Brady Spike
With the NFL Draft behind us it is time to start thinking about next year’s fantasy football landscape. Here is an early look at quarterbacks.
1. Tom Brady, New England Patriots
2. Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers
3. Andrew Luck, Indianapolis Colts
4. Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints
5. Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons
6. Jameis Winston, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
7. Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks
8. Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers
9. Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers
10. Marcus Mariotta, Tennessee Titans
11. Dak Prescott, Dallas Cowboys
12. Kirk Cousins, Washington Redskins
13. Philip Rivers, Los Angeles Chargers
14. Derek Carr, Oakland Raiders
15. Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions
16. Carson Wentz, Philadelphia Eagles
17. Eli Manning, New York Giants
18. Andy Dalton, Cincinnati Bengals
19. Carson Palmer, Arizona Cardinals
20. Ryan Tannehill, Miami Dolphins
21. Tyrod Taylor, Buffalo Bills
22. Joe Flacco, Baltimore Ravens
23. Sam Bradford, Minnesota Vikings
24. Blake Bortles, Jacksonville Jaguars
25. Alex Smith, Kansas City Chiefs
Also check out:

Brady Spike
Now that the dust is settling on another season, let’s take a look at the QB landscape.
The Elite
Tom Brady – Missed four games because of Roger’s vendetta. 3,554 yards, 29 TDs, 2 INTs which extrapolate to 4,739 yards, 39 TDs and 3 INTs. Set the Super Bowl record for passing yards as he got the last laugh. No signs of slowing and has a great group of weapons that fit his style. If Gronk can stay healthy, he’s even more dangerous.
Drew Brees – 5,208 yards, 37 TDs, 15 INTs. A remarkable fifth 5,000 yard season. He’s 38, but no signs of slowing. Good young receiving options.
Aaron Rodgers – 4,428 yards and an NFL-high 40 TDs to just 7 picks.
Matt Ryan – Matty Ice may have a Super Bowl hangover after that debacle, but he has the best receiver in the game, along with numerous weapons. MVP season with 4,944 yards, 38 TD and 7 INTs.
The Next Wave
Andrew Luck – 4,240 yards, 31 TDs, 13 INTs. Great to see the TD-INT ratio come back. Adding 341 yards and 2 TDs on the ground has him knocking on that elite status.
Philip Rivers – 4,386 yards, 33 TDs. A little heavy on the INTs (21). Key injuries set him back, but still solid year nonetheless. Consistently delivers. Also consistently undervalued.
Ben Roethlisberger – 3,819 yards, 29 TDs, 13 INTs in 14 games. He’s a force but tends to deal with injuries. You’ll want a capable backup.
Strong Options
Derek Carr – It’s a shame he got injured as he was in the MVP discussion with 3,937 yards and 28 TDs to just 6 INTs.
Kirk Cousins – Third in league with 4,917 yards, but a little light on TDs (25) to be considered in the upper echelon.
Cam Newton – 3,509 yards, 19 TDs, 14 INTs with 359 yards and five rushing TDs. Should produce more next year both with his arm and his feet.
Matthew Stafford – Same boat as Cousins with 4,327 yards and 24 TDs. Only 10 INTs though.
Russell Wilson – 4,219 yards, 21 TDs, 11 INTs with 259 yards and a rushing score. Injury limited his mobility. He should be back to his dual threat tendencies next year.
Up and Coming
Marcus Mariota – 3,426 yards, 26 TDs, 9 INTs with 349 yards and 2 TDs rushing. Took a huge next step before being injured.
Zak Prescot – 3,667 yards, 23 TDs and 4 INTs with 282 yards and 6 TDs. Impressive rookie year. Future looks bright.
Jameis Winston – 4,090 yards, 28 TDs, 18 INTs. A little heavy on the INTs, but he did progress in year two.
Andy Dalton – 4,206 yards, 18 TDs, 8 INTs
Joe Flacco – 4,317 yards, 20 TDs, 15 INTs
Eli Manning – 4,027 yards, 26 TDs, 16 INTs
Carson Palmer – 4,233 yards, 26 TDs, 14 INTs
Also check out:

