Fantasy Tiers – The Field Generals

Tier 1 
Drew Brees - New Orleans Saints

Drew Brees - New Orleans Saints

 
After falling just 16 yards short of Dan Marino’s Single-Season Passing Yardage Record, Drew Brees may very well be the most sought after QB in this year’s draft.  Brees threw for 5,069 Yards and 34 TD’s, earning the 2009 Offensive Player Of The Year award, and possibly a fantasy trophy for his owners.  Brees is a sure bet to come close to those numbers yet again, and with a healthy Marques Colston, and rising phenom, Robert Meachem, it’s very likely he can come close.  The Saints may be without former first round pick, Reggie Bush, at some point in the season, with Bush coming off micro-fracture knee surgery.  While Bush insists he’ll be ready to go, he’s been seen icing his knees repeatedly during Saints Camp.  However, No Bush, No Problem…Brees was without the services of all of his top weapons for a greater part of the season, with Colston, Bush, and newcomer, Jeremey Shockey, all missing significant playing time with injuries.  Brees turned the 5’9 slot receiver, Lance Moore, into a 6’4 #1 Possession Receiver last season.  Considering that Brees has thrown for just under 26 TD’s, once in the last five seasons, it’s hard to expect nothing short.  Expect in the area of 4,300-4,700 yards, and 30 TD’s next season.
 
 
 
 
Tom Brady - New England Patriots

Tom Brady - New England Patriots

Suffering his first major injury of his career, Tom Brady is back, and the Patriots are fully re-loaded.  The Pats added speedster, and wise veteran, Joey Galloway, to an already speedy, sure-handed group of Wideouts.  Brady’s also coming back with something to prove, as if a multi-Super Bowl winning Quarterback needed added motivation.  The last time we saw Brady before the injury, he was throwing for a league-high, 4,806 yards, and a record, 50 Touchdown Passes!  Now it’s hard to imagine Brady repeating those numbers, but with added weaponry, it’s hard to imagine Brady falling very short.  While I don’t expect Brady to break his own record, I do expect a very inspired performance out of the former MVP.  I expect Brady to throw for a range of 4,300-4,700 yards, and 32TD’s.
 
 
Peyton Manning - Indianapolis Colts

Peyton Manning - Indianapolis Colts

   

Old Reliable, Peyton Manning should have another solid season.  Although Manning is seen as arguably the best overall quarterback in the league, he’s not always the best fantasy QB in the league.  Not taking anything away from Manning’s fantasy ranking, or prowess…it’s just that before Tom Brady’s offensive explosion two seasons ago, Manning was always the first QB taken in the draft.  Taking Peyton in the first round would definitely be a reach in your league, as Brees and Brady should technically be the first off the board, followed by Mr. Manning.  Peyton did manage to take home his 3rd NFL MVP Trophy, which is a bit of a mystery, considering the numbers Drew Brees put up, with the rash of injuries his team was dealt.  However, Peyton will be entering this season without longtime Head Coach, Tony Dungy, as well as his former partner in crime, Marvin Harrison.  How much will these changes effect old reliable?  Not too much, look for Anthony Gonzalez to step up this season, helping Manning to put up around 4,000-4,200 Yards and 30 TD’s.
 
 
Philip Rivers - San Diego Chargers

Philip Rivers - San Diego Chargers

 
 
Emerging as the new leader of the San Diego Chargers, Philip Rivers will look to build upon the strides he made last season, throwing for 4000+ yards, and 34TD’s.  Rivers was one of the top fantasy QB’s last season, and with a healthy LaDanian Tomlinson behind him, he should continue that trend.  All Pro Tight End, Antonio Gates, will finally enter the season at 100% health, as will the once intimidating Chargers Defense.  All of these factors should fuel Rivers, and the rest of the Chargers’ team, who’s looking to make a Super Bowl run before the wheels on LT, fall completely off.  I expect Rivers’ growth to take another step, more so in the yardage department, with 34TD’s difficult to eclipse.  Look for 4,200-4,300 Yards and 31 TD’s.
 
