Running back is the most important position in fantasy football, but just like in the NFL, you cannot be one-dimensional in your offensive attack.
You think you are all set because you have Chris Johnson, Adrian Petersen, and Shonn Greene on your fantasy team? Well, your squad cannot run the wishbone offense, and having Sage Rosenfels and JaMarcus Russell as your signal callers is worse than having Shaquille O’Neal shooting your free throws. An NFL team can win a Super Bowl with Trent Dilfer as its quarterback, but the same does not hold true for fantasy football.
Here are the top 40 quarterbacks in fantasy football heading into the 2010 campaign.
1. Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers
You know why I love Rodgers? It is not because of his 4,434 passing yards, his 30 touchdown tosses, or his five rushing scores. And it isn’t even because he is only going to get better because he is younger than the other premier players at the position. It is because his fantasy value does not dip because of Green Bay’s frigid conditions and whipping winds. He can throw for two touchdowns in any weather against any defense.
2. Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints
Brees does not seem like the type to have a Super Bowl letdown and allow the banquet circuit to keep him from another 4,500-yard year. But if Brees crashes and burns in 2010, blame Oprah, gumbo, and Madden 11.
3. Peyton Manning, Indianapolis Colts
If Manning needed more going for him (which he didn’t), he arguably has the best receiving crew he has ever had in his career, especially now that Anthony Gonzalez is fully recovered from the knee surgery that ruined his 2009 season.
4. Tony Romo, Dallas Cowboys
He has an outstanding cast of characters to chuck to, he has been Jessica Simpson-free for enough time that her bad karma is out of his system, and he is primed for 4,500 yards and 30 touchdowns.
5. Tom Brady, New England Patriots
His torn ACL from two years ago obviously did not hurt his arm judging by last season’s performance. Brady will need a healthy Wes Welker on the field, though, or else Randy Moss gets double-teamed and Brady is forced to throw to no-names.
6. Philip Rivers, San Diego Chargers
Nobody has the NBA frontcourt to lob passes to like Rivers has. Unfortunately, one of his big men, Vincent Jackson, might not help him at all this season thanks to his contract holdout.
7. Matt Schaub, Houston Texans
Schaub, not any of the six men ranked above him, led the NFL in passing yards in 2009. Feel free to pass over the top half-dozen and draft him a couple rounds later.
8. Jay Cutler, Chicago Bears
Offensive guru Mike Martz usually turns unknown quarterbacks into fantasy superstars because of his pass-pass-pass playbook (Kurt Warner and Marc Bulger are prime examples). Luckily interceptions do not bother Martz because Cutler will throw a lot of them.
9. Eli Manning, New York Giants
Peyton’s little bro set new career-highs last season with 4.021 passing yards and 27 touchdown passes. Guess he does not need Plaxico Burress to be his go-to guy after all.
10. Joe Flacco, Baltimore Ravens
Finally Flacco has someone to aim for other than Derrick Mason! Anquan Boldin’s arrival definitely makes the Delaware product an attractive option.
11. Kevin Kolb, Philadelphia Eagles
No team calls more pass plays than the Eagles do, which means Kolb has no choice but to throw for 225 yards a game, even if it takes him 50 pass attempts to do it.
12. Brett Favre, Minnesota Vikings
I was hoping this would finally be the year he would retire and do a hunting show with Ted Nugent, but I guess fantasy owners wouldn’t mind another 30-TD season from him. Just do not expect seven interceptions again, especially with favorite target Sidney Rice missing the first half of the season.
13. Donovan McNabb, Washington Redskins
McNabb will be in for a rude awakening the first time he throws long and instead of DeSean Jackson going deep it will be Malcolm Kelly or Devin Thomas.
14. Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons
The dreaded sophomore jinx happens to the best of them. And if the player is talented like Ryan, normally his junior NFL season is above-average.
15. Carson Palmer, Cincinnati Bengals
Palmer lost some velocity off his fastball last season and had trouble completing passes longer than 20 yards. Hopefully being another year removed from his arm injury and having reality stars Chad Ochocinco and Terrell Owens tag-teaming should help him bounce back.
16. Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions
The former first overall pick needs to cut down on the interceptions as much as Kirstie Alley needs to cut down on snacks, but he foreshadowed big things to come when he threw for 10 touchdowns over his last five games last season.
17. David Garrard, Jacksonville Jaguars
Garrard is playing for his job after what his owner and head coach said about him in the offseason, so he has extra motivation.