Tom Brady Intense
The Patriots have dominated the AFC East for the past 15 years and will face off against one of their divisional rivals this week when they travel to play against the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium. Todd Bowles’ men have struggled immensely in the secondary this term, with even future Hall-of-Famer Darrelle Revis displaying signs of his age.
As a result, expect Brady and his passing attack to carve up the Jets’ defense with Martellus Bennett, Julian Edelman and potentially Rob Gronkowski playing a crucial role. The return of Dion Lewis in the Patriots’ backfield could even see Bill Belichick’s men towards the 40-point mark.
A win would put the Patriots in with a strong chance of locking up one of the top seeds in the AFC, and in the latest betting odds they are backed as strong contenders to win the Super Bowl, although prices can vary so looking at comparisons in sites that review the best bookmakers, casinos and slots online could be make the difference in placing the right punt.
Mariota and the Titans offense are really beginning to hit their stride as proven with their 47-point display against the Green Bay Packers. The 23-year-old is beginning to deliver on his potential that saw the AFC South outfit use the second-overall selection in the 2015 Draft to acquire his services.
He will be facing a poor defensive team in the form of the Chicago Bears, who were taken apart by the player picked one spot ahead of Mariota last year, Jameis Winston. As a result, Mariota will have a huge day in the air, connecting with his tight end Delanie Walker and receivers Kendall Wright and Rishard Matthews.
Tennessee need to keep up their form on offense as their defense has been porous at times this season, which could prevent them from earning a post-season berth in their division.
Manning has been below-par this season, failing to connect with the talent around him, and is projected to finish with a lower total touchdown count than last season’s 35 where he spread the ball around well, enjoying one of the best campaigns of his career.
The perfect remedy for a struggling offense this term has been to play the Cleveland Browns, who are ranked in the bottom five in the NFL in passing defense. There is a dearth of talent in the AFC North side’s pass rush and secondary, leaving them vulnerable to quality attacks.
The 34-year-old should have little problem firing to Odell Beckham Jr and Sterling Shepard for touchdowns aplenty at FirstEnergy Stadium and that would send his touchdown totals in the right direction as well as keeping the Giants in the hunt of the post-season.

Cleveland Browns vs. Indianapolis Colts“ (CC BY 2.0) by  EDrost88 
Everything went wrong for Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts last year. After reaching the AFC Championship game in 2014, plenty of NFL fans believed that Chuck Pagano’s men would push on and compete for a place in the Super Bowl in 2015. However, an injury to star quarterback Andrew Luck all but ended their chances of glory and Colts fans had to sit and watch as the Houston Texans won the AFC South title.
Despite their struggles last season, there is plenty of optimism in the air at Lucas Oil Stadium ahead of the new campaign. Luck is back to 100% fitness and the Colts focused heavily on improving their offensive line in the 2016 NFL Draft. With added protection in front of him, Indianapolis may be about to regain their 2014 form – and the rest of the AFC will be wary of their offensive prowess.

As of August 16th, the Colts are 25/1 in bet365’s NFL betting odds to go on and win the Super Bowl. While that may be a step too far, Indianapolis will certainly be much more competitive this time around. Luck is widely regarded as one of the best quarterbacks in the business and he will be very influential for the Colts this season. But he could also be central to your fantasy football this year. If you get the chance, you should definitely select him.
Luck’s poor 2015 season was down to a few things.
Firstly, Indy’s offensive line was virtually non-existent. There was a clear lack of protection for the Colts quarterback throughout the campaign and a hit-and-miss running game meant that Luck had to carry the offense on his own. Unfortunately, it was a step too far for the number one overall pick from the 2012 NFL Draft but that shouldn’t be an issue this season.

