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Super Bowl XLV is a matchup of two of the best quarterbacks in football. Both have strong arms and can make plays with their feet. Aaron Rodgers has been a statistical force the past few years while Big Ben is looking to add a third ring.
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With all the attention Aaron Rodgers had in the original Brett Favre drama, he should not be fazed by the extra attention that comes with playing in the Super Bowl.
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Being a multiple Super Bowl winner, not to mention the off-the-field issues Ben Roethlisberger has had in recent years, you know that he won’t shy away from a little extra media coverage.
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Since the circumstances shouldn’t play a major role in determining which quarterback will have the better performance, we’ll have to look to the field. While Rodgers has been the statistical superior player, he’ll also be facing a tougher defense.
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Unfortunately for Pittsburgh, there strength is stopping the run. When Rodgers faced Pittsburgh in 2009, he threw for 383 yards and three touchdowns while adding 22 yards and another score on the ground.
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Big Ben topped him though with 503 yards and three touchdown passes as the Steelers edged the Packers 37-36.
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With the Lombardi Trophy at stake I don’t expect anything like that in Super Bowl 45, but I do expect the offenses to move the football and put some points on the board.
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It’s really close, but I do give one quarterback a slight edge in this one. While I’m taking Pittsburgh to win the game, I think Aaron Rodgers walks away with better numbers.
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I know it’s ridiculous to do Pro Bowl rankings, but what the heck. I’m having my son Heath (6) help me with them.
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Quarterbacks
1.  Philip Rivers
2.  Michael Vick
3.  Peyton Manning
4.  Matt Ryan
5.  Drew Brees
6.  Matt Cassel
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Running Backs
1.  Adrian Peterson
2.  Jamaal Charles
3.  Michael Turner
4.  Arian Foster
5.  Chris Johnson
6.  Steven Jackson continue reading »


