The NFL is back, and that means that your fantasy football drafts are going to be in full swing--if not already, they will be very, very soon. I want to arm you with the best fantasy team possible, so here are your top 14 fantasy football quarterback rankings (14 because typically that is the most teams in a league.)
The quarterbacks will be ranked by tier, which I will explain in the player's description.
1. Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers
Rodgers is a dual-threat quarterback who plays in an offense that is very favorable to his skills. He is going to consistently get you number one quarterback points, and he won't miss much time unless he has a freak injury. He is a tough, durable player, and is the best fantasy football quarterback in the league. If you are playing in a non-favorable RB/WR league, I would take Rodgers with your first round pick. If you play in a smaller league, I would hold out until your second round pick to take him, because this year's quarterback crop is deep.
2. Michael Vick, Philadelphia Eagles
Vick would have had even better numbers last year had he started the first two games of the season, as well as not miss time due to injury. The injury bug is what causes me to leave Vick behind Rodgers--for now--otherwise he would be the clear-cut number one fantasy quarterback in the NFL. What makes Vick so dangerous as a fantasy player is obvious--he can hurt you with his arm and with his legs, and he has tons of targets to throw to in Philly. He should have a huge season, and could be the top QB by season's end.
3. Josh Freeman, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Freeman is a sleeper no more. Last season, he threw for nearly 3,500 yards, 25 touchdowns, and only six interceptions. He didn't have any rushing touchdowns, but he does have nimble feet and is considered--at least by me--to be a dual-threat quarterback. He's a candidate to throw 30 touchdown passes this season pretty easily, and I think he could rush for a couple more. Hop on the Freeman bandwagon--you can probably get him later in your fantasy drafts.
4. Tom Brady, New England Patriots
Tom Brady is a stat machine, and he doesn't throw picks. At least, last year he didn't. In 2010, Brady had 36 touchdown passes and only four interceptions, numbers that I don't necessarily expect him to repeat this season. He is always a candidate to throw 35 touchdown passes, so keep him high on your draft board, but make sure you get a top flight RB and WR first.
5. Peyton Manning, Indianapolis Colts
Manning always throws for a ton of yards, and he's a near lock to throw about two touchdowns per game. That is just the way the Indianapolis offense always seems to work. With that in mind, keep Manning on your short-list of top quarterbacks, because he will put up big numbers as long as he is healthy.
6. Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints
Brees is still a stud quarterback, and like Manning, you can virtually expect Brees to get you two touchdowns per game--some way, some how. The biggest problem with Brees last year was that he threw an interception seemingly every game, sometimes more. His 22 picks last year were not encouraging, so Brees has moved down a bit in my book, though he is still the focal point of the New Orleans offense.
7. Philip Rivers, San Diego Chargers
Chalk this one up as your sleeper pick. Rivers will probably wind up finishing the year in the top three of fantasy quarterbacks, because he has a full arsenal of targets heading into the year. He is accurate, efficient, and he knows how to put points on the board. Rivers is an elite quarterback and if you can get him in the fourth or fifth round, I would definitely take him. He is basically a guarantee for about 32-40 touchdowns, and he doesn't throw many interceptions. Couple that with the fact that San Diego's running game is not looking good, and he could put up huge numbers.
8. Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons
Ryan has a great crop of targets to throw to this year, so I am really looking forward to seeing what he can do. He's gotten a lot better over the last few years, and I think this could be his year to break out as one of the truly "elite" quarterbacks in the NFL. Adding in Julio Jones to the mix only makes him better. He should have a huge season.
9. Matt Schaub, Houston Texans
Schaub is a pretty consistent player, but he comes with a buyer beware tag because he has been injured a few times in his career. He will put up big numbers for your fantasy team, but not as big obviously as the quarterbacks ahead of him. Houston loves Arian Foster and that running game, but Schaub is probably a lock to have either 300 yards or 2 touchdown passes every week, if not both.
10. Tony Romo, Dallas Cowboys
Romo is really in the same boat as Schaub. He is capable of putting up big numbers, but now you have to worry about him in terms of his health. The Cowboys are also breaking in a rookie offensive tackle and cut two starters on the offensive line, so be wary when picking Romo. He is still capable of putting up big numbers.
11. Sam Bradford, St. Louis Rams
Bradford in the Josh McDaniels offense could be heaven for fantasy football owners. Bradford isn't really a sleeper right now, but he's going to be one of the last quarterbacks available in your fantasy leagues. He could be a candidate to bump himself into the top six or seven quarterbacks this year in the new, pass happy offense.
12. Joe Flacco, Baltimore Ravens
Flacco threw more touchdown passes last year than even I thought he did, and he could be primed for another big year with the acquisition of Lee Evans, Tandon Doss, and Torrey Smith to add to Anquan Boldin. If the Ravens open up the passing game, Flacco could flourish.
13. Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions
Stafford needs to stay healthy, because he could be one of the best quarterbacks in the league. He can make plays with his feet, he's got the ability to fit the ball into tight windows, and he's got two receivers (Titus Young, Calvin Johnson) who like to go deep. I really like Stafford, but worry over his injury history.
14. Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers
Roethlisberger is another quarterback who is somewhat feast or famine, but he can be a solid starter for you all year long (provided he doesn't have any more run-ins with the law). I would take Roethlisberger as a second quarterback unless you are playing in a really deep league.
Does that mean that Colt McCoy is a player to avoid in fantasy football drafts everywhere? Absolutely not! McCoy is a perfect 2nd quarterback on your team - even a starter if placed in the lineup for a perfect matchup. McCoy is a player to watch for fantasy owners in 2011 and with emerging weapons in Josh Cribbs and Greg Little, McCoy could be a quarterback to grab come playoff time.