In the YellowPages, you let your fingers do the walking.
When it comes to fantasy football, you can let your chinstrapninjas do the surfing.
As the rest of the collective football world slowly wakes up from its Super Bowl stupor and thinks it is safe to turn its attention to college hoops and fantasy baseball, this becomes one of the best times for fantasy football dynasty league owners to morph into stealthy ninja form and take their opponents by surprise.
Some consider early-offseason trading in dynasty leagues as fantasy suicide … you don’t know what to expect from offseason moves and the NFL rookie draft.
However, with careful calculated projections and predictions, this can be a perfect time to strike a deal that could catapult your squad to fantasy prominence not only in 2010, but well beyond.
As I discussed some potential deals in my own dynasty league, I was disappointed in how few other sites and resources were far-sighted enough to start providing solid dynasty rankings for 2010. Sure it’s early, but then again, you need some items in your fantasy tool belt if Johnny Trade-a-lot springs a multi-player blockbuster deal on you.
It would be easy for me to provide you with my position-by-position dynasty rankings, and while I feel pretty confident in my personal list, I didn’t develop it until after doing a good deal of research and checking out similar lists on other sites.
So, for the best dynasty rankings all in one convenient location, I developed the following complete early 2010 dynasty quarterback rankings, scoring in similar lists from fftoolbox, rotoworld, dynastyrankings.blogspot and footballdiehards websites. This composite list includes my personal ranking (in parentheses before each name), each QB’s current team, age and (after the name in parentheses) the composite scoring from the four sites above.
Check back soon for similar rankings at each of the other positions.
1. (2) Drew Brees, New Orleans, 31 years old (6pts). The Super Bowl MVP has a lot to offer fantasy owners. He’s matured into a top-notch QB with a huge arsenal at his disposal. He should be around for years to come, and many are thinking the Saints have morphed into the new-age version of “The Greatest Show on Turf.” Some already are talking about Brees being on track to being one of the best QB of all time.
Scoring-wise, Brees was only one overall point higher than Aaron Rodgers for the top spot, and I personally have Rodgers ranked first at the position, but when it comes to the crème de la crème at signal caller, you really can’t go wrong with either option.
2. (1) Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay, 26 (7 pts). What’s not to love about Rodgers moving forward? He has arguably the best weapons of any QB on this list. Even if Donald Driver retires in the not-too-distant future, Rodgers still has elite options in Greg Jennings and Jermichael Finley at his disposal, along with plenty of other young pieces with upside.
Rumor-mill whisperings suggest that the Packers draft a speedy backfield complement to Ryan Grant, which should give Rodgers even more short yardage and red zone opportunities out of the backfield.
Those who knock Rodgers from the top spot argue that he’s a major injury waiting to happen considering how much he was knocked around in 2009 by opposing defenses and poor O-line play. I think that’s ridiculous. Don’t you think that the Packers brass watch the same games we do? Don’t you think they winced in horror every time Rodgers was smacked to the turf? Don’t you think they’ll make the O-line a major organizational priority this offseason?
Also, make sure you take note of Rodgers’ age … a good five years younger than Brees and the youngest QB in the composite top eight QB options.
3. (3) Peyton Manning, Indianapolis, 33 (11 pts). Forget the miscues in the Super Bowl, Manning proved during the regular season that his talent is ageless. Many, including yours truly, expected Manning to take a step back in 2009. He did the opposite.
He has emerging young weapons and an undervalued running game at his disposal. His pocket presence and overall O-line protection will help keep Peyton healthy long after most of his quarterbacking peers. He may be the third oldest option on this list (outside of Brett Favre and Donovan McNabb), but who else would you want starting for you when your fantasy season is on the line?
One word of caution for Manning is the tendency for Colts higher-ups to sit the QB late in the year (typically during the fantasy playoffs) when his team’s NFL postseason ticket is punched.
4. (5) Philip Rivers, San Diego, 28 (18 pts). Gone are the days that the Chargers are a run-first, grind-it-out offense. This is King Philip’s team now, and Rivers has shown that he can handle the challenge.
The steady, reliable production of Antonio Gates coupled with the emerging skillset of Vincent Jackson has allowed Rivers to become a viable fantasy option both in 2010 and beyond. Darren Sproles offers a solid out-of-the-backfield target and San Diego is certain to select a young RB with good hands during the upcoming draft.
While I’ve never looked at Rivers as an elite QB option, it is hard to deny that he has arrived on the fantasy scene and should be considered a reliable option for the long haul.
5. (6) Tom Brady, New England, 32 (20 pts). The 2009 Comeback Player of the Year has been a fantasy staple for years now … thanks especially to the breakout emergence of Wes Welker and the big-play abilities of Randy Moss.
