Monday, August 22, 2011

Fantasy Football 2011 Quarterback Rankings

Been tinkering with these lists over the last week or two, and I'm finally ready to start rolling out my fantasy rankings at each position this year.  I am going to start with the quarterbacks and roll right on through to defenses before I release an overall rankings list/cheat sheet on Friday.

If you have already had your draft, I don't want to hear any complaints.  You are a moron for scheduling it so early in the offseason.  The earliest your draft should be held is the last weekend in August, and in a perfect world you'd do it a few days before the Thursday opener.  There is no reason for drafting earlier than that.  You're just going to see your players get hurt during the season, ruining a league's integrity for no good reason.

Now... Onto the list...
1.  Aaron Rodgers - Don't let anyone else's list fool you.  Rodgers, not Michael Vick, is the clear number one fantasy quarterback this year.  He is the quarterback for one of the best offenses in the game and has skill position players in the passing game who are amongst the best in the league at their positions.  He was the number two quarterback at the end of last year and Jermichael Finley and Ryan Grant going to be back for a full season, barring re-injury, to help raise his numbers even higher.  He's the best quarterback by a a strong amount this year and is a near lock to finish as the number one quarterback.

2. Drew Brees - Drew Brees last year threw 22 interceptions, which was by far a career high for him.  When those numbers return to their proper levels this year, he should end up as the second best quarterback.  Take away ten of those interceptions and give him an extra two hundred yards and two touchdowns (because there are 10 less drives that would have ended in a turnover) he would have ended up as the best quarterback in fantasy last season.  It's easy to expect those numbers to return closer to his career averages and Brees is always a threat to lead the league in passing yards.  He's the second best fantasy quarterback option.

3. Philip Rivers - Rivers had an absolutely amazing fantasy season last year, when you consider he spent most of the year throwing to third and fourth receivers.  He didn't get a full season out of either Antonio Gates or Vincent Jackson last year, the offense's two best skill position players.  With them back this year, along with hopefully far less injuries to his receiving core this year,  Rivers is a lock to once again finish among the top three fantasy quarterbacks.

4. Tom Brady - Brady finished as the third best quarterback in fantasy last season, and is always a threat to lead all quarterbacks in fantasy scoring.  The Patriots offense is one of the most consistent in the league from year to year, and Brady is the linchpin of that offense.  He's going to finish a little worse this year than last because he's going to throw more than four interception, but he is probably the safest quarterback pick in fantasy this year.  Even if the team falls apart around him, he's still going to deliver great stats as long as he's there with Belichick.

5. Peyton Manning - Manning only falls this far down the list because of his neck injury that is causing him to miss training camp.  He's still Peyton Manning and all of that, but any time a player misses time during training camp, you have to discount their fantasy expectations some.  Manning isn't going to fall off a cliff or anything, but probably he's not going to lead the rest of the fantasy quarterbacks this year.  He's still an extremely consistent player though, and another very safe quarterback choice.

6. Michael Vick - This is where Vick is finally worth drafting.  He's not worth drafting before any of the players above him, because he is so much more a risk than any of those other players.  He could easily lead the league in fantasy points scored, but he could just as easily blow out his leg in the first play from scrimmage.  While injuries are a risk for every player, with Vick they are expected.  I ranked him here because I had to rank him somewhere, but it's fairly obvious based on this listing versus his current average draft position that I'm not drafting him in any leagues.

7. Josh Freeman - Freeman finished last season as the number seven fantasy quarterback, and I expect similarly good things from the young player again this year.  He will throw more interceptions than he did last season for sure, but he should easily make up for it by getting into the end zone a few times on the ground this season.  He is young and in a young developing offense.  He's got the most upside of any of the available quarterbacks, and he should make a big leap this year into being accepted among the top fantasy quarterback options.

8. Matt Schaub - Since his trade from the Falcons to the Texans, Schaub has been among the best fantasy quarterback options in the league.  After getting hurt in his first two years with the Texans, he has completed the last two injury free, moving into the upper echelon of fantasy quarterback.  Schaub has an elite group of skill position players around him.  Andre Johnson, Owen Daniels, and Arian Foster are all top five players at their positions.  Few offenses in the league have the weapons at their disposal that the Texans have, and Schaub is great at using all of them.

9. Tony Romo - I'm not a huge Romo fan, but I can't argue with his fantasy numbers, or with the receivers he has at his disposal.  Between Miles Austin, Dez Bryant, and Jason Witten, even Jon Kitna would be a high ranking fantasy quarterback if he was playing in that offense.  Romo is about as sure a lock for over 4000 yards and 20 plus touchdowns as anyone else in the league, and with the receivers at his disposal he has 4500+ yards and 30+ touchdowns upside.

10. Eli Manning - Eli has quietly become a top ten fantasy option over the last two years, since Plaxico Burress left. Eli has two straight seasons of over 4000 yards now without him, and threw for a career high 31 touchdowns last season.  He should have no problem repeating those numbers again, and should seriously cut down on his 25 interceptions from last season.  He'll quietly be a top ten fantasy quarterback once again, even if your league mates laugh at you when you draft him.

