Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Fantasy Football Preview: Quarterbacks

Joe Haines

Fantasy Football: there is no other game like it on the planet.  It’s a game that will consume your mind for five months and have you chained to your computer like a prisoner for hours at a time.  It makes dim-witted fans look like geniuses when they draft a sleeper stud running back in the 10th round, and makes smart players look handicapped when they trade the hottest player in the league because they have a “hunch”.  It will make you have an undying allegiance to players like Roy Williams and Cedric Benson, and make you despise players such as Manning and Brees. It is one of the only games that encourages shit talk, and causes me to drink myself into a coma on Sunday afternoons.  It is a beautiful game.

And if you play fantasy football, you’re probably pulling your god damn hair out as these labor talks continue.  Just figure it out already so I can sleep at night.  A year without football would be like a year without the sun, or a year without the production of Blatz Bottles.  It would just suck. 

But the lockout doesn’t stop me and my friends (well, pretty much Hanvelt) from talking fantasy football for hours at a time and has inspired me to preview the would-be season of fantasy football. Where better to start than the most important players on the field, the quarterbacks. 

* Note, all fantasy points comparisons were used with ESPN’s Fantasy scoring system. 

Here are my top ten QB’s for 2011:

1.  Peyton Manning: Has there ever been a time where someone said “Jesus Christ, why the hell did I draft Peyton Manning?”  I would say no.  When you draft Manning you know what you’re getting every year…a stud QB.  Last year, Pey-Pey threw for a career high 4700 yards, and tied his second highest total in touchdowns (33).  He also had his second highest total in interceptions though (17) but expect those to go down.

He still has his steady receiving core around him in Reggie Wayne, Pierre Garcon, and Dallas Clark. With Aaron Rogers’s lingering concussion concerns, and Tom Brady’s lack of offensive weapons, why take the risk? Peyton will never disappoint, so take the general first. 

2.  Aaron Rodgers: Rodgers was an absolute blast to have on your fantasy team last year.  Every week the man would put up points (except when he played the Lions, sorry about your head, pussy).  He ranked second in scoring among fantasy quarterbacks last year while throwing for 3922 yards and 28 tuddies(touchdowns), and only throwing 11 picks. This year, expect bigger fantasy numbers. 

With his biggest red zone target returning in Jermichael Finley, and new draftee Randall Cobb; Rodgers will have great tools to make a run to the top of the list of fantasy quarterbacks.  With all that said, there are the concussion problems.  He suffered a concussion late in an overtime game against Washington last year, and against Detroit (YAY!!).  I’m not going to say it’s a huge concern, but it should be noted on draft day.  You can make a huge argument for him being the best Fantasy QB, but for me, he’ll be 1B.  After you draft him though, sit back and watch the points roll in. 

3.  Tom Brady: Holy shit Brady was good last year.  36 touchdowns and ONLY FOUR INTERCEPTIONS! WHO DOES THAT!  Brady is always at the top of the quarterbacks list at the end of the year (except for that little knee mishap).  It was amazing what he did last year because of the weapons around him, or the lack there of.  With a depleted, and then traded Randy Moss, Brady had to reunite with his former teammate Deion Branch and made magic happen once again.  If Branch would have been with Brady the whole season, he would have put up great numbers. 

Brady’s crutch, Wes Welker, will be back and will still produce great catch totals, but other than that, Brady doesn’t have much to work with.  He has two large, unproven tight ends at his disposal in Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez, and Danny Woodhead in the backfield who, let’s be honest, wasn’t all that special compared to hype that was around him. Brady also lacks the deep threat that Moss brought to him over the years.  But Tom does a great job of making something out of nothing and he will be dominating once again in 2011. 

