking ability), Cornelius Ingram (great ball skills, soft hands, can go vertical, but not tough, inexperienced) and Travis Beckum (great speed, good routes, elusiveness after the catch but not bulky enough, not physical enough and there are durability issues) – but have some question marks. Still, they have the offensive skills to play for some time. The low end like Bear Pascoe (great blocker but very stiff and not fast) and Ryan Purvis (good hands, willing blocker but not fast or explosive) seem to be the flipside – blockers who might develop into full tight ends. The fact you could get production from the late rounds with guys this deep into the class is what makes this class just a bit better than average.

PositionOffensive Tackle
High SideJason Smith, Eugene Monroe, Andre Smith
Low SideGarrett Reynolds, Joel Bell
Overall GradeB+
Explanation – Once again a great crop of OTs and we could see another run on the position in the first round. The game is won in the trenches and there are a lot of fine tackles in the 2009 class, even if it isn’t quite as deep as the 2008 group. Jason Smith, Monroe, Andre Smith and Oher will be gone in the top 15 in all likelihood and you could see guys like Eben Britton out of Arizona and recently hot Phil Loadholt from Oklahoma who could sneak into the first as well. There are other good tackles behind these guys but they could go anywhere from late second to beginning of the third, guys like William Beatty (UCONN), Troy Kropog (Tulane) or Jamon Meredith (South Carolina). All have something they need to work on be it a lack of prototypical size, mobility or a lack pf perfection either in the run or pass portion of the game. But all of them will be productive. As you go further away, the projects grow more shaky but there are so many who could slip in or will get picked up immediately as a street free agent, if a team misses out on one guy, they have the possibility of grabbing a project late and spending less money, yet still seeing production.

PositionGuard
High SideDuke Robinson, Andy Levitre
Low SideRyan Durand, Travis Bright
Overall GradeB-
Explanation – A decent group, but not a ton of depth. You’ll see them go starting in the second, but there aren’t more than a dozen guys who are good bets to go. A bunch of guards will go as rookie free agents, but not much excitement. Most interesting thing I have seen is the contradicting evaluations of Greg Isdaner of West Virginia. Some rankings have him as the second or third guard. But some don’t even have him going on Draft weekend. The top of the class are definitely Oklahoma’s Duke Robinson and Oregon State’s Andy Levitre. But while maybe one slips into the first, guards don’t go early. Overall it’s a decent class but there are not a ton of guards who will go on draft day, especially when some tackles can move over to guard if they don’t work out.

PositionCenter
High SideAlex Mack, Max Unger, Eric Wood
Low SideCecil Newton, Dallas Reynolds
Overall GradeC
Explanation – Top flight Centers are tough to come by, which is why Jeff Saturday just got re-signed by the Colts. You don’t let one go. This class is ok at the top, but there is a significant drop-off after that and if we hit double digits drafted, I’d be surprised. But the top of the class is pretty good. Cal’s Mack is whip-smart and incredibly flexible in what he can play – center, guard, what have you – he not only can do many things, he’s willing to. I have seen him slip a bit in some mocks, with Wood jumping in as the center taken in the first round. The Louisville center isn’t the most powerful guy and finds himself pushed around a little too much for me. But again, a smart guy who is a hard worker.

QB rankings for Week 17

Due to this loverly cold I have, I’m getting this list out late and with no description. I will say that this a more a list of stable players than a list of guys I expect to go for 300+ yards and 4 TDs. I also think despite not changing the gameplan for Brees hitting Marino’s record he will have to throw alot. With Pierre Thomas a little banged up, he’ll need to. Rodgers will also be a stable start especially as the run game for the Pack hasn’t been steller. Rivers, McNabb, Cutler – all have something to play for and can throw the ball, which seperates them from guys like Favre, Orton or Edwards who have struggled in the pass game or are just playing out the string.

