Updated Tuesday, August 17, 2010
Fantasy football draft day is headed our way, and with the NFL preseason under way, I’ll be posting and updating my fantasy football player rankings often between now and the beginning of the regular season, on September 9.
For more fantasy football draft lists, fantasy football projections and fantasy football information, click the links below the quarterback rankings.
2010 fantasy football rankings Quarterbacks
1. Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints
Brees enters the season as the leader of the defending Super Bowl champs and coming off a year in which he threw for 4,388 yards and 34 touchdowns. He heads up a prolific New Orleans offense, and I’ll take him first among QBs to head up my fantasy football team in 2010.
2. Peyton Manning, Indianapolis Colts
I call Peyton “Mr. Consistency,” because you can pretty much count on him for 4,000 yards and 25 touchdowns against about 15 interceptions. In 12 seasons in the NFL, Manning has thrown for fewer than 4,000 yards only twice, and he’s never thrown less than 25 touchdowns. And since tossing 28 INTs as a rookie, he’s only gone over 15 three times.
3. Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers
Many fantasy football projections have Rodgers ranked at the top of the quarterback heap, and it’s difficult to argue with that assessment. I’ll take Brees and Peyton before Rodgers, but I’d be pretty dang happy to have the Packers’ QB as my starter in 2010. In two seasons as Green Bay’s starter, Rodgers has topped 4,000 yards and 28 touchdowns each year.
4. Tony Romo, Dallas Cowboys
Romo had 4,483 yards, 26 touchdowns and just nine interceptions in 2009, and even more importantly, his offensive weapons appear to be even more prolific heading into 2010. The Cowboys added wideout Dez Bryant to a receiving corps that already featured Miles Austin, Roy Williams, Patrick Crayton and tight end Jason Witten. With that crew, you gotta like Romo’s potential for big stats in 2010.
5. Tom Brady, New England Patriots
Brady should have Wes Welker back sooner than later, and with Randy Moss out wide, the potential for fantasy-scoring statistics is always huge. Brady threw for 4,398 yards, 28 touchdowns and 13 interceptions in 2009.
6. Matt Schaub, Houston Texans
The Texans aired it out in 2009, with Schaub attempting an NFL-high 583 passes for a league-best 4,770 yards. Any team with Andre Johnson on its roster should do the same, and the Schaub-Johnson connection figures to be in similar form in 2010.
7. Phillip Rivers, San Diego Chargers
The Chargers run another pass-happy offense, with Rivers completing a league-best 62 touchdowns over the past two seasons. He threw for 4,254 yards and 28 TDs with just nine interceptions in 2009.
8. Joe Flacco, Baltimore Ravens
Flacco has passed for 6,584 yards, 35 touchdowns and 24 interceptions in two seasons in the NFL, and in 2010, his target list is even better with new addition Anquan Boldin on the team. Flacco had 3,613 yards, 21 touchdowns and 12 interceptions in 2009.
9. Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons
Ryan’s fantasy football statistics dropped off just a tad during his second NFL season, as he threw for 2,916 yards with 22 touchdowns and 14 interceptions. A turf toe injury sidelined him for almost three full games in 2009, but now that he and running back Michael Turner are both healthy, the Falcons’ offense looks to be high-flying again in 2010.
10. Eli Manning, New York Giants
Manning threw for a career-high 27 touchdowns in 2009, topping the 4,000-yard mark for the first time. He developed a nice connection with wide receiver Steve Smith, and also has Hakeem Nicks lined up out wide. Manning might not get back to 4,000 yards in 2010 – realistically, I think he’s more of a 3,500-yard, 22-TD quarterback – but he’s still a worthy fantasy football starter and hasn’t missed a regular-season game since his rookie season of 2004.
11. Kevin Kolb, Philadelphia Eagles
Too high for a new starting quarterback? Maybe. But I’ll take Kolb here based on potential, and the offensive weapons at his disposal, and Andy Reid’s affinity for throwing the ball, and Kolb’s production during two games as starter in 2009. Kolb threw for 391 and 327 yards in Weeks 2 and 3 of ’09, with two touchdowns each time. The Eagles are young, but they’ve got a great deal of talent, and I like Kolb’s potential to put up some big fantasy football stats in 2010.
12. Donovan McNabb, Washington Redskins
Many see a soon-to-be 34-year-old quarterback who was unceremoniously let go by his former team and is nearing washed-out status. I see a QB who’ll be playing under Mike Shanahan and with a chip on his shoulder to show his former team and now division rival, the Eagles, that they made a mistake by giving up on him. If McNabb can stay healthy (always a question), I see him pushing the 4,000-yard mark and topping 20 touchdowns.