 
 
 
Tier 2* (more like Tier 1B)
 
 
Donovan McNabb - Philadelphia Eagles

Donovan McNabb - Philadelphia Eagles

 
 
McNabb quietly put together a 16 game season last year, and nearly eclipsed 4,000 yards, with a very depleted Eagles Roster.  Well, 2009 is here and the Eagles have one of the most talked about offenses coming into the season this year.  Hard to believe, I know.  Offense has always been the knock on the Birds, but is now by far, the major strength.  McNabb wanted weapons added to the team in the offseason, and that’s just what he got.  The Eagles added RB LeSean McCoy, WR Jeremy Maclin, and TE Cornelius Ingram…but no acquisition was bigger, than Michael Vick.  Vick will serve as a wildcat type of weapon, playing QB, RB, and WR, which can spell trouble for defenses, but beneficial for McNabb.  Vick will allow McNabb to stay healthy, and the improvement of standout wideout, DeSean Jackson, McNabb looks poised for a big year.  Expect 3,800-4,000 Yards, and 28 Total TD’s.
 
 
Aaron Rodgers - Green Bay Packers

Aaron Rodgers - Green Bay Packers

 
 
Entering his 2nd season as the Green Bay starter, look for a huge season for Rodgers.  Rodgers should improve in his decision making, which would lower his interception total (13), to somewhere in the single digits.  Rodgers also has the fortune to work with his young crop of Receivers, with another year under their belts.  James Jones, Jordy Nelson, and breakout candidate, Jermichael Finley (TE), all have another year to grow within the Green Bay Offense.  Also different about this year, no Brett Favre distractions entering the season…or are there?  Either way, Aaron Rodgers should be much more comfortable in his role as a leader, and should continue on his growing pace.  Look for 3,800-4,100 Yards, and 28 TD’s.
 
 
Kurt Warner - Arizona Cardinals

Kurt Warner - Arizona Cardinals

 
Like fine wine, Kurt Warner seems to get better with age.  With two all-pro wideouts to throw to, along with an improving slot receiver, who could go wrong?  Kurt Warner probably exceeded his own expectations for himself, and the Cardinals team, reaching the Super Bowl.  Warner tossed 30 scores, and over 4,500 yards last season.  At times it seemed like Warner was back in his old St. Louis uniform, with how well he played.  A lack of running game aided Warner’s success last season immensely.  However, as we all know, Warner is 38 years old, and will eventually look like a 38 year old Quarterback.  He’s also entering the season with a fragile hip, which will surely hinder his ability to play every game this season.  His questionable health, and age are what keeps him from being elite status.  If Warner can stay healthy, look for similar results as last season, while the running game is still a work in progress.  Warner should pass for around 4,200 Yards and 30 TD’s.   
 
 
Tony Romo - Dallas Cowboys

Tony Romo - Dallas Cowboys

 
 
Losing an all-pro wideout would likely cripple most offenses in the league.  However, Tony Romo should still remain as solid as he’s been.  While T.O. will be missed in a few aspects, Romo will be able to make up for with his versatile running backs.  A healthy Felix Jones, and promising talent, Tashard Choice, should help Romo with their ability to turn a short pass, into a huge gain.  Also to to aid Romo this season, is a healthy Roy Williams, who now has a full season in a Cowboys uniform, and a much better understanding of the offense.  Williams’ desire to prove he can be Romo’s go-to-guy, should keep Romo on par with the upper echelon of field generals in the league.  Expect Romo to take a slight hit without T.O., but still totaling around 3,800 Yards, and 27 TD’s.
 
 
 
Tier 3
 
 
Matt Schaub - Houston Texans

Matt Schaub - Houston Texans

 
 
Schaub is the QB that we’ve all been waiting to break out, and he hasn’t quite done it yet.  Part of the reason for Schaub’s inability to reach expectations, is his inability to stay healthy.  Schaub has only played a combined 22 games, in his first two seasons with the Texans.  Schaub has an all-pro wideout, in Andre Johnson, and young stars, Owen Daniels, and Steve Slaton around him, which should translate to success for the Texan QB.  The man across from Johnson, Kevin Walter, made some strides as well, and will also be a nice complementary weapon for Schaub.  This season should be a big one for the Texans, if everyone can stay healthy, including Schaub.  If he can manage a 16 game season, look for Schaub to throw for around 3,700 Yards, and 24 TD’s.
 
 
Jay Cutler - Chicago Bears

Jay Cutler - Chicago Bears

 
 
Last season Cutler came out firing, right from the start.  If not for the large amount of interceptions, Cutler was a borderline Tier 1 talent, amassing 4,500+ Yards, and 27 Total TD’s.  However, Cutler was throwing the ball to Superstar Wideout, Brandon Marshall, and surprising rookie sensation, Eddie Royal.  This year will be quite different for Cutler, as he’s not playing with anything close to that talent at Wideout, with Devin Hester still a long ways away from being a true #1 Wideout.  Greg Olsen will undoubtedly be Cutler’s most reliable target, as will star running back, Matt Forte.  Cutler can hope for lesser interceptions, but if his preseason debut is an inclination of how the season will go, the Int’s have the potential to climb.  Look for Cutler to be well below his 4,500 yard total of last season, and a more realistic, 3,800 Yards, with the TD total around 25 Total TD’s.
 
