Quarterbacks are faster to rank, as there is only one starter per team, usually, with a few training camp battles here and there. Those players that are on the bubble will rank lower.
The highest rankings will go to the relatively young, proven players that will count on the support from solid wide receivers. The entire Maniaxs' staff compiled their own rankings, assigning 32 points to a No. 1 rank going down to assigning one point to a No. 32 rank. Then we added all the points and determined the final 2008 QB rankings.
Let me reassure you that nothing particularly crazy happened during the ranking process like ranking Tom Brady No. 32. He received all but one first-place vote. Peyton Manning received all but two second-place votes. The lone occasion where Brady didn't get a first place vote, Peyton didn't take his place, Carson Palmer did. We will have a few articles later into the offseason about Manning's declining rankings in 2008.
For now, enjoy our OFFICIAL 2008 Fantasy QB Seasonal (predraft) Rankings. We have included the final rankings' grid/table for your ease, and a PDF link so that you can download them for your draft(s).
1) Tom Brady: The No. 1 consensus QB pick in 2008, after a career season in which he passed for 4,806 yards and was responsible for an astonishing 50 TDs. He lost Stallworth (who didn’t have a good year anyhow—697 yards and three TDs), but Gaffney is ready to replace him. Randy Moss and Wes Welker are still there to receive his passes and solidify his top-rank. Even a 75 percent repetition of last year's numbers will warrant him the top pick at the position.
2) Peyton Manning: His good, but diminished, production of 4,040 yards (second career-lowest) and 31 scores in 2007 was shadowed only by Tom Brady’s (and a few others) exceptional season. He may fall to the second round of drafts this year, and Tony Romo might even be taken ahead of him in some of them.
Peyton is still a first-tier QB by all means. His fantasy numbers may suffer because of the Colts' "cruise control" mode they adopted last year, of controlling the clock via the running game and using the aerial attack only if needed. Missing favorite target Marvin Harrison for a handful of games contributed to his "dipping" numbers.
3) Tony Romo: Last year’s sleeper, who went from posting 2,903 yards and 19 TDs in 2006 to accumulate 4,211 yards and 36 TDs in 2007, is now ready to be a top-five selection, as long as Terrell Owens (34-years old) and Witten continue to shine.
4) Drew Brees: After a slow ’07 start, he regrouped and produced as advertised. It was too late though, and fantasy owners will be scared of another slow start in '08. Take advantage of that and fly with him. After all, he managed to produce career-highs in yards (4,428), TDs (28), YPG (276.8), and completed 67.6 percent of his passes. The fact that his main target, Marques Colston, will be a “magical” third-year WR next season will only increase his upside.
5) Carson Palmer: He endured an up and down ’07 season, causing his stock to fall a little. His final 2007 stats show that he threw for a career-high 4,131 yards, 575 pass attempted, 373 completions, 258.2 YPG, and five 300-yard games, but also saw him toss 20 interceptions, another career-high.
Troubled WR Chris Henry (who provided some protection for the other WRs, when eligible to play) is finally out of Cincinnati, Chad Johnson is steadily becoming a locker-room distraction, and his best 2007 receiving weapon, T.J. Houshmandzadeh, will be a free agent at the end of this season, raising concerns among all parties involved.
However, the talent is still there for the fifth-year player to have another productive season, especially with RB Kenny Watson being efficiently involved in the receiving aspect of the Bengals’ offense. Newly acquired WR Doug Gabriel, who spent his entire career with the Oakland Raiders before missing the whole 2007 season as a free agent, should fill the void left in the WR’s depth chart by Chris Henry's release.
6) Derek Anderson: From unranked and undrafted last fantasy season to a top-tier selection this year after a monster ’07 season, in which he threw for 3,787 yards and 29 TDs. The addition of Stallworth should shed some coverage off star receiver Braylon Edwards and TE Kellen Winslow, and could even catapult him up to No. 3 overall by the end of next season.
