Joe provides his positional rankings for dynasty leagues in this
multi-part series. He assesses these players according to three
categories—long term, short term, and job security. Joe will
update these rankings periodically throughout the year.
When building a Dynasty team it’s important not only to consider
what a player’s immediate impact will be, but also to look
ahead and project his status a few years from now. In this portion
of "Building A Dynasty", our focus will be on the quarterbacks.
Which ones can guide you to a championship now? Which ones will
be atop the list in a few seasons? Which QBs are rapidly descending
the Dynasty ranks? There’s no formula to give you definitive
answers to these questions, but educated guesses can be made based
on their surrounding talent, their offensive system, their age,
and the level of commitment a franchise has in their signal caller
(often dictated by the player’s contract). These factors should
all come into focus when acquiring players for your Dynasty team.
Here’s a run down of the quarterbacks and things to consider
if you own, or have interest in owning, the following players.
1. Peyton Manning, IND
Long Term View (LTV): Peyton Manning
remains atop the list of QB candidates to lead your Dynasty team.
Coming off another season in which he amassed more than 4000 yards
passing, and threw 31 touchdown passes, thereís no reason to believe
the 31-year old Manning is slowing down. Marvin Harrison will be
35 come opening day, but he continues to produce as one of the best
receivers in the league. With a contract that doesnít expire until
2011, expect him to remain one of Manningís top targets for another
two seasons or so.
Reggie Wayne is locked up through the 2011 season as well, and continues
to flourish within the offense. His 86 receptions in 2006 marks
the sixth straight season in which he had more receptions than the
year before. The Colts also used their 1st round pick on wide receiver
Anthony Gonzalez out of Ohio State, giving Peyton Manning another
weapon to work with in the offense.
Short Term Value (STV): In Manningís
nine seasons since entering the NFL, he has thrown for more than
4100 yards seven times, and has never thrown less than 26 touchdown
passes in a season. With Harrison and Wayne back for another year,
and the emergence of Joseph Addai in the backfield, expect Manning
to reach those benchmarks yet again.
Job Security (JS): The Colts QB has about as much job security as anyone in the league.
2. Carson Palmer, CIN
LTV: Palmer is just 27-years old, and in his first two full seasons as a starter, averaged 3936 yards passing, and 30 touchdowns a year. After tearing the ACL and MCL of his left knee during a playoff loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers, Palmer rehabbed the knee and returned to the field in time for opening day. He started all 16 games and finished with a career high 4036 yards passing in 2006.
With Chad Johnson signed through the 2011 season, and T.J. Houshmandzadeh
signed through 2008, one of the better wide receiver tandems in
the league will remain intact for at least a couple more seasons
as Palmer enters the prime of his career.
STV: Going into the 2007 season, Palmerís fantasy value has never been higher. At the start of last year, concerns over his injured knee caused him to slip in the rankings despite a spectacular 2005 campaign. Now a full season removed from the injury, and having already shown it wonít be a major setback for him, expect Palmer to be the second most coveted QB on many owners wish list.
JS: The Bengals have Palmer locked up through the year 2014, and thereís no reason for them to get rid of him before then.
3. Tom Brady, NE
LTV: Brady enters the new season
coming off a disappointing year from a fantasy perspective. That
thought aside, he still managed to throw for more than 3500 yards
and connect on 24 touchdown passes, despite lacking any significant
talent at the wide receiver position. With the additions of Randy
Moss and Donteí Stallworth (not to mention Wes Welker and Kelly
Washington) during the off-season however, the same cannot be said
for the year ahead.
While Moss and Stallworth are nice additions this year, their future beyond this season with the Patriots is still very much up in the air. Should Mossí attitude become an issue in New England, as it did in Minnesota and Oakland, itís likely the Patriots will get rid of him quickly. The same can be said for Stallworth, who despite signing a multi-year deal with the Patriots as a free agent, could find himself being released after just one season do to the $11 million dollars he is set to make in the second year of the contract.
STV: Much like Palmer, Brady is entering the 2007 season with his value having never been higher. With the new additions at the wide receiver position in New England, Brady will have a very real chance of surpassing 4000 yards for the second time in his career. Randy Mossí presence means the 3-time Super Bowl winner could toss 30 touchdowns this season as well.
JS: Three-time Super Bowl winning quarterbacks donít get run out of town. Bradyís current contract expires following the 2010 season, but expect Brady to receive an extension before then.
4. Drew Brees, NO
LTV: Brees left San Diego for the New Orleans Saints as a free agent last season and went on to have a career year for himself. He set a career high in yards passing with 4424, and his 26 touchdown passes was just one shy of his career high of 27 in 2004.