 
Matt Ryan - Atlanta Falcons

Matt Ryan - Atlanta Falcons

 
 
Last season’s Rookie Of The Year just got a new weapon, All-Pro TE, Tony Gonzalez.  There is no doubt that Matt Ryan will improve on his 3,440 Yards and 17 Total TD’s, in his rookie campaign.  Ryan caught everyone by surprise, including his team, and fans, who knew Ryan was good, but not this good, so soon.  Gonzalez brings some of the most reliable hands that the Tight End position has ever seen.  There is no doubt that Roddy White will surely contribute.  However Gonzo, will be the key to much of the Falcons’ success this season.  Ryan should improve on his red-zone efficiency, as the Falcons were much more of a run only team, when the ball ventured close to the goal-line.  This season, expect the Falcons to gain much more balance within the red zone, with Gonzo being the primary contributor.  Look for Ryan to throw for around 3,600-3,700 Yards, and 23 Total TD’s. 
 
 
Carson Palmer - Cincinnati Bengals

Carson Palmer - Cincinnati Bengals

  
Palmer was once an easy Tier 1 quarterback.  Between injuries, and various character issues throughout the team, Palmer’s value has slipped substantially.  With Palmer’s most reliable target, T.J. Houshmanzadeh, now catching passes in Seattle, what will become of Palmer’s status as an elite quarterback?  Lavernues Coles takes over Housh’s newly vacated position, and should provide some possession help, but little to no big play ability.  Chad Johnson and Chris Henry, will most certainly have to provide the big plays, that Carson is used to being a part of.  If Henry can match the hype that’s surrounding him thus far, and Palmer can stay healthy, the Bengals’ offense will now be one to be concerned with.
 
 
Ben Rothelisberger - Pittsburgh Steelers

Ben Rothelisberger - Pittsburgh Steelers

 
Coming into the 2008 season, Big Ben was easily a tier one QB, after amassing 34 Total TD’s.  However, after the high expectations, Big Ben had his fantasy owners wishing they didn’t fall for the hype.  Going from 34 total touchdowns, to 19, a drop-off like that, will easily land you into Tier 3.  After the loss of slot receiver, Nate Washington, the team has to hope that former 2nd rounder, Limas Sweed, can fill the void.  Sweed was seen as a sure fire first round draft pick, coming out of the University of Texas.  The potential for success is there for Sweed, however, injuries have slowed him.  If Sweed can stay healthy, he’ll be huge for the Steelers this season.  Big Ben also has to deal with some personal issues going on as well, which can be a major distraction.  If Ben can put aside his issues, and stay healthy, he should have a bounce back season.  Expect 3,100-3,300 Yards, and 24 Total TD’s. 
 
 
Matt Cassel - Kansas City Chiefs

Matt Cassel - Kansas City Chiefs

 
 
No story was bigger than Matt Cassel’s burst onto the scene, last season.  Cassel filled in adequately for Tom Brady, after his early season-ending injury.  His play during last season earned him a 63 million dollar contract, as the Kansas City Chiefs’ Franchise Quarterback.  Now Cassel will have a lot to prove this upcoming season.  In New England, Cassel was surrounded by talent, and a veteran coaching staff.  Kansas City is a totally different situation for him, with a rookie coach, and a rebuilding team.  Cassel has a proven Running Back behind him, in Larry Johnson, and a rising star, in Dwayne Bowe.  However, Cassel’s rise from a backup Quarterback in New England, to a team’s Franchise Player, is quite a jump.  Cassel does have the fortune of having a Head Coach that’s willing to put the ball down the field, in Tom Haley.  Expect Cassel to struggle at times, but amass, 3,200 Yards and 22 Total TD’s.
 
 
Best Of The Rest
 
 
Brett Favre Vikings
 
 
 
 
– The ageless wonder steps into a young, and very athletic Minnesota Offense.  Favre is truly the old man on the offensive side of the ball.  If Favre can stay healthy, and make better decisions than he did in New York, he can reach Tier 3, and borderline Tier 2 success.  However, it’s always difficult when you’re dealing with a guy like Brett Favre, who can be the best, and worst thing that can happen to a football team.
 