Quarterbacks

  1. Drew Brees – Saints vs Panthers
  2. Aaron Rodgers – Packers vs Lions
  3. Philip Rivers – Chargers vs Broncos
  4. Donovan McNabb – Eagles vs Cowboys
  5. Jay Cutler – Broncos at Chargers
  6. Matt Schaub – Texans vs Bears
  7. Matt Ryan – Falcons vs Rams
  8. Chad Pennington – Dolphins at Jets
  9. Matt Cassel – Patriots at Bills
  10. Seneca Wallace – Seahawks at Cardinals
  11. Shaun Hill – 49rs vs Redskins
  12. Ben Roethlisberger – Steelers vs Browns
  13. Kurt Warner – Cardinals vs Seahawks
  14. Tony Romo – Cowboys at Eagles
  15. Jake Delhomme – Panthers at Saints
  16. Jeff Garcia – Bucs vs Raiders
  17. Tarvaris Jackson – Vikings vs Giants
  18. Tyler Thigpen – Chiefs at Bengals
  19. Joe Flacco – Ravens vs Jaguars
  20. Eli Manning – Giants at Vikings
  21. Kyle Orton – Bears at Texans
  22. Brett Favre – Jets vs Dolphins
  23. Ryan Fitzpatrick – Bengals vs Chiefs
  24. Trent Edwards – Bills vs Patriots
  25. Jason Campbell – Redskins at 49rs
  26. David Garrard – Jaguars at Ravens
  27. Dan Orlovsky – Lions at Packers
  28. Bruce Gradkowski – Browns at Steelers
  29. Peyton Manning – Colts vs Titans
  30. Marc Bulger – Rams at Falcons
  31. JaMarcus Russell – Raiders at Bucs
  32. Kerry Collins – Titans at Colts
  33. David Carr – Giants at Vikings

QB Rankings for Week 16

Aaron Rodgers has been playing well despite the unfortunate inability of the team to win over the last month. You can argue whether Favre would have been better for the Pack or what Rodgers doesn’t do or how he ain’t favre – all that maters, like, NOT at all. Fact is, he has thrown for 1119 yards, 8 TDs over the last four games. He has thrown 6 INTs which is problematic in many leagues, but since a bad game against New Orleans in week 12. Still, this is a big game where they can punk the Bears and Rodgers is playing well the last few weeks. He will definitely get yards (the bears allow 230+ yards per game and 17 TDs) but this is a tough defense which is ranked third in the league in interceptions. I believe Rodgers will have a great yardage and TD day – but he may toss a bad decision out there as well.

Drew Brees will see a lot of hand offs to Pierre Thomas as Thomas stomps the Lions defense. But Brees is still Brees and this offense throws – a lot. And will do so against Detroit as well. He hasn’t been throwing the ball with the torrid pace he had been earlier, but I think he is goignto comedarn close to that 300 yards this week. Yes, even with Thomas there, he will throw a ton. After all behind Thomas is a banged up McAllister there’s a whole lot of nothing. Brees will throw – early often and endlessly.

Now that it doesn’t matter anymore, WOOO those Texans can play. Err…. anyway, maybe this would have been different had Matt Schaub not been hurt, but he did and it isn’t. The Raiders have been a little spotty coverage wise- oh they have Nnamdi Asomugha, but that’s about it. Turns out Chris Johnson isn’t as good as he looked two weeks ago. It’s going to be hard to contain Andre Johnson, Owen Daniels and Kevin Walter and Schaub has been tearing it up the last few weeks. Against a reeling defense, Schaub should have a field day.

Now the next two have me concerned due to weather. If it comes in sideways, both these guys will find themselves throwing short passes and handing off the ball – or at least watching their passes go backwards. Matt Cassel has played very well and is finding both Wes Welker and Randy Moss plenty of times. The Cards secondary is opportunistic and could create a turnover but they may be hard pressed to stop him, only slowing him down on occasion. Kurt Warner may be in more trouble, but might also have to throw even more because he has no run game. We have hit Tim Hightower’s ceiling at this point and we already know what JJ Arrington can do. And Edge seems done. Warner – even in brutal weather – might have to throw even if Belichick keeps the pressure on him as you imagine he is plotting to do right now. But enough wind could limit how often he can reach Fitzgerald and Breaston (Boldin is out). Still, the possibility that he can throw 40 times means he could have a very good yards day.

