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2010 Player Rankings: Top 10 Quarterbacks
Updated: September 9, 2010
Top 10's:        
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Tier One
Aaron Rodgers - GBP YEAR TM GMS CMP ATT PYD PTD INT CAR RYD RTD
Huddle Rank: 1
Keeper: 3
Auction 10: 20%
Auction 12: 22%
2007 GBP 2 20 28 218 1   7 29  
2008 GBP 16 341 536 4038 28 13 56 207 4
2009 GBP 16 350 541 4434 30 7 58 316 5
Avg   11 237 368 2897 20 7 40 184 3
Proj GBP       4400 30 10   240 4

Ease up, Packer fans; you're like Tom Cruise ripping old flame Mimi Rogers while extolling the virtues of Katie Holmes: both are hot, you chose the young one, now let’s all move on. Fantasy-wise there’s no question Green Bay has upgraded; Rodgers’ last two seasons exceeded any the 4mer QB Whose Name Will Not Be Mentioned has put up since the mid-1990s, and there’s no reason for the party to end. Rodgers‘ receivers return, with Jermichael Finley developing into a serious mismatch problem for opposing defenses; Ryan Grant heads up an underrated ground game; and the offensive line, which served up 50 sacks last year, is both healthier and upgraded via the draft.

What’s not to like? Well, a better offensive line might keep Rodgers from scrambling quite as much, which could take a bite out of his rushing yardage and nine rushing scores over the past two seasons. On the other hand, if Bryan Bulaga isn’t ready to go right out of the gate and Mark Tauscher and Chad Clifton show their age it could be another season of abuse for Rodgers. And after tearing up a soft schedule last year, Rodgers will find the going significantly tougher this time around. Still, those feel like teeny tiny quibbles; in other words, it’s tough to bet against Rodgers setting the pace for fantasy quarterbacks in 2010

Drew Brees - NOS YEAR TM GMS CMP ATT PYD PTD INT CAR RYD RTD
Huddle Rank: 2
Keeper: 1
Auction 10: 20%
Auction 12: 22%
2007 NOS 16 440 652 4423 28 18 23 52 1
2008 NOS 16 413 635 5069 34 17 22 -1  
2009 NOS 15 363 514 4388 34 11 22 33 2
Avg   16 405 600 4627 32 15 22 28 1
Proj NOS       4400 33 12   30 1

Brees was only 5th best in the NFL last year with 4398 passing yards but his 34 touchdowns were tops in the league. That made it four straight season with more than 4300 passing yards and two years in a row with 34 scores. Brees even had a career low interception mark in 2009 with just 11. He ended his year with the Super Bowl MVP and now gets to play as the league champion.

The Saints' schedule is about the same strength as last year and all the same notable players are returning. The reigning NFL champs have a target on their back this season but that may only serve to have Brees throw even more. Brees has four straight big seasons, no reason to not expect him to string it to five.

Peyton Manning - DEN YEAR TM GMS CMP ATT PYD PTD INT CAR RYD RTD
Huddle Rank: 3
Keeper: 2
Auction 10: 20%
Auction 12: 22%
2007 IND 16 337 515 4040 31 14 20 -5 3
2008 IND 16 371 555 4002 27 12 20 21 1
2009 IND 16 393 571 4500 33 16 19 -13  
Avg   16 367 547 4181 30 14 20 1 1
Proj DEN       4500 30 12   50 1

Last year Manning ranked #2 with 4500 passing yards and attempts (571), completions (393) and touchdown passes (33). He’s thrown for more than 4000 yards in ten of his 12 seasons and has never passed for less than 3700 including his rookie season. He’s also passed for more than 30 touchdowns in four of the last five years. There’s no need to think about it – Manning is perhaps the lowest risk player you could draft. He even gets back Anthony Gonzalez and will have even more viable receivers than last year.

Tier Two
Tony Romo - DAL YEAR TM GMS CMP ATT PYD PTD INT CAR RYD RTD
Huddle Rank: 4
Keeper: 5
Auction 10: 15%
Auction 12: 18%
2007 DAL 16 335 520 4211 36 19 31 129 2
2008 DAL 13 276 450 3448 26 14 28 41  
2009 DAL 16 347 550 4483 26 9 35 105 1
Avg   15 319 507 4047 29 14 31 92 1
Proj DAL       4500 29 10   100  

It was a pass-happy year in the NFL and Romo ended 2009 with 4483 yards to rank third best in the league for a personal best. His 26 touchdowns replicated 2008 and his nine interceptions were not only a career best but came when he had thrown more passes (550) than he ever had before. Romo enjoyed the surprising spark that Miles Austin lent to the passing attack that obviously did not miss a beat with the departure of Terrell Owens. Romo was more consistently good last year and turned in eight games over 300 yards and ten with two or more scores.

The Cowboys passing schedule is lighter than last year and the receiver crew is more experienced. The Cowboys also added Dez Bryant as the high-risk/high- reward wideout they hope becomes the next Randy Moss and not the next Sinorice Moss. The Cowboys offense remains every bit as loaded as 2009 and could be even better if Bryant meets or exceeds expectations. Romo had a great 2009 season but many quarterbacks had career best years as well. That means Romo could come a little cheaper than warranted.

