By Kevin Lewis
1)Aaron Rodgers, QB, Green Bay Packers- While Rodgers might not have the name recognition of the other quarterbacks near the top of this list, but over the course of the last two seasons Rodgers has been near the top of fantasy QBs. His production (4400 yards and 30 touchdowns with only 7 interceptions) should remain at a high level considering the talent and continuity on that offense. Given the nature of the Packers offense, pass first and pass often, Rodgers could very well be a value as a top ten selection.
2)Drew Brees, QB, New Orleans Saints- For the last four seasons, Brees has been remarkably consistent. He’s posted up at least 4,400 yards in each of the last four seasons and throwing 122 touchdowns compared to only 57 interceptions. If there was any doubt who’s offense it was down in New Orleans, Brees has done all he can to remove that. There aren’t many players who are relied on more than Brees, and with the open offense Payton runs down there, expect another great season from Drew Brees.
3)Peyton Manning, QB, Indianapolis Colts- Manning is about as sure a thing as there is in the NFL. He threw for over 4,000 yards for the fourth consecutive season and has thrown 30 or more touchdowns in three of the last four seasons. His steady, eye popping production makes him one of the few non running back players worth a first round pick.
4)Tom Brady, QB, New England Patriots- I waffled on this pick several times between Brady and Cowboys QB Tony Romo. Brady gets the edge because he is one year removed from knee surgery and more importantly plays in a more pass happy offense. Brady, despite being fresh off knee surgery, threw for 4,400 yards, 28 TDs and 13 INTs. Many people claimed he didn’t look like the same Brady despite those numbers. So imagine him with a full offseason on a healthy knee?
5)Tony Romo, QB, Dallas Cowboys- Romo had arguably his best season last year, after questions circulated about his value due to the loss of Terrell Owens. Well, without Owens Romo remained remarkably productive as he threw for 4,400 yards and 26 touchdowns. In addition to that, Romo only threw 9 interceptions, a career low. The weaponry on that offense with Miles Austin, Jason Witten and the potential of newcomer Dez Bryant should make for another good year for Mr. Romo.
6)Matt Schaub, QB, Houston Texans- Schaub finally put it all together last season. After years of wondering about what could’ve been due to varying factors (mainly injuries), Schaub put it all together last season and had a career year. I’m a little skeptical of putting him at this spot due to his injury history but his production and talent cannot be denied. With the best WR in the league, and a top receiving TE in the league look for Schaub to have another monster season. Schaub can be started every week with comfort, while expecting good results.
7)Brett Favre, QB, Minnesota Vikings- The ageless wonder just came off a season where he threw for 4,000+ yards, 33 touchdowns and only 7 interceptions. At the young age of 40, Favre had arguably his best season in the league. With everything else around him being the same, Favre should have another great season. Sidney Rice’s health should be something to watch for fantasy owners everywhere.
8) Philip Rivers, QB, San Diego Chargers- Rivers is always a solid fantasy option, and proved that yet again with a marvelous 2009 campaign. He threw for career high 4,254 yards and 29 touchdowns. The Chargers run one of the more pass heavy offenses in football, and they have weapons all over the place (assuming Vincent Jackson eventually comes back). Jackson’s situation is definitely one to watch, but Rivers is a catch regardless. They have more than enough to make up for Jackson’s potential absence and it all starts with Rivers.
9)Jay Cutler, QB, Chicago Bears- Cutler was largely a disappointment last year as his numbers took a dip in every category except his meteoric rise in interceptions. He did manage to have some value in fantasy due to his career high 27 touchdowns. This season sees a change in offensive coordinators, as the pass happy Mike Martz takes over. While Martz has been out of football for a year, every QB he’s ever touched ended up better than they were previously. The Bears defense isn’t very good, and Martz will dial up quite a few passes. If Cutler can keep his interceptions in control somewhat, he will be a steal in the middle rounds.
10) Kevin Kolb, QB, Philadelphia Eagles- If the two games he started last year were any indication, Kolb will be the fantasy football sleeper of the year. The Eagles have a lot of young offensive weapons around him in the people of Jeremy Maclin, Desean Jackson, and Brett Celek along with a solid offensive line. Andy Reid is one of the league’s best playcallers, and that should help Kolb hit the ground running. He should have a very productive first year starting in the pass heavy Eagle offense.
