The debate rages on about who is the best weapon in the NFL. Is it the flashy quarterback who lofts deep touchdown passes, or is it the dynamic backfield option that always seems to have the ball in his hands? For that matter, what about that receiver who always seems to be doing some type of end zone dance? In what follows, we will attempt to answer the question of who is the most valuable fantasy player at each position in our weekly column dealing with the Player Rater Tool.
What is the Player Rater tool? It is an emotionless, statistically driven model that takes into account your leagues rules and tells you which players are performing at the highest level. For the sake of the analysis that follows, here are the "rules" that we will be using.
Four Points: Touchdown Pass
Four Points: Rushing or Receiving Touchdown
One Point: Per 25 Yards Passing
One Point: Per 10 Yards Rushing or Receiving
One Point: Per Reception
Three Points: Per Field Goal
One Point: Per Extra Point
You can click on the following link to find the actual Player Rater Tool if you want to input your own league's scoring system.
For this weeks piece we have no data to go on for the 2008 season, so we'll give you a primer and review the 2007 season before we get back to the present.
410.1 points -- Tom Brady, Patriots
Last year was truly a historic season, with the 50 scores and just eight interceptions. Brady also led the NFL in QB Rating (117.2), yards (4,806) and completion percentage (68.9 percent).
333.3 -- Tony Romo, Cowboys
Romo had the best passing season in Cowboys history thanks to 4,211 yards and 36 scores. Though he threw for 50 fewer yards per game in the second half, his TD to INT rate of 1.89 was virtually identical to his first half mark (1.90).
301.3 -- Drew Brees, Saints
Had his second season of at least 4,400 yards and 26 touchdowns though his interception total rose from 11 to 18.
297.1 -- Peyton Manning, Colts
The elder Manning tossed for 4,040 yards and 31 scores, the seventh time in eight seasons that he has thrown for at least 4,000 yards and 26 touchdowns.
287.1 -- Derek Anderson, Browns
From backup to starter to stud in one season. Anderson tossed for 3,787 yards and 29 touchdowns though his performance regressed significantly in the second half (209.9 yards per game, 12 TDs and 10 INTs).
282.6 -- Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers
In the best passing season in club history, Big Ben tossed aside health concerns and hurled a career-high 32 scores, just three less than the prior two seasons when he threw 35.
279.5 -- Matt Hasselbeck, Seahawks
His middle name could be 'Consistency' as his 3,966 yards, 28 TD effort gave him four seasons in the past five years with at least 3,300 yards and 22 touchdowns.
279.5 -- Bret Favre, Packers
Fourth in the NFL in yards (4,155) and tied for sixth with 28 TD passes, Favre may not be the passer he once was but has still thrown for at least 3,800 yards in each of the past four seasons.
270.2 -- Carson Palmer, Bengals
Palmer threw for more than 4,000 yards in his second straight season (4,131), and has thrown at least 26 scores in each of the past three seasons though his total of 20 INTs was a career worst.
250.2 -- Kurt Warner, Cardinals
Warner emerged after a slow start and injury to Matt Leinart to put up his best numbers (3,417 yards, 27 TDs) since the 2001 season in St. Louis (a career-best 4,830 yards and 36 TDs).
348.4 - Brian Westbrook, Eagles
All of those receptions, 90 in fact, boost this mighty mite to the top of the points list at the running back position. Westbrook also rushed for 1,333 yards and scored 12 touchdowns overall.
331.6 - LaDainian Tomlinson, Chargers
LT once again led the league in rushing yards 1,474 yards and he scored 15 times on the ground. Through the air he added 60 receptions and three more scores.
260.7 - Clinton Portis, Redskins
You may not have noticed it, but Portis caught 47 passes last season, the eighth-highest mark at the position. He also rushed for 1,262 yards, the fifth time in five healthy seasons that he has rushed for at least that many yards.
244.6 - Joseph Addai, Colts
Addai scored 15 times (12 rushing, three receiving), as he just barely reached the 1,000-yard plateau (1,072). He also caught 41 passes, one more than in his rookie season, giving him back-to-back seasons of 1,000 rushing yard and 40-receptions.
231.9 - Adrian Peterson, Vikings
Peterson led the NFC in rushing with 1,341 yards in just 14 games, but he was highly inconsistent with two 200-yard games, six 100-yards games and four games under 50-yards.
230.8 - Frank Gore, 49ers
Gore certainly had a down year but when you rush for 1,102 yards and haul in 53 passes it certainly isn't a total loss. He finished strong rushing for an average of 83.4 yards per game while hauling in 4.75 passes per game over games 9-16.
229.2 - Jamal Lewis, Browns
Lewis was fifth in the NFL with 1,304 yards rushing and he scored nine times on the ground for the second straight season. He also added two receiving scores and 30 receptions for the Browns.
218.8 - Willis McGahee, Ravens
How many backs rushed for over 1,200 yards and caught at least 40 passes last season? Try four: Tomlinson, Westbrook, Portis and, you guessed it, McGahee who rushed for 1,207 yards and caught 43 balls.
217.7 - Marion Barber, Cowboys
This vicious runner rumbled his way to 10 rushing scores and 44 receptions, though he fell 25 yards short of his first 1,000-yard season despite averaging 4.8 yards per carry.
211.2 - Earnest Graham, Buccaneers
If you grabbed this guy off waivers, you had a great chance to win your league if the rest of your squad performed up to expectations. Graham scored 10 times while hauling in 49 passes for the Bucs.