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Article:Fantasy Forecast: Quarterbacks

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"In football, the object is for the quarterback, otherwise known as the field general, to be on target with his aerial assault, riddling the defense by hitting his receivers with deadly accuracy in spite of the blitz, even if he has to use the shotgun. With short bullet passes and long bombs, he marches his troops into enemy territory, balancing this aerial assault with a sustained ground attack that punches holes in the forward wall of the enemy's defensive line." ~George Carlin

You're definitely hoping your fantasy team ends up with one of these field generals, and you’d like to see him throw a lot of long bombs too. The quarterback position is really top heavy, there's a pretty clear top three, with a few other solid players, then a lot sifting.

Easy Thinking

1. Tom Brady – He set all kinds of records last year, the offense lost the little used Donte Stallworth, he had nearly 100 more points than any other player in most scoring systems, and there's no reason to think he won't do it again.

2. Tony Romo – The Dallas Cowboys splashed some money around and have made some off season acquisitions, and they may not be done. Their offense will be very high powered, and Romo is solid in the regular season anyway, which makes him a perfectly fine Fantasy quarterback.

3. Peyton Manning – He still has the tools, "laser rocket arm", great wide receivers, great running back, plays in a dome, is that enough? Just pick him already.

Not as Easy, but not so Hard

You can still be confident with these guys at your helm.

4. Drew Brees – Brees had a real shaky start to the season last year, like the Saints themselves. Their offense is still pretty high powered, and Brees has the ability to share the ball nicely to all of his weapons, keeping defenses honest.

5. Marc Bulger – It feels like I've had him ranked fifth for about ten years. With him and Stephen Jackson healthy, the St. Louis Rams are a lot more formidable this season.

6. Matt Hasselbeck – He put in a very solid season last year with little from his running game, and the improvement of Julius Jones over Shaun Alexander's corpse should help the offense.

7. Carson Palmer – All of the off season stuff with Chad Johnson worries me a bit, but they have one of the easier schedules this year (and a beautiful week 16 matchup against the Browns to look forward to).

Tough Territory

Seven top quarterbacks you can be really happy about, it's not too shabby, but I would rather not have to draft one of the next few players. It's not a disaster if you get one of them as your best option though.

8. Ben Roethlisberger – He turned in a pretty solid season last year, all the distractions should be a distant memory by now. They have some tough stretches in their schedule though, so there will be ups and down.

9. Matt Schaub – The Houston Texans were something of a fantasy surprise last season. Matt Schaub and a healthy Andre Johnson is a pretty potent aerial attack, look for them to have good season with one of the easier schedules this year.

10. Philip Rivers – He turned in a real gutsy performance in the playoffs with a bad knee, but he's had plenty of time to rest it. You draft him here because of all the offensive weapons he has, and because defenses have to cue on LdT so much.

11. Donovan McNabb – This is a tough one to place, very intriguing. He's put up great numbers in the past, but is injury prone as of late. You're not thrilled if he's your number one guy I guess, but if he stays healthy he could be a great value pick. The Philadelphia Eagles have a tough schedule early, if he's healthy look to deal for him midseason.

12. Derek Anderson – He had a great season last year coming out of nowhere. This year will be a little different. There shouldn't be a quarterback controversy because he has the talent, but the Cleveland Browns have a tough schedule, particularly early in the season. There's that week 16 matchup against Cincinnati to look forward to though, look to buy him cheap midseason.

The Breaking Point

One could argue that you’d really need a top ten guy to lead your fantasy team (I almost did), but I think McNabb and Anderson can work out as long as you're making good draft picks while the other quarterbacks go, but you definitely won't see any of the below guys starting on my Fantasy team.

Brett Favre – I'm leaving him unranked, because as of now, he's without a team. But if he comes back and plays for the Green Bay Packers, this is his spot. He had a great season last year, vintage even, but the Packers have a much tougher schedule this year, and he can't keep it up forever. Another season would only distance him from Walenda on the all time interceptions list.

13. Kurt Warner – I like him as a good backup this year. The offense has a lot of weapons, but there’s the whole Matt Leinart thing, and between their play and injuries, no one can figure out who’s going to start. If Leinart is the starter, he would be a few spots lower than this.

14. David Garrard – He proved himself to be a very competent game manager last year, and has a bit more upside than some of the guys below. The middle stretch of the Jacksonville Jaguars season is great, look to buy low and sell high with him.

