Fantasy Quarterbacks for 2009: The Best, the Worst, and the Sleepers

Daniel MaderContributor IMay 12, 2009

NEW ORLEANS - DECEMBER 28:  Quarterback Drew Brees #9 of the New Orleans Saints drops back to pass during the game against the Carolina Panthers on December 28, 2008 at the Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

If you are like me, you want to get a head start on your draft boards this year. Everyone wants to figure out who should be at the top, find that later round steal, and know which players you should downright avoid taking this year.

I'll go through who should be at the top, who are this year's sleepers to watch, and who not to get.


Top Five

1. Drew Brees nearly broke the single season passing yards record last season and only looks to continue this year. Reggie Bush and Pierre Thomas in the backfield have teams still having to respect the run even without Deuce McAllister, and of course, watching wherever Bush lines up is still a problem for teams.

Add to that a healthy Marques Colston this year with Robert Meachem and Devery Henderson to stretch the field, not to mention Jeremy Shockey underneath, and this offense is ready for another huge year—just like when they ranked first in total points (463) last season.


2. Kurt Warner is still the man in Arizona, on top of the fact that Anquan Boldin is still on the team. I would put almost any quarterback in this spot when you have Larry Fitzgerald and Boldin to throw to all season.

Both Fitzgerald and Boldin went over 1,000 yards last season (Fitzgerald 1,431 and Boldin 1,038). Arizona will be playing this year to show that they are for real, and the way they will do that is to let Warner lead them.


3. Peyton Manning is year in and year out in the top five. Usually I would have him No. 1 or 2, but because Marvin Harrison is gone and the Colts' running game was in question last year, I have him ranked at No. 3, which is still respectable. 

Reggie Wayne will be a very productive No. 1 this year, leaving not much to worry about with the absence of Harrison. Warner only gets the edge over Manning because Boldin stayed, giving him two of the most explosive wide receivers in the game again this season.


4. Tom Brady will probably be the most talked about quarterback this summer for fantasy team owners. Is he healthy? Will be rusty if he is healthy? All of these are legit questions. Then again, it's Tom Brady we are talking about.

The Patriots went out and made additions this offseason to place yet even more pieces for Brady to play with. Additions like Joey Galloway, Fred Taylor, and drafting Brandon Tate could turn out huge for them down the road, accompanied by, of course, Randy Moss and Wes Welker.

I have Brady ranked fourth only because he did not play last year; however, taking him as your first quarterback will pay its dividends.


5Philip Rivers: The main thing to take from this is that he threw 34 TDs last season and showed that he is going to hit his prime as the starting quarterback. I believe we can all face the facts and finally say that Rivers has turned out to be better than Eli Manning. The passing game for the Chargers took off last season with a hurt LT.

LT being healthy this season will help the passing game further as a good running game always does. One thing that you can always count on is that Rivers will be consistent in his production and performance throughout his campaign this year.


Top Five Sleepers

1. Carson Palmer will fly under the radar in most drafts this year. He only played four games last year before injury, and in those four games he threw three TDs with four interceptions.

Even with T.J. Houshmandzadeh gone, the Bengals' organization did well in signing Laveranues Coles to replace him. Given Palmer is healthy, look for big numbers from him.


2. Matt Hasselbeck is another quarterback under the radar due to injury last season. He has felt great in mini-camps and has a new weapon in T.J. Houshmandzadeh to get synced with. The Seahawks are coming out the gate with an attitude to win back the NFC West. Hasselbeck will be a big reason for success this year in Seattle.


3. Matt Ryan performed extremely well as a rookie, and there will be no sophomore slump for this kid. As a rookie during the regular season he went 265-of-434, giving him a 61.1 completion percentage, for 3,440 yards, 16 touchdowns, and 11 interceptions.

Expect even bigger numbers this year with an offense that added a future Hall of Fame tight end in Tony Gonzalez.


4. Matt Cassel could put up decent numbers this year. He will be working the same offense he had in New England. Also he has a couple of weapons to work with such as Dwayne Bowe and if L.J. Johnson can get back to form. Cassel also has the benefit of playing in an AFC West division that, besides the Chargers, doesn't have very good defenses.


5. Kyle Orton really might have benefited from the trade to Denver. Under Josh McDaniels, the Broncos will be running that spread New England offense, which requires quick strikes, accuracy, and game management.

Orton fits this bill almost perfectly, not to mention having guys like Eddie Royal, Brandon Marshall, and Knowshon Moreno to throw to all over the field. 


Top Five Not to Get

1. Eli Manning does not have Plaxico Burress or Amani Toomer at the receiver position anymore. Their size and experience made Manning look better than what he is. Manning still makes bad decisions, and his mechanics get sloppy at times. The Giants do have Steve Smith, who is a solid No. 2 but will have the top receiver position for them this year.

Hakeem Nicks could turn out to be a good receiver down the line, but he won't be their answer to the loss of Burress this year. Most of all, the Giants will be run first again this year.


2. Jay Cutler is a great addition for the Bears, who haven't had a quarterback since the Stone Age. However, don't expect great things from him this year due to lack of depth in targets this year. Matt Forte will be good, and Greg Olsen will benefit from Cutler, but the list stops there.

It's great they have Devin Hester developing as a receiver, but a developmental prospect shouldn't be your top receiver. Cutler will soon find out that Chicago is still a more of a defensive town than an offensive one.


3. Neither 49ER QB should be taken, signed, or even thought about. Michael Crabtree is a playmaker, not a miracle worker. My grandmother has a better arm than Shaun Hill, and Alex Smith plays like my cat who is scared of anything that moves. The 'Niners will run about 80 percent of the time as well.


4. Tarvaris Jackson is the projected starter for the Vikings. The Vikings have weapons around him like Bernard Berrian, Percy Harvin, and Adrian Peterson behind a really good offensive line. He will never make it in this league, though, because of his decision making and accuracy.

Even if Jackson does become Minnesota's starter this year, Peterson will carry the offense for the Vikings.


5. Jason Campbell is on his last year maybe as the Redskins' man under center. Before the draft we started to see this when the Redskins were heavy in talks to trade up for Mark Sanchez, and earlier than that for Cutler. Clinton Portis will be asked to carry most of the workload for this offense, giving Campbell limited passing attempts this year.