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FANTASY FOOTBALL DRAFT KIT

2008 Player Rankings: Quarterbacks
Updated: September 2, 2008
Sort This Page By: Rank Movement: Huddle Rankings: Projected Stats: Huddle Cheat Sheets:
Tier One
Tom Brady - NEP YEAR TM GMS CMP ATT PYD PTD INT CAR RYD RTD
Huddle Rank: 1
Keeper: 2
Auction 10: 20%
Auction 12: 20%
2005 NEP 16 334 530 4110 26 14 27 89 1
2006 NEP 16 320 517 3533 24 12 49 102  
2007 NEP 16 398 578 4806 50 8 37 98 2
Avg   16 351 542 4150 33 11 38 96 1
Proj NEP       4300 31 10   80 1

What's not to like about a quarterback coming off a season in which he set the all-time passing touchdown record (50)? He was also #1 in passing yards (4806) and over half of his games had over 290 passing yards. In 12 different games he threw for three or more touchdowns. He was the golden ticket of 2007 and if by quirk he was paired with LaDainian Tomlinson, all other teams in the league were playing for second place. Adding Randy Moss and Wes Welker finally gave Brady a couple of quality wideouts and he just exploded. He had always been good for around 25 touchdowns each year. Adding real receivers doubled that.

The question now is can he do it again? A bit of history on the others with over 40 touchdowns in a season says that he not only decreases this year, but sharply so. Consider the next season touchdown decreases of Dan Marino (48 to 30, 44 to 26), Peyton Manning (49 to 28) and Warner (41 to 20). No quarterback passing for more than 40 scores in a season has been able to throw more than 30 the following year. Then again, how can Brady not have a great year? He still has all the same offensive players other than Donte Stallworth. Rushing game hasn’t changed.

Also to consider is that Brady played in 19 games last year. The first 13 had him with an average of 315 yards and 3.5 touchdowns. The final six games were just 241 yards and 2.2 scores. What he will produce in 2008 is more likely somewhere between those two numbers.

The question is not if he will decrease since that is certain coming off such a magic year, but rather how much? If he had thrown 13 less scores in 2007 he still would have been the leader. But the Patriots do have one of the toughest passing schedules in the NFL this year. And history says the greatest quarterbacks of all time all suffered a sharp downturn the following year – all of them. But the Patriots lost the Super Bowl and will be hungry and at some point you have to ask yourself which quarterback has the lowest risk of a good season. Brady deserves to be near the top of that list if not at it. He should be the first QB drafted in almost every league and likely taken too early by those who draft like the previous season repeats. Solid? Of course. High scoring? Sure. Another monster year? It would be the first in history.

Tony Romo - DAL YEAR TM GMS CMP ATT PYD PTD INT CAR RYD RTD
Huddle Rank: 2
Keeper: 3
Auction 10: 18%
Auction 12: 16%
2005 DAL 1           2 -2  
2006 DAL 13 220 337 2903 19 13 34 102  
2007 DAL 16 335 520 4211 36 19 31 129 2
Avg   10 185 286 2371 18 11 22 76 1
Proj DAL       4100 33 16   80  

In most years, Romo would have been the ultra-stud QB but thanks to Tom Brady, he was ranked #2 with 36 passing scores and threw for 4211 yards. He also added two rushing touchdowns as well while heading to a record-setting season for a Cowboys quarterback. In 2006, he played ten games and “only” had 19 touchdowns and 2903 yards so his development as the starter has been fast and complete. Of course he sat on the bench for three years, but with new contract in hand he will be the face of the team for many seasons to come.

The only troubling aspect to Romo’s fine season was his decline over the final four games of the season though the same occurred for many if not most other quarterbacks. He threw seven games of over 300 yards and scored at least twice in all but one of the first 12 games. The final stretch only saw him score twice in four games and never pass for more than 257 yards. That phenomenon did not happen in 2006 when he continued to score and still had much higher passing yardage. Overall, Dallas has a decent passing schedule and has several nice games to start the year but during fantasy playoffs, they face @PIT, NYG and BAL.

The offense is largely the same save for the replacing of Julius Jones with the rookie Felix Jones which should not only help the rushing game but also offer a better pass outlet if needed. The biggest concern for the Cowboys offense is the advancing age of Terrell Owens (35 in December) and the chance he could be injured. Owens has missed only one game in each of his years in Dallas but has not played all 16 games since 2001. He will miss at least one – but more than that could potentially crumble the Dallas passing attack. 2007 was a breakthrough year for Romo and much the same players and dynamics remain, so Romo should be a lock for at least a very good season and if everyone remains healthy, he could match last season. Watch out for those playoff weeks though.

Drew Brees - NOS YEAR TM GMS CMP ATT PYD PTD INT CAR RYD RTD
Huddle Rank: 3
Keeper: 4
Auction 10: 16%
Auction 12: 14%
2005 SDC 16 323 500 3576 24 15 21 49 1
2006 NOS 16 357 555 4424 26 11 41 32  
2007 NOS 16 440 652 4423 28 18 23 52 1
Avg   16 373 569 4141 26 15 28 44 1
Proj NOS       4400 30 14   40  

Brees started 2007 on a horrific note for those fantasy owners looking for 2006 to repeat. As of week five – when many fantasy owners had started looking for other options if not traded him – Brees had only passed for one touchdown and averaged only 232 passing yards per game. And then – he was back. In ten of the next twelve games, Brees threw at least two touchdowns and had five 300 yard game including a 445 yard, three touchdown effort against the visiting Jaguars. By the season’s end, he was right back where he left off in 2006. Brees passed for a career high 4423 yards to rank second only to Tom Brady. His 652 passes and 440 completions were an NFL high and he scored 28 touchdowns with one also rushed in. Almost exactly the same fantasy effect as 2006 only it all happened in the final 11 weeks.

The Saints passing schedule is about the same from last year and they return all the same cast of players – hopefully healthier this time. There’s little reason not to expect the same good season from Brees and a chance that he could have more help from Robert Meacham who was the first round pick in 2007 but never played thanks to a knee injury. Regardless, Brees was a master at spreading the ball around and five different wide receivers had at least two touchdowns from him last year. He is a safe pick at quarterback that should turn in around the same numbers from last year. Be aware though that he could have another slow start with the season kicking off against TB, @WAS, @DEN and MIN.

Peyton Manning - IND YEAR TM GMS CMP ATT PYD PTD INT CAR RYD RTD
Huddle Rank: 4
Keeper: 1
Auction 10: 16%
Auction 12: 16%
2005 IND 16 305 453 3747 28 10 33 45  
2006 IND 16 362 557 4397 31 9 23 36 4
2007 IND 16 337 515 4040 31 14 20 -5 3
Avg   16 335 508 4061 30 11 25 25 2
Proj IND       4200 31 10   40  

Just to show how uncharacteristic 2007 was, Manning was only ranked 4th with 31 passing touchdowns but that was the same as 2006 when he was ranked #1 and had three more than any other quarterback. He passed for 4040 yards which now gives him eight 4000 yard seasons in his career. And he excelled last year without Marvin Harrison. He remains the most consistently productive quarterback even if he is eclipsed by whomever the “QB of the year” is that changes annually. He had more interceptions last year but still only threw 14. Manning will fall in drafts this year only because what went on around him.

