By Derek of The Sportmeisters
Hello Football Fans! It’s June and that means OTA’s and minicamps are all but over and actual training camp is around the corner. Preseason games start on August 13th and boy, I cannot wait. Now, what I am here to discuss today are my preseason, pre-training camp Fantasy rankings for the Quarterbacks. Obviously, my rankings are likely to change, but here are my first projections of the year.
1. Drew Brees – New Orleans Saints – Projection: 400 Completions 615 Attempts 4800 Yards 32 TD 16 INT
He doesn’t have the fanfare of Brady or Manning, but Brees seems to be the most consistent fantasy QB the past three years. He threw for over 5,000 yards last year and almost broke the record.
He also had 11 games with two or more touchdowns. While he probably won’t throw for 5,000 yards again, he has reached 4,400 in each of his three seasons in New Orleans, so that’s basically a lock. Brees should go in the first round of most drafts.
2. Peyton Manning – Indianapolis Colts – Projection: 350 Completions 540 Attempts 4200 Yards 30 TD 13 INT 2 Rushing TD
There isn’t any player in fantasy football more consistent year after year then Peyton Manning. He consistently throws for 4,000+ yards and 27+ touchdowns. He had a down year last season (4002 Yards 27 TD 12 INT) and still won the NFL MVP. With a full off season to prepare and a healthy knee and O-Line, I fully expect Peyton to get back to his 2006 numbers (4397 Yards 31 TD 9 INT). He will go in the first two rounds.
3. Tom Brady – New England Patriots – Projection: 360 Completions 555 Attempts 4275 Yards 31 TD 13 INT 1 Rushing TD
Nobody expected Brady to get injured within the first 10 minutes of the first game of the year last season, but it happened. When it happened, you knew that any team that drafted him was finished because they probably didn’t draft a backup.
However, this is a new year and Brady appears to be back and ready to go. You can draft him with confidence, remembering his 50 TD season from 2007. He will probably go anywhere between round one and three.
4. Philip Rivers – San Diego Chargers – Projection: 320 Completions 500 Attempts 4000 Yards 30 TD 14 INT 1 Rushing TD
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I LOVE BEING RIGHT! I was the biggest Philip Rivers supporter last year, so much that I convinced Ryan to draft him in round three in one draft and Ryan drafted him in another. Boy, was I right about him.
He became the focal point of the offense and threw for 4,009 yards and a league-high 34 touchdowns to only 11 interceptions. I don’t expect much drop off this year, so expect much of the same from Rivers. He will go within the first four rounds.
5. Aaron Rodgers – Green Bay Packers – Projection: 345 Completions 550 Attempts 3955 Yards 28 TD 15 INT 3 Rushing TD
Rodgers proved that GM Ted Thompson made the right choice and that he was ready to take over in Green Bay. He threw for over 4,000 yards and had 28 touchdowns plus four rushing touchdowns. Rodgers has a multitude of weapons and should put up the same type of numbers. Expect him to go within the first four rounds.
6. Kurt Warner – Arizona Cardinals – Projection: 350 Completions 550 Attempts 4350 Yards 29 TD 17 INT
Who says you can’t teach on old dog new tricks? Warner is 37 years old but comes off a monster season in which he threw for 4,583 yards and 30 touchdowns in leading Arizona to the Super Bowl.
With Head Coach Ken Whisenhunt calling the plays this year, expect a little more running, but not much of a drop off in Warner’s numbers. He won’t be a first round pick, but I could see him going anywhere between round two and round six.
7. Tony Romo – Dallas Cowboys – Projection: 320 Completions 495 Attempts 3985 Yards 27 TD 17 INT 1 Rushing TD
Romo was considered a bust for much of the 2008 season. He missed three games with an injury and only threw for 3,448 yards and 26 touchdowns. Now, he has lost Terrell Owens, but still has a plethora of weapons around him with WR Roy Williams and TE Jason Witten as his main targets. Romo is still a No. 1 fantasy QB and should go between rounds three and six.