4.  Phillip Rivers: If you really think about the quarterback play over the last few years and you said that Phillip Rivers could be the first quarterback taken, I don’t think anyone could argue against it. Rivers has been lights out the past three years, and could easily do it again this year.  From 2008-10, Rivers has thrown 34, 28, and 30 touchdowns with 11, 9, and 13 interceptions respectively.  He has thrown for over 4000 yards in each of those seasons peaking this past season with 4710 yards.  He only finished nine total fantasy points behind Manning.
Let’s remember now, he put these stats up without his number one target Vincent Jackson for ten games. His leading receiver, Malcom Floyd, only ended up number 32 on the receiver fantasy point list.  The ever reliable Antonio Gates was always there for him though, snatching up 10 grabs for scores.  Let’s just face it,  Rivers is a stud and a cocky quarterback.  Everything I like.  If he falls to me late in the second round, I’m scooping him up like a shovel, boy.

5.  Michael Vick: The most exciting player in football.  Mike Vick exploded back to elite status last year putting up the most fantasy points among quarterbacks.  He threw for 3018 yards and 21 touchdowns, and ran for 676 yards and 9 tuddies.  Those rushing touchdowns are unbelievably valuable, and Vick owners reaped the rewards of his scrambling style. Vick also has one of the best fantasy offenses in the league which includes the likes of Desean Jackson, Jeremy Maclin, and LeSean McCoy. He also had an average of 31 pass attempts per game last year, so Morningweg gives him the freedom to chuck it.  

Even with all his success last year it’s hard to put him up any higher on this list. Let’s be honest with ourselves, he was gone for two years and when he returned teams were not prepared for him. He suffered some injuries last year, and now that he’s 31, you would think the injuries would increase.  But if you get Vick and he produces, you will get the top quarterback again. 

6.  Drew Brees: Or Steady Eddie as I like to call him (other names included “The Baby and the Birthmark” or “Hurrican Ka-drew-na”), is always a safe pick. In each of the last three years, Brees has thrown for over 30 touchdowns and 4300 yards.  Although last season he was in a little bit of a slump, throwing a career high 22 picks.  Brees isn’t really showing any signs of severe slow down, and he still likes to distribute the ball to all of his wide receivers (like every single one of them.  Owning a Saints receiver was hell).   Expect the same great numbers from Brees. 

7. Tony Romo:  The human roller coaster everybody.  Tony is one of those quarterbacks that look like the best player on earth one game and the shittiest the other.  He has really good weapons all around him, and he’s in an offense that likes to launch the ball.  If Tony is on, you’ll be happy, and I think that he could be higher on this list if it wasn’t for that inconsistency.  But hey, it’s better than Ryan Fitzpatrick. 

8.  Matt Ryan:  God, there is just nothing sexy about Matt Ryan at all. He threw for decent numbers last year getting 3705 yards and 28 touchdowns while only throwing 9 picks.  But what really makes Matt Ryan take a step up is the addition of Julio Jones.  This gives Ryan a fast, field stretching, wide receiver which should help open up Roddy White, Tony Gonzalez, and the rest of the receiving corps.  I wouldn’t be as upset with Matt Ryan this year as I would be in the past. 

9.  Ben Roethlisberger:  A lot of people don’t like Big Ben, but I love him.  Last year he missed four games and faced some offensive line injuries as well, but I have faith in Big Ben returning next year.  Playing a full season (hopefully), I think he can get back to his old ways.  Mike Wallace will burn up the sidelines like he always does, getting Roethlisberger some long scores.  Hines Ward will still be his go-to, and get Ben some hard-earned yards.  I think he might have something to prove next season.  After the whole “dick out, forcing himself on a woman” debacle and losing in the Superbowl; I think he will come out firing to prove people that he can get another ring. 

10.   Matt Schaub:  I think everyone that drafts Matt Schaub isn’t mad about doing it, but just disappointed.  Schaub will huck for yards (he had 4370 last year), but he seems to always come up short with the touchdown numbers.  Don’t get me wrong, Schaub is a good quarterback to have, but you know that he can do better.  If  Schaub can finally throw 30 touchdowns and keep the interceptions down, he will be the man we know he can be.  Thanks to Andre Johnson, he will always be relevant.



So there you have it, my top 10 fantasy quarterbacks for 2011.  I know that most of you will say “Joe you’re fucking retarded” with the order of my rankings and what I said about some people.  But hey it’s my list, and that’s how I feel about these guys.  Ask me again in ten days and I might tell you something different, but for right now this is who I like. 


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