Another minor change was that Manning was sacked 23 times and the Colts ranked only 7th best in allowing them. Typically, Manning would be near the top if not the #1 quarterback enjoying great pass blocking. Harrison is returning this year and presents a big unknown after 2007 but even without him, Manning still played great. Romo and Brady were on fire last year but Manning has been so good for so long that he will likely fall too far in many drafts merely because what #1 was in 2006 happened again in 2007 for Manning but was eclipsed by an uncharacteristically great year by a few others. Notable too is that during fantasy football playoff weeks, the Colts host CIN and DET before heading to JAX.

08-24-08 Update: Peyton Manning is still bothered by the knee surgery earlier this summer and his lingering time on the sideline is now becoming a cause for concern that he will not be ready in time for the first game of the year. For now he is being dropped to the bottom of tier one which still says he is a great draft pick but that Tony Romo and Drew Brees carry roughly the same reward but lesser risk than Manning currently does. Since the three are so close, taking the safer route with what will be your first or second draft pick should be taken.

Tier Two
Carson Palmer - CIN YEAR TM GMS CMP ATT PYD PTD INT CAR RYD RTD
Huddle Rank: 5
Keeper: 5
Auction 10: 8%
Auction 12: 8%
2005 CIN 16 345 509 3836 32 12 34 41 1
2006 CIN 16 324 520 4036 28 13 26 35  
2007 CIN 16 373 575 4131 26 20 24 10  
Avg   16 347 535 4001 29 15 28 29 0
Proj CIN       3860 24 21   40 1

(-Risk) 2008 will not be as prolific for Palmer as we have been used to seeing. He comes off a career high season where he ranked #3 in both pass attempts (575) and completions (373) but came in 5th best with 4131 passing yards. He also threw 20 interceptions against 26 touchdowns to rank #3 in interceptions. Roughly 80% of Carson Palmer's errant throws in 2007 were the result of his receivers running incorrect routes which in turn was credited to the departure of WR’s coach Hue Jackson leaving for Atlanta. Palmer’s touchdowns have decreased slightly for the last two consecutive years but his yardage had been increasing. 2008 stands a very good chance of seeing that progression reverse.

The biggest problem is clearly Chad Johnson who has ranked either #1 or #2 in receiving yards for each of the last three years. Johnson is in a contentious fight with the Bengals to trade him and until that is resolved there will be much risk about relying on Palmer. Granted – T.J. Houshmandzadeh remains regardless and while he has been a true gem the last couple of seasons, the reality is that he has gotten the benefit of playing across from the guy that has ranked #1 or #3 in receiving yardage each year since 2005. Don’t underestimate the importance of that distinction. If Johnson remains, he won’t be happy and likely ensure no one else is either – if he even plays. If he leaves, suddenly it is Houshmandzadeh who gets the constant double and triple teams while the #2 role falls to either Doug Gabriel or one of the rookies Jerome Simpson or Andre Caldwell (none of which played there last year). Or the team opts to pretend that Antonio Chatman is good enough after only 19 catches last year. Chris Henry is gone. Johnson wants to be. This will be a changed passing attack.

HC Marvin Lewis has also said that he wants to focus again on establishing a better rushing attack but all he has is Rudi Johnson and Chris Perry returning from season ending injuries and Kenny Watson. Bottom line, it appears likely that Palmer will potentially go into 2008 without the services of one of the most productive wideouts in the NFL and in that case hopes that somehow Houshmandzadeh can continue to excel despite being the sole focus of every secondary. Palmer is as talented as any quarterback but his situation this year is changing. Just to make things even worse, Houshmandzadeh is in a contract year and the Bengals are not certain they will be able to re-sign him. This could be a vastly different Bengals team by 2009. The Bengals answer was to draft three wideouts this year.

Johnson’s projections reflect the scenario of Johnson returning disgruntled but on the field this year. Updates as the situation dictates.

Donovan McNabb - PHI YEAR TM GMS CMP ATT PYD PTD INT CAR RYD RTD
Huddle Rank: 6
Keeper: 6
Auction 10: 8%
Auction 12: 6%
2005 PHI 9 211 357 2507 16 9 25 55 1
2006 PHI 10 180 316 2647 18 6 32 212 3
2007 PHI 14 291 473 3324 19 7 50 236  
Avg   11 227 382 2826 18 7 36 168 1
Proj PHI       3700 20 10   210 2

(-Risk) McNabb remains for his tenth season in Philadelphia despite persistent rumors in the offseason and there could be reason for optimism. McNabb was a fantasy stud while Terrell Owens was there and after he left, McNabb continued racking up impressive games. But he was injured and then missed the final six games of the season. In his first nine healthy games, McNabb had scored 20 touchdowns. He had averaged 280 passing yards per game. But a torn ACL sent him to the sidelines and when he returned in 2007, he only averaged 237 passing yards each week and only scored a total of 19 touchdowns. McNabb missed two games last year with a sprained ankle and thumb.

McNabb also ranked 3rd worse in the NFL by being sacked 44 times. He did throw three games over 300 yards and had three games with three or more touchdowns but in others he struggled. But McNabb was still rehabbing his torn ACL and that affected his level of play. OC Marty Morinwheg said that there is no comparison to how McNabb looked during this offseason compared to 2007.

The Eagles have one of the better passing schedules this season and returns all the same starting receivers. He is healthier now than he was a year ago. But the question is always going to be – can he stay healthy? He hasn’t played a full 16 game season in the last four years and after ten seasons is he going to be any more durable on those knees and ankles? McNabb has the potential to turn in at least some monster games and if he could stay healthy he can be a difference maker. But drafting him means taking the risk that you lose him to injury right when you need him the most. The back-up spot is not yet concrete, but appears that Kevin Kolb is the prudent insurance to have if you draft McNabb.

Ben Roethlisberger - PIT YEAR TM GMS CMP ATT PYD PTD INT CAR RYD RTD
Huddle Rank: 7
Keeper: 7
Auction 10: 8%
Auction 12: 6%
2005 PIT 12 168 268 2385 17 9 31 69 3
2006 PIT 15 281 470 3528 18 23 32 98 2
2007 PIT 15 264 404 3154 32 11 35 204 2
Avg   14 238 381 3022 22 14 33 124 2
Proj PIT       3550 24 17   90 2

Roethlisberger signed an eight-year contract extension worth $102 million with $36 million guaranteed during the offseason. That rewarded him for a big turnaround season that saw him throw 32 touchdowns to rank 3rd best in the NFL. In Bruce Arian’s new offense, Big Ben amazingly fell to only 3154 yards after passing for 3513 in 2006 but the other huge positive was that he went from leading the league with 23 interceptions in 2006 to only throwing 11. 2006 was a nightmare season for the Steelers in general and Roethlisberger in particular but the new offense came together quickly and efficiently. Forget that he threw 65 less passes, he had 14 more touchdowns and 12 less interceptions. That is $102 million worth of improvement.

It wasn’t all rosy for Roethlisberger who was the #2 sacked quarterback with 47 after getting blasted 46 times in 2006. The offensive line improved in the rushing game but still hasn’t been able to keep Big Ben from getting sacked far too often. He has missed just one game in each of the last two years and that is a testament to how big and strong he is in the pocket. He has to be – he’s going to get sacked almost three times every game.