11. Matt Ryan - Matty Ice has been an excellent real life quarterback since he joined the league, but hasn't become a fantasy star yet.  He should improve though this year, with the addition of Julio Jones to the offense to provide the Falcons with a legitimate deep threat.  He should get over 4000 yards for the first time in his career on his way to becoming a legitimate starting fantasy quarterback.

12. Sam Bradford - Bradford very quietly threw for over 3500 yards in his rookie year last year, despite his best receiver for most of the year being Danny Amendola.  The Rams have added a solid receiving option in Mike Sims-Walker and are bringing back Donnie Avery, who was scheduled to start last season before missing the year with an ACL injury.  Bradford has a chance to get up over 4000 yards this season, and has the ability to be a future top fantasy option.  If you are playing in a keeper or dynasty league, Bradford's value is even higher than this.

13. Ben Roethlisberger - Roethlisberger is a far overrated fantasy option. He is getting drafted rounds before some of these other guys, but his career stats don't back it up.  In his seven years as a starting quarterback, he has thrown for over 20 touchdowns in a season just twice.  His rushing numbers help, but generally, his overall numbers are just worse than the other options available.  Don't let anyone else fool you.  Ben is not a starting fantasy quarterback in ten or twelve team leagues.

14. Matthew Stafford - Stafford is the biggest upside pick in this quarterback list.  His track record isn't great, and he was injured in each of his first two seasons in the league, but the Detroit offense has all kinds of upside for it's starting quarterback.  Shaun Hill was fantasy relevant last year playing in Stafford's place when he was hurt, and Stafford is a much better quarterback than Hill.  He has 4000+ yard and 30 TD upside if you are willing to risk it with the possibly injury prone Stafford.

15. Joe Flacco - I don't think Flacco has that much upside this year, but if he ends up near where he was each of  the last two seasons, it'll be another 3500 yards and 25 touchdowns for Flacco, which is a solid total for a guy whose likely to be a backup in your average league.  He will provide consistent points to your team and is a strong bye week fill in and can help you survive and compete in your league all year if your starter goes down.

16. Colt McCoy - I love Colt this year.  This is as high as he should probably be drafted this season, but his upside is definitely higher than the guys that follow him on the list.  He threw for 1576 yards last year in just 8 starts, including four of them against the toughest defenses around in Baltimore, Pittsburgh, and the New York Jets.  He threw 9 picks in his 8 games, but 8 of the interceptions came in the three games against his divisional opponents in Baltimore and Pittsburgh.  If you just dodge those defenses this season, you should have no problem getting a good amount of points out of McCoy as part of a quarterback of the week strategy paired with a Stafford/Flacco type.  McCoy is going to throw for some 3500 yards and 20 plus touchdowns while keeping down his interception totals.

17. Jay Cutler - Cutler is a quarterback who you don't really want to own any season, but provides strong yardage and touchdown totals, even if he turns the ball over too much.  He'll get you some fantasy points though as needed, even if he has you biting your nails through every start.  If you just need a quarterback on the roster for a bye week fill in, you could do much worse than Cutler.

18. Ryan Fitzpatrick - I'm not exactly what you would call excited about Fitzpatrick as my fantasy quarterback, but that is only because I know he's not a very good real life quarterback.  Fitzpatrick is a good fantasy quarterback though, because the Bills are a very bad team all around and end up playing catch-up week after week.  Fitzpatrick will pile on the fourth quarter garbage time stats again this year, and those count exactly the same for your league.

19. Kyle Orton - The only reason Orton isn't higher on everyone's list this year is the obvious Tebow factor.  If Tebow wasn't threatening Orton's playing time this season, he would be just outside the top ten quarterback options.  Orton gets the job done when he's starting, and can churn you out fantasy points weekly.  He finished as the 16th best quarterback last year,  even though Tebow stole his job for the last three games against fairly easy defenses, including the epicly awful Texans' defense.  If you think Orton will have no problem holding his job all year, I'd move him up to eleven or twelve on this list probably, and ride the value you'll get drafting him very late to help build the rest of your team.

20. Matt Cassel - Cassel has only had one good fantasy season in the two years since leaving New England, and that good year was only good for twelfth among quarterbacks last year. It was also all about the touchdowns, as he had just over 3000 yards, his fantasy scores heavily carried by his touchdown totals.  He won't throw for that many touchdowns again this year while only throwing for that many yards, so expect him to be a pretty middle of the pack option.

21. Kevin Kolb - People are pretty high on Kolb this season because they remember how good the Cardinals' offense was when Kurt  Warner was in there.  The problem is, while Larry Fitzgerald isn't going anywhere, Anquan Boldin and Steve Breaston are long gone from that offense.  I don't think Kolb is going to be able to light the world up without those guys available.  However, Fitz is good for 1400 yards and 10 plus touchdowns on his own, which should be enough to carry Kolb to the middle of the quarterback pack this year.