7) Ben Roethlisberger: While “Big Ben” had a quiet and normal statistical 2007 season in yards (3,154), YPG (210.3), and zero 300-yard games, he did manage to limit his picks to a career-low 11, while throwing for a career-high 32 TDs. Since touchdowns scored are every fantasy owner’s dream to rapidly accumulate points, the only red flag I see with Roethlisberger is the fact that 14 of those 32 scores came in three games, all against teams with weak pass defenses, such as the Browns (four), Broncos (four), and the Ravens (five).
However, he passed for scores in every game played (15), except in that “muddy” game vs. the Dolphins on Nov. 26. Having already developed some chemistry with “magical” third-year wide out Santonio Holmes last year, a healthier Hines Ward and the new coaches’ commitment to a balanced attack (more passing), will warrant him a top-10 ranking for the first time in his five-year career.
8) Matt Hasselbeck: Now that Seattle is a pass-first team, and until they find a good alternative for Alexander (Julius Jones doesn’t seem a good one), Matt is going to be a good fantasy option. Playing in a weak NFC West division will help grow his numbers too. Hasselbeck and his owners enjoyed a great 2007 season as he passed for a career-high 3,966 yards and 28 TDs. His Peyton-like 248 YPG was also a career-high.
New QB coach Bill Lazor, who helped Jason Campbell’s development while in Washington last year, could only help Hasselbeck maintain this high rank. D.J. Hackett is no longer a Seahawk, but he hardly played enough to be sorely missed from their system this season. Veterans Bobby Engram and Nate Burleson are still efficient threats, and Ben Obomanu can turn out to be a potential breakout candidate in the WR department next year.
9) Marc Bulger: The injuries sustained on the OL, and his own (ribs,concussion), played a huge part in his sub-par 2007 campaign. In 12 games played last year, Bulger produced career-lows in YPG (199.3), 300-yard games (three), 58.5 completion percentage, Y/A (6.3), and, mostly important, TDs (11). Long time target Isaac Bruce will be now rendering his services in San Francisco, leaving aging Torry Holt, often injured ex-Titans Drew Bennett, and TE Randy McMichael, who was often utilized as a blocker more than a receiver last year, as his main pass catchers.
If the Rams can field a healthy offense in 2008, including having RB Steven Jackson for the entire season, there is no reason not to believe we can see a repeat of the career-like campaign Marc had the previous year (2006) when he threw for 4,301 yards, 24 TDs, 8 300-yard games and only eight INTs.
10) Donovan McNabb: Some people were scared by his susceptibility to injuries last preseason, but he played most of the games relatively healthy, and took some teams to the fantasy championship, including mine. That was thanks to some strong outings in the final weeks of the season where he only threw one INT (in meaningless fantasy week 17) versus six TDs. Another decent season, one worthy of a No. 10 ranking, is on the horizon for Donovan, who will have another year to develop his rapport with receivers Kevin Curtis and Reggie Brown.
11) Eli Manning: While Eli enjoyed a decent 2007 season, in which he threw for 3,336 yards (not his career-high) and 23 TDs, the downfall to that was his 20 INTs. What makes these numbers look even worse for him is the fact that he scored eight of his 23 TDs in two weeks (four each in Weeks One and 17), and threw at least one interception in twelve games. In the four games when he didn’t throw a pick, he only passed for one TD or less. All of that equals to inconsistency. For fantasy purposes, consistency is key!
A huge factor that plays in Eli’s favor is that he hasn’t missed a single game since taking over the starting role in 2004. Having a healthy Shockey, an insurance option in second-year TE Kevin Boss, a renewed Plaxico Burress, and a strong running game to keep defenses honest will also play in his favor.
12) Matt Schaub: Last year was Schaub's first year as a starter, and the great expectations that came along were just brushed away from an injury-laden season, where he missed five games and played sparingly in three others. Schaub played at full speed in only eight games in 2007 and posted 2,107 passing yards (263.3 per game). If we project those yards into a full 16 games, we have him throwing an elite-like 4,214. Missing leading wide out Andre Johnson for most of the season didn't help matters for the ex-Falcon.
We feel confident about a redemption season for Schaub, especially because of the fact that he threw 80 percent of his TD passes in the four games played together with Johnson. We give him a vote of confidence by ranking him just outside the top-10 in light of his potential, provided that he and Johnson can enjoy a full healthy season.