Tom Brady - NEP YEAR TM GMS CMP ATT PYD PTD INT CAR RYD RTD
Huddle Rank: 5
Keeper: 4
Auction 10: 15%
Auction 12: 16%
2007 NEP 16 398 578 4806 50 8 37 98 2
2008 NEP 1 7 11 76          
2009 NEP 16 371 565 4398 28 13 29 44 1
Avg   11 259 385 3093 26 7 22 47 1
Proj NEP       4240 29 14   40 1

There are two factors to consider about Brady this year. First, he is now going on two years after his knee injuries and is able to work out fully in the offseason unlike 2009. A completely healthy Brady is a dangerous weapon and even last year he still threw for 4398 yards and 28 touchdowns – both second best in his career and top five in the NFL. The other significant factor is that Wes Welker is recovering from his knee surgery and torn rotator cuff. Welker accounted for 123 catches in 2009 which not only led the NFL, it was second highest in NFL history. He had over 110 catches in each of his previous two seasons. Brady will start out with questions around his #1 target. Randy Moss is no slouch, but Moss had 40 fewer catches than Welker last year. And that was with the defense worried about Welker.

In true Patriot fashion, they merely restocked with more aging veterans (Torry Holt and David Patten) and drafted Taylor Price in the third round and still have Brandon Tate who missed his rookie season because of injury. The biggest difference is not so much that Brady’s numbers are going to nosedive, it is that who will catch those 123 catches is going to be hard to gauge.

08-22-10 Update: Brady takes a bump up because not only are his receivers looking good - including Welker - but the rushing attack should be able to offer plenty of support when needed.

Matt Schaub - HOU YEAR TM GMS CMP ATT PYD PTD INT CAR RYD RTD
Huddle Rank: 6
Keeper: 7
Auction 10: 12%
Auction 12: 15%
2007 HOU 11 192 289 2241 9 9 17 52  
2008 HOU 11 251 380 3043 15 10 31 68 2
2009 HOU 16 396 583 4770 29 15 48 57  
Avg   13 280 417 3351 18 11 32 59 1
Proj HOU       4200 29 15   30 1

After struggling with injuries for two seasons, we now finally know what Schaub can do in a full 16 game season. Schaub led the league with 583 passes, 396 completions and 4770 passing yards. His 29 touchdown passes were fourth best. He only lasted for 11 games in each of the previous seasons and now has to be considered among the stud players at his position.

Schaub has roughly the same schedule strength as last year and all the same players return including Owen Daniels who missed half of last season on injured reserve. Schaub also won the MVP of the Pro Bowl because he took it more seriously than the other quarterbacks. Schaub will be one of the first quarterbacks drafted this year and rightfully so but he still carries the injury risk tag. But now, he also wears the “stud” nametag as well.

Kevin Kolb - BUF YEAR TM GMS CMP ATT PYD PTD INT CAR RYD RTD
Huddle Rank: 7
Keeper: 9
Auction 10: 10%
Auction 12: 12%
2007 PHI 1           3 -2  
2008 PHI 6 17 34 144   4 13 2  
2009 PHI 5 62 96 741 4 3 5 -1 1
Avg   4 26 43 295 1 2 7 0 0
Proj BUF       3960 25 17   50  

(+Upside) The Eagles finally parted ways with Donovan McNabb thanks to the emergence of Kolb, who has spent three years watching from the sideline. Kolb was a prolific passer at the University of Houston and now will command the Eagles' offense. He signed a one-year extension worth $12 million that has almost $11 million guaranteed so he is signed through 2011. His body of work in Philly is naturally spotty as the back-up to McNabb but his two starts last season produced 391 yards and two scores against the visiting Saints and then 327 yards and two touchdowns when the Chiefs showed up the next week. Granted – soft defenses visiting but Kolb produced big fantasy numbers those two weeks and the Eagles have a lighter schedule for quarterbacks than they did in 2009.

Kolb has been on the team for three years and knows the offense very well along with the players. He is a pocket passer so there will not be the rushing yards and scores that McNabb once posted but the offense has three young receivers – Brent Celek, DeShaun Jackson and Jeremy Maclin. Kolb has major upside this year and the Eagles staff already expects he’ll replace McNabb without any drop-offs. He’ll likely be drafted as a low-end fantasy starter but could surprise. Even better is that Celek only had three games over 100 yards and two came back-to-back in the only games he played with Kolb starting. DeSean Jackson also topped 100 yards and scored in both contests. Kolb is still a bit of an unknown risk, but his upside far exceeds his downside.

