Thursday, August 30, 2012

Fantasy Football Pre-Season Top 10: Quarterbacks

Well, we have covered the Tight Ends.

We have covered the Wide Receivers.

We have covered the Running Backs.

Now it's time for the most important position of them all.  Many would say the most important position in sports.  It's time to talk about the Quarterbacks.

We are in a period where the Quarterback position is changing as radically as it has ever done.  We had 4 of the 5 season in history with 5000 yards passing LAST SEASON.  We are about to have more starting rookie Quarterbacks in week one than we have ever seen.  The spread offense is coming in to the league, and it is arriving, not coincidentally, with the influx of the second generation of high school spread quarterbacks.  These guys have been running these passing concepts since middle school.  They have been reading defenses for years in a way that prior generations of quarterbacks just didn't get the opportunity to do.

They are more ready, and more effective.  Add in the changes in the rules which make it increasingly more difficult for defenses to slow down these dynamic passing attacks, and you have a perfect storm.  What does this mean for FFL?  It means that the Quarterback is the most important single position on your roster.  It will be the highest scoring, and therefore the one that you can least afford to take a hit.

The best of them are

1. Aaron Rodgers

Rodgers put himself clearing at the front of this list last season.  He is a prototype for the spread attack.  He has enough height, good athleticism, an accurate cannon of an arm, and he makes the right decisions.  When you combine that with a spread attack that is littered with dynamic athletes to the point where it
could easily be considered an embarrassment of riches, and you have #1.  If you can get him, get him.  Oh, and you have to love that the best Quarterback in the league is just a dork.  Really, the WWE belt thing has got to go.

2. Tom Brady
Brady is still Brady.  He is one of the mastermind Quarterbacks in the league.  He has shown that he can be effective regardless of who is catching the ball, and is always worth a top 10 pick.  The addition of the speedy Brandon Lloyd to the receiving corp gives him a full array of offensive weapons to throw to.  Don't look for the Pats to be one of the better rushing attacks in the league, but they will have 5 receiving weapons on the field for every play.  Brady will make the most of them.

I know there are a lot of people out there who think the Saints are going to fall on their face.  I admit, it will be interesting to see how their defense responds to all the drama and a new defensive system.  The offense is going to be just fine though.  They showed it in the pre-season, and most importantly, they got Drew Brees his contract and he is on board.  Expect him to light the scoreboards up one more time.  The only reason he is third is because the Saints have the backs to run the ball effectively and are going to make a point to do just that.

So, it looks like maybe Cam can play in the league after all.  He was one of the most dynamic QB's in the league a rookie, on a team that really only had one receiving threat.  The team isn't much better, but Cam will be.  I expect 4500 yards passing  and think a total 30 TD's is absolutely in reach.  But then again, people have underestimated Cam before. 

Is it just me, or does Stafford look like your drunk buddy who's always duck hunting?  I am not sure what it is, but the man just does not look like an athlete....until you see him throw a football.  His could be the strongest arm in the league.  I see no reason that his 5000 yard 2011 season should be a fluke.  With Megatron on once side and the improving Titus Young on the other, look for the pass heavy Lions offense to thrive. 

THE most explosive player in the NFL.  But he's just so damned small and takes so many hits.  They have him wearing military grade body armor now to try to keep him healthy.  If it works, look for bit things for Vick and the Eagles.  Or maybe the body armor is to protect him from PETA.

7. Peyton Manning
He is back, don't doubt it.  But, he is also 36 years old and is working with a new cast in a offense.  He could very easily overtake Vick, but I don't love the weapons he has in Denver as much as some.  Look for a very efficient offense, and a lot of wins, but I am not sure how many explosive plays we can expect.

8. Philip Rivers
Rivers does 2 things consistently.  He produces, and he loses his mind.  He is one of the more outwardly competitive and vocal players in the league and has garnered no small number of enemies for that.  Losing Vincent Jackson to the Bucs and now Vincent Brown to injury will not help, but the Chargers had solid depth at Wide Receiver and I expect another 4500 yards and 25+ TD's out or Rivers.  I also expect his Chargers to find out that their division is the toughest it has been in a few years.

9. Tony Romo
Tony Romo, the current 'can't win the big one' whipping boy of the NFL, is back for another round.  Romo had one of his best season last year, and I see no reason to expect anything different from him this year.  With DeMarco Murray and Felix Jones on his team, he isn't going to throw for 5000 yards, but 4200 and 25+ TD's is absolutely in reach.  I don't know if he will ever win a Super Bowl, but he is always a good FFL option.

10. Eli Manning
Soooo Eli, will it be Jekyll or Hyde.  Eli is as clutch as anybody in the league, but too often he forces himself into situations where he gets the chance to illustrate that ability.  There are times where he will look like the bet Quarterback in the league and then there are the games where he implodes.  I will tell you this though, if you are within a TD, there are few QB's you would rather have calling the plays at the end of the game.  He just needs to limit his mistakes the rest of the time.  Last year was his best statistical season ever, and it was a big yardage jump.  I don't know if he will be able to repeat it, or if the Giants want him to.  They want to run the ball, which limits his chances.  But if nothing else, he always has the 'Eli Manning Face'.

To be honest, you can't really go wrong with any of these guys, but I think I might be rooting for Stafford.  Seriously, that guy just seems like good fun.  How do get an invite to those boat parties?
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