Top Five Fantasy Picks, Pt. 4: AFC Quarterbacks
The time has come to look at the AFC quarterbacks and the impact they will have on 2009 fantasy rosters.
It is interesting how you have to make that distinction when talking fantasy. These are not necessarily going to be the five winningest quarterbacks in their conference, yet having them on your roster as a fantasy owner greatly increases your chances of winning your respective fantasy league.
This has proven to be the most enjoyable part of playing fantasy football, for me personally. As fantasy players we must stay abreast of each and every move, trade, gripe, and injury within each of the National Football League's 32 organizations.
With that information in mind here are the top five quarterbacks (in terms of fantasy production) coming out of the AFC in 2009.
5. David Garrard
The Jacksonville Jaguars brought in Tra Thomas then turned around and drafted two offensive lineman; Eugene Monroe, from Virginia and Eben Britton, from Arizona. Whoever the opening day starters are, it is safe to say the Jags will have improved their line.
Even with the troubles Jacksonville had on its line last season, David Garrard threw for 3,620 yards and 15 touchdowns.
With more time in the pocket in 2009, Garrard will reduce his interception total. He had 13 in '08.
Garrard is a good choice for an owner who wants to put off picking a quarterback until the fifth round, as he will be available in later rounds in many leagues.
4. Matt Schaub
The Houston Texans were fourth in the league in 2008 in passing yards. Matt Schaub was a big part of that, throwing for 3,043 yards in his 12 starts.
If it were not for the knee injury that kept him out of four games, Schaub would have thrown for 4,000 yards, and 19 or 20 touchdowns.
I anticipate very solid fantasy numbers from the Houston quarterback this year.
3. Tom Brady
After essentially a year away from football, Brady is returning to lead his Patriots.
New England's top receivers, Randy Moss, Wes Welker, Joey Galloway, and former Eagle Greg Lewis, are a formidable quartet.
The key for Brady will be staying healthy. If he does, there is the possibility of him finishing higher than this author is ranking him.
With that said, there are at least two quarterbacks in the league more appealing than Brady right now.
2. Peyton Manning
Let's get this out of the way first—Manning's numbers will not falter because Marvin Harrison is no longer a Colt. Harrison didn't play well last season as it was.
Reggie Wayne and Anthony Gonzalez are both top-tier receivers. Dallas Clark, who had 846 receiving yards last season, is one of the top three or four tight ends in the league.
And if that is not enough offensive fire power, the Colts drafted Donald Brown from Connecticut (a running back with a good set of hands out of the backfield), giving Manning yet another target.
Manning got off to a slow start in 2008 due to knee surgery. This will not be the case in '09.
1. Philip Rivers
Philip Rivers had a 105.5 quarterback rating in 2008. Along the way, he threw for 4,009 yards and 34 touchdowns with only 11 interceptions.
Coming into the 2009 season, Antonio Gates, arguably the best tight end in football, is healthy again. Vincent Jackson and Chris Chambers, one of the more underrated duos in the league, are still intact, and Rivers is primed for another huge season.
The only concern I can find for Rivers are some offensive line questions. The left side is stout. On the right side, Kynan Forney, who was inactive all of last season, is the projected starter at guard. The veteran is one of the final pieces for an offense that looks to be very impressive.
2009 will be a huge year for Philip Rivers.