Matt Ryan - ATL YEAR TM GMS CMP ATT PYD PTD INT CAR RYD RTD
Huddle Rank: 8
Keeper: 10
Auction 10: 8%
Auction 12: 12%
2007                    
2008 ATL 16 265 434 3440 16 11 55 104 1
2009 ATL 14 263 451 2916 22 14 30 49 1
Avg   15 264 443 3178 19 13 43 77 1
Proj ATL       3700 25 12   80 1

Ryan missed a few games last year because of his toe but still threw the same number of completions. But he fell from 3440 yards in 2008 to only 2916 last year despite increasing his touchdown totals from 16 to 22. Ryan is not expected to have any residual effects from his turf-toe problem and is 100% recovered. Increasing his passing scores by six is perhaps a 1:1 effect of adding Tony Gonzalez to the team since he scored exactly that much. In the end, the Falcons had played a fairly light schedule in 2008 that was marked by a dominating rushing attack and then had a very tough schedule in 2009 along with injuries to Michael Turner.

This season the schedule is only average which is an upgrade from last year and the Falcons expect to rush less and pass more. This should be a noticeable bump in stats for Ryan who now has two seasons under his belt and a healthy squad to take to the field. Gonzalez should have one more season left on his tread and the young wideouts should be even better. Expect a better year from Ryan that should see him rise into the top half of quarterbacks in the league.

Philip Rivers - SDC YEAR TM GMS CMP ATT PYD PTD INT CAR RYD RTD
Huddle Rank: 9
Keeper: 6
Auction 10: 6%
Auction 12: 10%
2007 SDC 16 277 460 3152 21 15 29 33 1
2008 SDC 16 312 478 4009 34 11 31 84  
2009 SDC 16 317 486 4254 28 9 26 50 1
Avg   16 302 475 3805 28 12 29 56 1
Proj SDC       3900 26 8   50  

(-Risk) Rivers set career marks for attempts (486), completions (317) and yards 4254 but fell from 34 scores in 2008 to just 28 last year. Still overall, he had a pretty consistent season from the last and remains in an offense that has become more focused on the pass. The drafting of Ryan Mathews could impact that if he is successful in turning around a rushing offense that ranked only 25th last year. The Chargers were also #1 in the NFL with 932 yards and seven scores thrown to the running backs. LaDainian Tomlinson only claimed 20 of those catches, however, and otherwise the offense remains intact from last year.

Rivers has been a top quarterback for two seasons and should be productive in 2010 with an easier schedule. Holdouts by Vincent Jackson and LT Marcus McNeill are troublesome but Rivers made the previous 2.29 pick in 2005 into a star and will just direct his talents to other players.

08-31-10 Update: Rivers slips one spot because the Jackson situation is not going to be resolved and LT Marcus McNeill remains unsigned. Both holdouts are about to receive three game suspensions (making it a total of six for Jackson).

Jay Cutler - CHI YEAR TM GMS CMP ATT PYD PTD INT CAR RYD RTD
Huddle Rank: 10
Keeper: 8
Auction 10: 6%
Auction 12: 8%
2007 DEN 16 297 467 3497 20 14 44 205 1
2008 DEN 16 384 616 4526 25 18 57 200 2
2009 CHI 16 336 555 3666 27 26 40 173 1
Avg   16 339 546 3896 24 19 47 193 1
Proj CHI       3800 25 24   80  

(-Risk) (+Upside) Much has been made of the football marriage of Cutler and new Bears OC Mike Martz, and it’s bound to inflate Cutler’s fantasy value heading into the 2010 season. Before you fall into this trap, here’s a couple things to consider. First, there isn’t much for Martz to change from last season, when the Bears ranked eighth in the league in passing attempts and 29th in rushes—typical Martz numbers. Second, aside from a couple monster seasons at the turn of the century with Kurt Warner, Marshall Faulk, Torry Holt, and Isaac Bruce, the numbers for Martz’s quarterbacks haven’t been anything special. In other words, if you sift through all of the Martz hype surrounding Cutler you’ll find that what you saw last year is pretty much what you’re going to see this year.

Cutler will throw plenty, just like last year (555 attempts, fourth behind Schaub, Manning, and Brady). He’ll throw a bunch of touchdowns; the Jon Kitna/J.T. O’Sullivan tandem in Detroit in 2007 is the only Martz-coached quarterback collective to fall short of 20 TD passes. He’ll also throw copious interception; if you liked his 26 INTs last year you’ll love the fact that the cumulative TD:INT ratio for Martz quarterbacks over the past seven seasons is 154:159, that three of the last four Martz-quarterbacked teams have had more picks than touchdowns, and that not since Kurt Warner in 2001 has a Martz quarterback had a TD:INT ratio better than +2. Cutler will also spend a great deal of time running for his life behind a Bears’ offensive line that was fortunate to allow only 35 sacks last year, did little to upgrade, and won’t get any help from Martz schemes that have led to 40+ sacks in every offense he’s been in—172 sacks during his last three seasons at the helm.

The bottom line is that it won’t be pretty to watch, but Cutler will put up numbers—numbers that, depending on your degree of optimism in the development of his receiving corps, put him at the end of the top-tier fantasy quarterbacks or at the fore of the next grouping.

08-29-10 Update: Cutler still has yet to look genuinely in synch with the new offense and scoots down two spots since he'll likely start the year slower than expected. He's been sacked nine times in the preseason which is affecting his willingness to stand in the pocket for very long.

   
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