Every year I get into debates with countless fantasy football nerds like me about where the best place is to take a QB.
Do I reach for a guy like Manning or Brees in the first two rounds? Do I wait and draft one of the lower-echelon starters in round 6-7? Or do I draw a middle line and take a guy round 3-5?
For me, no particular strategy works best; I’ve had success (and failure) with all three. The most important thing to remember is never reach for a QB. Trust your grade. And if you want some help on grades, take a look.
Note: I base fantasy points on the following scoring system (no percentage points):
Pass Yds: One point for every 35 yards
Pass TDs: Four points
INT: Negative one point
Rush Yds: One point for every 15 yards
Rush TDs: Six points
Also, I base the rounds on a 12-team league.
One more thing: Only the top 10 will be completely broken down. If you want breakdowns of anyone 11-25, feel free to shoot me an email, which I will post in the comments (making a new one strictly for this).
1. Aaron Rodgers (Age: 26, Bye Week: 10)
2009 Stats: 4,434 Pass Yds, 30 TDs, 7 INTs, 316 Rush Yds, Five TDs
2009 Fantasy Points: 290
2010 Projected Stats: 4,170 Pass Yds, 38 TDs, 10 INTs, 225 Rush Yds, Three TDs
2010 Projected Fantasy Points: 294
Grade: 2nd Round
My only concern is with Donald Driver getting up there in age, someone else will have to step up as Rodgers’ No. 2 option behind Greg Jennings.
The Packers are hoping it’ll be Jermichael Finley. We’ll see. However, drafting him with expectations of 250 yards and 2 TDs per week would be pretty safe.
2. Peyton Manning (Age: 34, Bye Week: 7)
2009 Stats: 4,500 Pass Yds, 33 TDs, 16 INTs, -13 Rush Yds
2009 Fantasy Points: 244
2010 Projected Stats: 4,625 Pass Yds, 35 TDs, 14 INTs
2010 Projected Fantasy Points: 258
Grade: 3rd Round
Old reliable himself, Peyton Manning is the ultimate fantasy QB. Every year, no matter what talent he has or doesn’t have around him, he produces top five QB numbers.
My worry with Manning is how broken down Reggie Wayne looked at times last year. With a bunch of good young receivers, but no real No. 1, the interception numbers may continue to rise. However, if all Manning had to work with receivers he borrowed from the Purdue University team, he’d still throw for 3,500 yards and 25 TDs.
3. Drew Brees (Age: 30, Bye Week: 10)
2009 Stats: 4,388 Pass Yds, 34 TDs, 11 INTs, 33 Rush Yds, two TDs
2009 Fantasy Points: 264
2010 Projected Stats: 3,995 Pass Yds, 36 TDs, 13 INTs, 25 Rush Yds, TD
2010 Projected Fantasy Points: 252
Grade: 3rd Round
Maybe it’s the Madden Curse. Maybe it’s the fact that they’re probably still partying down in New Orleans. Maybe it’s how much deeper the NFC is this year.
Exactly what it is, I can’t put my finger on. All I know is I don’t trust Brees this year.
I’ll admit I’m basing this on nothing more than intuition. There’s an old saying in fantasy football: buy low, sell high. Well, if there was any QB more sell high than Drew Brees is right now, it was Tom Brady heading into the 2008 season. I’m not 100% sure, but I think Tom Brady threw for approximately 100 yards that season.
I’m not saying that the same thing will happen to Brees, I’m just saying think twice before you select him in the first round.
4. Matt Schaub (Age: 29, Bye Week: 7)
2009 Stats: 4,770 Pass Yds, 29 TDs, 15 INTs, 57 Rush Yds
2009 Fantasy Points: 240
2010 Projected Stats: 4,365 Pass Yds, 30 TDs, 17 INTs, 48 Rush Yds, TD
2010 Projected Fantasy Points: 236
Grade: 4th Round
When healthy, Matt Schaub and that Texans offense is among the highest-powered in the NFL. Key words: when healthy.
There are a lot of question marks about the Texans offense this year. Will someone step up in the running game? Will Owen Daniels be back to full form this year? Will Schaub be able to play all 16 games for only the 2nd time in his career (2009)?
My estimate? Yes, Yes, and Yes. Schaub is the kind of player that will either take you to the top or to the cellar of your fantasy league. Draft accordingly.