11) Eli Manning, QB, New York Giants- The ten and eleven spots were a tossup. I ultimately gave Kevin Kolb the advantage not necessarily because I think he is the better quarterback, but because I like Andy Reid far more than I like Kevin Gilbride. All that aside, Manning posted his best season yet, as he threw for 4,000 yards for the first time, along with 27 touchdowns. Last season, Manning’s receiving corps was questioned with the Plaxico Burress situation. After playing well, the perception of that group has changed as they have several young wide receivers with a lot of potential such as Hakeem Nicks and pro bowler Steve Smith. As long as Gilbride keeps calling the pass plays, Manning is a good bet for your 2010 fantasy team.
12)Joe Flacco, QB, Baltimore Ravens- Flacco started off like a house of fire last year, looking like a fantasy stud the first six weeks of the season. Unfortunately in the last ten weeks, he only threw ten touchdowns and ended up being a very underwhelming 18th ranked QB. He has one of the best safety valves in football in the person of Ray Rice, and the acquisition of WR Anquan Boldin gives him a reliable third down and red zone target. If Flacco can be more consistent, he’s a guy to look out for in 2010. He has plenty of help.
13) Donovan McNabb, QB, Washington Redskins- McNabb posted solid numbers for the Eagles last season before being shipped off within the division in the offseason. This is a rating with a bit of an asterisk behind it, because McNabb is better than what his rating here would indicate. But is the Redskins supporting cast good enough? There are a lot of question marks down in DC, like on the offensive line and the receiving corps. We’ll have to wait and see if those questions are answered.
14) Matt Ryan, QB, Atlanta Falcons- Despite tailing off a bit in his sophomore season (missed two games and threw for 524 yards less than he did his rookie year). He still did throw for 22 touchdowns and finished the season on a strong note, throwing for five touchdowns in his last two games. He has a lot of weapons at his disposal and should rebound in a big way this year.
15) Carson Palmer, QB, Cincinnati Bengals- I am very wary of Palmer this year. I know preseason means absolutely nothing but watching him throw in the first preseason game reminded me of Chad Pennington. He threw a couple of medicine balls out there that would’ve gotten guys hurt in a real game. That being said he did post a solid 2009 campaign, albeit he posted a career low in touchdowns and yards, and has several weapons at his disposal with the acquisition of Terrell Owens who I still think has some game left.
16) Ben Roethlisberger, QB, Pittsburgh Steelers- Last season saw Roethlisberger put up an astonishing 4,328 yards and 28 touchdowns as he carried that offense while the defense struggled minus Polamalu. No way he puts up numbers like that again as he is suspended for at least 4 games to begin the season, but he should still put up nice numbers once he is reinserted into the lineup. He could potentially be a high risk, high reward type of proposition in the middle rounds.
17) Alex Smith, QB, San Francisco 49ers- Smith is one of the most interesting quarterbacks to try and evaluate on this list. Smith’s career, by and large, has been a failure. He has been highly scrutinized, booed and all but replaced. Last season he was inserted into the starting lineup and proceeded to throw for 2,350 yards and 18 touchdowns in only 10 starts. He has two nice targets at his disposal with TE Vernon Davis (who led all tight ends in touchdowns with 13) and Michael Crabtree who established himself as a weapon after his long holdout. I don’t think Smith is the kind of guy who can be relied on as a number one quarterback, but he may end up being one by the end of the season.
18) Matthew Stafford,QB, Detroit Lions- Choosing between Stafford and Henne is tough. I picked Stafford because given the Lions defense, or lack thereof, it’s safe to assume Stafford is going to have to wing it a lot. He has some good offensive skill players surrounding him, especially Calvin Johnson, and should be more comfortable at the helm in his second season. If the Lions offensive line holds up, Stafford should be a nice number two quarterback or matchup play throughout the season.
