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The NFC North is one of the weaker divisions in football and has only one blue chip fantasy QB in 2009.
1. Aaron Rodgers
Any fears that Green Bay fans had last year of whether the franchise would survive the loss of Brett Favre, were erased by the stellar play of Rodgers.
While the team suffered through a horrendous 2008 campaign, it was NOT because of the play at the QB position. In his first year as a full-time starter, he finished the season with over 4,000 yards and 28 TDs.
Having already developed an excellent rapport with both Greg Jennings and Donald Driver, and with the expected maturation of the younger receivers, look for another 4,000 yard season and between 28-32 TDs.
Cutler certainly possesses the strongest arm in the division and had an excellent fantasy season in 2008, finishing with over 4,500 yards and 25 TDs. But that was Denver, and this is Chicago. The drop off from Marshall, Royal, and Scheffler to Hester, Davies, and Iglesias is substantial.
Another issue he’ll now have to contend with is the weather of Soldier Field. Frigid temperatures and powerful winds aren’t conducive to aerial assaults, and the Bears personnel isn’t built for that either.
Look for a significant drop off yardage this season and for Cutler to notch 3,250 yards passing and 20-23 TDs.
The asterisk is only there because the move is not yet official. But we all know it’s only a matter of time. And that’s music to Vikes fan’s ears as the only gaping hole on the roster resides at the QB position. In 2008, Tavaris Jackson showed us he wasn’t the answer and neither is career back-up, Sage Rosenfels.
But Favre, even at age 39, would be a big upgrade for the Vikes, who already have a lot of offensive firepower at the skill positions and added the wild card from this year’s NFL Draft, Percy Harvin. Expect a 3,000 yard season with over 20 TDs.
In fantasy football, as in the NFL, it’s never a good idea to bank on rookie QBs; especially ones drafted in Detroit. While Daunte Culpepper should get the nod early on, as the early season losses begin to mount, so will the pressure to get the top overall draft pick on the field.
The one bright spot he has going for him is number 81, Calvin Johnson, who makes anyone look good throwing the ball to him, but overall Stafford should be stayed away from. And anything over 10 TDs in his rookie season would be considered a success.
Rodgers has worked his way into a top five to seven fantasy QB and should come off the board early, no later than round four. Cutler will fall a bit further as Chicago’s not the most ideal home for a passer, and Favre, who could end up overlooked and turn into a solid fantasy sleeper, will go between round’s eight and 10. Stafford will not be drafted, nor should he ever start for your team in 2009.