15. Jeff Garcia – Their schedule isn't particularly easy or particularly hard, but Garcia did a great job of managing games last year. He'll turn in consistent, middle of the road fantasy numbers each week, with a few nice weeks splashed around.

16. Jay Cutler – He finished 11th last year for quarterbacks, but I'm not sold on him yet. He's pretty inconsistent, and the Denver Broncos are running based as we all know. They have a pretty nice schedule this year though.

17. Vince Young – Definitely has some upside, but the Titans have one of the more difficult schedules in the league. His numbers will not be consistent at all.

18. Trent Edwards – This is potentially a little high for him, but I'm going with the upside here. He showed the ability to manage games last year, but the Buffalo Bills didn't have him throw many passes over five yards, so we don't really know that much about him. The Bills have one of the better schedules in the league, so things could be interesting for Edwards.

19. Chad Pennington – I guess if you're looking at the 19th quarterback, you're looking to take something of a gamble. The New York Jets' schedule is great from a fantasy stand point, and if Pennington stays healthy (which he won't), he could put up some solid numbers. Look to pick up Kellen Clemens at some point on a flyer is Chad goes down (and your season isn’t going exactly as planned either).

20. Jon Kitna – After a fantasy season that pretty much no one saw coming last year, the Detroit Lions have a tough schedule this year, and I don't see him replicating it. Kitna will put up some big games, but those big games will probably have four interceptions in them too. Tough to place, but I don't think he'll be consistent at all.

21. Eli Manning – He may be a Superbowl winning quarterback, but he's still no fantasy quarterback. He strung together three decent games in the playoffs, and he’ll be drafted too high because of it.

22. Jake Delhomme – He used to be a very viable fantasy quarterback. Delhomme was my bread and butter, draft strong everywhere else, take him late. Injuries have really pushed him down the list though. He's potentially a great value pick as back up, just in case everything falls into place.

23. Jason Campbell – I drafted him with my third to last pick year based on his upside. That didn't exactly work out. He's getting older though, has potential, and should only get better.

The Nitty Gritty

No one wants their Fantasy season riding on any of these guys. Oof.

24. Brodie Croyle – The best of the worst because of the upside. Good schedule, some offensive weapons, he'll definitely slap together a few solid games.

25. Kyle Boller – A little upside is all you can ask for this late in the quarterback rankings. There's the chance he puts things together (but he won't), and Baltimore has one of the weaker schedules in the league this season. This might actually be Troy Smith's place. More upside because he's an unknown I guess.

26. Josh McCown – The Tuna is in charge, so the dolphins have that going for them. Not much else though, so I don’t see McCown having a great season. Yep.

27. Rex Grossman – Let me channel Bill Walton on this one: "Rex Grossman has proven himself to be the most inconsistent quarterback in the history of western civilization." And I'm back, that's not a guy you want leading a real team, let alone a Fantasy team.

28. JaMarcus Russell – That team is a mess, particularly in the backfield. He carried the clipboard last year, which was smart, but we haven't really seen him play. With all the confusion between the running backs, I just don't see it being a great place for a young quarterback to get his start.

29. Chris Redman – The entire franchise is still reeling from the whole Michael Vick thing. They lost Warrick Dunn. It's another mess.

30. Tarvaris Jackson – Theoretically the strong rushing game should help him. In actuality though, he doesn’t seem to have a lot of skills, so you know, there's that.

31. Aaron Rodgers – He's been waiting about ten years for his shot at the bigs, now it's (supposedly) his time. There'll be growing pains against one of the league's toughest schedules and in one of the league's toughest winter parks, I just don't like his chances.

32. Alex Smith – We've been waiting for Smith to come along and piece things together for a few seasons now. We'll still be waiting when the season's over. He had two touchdowns through about ten games last year. Yikes.

People don't generally draft backup quarterbacks because we don't know very much about them. Quarterback injuries are a lot more rare than running backs because they're protected more (at least it feels that way). Don't be afraid to take a flyer on any backup when the starter goes down however, someone has to throw the passes, right?

Currently the most overhyped story in sports is Brett Favre, but it's definitely interesting for some fantasy implications. I like him a lot more if he goes to Minnesota for example, and other teams could definitely benefit from his presence, but I'm not sure that's a direction a lot of teams want to go. I would say the two most intriguing players this year are Trent Edwards and Derek Anderson. Will The Bills finally let Trent go? Will we see some downfield passes? Will Derek Anderson be able to replicate any of last season's success? This makes them difficult to place, but I think the most difficult was Vince Young because of his skill and potential compared to their schedule.

Coming Soon: Wide Receivers

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