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Tom Brady joined the ranks of Drew Brees, Peyton Manning, Michael Vick. Elite fantasy quarterbacks that will have to watch the rest of the NFL Playoffs on TV. Here’s how the remaining four quarterbacks shake out for the AFC & NFC Conference Championship Games.
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1.  Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers:  All Rodgers has done in his three playoff starts is average 323 yards with 10 touchdown passes with just one interception. He has also ran for a couple more scores. Think about that. He is averaging four touchdowns per playoff game. The Bears are tough, but Rodgers and the Packers are on fire.
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2.  Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers:  It’s hard to bet against a team that beat Peyton Manning and Tom Brady in their perspective houses, but Big Ben may be even harder to rattle than those two legends because of his ability to shrug off would be tacklers and make improbable plays. He had moderate success (264 passing yards, 25 rushing yards, TD) in their first meeting, and Pittsburgh’s elite defense should give him some short fields to work with. I don’t expect a Herculean effort, but a solid one.
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3.  Jay Cutler, Chicago Bears: Cutler did more than hold his own in his playoff debut, throwing for 274 yards and two touchdowns. More surprising though were his 43 rushing yards and a pair of rushing touchdowns. He averaged just 194.5 yards though in two regular season meetings with the Packers, throwing one touchdown and three interceptions. Last year wasn’t much better as he averaged 243 yards with three touchdowns and six interceptions. My feeling is that the Packers pressure gets to Cutler, forcing him into some bad reads.
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4.  Mark Sanchez, New York Jets:  Sanchez rose to the occasion, lighting up the Patriots for 194 yards and three touchdowns. Pittsburgh is a different animal though, as their attacking defense will make things very uncomfortable for Sanchez. They tormented Flacco with James Harrison picking up three of the Steelers’ five sacks. I expect Sanchez to top Flacco’s 125 passing yards, but I’d be surprised if he tops 200.
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The Seahawks certainly put the wild in the Wild Card round. Eliminated were Michael Vick, Drew Brees, and Peyton Manning. With that crop of elite quarterbacks out of the mix, let’s take a look at the divisional round rankings.
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1.  Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers:  He’s truly an elite talent. He does not even need to go to his favorite weapon (Greg Jennings) to put up three touchdown passes.  Now he’s Atlanta’s problem. With the 22nd ranked pass defense, I’m thinking another upset is in the making. Win or lose, Rodgers should put up big numbers.
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2.  Jay Cutler, Chicago Bears:  No, I’m not sniffing glue. Yes, I did watch Seattle pull of the upset. They were playing at home though. As long as the weather is decent in Chicago, I think Cutler lights up Seattle’s 27th ranked pass defense. They are also one of four teams to allow 30+ passing touchdowns this year.
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3.  Tom Brady, New England Patriots:  Brady got the Rex Ryan monkey off his back when he threw for 326 yards and four scores in Week 13. Things will be tougher this time around, but I’m still expecting Tom to deliver.
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4.  Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers:  I realize the Ravens made Matt Cassel look like a guy that should be backing up Tom Brady, but he and the Chiefs did not look ready for the next level that comes with playing in the playoffs. Big Ben and the Steelers don’t have that problem. I think Big Ben rises to the occasion and turns in a solid effort.
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5.  Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons:  I pretty much have the same feelings for Ryan and Joe Flacco. Both face tough defenses this week and will lean on the ground game. I give Ryan the slight edge since he’s playing at home.
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6.  Joe Flacco, Baltimore Ravens:   See above. The only thing I’ll add is that I hope Flacco doesn’t try to run like he did last week because he likely won’t last the entire game.
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7.  Mark Sanchez, New York Jets:   The Patriots were 30th against the pass this year, but it’s a new season now and the stakes are higher. Sanchez had mixed performances against the Pats in their two meanings. Facing Belichick a third time is a daunting task for a young quarterback.
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8.  Matt Hasselbeck, Seattle Seahawks:  With all due respect to Hasselbeck, I have to rank him last again. They called a great game and his throws were precise. I just don’t see that style working on the road against the Bears.
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Here are my fantasy football quarterback rankings for the Wild Card Round.
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1.  Drew Brees:  With an ailing running game, the Saints will put their quest to repeat on Drew Brees’ shoulders. No worries, he can handle the load.
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2.  Aaron Rodgers:  Rodgers got a taste of playoff action last year. All he did was throw for 423 yards and four touchdowns. He’ll be ready.
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3. Michael Vick:  He’s not at 100 percent, but 75 percent of Vick should be enough.
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4. Peyton Manning:  He’s not as super in the playoffs, but he’s still dominant.
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5. Joe Flacco:  Rushing attack should open things up in the passing game.
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6. Matt Cassel:  Tough matchup, but could throw a lot if they get down early.
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7. Mark Sanchez:  I don’t see a scenario where you’d want to choose him as your playoff QB.
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8. Matt Hasselbeck:  Ditto
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Before you start to break down the rankings for the playoffs, you need to decide who you think will be in the Super Bowl. I’m predicting a Patriots-Saints Super Bowl. As I pave their path to the big game, I will know how many games I expect each playoff team to play in.
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Here’s the breakdown.
Saints (4)
Eagles (3)
Patriots (3)
Colts (2)
Ravens (2)
Steelers (2)
Bears (1)
Chiefs (1)
Falcons (1)
Jets (1)
Packers (1)
Seahawks (1)
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Here are my top quarterbacks based on my above playoff projections.
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1. Drew Brees
2. Tom Brady
3. Michael Vick
4. Peyton Manning
5. Ben Roethlisberger
6. Joe Flacco
7. Aaron Rodgers
8. Matt Ryan
9. Matt Cassel
10. Jay Cutler
11. Mark Sanchez
12. Matt Hasselbeck
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Here are my Week 17 fantasy football quarterback rankings for those of you playing the whole year out.
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1. Philip Rivers @ Denver
2. Peyton Manning vs. Tennessee
3. Drew Brees vs. Tampa Bay
4. Matt Schaub vs. Jacksonville
5. Aaron Rodgers vs. Chicago
6. Ben Roethlisberger @ Cleveland
7. Joe Flacco vs. Cincinnati
8. Matt Cassel vs. Oakland
9. Josh Freeman @ New Orleans
10. Jay Cutler @ Green Bay
11. Eli Manning @ Washington
12. Matt Ryan vs. Carolina
13. Sam Bradford vs. Seattle
14. Michael Vick vs. Dallas
15. Alex Smith vs. Arizona
16. Kerry Collins @ Indianapolis
17. Shaun  Hill vs. Minnesota
18. Tom Brady vs. Miami
19. Tim Tebow vs. San Diego
20. Trent Edwards @ Houston

