With teams now focused on the owners meetings and draft preparations well underway, free agents signings have slowed to a crawl and there has been little football news to relay, in particular with much of a fantasy football impact. Therefore, lets fill the void with my initial 2009 fantasy football rankings, kicking off with the quarterback position. These are re-draft league rankings, and certainly subject to change by the time July, August and September roll around, but they make for some dandy discussion right now.
In standard scoring leagues last summer, quarterbacks took the top two positions, six of the top eight, seven of the top ten and ten of the top 20 positions. What does this mean? It means that this position is typically going to be overvalued in all leagues but particularly so in ten team leagues. In leagues with twelve or more teams, then you probably don’t want to be the last person holding the bag before drafting your starting QB. Probably.
In general, with so many quarterbacks scoring so well in standard formats, there is no need to draft one too high or overpay for one in your auction.
- Drew Brees – With a healthy Reggie Bush and more experience for the teams young receivers, Brees gets the nod at top spot.
- Aaron Rodgers – Ryan Grant should be better and the team returns its top four receivers, all talented receivers to boot.
- Philip Rivers – A full year of a healthy Antonio Gates will help make Rivers even more prolific.
- Tom Brady – He’s back and so are Randy Moss and Wes Welker. The knee remains a concern.
- Kurt Warner – The Cards return its offensive nucleus and should add offensive line and running back talent in the draft.
- Peyton Manning – A year older and no proven talent at backup wide receiver.
- Jay Cutler – Key pieces return on offense but drama with the new head coach could be an issue
- Tony Romo – Terrell Owens departure leaves the team thin at receiver but a healthy Marion Barber would nearly even that out.
- Matt Schaub – Perfect candidate to vault into the top five if he could ever manage to play 16 games.
- Donovan McNabb – Underrated every year, but could suffer this season if a decent left tackle isn’t found in the draft or free agency.
- Matt Hasselbeck – Injury issues and age are red flags, but T.J. Houshmandzadeh, Deion Branch, Nate Burleson and John Carlson form a solid nucleus of receivers.
- Chad Pennington – Enjoyed a solid season in 2008 despite lack of talent at wide receiver. Benefits from no late season bad weather in Miami.
- Carson Palmer – With no Houshmandzadeh, an offensive line in flux and Cedric Benson as the current starter at running back, Palmer has a lot of forces working against him.
- Jason Campbell – This might be Campell’s last chance to put it together. He is going to need contributions from the youngsters Malcolm Kelly and Devin Thomas.
- Eli Manning – A perennial fantasy underachiever, who averaged less than 10 points per game without Plaxico Burress.
- Ben Roethlisberger – Average, steady production. Doesn’t need to throw a lot of passes with his defense and loses his top deep threat in Nate Washington.
- David Garrard – Had surprisingly strong season totals in 2008 thanks to the rushing yards. The team’s current wideouts are a major cause for concern.
- Matt Cassel – Could (better) match Tyler Thigpen’s production provided Tony Gonzalez, Larry Johnson and Brian Waters aren’t traded.
- Trent Edwards – Finally gets a 2nd option at receiver and one big enough to move the chains (Terrell Owens, in case you missed the memo).
- Matt Ryan – A sophomore slump is unlikely but the Falcons are a running team.
- Joe Flacco – Ditto Ryan.
- Kyle Orton – He is what he is, receivers are what they are. It’s mediocrity everywhere and Frank Omiyale at right tackle.
- Jake Delhomme – His receivers are a year older and his running backs are a year better. More ground and pound from the Panthers.
- Brady Quinn – Prospects seemed reasonable prior to the Winslow trade. Now, not so much.
- JaMarcus Russell – The team’s major strength is at running back. Russell’s wide receivers are just awful.
- Shaun Hill – Head coach Mike Singletary made it clear he wants to pound the rock and play defense. Youngster Josh Morgan is not exactly a number one receiver, yet.
- Kerry Collins – Unless the running game struggles, which seems doubtful, Collins won’t have an opportunity to produce big numbers.
- Sage Rosenfels – His upside is limited with the team’s emphasis on the running game.
- Marc Bulger – An offensive line in flux and the youngest group of top three wide receivers in the league spells potential disaster.
- Luke McCown – Surrounded by decent talent but his accuracy is an issue.
- Daunte Culpepper – One receiver, albeit a potentially great one, a decent running game and below average offensive line. Discount for the Lions factor.
- Kellen Clemens – Hello to the worst current starter in terms of fantasy potential. When the rubber hits the road, you’ll be drafting some backup QB with a high upside ahead of Clemens.
Current backups who could produce if given an opportunity include Matt Leinart, Chris Simms, Vince Young, Derek Anderson, Kevin Kolb, Alex Smith and Tarvaris Jackson.