However, while his season-ending stats were impressive, there were some visible chinks in the armor that need close monitoring this offseason. Welker went down in the postseason with severe knee injuries. While he predicts he’ll be back for the 2010 season opener, more realistic projections don’t have Welker back into later in the campaign … and it remains to be seen what level he’ll be playing at when he does return.
Moss, who’s been on his best behavior for the Patriots, started to show some trademark attitude in 2009. Not enough to think he’ll become a liability in 2010, but enough to wonder what may play out in the years to come. News that Moss had been fighting with pain from a separated shoulder most of the season is actually encouraging for Brady owners, however, because the injury provides a viable excuse for Moss’s struggles at times this year.
The postseason emergence of the young and talented Julian Edelman also gives hope to the Brady-a-holics. It is way too soon to consider Brady on the downside of his fantasy career, but he does have more question marks surrounding him than others on this list.
6. (9) Tony Romo, Dallas, 29 (26 pts). Thanks in large part to Miles Austin, Romo’s fantasy stock soared in 2009. Many were suspicious how Romo would produce without an elite No. 1 WR in the mix, but Austin filled that role nicely as the season progressed.
Tight end Jason Witten, who struggled to start the season, started hitting his fantasy stride down the stretch. The breaking down of running back Marion Barber led to a breakout emergence for Felix Jones in the postseason … and if Jones continues to get a majority of the backfield starts in 2010, he provides a much better receiving option for Romo.
7. (8) Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh, 27 (27 pts). Many dynasty owners were low on Big Ben several years ago because he filled the prototypical QB on a running-first squad role. However, Roethlisberger and the Steelers passing game took a major leap forward in 2009.
Hines Ward is ageless, Santonio Holmes continues to emerge as a top-flight option, Heath Miller started living up to his tight end potential, even rookie Mike Wallace played an important role in the Pittsburgh aerial attack.
In addition to Rashard Mendenhall becoming a bigger piece of the offensive puzzle moving forward, Roethlisberger needs to be respected in fantasy circles.
8. (4) Matt Schaub, Houston, 28 (30 pts). What else does Schaub need to do to gain the respect of fantasy owners? As I predicted this time last year, he proved in 2009 that he can survive a full season without missing time to injuries, he has arguably the best receiver in the game (Andre Johnson) and a very capable supporting cast.
Many quickly forget how prolific tight end Owen Daniels was last year up until his season-ending injury … Schaub would have been a contender for the highest producing fantasy QB in the NFL if Daniels has played the entire year.
Many are skeptical of the Houston backfield, but all the pieces currently in the RBBC there are major options for the passing game, including Steve Slaton, who could play more of a Reggie Bush-type role in 2010.
Schaub is young enough and has more than enough weapons around him on a team that always seems to be playing catchup to be considered an elite dynasty QB moving forward … hence my personal top-four ranking.
9. (7) Matt Ryan, Atlanta, 24 (35 pts). Everything you need to know about Ryan’s potential you can read in my early 2010 sleeper post. There are many reasons why I love Matt Ryan in dynasty leagues … the kid has tons of talent and a solid supporting cast.
As I posted in my sleeper column, Ryan’s numbers this past season may have seemed disappointing, but compare them to sophomore statistics of current QB greats such as Peyton Manning, Drew Brees and Tom Brady. You’d be amazed how close they look on paper.
Fantasy owners are fickle. They were spoiled by Ryan’s amazing rookie numbers, and too lazy to look at the numbers and big picture behind what will surely be a long and prosperous career for Ryan both in the NFL and on your respective fantasy team.
10. (10) Joe Flacco, Baltimore, 25 (42 pts). Flacco continues to get little respect by fantasy owners … including those in dynasty leagues. It’s a shame, because when the Ravens land their next elite WR (Brandon Marshall, Anquan Boldin, someone else?), everyone will wonder where this Flacco kid came from.
Fantasy-wise, on a team fairly devoid of reliable receiving weapons, Flacco has been a gem. He made Derrick Mason a solid fantasy option in 2009. Flacco helped bring out the best in emerging talent Ray Rice.
If I’m re-building my dynasty team for the long-haul, I’d look to deal an older “veteran” option with more name value for a Flacco any day of the week, while improving my roster in other places, to boot. This time next season, Flacco will be higher on this list.
11. (12) Donovan McNabb, Philadelphia, 34 (46 pts). It’s amazing to me how undervalued McNabb is to both hard-core fans of the Eagles and fantasy owners alike. He is a top option at the position every year, regardless of the ebb-and-flow of the talent Philly puts on the field.