13. Jay Cutler, Chicago Bears
“Erratic” might be too gentle a term for Cutler’s inaugural season with the Bears. He did throw for 3,666 yards and 27 touchdowns, but those 26 interceptions had Bears fans and fantasy football managers seething. I’m not a big Cutler fan, but I’m giving him a bit of a pass on the rough season – which included a five-interception performance at San Francisco on November 12. He finished up solid, with 273 and 276 yards in the Bears’ final two regular-season games with four touchdowns each week and, more importantly, only one total interception. I expect to see a humbled Cutler who will be a little more settled in with the offense in 2010.
14. Brett Favre, Minnesota Vikings
What can you say about Favre? Nothing, until you know whether he’s actually playing, and as of this writing, we still don’t. If you draft Favre as your starter, you’re dealing with “ifs”…as in, IF he even plays and IF he’s really healthy, then he’s a worthy starting fantasy quarterback. IF fantasy football draft day comes around and Favre is lined up to play, I’d snag him here. Because IF he’s on the field, good things are bound to happen, like the 4,202 yards, 33 touchdowns and seven interceptions he threw in 2009.
15. Carson Palmer, Cincinnati Bengals
I’ve been a Carson Palmer fan since his days at USC, and I’ve often thought some experts place him too low on their fantasy football projections lists. Or perhaps I place him too high. His 2009 numbers were solid if not spectacular – 3,094 yards, 21 touchdowns, 13 interceptions – and he’s thrown for 18,724 yards and 128 touchdowns during six NFL seasons. Palmer’s stock gets a boost with the addition of Terrell Owens, giving him a receiving corps of T.O., Chad Ochocinco and Antonio Bryant. Not too shabby.
16. Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions
I’m eyeing Stafford here based mostly on potential and the fact I like wide receiver Calvin Johnson a lot. Stafford missed six games in 2009 with injuries but still threw for 2,267 yards and 13 touchdowns. Chalk up those 20 interceptions to rookie mistakes, and here’s hoping he’s healthy and settled in with the offense in 2010.
17. Alex Smith, San Francisco 49ers
Smith’s four NFL seasons have been marked by injuries and time spent running away from the pass rush in a mostly hapless 49ers passing game. There’s reason for optimism among Smith-backers in 2010, however. For starters, he played 11 consecutive games to finish out the season in 2009 after missing the first five of ’09 and the last seven of ’08 with a shoulder injury. In those 11 games, Smith threw for 2,350 yards and 18 touchdowns against 12 interceptions. Another reason for optimism? Smith’s got a couple of able pass-catchers in tight end Vernon Davis and receiver Michael Crabtree, as well as a bolstered offensive line for 2010.
18. Chad Henne, Miami Dolphins
Henne took over the starting gig in Week 3 and put together a solid season in 2009 with 2,878 yards and 12 touchdowns. He’ll need to cut down on the interceptions in 2010 after averaging one per game in ’09, but the addition of Brandon Marshall makes for a promising fantasy football season.
19. David Garrard, Jacksonville Jaguars
Garrard hasn’t missed a regular-season game since 2007, throwing for more than 3,500 yards and notching 15 touchdowns each of the past two seasons. With Maurice Jones-Drew in the backfield and a group of solid receivers, Garrard, who has just 23 interceptions the past two seasons combined, is a solid late-round fantasy starter.
20. Kyle Orton, Denver Broncos
I’m not a big fan of Denver’s wide-receiving corps, and Brady Quinn is waiting in the wings if Orton stumbles. Still, Orton threw for 3,802 yards and 21 touchdowns against 12 interceptions in 2009, so he’s definitely worthy of consideration as a bye-week fill-in, and maybe even a late-round starter in deeper fantasy football leagues.
21. Matt Cassel, Kansas City Chiefs
Cassel earned starter status in 2008, when he filled in for the injured Tom Brady as New England’s QB all season and threw for 3,693 yards and 21 touchdowns against 11 interceptions. In 2009, his first with the Chiefs, Cassel tossed 16 TDs and 16 interceptions with 2,924 yards. I’m not crazy about Kansas City’s offense, so I’ll take Cassel as a bye-week fill-in knowing full well that he could be worth a little bit higher pick than this, perhaps as a late-round starter.
22. Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers
Roethlisberger deserves to be taken higher than this most years, but he’s slated to miss the first six games of the seasons while serving a suspension. The timeout could get cut to four games, but that’s still a big chunk for your starting QB to miss, so if I draft Roethlisberger at all, it’ll be with the mentality that he’s my backup.
23. Mark Sanchez, New York Jets
Sanchez was mostly solid as a rookie, throwing for 2,444 yards and 12 touchdowns, but he did toss 20 interceptions. He plays in a run-first offense that, even with the addition of Braylon Edwards, isn’t exactly flush with receiving talent, so I want to see more progression before I’ll pick him higher than this in my fantasy football draft.