Secondly, Luck was trying to force things a little too much. With new offensive co-ordinator Rob Chudzinski working closely with him, Luck may be about to improve and benefit from a tweaked scheme. Indianapolis are still going to be a pass-heavy offense but added focus on the running game should help to take a bit of pressure off Luck’s shoulders as the Colts look to get back to their best.
His fantasy stock has fallen in the offseason but that could be good for your team. If you are fortunate, you could select Luck in the fifth round of the draft – a decent mid-round pick that will give you a solid option at the quarterback position. He is never going to do a Cam Newton but Luck has MVP potential and if he can regain his 2014 form, you could be on your way to the fantasy title.
For us, he’s a top five quarterback without a shadow of a doubt. Write Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts off at your peril… we dare you.

Big Ben
Like the AFC East this division is split between teams that have established quarterbacks and teams that are hopeful that their young quarterbacks will deliver.
Ben Roethlisberger may be better equipped to deal with the lockout than any quarterback in the league. After all he sat out the first four games last year and stepped in with a three-touchdown performance in his season debut. Despite playing in 12 games he finished with 3200 yards and 17 TDs (5 INTs). Big Ben knows the offense and knows his players. If the lockout drags on, the veteran Steelers could actually be at an advantage. Big Ben is a solid QB1 that you should to be get at a good value.
Joe Flacco had a solid season throwing for 3622 yard and 25 TDs (10 INTs). Unfortunately his number seem to decline at the end of the year. Last year he averaged 169.7 passing yards in Weeks 14-16 and 249 yards in the first 12 games. In 2009 he averaged 210 yards in Weeks 14-16 and 240.1 in the first 12 games. In fantasy championship week, typically week 16, he has averaged 134 yards the past two years. The Ravens added speedster Torrey Smith to help stretch the defenses. He should be a nice compliment to Anquan Boldin. Flacco remains a borderline QB1 and should put up solid numbers once again.
Colt McCoy is back with some experience under his belt. He didn’t light the world on fire, but he didn’t crash and burn either. He completed 60.8 percent of his passes, a number that should rise as he is well-suited for the West Coast Offense the Browns run. They could have added Julio Jones, but opted to trade out of the sixth pick in the draft. They did add Greg Little in the second round, who could end up being one of the best receivers in this class.
Finally we have the Cincinnati Bengals. Carson Palmer is as good as gone. Whether he is traded, retires, or just sits out the year is the question. Andy Dalton was taken in the second round and he has a good chance to open the season as the starter. Chad Ochocinco and Terrell Owens are also likely to be gone, but Jerome Simpson came on at the end of the year and they added A.J. Green in the draft. With Jordan Shipley and Jermaine Gresham, Dalton has a good chance to be a solid QB2 as a rookie.
Also check out:

Tom Brady throwing
The AFC East is truly a case of the “haves” and the “have nots”.
The quarterback position is the most glamorous one in the league, and the Patriots have the most glamorous one at that position. Not only does Tom Brady have the model wife and movie star looks, but he puts up video game numbers. Most quarterbacks would struggle after losing a talent like Randy Moss, but Brady got better. He finished with 3900 yards and 36 touchdowns while throwing just four interceptions. Jay Cutler did that in one game last year. Look for Brady to be the class of the division and among the best in the league again.
Mark Sanchez doesn’t put up the monster numbers like Brady as he three for just 3291 yards and 17 TDs (13 INTs) last year, but he’s also a winner having been to two consecutive AFC Championships. With their rushing attack Sanchez doesn’t have to carry the team, but he is more than a caretaker. Look for Sanchez to improve once again for the Jets, assuming he gets Santonio Holmes and/or Braylon Edwards back.
While Ryan Fiztpatrick is a far cry from Tom Brady, he actually was fairly effective for the Buffalo Bills. He threw for 3000 yards and 23 TDs (15 INT) despite playing just 13 games. There were thoughts that the Bills would grab Blaine Gabbert in the 2011 NFL Draft, but Buffalo opted to stick with the Harvard quarterback. He developed a nice rapport with Stevie Johnson, which should continue going forward. Questions remain as to whether or not the Bills will pick up Lee Evans option. If he leaves, it will be a blow to Fitzpatrick. If he stays, Fitzpatrick makes a solid QB2.
Then there’s Miami. Chad Henne isn’t the answer. There is some talk that the fins will deal for Kyle Orton. He was be a quality QB2 if  he’s reunited with Brandon Marshall. We’ll have to see who ends up getting the nod before we can rate their quarterback situation.