 
 
 
joe-flacco-001
 
 
 
– Last year’s rookie sensation is looking to avoid the Sophomore Slump.  Baltimore didn’t do a good job of surrounding Flacco with talent, which will ultimately cause him to struggle.  The team was, and is, rumored to be interested in Denver’s Star Wideout, Brandon Marshall, who would be a tremendous upgrade to the current list of pass catchers.  At best, fantasy owners can hope Flacco can reach Tier 3 success, on a very lackluster Baltimore Offense.
 
 
 
jake-delhomme
 
 
 
 
 
– At 34, Delhomme just received a contract extension, which was a very peculiar move by Carolina.  With a history of injuries, it’s always risky to rely on a QB like Delhomme.  With the support of a strong running attack, the team doesn’t have to solely rely on Jake’s performance.  When healthy, Delhomme is a Tier 3 talent, but a huge injury risk, so draft at your own discretion.
 
 
 
Packers Giants Football
 
 
 
 – The new 100 million dollar man in the Big Apple.  Despite being tremendously overpaid, Eli is also surrounded by a boatload of questionable talent.  Manning will enter this upcoming season without his safety-net at Wideout, Plaxico Burress.  We all got to see how Manning performs without Burress in the lineup, and it was brutal.  This entire season will be a major learning curve for the Giants’ offense.  Owners have to hope for the wideouts to catch on quickly, and hope for Eli to reach Tier 3 status.
 
 
 
Matt hasselbeck(3)
 
 
 
 
– After a season that saw virtually an injury per week in Seattle, Hasselbeck is looking to bounce back.  With a reloaded Wide Receiver corp, the tools are in place for a bounce back season.  If Housh, and rookie, Deon Butler, can catch on to the Seahawks new style of play, Hasselbeck can regain some of his lost form.  Hasselbeck is a player that has a huge upside, if he can stay healthy.  If the offense can remain in tact, Hasselbeck can rise to Tier 2 talent with ease.  Draft him as a backup, with a potential to fill in, with favorable match-ups.
 
 
 
Kyle orton3
 
 
 
 – After a pretty solid season in Chicago, Orton has landed in Denver.  However, Orton has landed in a situation where he’s surrounded by talent.  Wideouts, Brandon Marshall, and Eddie Royal, are both 100 catch machines, and will help Orton tremendously.  But, let’s think about this…because we are dealing with Kyle Orton.  If Orton’s preseason debut is anything to expect for the season, I’d stay far away from him on draft day.  Despite having the weapons he does, I wouldn’t expect anything higher than a borderline Tier 3 season.  Borderline, isn’t necessarily a good thing.
 
 
Draft At Your Own Risk
 
Trent Edwards – He’ll need a full year with T.O. to reach his full potential, but the T.O. first season factor should help him. 
 
Derek Anderson/Brady Quinn – We don’t even know who the starter is yet, and may change at any point in the season.
 
Jason Campbell – After dealing with all of the Jay Cutler rumors during the off-season, it’s going to be interesting to see how Campbell responds to a team that didn’t seem to want him.
 
David Garrard – He’s as inconsistent as they come.
 
Mark Sanchez – The rookie will have his moments, both good and bad.  It’s going to take for the Jets to surround Sanchez with more weapons, until he reaches his full potential.
 
Matthew Stafford/Daunte Culpepper – Pep may enter the season as the starter, but he comes with a shelf-life.  Once the team decides it’s time to let the #1 Pick take the reigns, the struggle will begin.
 
Kerry Collins – The Titans are a Running Team, PERIOD!
 
Byron Leftwich – He may not even be able to hold off Luke McCown, let alone the team’s future QB, Josh Freeman.
 
JaMarcus Russell/Jeff Garcia – By season’s end, Garcia will have taken over for Russell.
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Comments
2 Responses to “Fantasy Tiers – The Field Generals”
  1. Sportguy2fly says:

    Yo man,

    I have to say I disagree with you on some of your rating here, you have Phillip Rivers in your top teir.. come on man! Rivers can be had with the likes of Rogers, Ryan and others. Rivers is clearly a tier 2-3 QB, don’t get people amped on a mediocre QB.

    Then you got Romo at the bottom of your tier 2 when he is clearly a top of the list guy for tier 2. Lets get your mind right on this one!

  2. Q_crush says:

    if we are basing the rankings on FANTASY POINT capabilities then Rivers is where he should be, he will put up a lot of yards and given a healthy LT and Gates will be even more successful than last year.

    I also agree with Romo being where he is, right now the only dependable threat he has is Witten, Roy W. has YET to prove that he can be a #1 receiver and there is a lot of unproven talent behind him. So until the receiving situation is solidified Romo stats wont be as high as they were in previous years.

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