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Inside the numbers:

  • I don’t know who he’s going to be throwing to, but Rivers should finish strong against Denver. He threw four touchdowns the last time he faced them.
  • Aaron Rodgers looked all the way back from his concussion. He threw for 316 yards the last time he faced the Bears.
  • Big Ben threw three touchdown passes the last time he faced the Browns.
  • Knowing the Patriots have nothing to play for, I’m worried that Tom Brady will have a light workload. This is why I’m for ending the fantasy season after Week 16.
  • ***Update***  The Eagles are locked in the number three seed, the beating Vick took on Tuesday, and a chance to improve Kevin Kolb’s trade value (borrowed from Greg Brosh of FantasyFootball.com).
  • ***Update*** David Garrard is out. As bad as Houston’s pass defense is, Trent Edwards may actually be a decent desperation play this week.

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Here are my Week 16 fantasy football quarterback rankings.
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1. Michael Vick vs. Minnesota
2. Tom Brady @ Buffalo
3. Peyton Manning @ Oakland
4. Drew Brees @ Atlanta (Monday)
5. Philip Rivers @ Cincinnati
6. Matt Schaub @ Denver
7. Aaron Rodgers vs. New York Giants
8. Jon Kitna @ Arizona (Saturday)
9. Joe Flacco @ Cleveland
10. Eli Manning @ Green Bay
11. Ben Roethlisberger vs. Carolina (Thursday)
12. David Garrard vs. Washington
13. Josh Freeman vs. Seattle
14. Rex Grossman @ Jacksonville
15. Matt Ryan vs. New Orleans (Monday)
16. Kerry Collins @ Kansas City
17. Matt Cassel vs. Tennessee
18. Sam Bradford vs. San Francisco
19. Jay Cutler vs. New York Jets
20. Chad Henne vs. Detroit
21. Troy Smith  @ St. Louis
22. Shaun  Hill @ Miami
23. Tim Tebow vs. Houston
24. Ryan Fitzpatrick vs. New England
25. John Skelton vs. Dallas
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Inside the numbers:

  • Tom Brady may be the league MVP, but Michael Vick is the fantasy MVP.
  • My gut says Aaron Rodgers will be able to go this week. I’m a little worried that he can stand up to the Giants’ pressure, but it would be hard not to trust him if he starts.
  • Kitna’s been a little up and down, but should be a strong play against the Cardinals this week.
  • Rex Grossman surprisingly delivered the goods this past week against Dallas. He has another strong matchup against Jacksonville as he auditions for a 2011 starting gig.
  • Kerry Collins isn’t quite as strong of a play this week, but he’s been playing well and Kenny Britt is back.
  • Tim Tebow scored on the ground and through the air, but despite a favorable matchup against Houston, I can’t justify taking a gamble on him this week.
  • It looks like Mark Sanchez will be limited if he’s able to go this week. He can’t be trusted.

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Here are my Week 15 fantasy football quarterback rankings.
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1. Tom Brady vs. Green Bay
2. Peyton Manning vs. Jacksonville
3. Michael Vick @ New York Giants
4. Drew Brees @ Baltimore
5. Philip Rivers vs. San Francisco (Thursday)
6. Josh Freeman vs. Detroit
7. Matt Cassel @ St. Louis
8. Matt Ryan @ Seattle
9. Matt Schaub @ Tennessee
10. Eli Manning vs. Philadelphia
11. Jay Cutler @ Minnesota (Monday)
12. Joe Flacco vs. New Orleans
13. Ben Roethlisberger vs. New York Jets
14. David Garrard @ Indianapolis
15. Kerry Collins vs. Houston
16. Sam Bradford vs. Kansas City
17. Jason Campbell vs. Denver
18. Jon Kitna vs. Washington
19. Kyle Orton @ Oakland
20. Carson Palmer vs. Cleveland
21. Alex Smith  @ San Diego (Thursday)
22. Mark Sanchez @ Pittsburgh
23. Matt Hasselbeck vs. Atlanta
24. Drew Stanton @ Tampa Bay
25. Rex Grossman @ Dallas
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Inside the numbers:

  • Tom Brady is on fire averaging 345.3 yards and 3.3 touchdowns in his past three games. His last two monster efforts came against two of the best pass defenses (Jets and Bears) in the league.
  • Peyton bounced back against the Titans, and should pick Jacksonville apart like he always does. He averages 278.6 yards and 2.0 touchdowns in 18 career meetings. Earlier this year he threw for 352 yards with two touchdowns against them.
  • Michael Vick is taking far too many hits, a trend that won’t change against the Giants, but he’s far too explosive to contain.
  • Josh Freeman is quietly having an outstanding season, ranking near the top of all quarterbacks in fantasy points because of his rushing yardage and lack of turnovers. He have a favorable match-up against Detroit.
  • Matt Cassel should be healed and ready to restore order for Kansas City. Playing St. Louis should help matters.
  • It’s not that I think Matt Ryan can’t put up top five numbers against Seattle, rather I don’t think he’ll need to.
  • Maybe I’m making too big of a deal out of one game, but Kerry Collins looked good against the Colts. He should have another nice game against Houston.
  • I did not like the way the Broncos responded to the Josh McDaniels firing. Jason Campbell should be able to have a solid game. I’d rank him higher, but I think Darren McFadden is going to go off in this one.
  • Speaking of Denver, can you really trust Kyle Orton as your QB1 anymore? How quickly he has fallen.
  • Matt Hasselbeck is quickly running out of receivers. When they get down big to Atlanta, don’t think Charlie Whitehurst won’t get some reps. Avoid Hasselbeck despite the intriguing matchup.
  • ***UPDATE*** Donovon McNabb was benched in favor of Rex Grossman.

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Mother Nature has spoken and the rankings need to be updated. Here are my updated Week 14 fantasy football quarterback rankings.
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1. Michael Vick @ Dallas
2. Aaron Rodgers @ Detroit
3. Drew Brees vs. St. Louis
4. Peyton Manning @ Tennessee (Thursday)
5. Philip Rivers vs. Kansas City
6. Joe Flacco @ Houston (Monday)
7. Eli Manning @ Minnesota
8. Kyle Orton @ Arizona
9. Tom Brady @ Chicago
10. Ben Roethlisberger vs. Cincinnati
11. Matt Schaub vs. Baltimore (Monday)
12. Matt Ryan @ Carolina
13. Jon Kitna vs. Philadelphia
14. Jay Cutler vs. New England
15. Josh Freeman @ Washington
16. Mark Sanchez vs. Miami
17. Carson Palmer @ Pittsburgh
18. David Garrard vs. Oakland
19. Jason Campbell @ Jacksonville
20. Sam Bradford @ New Orleans
21. Alex Smith  vs. Seattle
22. Donovan McNabb vs. Tampa Bay
23. Drew Stanton vs. Green Bay
24. Matt Hasselbeck @ San Francisco
25. Ryan Fitzpatrick vs. Cleveland
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Notable Changes:

  • Big Ben slid a few notches because it’s expected to be a rain/snow mix in Pittsburgh. The Steelers will likely focus more on the rushing attack.
  • It’s supposed to be very windy in Chicago. Tom Brady stays put, but Jay Cutler, who isn’t as accurate, slides down a few notches.
  • Washington could be wet and windy, making Josh Freeman a less desirable option. I no longer consider him a QB1 this week.
  • Kyle Orton slides up a few notches. Arizona can be beat through the air, and despite a new coach, they will exploit that weakness.
  • With Asante Samuel out, Jon Kitna suddenly becomes a more attractive option.
  • The expected weather in Buffalo move Ryan Fitzpatrick from the QB2 ranks.

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