Quarterbacks

  1. Aaron Rodgers, Packers at Bears
  2. Drew Brees, Saints at Lions
  3. Matt Schaub, Texans at Raiders
  4. Matt Cassel, Patriots vs. Cardinals
  5. Kurt Warner, Cardinals at Patriots
  6. Jay Cutler, Broncos vs. Bills
  7. Tyler Thigpen, Chiefs vs. Dolphins
  8. Philip Rivers, Chargers at Buccaneers
  9. Donovan McNabb, Eagles at Redskins
  10. Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers at Titans
  11. Tony Romo, Cowboys vs. Ravens
  12. Shaun Hill, 49ers at Rams
  13. Matt Ryan, Falcons at Vikings
  14. Seneca Wallace, Seahawks vs. Jets
  15. Tarvaris Jackson, Vikings vs. Falcons
  16. Jeff Garcia, Buccaneers vs. Chargers
  17. Brett Favre, Jets at Seahawks
  18. Trent Edwards, Bills at Broncos
  19. Eli Manning, Giants vs. Panthers
  20. Jake Delhomme, Panthers at Giants
  21. Chad Pennington, Dolphins at Chiefs
  22. Kyle Orton, Bears vs. Packers
  23. Kerry Collins, Titans vs. Steelers
  24. Joe Flacco, Ravens at Cowboys
  25. Ryan Fitzpatrick, Bengals at Browns
  26. Dan Orlovsky, Lions vs. Saints
  27. Jason Campbell, Redskins vs. Eagles
  28. Marc Bulger, Rams vs. 49ers
  29. JaMarcus Russell, Raiders vs. Texans
  30. Ken Dorsey, Browns vs. Bengals

Top Fantasy QBs of Week 15

Matt Cassel 218/4/1 (18 yards rushing) – Cassel continues to play very well in Brady’s stead and could turn it into cash on the field next season for another team. For your fantasy team he’s still a matchups only guy – and note the lack of yards. If you only get 4 pts for TDs, that 4 TD day looks less impressive.

Philip Rivers 346/2/1 – 1 fumble – Rivers – who was robbed today of a Pro Bowl appearence by one of my Jets, The Brett – continues to play hard behidn a slipshod Oline with little or no support from the run game. Rivers has had a few bad games and faces a good Tampa Bay defense, so this weekend may be another down week for him.

Tarvaris Jackson 163/4 – Low yardage totals aren’t new but 4 TDs are. Jackson hasn’t been spectacular and he’s not scaring secondaries to make Peterson’s job easier but he has played decently the last few games. I wouldn’t have him near my lineup the rest of the way though.

Peyton Manning 318/1 – Manning had a decent game, though short a TD or two. He continues to be a must start again, now that his team has gotten back on track. He should be a very good start against Jacksonville this Thursday.

David Garrard 238/2 (31 yds running) - Garrard has been wildly inconsistent this season (like the Jags whole team) and is running out of wide receievers. I can’t say he’s an auto-sit, but more often than not, he will be a very risky start.

Best of the rest –
Donovan McNabb 290/2/1 – McNabb is back to form – all it took was a benching. The matchup vs Washington looks shaky but he’s on the rise while they are slipping.
Ryan Fitzpatrick 209/1 (29 rush yards, 1 rush TD) – Unexpected appearence by the Harvard QB – I don’t expect to see it again. Still too many question marks on the team.
Tony Romo 244/2 – I don’t know if I buy the love triangle between he, Witten and TO, but it’s not like the drama actually affected him as far as I could see.
Tyler Thigpen 171/1/1 (40 rush yards 1 rush TD)
JaMarcus Russell 242/2/1 – Russell had one of those games you look at and say ‘yeah maybe he CAN do it’ but it’s still not a situation I would trust this week. Maybe Russell will become the Qb the Raiders need him to be – but this team is not in the shape he needs them to be either.

QB Rankings for Week 15

Aaron Rodgers may be ‘no Brett Favre’ but that doesn’t mean he’s played badly for a first year starter. Last week he had 295 and a pair of TDs against the Texans in a loss, has been one of the hotter Fantasy QBs over the last three weeks and faces a middling defense which has given up 21 TDs this season. Even if he didn’t put up big yards, he’s likely to hit his WRs or Donald Lee for at least a few touchdowns.

Maybe Peyton Manning will suffer from a big case of Dominic Rhodes as the Lions attract good performances from opposing running backs but this is a team that throws the ball and I think Manning will do so regardless of how easy Rhodes finds it. The fact that it could be Rhodes and a host of nobodies could lead the team to throw in order to avoid running Rhodes into the ground.

If you are going to beat the Vikings you’re going to have to throw. And if you’re the Arizona Cardinals, possessing three outstanding wide receivers with Kurt Warner slinging the rock you were going to do that anyway. You may say ‘Andrew, the Vikes held off the Lions’ pass game last week….’ Actually in all likelyhood you wouldn’t get past the word ‘Lions’ – but even if you were to lose your mind and compare Warner with Culpepper, there are too many weapons to stop for the Vikes defense – an average defense overall. The biggest question is again, can the Cards’ oline hold against yet another sack-machine defense.

