Every fantasy magazine, every fantasy football website and every person who plays fantasy football has them. Rankings. Based off opinions of where guys will finish in terms of production and when to take them in drafts or compare players in trades.
Redraft leagues, or those you redraft from scratch each summer, are the most widely used league formats in fantasy football today. You are focusing on what the player will do for you this season and this season only. With that being said, and noting that my opinions will vary greatly at times with others, here are my redraft quarterback rankings at the moment for 2010 fantasy leagues (be sure to check out our early dynasty QB rankings):
1. Aaron Rodgers, GB. If you owned Aaron Rodgers last year, you likely consumed ways too much Alka-Seltzer. That’s because his O-line was so shoddy, every blitzing defender seemed to get a clear shot at Rodgers. Without really knowing Rodgers potential, we all winced and waited for his name to show up on the injury report. Say all you want about Drew Brees, Peyton Manning or anyone else on this list, but I’ll take the QB who can take a licking and keep on flicking the ball down the field. His line will be much improved, his weapons are young and more than able and he has a workmanlike running game behind him.
2. Drew Brees, NO. Perhaps he’d be better ranked as 1A. The Saints offense revolves around the passing game, and there are more weapons at Brees’ disposal than you’ll find in a Quentin Tarantino film. The loss of third-down back Mike Bell will potentially lead to more red zone pass attempts, and Brees will continue to rake up the stats, Madden curse or no Madden curse.
3. Peyton Manning, IND. What can one say that hasn’t already been said about this guy during his illustrious career? I was fully expecting him to take a step backwards last season, and he responded by sprinting a 100-meter dash forward. Anthony Gonzalez adds yet another young and able weapon to Manning’s arsenal, and methinks that No. 18 will have something to prove this season after falling short in the Super Bowl.
4. Matt Schaub, HOU. Here’s where my rankings may conflict with others, but I’m not too worried about that. Schaub’s biggest detractor last season was concerns about him starting a full slate of games. He met that challenge and then some. He throws to the best WR in the game. He has a stellar supporting cast. Many forget how effective Owen Daniels was in the passing game last season before his injury. Daniels will be back this season, and the Kevin Walter/Jacoby Jones combo should provide a solid backup option for Schaub. It is obvious that the Texans are a pass heavy team, and the running game is still a question mark. Plus, the Texans will be in more shootouts than the other teams represented so far on this list.
5. Tony Romo, DAL. After a very productive 2009 season, Romo gets an uber-rookie receiving talent in Dez Bryant to play catch with. Miles Austin showed he can be a solid option, Jason Witten provides a reliable safety net and Felix Jones, who is a huge asset out of the backfield as a receiver, is slated to get more action in the offense.
6. Tom Brady, NE. Some knock Brady’s value this season due to the questions surrounding Wes Welker’s health. However, the Patriots have ample talent available to fill the void, and did nothing to bring in an elite running back to shift the offense’s overall focus away from the pass. Randy Moss should have a huge season … he’s in a contract situation and knows he’s likely out of New England after this season. He will step up his game, which will only help Brady.
7. Philip Rivers, SD. Rivers took the next step in his quarterbacking career last season and produced very solid stats across the board. Concerns about Vincent Jackson’s situation with the Chargers is the only red flag to watch with this young up-and-comer.
8. Jay Cutler, CHI. The 26 interceptions last year was simply unacceptable, and a reason to be sour on Cutler in 2010. However, one has to like the additon of OC Mike Martz and the chemistry that is allegedly forming between the two already. The Bears lack any proven receiving commodities, but do have a good mix of speed and size among the weapons.
9. Matt Ryan, ATL. Another head-scratcher, perhaps, for some reading this list. However, Ryan is primed to take the next step in his maturing under center this season. Even in a “disappointing” sophomore season, Ryan finished with 22 touchdowns. Roddy White is an elite receiver, and while Tony Gonzalez isn’t getting any younger, he’s still a reliable option. If you look at Peyton Manning’s stats his first two seasons as a pro QB, you’d be surprised at how similar they are to Matt Ryan’s. That is one of many reasons I have Ryan as one of my QB sleepers in drafts this summer.
10. Brett Favre, MIN. As the chinstrap ninja faithful know, I’m a huge Favre fan, and recently wrote him a letter on his pending yearly late-summer decision on whether or not to play again. Favre was purely amazing stats-wise last season, and there is little reason to think he won’t be effective again as quarterback of the Vikings. All the big-play weapons are still at his disposal, and the Vikings have some juicy matchups again in 2010. Just don’t expect him to throw only seven interceptions again.