13) Jon Kitna: Mike Martz has left the Motor City, taking his pass-happy play calling to the West coast (San Francisco), and that could be a blessing in disguise for the nine-year veteran. Opposing corners will not salivate as much at the chance of picking his passes in 2008, but the lack of a respectable running game after the release of often-injured Kevin Jones and goal-line backup T.J. Duckett will force the Lions to throw the ball downfield quite often again.
Kitna (two consecutive 4,000+ yards seasons) is a double-edged sword for fantasy purposes. He has the personnel to reel in his throws with star wide-out Roy Williams and potential hall of Famer Calvin Johnson, but at the same time, this 35-year old signal caller has had only one season (2003 as a Bengal) where he threw more TDs (26) than interceptions (15).
14) Jay Cutler: Cutler had a pretty nice statistical year in his second season. 297 completions in 467 attempts for 3,497 yards, 20 TDs, and 14 interceptions are not bad in a second-year campaign, which is usually labeled as a “sophomore-jinx” season. He had a solid 88.1 QB rating to complement his other statistics. If he didn’t jump into superstar status in 2007, it was because he threw too many inopportune picks and the team struggled to win games.
Brandon Marshall and Cutler are a dangerous duo, and if they can find a consistent running game as soon as next season, the Broncos’ offense is poised to explode. I would be surprised not to see Cutler throw for 3,700-3,800 yards and 25-plus touchdowns to establish himself as the premier QB in that draft's class, now that the Broncos have gotten him a bodyguard in OT Ryan Clady in the draft's first round. Cutler was recently diagnosed with type-1 diabetes and it remains to be seen how that is going to affect his career. Stay tuned.
15) David Garrard: Everyone talks about the Jags and their running game. People overlook their passing game. Yes, Garrard hasn’t thrown a career 300-yard game yet, but at the end of the 2007 season, he was trusted to throw the ball for scores. He netted 10 TDs and 1,179 yards in the last five games played. The addition of ex-Raider Jerry Porter as a receiving target should prove a winner for Garrard’s development. After the elite QBs have been drafted this summer, look at Garrard to provide some solid points on your fantasy roster.
16) Philip Rivers: Rivers has enjoyed two consecutive over 3,000-yard seasons and has thrown more TDs than INTs during that span. That is a positive in fantasy football. Last year, his breakout season suffered a halt due to the nagging injury to his main target, TE Antonio Gates, and the inexperience of third-year wide out Vincent Jackson to produce as a number-one receiver.
This year, having a healthier Gates, a veteran in Chris Chambers from Week One, and Jackson going back to his normal second-receiver role, will help Rivers produce consistently. Let's not forget that Tomlinson can still catch out of the backfield, and turn short screen-passes into long yardage gains.
17) Matt Leinart/ Kurt Warner: If the coaching staff will allow Leinart to have the job without looking over his shoulder at Kurt Warner, I believe he will finally realize the potential that made him a top-10 pick a couple of seasons ago. He has all the weapons necessary to succeed. Fitzgerald and Boldin are an excellent one-two punch. Leonard Pope has shown flashes of being able to emerge as a go-to Tight End. James still has production left in the tank, although I do believe he is on the downhill slide.
Word out of Arizona is that Leinart has made excellent strides having watched Warner last season. The Cardinals are expecting big things. I would not be surprised with 3,200 to 3,500 yards and 20-25 touchdown passes. Kurt Warner will once again start the season on the bench, and will be a valuable waiver-wire addition should the need arise.
18) Jeff Garcia: Joey Galloway is getting old by WR standards, but keeps posting decent numbers every year. However, he cannot do that forever, and the Bucs need major help at the position. Ike Hilliard has scored a total of four TDs in the last four years in the league, years where he has missed only one game. Definitely not your dream second-receiver.
The signing of free-agent wide out Antonio Bryant, who last played for the Cleveland Browns in 2006, will help Garcia's numbers next season, but too many question marks abound in the Bucs' camp at the position. Despite coach Gruden's smoke screen that predicted fifth-year often-injured Michael Clayton would have "One heck of an offseason", he still has to shake off the injury bug from his shoulders. Third-year receiver Maurice Stovall also needs to break into Tampa's lineup soon.