The Chargers have had some real problems in the offensive line and occasionally Philip Rivers has lacked the time and weapons to suceed but Vincent Jackson has stepped up this season and I expect Tomlinson to have a good day and therefore keep the defense honest. Now, I don’t expect a ton of points from the Wr core save for Jackson but I think Rivers will have a very good day against a defense that cannot generate a pass rush or turn over the ball. Rivers should have a nice little fantasy explosion for you Sunday.

Donovan McNabb continues to play well since Turkey Day and face a slowly bleeding to death Cleveland Browns. Now the Browns’ defense has actually been playing like they still give a damn, but it’s still not enough. And while Westbrook will have a good day, he’ll get a ton of yards through the air anyway and that translates to some good yards for McNabb. They’ll get the ball to Curtis, Brown and Jackson as well.

Back with more rankings in an hour or so….

Quarterback

  1. Aaron Rodgers, Packers at Jaguars
  2. Peyton Manning, Colts vs. Lions
  3. Kurt Warner, Cardinals vs. Vikings
  4. Philip Rivers, Chargers at Chiefs
  5. Donovan McNabb, Eagles vs. Browns
  6. Matt Cassel, Patriots at Raiders
  7. Jay Cutler, Broncos at Panthers
  8. Tony Romo, Cowboys vs. Giants
  9. Seneca Wallace, Seahawks at Rams
  10. Matt Ryan, Falcons vs. Buccaneers
  11. Tyler Thigpen, Chiefs vs. Chargers
  12. Shaun Hill, 49ers at Dolphins
  13. Matt Schaub, Texans vs. Titans
  14. Brett Favre, Jets vs. Bills
  15. Jason Campbell, Redskins at Bengals
  16. Jeff Garcia, Buccaneers at Falcons
  17. Kerry Collins, Titans at Texans
  18. Chad Pennington, Dolphins vs. 49ers
  19. Jake Delhomme, Panthers vs. Broncos
  20. Eli Manning, Giants at Cowboys
  21. Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers at Ravens
  22. Tarvaris Jackson Vikings at Cardinals
  23. David Garrard, Jaguars vs. Packers
  24. J.P. Losman, Bills at Jets
  25. Marc Bulger, Rams vs. Seahawks
  26. Dan Orlovsky, Lions at Colts
  27. Joe Flacco, Ravens vs. Steelers
  28. Ryan Fitzpatrick, Bengals vs. Redskins
  29. JaMarcus Russell, Raiders vs. Patriots
  30. Ken Dorsey, Browns at Eagles

Top Fantasy QBs of Week 14

Some new faces, some guys we’ve seen before. Some guys heating up….

Matt Schaub – 414yds, 2tds, 1 2pt, 1INT – I never, ever, thought he was going to have this good a game after his layoff. But he sure proved his doubters wrong and should have put to rest the ‘Sage is a better QB’ talk that has permeated the last month or so. Still mostly a matchup guy, a very good showing.

Matt Ryan – 315/1/1 12pt, 1 rush TD - Ryan has had a phenomenal year and you just have to like this kid if you happen to have drafted him in Dynasty. Or redraft. Or if you are the Falcons. Again, mostly a matchup guy but he has some places he might start for you in the next few weeks. Tampa has shown they can be thrown on and we know that’s the easiest way to beat the VIkings. Depending on your bench he might have a shot at helping you win it all.

Jeff Garcia – 321/2 – Is Garcia starting to heat up? Some mediocre outings was starting to make folks think we would see Josh Johnson, but it’s likely we’ll have to wait until next year on that. Garcia faces Atlanta (OK) this week, San Diego next week for many Championship weeks (good!) and then Oakland (who knows? Might not matter for your league).

Seneca Wallace – 212/3 1 fumble, 47 rush yards - I wouldn’t trust him as far as I could throw him and given my bad back this week, that wouldn’t be far. OK, my back is fine, but still – Wallace is risky to start. He does face the Rams which is a great matchup this week, and then the Jets who could be fighting hard for their playoff lives ad can be thrown on. I wouldnt’ want to start him but if you face injuries there might be worse matchup-wise.

Peyton Manning – 277/3 – Hey, a familiar face. Manning had a good game this week and is -and should be – a starter regardless of game. What will happen against Detroit this week? Will they run too much? Well, for sure Detroit cannot hang with them in the air, so I suspect Manning will get his regardless.