5. Kevin Kolb (Age: 25, Bye Week: 8)
2009 Stats (5 games): 741 Pass Yds, 4 TD, 3 INTs, Rush TD
2009 Fantasy Points: 40
2010 Projected Stats: 3,475 Pass Yds, 34 TDs, 18 INTs
2010 Projected Fantasy Points: 217
Grade: 5th Round
Here’s one I’m absolutely sure I’ll take some heat for: I love Kevin Kolb this year.
The guy is stepping into one of the best situations anyone could dream. He has a legit No. 1 target in DeSean Jackson, a dynamic No. 2 in Jeremy Maclin, a good TE in Brent Celek, and a great receiving back in LeSean McCoy.
He doesn’t have McNabb’s arm strength, but his arm strength is more than sufficient and his accuracy will allow the offense to become more of a pure West Coast offense.
The INTs may be high, but so will the TDs and Yards. This time next year, Kolb could be a top three QB.
6. Matt Ryan (Age: 25, Bye Week: 8)
2009 Stats: 2,916 Pass Yds, 22 TDs, 14 INTs, 49 Rush Yds, TD
2009 Fantasy Points: 166
2010 Projected Stats: 3,685 Pass Yds, 28 TDs, 12 INTs
2010 Projected Fantasy Points: 205
Grade: 5th-6th Round
I think Matt Ryan’s season was a case of the classic sophomore jinx.
It also didn’t help that Michael Turner was a shell of his former self. But Turner is back and healthy, and Ryan still has a dynamic No. 1 WR in Roddy White and a living legend TE in Tony Gonzalez.
Another big risk-reward candidate.
7. Joe Flacco (Age 25, Bye Week: 8)
2009 Stats: 3,613 Pass Yds, 21 TDs, 12 INTs, 56 Rush Yds
2009 Fantasy Points: 178
2010 Projected Stats: 3,005 Pass Yds, 32 TDs, 13 INTs
2010 Projected Fantasy Points: 200
Grade: 5th-6th Round
Joe Flacco’s big problem in the last couple years has been accuracy over the middle and receiving talent.
The latter has been addressed. The former? We’ll see.
The Ravens are never going to be a pass-first team, but with the additions of Anquan Boldin and Donte’ Stallworth, Flacco could see a nice spike in TDs this season.
8. Jay Cutler (Age: 27, Bye Week: 8)
2009 Stats: 3,666 Pass Yds, 27 TDs, 26 INTs, 173 Rush Yds, TD
2009 Fantasy Points: 203
2010 Projected Stats: 3,875 Pass Yds, 23 TDs, 18 INTs, 95 Rush Yds
2010 Projected Fantasy Points: 190
Grade: 6th Round
Jay Cutler will benefit most from the addition of Mike Martz in the offense.
Expect a drop in touchdowns, but a spike in yards along with a drop in interceptions.
If he had a better WR corps, he’d be much higher on this list. As it is, though, he sits eighth.
9. Phillip Rivers (Age: 28, Bye Week: 10)
2009 Stats: 4,254 Pass Yds, 28 TDs, 9 INTs, 50 Rush Yds, TD
2009 Fantasy Points: 233
2010 Projected Stats: 3,225 Pass Yds, 25 TDs, 10 INTs
2010 Projected Fantasy Points: 182
Grade: 6th Round
I used to have Rivers a lot higher. This time two months ago, Phillip Rivers was my No. 4 QB.
However, that all changed with the Vincent Jackson thing. Not only is he suspended the first three games, but he (along with LT Marcus McNeil) may sit out until week 10 because of a contract dispute.
On the flip side, the Chargers have just about the easiest schedule in the history of the world. They have the six divisional games (we all know how good the AFC West defenses are), plus games against Seattle, St. Louis, Jacksonville, Arizona (minus Antrel Rolle and Karlos Dansby) and Houston (minus Dunta Robinson).
That’s eight games against some pretty piss-poor defenses and three other games against very middle-of-the-road defenses. In fact, the toughest defense the Chargers face this season is the Bengals defense, and that’s not until week 16.
Still, I’d avoid Phillip Rivers.
10. Tom Brady (Age: 33, Bye Week: 5)
2009 Stats: 4,398 Pass Yds, 28 TDs, 13 INTs, 44 Rush Yds, TD
2009 Fantasy Points: 232
2010 Projected Stats: 3,175 Pass Yds, 27 TDs, 17 INTs
2010 Projected Fantasy Points: 181
Grade: 6th Round
I think Tom Brady is in for a down year. No Wes Welker for at least half of the season will hurt, as will one of the most inconsistent run games known to man. Still, he is Tom Brady, and I can’t in my right mind put him any lower than this. He does scare me a little, though.