Position rankings: Quarterbacks
With Tom Brady coming off a record-breaking season in which he threw 50 TD passes, quarterbacks are getting a little more love in fantasy drafts these days, with Brady even going in the top 10 of most drafts. There are a handful of QBs this year who are head and shoulders above the rest, and the position will get an added boost if Brett Favre returns as a starting QB in Green Bay, or anywhere else, for that matter.
But one thing fantasy owners should be aware of this year is that the position isn't quite as deep as in years past. After the top seven or eight QBs are selected, there's a marginal dropoff and question marks surround every QB in that second tier. For that reason, QBs are going earlier than in past years, so decide if you need to secure one of this top tier QBs or not because if you do you won't be able to wait past the fourth or fifth round to get one.
Here then are the top 50 QBs ranked in order of preference on draft day:
1. Tom Brady, New England
Brady went from being a top 5 QB to the man last year when he threw for an NFL record 50 TDs and added a career-best 4,806 yards. The NFL's MVP had three or more TD passes in a game 12 times -- including a 6-TD performance in Week 7 at Miami -- and threw for more than 300 yards eight times. Sure, his team lost in the Super Bowl, but he's definitely a worthy top seven pick this year as he will approach 40 TD passes and 4,400-plus yards again in 2008.
2. Peyton Manning, Indianapolis
Manning is one of the most dependable QBs in fantasy football and he's been a top three fantasy QB during each of the past six seasons. He finished third among QBs in scoring last year with 31 TD passes, 4,040 yards and three rushing TDs. He topped 30 TD passes for the second straight season even without WR Marvin Harrison and he will come through again this year with 32 TDs and 4,000-plus yards.
3. Tony Romo, Dallas
Romo was one of the best bargains of '07 as his Average Draft Position was around 80; yet he was the second-best QB in fantasy football last year. Along with dating Jessica Simpson, Romo threw for 4,211 yards and 36 TDs, while adding two rushing TDs. He also had seven 300-yard games and has enough star targets in Terrell Owens and Jason Witten to top those numbers this year. Even after the breakup with Simpson, Romo will still throw 35 TD passes and top 4,000 yards passing.
4. Drew Brees, New Orleans
After a shaky start last year in which he failed to throw a TD pass in three of his first four games, Brees settled down and finished strong, throwing two or more TD passes in 10 of his last 12 games. He also finished with five 300-yard games as he posted a career-best 4,423 yards passing. He finished fourth among all QBs in scoring last year and has enough offensive weapons to repeat that performance again. Expect him to match last year's 28-TD passes and again top 4,200 yards passing.
5. Carson Palmer, Cincinnati
Palmer's final numbers of 26 TD passes and 4,131 yards look good on paper, but it was the inconsistency of those stats that upset fantasy owners last year. He finished ninth among QBs in scoring as he had five 300-yard games, but he threw only two TD passes in the critical Weeks 13-16 and was held under 200 yards in two of those games. If he can finish stronger this year, Palmer will be a top 5 QB again in '08, so project accordingly.
6. Derek Anderson, Cleveland
Anderson went from being a third-string QB for the Browns entering camp to being one of the best fantasy players of '07. He was solid all year long as he passed for at least one TD in 14 games and finished with 29 TDs and 3,787 yards. The Browns responded by inking Anderson to a three-year contract extension, ensuring he will again keep first-round pick Brady Quinn on the bench. With the weapons the Browns have, Anderson will easily reach 26 TDs and 3,800 yards again.
7. Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh
After struggling with injuries and health issues in '06, Big Ben came through with a solid season, finishing fifth among QBs in '07. He threw a TD pass in 14 of 15 games and finished with a career-best 32 TDs and 3,154 yards. He was hit or miss on the yardage as he had seven games under 200 yards, but look for more consistency this year and a season of 28 TDs and 3,300-plus yards.
8. Matt Hasselbeck, Seattle
Despite the lack of a solid running game, Hasselbeck still finished with a career-best season, throwing for 3,966 yards and 28 TDs. He had at least one TD pass in 15 of 16 games and added three 300-yard games. Still, this year could be more difficult as the Seahawks have cut ties with RB Shaun Alexander and WR Deion Branch could be sidelined for much of this season. This is where the risk starts for the QBs, but if all goes well Hasselbeck will finish with 25 TDs and at least 3,800 yards.
9. Eli Manning, NY Giants
Manning had another frustrating season for his fantasy owners last year, but his playoff heroics give hope for the upcoming season. Manning finished 14th among QBs in scoring last year as he threw for 23 TDs and 3,336 yards, but also had 20 INTs. But in four postseason games, he finished with six TD passes and only one INT. He's a risky option for '07, but it's possible he learned enough last season to top last year's numbers.
10. Marc Bulger, St. Louis
It was a wasted season for Bulger and the Rams last year as they both dealt with numerous injuries and hard times. Bulger missed four games with a concussion and rib injury and finished with only 11 TDs and 2,392 yards in 12 games. He also had 15 INTs and only four games with more than 225 yards passing. He's a risky option this year, but hope for the best and project a season of 22 TDs and 3,800 yards.