The Rest – That some of these guys are here and not above should tell you how out of control the top spots were this week….
Philip Rivers – 214/3 & 19 rushing yards - Rivers put on a nice display this week but that oline has him too up and down to be counted on very easily.
Jay Cutler – 286/2/1 & 16 rush yards - Cutler might actually have to throw more and he should be a decent start going forward with the upside of being even better than decent.
Aaron Rodgers – 295/2/1 – Rodgers was very close to being in the top 5 and continues to be a very good start going forward most of the time. Even weather didn’t hurt him too much.
Shaun Hill – 285/2/1 – Is he going to be a good start from here on out? I can’t believe that but either had an extraordinarily good game or the Jets looked extraordinarily bad. I am a Jets fan – guess where I fall on that one?
Drew Brees – 230/2 - Another sub 300 yard game?!?! THE SKY IS FALLING THE SKY IS FALLING! Seriously, Brees looked better Sunday than he did the week prior and is getting the weapons he needs back and healthy. The Saints need to win, so you know he will play hard and while he may not be cracking 300+ each week, he’s always a pretty good start.

QB Rankings for Week 14

As I said both on the ESPN Radio gig and this morning’s News Stampede, I think Aaron Rodgers could be in for quite a good day. Yes the Texans could be worse against the pass. But the Pack’s run game is banged up and I think Rodgers is getting that chip on his shoulder again. I like his prospects a lot this week.

Yes, I think Drew Brees is able to throw on the Falcons. Even with Bush back and Pierre Thomas heating up, Brees slings the ball. The oline doesn’t block as well for the run as it does the pass and besides, his weapons are all guys who can catch – Thomas and Bush included. Look for him to break the 300 barrier again.

Kurt Warner could very well run into issues if the Cards get Hightower rolling but he hasn’t shown me that’s likely right now, so I expect Warner to come out slinging as always if just to build an early lead despite the terrible run defense of he Rams.

Manning: The Peyton is going to have a field day against the porous Bungles secondary. And while the reversion to ‘Bungles’ may sadden my 7 year old Bengals/Chargers hybrid fan, it is what it is. This team is a disaster, and Manning will have ample time to surgically slice the defense apart.

The more I examine this matchup the more I love Matt Cassel in it. Seattle is finished – and I think Cassel will get back on track and get Moss back on pace as well. Also, while Cutler and Ryan both have decent matchups, I think both the Broncos (or is it Donkeys GoGo? Remind me….) and Falcons will run the ball significantly. Yes, I said ‘Broncos’ and ‘run ball’ in the same sentence. Hillis is the real deal.

Other thoughts -
If the weather isn’t too bad Ben Roethlisberger is a nice play against a shaky Cowboys secondary and with Demarcus Ware banged up, he might even have time to throw….. Donovan McNabb may not be the top QB this week and has a difficult matchup but – call it gut or whatever – but I think he’s playing this game well and may catch the Giants off guard… Gus Frerotte should be a better start against the Lions – and I do think he throws to Berrian enough to make the WR worth it – but with Peterson and Taylor in the backfield, he shouldn’t have to throw as much as Kerry Collins did… But it IS Brad Childress….

Quarterbacks

  1. Aaron Rodgers, Packers vs. Texans
  2. Drew Brees, Saints vs. Falcons
  3. Kurt Warner, Cardinals vs. Rams
  4. Peyton Manning, Colts vs. Bengals
  5. Matt Cassel, Patriots at Seahawks
  6. Matt Ryan, Falcons at Saints
  7. Jay Cutler, Broncos vs. Chiefs
  8. Brett Favre, Jets at 49ers
  9. Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers vs. Cowboys
  10. Tony Romo, Cowboys at Steelers
  11. Donovan McNabb, Eagles at Giants
  12. David Garrard, Jaguars at Bears
  13. Chad Pennington, Dolphins at Bills
  14. Eli Manning, Giants vs. Eagles
  15. Tyler Thigpen, Chiefs at Broncos
  16. Matt Schaub, Texans at Packers
  17. Kyle Orton, Bears vs. Jaguars
  18. Gus Frerotte, Vikings at Lions
  19. Shaun Hill, 49ers vs. Jets
  20. Kerry Collins, Titans vs. Browns
  21. Jeff Garcia, Buccaneers at Panthers
  22. J.P. Losman, Bills vs. Dolphins
  23. Marc Bulger, Rams at Cardinals
  24. Jake Delhomme, Panthers vs. Buccaneers
  25. Joe Flacco, Ravens vs. Redskins
  26. Matt Hasselbeck, Seahawks vs. Patriots
  27. Jason Campbell, Redskins at Ravens
  28. Daunte Culpepper, Lions vs. Vikings
  29. Ryan Fitzpatrick, Bengals at Colts
  30. Ken Dorsey, Browns at Titans