On the positive side, the Steelers are returning the same receivers (at least the good ones) and have added rookie Limas Sweed. Both Hines Ward and Santonio Holmes should be healthy again and the passing game will click. But the schedule will be tougher this season and the Steelers drafted Rashard Mendenhall. That means that Willie Parker’s inability to get the tough yards near the goal line will be compensated for with the powerful rookie. The Steelers only had seven touchdowns from their running backs in 2007 and Roethlisberger rose from 18 to 32 passing scores. In 2006, when Big Ben only had those 18, the running backs supplied 14 rushing scores. The addition of OC Bruce Arians has a lot to do with the split in scoring but it is likely that Mendenhall will be able to score touchdowns that were passing scores in 2007.

Roethlisberger has a tough schedule and will likely see a decrease in passing scores but he still remains a solid choice for a fantasy quarterback. Probably not the difference maker that his 2007 touchdown stats suggest, but he won’t hurt your fantasy team. At least not until the end of the season when he has a four game stretch starting in week 14 playing @NE, DAL, @BAL and @TEN.

Matt Hasselbeck - SEA YEAR TM GMS CMP ATT PYD PTD INT CAR RYD RTD
Huddle Rank: 8
Keeper: 8
Auction 10: 6%
Auction 12: 4%
2005 SEA 16 294 449 3455 24 9 36 124 1
2006 SEA 12 210 371 2442 18 15 18 110  
2007 SEA 16 352 562 3966 28 12 39 89  
Avg   15 285 461 3288 23 12 31 108 0
Proj SEA       3720 23 15   100 1

The serious decline in the rushing game last year allowed Hasselbeck to throw for a career marks in attempts (562), completions (352), yards (3966) and touchdowns (28). All that and he still only had 12 interceptions. He also played with a sore wrist in several games but did not miss any time. Last year was the fourth time in five years that he passed for more than 22 touchdowns. Hasselbeck has always been above average and 2008 landed him well within the top ten of most every fantasy league.

The loss of Darrell Jackson did not hurt the Seahawks and this year Hasselbeck is heading into a Brady-esque year. Not in the sense that he will throw 50 scores but in the way that Hasselbeck now has a smattering of average at best receivers who will come together to post nice stats but individually won’t have any fantasy stars. Like Brady before Moss. Other than Bobby Engram, no wideout had more than 700 yards or 50 catches last year and Engram is unhappy with his contract and already 35 years old. Alexander is gone and Julius Jones is in place. This is a changed team that offers Hasselbeck as the only certain fantasy star.

The Seahawks are improving their line and hoping to return to a better rushing game but adding castoffs Julius Jones and T.J. Duckett is an optimistic ploy to get back to running the ball well. Seattle is also facing a much more daunting schedule this year than most thanks to matching up with the AFC East and NFC East. SF, ARZ and STL are not likely to be top-drawer this year but should be improved. This will be a challenging year for Hasselbeck but one that could yet again force him to throw a lot of passes and generate fantasy points. He’s not a difference maker for a fantasy team but he never kills you either. He will need his young wideout crew to step up this year to win games.

Jake Delhomme - CAR YEAR TM GMS CMP ATT PYD PTD INT CAR RYD RTD
Huddle Rank: 9
Keeper: 9
Auction 10: 6%
Auction 12: 4%
2005 CAR 16 262 435 3421 24 16 24 31 1
2006 CAR 13 263 431 2805 17 11 18 12  
2007 CAR 3 55 86 624 8 1 6 26  
Avg   11 193 317 2283 16 9 16 23 0
Proj CAR       3750 25 11   50  

Delhomme suffered ligament damage to his right elbow and underwent “Tommy John” surgery where cartilage from elsewhere is used to replace the ulnar collateral ligament. The initial prognosis was that he would need 7-9 months of rehab which should get him healthy sometime between May and the start of training camp. His recovery has gone well and he had no setbacks. But similar injuries have ended some players careers and until he goes through the rigors of an NFL week, his status cannot be 100% certain. That all said, Delhomme has been making great strides throughout the offseason and threw at least some passes as far back as last February. He threw 34 passes at the Panthers opening minicamp so the news on him is as good as could be hoped.

The ironic part of his injury was that Delhomme got off to one of the best statistical starts of his career in new offensive coordinator Jeff Davidson's offense last season. In just three games, he had already thrown for eight touchdowns and never less than two in a game. That allowed Steve Smith to have 271 yards and four scores in just his first two weeks. The Panthers floundered without Delhomme so his return is greatly anticipated.

Initial rankings and projections will assume a fully healthy Delhomme but he’ll be a major training camp watch to ensure he will be back to his old ways. According to Delhomme, his elbow could actually come back stronger than it was before the injury and his elbow had been a nagging issue for a few seasons. This should either clear that up or cause a problem for his career effectiveness. The Panthers have an average passing schedule this year and the addition of Jonathan Stewart, D.J. Hackett and Muhsin Muhammad will pay major dividends to the offense. Delhomme should be no worse than in the past and likely a good bit better – if he truly is healthy.

David Garrard - JAC YEAR TM GMS CMP ATT PYD PTD INT CAR RYD RTD
Huddle Rank: 10
Keeper: 10
Auction 10: 4%
Auction 12: 2%
2005 JAC 7 98 168 1117 4 1 31 172 3
2006 JAC 10 145 241 1735 10 9 47 250  
2007 JAC 12 208 325 2509 18 3 49 185 1
Avg   10 150 245 1787 11 4 42 202 1
Proj JAC       3400 26 6   175  

(+Upside) Garrard was the surprise starter last year when the Jaguars finally gave up on Byron Leftwich and handed the reins. In the same vein as Tony Romo, Garrard had been with the Jags since being drafted in 2002 and while he had at least minimal play in each of his six seasons, it wasn’t until 2006 before he subbed for the ever-injured Leftwich for ten weeks and turned in a decent 1735 yards and ten scores in between lots of hand-offs to Fred Taylor and the hot rookie Maurice Jones-Drew. His practice and play inspired the confidence in the coaches to make the change last year. It was a dramatically more effective Garrard in 2008. He played in only 12 games (really just 11) thanks to a high ankle sprain but managed to pass for 2509 yards for 18 touchdowns with only three interceptions. He added 49 runs for 185 yards and a score as well. The Jags rewarded him with six-year contract that included $20 million guaranteed.

Garrard is an interesting one to watch this year and could end up undervalued in many leagues because he missed all or part of five games. His 11 full games had a pace that would have produced 3550 passing yards and 27 touchdowns over a full season. And unlike Romo, he did not have Terrell Owens or even Jason Witten. He had … well … four different wideouts that ended with between 317 and 629 yards on the season. Reggie Williams caught ten touchdowns but the other twelve were spread out among the other three wideouts. They used five different tight ends in 2007. Garrard only threw for around 220 yards per game but had 1.7 touchdowns and almost no interceptions. Using a rather lackluster set of receivers.

This season Garrard has an easier schedule and Jerry Porter has been added as the #1 wideout. His week 16 game is against IND and he threw for 257 yards and two scores in Indianapolis last year. Garrard should do no worse than be an average fantasy quarterback but has some upside this year with a lighter schedule and better receivers. Let Fred Taylor break down and it could be even better for Garrard. He makes a great #2 fantasy quarterback who could become your #1.