22. Donovan McNabb - He's out in Minnesota now, which should help him improve on his Redskins stats automatically.  The Redskins offense was just awful last year as Mike Shanahan was overhauling the personnel there.  In Minnesota he has a quality number one receiver in Percy Harvin and will have just generally more support from the coaching staff.  I don't love him this year, but in a deep league there are many many worse bye week fill ins.

23. David Garrard - Garrard ended up as the 14th best overall quarterback last year, but that isn't going to happen again this year.  He ran for a career high five TDs on the ground last year, which isn't going to happen again, and at some point he is going to lose his job to Blaine Gabbert.  I don't want to be involved on this one, but he is going to churn out decent points early in the year for your bye week in deep leagues.

24. Alex Smith - Yeah.  Not much to say abou Alex Smith.  Honestly, I'm very surprised that he still has still has a job.  I think it might just be Jim Harbaugh willing to tank for a year for Andrew Luck.  He'll have good fantasy output at times with Michael Crabtree, Vernon Davis, and Braylon Edwards, but those good days will be interspersed with some plain awful outings.  Don't count on him.

25. Jason Campbell - Not a big Campbell hater, but I don't trust the Oakland offense, especially without it's best receiving target from last year in Zach Miller.  They will air it out, because Al Davis is still alive, but you just can't bank on Campbell week in and week out.  Jacoby Ford is an upside sleeper at wide receiver, but not upside enough to raise Campbell's value like Fitzgerald does to Kolb's value.

26. Chad Henne - While I believe that Henne will prove himself to be a capable starting quarterback this year, he's still not going to help your fantasy squad.   Davone Bess and Brandon Marshall are both solid targets, but neither is a big down field threat and the Dolphins are a conservative offense anyway.  Stay away from Henne in your fantasy drafts.  Get a guy with real upside.

27. Mark Sanchez - The Sanchize is not a good quarterback.  He finished 18th in fantasy points last year, but that mostly came on the strength of a few good games against bad defenses.  He had seven games where he scored only single digit points, and missed the last game of the season.  So half of the year last year, Sanchez was worse than any waiver wire pickup.  He shows himself to be a poor decision maker if you watch him play, and is only made to look good because of Brian Schottenheimer's great play design and play calling and the Jets' front office acquiring players like Plaxico Burress, former Jet Braylon Edwards, and Dustin Keller who are just physical mismatches for defenders.  Stay away for your fantasy team.

28. Matt Hasselbeck - Hasselbeck used to be a sneaky good fantasy pickup, but hasn't been that over the last few years.  Now that he's with the Titans, hes just the most competent quarterback of the bad bunch of starters here at the bottom.

29. John Beck - I don't trust John Beck to be a quality starting quarterback, and even if I did, he doesn't have a quality offense around him.  I'm starting to think that Shanahan was a bad hire for the Redskins, yet another in a series of bad head coach choices.  The upside here is limited at best, and the downside is Rex Grossman, just stay away.

30. Cam Newton - He'll start for the Panthers, but he won't be good this year.  I don't think he's going to put it together, but even if you do, it's been pretty obvious through the two preseason games so far that he won't be putting it all together this season.  He'll be a pretty consistent source of points this year because he runs the ball, but you can't count on him this year.  He's only relevant in the deepest of leagues where you can stash him until late in the year when he might be getting more acclimated to the NFL game.

31. Tarvaris Jackson - He's Tarvaris.  We've seen what he can do up to this point.  Even with Sidney Rice and Zach Miller out there, I don't expect anything better than what we got when he was with Minnesota, which wasn't very good.  Pass on him here.

32. Andy Dalton - I believe that Carson Palmer will never play for the Bengals again, so he doesn't make the list, and Dalton makes it as the worst option of the 32 starting NFL quarterbacks.  The second round pick shouldn't be starting this year, especially with the lack of veteran options on the offense.  Not worth rostering in any fantasy league except 16 team two quarterback leagues.

33. Tim Tebow - The only backup who I'm going to list here, Tebow gets a mention because of the points he scored at the end of last season when he took over for Orton.  He scored 22, 22, and 27 points in the last three games there and looks like a future fantasy start between his passing and running.  He is a huge threat to take it in the endzone any time the team gets into the red zone, and that makes him especially valuable to your team.  If you want to take a flier on a quarterback, make it Tebow late, and enjoy the fantasy upside if Orton falters or when the Broncos fall out of contention again.

That's it for the quarterbacks today.  Check back for the running backs tomorrow, they'll be up by around this time.  Be sure to also check out my post about the Marshall Faulk Strategy here, and two thousand words on why Vick is going to be a bust here.

-Fred "Big Derf" Tobin

1 comment:

  1. It is great to be a part of your post,and got many new things to know.And its very true that when we have love for something it becomes a passion for it. When there is love and passion then there is no women and men.Its all about love and interest for Fantasy Football Rankings.