Here they are—Quarterback Rankings for Week 1 (2010) to help you decide who to start and who to sit on your fantasy football team.
1. Drew Brees (NO) – The last time Brees faced the Vikings in the Superdome he threw for close to 200 yards with 3 TDs and no interceptions. We can’t think of any reason why he won’t match or exceed those numbers this time against virtually the same defense.
2. Peyton Manning (IND) – He has owned the Texans over the years and now that this rivalry has actually become competitive, Manning stands to benefit even more with a shootout expected. It also doesn’t hurt that the Houston pass defense is mediocre at best.
3. Aaron Rodgers (GB) – If the Philadelphia defense has shown a weakness in recent seasons, it is giving up big plays through the air. Few, if any signal caller in the NFL is better at conjuring up the big play in the passing game than Aaron Rodgers. The Eagles defense is very good and the home crowd in Philly will be rocking, but Rodgers and company bring too much firepower to the table to be stopped.
4. Matt Schaub (HOU) – A much improved running game and the addition of speedster Jacoby Jones to the starting line up should give Schaub an edge he didn’t have last season against Indianapolis. The Indy pass defense is solid, but he has all the tools he needs to put up big numbers in a shootout against the Colts at home.
5. Tom Brady (NE) – The Bengals pass defense was one of the better units in the NFL last season and with a couple of upgrades, they are likely to be even better in 2010. That said, Brady has a lot going for him heading into week1. There are no issues with his health, he is on the verge of a new contract, he has a full arsenal of weapons and the Pats are at home. It kind of feels like 2007 again for this New England offense and if that turns out to be the case, the Cincinnati defense will have the best seats in the house for the air show.
6. Phillip Rivers (SD) – In his last 4 games against Kansas City, Rivers has averaged 312 passing yards (no less than 268) with 9 TD and just 3 interceptions. While the Chiefs took measures to improve their pass defense and Rivers is without Vincent Jackson this time around, we still have the utmost confidence that Rivers comes out on top in this one as well. He still has plenty of tools in the shed and this offense looked as sharp as ever in the pre season.
7. Jay Cutler (CHI) – The Lions love to give up fantasy points to opposing QBs and while Detroit should be slightly better on defense this season, that isn’t saying much. Cutler is a bit of a wild card heading into 2010 thanks to a shaky pre season, but under new offensive coordinator Mike Martz, he could put up some monster numbers against this defense. Plus, Detroit is one of only 3 teams Cutler didn’t throw an interception against in 2009 and the only team of the 3 that he played twice.
8. Tony Romo (DAL) – While Romo has had his struggles against the underrated Redskins defense in their last 3 meetings, we still like his chances heading into week 1. Washington has a new coach and a whole new defensive scheme which will take some time to gel and one pre season is simply not enough. Romo may be a bit iffy this week based on his recent showings against the Skins, but it’s a whole new ball game this year and he simply has too much firepower to come up short in this one.
9. Kevin Kolb (PHI) – He didn’t exactly meet expectations in the pre season, but we trust more in his outstanding body of work during the regular season last year. Kolb will be tested in week 1 by a tough Packers defense, but he has an elite arsenal of weapons at his disposal and the comfort of the home crowd. In addition, the Packers will be without two key players in their secondary this week due to injury which should prove beneficial. Kolb will probably make some mistakes, but in the end he should put up some nice numbers, especially if this game turns into a shootout through the air, which is likely.
10. Carson Palmer (CIN) – He may not be the signal caller he once was, but with the top flight group of playmakers the Bengals assembled this off season, he may not need to be. Palmer will head to New England for week 1 and while the home crowd is sure to be none too welcoming, a relatively inexperienced Pats secondary should provide him with some nice passing lanes. There should be plenty of mismatches for Palmer to take advantage of and for that reason; he qualifies as a low end QB1 for week 1.
