| Top Ten Fantasy QB’s to own
||The gold standard of fantasy quarterbacks starts the season in his accustomed No. 1 spot. His matchup with the Giants is shaping up as a classic. Even though New York has a fantastic defensive line, Manning will want to show up little brother Eli in the season’s first Sunday night extravaganza.
||Call this a reach if you want, since he hasn’t faced live bullets in a game that counts since destroying his knee in the playoffs, but Palmer looked so good against Green Bay in his preseason debut that he has firmly established himself as the No. 2 QB. Look for big numbers in what should be a shootout against Kansas City.
||So he more than likely won’t have Deion Branch for the balance of the season. Who cares? Brady will once again approach the 4,000-yard mark and throw for about 30 TDs. He lit up Buffalo for 329 yards and two TDs, plus a rushing score, in his last meeting with the Bills. Although Buffalo should have an improved D in 2006, there’s no reason to doubt Brady will have an excellent start to the season.
||Yeah, this is a lofty perch, but he’ll be extra jazzed to take on his brother in the biggest game of Week 1. Look for good numbers against the Colt D.
||If you think this is too high for Green, check back after he lights up the suspect Bengal pass D in his home opener. There’s every indication that Herm Edwards will want to grind it out on the ground more this season, but he’s also smart enough to know when to take advantage of a good passing matchup.
||All of the concerns about Arizona’s offensive line are well founded, and Edgerrin James could eat into some of Warner’s passing numbers. But for this week, at least, Warner should put up a Top 10-worthy game against the woeful 49ers in Arizona’s first regular season game in their new palace of a stadium. Oh, and don’t forget a couple of guys named Boldin and Fitzgerald. Warner should have a field day.
||With the addition of Nate Burleson, Hasselbeck could quietly have one of the most potent receiving corps to throw to in the league. Shaun Alexander will eat into Hasselbeck’s TD numbers, but Hasselbeck should have a good opener on the road against Detroit.
||A healthy McNabb is dangerous, and a happy McNabb possesses the potential for greatness. And McNabb is both this season. He put up monster numbers even before T.O. came to town, and he’ll be able to now that Owens is gone. Add a potential fantasy stud in Donte Stallworth, and McNabb is poised for another explosion. He’ll begin his return to dominance with an outstanding Week 1 performance against the Texans.
||A newfound commitment to the run at first looks like a problem for Bulger owners, but it also means the fairly fragile quarterback should be better protected this season. Don’t hesitate to run him against the Broncos this week.
||Bledsoe easily answered the ridiculous murmurs of losing his job to backup Tony Romo. He seems to have retained his great on-field relationship with Terry Glenn, if preseason is any indication, and his numbers will only get better once he finally gets on the same page with you-know-who. It’ll be tough this week on the road against a strong Jacksonville D, but Bledsoe should have at least a serviceable fantasy day.
(Note – this listing considers the rankings of QB’s if a draft was held today)
Climbing Up The Ladder
Charlie Batch (PIT) – He’ll drive the car in Pittsburgh for at least the first two games as Ben Roethlisberger recovers from an appendectomy. Not that Batch will be a great fantasy option against a tough Miami D. Don’t get cute and decide to run him out.
Kerry Collins (TEN) – He probably won’t see a lot of action the first few weeks, but it’s just a matter of time until Collins takes the helm in Tennessee. He’d at the very least be worth a look as an emergency fill-in, since he will probably be the starter by Week 7. He gets to face Houston twice in the second half of the season.
Ben Roethlisberger (PIT) – Not that he was that much of a fantasy option even when healthy, but he’s a non-factor for at least the first two weeks of the season.
Billy Volek (TEN) – The definition of a lame duck. Unless he absolutely lights it up the first couple of weeks, it looks like he’s headed to the bottom of the Titan quarterback heap – if he’s not released or traded first.