Derek Anderson - CLE YEAR TM GMS CMP ATT PYD PTD INT CAR RYD RTD
Huddle Rank: 11
Keeper: 17
Auction 10: 3%
Auction 12: 1%
2005                    
2006 CLE 4 66 117 793 5 8 4 47  
2007 CLE 16 298 527 3787 29 19 32 70 3
Avg   10 182 322 2290 17 14 18 59 2
Proj CLE       3640 21 10   80 2

What a year for Anderson! He begins the year knowing that Charlie Frye is the starter and newly drafted Brady Quinn is next in line. And then the Browns opt to immediately dump Frye in week one and since Brady is too green to play, they let Anderson take the reins. Instead of just being a place holder for Quinn, Anderson ended 2007 ranked 5th in the NFL with 29 passing scores and yet 5th in interceptions with 19. He passed for 3787 yards. In short, he was one of those rare “who?” waiver wire grabs that paid off richly. Anderson was given a three-year contract with a $5 million roster bonus but it is structured as a one year deal really and the Browns can part ways with him in 2009 if Anderson doesn’t perform up to expectations.

Anderson definitely benefited from a vastly upgraded offensive line that remained healthy and Cleveland went from 32 sacks in 2006 to only 18 in 2007 and five of those belonged to Frye in week one. The schedule also was very kind to the Browns matched up against not only their own division, but also the NFC West and the surprisingly inept AFC East. This year they draw the NFC East and the AFC South (IND, JAC) which should prove a bit tougher. Add in that there is plenty of game film now on Anderson who slowed down noticeably during the final four games of the season when he only averaged 181 yards per game.

But it is hard to ignore that Anderson had four games of three or more touchdowns and three efforts over 300 passing yards. He even rushed in three touchdowns. He brought both Braylon Edwards and Kellen Winslow to the top of their positions. That offensive line allowed a rushing game to contribute to much of the passing success but the same line exists this year. There will be some risk in expecting Anderson to deliver the same output as last year and even the Browns hedged their bets with the structure of his contract. This will cause Anderson to fall further in drafts than coming off 32 total touchdowns would suggest. But over the final seven games of the season, Anderson had just ten touchdowns and averaged 222 yards per game – about an average NFL QB showing.

In the first eight games as a starter, he averaged nearly 260 yards per game and scored a total of 23 touchdowns. What will also be important to realize for those who expect to use Anderson is that his first five games will be challenging – DAL, PIT, @BAL, @CIN and the bye week. Anderson is the starter and may hold that job all year, but his pace of the first eight games last year is highly unlikely to continue and his fairly average showing the second half of the season is more characteristic of what to expect. And if the Browns fall from the playoff race later in the year, expect to see Quinn get playing time right when you would need Anderson the most.

Jon Kitna - DET YEAR TM GMS CMP ATT PYD PTD INT CAR RYD RTD
Huddle Rank: 12
Keeper: 25
Auction 10: 3%
Auction 12: 1%
2005 CIN 3 17 29 99   2 2 14  
2006 DET 16 372 596 4208 21 22 34 156 2
2007 DET 16 355 561 4068 18 20 25 63  
Avg   12 248 395 2792 13 15 20 78 1
Proj DET       3650 20 16   140 1

Playing in the Mike Martz offense for the second season, Kitna ranked 5th in both pass attempts (596) and completions (372) but ranked #1 in interceptions (20). He was also #1 in another category – sacks (51). Add that to the 63 sacks form 2006 and no player is likely as happy to see Martz leave as Kitna is. He’s been beaten to a pulp and yet never missed a game in Detroit even though he turns 36 during the season. Martz schemes throw a lot of passes but there is a big price to pay by the quarterback.

New OC Jim Colleto will be running a much more conservative offense and that will decrease the number of passes, interceptions and sacks that Kitna receives. It won’t necessarily significantly decrease the yardage or the scores since the Lions enjoy one of the lighter passing schedules this year. It’s unlikely in the first season of the new offense that the Lions will have the luxury of a strong rushing game, so Kitna will still need to throw. He had 4068 yards and 18 touchdowns in 2008, down slightly from the first year of Martz in 2006.

The problem in fantasy terms is that Kitna is not a lock to start all year with Drew Stanton likely to get at least minimal playing time. And that could happen during fantasy playoffs since the Lions are not likely preparing for post season play at that time. That week 17 game hosting the Saints could be a fantasy gem but going through MIN and @IND the two previous weeks won’t help. Kitna is a great back-up quarterback but the upside doesn’t look to be there this year in a more conservative offense and a second-year rookie in Stanton hoping to play.

Tier Three
Matt Schaub - HOU YEAR TM GMS CMP ATT PYD PTD INT CAR RYD RTD
Huddle Rank: 13
Keeper: 11
Auction 10: 2%
Auction 12: 1%
2005 ATL 6 33 64 495 4   9 76  
2006 ATL 3 18 26 208 1 2 3 21  
2007 HOU 11 192 289 2241 9 9 17 52  
Avg   7 81 126 981 5 4 10 50 0
Proj HOU       3800 22 16   30  

(+Upside) After three seasons watching Michael Vick, Schaub finally got his chance to be a starter when he was picked up by the Texans. His first year doesn’t look that impressive at first glance – 11 games played and only 2241 passing yards and nine touchdowns. But that is misleading. He actually only played in seven full games and then small parts of four others thanks to a concussion and later an injury to his non-throwing shoulder. He underwent surgery on that shoulder in the offseason but is expected to be 100% healthy for training camp.

The real story on Schaub is within those seven games that he played the entire game. He averaged 264 yards and 1.5 touchdowns which over a full season would equate to 4224 yards and 24 touchdowns. Recall too that Andre Johnson only had five touchdowns in all of 2006 with David Carr and only averaged 11.1 yards per catch. In just the nine games that Johnson played last year he had eight touchdowns and averaged 14.2 yards per catch. As it worked out, he only played in four games with Schaub and had three games end over 120 yards with a total of four touchdowns scored.

Houston enters the second season of HC Gary Kubiak and OC Rick Dennison. Andre Johnson is considered one of the top receivers this year and he’ll be there because of Schaub. Just as important, the Texans did little to improve their rushing game other than continue to rely on Ahman “Ouch” Green and brought in Chris “Medic” Brown. They drafted Steve Slaton who will be a pass catching third down back. 2008 should be a good season for Schaub who you can pick up as a back-up and yet could end up playing him as your #1. He just has to stay healthy this year.

Marc Bulger - STL YEAR TM GMS CMP ATT PYD PTD INT CAR RYD RTD
Huddle Rank: 14
Keeper: 12
Auction 10: 2%
Auction 12: 1%
2005 STL 8 192 287 2297 14 9 9 29  
2006 STL 16 370 588 4301 24 8 18 44  
2007 STL 12 221 378 2392 11 15 9 13  
Avg   12 261 418 2997 16 11 12 29 0
Proj STL       3800 21 13   30  

It was a nightmare season for the Rams in 2007 and Bulger suffered perhaps worst of all. He broke two ribs in the season opener and later had a significant concussion. All the while around him the offensive line was decimated by injury as well. It was remarkable that he only missed four games. He was sacked 37 times and intercepted 15 times in his 12 games. He only threw eight interceptions in all of 2006. His running back missed significant time and Torry Holt was nursing a bum knee almost the entire season. It was a classic team-wide implosion that happens every year to some team. 2007 was the Rams turn.