Here are some Quarterbacks putting up serious preseason numbers.  Let’s take a look and see if they have a chance to translate some of that preseason production into fantasy worth in regular season play. 

Matt Hasselbeck throwing
Matt Hasselbeck, Seattle Seahawks
- Through two games, Hasselbeck leads all QBs with a 111.9 passer rating.  He has completed 67.9% of his passes (19 of 28) for 198 yards and 2 TDs.  The key to his success is staying healthy.  Now that two of his starting offensive lineman have been injured, I would move Hasselbeck down from a low-end QB1 to a high-end QB2 as he’s likely to take more hits with his make-shift line.  It’s nice to see him getting into a rhythm though.

Tarvaris Jackson, Minnesota Vikings - T-Jack responded to the challenge of Brett Favre’s arrival with a perfect 158.3 passer rating, completing 80% of his passes (12 of 15) for 202 yards and 2 TDs.  Unfortunately for Jackson, the Vikings are likely showcasing him so they can try to trade him.  With Favre, T-Jack, Sage Rosenfels, and John David Booty on the roster, something has to give.  The Vikes won’t carry four QBs this year.  Depending on where he ends up, he could have some fantasy value, but I wouldn’t waste a roster spot with him.

A.J. Feeley, Philadelphia Eagles - Feeley leads all QBs with 347 preseason passing yards.  He has completed 34 of 44 passes (77.3%) with 1 TD and a 106.9 passer rating.  The showing is nice, but he is unlikely to unseat Kevin Kolb for the backup role.

Ryan Fitzpatrick, Buffalo Bills - Fitzpatrick has been unconscious completing 72.1% of his passes (31 of 43) for 316 yards.  He’s sixth in the preseason standings with a 90.8 passer rating.  He had a good preseason last year as well, and we saw what he did when Carson Palmer went down…little.  He has a little better weapons with the Bills, but don’t expect much from him if Trent Edwards gets hurt.

Brodie Croyle, Kansas City Chiefs - It’s unlikely Croyle can unseat newcomer Matt Cassel.  That would almost be an admission that the old regime was right.  Still, if Croyle continues to push Cassel with his 60.7 completion percentage (17 of 28) and 80.4 passer rating (8th best), fans could start calling for Cassel’s head if he struggles out of the gate.

Image courtesy of Icon SMI

Save $80 on’s Fantasy Football Commisioner league with the exclusive LestersLegends discount code.   Sign up today!

You’ve seen the Sleepers.  Now it’s time to explore the players who I feel will be disappointments to fantasy football owners.  I’ll start with the Quarterbacks.

Ben Roethlisberger – Will he have a good year?  Probably.  Will he have a great year?  Not likely.  I don’t put Big Ben on another 32 TD, 11 INT year.  Sorry.  He was 3rd in TD Passes last year and 14th in Passing Yards.  That bothers me a little.  Pittsburgh is traditionally a Run First team.  WIth the addition of Rashard Mendenhall to compliment Willie Parker, I think you’ll see a deeper running attack next year.  As for the flurry of TD passes?  I’m just not buying it.  He still should be a good QB next year, but don’t expect him in the Top 6 again.

David Garrard – I like Garrard a lot.  I really do.  I think he does what it takes to win in this league.  There will be owners taking him ahead of Jay Cutler, Philip Rivers, Eli Manning, and several others.  The problem is, Jacksonville is a Run First team as well.  He averaged 209 yards passing and 1.5 TDs per game last year.  What saved him was the low INT total (3).  Do I see another 6-1 TD:INT ration from Garrard again?  Nope.  Sure don’t.

Tom Brady – Brady will have another fantastic year, but if you are expecting even 4500 yards and 40 TDs you may come away disappointed.  A more realistic season for Brady would be 4200 yards & 36 TDs.  If you can live with that from a late-first/early-second round pick, then by all means take him.