19) Chad Henne, QB, Miami Dolphins- While I think Henne gets too much love, the acquisition of Brandon Marshall should help him develop as a QB. Marshall is the ultimate safety blanket. Henne did throw more interceptions (14) than touchdowns (12) last season but they didn’t have a single target of note on the team with Ted Ginn being their best wide receiver. He should improve this season, but not enough to warrant anywhere near a high pick or a starting position.
20) Vince Young, QB, Tennessee Titans- Young will never make anyone forget Warren Moon or Dan Marino as far as passing the ball but he does get you some running yards and touchdowns. He offers some versatility and is worth a look as a late round pick for a high end number two QB, or matchup based QB.
21)Mark Sanchez, QB, New York Jets- Sanchez was a mixed bag for the majority of his rookie season, showing some good, but more bad, as the Jets endured the rookie growing pains. While he was the worst QB in the league statistically last season, this year he has the benefit of some nice weapons on the offensive side of the ball, an excellent offensive line and a year of experience. The supporting cast around Sanchez is among the best in football, and if he can make the most of it he can be valuable as a reserve in many leagues.
22)Jason Campbell, QB, Oakland Raiders- Campbell is a steady quarterback who has improved a little each year he’s been in the league. He regained some of his value once he was traded to the Oakland Raiders, as he is their clear cut starting quarterback , but with the dysfunction in Oakland, and the lack of weapons around him, Campbell will probably never be more than a viable number two option.
23) David Garrard, QB, Jacksonville Jaguars- Garrard has proven on an annual basis that he is a backup QB in fantasy football. He has never been consistent enough to be a weekly number one quarterback, as his production has been largely sporadic. He can run a little so that adds to his value, but leaning on him regularly isn’t a smart thing to do.
24) Matt Cassel, QB, Kansas City Chiefs- Cassel’s performance last season is probably more indicative of his ceiling than his performance in New England the previous year. His numbers took a precipitous dip this past season, and generally looked lost. Cassel does have more weapons around him this season, and will hopefully develop well under the tutelage of Charlie Weis.
25) Matt Moore, QB, Carolina Panthers- Moore is one of my favorite fantasy sleepers for 2010. In the last three games, albeit a small sample size, he showed major potential as he threw for 632 yards and seven touchdowns. The Panthers do boast a run heavy offense, but with the ability Moore has shown along with the safety valves out of the backfield and the exquisite talents of Steve Smith, he can become a viable two option. He can also be a fringe number one option if things break the right way.
26)Kyle Orton, QB, Denver Broncos- Orton posted career highs in yards (3,802) and touchdowns (21). Unfortunately for Quinn, this offseason saw the Broncos trade for a guy who could end up taking his job (Brady Quinn), and trade away one of the very best wide receivers in football in Brandon Marshall. Orton may prove to be a solid number two quarterbacks, but the potential of him being replaced by either Brady Quinn or Tim Tebow make him no more than a late round selection.
27)Matt Hasslebeck, QB, Seattle Seahawks- Boy how things change, eh? This guy was near the top of these kind of lists just two years ago, now he’s near the bottom. Hasslebeck is an aging, brittle (missed 11 games the last two years) veteran on a team who lacks weapons and is in rebuilding mode. He also has to learn a new offense. If he does manage to hold off Charlie Whitehurst, he could be worth a late flier as a reserve.
28) Matt Leinart, QB, Arizona Cardinals- Leinart was thrust into the starting role with Kurt Warner retiring this offseason. Leinart has shown very few positive signs at the NFL level but he is playing for a good offensive coach and has the benefit of a top five wide receiver to help him out. Perhaps Leinart has matured under the tutelage of Kurt Warner? Who knows, but the chance he may provide a little spark makes him worth a late round selection.
29) Josh Freeman, QB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers- Freeman is a big, strong armed kid with a lot off long term potential in the NFL. For right now though, he is a question mark on a team chock full of them. I don’t see him making any kind of tangible impact this year as he struggles on a poor team. Who is the guy going to throw the ball to, himself? Pass on Freeman.
30) Sam Bradford, QB, St Louis Rams- Bradford’s in a similar situation to Freeman but is a neophyte. He has a shaky offensive line in front of him, and no noteworthy targets to assist in easing his growing pains. He has more value in keeper leagues going forward, than anything right now.