But Bulger was golden in 2006 when he threw for 4301 yards and 24 touchdowns. His offensive line will be healthy including a return of both Orlando Pace and Alex Baron. Isaac Bruce is gone but Drew Bennett will be filling in and the Rams used their second round pick to draft the first receiver taken in the NFL draft. Perhaps no less significant is the change to new OC Al Saunders who directed the same offense in Kansas City from 2001 to 2005 that took Trent Green and made a 4000 yard quarterback out of him for three straight years. Saunders was the assistant head coach in Washington the last two years but has returned to the position that he does best.

No doubt that the running game will be getting plenty of attention from Saunders but that doesn’t mean Bulger is left out. Look for a nice bounce back season from Bulger that will likely begin slowly with the first half of his season containing games of @PHI, @SEA, @WAS, DAL and @NE. But the other half shapes up much better and you have to like that fantasy playoff matchups in weeks 14-16 of @ARI, SEA and SF. He may not be quite as good as 2006 with a new offense to learn and a tougher first half of the year, but Bulger should be good enough in those weeks and then great later in the year when you want him the most.

Jay Cutler - DEN YEAR TM GMS CMP ATT PYD PTD INT CAR RYD RTD
Huddle Rank: 15
Keeper: 14
Auction 10: 1%
Auction 12: 1%
2005                    
2006 DEN 5 81 137 1001 9 5 12 18  
2007 DEN 16 297 467 3497 20 14 44 205 1
Avg   11 189 302 2249 15 10 28 112 1
Proj DEN       3640 21 15   40 1

Cutler’s second season was nearly as impressive as his five games as a rookie when he threw nine touchdowns but 3497 yards and 20 touchdowns against 14 interceptions made for an average fantasy quarterback last year. But Cutler was diagnosed with diabetes in the offseason and lost around 30 pounds by the end of the season. His playing weight is ideally 233 pounds and he ended closer to 200 pounds. His weight loss affected his strength but he only dropped from a mid-season average of 239 yards per game down to 226. He actually scored more touchdowns in the second half of the season (8 vs. 12). But his illness did affect his play so his development that appeared still solid perhaps would have been even better properly medicated.

Cutler will wear an insulin pump during practices and pre-game warm-ups this year to keep his blood-sugar levels normal and keep his weight and strength up. Even with his then-unknown problem of last year, he still managed five games with multiple touchdowns and a couple of 300 yard games. He even ran in one score. But 2008 should be even better playing healthy with his condition under control.

The Broncos passing schedule is not good but it is no worse than it was in 2007. The Broncos have been very active in acquiring new receivers with Darrell Jackson, Keary Colbert and Samie Parker added and only Javon Walker and the aged Rod Smith gone. Walker never proved to be reliable with nine games missed in 2007 and remarkably no scores. Walker never did connect well with Cutler even in 2006. Now training camp has to sort out the depth chart but Tony Scheffler also returns. One factor sure to have an effect here is the health of Brandon Marshall who has nerve damage after off-season arm surgery. The Broncos contend that he will okay by training camp, but that remains to be seen. Cutler has enough familiar faces already to succeed and will only get better with the new players to fold in. Cutler has to face KC, @CAR and BUF during fantasy playoffs which could be worse than it initially looks and he could have a slower start as well playing @OAK, SD, @KC, TB, JAC and @NE before the week seven bye. Still not yet a fantasy starter.

Jason Campbell - WAS YEAR TM GMS CMP ATT PYD PTD INT CAR RYD RTD
Huddle Rank: 16
Keeper: 15
Auction 10: 1%
Auction 12: 1%
2005                    
2006 WAS 7 110 207 1297 10 6 23 112  
2007 WAS 13 250 417 2700 12 11 36 185 1
Avg   10 180 312 1999 11 9 30 149 1
Proj WAS       3450 18 14   200 1

Campbell now has his first full season under his belt but the results were only mildly encouraging. He suffered a dislocated kneecap in week 14 and missed the three final games and only ended with 2700 passing yards and 12 touchdowns against 11 interceptions. He also led the entire NFL in one category – Campbell lost eight fumbles. But the team owner has confirmed that he has faith in Campbell who gets at least this year to take the next step. Campbell was starting to get better prior to his injury with his last three games containing two 300 yard games and six scores. Better yet, those came against divisional rivals Dallas and Philadelphia and finally in Tampa Bay.

Campbell has a new playbook to learn with HC Jim Zorn and OC Sherman Smith taking over. Zorn, an ex-quarterback himself, has been working with Campbell on his mechanics and footwork at minicamps. And Campbell gets one of the lighter passing schedules in the NFL this year which also helps. A new offense often looks great until opponents get game film on it. And the Skins went out in the NFL draft and used their first four draft picks to secure WR Devin Thomas (2.03), WR Malcolm Kelly (2.20), TE Fred Davis and OT Chad Rinehart (3.33). That won’t all come together by week one, but the team is committed to changing the offense and stocking up on the right players to accomplish it.

Campbell won’t likely merit being a fantasy starter this year learning a new offense and integrating many new receivers but the rewards could show up later on in the year. He is a solid choice for back-up quarterback for your team and could look much improved by the end of the year.

Eli Manning - NYG YEAR TM GMS CMP ATT PYD PTD INT CAR RYD RTD
Huddle Rank: 17
Keeper: 16
Auction 10: 1%
Auction 12: 1%
2005 NYG 16 294 558 3762 24 17 30 80 1
2006 NYG 16 301 522 3244 24 18 25 21  
2007 NYG 16 297 529 3336 23 20 29 69 1
Avg   16 297 536 3447 24 18 28 57 1
Proj NYG       3400 22 19   50 1

Timing is everything. Through week 16 of last year, Manning had thrown for an average of 205 yards per game and a total of 19 touchdowns. He had already experienced his traditional late season slide where he had thrown for less than 200 yards in three of his last four games and only passed for a total of three scores – never more than one per game. After four years, we were all pretty comfortable with what he was doing. Then in week 17 against the Patriots, he passed for 251 yards and four touchdowns. During the improbable yet spectacularly effective postseason, Manning went on to pass for two scores in three of the four games including 255 yards and two touchdowns as the Super Bowl MVP. Who was that guy anyway?

Not the least of the surprises was that in the four games of the postseason, Manning only had one interception and no fumbles. Remarkable since he was #1 in turnovers of the entire NFL last season with 20 interceptions and seven lost fumbles. There are magic months and then there is Eli Manning. After four years, is it possible that he suddenly figured it all out and will become an elite quarterback now? Probably not. A better one? Sure. He has plenty of confidence now and a set of receivers that can get the job done. Also to consider is the success of the rushing game during the playoffs when Ahmad Bradshaw was mixed with Brandon Jacobs. It was effective, it will be repeated and it will decrease the need for Manning to pass.