8. Donovan McNabb – Philadelphia Eagles – Projection: 325 Completions 535 Attempts 3800 Yards 23 TD 12 INT 2 Rushing TD
This should be the year that McNabb finally rises to fantasy greatness. He has the weapons in WR DeSean Jackson, WR Jeremy Maclin, RB Brian Westbrook, and WR Kevin Curtis. As long as he can stay healthy, I expect this to be his best statistical year. He should come off the board between rounds four and six.
9. Jay Cutler – Chicago Bears – Projection: 335 Completions 525 Attempts 3875 Yards 24 TD 17 INT 1 Rushing TD
After the tumultuous off season that resulted in his trade to Chicago, Cutler looks to put up the same type of numbers that made him a number one fantasy QB last year. He is still a No. 1 QB, but his numbers will take a bit of a dip in the new run first Bears offense. Look for him to put up good numbers and come off the board between rounds five and seven.
10. Matt Ryan – Atlanta Falcons – Projection: 290 Completions 475 Attempts 3750 Yards 24 TD 14 INT
Ryan did much better than expected in his rookie season and all signs point to an even better sophomore campaign. The Falcons acquired TE Tony Gonzalez and that can only help. He threw for 3,440 yards with 16 touchdowns last year, but I expect they will let him throw a little more this year. Expect 22+ touchdowns and for Ryan to be taken off the board between rounds five and seven.
11. Carson Palmer – Cincinnati Bengals – Projection: 320 Completions 500 Attempts 3800 Yards 23 TD 15 INT
Here is my comeback player of the year candidate. Palmer is coming off of an injury-filled lost season, but all signs appear to be good as he is reportedly back to 100 percent and ready to regain his elite status. The Bengals lost WR TJ Houshmandzadeh, but added Laveranues Coles to replace him. If Palmer is truly healthy, expect him to be a No. 1 fantasy QB and you could steal him in the middle rounds.
12. Matt Schaub – Houston Texans – Projection: 315 Completions 475 Attempts 3750 Yards 23 TD 15 INT 1 Rushing TD
The knock on Schaub is that he is injury prone. He has played in only 11 games in each of his two seasons in Houston, which means he has missed a total of 10 games. However, he showed signs of a No. 1 fantasy QB when he was on the field last year, throwing for over 3,000 yards and 15 touchdowns. If he can stay healthy, he is a No. 1 fantasy QB again, but his injury history will leave him on the board until the middle rounds.
13. Matt Hasselbeck – Seattle Seahawks – Projection: 290 Completions 480 Attempts 3550 Yards 23 TD 15 INT
Here is another guy who lost 2008 to injuries, as he was limited to just seven games. He appears to be healthy again, but he is 33 now and has a history with injuries. He will be a high-risk reward pick this year, especially with the addition of WR TJ Houshmandzadeh. His injury history will leave him until the middle to late rounds and he could end up being a super sleeper.
14. Matt Cassel – Kansas City Chiefs – Projection: 310 Completions 490 Attempts 3600 Yards 19 TD 16 INT 3 Rushing TD
Cassel performed well after replacing Tom Brady in New England, but it will take more than that to convince me that he is ready to be a fantasy stud. He is now in Kansas City and has a few weapons, but doesn’t have the greatest O-Line and will spend a lot of time on his back.
Many people are sold on him and will jump too high to draft him. I say let them, but if he falls into round eight and you need a backup, go ahead and grab him, unless you need a different position.
15. Ben Roethlisberger – Pittsburgh Steelers – Projection: 290 Completions 475 Attempts 3350 Yards 19 TD 15 INT 2 Rushing TD
Big Ben was a huge bust last year, compared to his 2007 season, throwing 15 fewer touchdowns and four more interceptions. He did, however, throw for 200 more yards and rushed for two touchdowns. With all the weapons around him, he could be a nice middle round steal.
There are my first projections for fantasy football. The QB position is very important to your fantasy team, so choose wisely. Any questions or concerns, email me at Derek@Sportmeisters.com.