11. Brett Favre (MIN) – He wasn’t exactly stellar the last time he made the trip into the Superdome to face the Saints and it may be even more difficult this time around playing on a bad wheel without his top playmaker Sidney Rice. That said, if there is one thing we have all learned about Brett Favre over the years, it is to expect the unexpected. For whatever reason, Favre seems to always be at his best when the deck is stacked against him. Injury Report: ankle (Probable)
12. Alex Smith (SF) – The 12th man is sure to be in full effect for Seattle on Sunday, but the raucous crowd seems to be about all the Seahawks have in their favor. Smith may not yet be the most trustworthy fantasy QB and with good reason, but we really like his chances in week 1. For starters, he has an outstanding supporting cast this season including Vernon Davis, Michael Crabtree and Frank Gore. Secondly, the Seattle pass defense which ranked 30th in the NFL last season is not expected to be much better in 2010 and if you need the cherry on top, Smith torched the Seahawks in his last trip to Seattle throwing for 310 yards 2 TDs and no interceptions.
13. Matthew Stafford (DET) – He will certainly have his work cut out for him in week1 in the form of an upgraded and formidable Bears defense in Chicago. That said, Stafford looked like a different player in the pre season than the one we saw a year ago. He is a year wiser, he has a much improved supporting cast and we are fairly optimistic that he will have a solid day. We aren’t sold on him as QB1 material just yet, but a quality performance here would go a long way in driving his fantasy stock up.
14. Matt Ryan (ATL) – We are expecting bigger and better things from him this season and we are optimistic he will deliver. That said, it will be a tough row to hoe in Pittsburgh in week 1. Ryan has some outstanding weapons to work with and the passing game will likely be key if the Falcons are to win this game. On the other side of the coin, the Steelers pass defense will be much better than last season and a healthy Troy Polamalu can make life extremely difficult for any QB. Ryan falls more into the QB2 range for week 1.
15. Derek Anderson (ARI) – A risky fantasy option for week1? You bet and we were a bit surprised to see him ranked this high at the completion of these rankings ourselves. However, the fact of the matter is that he is no more risky than any of the players ranked below him in our opinion. It wasn’t too long ago that Anderson was one of the more highly coveted signal callers fantasy football had to offer. He now has the best receiving corps he has ever had to work with and he is playing against a St. Louis Rams defense that will once again be among the NFL’s worst. We aren’t saying you should start him over Schaub or even Carson Palmer for that matter as there is some obvious risk here, but it is gamble that could pay off if your regular QB1 is looking at a tough match up in week 1.
16. Eli Manning (NYG) – He definitely has the weapons and ability to do some damage in week 1, but as Manning and the Giants found out last season, the Panthers defense is for real, especially against the pass. We like Manning as a fantasy QB this season and he is notorious for his strong starts, but frankly, this match up is far from fail safe.
17. Kyle Orton (DEN) – He isn’t a great fantasy option for week 1, but you could do worse. Orton has a much better group of receivers than people think and a shaky Jaguar pass defense could be easily exploited. That said, Orton is still a fairly average fantasy QB even on his best days.
18. Joe Flacco (BAL) – We love Flacco for 2010, but no so much in week 1. A swarming Jets pass rush and the Revis factor are just two good reasons to leave him on your bench.
19. Chad Henne (MIA) – Henne and the Dolphins will surely be tempted to test out their new toy in stud WR Brandon Marshall a few times in week 1. Unfortunately, the Bills have one of the best secondaries in the NFL to stop them. A big play or two from this combo is not out of the question, but we just can’t foresee monster numbers for Henne here. Everyone, including the Dolphins, knows that you beat the Bills by running the football.
20. Donovan McNabb (WAS) – He has put together a solid resume’ against the Cowboys over the years, but that was in a pass happy Eagles offense surrounded by playmakers. That isn’t the case this time around as a Redskin and the bad ankle won’t do him any favors either. Injury Report: ankle (Probable)
21. Vince Young (TEN) – It will be the Chris Johnson show that will win out against the Raiders, leaving Young with pedestrian like numbers at best.
22. Jason Campbell (OAK) – Campbell has some weapons, but he is far from flashy and a tough Titans defense on the road will make life difficult.
23. David Garrard (JAC) – He typically plays well at home and Mike Sims-Walker gives him that big strike ability, but the Broncos biggest strength is defending the pass.
24. Josh Freeman (TB) – We like the match up at home against Cleveland and we are also excited to see what Freeman can do with his flashy new WRs, but Freeman’s thumb injury combined with his propensity for erratic throws is scary to say the least. Injury Report: thumb (Probable)
25. Matt Cassel (KC) – Cassel has the playmakers to do some damage, but he has an absolutely lousy track record against the Chargers, even when he was with the Pats.