11. Eli Manning, NYG. Quietly, Eli has become a solid fantasy QB in the league and is someone who shouldn’t be overlooked on draft day. The 4,021 yards and 27 TDs were career highs for Manning, and he has emerging weapons in Steve Smith, Hakeem Nicks and Mario Manningham. I’m also a fan of Ramses Barden. The Giants running game doesn’t inspire a lot of confidence, and will likely lead to another solid passing campaign from Peyton’s little brother.
12. Joe Flacco, BAL. Sure, the addition of Anquan Boldin, combined with the solid pass-catching ability of Ray Rice out of the backfield and reliability of Derrick Mason are all reasons to love the potential of young Flacco, but I was sold moreso on his grittiness last season playing through injury and still producing quality stats. The Ravens are on the path to big things, and Flacco is a main cog in that process. He’s another guy I’m targeting later in drafts this summer.
13. Donovan McNabb, WAS. It’s weird how close I have both Kolb and McNabb on this list. Kolb has the better weapons but much less experience. McNabb has the experience, but much less impressive weapons. Call me old fashioned, but I’ll take the experience and McNabb’s ability to make plays over the largely unproven Kolb at the moment.
14. Kevin Kolb, PHI. Again, I could switch Kolb and McNabb on this list and not lose any sleep. Kolb did fare well in limited action last season and does have some nice toys to play with. He’s one guy who could produce up with the Jay Cutlers on this list, or down with the Matt Cassels.
15. Alex Smith, SF. Say what you will about Smith, but I like his potential in that offense. Crabtree should continue to emerge as a big-play threat, Frank Gore offers plenty of security out of the backfield and Vernon Davis is finally reaching his potential. Add in the fact that the Niners have a pretty juicy schedule this year, and Smith should be a solid option when the other names are off the board.
16. Carson Palmer, CIN. A horrific dropoff last season could be tied to a number of issues, including lack of true weapons. Antonio Bryant and rookie tight end Jermaine Gresham will help in that regard. Palmer is too talented to suddenly fall off the edge of the football earth, so a bounceback season with less pressure on him is likely, just don’t overpay.
17. Matt Leinart, ARI. Hard to truly gauge where Leinart belongs on this list. He has some solid weapons at his disposal and a nice slate of games ahead of him. Beanie Wells and the running game will take pressure off his shoulders, and Derek Anderson is talented enough to provide some competition to keep Leinart striving for his best.
18. Matthew Stafford, DET. Thrown to the wolves as a rookie, Stafford survived the trial by fire fairly admirably. The addition of Nate Burleson should add some more options for Stafford and the fact that the Lions will be playing catch-up much of the time are reasons to like his chances of maturing into a decent QB2 in fantasy circles this season.
19. Chad Henne, MIA. There’s a lot to like about Henne, regardless of what some consider his recklessness in trying to force throws places they shouldn’t go. Brandon Marshall adds a huge dimension to the passing game, and Henne could mature into a player deserving a much higher spot on this list by midseason.
20. Mark Sanchez, NYJ. The Jets spoonfed Sanchez last season and the strategy worked fairly well. The squad will continue to be a run-first program, but Sanchez will have more and more opportunity to ride his bike without the training wheels, so to speak. The addition of Santonio Holmes will help once Holmes is back from suspension, and LaDanian Tomlinson offers some out-of-the-backfield throw-downs when Shonn Green isn’t toting the rock.
Others of note:
Vince Young is not a guy I’d want to hang my fantasy team on. Sure, he wins games in the NFL, but his style of play isn’t conducive to fantasy stats. Let someone else take the risk.
Ben Roethlisberger has really fallen from grace. Even if he does miss just the first four weeks of the season, he still comes back to a team void of Santonio Holmes and one focused moreso on the running game. Big Ben has long-term potential in dynasty leagues, but not buying him in redrafts this year.
Jason Campbell could be a nice story in Oakland if he can find reliable targets. As a backup QB with the right weekly matchup, Campbell could be serviceable.
Matt Cassel doesn’t inspire great fantasy assurance, despite having some weapons at his disposal. There are plenty of other options with more potential.
Matt Moore could be a sneaky sleeper pick. He found good chemistry at the end of the season with Steve Smith, and if he holds the starting gig for any length of time over Jimmy Clausen, he could be a nice fantasy option.
Matt Hasselbeck and Charlie Whitehurst are joined at the hip and it isn’t a good idea to rely on any at the moment until a clear frontrunner emerges.
Jake Delhomme may be playing plenty of catchup with the Browns, but then again, could lose his job to Seneca Wallace to even at times to rookie Colt McCoy.
How do you have QBs ranked in redraft formats? We’d love to hear about it in the comments below.