Who’s Who in Fantasy Football: QuarterbacksBREAKING NEWS, Fantasy Leagues, News, NFL Sunday, August 7th, 2011
Skip the introduction, let’s get right to the gist of this story:
Quarterbacks by Tiers:
From 1-6, there’s really not a huge drop-off. All of these players will be at the top of the fantasy charts barring any injuries. Brady receives a new weapon this year in Chad Ochocinco and has a great set of young tight ends to go along with his top fantasy target, Wes Welker. Because of this, Brady should finish at the top of the tier.
Rodgers, Brees and Rivers put up similar types of numbers in ESPN’s fantasy leagues (about 30 points separated Rodgers and Brees), and all three should finish around the same point scale in 2011. Rodgers could see a bump in numbers with a healthy Jermichael Finley returning, while Brees may take a slight dip in numbers after losing Reggie Bush (a great receiving threat out of the backfield) and with the Saints appearing to build up a run game after selecting Mark Ingram in the first round.
Vick, who I have ranked at five, could easily jump into the top three if all goes according to plan this season. The Eagles have a shutdown secondary that should force more three-and-outs and give Vick more chances in each game. With DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin, as well as Brent Celek, as his go-to options, Vick will once again be a top fantasy producer.
As foe Manning, he seems to always find himself atop the leading fantasy scorers. But one thing that could affect his standing is his offseason neck surgery. His health will play a major role in how he fares this season.
Both Ryan and Schaub have two of the best fantasy targets in the entire league. Ryan has Roddy White while Schaub has Andre Johnson. Because of this, both quarterbacks are guaranteed to put up terrific fantasy numbers, just as they did a year ago. Ryan also receives another go-to target in rookie Julio Jones, while Schaub will look for tight end Owen Daniels to have a bounce back season.
Roethlisberger returns familiar weapons in Mike Wallace, Hines Ward and Heath Miller, while second-year WR Emmanuel Sanders is considered one of the top young receivers in the league. As for Romo, he will lose Roy Williams (signed with Chicago), but he does return one of the top scoring tight ends in the league, Jason Witten.
Tier 3: The Potential Group
Sam Bradford, St. Louis
Josh Freeman, Tampa Bay
Jay Cutler, Chicago
There’s no question that Bradford is the best quarterback in his division. The Rams went out and added a weapon for Bradford in Mike Sims-Walker and rookie Austin Pettis. Along with Danny Amendola, Brandon Gibson and Laurent Robinson, Bradford has a potentially rising cast of receivers to work with.
Freeman had his break out year last year eclipsing the 20 touchdown mark. With Mike Williams having a year under his belt, and second-year WR Arrelious Benn looking to bounce back in 2011, Freeman should be able to finish around his 2010 numbers. Kellen Winslow Jr. also adds to Freeman’s points value.
The media is quick to jump on Cutler. However, he is a good fantasy option that should finish above his 2010 totals with some new additions on offense: WR Roy Williams, RB Marion Barber and rookie WR Dane Sanzenbacher. Leading receiver Jonnie Knox also returns, while tight end Greg Olson was traded this offseason — a move that could affect his numbers.
Both Sanchez and Flacco will be working with a new cast of receivers. Sanchez loses Jerrico Cotchery and Braylon, but adds Plaxico Burress to the equation, while Flacco loses his two favorite targets in Derek Mason and Todd Heap, as well as Donte Stallworth, T.J. Houshmandzadeh and Willis McGahee. Between the two, Sanchez is a safer bet.
Cassell could find himself at the top of this tier by seasons end. He has new receivers in rookie Jonathon Baldwin and Steve Breaston, and returns his favorite target in Dwayne Bowe. The new collection of talent could be just enough to make Cassell a solid starting QB in fantasy.
Ah, the injury-prone quarterback. Stafford could easily be in the next tier if it weren’t for all his setbacks. He has, arguably, the best WR in the game in Calvin Johnson, and a slew of talented players surrounding him, such as tight end Brandon Pettigrew. If (a big “if”) he stays healthy, Stafford will be in Tier 3 by the conclusion of the 2011 season.
Kolb and Manning are interesting options. Both are worth starting in fantasy leagues, but both have questions to be answered. Kolb has never been the lead man in his career and suffered an injury last year that led the way for Tier 1 QB Mike Vick. He teams up with Larry Fitzgerald in what could be one of the top duos in the NFC, but whether or not he can last a whole season is to be determined. Manning, on the other hand, returns his cast of receivers, but has absolutely nothing to work with at the tight end position (Kevin Boss was traded, Ben Patrick retired).
Tier 5: Who Knows What to Expect
Donovan McNabb, Minnesota
Kyle Orton, Denver
Matt Hassleback, Tennessee
David Garrard, Jacksonville
All four of these guys are in similar situations. They’ve had their fair share of success in the league, but have also had a few forgettable seasons, as well. McNabb joins a Minnesota offense that loses its top receiver in Sidney Rice, but features the top RB in the league in Adrian Peterson. His season will greatly depend on how Peterson performs.
As for Orton, he isn’t even sure if he will be starting in 2011. I expect him to start Week One, but once Denver finds themselves out of the race, Tim Tebow will be inserted into the lineup. But, if Denver starts winning, then Orton will play out the entire 16 games.
Hasslebeck, like McNabb, joins a new team in Tennessee. He will be working with Kenny Britt, Nate Washington and Daniel Graham, as well as star running back Chris Johnson. He’s never been a great fantasy option, but he consistently puts up average numbers and he will be a good backup option, just as David Garrard will be. The Jacksonville QB will be without Mike Sims-Walker, and he will have to rely heavily on Mike Thomas in order to put up respectable numbers, or else rookie Jake Locker will be inserted into the lineup.
Jackson goes to Seattle with his former receiver, Sidney Rice. The two should bring their chemistry over to the west coast, which will benefit Jackson’s fantasy value. He also has a great cast of tight ends in John Carlson and Zach Miller. He will be a solid backup option.
Campbell, McCoy and Fitzpatrick play for perennial last place teams. Because of this, their fantasy values aren’t impressive. McCoy has the best options in Josh Cribbs, Mohamed Massaquoi and Brian Robiski, while Campbell will be working with an inexperienced cast. Fitzpatrick adds a new weapon in Brad Smith, formerly of the New York Jets, to go along with Lee Evans and Steve Johnson.
Newton is an interesting option. He has a great weapon in Steve Smith, which should boost his stock just as the addition of Greg Olson will.
Tier 7: Try to Avoid These Guys
Chad Henne, Miami
Alex Smith, San Francisco
Andy Dalton, Cincinatti
John Beck, Washington
There’s not much to say about any of these guys. They play for losing teams and none of them are good options to have on your team. If you have to take one of these guys, I’d go with Henne, as he at least has some options in Brandon Marshall, Reggie Bush and Davone Bess.
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