Last year as Brian Westbrook struggled to produce on a consistent basis, McNabb simply dished the ball out to the team’s very young stable of capable receivers. Still, McNabb finds himself in offseason rumormills about where he’ll be playing in 2010 and how much longer he’ll be a viable option.
As I predicted for this season, McNabb will stay in Philly and will again produce a solid stat-set that many will be too narrow-minded to enjoy. Don’t be one of those owners.
12. (14) Eli Manning, New York Giants, 29 (47 pts). Peyton’s little brother faced a changeover in the receiving guard last season, but was quick to find new favorite toys in Steve Smith, Mario Manningham and others.
The team continues to proclaim itself as a run-first juggernaut, but Brandon Jacobs definitely lost a step in 2009 and Manning stepped up his game to compensate. He will again provide respectable numbers in 2010 with the potential to move up higher on this list, even though there are some questions surrounding the Giants both in the running game and on the defensive side of the ball.
13. (11) Jay Cutler, Chicago, 26 (48 pts). After his move from Denver to Chicago last offseason, Cutler’s value has taken a hit. He struggled majorly at times in 2009, and many worry that he’s ways too inconsistent to be a starting fantasy QB.
However, that was before the recent hiring of Mike Martz as Bears Offensive Coordinator. Suddenly, Cutler becomes a QB sleeper. Martz is known for extremely elevating the passing games on every team he’s coached, and the Bears have some young talent that could translate into plenty of stats for Cutler.
Matt Forte is a good out-of-the-backfield target, Devin Aromashodu emerged as a Cutler favorite and big-time receiver at the end of the season, Earl Bennett and Johnny Knox are guys who stand to see significant boosts in value, as well.
Many forget just how young Cutler is, and he’s now in a situation that should elevate his fantasy game to the next level.
14. (21) Vince Young, Tennessee, 26 (53 pts). Young is young. Young has weapons. Young proved in 2009 that he can be a winner at the NFL level. However, I’m not sold on him as a fantasy option.
His passing game isn’t as polished as it could be simply because he is so quick to tuck the ball and try to make yardage on the ground. In the final 10 games of the regular season, Young threw for over 200 yards only four times and had multiple touchdown passes in just two contests. Not exactly fantasy-friendly production.
15. (13) Chad Henne, Miami, 24 (57 pts). Trying to fill Dan Marino’s cleats has proven to be difficult for the Dolphins, but they seem to have found their answer in Henne. While the Michigan product definitely suffered from growing pains as a starter last season, he showed plenty of potential in an offense fairly devoid of pure receiving talent.
He threw for over 300 yards in three of the team’s final five games, including a 335-yard, two-TD performance against division rival New England in Week 13.
Henne is lobbying for the team to draft an elite receiving threat, and there are plenty of rumors about either Anquan Boldin or Brandon Marshall ending up in Miami. Henne’s future is bright.
T-16. (15) Carson Palmer, Cincinnati, 30 (63 pts). After a statistically disappointing season for Palmer, NFL analyst Chris Mortensen said: “I don’t hear a lot of negative stuff from people in the league about Carson. You’ve got to surround him with weapons. He’s absolutely OK.”
The Bengals do have to get some young, speedy receivers. However, how do you account for Palmer’s loss in velocity and overall accuracy? It’s possible that we’ve seen the best of Carson Palmer.
T-16. (16) Brett Favre, Minnesota, 40 (63 pts). It doesn’t take rocket science to understand why Favre, a top-five fantasy QB in 2009, is ranked this low on a dynasty QB list. He could come back and single-handedly lead both the Vikings and your fantasy team to the promised land. He could finally retire for good.
18. (17) Matthew Stafford, Detroit, 22 (64 pts). Those who doubt that Stafford could be a fantasy force for the Lions need only look at his 422-yard, five-TD outing against Cleveland last year. Sure, it was against the Browns … but he was totally locked in during that contest.
He has one of the best receivers in the game in Calvin Johnson, a second-year tight end in Brandon Pettigrew that could one day be a top-five fantasy performer at the position and a running back in Kevin Smith who is proficient in the passing game.
The Lions are behind in enough games for Stafford to need to air things out on a consistent basis. He had a rough rookie campaign, but will be a better sophomore QB because of it.
19. (18) Mark Sanchez, New York Jets, 23 (70 pts). Some may be scratching their head that a guy who threw just 12 TDs and 20 INTs last season would even make the top 25, but many also overlook that Sanchez was a rookie.
In the grand scheme of things, his numbers weren’t too far off base when looking at rookie numbers by other top-tier QB. Braylon Edwards underperformed most of the season, but should be a viable weapon in 2010, and the Jets aren’t done in accumulating WR talent … whether it be via free agency or the rookie draft.