Derek Anderson – I like Anderson, but I need to see proof that it wasn’t a fluke before I invest an early pick in him.  I know this.  He (or Cleveland) won’t be sneaking up on anybody this year.  They will be better equipped to deal with what’s coming.  Just looking at his splits is enough of a reason to raise some red flags for me.
Games 1-8:  91.7 rating, 2108 yards, 17 TD, 9 INT
Games 9-16:  73.7 rating, 1679 yards, 12 TD, 10 INT

How about his performance in the fantasy playoffs (Weeks 14-16)?  He averaged 191 yards, 1.3 TDs, and 1.7 INTs.  Are those numbers that are going to bring you fantasy glory?  I didn’t think so.  What’s worse is they came against the Jets, Buffalo, and Cincinnati.  Not exactly your Powerhouses last year.  One contributing factor is the weather.  Cleveland is cold.  They get a lot of wind and snow.  Next year they play in Philly Week 15 and at home against Cincy Week 16.  You think they could have some weather to deal with?  Yeah, me too.

I’m going to preface this by stating that in this day and age there really are no “sleepers” since there is so much coverage that a third string QB can’t make a nice pass in practice without the world knowing about it.  That said, here is a list of QBs that I feel will exceed expectations this season.

Jake Delhomme – Delhomme was having an outstanding season before getting hurt last year.  He should be good to go and ready to bounce back in a big way.  There are around 15 QBs that are ranked higher or taken before him in mock drafts.  He has one of the game’s elite WRs in Steve Smith.  They added a pair of quality WRs in Muhsin Muhammad and D.J. Hackett.  Assuming he and his weapons can stay healthy, there is no reason he can’t return to the land of Top Ten QBs.

Vince Young – Last year VY was one of the guys I thought were going to bust.  This year I’m selecting him to pick himself up, dust himself off, and turn in a decent year.  He finally has a go-to-guy in Alge Crumpler, who jived well with another athletic QB.  I’d like to see him make some more plays with his feet. 

Alex Smith – Fool me one, shame on you.  Fool me twice, shame on me.  I predicted good things from Alex Smith last year.  To say he let me down is an understatement.  Instead of avoiding him like the plague though, I’ll give him another shot to prove himself.  Naturally, he’ll need to stay healthy and fend off Shaun Hill.  If he manages to do both he could be in line for a sneaky season.  Vernon Davis should be better in his third season.  They added Isaac Bruce and Bryant Johnson so at least he has some weapons to work with.  Throw Mike Martz into the mix and you see the stars beginning to align.  If you want further proof, check out their last four games.  In Week 13 when you’re looking to secure your playoff spot he faces Buffalo.  In the fantasy playoffs he goes against the Jets, Miami, and St. Louis.  Stop drooling.

JaMarcus Russell – He got a little taste of the NFL last year.  He has the physical tools to be a good QB in the league.  It will depend on how quickly he can pick up the mental aspect of the game.  If Javon Walker can be a factor, his progression will be that much easier.  That said, he still has Zach Miller, who he vibed well with last year.  He can be Russell’s security blanket.  I wouldn’t take Russell until deep in the draft, but he could be a pleasant surprise for whoever is willing to give him a chance.

Tarvaris Jackson – The acquisiton of Bernard Berrian gives T-Jack a deep threat.  Sidney Rice looked decent at times last year.  He is a big target and can be the red zone guy.  Bobby Wade did well last year, and should be more comfortable sliding into the slot.  T-Jack has a good line and a solid ground game.  They will basically beg him to pass.  If he can show any poise, he could have a nice, solid season.

Deeper Sleepers
Joe Flacco
– If Baltimore’s season is in the tank, they could start developing Flacco.
Shaun Hill – If he can overcome Alex Smith’s contract and lofty expectations, he could be the SF slinger.
Brodie Croyle – WIth Gonzo and Dwayne Bowe he has options.  If the ground game can return, he could be serviceable.

With training camp approaching, I figured what better time to take a look at the QBs around the league.

