On average 18 Quarterbacks will be selected in your standard 10 team 15 round draft. That means that most teams will have a starter and a backup and if you have a stud, you might not need any. It also means that regardless of your poor drafting, there will be 14 starting quarterbacks out there that will be available free agents. Note: If you draft in a two quarterback league you need at the bare minimum 3 starting quarterbacks if you don't overlap bye weeks otherwise 4 should be your goal. Shall we?
My rank is the far left - ADP is average draft position - and I've provided Yahoo's standard ranks for comparison
1. Aaron Rodgers -- Green Bay Packers - - ADP: 1st round (1st overall) / Yahoo : 1st
No change here from last year. Last year's NFL MVP looked unstoppable at times. His receiving corps will improve with a seasoned Randall Cobb and no losses. He did lose one of the better centers in the NFL in Scott Wells to the Rams but has a serviceable replacement in Jeff Saturday. The greatest thing improving his prospects could be the injuries to James Starks and Alex Green. If Cedric Benson has slowed considerably the Packers may run fewer than any other NFL team. Plus he scrambles for quite a bit of touchdowns running for 16 in the last four seasons.
2. Drew Brees - - New Orleans Saints - - ADP: 1st round (3rd overall) / Yahoo: 2nd
Brees or Brady? Here's our first fantasy debate. Brady may have the better weapons but Brees is backed into a corner. Many people argue that a Sean Payton-less Brees will be in for a regression. But let's not forget this guy just set the NFL passing record last year. If the team overall does struggle he may be required to pass even more. He's happy with a new contract and I'll take a chip-on-his-shoulder Drew anyday.
3. Tom Brady - - New England Patriots - - ADP: 1st round (2nd overall) / Yahoo: 3rd
We all know that Brady has an unfair advantage with two of the top 5 tight ends on the same roster but the New England front office really helped out their franchise with adding two dynamic veteran wideouts. Put it to you this way, Deion Branch may be cut from camp and two years ago he was a top 25 fantasy wideout. Reunite him with Josh McDaniels and the only thing slowing the Pats may be them running to close out games in the 4th quarter. Everybody talks about Brees breaking Marino's near three decade passing yardage record, but Brady did too in the final game to rank second all time.
4. Eli Manning - - New York Giants - - ADP: 7th round (10th overall) / Yahoo: 7th
Here's where your man Hawk goes off grid. My my Eli, why so high? This guy has won the most superbowls of the last 5 years, shredding the top playoff defenses both times. All he does his perform despite the criticism. He's an easy guy to dislike, the dumb grin - boring interviews, shadows of his brother. But face it, when the team needs a win - Manning is digging them out. I see Cam suffering from a sophomore slump, injury risks to Vick and Stafford and question marks everywhere else. Admittedly a reach rank but don't be surprised when he puts up big numbers, especially now with a cemented top two wideouts in Cruz and Nicks - the top ranked fantasy receiver pair. Plus with no Brandon Jacobs, he'll be tossing more red zone touchdowns.
5. Cam Newton - - Carolina Panthers - - ADP: 3rd round (5th overall) / Yahoo: 4th
I was a Scam Newton hater last year I confess. Figured the guy would get hurt with his physical style of play and questioned whether he could read a defense. But I don't think any of us could have predicted his prodigal year. He roared out to two 400+ yard passing efforts in the first two weeks and didn't look back. It didn't hurt that Steve Smith looked his best in years. Ultimately, I still see a sophomore slump as teams will have so much tape on him. Looking at his fantasy production over 16 games last year and his last month held a steep drop off. His receiving corp is average beyond Steve and he looked putrid in the first preseason game.
6. Matthew Stafford - - Detroit Lions - - ADP: 2nd round (4th overall) / Yahoo: 5th
Stafford was stunning last year in a fantasy year marked by amazing QB play. Over 5000 yards and more than 40 touchdowns is not too shabby for a 6th ranked Quarterback. Yet let's not forget how much the former Bulldog has been injured in his young career. Last year was the only year in his career to finish every game. Plus if you believe in the Madden Curse at all, Calvin Johnson will be doomed to be abducted by aliens or get flesh eating bacteria. I'd rank Mattie higher if superstition didn't bludgeon me back to reality.
7. Tony Romo - - Dallas Cowboys - - ADP: 7th round (7th overall) / Yahoo: 9th
Yahoo has no love for Lone Star Tony ranking him below Peyton and Eli. I was feeling better about him until yesterday. Jason Witten, his unquestioned favorite target, has a spleen injury all the while Bryant and Austin battle injury concerns of their own. Tony Romo is your Brett Favre style of backyard quarterback that will produce no matter who's out there, but his offensive line is really bad and his supporting cast is a question mark. He may be a result of how well the people around him play but he's the most consistent Cowboy bet in my opinion. But I'm predicting a down year overall for the Cowboys so, he could be attempting 50 passes a game and get junk yardage.
8. Phillip Rivers - - San Diego Chargers - - ADP: 8th round (11th overall) / Yahoo: 10th
If Tony Romo is Brett Favre, I liken Rivers to Dan Marino. A guy that with the exception of LT a decade ago, gets little to no help from his runningbacks and never seems to have stars at wideouts. And yet he slings it with a scowl every Sunday. The loss of Vincent Jackson will hurt, but Antonio Gates looks improved from last year and the Chargers will lean on Phillip pretty good. His health is what reassures me to rank him so high as you'll notice question marks with he next few picks - Rivers seldom ever misses games and that's one of the most important things in a fantasy draft pick. You'll recall Jackson's holdout year in which he played three months without him so I don't worry about the drop off. Just maybe the interceptions....
9. Peyton Manning - - Denver Broncos - - ADP: 7th round (8th overall) / Yahoo: 8th
In the league that matters the most to me, I drafted Peyton. And I hated the pick. In all truth my gut has the legendary Manning much lower but (as I mentioned yesterday) a good ranking takes into consideration other people's opinion's too. Peyton is a first ballot arguably best of all time type QB. But even he has admitted that his deep ball is gone and he is by no means a lock to finish 16 full games. He's yet to be hit and I've never seen his type of injury before, so who knows what to expect. He may be the biggest risk reward out there. He certainly has two great big strong handed receiving options in Decker and DeMaryius. Buyer beware
10. Michael Vick - - Philadelphia Eagles - - ADP: 5th round (6th overall) / Yahoo: 6th
The last two years couldn't have been much different for Vick. Two years ago he was an MVP candidate showcasing the same amazing arm strength and incredible rushing ability. Last year he just looked beat up. Playing in the shadow of the Dream Team hype, and behind a line that couldn't pass protect he was bloodied and visibly frustrated. DeSean Jackson stopped caring, Maclin had bizarre injury concerns and LeSean McCoy became the bellcow that the team used to win games. He's only played one preseason game and he couldn't even finish that one. If you draft Vick because you loved him as a Falcon or just the dynamic element he brings be prepared to draft a good back up for use when Michael goes down injured.