Fantasy Football 2011 Preview: Quarterbacks

The start of the 2011 NFL season is only a few weeks away, and that means fantasy football owners everywhere should be preparing themselves for their upcoming drafts if they hope to make a strong run for their league’s crown this year.  We here at know that it is important to get an edge on your opponents prior to draft day, and we want to give you that edge with our Fantasy Football position-by-position previews.

Today we take a look at the quarterback position.

The Top 10:

1. Michael Vick, PHI -Whenever you have a quarterback that can put up passing numbers like a top quarterback, as well as rushing numbers like a top running back, how can you pass on him?  Michael Vick is exactly that, as he posted a remarkable 2018 yards and 21 touchdowns through the air to go along with 676 yards and nine touchdowns on the ground in only 12 starts last season.  If Vick can stay healthy, he should lead all quarterbacks in fantasy points once again this season.

2. Aaron Rodgers, GB –  One year after putting up 3922 yards, 28 touchdowns through the air and winning a Super Bowl title, Rodgers enters the 2011 season with incredibly high expectations, and there is no reason to believe that he can’t live up to those expectations once again.  In addition to being one of the league’s best passers, he has also shown an ability to use his legs, rushing for 356 yards and four touchdowns last season.

3. Tom Brady, NE -Even with Wes Welker coming off a serious injury and Deion Branch being his only other noteworthy wide receiver, Brady still managed to lead all NFL quarterback with 36 passing touchdowns.  Unfortunately for Brady, he doesn’t have the rushing abilities of Vick and Rodgers, but with Welker healthy and Chad Ochocinco now in the mix, the Pats quarterback should have another big year through the air.

4. Philip Rivers, SD -Last season Rivers posted a league-best 4710 passing yards, and he did so with a bruised and battered receiving corps that was without Vincent Jackson, Antonio Gates and Malcolm Floyd for significant stretches during the season.  Now he is expected to have all of those weapons at his expense, and that could mean a potential 5000-yard season for Rivers in his eighth year.

5. Peyton Manning, IND -Manning is usually a guarantee for well over 4000 yards and 30+ touchdowns, but this season there are some question marks surrounding the Colts quarterback as he is coming off of off-season neck surgery and has not seen much action during training camp and preseason.  That is enough to make us worry about Manning, but it isn’t enough to make us avoid taking him as a top 5 quarterback on draft day.

6. Drew Brees, NO -For the third season in a row Drew Brees put up over 30 touchdowns, but one big issue with his game last season was the number of interceptions (22).  With Marques Colston dealing with an injury and Reggie Bush in Miami, Brees lost two of his biggest weapons.  The Saints also picked up running back Mark Ingram in the first round of the draft, so they could focus more on the run this season, but that shouldn’t stop Brees from putting up another 4000+ yards and 30+ touchdowns in 2011.

7. Matt Ryan, ATL -Last season Matt Ryan finished with 3705 passing yards and 29 touchdowns, good enough for eighth in fantasy points among quarterbacks.  More is expected from Ryan in his fourth season, as he now has Julio Jones as an option, in addition to Roddy White and Tony Gonzalez.  That could be enough to place Ryan among the top five quarterbacks in terms of fantasy points this season.

8. Matt Schaub, HOU – Schaub’s 4370 passing yards ranked him fourth among quarterbacks last season.  It marked his second consecutive season with 4000+ yards passing, and with the Texans offense still looking like a force to be reckoned with, Schaub should be able to reach that number once again this season.  The difference could be whether he can cut into Arian Foster’s touchdown totals in 2011.

9. Tony Romo, DAL -Romo was having himself a fine season last year before sustaining a season-ending injury in week six.  Now that he is healthy again, and has the likes of Miles Austin, Dez Bryant and Jason Witten at his disposal, we expect Romo to easily reach 4000 passing yards and approximately 30 touchdowns this season.

10. Josh Freeman, TB -Freeman quietly finished with the seventh most fantasy points among quarterbacks last season, finishing ahead of guys like Matt Ryan, Matt Schaub and Eli Manning.  With a full year as the starter under his belt, and a talented young receiving corps to throw the ball to, look for Freeman to improve upon his 3451 passing yards and 25 touchdowns in 2011.

Sleeper Candidate:

Sam Bradford, STL – Bradford finished his rookie season with an impressive 3512 passing yards and 18 touchdowns.  He did put up 15 interceptions, but these numbers all came while throwing to mainly no-name receivers.  This season the Rams have added Mike Sims-Walker, and with one year of experience under his belt, it isn’t unreasonable to expect big things from Bradford this season.

Busts Candidate:

Matt Cassel, KC – Last season Cassel recorded 3116 yards and 27 touchdowns, but 15 of those touchdowns went to Dwayne Bowe.  While we do expect Bowe to have another good season, don’t expect him to put up another 15 touchdowns.  That should result in a decrease in touchdowns for Cassel as well, and a disappointing season for anyone expecting big things out of him.

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