Big Dogs
These are the best of the best. The beauty of having a Big Dog is you can plug and play them every week without debating which is the best matchup. Owning a BDQB means you’ll likely win that matchup most weeks. The drawback is you could weaken your RB and/or WR depth because you’ll have to take them fairly early in the draft. Another risk is there is always one or two Big Dogs at each position that doesn’t deliver. They can sink your franchise faster than you can say “Toilet Bowl”. Last year’s Big Dogs that missed were Marc Bulger and Donovan McNabb.

Tom Brady – Obviously any QB discussion needs to start with Brady. While I don’t expect him to replicate his record-breaking 2007 season, I do think he’ll be the Alpha Dog among QBs again this year. He’s got a ton of weapons and is in a great system. I could see him approach 40 TDs again.

Tony Romo – He’s not the second best QB in the league, but he is in fantasy circles. Of course, that depends on whether T.O. will continue to stay healthy (mentally and physically) and he doesn’t allow outside “distractions” affect his play.

Peyton Manning – When you ask who the best QB in the league is, Peyton is your 1B answer in my book, meaning he’s on the same plane as Tom Brady. If Marvin Harrison can make a healthy return life will be a little easier for Manning. Of course, with Reggie Wayne, Dallas Clark, Anthony Gonzalez, etc. he’ll be just fine if Marvin doesn’t return to form.

Drew Brees – I think Brees will be a great value this year as Big Ben and Derek Anderson will likely go ahead of him in most drafts. I like Drew’s track record better than those AFC North gunslingers. He has produced back-to-back 4400 yard seasons, and his TD production has increased the past couple of seasons.

Carson Palmer – He may also be overlooked a little because of the turmoil in Cincy. He lost a weapon (Chris Henry) and could lose another one (the disgruntled Chad Johnson). Nonetheless, he’s still one of the games best. T.J. Houshmandzadeh will deliver huge numbers, and, if Ocho doesn’t go, Carson will make a star out of one of his other wideouts. Either that or he’ll turn a couple of guys into “matchup” plays.

Ben Roethlisberger – For some reason I don’t see Big Ben repeating his 32 TD performance. What scares me off a little is 3100 yards he threw for last year, which is far fewer than the rest of the Big Dogs. With Willie Parker and the addition of Rashard Mendenhall, I would be surprised if Pittsburgh didn’t focus a little more on their ground attack.

Derek Anderson – Here’s another guy who’s fluke factor is high. Derek Anderson came out of nowhere to become one of the biggest surprises in football last year. His 3787 yards and 29 TDs helped many a lucky owner advance to the playoffs. What makes me nervous is his splits.

Games 1-8: 91.7 QB rating, 57.6% completion percentage, 2108 yards, 17 TDs (2.1/gm), 9 INTs (1.1/gm)
Games 9-16: 73.7 QB rating, 55.6% completion percentage, 1679 yards, 12 TDs (1.5/gm), 10 INTs (1.3/gm)

What’s even worse were his December numbers.
66.6 QB rating, 53.1 completion %, 205.8 yards/gm (well off his average), 7 TDs (1.4/gm), 8 INTs (1.6/gm)

You don’t have to look very hard to see who I think will be the Big Dog letdowns at the QB position. You can still draft them, but be sure to have a decent backup plan.

Second Tier
These aren’t the flashy picks that you can walk away from your draft with your head held high because you got one of the game’s best gunslingers. That’s not to say you can’t be proud of you team because you opted to wait until you got better value for your QB slot. In most leagues the QBs will score the most points. That’s just the way it is. What’s more important than actual points though is point differential. If you get a QB that averages 18 points per week, he’s only 2 points per week worse than a 20 point guy. Now if by choosing that 18 point QB (instead of the 20 point QB) you get a Running Back that averages 12 points (instead of an 8 point RB you’d get if you opted for the 20 point QB) then you’d be ahead two points per week. Before I have to break into long division, let’s steer away from the mathematics and move onto who the Second Tier QBs are.

