Top Five Fantasy Picks, Pt. 3: NFC Quarterbacks
Heading into the 2009 NFL season, there are seven or eight quarterbacks who are in the discussion to make the "top five" list in the NFC. This is one of the many reasons 2009 sets up as a very interesting fantasy football season.
One mistake I often see from fantasy owners is that they often rely too heavily on numbers from the year before to analyze what a player will do in the season to come. Beware to not miss the forest, for the trees.
One of the strongest quarterbacks not to make my top five is Jake Delhomme, who is pictured above. Without going into a full blown analysis and explanation of his merits, I will simply state—any time Steve Smith is your number one target, you have a good chance of putting up healthy numbers against any opponent.
Without further ado, here are the top five NFC quarterbacks for 2009. Let the discussion begin.
5. Matt Hasselbeck
It's really surprising how low Matt Hasselbeck is going in many mock drafts. The only explanation for this is the incredibly short memories football fans can have, at times.
In 2008, Hasselbeck had a season plagued by injury. He missed a total of nine games. When he did play he produced less than desirable results.
Going back one more season, we are reminded that Hasselbeck threw for 3,966 yards and 28 touchdowns. He completed 62.6 percent of his passes in 2007.
TJ Houshmandzadeh, Deion Branch and Nate Burleson make up a strong trio of receivers for Hasselbeck. I expect an '09 season more reminiscent of '07 than '08 for the Seattle starter.
4. Tony Romo
There was a tale of two seasons for Tony Romo in 2008. In the middle of the season, he missed three games.
Before going down with injury, Romo played in six games and amassed 1,689 passing yards and 14 touchdowns with only five interceptions. During this span he had a 103.7 passer rating.
After Romo's return to the lineup, he played in seven games and threw for 1,759 yards with 12 touchdowns. He gave up nine picks and posted a passer rating of 82.9 throughout this span.
The distraction that is T.O. has moved on. I expect this to ultimately be a good move for Dallas. Roy Williams will have comparable, if not better numbers.
This year, Romo should finish as strong as he begins.
3. Matt Ryan
Matt Ryan had an impressive rookie season. The reason he is not ranked even higher is touchdown count. In 2008, he had 16. As long as Michael Turner is running strong, it will put a damper on the touchdown numbers Ryan posts.
The 3,440 yards Ryan threw as a rookie is not a fluke. He will pile on the yardage again in 2009. This makes him a solid fantasy pick for any roster.
2. Kurt Warner
Kurt Warner refuses to go away. Personally, I am glad, as he was the starting quarterback on my championship fantasy team of a year ago.
There is not much to argue about here—he passed for 4,583 yards and 30 touchdowns a season ago.
Anquan Boldin and Larry Fitzgerald are still around, so the Cardinal's receiving duo is intact. The addition of Chris Wells will ultimately make passing the ball for Arizona all the easier.
This season will see Warner put up ridiculous fantasy numbers once again.
1. Drew Brees
For the sake of thorough journalism I will remind you all of the numbers—Drew Brees threw for 5,069 yards and 34 touchdowns in 2008.
Brees could produce a couple thousand yards less than his last showing and still be a very strong contributor to a fantasy roster. For clarification, I definitely do not foresee this happening.
In 2008, Brees averaged 316.8 yards a game. He was consistent each and every Sunday he took the field.
For fantasy owners who put a premium on drafting quarterbacks early, Brees must be at the top of this short list.