The Top 10 NFL Fantasy Quarterbacks in 2009
It’s time to take a look at the top 10 fantasy football quarterbacks for 2009.
Let’s look at what criteria are analyzed to determine who makes the top 10. First we have to remember in fantasy football, it's all about the numbers. Passing yards, touchdowns, and turnovers; that is what drives the scoring of your fantasy quarterback.
There are no points for wins or how efficient the quarterback is in managing the game. In other words if you are a “Bill Parcells” type quarterback you probably will not be a top ranked fantasy quarterback.
That’s why you won’t see Ben Roethlisberger, Chad Pennington, Eli Manning, or Joe Flacco on this list. All four led their teams to the playoffs last season, but they don't put up the numbers in the fantasy football world.
In putting together this list, several factors came into play when deciding who was on the list and where they ranked.
Probably the most important factor is what kind of arsenal of weapons does the quarterback have at his disposal to score. Does his supporting cast have the kind of playmakers that can increase his passing yardage with the highly coveted “YAC”—yards after the catch?
The offensive system also is a factor. It obviously helps if the quarterback plays in a pass heavy offensive system. The more balanced or run oriented the offense, the less chances the quarterback has to put up the numbers.
A strong offensive line is also important, since it does no good to have a quarterback who gets sacked all the time or is running for his life. That often leads to fumbles or interceptions and turnovers can kill a quarterback’s fantasy numbers.
No. 10: Carson Palmer—Cincinnati Bengals
The 10th spot came down to three quarterbacks. The Falcon’s Matt Ryan, Kansas City’s Matt Cassel, and Carson Palmer all rank pretty close together.
Cassel was the first one eliminated due to his lack of supporting cast. Third year receiver Dwayne Bowe is a legitimate threat but that’s about it for the Chiefs' passing game.
The opposite is true of Matt Ryan. He has a tremendous arsenal of weapons featuring Pro Bowl caliber WR Roddy White and newly acquired TE Tony Gonzalez.
However, Ryan was eliminated based on the run heavy offensive system the Falcons employ.
That put Bengals quarterback Carson Palmer in the 10th spot. With three quality receivers in Chad Ochocinco, Chris Henry, and Laveraneus Coles, Palmer should be able to spread the ball around.
Plus, with the Bengals most likely trailing in a lot of games, the opportunity for Palmer to put up the numbers should be great.
No. 9: Jay Cutler—Chicago Bears
If Cutler had remained in Denver, he would have came in two or three spots higher in the rankings.
But as of today, the Bears have little to be excited about when it comes to the wide receiver position. Cutler will have a difficult time approaching the 4,525 passing yards he put up last season with the Broncos.
He does have a couple solid options in running back Matt Forte, who led the league in receptions by a running back last year, as well as TE Greg Olsen, who could be a fantasy surprise this year.
By having Forte and Olsen to dump the ball off to, Cutler should cut down on his 18 interceptions he had last year while still being able to reach the 20 –25 range in touchdowns.
No 8: Kurt Warner—Arizona Cardinals
The 38 year old quarterback of the NFC Champion Arizona Cardinals comes in at number eight.
As of today, Warner will have both Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin lining up on the outside.
The good news is even if Boldin gets traded as has been rumored all offseason, Warner still has another outstanding receiver in the wings in Steve Breaston. Breaston himself quietly put up a 1,000 yard receiving season last year along with his 77 receptions.
However, keep in mind, Warner will be coming off hip surgery he had after the Super Bowl. How much will that affect him when the season starts will be the big question.
Warner is a definite example of a “risk/reward” fantasy draft pick. You may get a repeat of his 4,583 yard, 30 touchdown season, or he could be slow to recover from his surgery and struggle to recapture his touch.
No. 7: Donovan McNabb—Philadelphia Eagles
Last year was the first time in five years that McNabb played in all 16 games for the Eagles. His numbers show that when healthy, he can put up numbers that make him worthy of being a top ten fantasy quarterback.
He should be able to add to his 3,916 yards passing and 23 touchdowns this year as the Eagles have done a good job of surrounding him with young talent.
Via the draft, the Eagles offense added the All-American receiver out of Missouri, Jeremy Maclin who will join last year’s rookie sensation DeSean Jackson to give McNabb the most speed he has ever had to work with.
The addition that may benefit McNabb the most and allow him to have another healthy season is the acquisition of LT Jason Peters. The Eagles now have one of the top offensive lines in the league.
If all purpose running back Brian Westbrook returns quickly from ankle surgery, McNabb will be directing one of the most explosive offenses in the NFC and could push his way into the top five fantasy quarterbacks in 2009.
No. 6: Tony Romo—Dallas Cowboys
The atmosphere the last couple of seasons surrounding the Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo has almost “circus-like.”