Matt Hasselbeck – Matt reminds me a lot of Trent Green from a few years ago. He puts up solid numbers every year, but is never considered a “must-have” QB. He’s averaged nearly 24 TD passes per year to 13 INTs the past five years. He’s also averaged over 3400 yards during that stretch. His best year came last year when he tossed nearly 4000 yards and 28 TDs (both career highs). With Shaun Alexander out of the picture, I can see Seattle remaining a pass first team.

Marc Bulger – Last year Bulger was a Big Dog. This year he becomes on of the best QB values. The Rams were just a mess last year. Injuries to Bulger and Steven Jackson kept St. Louis from ever getting in a rhythm. I can see them bouncing back in a big way. The beauty of picking Bulger is, even if he misses, you won’t be in that bad of shape. I’d probably try and grab another second tier or the best of the third tier QBs shortly after selecting Bulger just to be safe.

Donovan McNabb – McNabb has Big Dog talent, but annual health concerns make drafting the former Syracuse star a risky proposition. He’s only played in 75% (48 of 64) of the Eagles’ game the past four seasons and 68.75% (33 of 48 ) the past three. As big of a name as he’s been in fantasy circles, he’s never reached the 4000 yard plateau and has only suprassed 25 TDs once. Personally, I’m not high on him.

David Garrard – He grew up right before our eyes last year. That run vs. Pittsburgh was an instant classic. He showed great poise last year and an ability to avoid the big mistake. If you’re in a league that penalizes for INTs, David’s whopping 3 didn’t cause much of a dent in your tally.

Eli Manning – A guy who’s far too familiar with INTs is Eli Manning. He’s thrown 55 in his past three seasons (18.3 per year). However, he’s also tossed 71 TDs (23.7 per) in that span while averaging close to 3450 yards per year. Oh, and he won that little game they call the Super Bowl. Manning should be much more relaxed next year now that he’s A) stepped out of his brother’s shadow and B) given himself some breathing room from New York fans and media.

Philip Rivers – I didn’t like the way Rivers mocked and ridiculed Jay Cutler last year, but he has produced back-to-back solid seasons. He’s averaged 3270 yards, 21.5 TDs, and 12 INTs while completing over 60% of his passes. He has some great weapons in LT and Antonio Gates, and having a whole offseason to work with Chris Chambers should pay dividends.

Jay Cutler – Speaking of Cutler, he has the potential of having a pretty solid year for the Broncos. The departure of Javon Walker won’t be too hard to overcome because of the limited role he played last year. A few things will need to fall in place for Cutler to be counted on for your fantasy team. Brandon Marshall will need to be healthy (mentally and physically) first and foremost. Second, he’ll need to get some production out of Darrell Jackson, Keary Colbert, and Brandon Stokley.

Serviceable QBs
These are guys who you can plug and play when the matchups fit, use in deep leagues, make good backup QBs or second starter in 2 QB leagues, or guys to roll with if you waited until well into your draft to pick a QB.

Matt Leinart/Kurt Warner – This one is tricky because Matt is the guy that will be given every chance to be the starter, but Warner (3417 yards, 27 TDs) was highly effective last year. With Anquan Boldin and Larry Fitzgerald as starters, either of these QBs are worth having. Problem is you may have to own both.

Jake Delhomme – When you have a target like Steve Smith, you have potential. When you add D.J. Hackett and Muhsin Muhammad to mix, things get even more exciting. If his elbow holds up (and the rest of his body) he can easily make the leap to the Second Tier level (if not even the Big Dog level). Perhaps no QB has a wider spectrum between highs and lows.

Vince Young – Entering his third season, VY has to start living up to the hype. He regressed last year, mainly because he didn’t have any weapons to work with. Unfortunately, he still doesn’t have the weapons to be a consistent fantasy starter, but I think he’s a good enough football player that he’ll show glimpses of greatness this year.

Matt Schaub – There are things Schaub has going for him. It’s his second year as a starter so everything shouldn’t feel as new with him. He has one of the best targets to throw to in Andre Johnson (who will hopefully stay healthy this year). The reason he’s not ranked higher, though, is because capable backup Sage Rosenfels is waiting in the wings. If he gets off to a slow start, the Texans won’t hesitate to cook with Sage.