The Giants passing schedule may be slightly tougher than last year but it is not bad by any means. Plaxico Burress starts the year healthy before his annual sprain-something and the Giants have as stocked a set of receivers as Manning has ever been given. Manning doesn’t make a great fantasy starter since he always fades later in the year but he makes a great fantasy back-up. Problem is that after last January, someone will be taking him as a starter in every league.

Vince Young - TEN YEAR TM GMS CMP ATT PYD PTD INT CAR RYD RTD
Huddle Rank: 18
Keeper: 18
Auction 10: 1%
Auction 12: 1%
2005                    
2006 TEN 15 184 356 2199 12 13 82 553 7
2007 TEN 15 238 382 2546 9 17 93 395 3
Avg   15 211 369 2373 11 15 88 474 5
Proj TEN       2960 14 13   420 2

Two seasons into his career and Young is following the old map. Rookie year was surprisingly good and had mediocre passing numbers (2199 yards, 12 TD) propped up by outstanding rushing totals (552 yards, 7 TD). Then once everyone knew well enough to guard against the run, Young had 10 more rushing attempts in 2007 (93) and yet gained only 395 yards. And his rushing scores fell to only three. The passing game improved marginally with 2546 yards but once again, the touchdown totals dipped down to only nine. It’s not like Young has had a lot of help from a set of receivers that would never see the field on most other teams.

The Titans gave up on the ever-injured David Givens and signed Justin McCareins. They released Ben Troupe and brought in Alge Crumpler and drafted TE Craig Stevens. There is no pretense that the Titans are anything but a run-oriented team but more effectiveness by Young is needed even if the team won’t give him much to work with but at least the addition of Crumpler gives him an accomplished receiving tight end. But the wideouts are still lacking as shown when McCareins couldn’t make it as a slot receiver in New York and was the #2 in minicamps.

The passing schedule is only average this year which matches this offense (on a good day no less). Young has been working with new OC Mike Heimerdinger to increase his accuracy but has to learn a new offense this year. Make him a back-up and don’t expect him to break into the top ten this year. Not with that cast of receivers and with a declining amount of rushing by Young.

Aaron Rodgers - GBP YEAR TM GMS CMP ATT PYD PTD INT CAR RYD RTD
Huddle Rank: 19
Keeper: 20
Auction 10: 1%
Auction 12: 1%
2005 GBP 3 9 16 65   1 2 7  
2006 GBP 1 4 12 32     2 11  
2007 GBP 2 20 28 218 1   7 29  
Avg   2 11 19 105 0 0 4 16 0
Proj GBP       3300 17 15   180 1

After three seasons of waiting behind the most productive and durable quarterback in the history of the league, Rodgers finally gets his shot at starting. So far he has exactly one-half of one game to his credit when he stepped in against the Cowboys last year and passed for 201 yards and one score. He actually looked good in the effort but then again – it was just part of one game. And realistically, once Favre was out why would the secondary be overly concerned with Rodgers? On the plus side here, Rodgers is very well versed in the offense and should be better than most first year starters but then again – he ain’t Brett Favre and never will be. Like most quarterbacks who follow a legend, it is brutal times when the fans are reminded just how lucky they had been for so long.

At least the Packers have established a rushing game with Ryan Grant and they will opt for spread formations to give Rodgers the maximum amount of potential receivers they can. But Rodgers has to be considered as nothing more than a deeper fantasy back-up this year. The quality of receivers will drop sharply without Favre delivering the pass even though the same set returns. Driver is old and already in decline and only Jennings brings both youth and high potential into this year. The Packers have one of the more difficult passing schedules this year as well which will not help. Consider Rodgers only as a bye week filler.

Brett Favre - NYJ YEAR TM GMS CMP ATT PYD PTD INT CAR RYD RTD
Huddle Rank: 20
Keeper: 33
Auction 10: 1%
Auction 12: 1%
2005 GBP 16 372 607 3881 20 29 18 62  
2006 GBP 16 343 613 3885 18 18 23 28 1
2007 GBP 16 356 535 4155 28 15 29 12  
Avg   16 357 585 3974 22 21 23 34 0
Proj NYJ       3540 19 21   20  

Surprise! Favre has been traded to the Jets and with that restarts the career he had assumedly ended when he retired. Heading to New York assures that we will continue to see more cold weather games with Favre but he'll have to learn an entire new playbook in a hurry. No question he will be an upgrade over Pennington or Clemens but expecting him to immediately carry over the same success he had in Green Bay is unrealistic.

Kurt Warner - ARI YEAR TM GMS CMP ATT PYD PTD INT CAR RYD RTD
Huddle Rank: 21
Keeper: 22
Auction 10: 1%
Auction 12: 1%
2005 ARI 10 242 375 2713 11 9 13 28  
2006 ARI 6 108 168 1377 6 5 13 3  
2007 ARI 14 281 451 3417 27 17 17 15 1
Avg   10 210 331 2502 15 10 14 15 0
Proj ARI       3600 18 21   10  

Warner comes off his best season since 2001 back in the hey-day of the Rams. He passed for 3417 yards though he only started 12 games. Most impressive was his 27 passing scores that included 21 scores over his last eight games. He even ended the year with four straight games of three touchdowns and had four of his final five games top 300 passing yards. Granted his schedule ended up to be a dream then with games against SF, CLE, SEA, NO, ATL and STL but Warner certainly made the case for him to be a starter this year. Then again, he was ranked #3 among all quarterbacks with a total of 23 turnovers (17 int. and 6 lost fumbles) .

There is no doubt that Matt Leinart is going to be given every chance to be the starter since the 36 year old Warner is winding down his career but the difference between the two casts at least some shadow of doubt as to whether Leinart will be a full year starter. Warner’s role is entirely dependent on Leinart’s success (or lack of it).Warner can get the job done in the new offense installed last year but the Cardinals want Leinart to step up and claim his job.

Warner is a needed back-up if you decide to use Leinart as your starter (and that better be in one large league) but barring a training camp collapse of Leinart, Warner is going to return to being the back-up. He brought many fantasy teams to their league championship last year with such a strong ending to the season. The Cardinals also do not have nearly the cake walk schedule to end their year considering week 16 plays in New England. Watch Warner on the free agent market if Leinart falters but don’t expect the same fireworks as 2007 served up.

08-25-08 Update: Warner has remained top notch in camp and preseason games while Matt Leinart has once again fallen far short of expectations. Warner is all but certain to being the year as the starter. One risk would be that later in the year they give Leinart some playing time.

Tier Four
Philip Rivers - SDC YEAR TM GMS CMP ATT PYD PTD INT CAR RYD RTD
Huddle Rank: 22
Keeper: 13
Auction 10: 1%
Auction 12: 1%
2005 SDC 2 12 22 115   1 1 -1  
2006 SDC 16 284 460 3387 22 9 47 53  
2007 SDC 16 277 460 3152 21 15 29 33 1
Avg   11 191 314 2218 14 8 26 28 0
Proj SDC       3200 21 12   40  

Rivers underwent knee reconstruction in January and has been making great strides to recovery during the offseason. He is expected to be ready for the start of training camp though he will be wearing a knee brace this year. Carson Palmer is an example of a quarterback who bounced back great from knee surgery so Rivers should be considered to be healthy this year barring any notable setbacks.