In a couple years, Sanchez will be a top fantasy QB, and someone worth hoarding in all dynasty formats.
20. (23) Josh Freeman, Tampa Bay, 22 (75 pts). “We want him to complete 65 percent of his passes. He needs to be the first guy in the building. It’s the leadership aspect we need from him. He needs to be more vocal with teammates in and out of the huddle,” new QBs coach Alex Van Pelt said.
Being the first guy in the building and taking a bigger leadership role is totally on Freeman, but the Buccaneers need to provide some weapons if Freeman is to see his completion rate improve
Tampa needs to do a lot of things to be competitive again, and I wonder if Freeman will be a casualty of an impatient fan base before he ever really gets a good chance with a solid supporting cast.
21. (N/R) Jason Campbell, Washington, 28 (76 pts). Campbell’s long-term future is not with the Redskins, who will likely nab one of the top QB talents in the upcoming rookie draft. This means that Campbell will wind up in a lame duck role as a starter to keep the starting Redskin gig warm for Jimmy Clausen or Matthew Bradford … or he’ll wind up playing elsewhere in 2010.
His short and long-term values are both tied to where he plays, and if he somehow winds up with a team like the Arizona Cardinals, as I predict here, than he could a good value player at this point. However, there is more risk than reward at the moment.
T-22. (19) Matt Leinart, Arizona, 26 (80 pts). Kurt Warner’s retirement should, at least on the surface, translate into Leinart getting the keys to one of the better passing offenses in the league.
Unfortunately for Leinart, coach Ken Whisenhunt comes from a run-first mentality, and there is good reason to believe that Anquan Boldin will be playing elsewhere in 2010.
Even with those factors involved, Leinart is a sneaky play here considering his age. However, his inconsistency in spot play backing up Warner could lead to some outside competition for the starting QB gig … from someone like Jason Campbell, among others.
T-22. (25) David Garrard, Jacksonville, 31 (80 pts). For years, Garrard has been arguably the most under-rated fantasy quarterback in the game … consistently and quietly ranking among the top 10 to 15 players at the position. However, coach Jack Del Rio has openly question whether Garrard is a Super Bowl-level signal caller.
“A quarterback like David Garrard can be that with a great supporting cast,” he said. “I don’t know. When you look at teams that have won multiple championships, I think they’ve had elite quarterbacks.”
Garrard’s future with Jacksonville is tenuous at best, and there are some rumors that certain rookie QBs are on the radar screen heading into the 2010 draft.
24. (N/R) Kyle Orton, Denver, 27 (84 pts). ESPN’s Sal Paolantonio has reported that the Browns, Bills and Broncos have expressed an interest in possibly trading for Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb. Not exactly a glowing endorsement for Orton.
That’s a shame, because Orton exceeded many a fantasy owners’ expectations for the 2009 campaign with Denver by tossing multiple TDs in seven contests last year and tossing 200-plus yards in 10 contests (including a 431-yard game against Kansas City in the season finale).
25. (20) Matt Cassel, Kansas City, 27 (85 pts). Many expected Cassel to have a banner year. Sports Illustrated’s fantasy magazine actually asked the question of whether Cassel or Tom Brady would have a better year in 2009 (which is just one of many reasons I detest fantasy magazines).
However, Cassel lost his primary weapon, Dwayne Bowe, for most of the season and struggled to produce consistent statistical performances.
In 2010, however, Bowe should be back on the field (barring any unforeseen knuckle-headedness) and Cassel should thrive under new offensive coordinator Charlie Weis. Bowe is a definite sleeper candidate in most dynasty formats.
Other QBs of note:
While neither Alex Smith nor Michael Vick scored high enough to make the composite top-25 QB rankings via the websites listed above, I have both ranked in my personal dynasty QB rankings.
Smith (my 22nd ranked QB) didn’t start until Week 7, but still finished the season with 18 TD in the final 11 weeks – seven of which he threw for 200-plus yards in, as well. He has one of the most talented young WRs in the league to throw to (Michael Crabtree) and Vernon Davis has emerged as an elite pass-catching tight end.
It also helps that Smith has one of the league’s best targets out of the backfield in Frank Gore and that the Niners are habitually playing from behind in a fairly defensively depleted NFC-West.
Michael Vick (my 24th-ranked QB) was decent in spot play for the Eagles this season in his comeback to the NFL after dogfighting and animal cruelty charges landed Vick in prison. Vick wants to play for a team that will allow him to start, and there are several teams in need of a starting QB. My prediction, the Rams, would put Vick in a position to make plays and provide fantasy production for those who are willing to take a gamble on him.