Trying to juggle the constant media attention he drew with his relationships with his girlfriend Jessica Simpson and his all-pro receiver Terrell Owens definitely affected his performance.
Well, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones took care of one of those distractions by releasing Owens. Which, of course, creates a huge void in Romo’s offensive bag of tricks.
Can wide receiver Roy Williams step in to the No. 1 receiver role? Will the return of a healthy Felix Jones bring additional speed to help stretch the field? We know one thing for sure, TE Jason Witten will continue to be a huge factor in Romo’s success.
Romo missed three games last year with a broken finger (and played hurt in a couple other games) and still put up nearly 3,500 yards passing and threw 26 touchdowns.
As long as he can stay healthy this season, I look for him to return to his 2007 form when he threw for over 4,200 yards and had 36 touchdown passes.
No. 5: Aaron Rodgers—Green Bay Packers
I have to admit, when I was first putting this list together I had no idea Aaron Rodgers would come in at number five.
But based on his 2008 performance and the fact that he will now be in his second year of running the Packers offense, there is no reason for him not to be ranked at number five.
Rodgers had 4,038 passing yards and 28 touchdown passes last season. He completed nearly 64 percent of his passes which shows how easily he slid into the starting position.
He has a deep receiving corps led by Greg Jennings and Donald Driver. Look for second year player Jordy Nelson to develop into a nice option for Rodgers.
No. 4: Philip Rivers—San Diego Chargers
Rivers in his sixth year out of N.C. State continues to improve and put up impressive numbers. 2008 was his best year so far and there are no signs that he will not continue to get better.
Even more daunting than his 4,009 passing yards and his league leading 105.5 passer rating was his 34 to 11 touchdown to interception ratio last year.
Rivers has a full complement of offensive ammunition with which to work. TE Antonio Gates and running back LaDainian Tomlinson are two of the most dynamic players at their positions.
Wide receiver Vincent Jackson came into his own last year putting up over 1,000 yards receiving to give Rivers even greater ability to throw deep down field as reflected in Rivers completing 12 passes of over 40 yards or more.
Although the Chargers are the class of the AFC West, they have an intimidating schedule as they face AFC powerhouses Pittsburgh, Baltimore, and Tennessee as well as the four tough defenses of the NFC East.
Rivers will have plenty of opportunities to put his skills to the test.
No. 3: Peyton Manning—Indianapolis Colts
Peyton Manning has “dropped” down to number three? What is going on?
Simply he has lost one of his favorite weapons when the Colts decided to let wide receiver Marvin Harrison go. But don’t feel too sorry for Manning.
He still has the Pro Bowl tandem of receiver Reggie Wayne and TE Dallas Clark. Third year receiver Anthony Gonzalez should fit nicely in Harrison’s old role.
In 2008, Manning threw for over 4,000 yards for the ninth time in his 11 seasons.
He had a solid 27 to 12 touchdown to interception ratio and completed nearly 67 percent of his passes.
He is no longer the first quarterback off the board on draft day but he will still put up winning fantasy numbers week after week.
No. 2: Drew Brees—New Orleans Saints
5,069! That is the mind-blowing number of yards Drew Brees threw for in 2008.
That coupled with his 34 touchdowns made Brees the highest scoring quarterback in most fantasy leagues.
Brees has two main factors driving his success. The offensive system Coach Sean Payton uses and a dynamic supporting cast of playmakers led by Marques Colston, Lance Moore, and Reggie Bush.
Over the last three seasons, Brees has been on a tremendous run. In the three year span he has passed for 13,910 yards and thrown 88 touchdown passes.
If he keeps that average up you will get your fantasy team 4,637 yards and 29 touchdowns in 2009.
I would say that justifies him being the second best fantasy quarterback this year.
No. 1: Tom Brady—New England Patriots
It may seem hard to believe that the number one fantasy quarterback is a player who played less than one half of one game all of last season.
Then again we are talking about Tom Brady. Just look back at 2007 when he passed for over 4,800 and threw a NFL record 50 touchdown passes.
As long as he is fully recovered from his torn ACL and MCL injuries he will put up another slate of outstanding numbers.
Maybe not 50 touchdowns again, but odds are he’ll push the 40 touchdown mark.
He has two of the league’s top receivers to go to in Randy Moss and Wes Welker. Brady knows the offense inside and out. He will have the Patriots at the top of the offensive rankings once again.
You could argue that Drew Brees will put up better numbers. Look what he did last year.
But the bottom line is, when you are sitting there on draft day and you are going to pick a quarterback with both Brees and Brady available who would you take?
I know I could not pass on Tom Brady and that’s why he is the number one fantasy quarterback for this season.