Breesí success last season was in large part due to the schemes
run by Saints head coach, Sean Payton. The addition of Reggie Bush,
along with the emergence of 7th round draft pick Marques Colston,
also played a large part in his record setting season. With the
amount of young talent on this team, Brees should be set to make
the best run of his career over the next few seasons.
STV: While the Saints released
Joe Horn earlier this off-season, injuries forced him to miss 6
full games last year and parts of others. His loss may be a hindrance
to the passing game, but in the end, his absence wonít be enough
to dismantle what Sean Payton has put together in New Orleans. Reggie
Bush had 89 receptions last season as a rookie out of the backfield,
and heís more than capable of adding another 80 this season. Colston
led all Saints receivers with another 70 receptions himself. Look
for those two to have strong showings yet again, while Devery Henderson
and Terrance Copper take on an increased workload within the offense.
JS: Brees signed a 6-year deal with the Saints last year that keeps him with the team through the 2011 season. While some thought the Saints would release him prior to the contract expiring should he prove to be a disappointment, last yearís production would indicate that they plan on keeping him around for a while.
5. Donovan McNabb, PHI
LTV: McNabb will be 31 by the
end of the season. Hs age is becoming a concern for the Eagles,
so too has his recent history with injuries. Having missed significant
time in three of his last five years with the birds, the Eagles
felt compelled to use their first selection in this yearís draft
on quarterback Kevin Kolb, out of the University of Houston. While
Kolbís presence doesnít bode well for McNabbís future with the Eagles,
he still remains one of the better QBs in the league. Therefore,
whether or not McNabb remains in Philadelphia beyond this season,
expect him to remain one of the better fantasy QBs available.
STV: The Eagles let go of one
of their best offensive weapons from last season when they decided
not to re-sign the speedy Donteí Stallworth. The UT alum signed
with the Patriots, and the Eagles signed former St. Louis Ram Kevin
Curtis to a 6-year deal to take his place. While Curtis has a lot
to prove as a starter for the first time in his career without the
likes of Torry Holt and Isaac Bruce surrounding him, donít be surprised
to see the Eagles use him in the same style they used Stallworth.
They may even attempt to get him more involved than Stallworth,
who was great for the big play, but only finished with 38 receptions
in 12 games last season.
With Brian Westbrook, Reggie Brown, and tight end L.J. Smith all
returning for another season, McNabb should continue to find success
when heís on the field. At the moment, he is continuing to rehab
his injured knee that forced him to miss the last six games of the
2006 season. Itís expected heíll be back in action well before the
JS: McNabbís contract doesnít expire until after the 2013 season with the Eagles. With the selection of Kevin Kolb in the early 2nd round however, it appears Philadelphia may not be looking to keep McNabb around quite that long--at least not without a restructuring of his contract.
6. Matt Hasselbeck, SEA
LTV: Hasselbeck gets ranked this high mainly because he is one of the few established veteran quarterbacks remaining with a stranglehold on his starting job for the foreseeable future. While many younger quarterbacks could easily surpass Hasselbeck in value by the end of the year, none of them have a proven track record at the moment.
In terms of what he has to work with on the field, it should help
if he has a healthy Shaun Alexander. The question still remains
whether Alexanderís left foot, which still has a crack in it and
forced him to miss six games last season, will be ready for 2007.
Hasselbeck also needs to perform without his former lead receiver
Darrell Jackson, who was dealt to San Francisco during the off-season.
In his place will be Deion Branch, who finished the 2006 with impressive
totals for the Seahawks despite not joining the team until mid-season.
STV: At the moment, it seems Shaun
Alexander will be ready to play at the start of the season regardless
of the crack in his foot. If heís ready to go, then his presence
will only strengthen Hasselbeckís value. Deion Branch has more time
to familiarize himself with the offense now that he has a full off-season
with the team. Third-year wide receiver D.J. Hackett will be asked
to play a bigger part in the offense as well. The return of Bobby
Engram, who missed much of last season with a thyroid condition,
will also be helpful to Hasselbeck this season.
JS: Hasselbeck is signed with Seattle through the 2010 season. There is no one on the roster that is a real threat to come after his starting job anytime soon. If the Seahawks fall apart in the coming years, they may choose to part ways with Hasselbeck sooner than later, but at the moment he looks to be their starter for at least another 2-3 seasons.
7. Matt Leinart, ARI
LTV: Leinart made a strong debut as a rookie when he completed 22 of 35 attempts, for 253 yards, and 2 touchdowns in the first start of his career. He had another strong outing the following week, when he nearly led the Cardinals to an upset victory over the undefeated Bears on Monday Night Football. In the games that followed, the Cardinals QB went into a bit of a slump as he completed less than 50% of his passes over his next three starts, throwing just 1 touchdown pass and 5 interceptions in the process. Just when it seemed Leinartís rookie season may be taking a turn for the worse, he finished the season completing 61.8% of his passes, throwing 6 touchdowns, and averaging 238 passing yards a game over his last 6 starts.