The concern about Norv Turner changing up the passing game proved unfounded when Rivers turned in almost a mirror season to 2006. His attempts (460 vs. 460), yardage (3152 vs. 3388) and touchdowns (22 vs. 22) were almost identical. He even used Antonio Gates the same. Rivers threw at least one score in each of the final seven games of the regular season and had two 300 yard games on the year.

The only change this year may be Gates who is recovering from foot surgery and may not be ready in time for training camp. That places an obvious concern about Gates effectiveness this season which would in turn affect Rivers. The mid-season addition of Chris Chambers improves the situation though and Rivers will do whatever is needed – and available – to win games. What should be heeded though is that the Chargers have about the worst passing schedule in the NFL this year so this is no time for Gates to be a question mark. The season starts with the lightest part of the schedule and then ends during fantasy playoffs against OAK, @KC and @TB which were passing stat killers in 2007.

Tarvaris Jackson - MIN YEAR TM GMS CMP ATT PYD PTD INT CAR RYD RTD
Huddle Rank: 23
Keeper: 21
Auction 10: 1%
Auction 12: 1%
2005                    
2006 MIN 4 47 81 475 2 4 16 79 1
2007 MIN 12 171 294 1911 9 12 54 260 3
Avg   8 109 188 1193 6 8 35 170 2
Proj MIN       2800 14 16   300 3

Jackson took over as starter last year but only lasted two games before he suffered a groin injury that caused him to miss two games. He later broke his index finger as well and on the season, he only had 11 full games. He struggled in the first five efforts with never more than 166 passing yards and only two passing scores by week 11 but then ended the season on a far higher note, He never had more than 249 passing yards but threw at least one score in five of the six final games and rushed on average 4 or 5 times each week. He ended with a respectable 58% completion rate but had 12 interceptions and five fumbles.

Having a dominating rushing game and a great offensive line was a major help but the reality is that the Vikings passing game was one of the worst in the league in 2007. In pass attempts (427 – 32nd), yards (2326 – 31st) and touchdowns (12- 29th) they were all at the bottom of the league and Jackson was partially to blame. They had the least passes and yet still gave up 38 sacks with an all-pro line. There is much to improve here and the team stands steadfastly behind Jackson as the starter. His ending to 2007 was mildly encouraging and the addition of Bernard Berrian will improve the numbers (or ruin Berrian, depending).

Jackson only ranks as a fantasy back-up and even then only if you waited too long. He’ll improve this year with more experience and at least one better wideout. But in the end, with Peterson they will never need to be top ten in passing.

Jeff Garcia - TBB YEAR TM GMS CMP ATT PYD PTD INT CAR RYD RTD
Huddle Rank: 24
Keeper: 34
Auction 10: 1%
Auction 12: 1%
2005 DET 6 102 173 937 3 6 17 51 1
2006 PHI 7 116 187 1309 10 2 23 86  
2007 TBB 13 209 327 2440 13 4 35 116 1
Avg   9 142 229 1562 9 4 25 84 1
Proj TBB       3100 15 6   120 1

Garcia has played for a different team in each of the last five years and comes off his first year in Tampa Bay where he passed for 2440 yards and 13 touchdowns against just four interceptions. He missed three games but then again, he hasn’t played a 16 game season since 2002. Luke McCown replaced him for three games and had five scores and an average of 272 yards. In full games that Garcia played, he only averaged 203 yards and scored less than one touchdown per game. But Garcia remains the starter.

Garcia did offer more consistency than the revolving door at quarterback the last couple of seasons and he did decrease the Buccaneers ranking for interceptions from 18th (18) to 8th (8). The team also went from 28th in pass yards (2994) to 16th (3579) but some of that was thanks to McCown. Garcia is now 38 years old and has been grumbling about his contract that is slated to pay him $2.75 million with a bonus of $750,000 but wants something closer to the league average of $7 million for a starting quarterback. Garcia turns 39 years old next February and any lengthy extension is unlikely. He has hinted at holding out but so has every player who wants more money.

Garcia is purely a fantasy back-up and not a very good one. If you plan on using him for a bye week replacement, realize that his easiest match-ups all come when there are no bye weeks.

J.T. O'Sullivan - SFO YEAR TM GMS CMP ATT PYD PTD INT CAR RYD RTD
Huddle Rank: 25
Keeper: 28
Auction 10: 1%
Auction 12: 1%
2005                    
2006                    
2007 SFO 5 13 26 148 1 2 4 -10  
Avg   5 13 26 148 1 2 4 0 0
Proj SFO       3000 17 21   50  

(+Upside) The eight-year NFL veteran has a total of 13 completions in his career and they all came last season in Detroit. O’Sullivan is now on his seventh different team and yet has a chance to start in the three-way race for the 49ers starting quarterback spot. That alone says how bad it is in San Francisco. He’s the most unlikely to win the job but has to be considered until excluded.

08-21-08 Update: Gotta love SF. O'Sullivan is now in the lead for the starting job and Alex Smith is starting to fade. Shaun Hill is a non-factor so O'Sullivan is the one to get. The 49ers have a pretty good schedule - particularly during fantasy playoffs so it all depends on how well Mike Martz can implement his system.

JaMarcus Russell - OAK YEAR TM GMS CMP ATT PYD PTD INT CAR RYD RTD
Huddle Rank: 26
Keeper: 19
Auction 10: 1%
Auction 12: 1%
2005                    
2006                    
2007 OAK 4 36 66 373 2 4 5 4  
Avg   4 36 66 373 2 4 5 4 0
Proj OAK       2900 16 19   80  

The first player drafted in 2007 was allowed to season on the bench and only had playing time in the final two games. Week 17 was the only time he was the full game starter and he posted 224 yards and one score against the Chargers. Still too early to draw conclusions about the player that may have the strongest arm in the NFL. Russell is huge for a quarterback at 6’6” and 260 pounds but that helps him wither the pass rush and he is not easy to bring down. He was also surprisingly elusive in the pocket in college. After waiting and watching, now the Raiders are Russell’s team.

Russell was reported to be overweight initially but he claims he was never near the rumored 300 pounds. He has looked “slim” in OTA’s and has been very dedicated to the offseason program. The Raiders have restocked the offense this year with Javon Walker and Drew Carter while dumping Jerry Porter and Doug Gabriel. They added RB Darren McFadden in the draft and while it may seem that taking a wideout would be of greater help to a first year starting quarterback, not so in this case. A sound rushing game is always a big benefit to a quarterback and in this case, McFadden will also be used as a receiver in an offense that threw 121 passes to the running backs last year and completed 89. That’s the easiest pass to make and now has the most exciting rookie catching it.

In a dynasty league, someone is already holding Russell no doubt but in a redraft league, he has only deep fantasy back-up status for now. The Raiders are still a rebuilding team and have to integrate a new quarterback and new primary receivers which will not happen quickly. And in the fantasy playoff weeks, Russell faces @SD, NE and HOU. Two tough games before a good one to finish. He’ll be fun to watch but it is far too early to consider him as anything more than fantasy depth.