The positives for Garcia are the dependability from RB Earnest Graham in the passing game and the above-mentioned reliability of Galloway. Another key factor that makes Garcia a good fantasy option is low INT numbers, especially when you consider he has only thrown six of them in 21 starts versus 23 TDs during that same time frame.
19) Jake Delhomme: The Panthers have gotten him some help in the targets department, with the acquisitions of ex-Seattle receiver D.J. Hackett, and former Panther Muhsin Muhammad. Hackett has had a young career hampered by injures, and figures to be a great complement to Steve Smith, the team's stud. Muhammad returns to Carolina on the downside of his career, after posting career numbers in his last season there in 2004, when he had 1,405 receiving yards, seven 300-yard games, and scored 16 TDs, and can also be dependable as third-receiver.
Second-year WR Dwayne Jarrett could be developed rush-free with the added ammunition, and can eventually serve his raw skills to Delhomme as soon as the '08 season. One major concern with Jake is that he has been hurt in each of the past two seasons, missing three and 13 games respectively. If he can stay healthy this year, look for solid numbers, and can become a nice sleeper for fantasy owners in 2008.
20) Aaron Rodgers: Yes, he does not have a single, official NFL start under his belt, but he does inherit, however, a very potent offense that includes third-year wide out Greg Jennings and RB Ryan Grant. He played well when he took over for an injured Favre versus Dallas in week 13 last season, throwing for 201 yards, one score, and no INTs. The Packers’ solid OL should make Rodgers a solid No. 2 QB, with the potential to grow into more as the season progresses.
A few quick thoughts on the rest of the quarterbacks.
21) Vince Young: He doesn't have the weapons in his stable to be consistent, fantasy-wise. It seems like the team keeps drafting RBs every offseason.
22) Jason Campbell. He did get some help on paper in the WR department, but in 2007, we had to wait 10 weeks to see a Washington receiver score a TD, and that was by James Thrash of all people. If history repeats itself, it may be too late for fantasy owners to make the playoffs.
23) Alex Smith/Shaun Hill: Mike Martz is in town, but who will win the starting job is the question. Besides, Martz can do no miracles with the receiving personnel currently in place.
24) Tarvaris Jackson: Bernard Berrian should be an improvement from what they had last year, but the Vikings’ offense is too Peterson-dependent for him to have an outstanding year.
25) JaMarcus Russell: He finally gets the starting gig, and some new receivers, but it will still be his first year in the fire. If McFadden steals the show in Oakland, as suspected, he is nothing more than a fantasy back-up.
26) Trent Edwards/J.P. Losman: We have another camp battle here to justify this low rank. Even with rookie James Hardy in the mix at wide out, Lee Evans will not be consistent enough to help either QB ascend a few spots.
27) Kellen Clemens/Chad Pennington: Whoever wins the starting job here will be busy dodging the opponent’s pass rush. Coles showed signs of breaking down last year and Cotchery cannot do the job by himself.
28) Chris Redman/Matt Ryan: It will be Redman’s job to start the season, but Roddy White alone won’t be sufficient to warrant a steady production. We frankly believe that the Falcons will run their offense primarily through Michael Turner (Atlanta’s new toy) in 2008.
29) Rex Grossman: His two best receivers from 2007, Berrian and Muhammad, are no longer in Chicago. Not that he was a spectacular QB throwing to them, but a huge loss in the chemistry department. Besides, he throws too many interceptions for fantasy standards.
30) B. Croyle/Damon Huard: Dwayne Bowe, aging Tony Gonzalez, and the uncertainty that every position-battle brings are not good factors for the two competing Chiefs’ QBs.
31) Kyle Boller: We all know that the most of the Ravens scoring comes from their defensive players and kicker Matt Stover. We kid you not!
32) Josh McCown: This traveled QB goes yet to another team with virtually no one to throw his passes to. Miami is busy building the franchise, elevating their defense’s play, and solidifying their running game.
Antonino Buccellato (Fantasy Dr. X) is the owner of Fantasy Football Maniaxs.