After the firing of Dennis Green in the off-season, Leinart will
have to learn a new offensive scheme heading into 2007. With the
likes of Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin at wide receiver, his
transition into the new scheme will be eased. The Cardinals also
used their first round pick on Penn State right tackle Levi Brown.
Heíll be responsible for protecting the left-handed Leinartís blind
side, something that proves to be quite valuable for any QB in the
STV: Leinartís short-term value doesnít equal his long-term value quite yet. While itís hard to imagine he wonít grow into a productive quarterback as his career progresses, he is still only in his second season. With that in mind, and considering the new offense heíll be learning, itís likely heíll have more than a couple lackluster outings this year, but heíll also have more than a couple where he will be productive starter. Consider him a good platoon guy to work with.
JS: A young franchise QB whose run as the starter is just beginning. It would take Leinart more than a few bad seasons before losing the starting job in Arizona.
8. Eli Manning, NYG
LTV: This could prove to be a big year in determining which direction Eli Manningís career is headed. Despite finishing both the 2005 and 2006 seasons with noteworthy statistics, his performance on the field has left something to be desired. In both of his first two full seasons as the Giants starter, Manning has thrown 24 touchdown passes, but heís also gone into slumps mid-season where he has struggled with his accuracy and thrown interceptions in bunches.
In addition to established veterans Plaxico Burress and Amani Toomer,
the Giants have used two second round picks on wide receivers Sinorice
Moss, and Steve Smith, in consecutive drafts. The franchise QB is
now surrounded with talent at the position. Whether or not Manning
can make the most of it remains to be seen.
STV: If Manning doesnít surpass
his totals from last season, in which he failed to throw for more
than 3300 yards despite starting all 16 games, then his fantasy
owners will be in for another disappointing year. Manning will no
longer have Tiki Barber to rely on, which means heíll be forced
to look more to Jeremy Shockey and his cast of wide receivers when
the offense needs a spark. If he makes it work, then he could be
in for the best season of his young career. If not, Tom Coughlin
is likely out of a job and Manningís future may depend a lot on
who his new head coach will be.
JS: Manningís six-year contract that he signed as a rookie expires after the 2009 season. Expect him to remain the Giants starter until then, but the level of success he achieves will determine whether he gets an extension before the deal expires.
9. Marc Bulger, STL
LTV: Long term, itís difficult
to say where Bulgerís value really stands. At the moment, he will
be playing out the 2007 season on the final year of his contract.
With 35-year old Gus Frerotte, and 2005 7th round draft pick Ryan
Fitzpatrick the only other quarterbacks on the roster, one would
think the Rams intend on keeping Bulger around next season one way
or another. If he remains with the Rams, expect him to be a productive
fantasy QB for a few more seasons. If he hits the free agent market,
a lot will depend on the team he signs with.
STV: 2006 was a career-year for
Bulger. Playing under new head coach Scott Linehan for the first
time, Bulger set career highs for himself with 4301 yards passing,
and 24 touchdown passes. He also played in all 16 games for the
first time in his career, but still managed to keep his interception
total to just 8. Kevin Curtis is no longer around to fill the slot
position, but the Rams signed Drew Bennett in the off-season as
a replacement. Bulger also continues to have one of the best starting
wide receiver tandems in the league with Torry Holt and Isaac Bruce.
The addition of Danteí Hall doesnít hurt, either.
JS: As mentioned, Bulger is in the final year of his contract and it is uncertain whether he and the Rams will reach an agreement before free agency begins. Another healthy season from the 30-year old could go a long way in the Rams meeting his asking price. If he becomes a free agent heading into the 2008 season, itís likely he will land a starting job with another team.
10. Jay Cutler, DEN
LTV: Cutler is entering his first
full season as the starter in Denver. As a rookie last year, he
started the last 5 games of the season when head coach Mike Shannahan
chose to go with the him over veteran Jake Plummer as the Broncos
made their push for the playoffs. In his 5 starts he had an impressive
showing, throwing 9 touchdowns, while completing 59.1% of his passes
and averaging 200 yards a game. With Javon Walker in place as a
legitimate number one receiver, along with the ever- steady presence
of Rod Smith and the emerging Brandon Marshall playing the slot,
Shannahan has put his young signal caller in position to find success
early in his career.
STV: This will be Cutlerís first season entering camp as the teamís starter, so there will be higher expectations placed upon him as he prepares for the new season. As with any young QB, you donít want to rely on them too heavily to lead the way for you at the position, but drafting Cutler and platooning him with another QB based on match-ups from week to week might make for a good combination.
JS: With a contract that doesnít expire until after the 2011 season, Cutler is expected to hold down the starting job in Denver for a while.
Part: 1 | 2