Chad Pennington - MIA YEAR TM GMS CMP ATT PYD PTD INT CAR RYD RTD
Huddle Rank: 27
Keeper: 35
Auction 10: 1%
Auction 12: 1%
2005 NYJ 3 49 83 530 2 3 6 27  
2006 NYJ 16 313 485 3352 17 16 36 111  
2007 NYJ 9 179 260 1765 10 9 20 32 1
Avg   9 180 276 1882 10 9 21 57 0
Proj MIA       3000 15 11   30  

(-Risk) Pennington played in nine games last year and lost out to Kellen Clemens at midseason but played two more at the end of the year when Kellen Clemens was injured. He ended with only 1765 passing yards and 10 scores against nine interceptions. Pennington wasn’t playing any differently than he ever had, the team just decided to give Clemens a shot. Pennington has been an injury problem since he started back in 2000 but finally had his one 16 game season in 2006.

But Clemens was hardly any more effective and now the Jets are going into their training camp with an open competition for starting quarterback. Clemens might represent the future but he hasn’t shown progress yet and sticking with him likely means another lost season while he is gaining experience. The coaching staff doesn’t really have that luxury since they need to win now, this season, in order to feel positive they will be back in 2009. There were many rumors that Pennington was going to be traded but the Jets have retained him and will give him a chance to win back his old job. What doesn’t work in his favor is that the Jets have one of the worse passing schedules in the league this year.

This situation is the worst for fantasy fans. Either Pennington wins the job which is likely since he plays better than Clemens and the Jets need to win or Clemens wins the job and the Jets accept they will have yet another poor passing year. But if Pennington wins it, will he remain healthy? Will the coaches decide midstream yet again to change the starter? Too much risk here to warrant a fantasy pick. Let someone else take the Jets quarterback and play the guessing game. Even when you get it right, you still do not have a starter quality fantasy quarterback.

08-10-08 Update: Chad signed a two-year deal with the Fins and should end up as the starter but his hold on that is tenuous at best. If you have to draft a MIA quarterback, Pennington is your best bet.

Kyle Orton - CHI YEAR TM GMS CMP ATT PYD PTD INT CAR RYD RTD
Huddle Rank: 28
Keeper: 27
Auction 10: 1%
Auction 12: 1%
2005 CHI 15 190 368 1869 9 13 24 42  
2006                    
2007 CHI 3 43 80 478 3 2 5 -1  
Avg   9 117 224 1174 6 8 15 21 0
Proj CHI       2900 15 9   50  

(-Risk) The Bears are in an interesting spot. They are entering the training camp with an open competition between Orton and Rex Grossman. Of course since Grossman has played for them for five years and Orton has three, it would be questionable what they expect to discover by now, but it speaks to the discontent the Bears rightfully have had with their passing game. They haven’t acquired anyone new to the mix so different results from the same players are hard to expect.

The early leader is Orton but even if he was to win the job, there is no certainty he would finish as the starter. The leading passer for the Bears has changed in each of the last six years and Orton played 15 games as a rookie when he passed for only 1869 yards and none scores against 13 interceptions. Last year he played the final three games of the season and scored three times with two interceptions. In the 18 games he has started, he has only twice thrown for more than 190 yards and as a rookie had 12 games fall below 150 passing yards. He is considered a game manager who doesn’t make as many mistakes as Grossman has. That is fine as long as the rest of the team is hitting on all cylinders but it’s been three seasons since that happened.

Making the lackluster appearance of the Bears passing game even more ironic, they have one of the easiest passing schedule in the entire league this year. They are the only team with three home games during weeks 14-16 when fantasy playoffs occur and facing JAX, NO and GB should yield some opportunities if the weather doesn’t turn bad. The Bears still do not know who their starter is among two players who have been around for at least three years. The receiver corps has likely become even worse with Muhsin Muhammad and Bernard Berrian replaced by Marty Booker and Brandon Lloyd. Unfortunately, the winner of the Bears backfield competition doesn’t even make a decent fantasy back-up this year thanks to the ever-changing whims of the coaching staff.

Trent Edwards - BUF YEAR TM GMS CMP ATT PYD PTD INT CAR RYD RTD
Huddle Rank: 29
Keeper: 23
Auction 10: 1%
Auction 12: 1%
2005                    
2006                    
2007 BUF 10 151 269 1630 7 8 14 49  
Avg   10 151 269 1630 7 8 14 49 0
Proj BUF       2700 13 8   60  

The Bills ranked in the bottom three for pass attempts, completions and yards last year but they are going with the second year player in Edwards to give him more experience. He started eight games last year and while he threw for seven scores, four of them came in the game against the visiting Dolphins. He only had three games that featured any touchdowns and only twice topped 176 passing yards in a game. To his credit (and unlike Losman), Edwards threw an interception in only one of his final five games.

Edwards has gained ten pounds of muscle during the offseason to help with his durability which was a problem in college and even last year. Another downside to Edwards is his problem throwing deeper passes but the added muscle could help. The new OC Turk Schonert plans on using more three-step drops which would speed up the offense and decrease the long passes anyway. The Bills are also intending on using spread formations more this year which could also help Edward’s numbers. This passing game needs change desperately after ranking 32nd in the NFL with only a total of six touchdowns caught by wideouts.

The second season for Edwards should be better, but it still won’t likely have enough fantasy value to warrant being much more than a deep fantasy back-up. The Bills have a lighter schedule this season but that could result in more rushing than more passing.

Matt Ryan - ATL YEAR TM GMS CMP ATT PYD PTD INT CAR RYD RTD
Huddle Rank: 30
Keeper: 26
Auction 10: 1%
Auction 12: 1%
2005                    
2006                    
2007                    
Avg   0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Proj ATL       2700 13 17   20  

(-Risk) Say goodnight, Michael what's-his-name? The new era in Atlanta was officially kicked off with the selection of Matt Ryan with the 1.03 pick in the draft and the 6'5", 224 pound quarterback brings the true anti-Vick to the team in a pure passer with a big arm and - get this - a highly accurate throw. Passes that should land not only near, but even right with the Atlanta receivers. Last year was a lost cause with the team geared up for a new regime only to discover their only star went to the dogs and left them hanging in the wind. The new offense led by Mike Mularkey will be very traditional with the occasional trick play thrown in. Ryan fits in perfectly and gives the Falcons a high profile pick that not only will help the team but hopefully put people in the stands as well. That means he could end up on the playing field sooner than later. After all, he was the most promising rookie quarterback and the Falcons need desperately to generate some excitement. That maybe won't happen with Joey Harrington or Chris Redman at the helm.

At Boston College, Ryan was considered to have far more talent than anyone else on the team and he carried them on his back, a characteristic that will come in handy for a franchise that has been decimated in many ways as of late. Ryan rose to such a lofty status in the draft because of his talent, but also because of his determination, confidence, maturity and work ethic. He is the anti-Vick. The only question is when he will take over as the starting quarterback since he'll be costing the Falcons a fortune and so far Chris Redman has not prompted a rush for season tickets.

In terms of 2008, it is highly unlikely that Ryan will have enough fantasy value to warrant drafting even if he wins the job outright in training camp but in dynasty leagues, he's worth a very long look playing inside a dome with a young team that will develop around him. No doubt that he will be drafted in many leagues this year but a rookie with a questionable offensive line will be hard pressed to turn in big numbers if he even gets the job. Nice pick in a dynasty league where he can be depth until 2009 but for this year, he's just worth watching - not drafting.

   
Go To Quarterback Rankings 31 - END >>

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