18. Vince Young, Tennessee Titans
If Young just completes five screen passes to Chris Johnson every week, that right there should make him a solid No. 2 fantasy quarterback.
19. Mark Sanchez, New York Jets
Speaking of cutting down on the interceptions, Sanchez was the worst starting quarterback in the NFL last season, yet he totally changed in the playoffs and has the makings of a fantasy stud as long as he limits his brain cramps.
20. Alex Smith, San Francisco 49ers
This is Smith’s last chance to prove he is not Tim Couch. He cannot complain about his supporting cast with Vernon Davis, Michael Crabtree, and Frank Gore around catching his wounded ducks.
21. Chad Henne, Miami Dolphins
Henne’s fantasy value went straight up like a space shuttle as soon as Brandon Marshall came to town. No more zoning in on Greg Camarillo on third downs.
22. Kyle Orton, Denver Broncos
Orton doesn’t have Marshall to throw to anymore, has Tim Tebow and Brady Quinn breathing down his neck, plus all of his running backs are banged-up. This is a recipe for disaster Emeril could not even dream up!
23. Matt Cassel, Kansas City Chiefs
Cassel sure looks like someone who was made to look better than he was by the coaches, players, and system around him in New England.
24. Matt Moore, Carolina Panthers
Moore was a fantasy find at the tail end of last season when he had an 8-to-1 touchdown-to-interception ratio in starts down the stretch, but that came in meaningless games for the Panthers when the pressure was minimal.
25. Matt Hasselbeck, Seattle Seahawks
He has slowly become the second-best Hasselbeck in the family. 22 touchdowns and 27 interceptions over the past two seasons.
26. Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers
"Big Ben" would be firmly entrenched in the top 10 if not for a bad pit stop at a Georgia bathroom. Drafting him in the middle rounds for some second-half-of-the-season touchdowns is not a bad idea.
27. Jason Campbell, Oakland Raiders
Talk about a mismatch made in hell. Oakland has always been about the long bomb, but Campbell has always had trouble throwing the ball deep with any accuracy.
28. Sam Bradford, St. Louis Rams
Just because Bradford shredded New England in the preseason does not mean we have another Dan Fouts on our hands, especially since his weak receiving corps is now much weaker with the loss of Donnie Avery.
29. Trent Edwards, Buffalo Bills
Seems like a solid citizen. T.O. never ripped him as much publicly like I thought he would. Still, he is average at best and not one of my fantasy favorites.
30. Jake Delhomme, Cleveland Browns
If interceptions are actually a plus in your bizarro fantasy league, then Delhomme should be drafted in the first round. He has never been the same since his nightmarish game in the playoffs against Arizona two years ago.
31. Josh Freeman, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Freeman and highly-touted rookie receiver Mike Williams should be an interesting tandem to watch in the coming years.
32. Derek Anderson, Arizona Cardinals
If Anderson was a pitcher, his WHIP would be 1.72. Accuracy is not his forte, but unlike Matt Leinart, Anderson has had a 29-TD season to his credit.
33. Byron Leftwich, Pittsburgh Steelers
A good guy to grab if your plan is to snag Roethlisberger in your draft for obvious reasons.
34. Michael Vick, Philadelphia Eagles
If Vick ever starts with Philly I have no idea how it would work. It could be like having Turner Gill quarterbacking a pass-only BYU team from the 1980s.
35. Matt Leinart, Arizona Cardinals (for now)
This California pretty boy has an average arm, no speed, and has exhibited zero leadership skills. Boldin escaped the desert just in time.
36. Charlie Whitehurst, Seattle Seahawks
Let’s be honest, you have never seen this guy play. In fact, you thought he was the title character of that Zac Efron movie that came out a month ago. But with Hasselbeck’s job security shaky with new head man Pete Carroll at the helm, this cat could start at some point.
37. Jimmy Clausen, Carolina Panthers
Claussen was not the reason Notre Dame stunk like a skunk the past few years. The kid has a rifle and will be allowed to fire it if Moore fails miserably.
38. Ryan Fitzpatrick, Buffalo Bills
A decent backup quarterback who can have a two-TD week when pressed into emergency duty.
39. Tarvaris Jackson, Minnesota Vikings
Yeah, like Favre is going to miss a game. Ha!
40. Seneca Wallace, Cleveland Browns
Wallace won’t win a fantasy game for you, but he won’t have a four-INT game and lose one for you, either.