Aaron Rodgers – This is mainly on potential than anything else. He’s a starting QB (so long as Brett Favre doesn’t butt his way in) of a team with great offensive weapons. He’ll have to show he can handle the pressure of replacing a legend, which is a tall order. Additionally, he’ll have to stay healthy.

Jon Kitna – With Mike Martz bringing his pass-happy ways to San Francisco, Jon Kitna sees his value take a dip. He most likely won’t be chucking the ball 40-50 times a game this year. If he doesn’t get in as many attempts, all of the sudden he’s just a mediocre fantasy QB. If the Lions’ season goes sour, there’s a good chance Drew Stanton can get a turn. I was high on Kitna last year, and this year I couldn’t be more opposite.

Scrap Pile
I know scrap pile may seem a little harsh, but when you consider we already profiled 20 QBs, you catch my drift. These guys will be used on bye weeks and when injuries strike. I’m sure a few of them will turn out to be decent plays. Some will likely lose their starting job. That’s the nature of the beast when you deal with the shallow end of the QB pool.

Jason Campbell – I actually don’t mind Jason Campbell. If he weren’t coming off a knee injury I would probably put him in the Serviceable QB group. He made decent strides in his second year. I would just like to see him throw more TDs.

Jeff Garcia – Garcia is a decent play in leagues that penalize for INTs since he seldom throws to the wrong color jersey. He’s not going to give you a huge week, but he’s a decent fill-in when your starter is on bye. He’s in the scrap pile because Tampa has a few decent QBs on hand in case they want to go a different direction.

Tarvaris Jackson – With the acquisition of Benard Berrian, the development of Sidney Rice, the double-headed monster in the backfield, and a little experience gained, and T-Jack has some potential to break out of the scrap pile. He needs to gain confidence and consistency.

Alex Smith – Smith was a pick of mine to breakout last year. He made me look foolish. My expectations are justifiably lower this year. However, he does have Mike Martz to help him along, as well as newly acquired Bryant Johnson and Isaac Bruce. Perhaps this is the year Vernon Davis lives up to his hype as well.

JaMarcus Russell – They will probably be passing a lot since they will be behind in most games. He’s got that going for him. As long as Javon Walker can get home for some beauty rest instead of curbside butt whoopings, he’s got a legitimate weapon. He’s still very inexperienced though, and there will be plenty of bumps along the way. I can see him leading the league in INTs.

Chad Pennington/Kellen Clemens – Let’s face it. Neither of these QBs excite you. For good reason. They do have a pair of quality WRs, but I can see split duty out of these two. That’s a situation I’ll steer clear of.

Trent Edwards/J.P. Losman – Trent is penciled in as the starter, but I’m not sure Buffalo has witnessed the last of Mr. Losman. Neither is going to wow you with statistics, but they may be useful for a game or two this year.

Brodie Croyle/Damon Huard – I ‘d like to see Brodie Croyle take the job and run with it. He’s got some weapons in Tony Gonzalez and Dwayne Bowe. Still, I know I wouldn’t trust him.

Rex Grossman – Yuck. Marty Booker is back. Oh boy. They lost their best deep threat. They are going to need Devin Hester to step up his game if Rexy is going to even be relevant in fantasy circles. Avoid this like the plague.

Kyle Boller/Troy Smith/Joe Flacco – I actually could see all three getting starts this year. Boller get the starting nod and loses it by Week 4. Troy Smith takes over and mans the post until Week 10. The rookie Joe Flacco finishes the season off to get him experience for next season. That’s how it plays out in my head.

Josh McCown/John Beck/Chad Henne – I can see the same scenario go down in Miami. McCown early. Beck gets another shot and misses, Henne finishes with eyes towards the future.

Chris Redman/Joey Harrington/Matt Ryan – The question is when, not if, the Matt Ryan era will begin. I don’t know why, but I’d like to see Joey have a decent little go of things. I’ve had a soft spot for him for whatever reason. I think he got a bad shake in Detroit, and was ruined. That said, the sooner they get to Ryan the better.

Partner of USA TODAY Sports Digital Properties