24. Matt Hasselbeck, Seattle Seahawks
It’s been a rough couple of years for Hasselbeck and his fans, with the Seattle starter playing in just 21 games while battling injuries. Hasselbeck did play in 14 in 2009, with 3,029 yards and 17 touchdowns, but he also threw 17 interceptions. Once a legitimate fantasy football starter, I view him as a backup or a bye-week fill-in now.
25. Josh Freeman, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Freeman showed potential in the second half of 2009, and I’ve got my eye on him as a potential fantasy football sleeper in 2010. I’ll draft him as a backup, for now, and plan to be pleasantly surprised if he develops into more than a bye-week fill-in. Freeman did throw 10 touchdowns in nine games as starter in ’09, but he also averaged two interceptions per game.
26. Jason Campbell, Oakland Raiders
I still like Campbell, but what I don’t like is the offensive situation in Oakland. If Darren McFadden and Michael Bush can get any kind of running game going behind that offensive line, then Campbell might have a shot to put up some fantasy statistics despite a mostly unimpressive receiving corps. Still, until he and the Raiders prove otherwise, I don’t see Campbell as more than a bye-week fill-in.
27. Vince Young, Tennessee Titans
Young had some impressive games during the second half of the 2009 season, but I want to see more proof that the former Texas signal-caller is past his erratic NFL days. In the meantime, I’ll grab him here as a bye-week fill-in.
28. Matt Leinart, Arizona Cardinals
The former USC star has yet to live up to his NFL potential, true, but he also hasn’t received much of a chance playing behind Kurt Warner. Warner’s now retired, but Leinart might not get much of a chance this season, either; Arizona’s offseason addition of Derek Anderson would seem to indicate that Leinart will be on a short leash. If he and the offense come out clicking, all should be well. If not, it could be a relatively quick trip back to the bench.
29. Matt Moore, Carolina Panthers
Jake Delhomme is out after seven years as Carolina’s starter, giving Moore the starting spot by default after he threw for 1,053 yards and eight touchdowns with just two interceptions in seven games in 2009. If Moore stumbles early, the Panthers might just turn the reigns over to their rookie-in-waiting, former Notre Dame QB Jimmy Clausen.
30. Sam Bradford, St. Louis Rams
Mark Bulger is gone, and A.J. Feeley is listed atop the depth chart for now, but I expect Bradford to take over as starter relatively early in the season, if not before the opener. Don’t expect a whole lot from most rookie quarterbacks in terms of fantasy football statistics, and particularly don’t expect a whole lot from Bradford, since he’s playing for the hapless Rams. Ditto for Feeley, if he should happen to keep the starting job for a while.
31. Jake Delhomme, Cleveland Browns
Delhomme has a new home for the first time since the 2002 season, joining the Browns after seven up-and-down seasons in Carolina. He threw for 2,015 yards and eight touchdowns with 18 interceptions in 11 games in 2009. The bad news for Delhomme is, Cleveland’s offense leaves much to be desired. The even-worse news is, barring a breakout performance, he’s really just keeping the starting seat warm until Colt McCoy is ready to take over.
32. Trent Edwards, Buffalo Bills
If it’s not Edwards, sub in whoever gets the Bills’ starting quarterback job at the No. 32 slot on your fantasy football draft board. Trent Edwards, Brian Brohm, Ryan Fitzpatrick – doesn’t matter. Steer clear of the Buffalo quarterback situation unless something amazing and unexpected starts happening once the season gets under way.
More Fantasy Football Projections:
• Click here for: Rookie RB Spiller Might Get a Shot
• Click here for: Top 50 Fantasy Football Draft Picks for 2010
• Click here for: Top 25 Fantasy Football Picks for 2010
• Click here for: Top 10 Fantasy Football Quarterbacks for 2010
• Click here for: Top 10 Fantasy Football Running Backs for 2010
• Click here for: Top 10 Fantasy Football Wide Receivers for 2010
What do I know?
I’ve been playing fantasy football since 1998, and have participated in a keeper “dynasty” league since 2003. I also play in two or three single-season leagues each year, because as much as I love the keeper format, it’s just fun to draft each season. I’m putting together these lists not because I think I’m a fantasy football expert (although I DID finally win my keeper league, plus another single-season league in 2009) but because I’m researching these players and stats and figured maybe I could help out other fantasy managers along the way. I’d love to hear your thoughts on these lists, and I’ll continue rolling out positional and overall lists through the month of August, while fantasy football drafts are ongoing and while new information becomes available on players as they prepare for the 2010 season.