1 Drew Brees
Brees may be a bit inconsistent at times, but he remains one of the safest picks at any position this season. He may not top 5,000 yards again this season, but he is a top fantasy QB.
2 Tom Brady
Brady is expected to be ready for the start of the season after tearing his ACL in week one of the 2008 campaign. The trade of Matt Cassell should be a good sign that Patriots are confident in the health of Brady’s knee. Don’t expect a repeat performance of 2007, but a quick return to form is likely.
3 Peyton Manning
The 33-year old Manning is not quite the elite QB he once was, but he still remains a consistent fantasy option. His passer rating has declined each of the past four years, but he’s still a safe bet for 4,000-plus passing yards and around 30 TDs.
4 Aaron Rodgers
Rodgers will again benefit from Green Bay’s quarterback-friendly system and the solid receiving corps led by Greg Jennings and Donald Driver. The gap between the big three and Rodgers is not that big so he makes a great QB1 option if Brees, Brady, and Manning are off the board.
5 Philip Rivers
Rivers had an excellent ’08 season with 34 TDs and a 105.5 QB rating. He did attempt a career-high 478 passes, however that is still lower than most QBs in our top tiers. San Diego will again be a run-first offense with LaDainian Tomlinson and Darren Sproles so Rivers will need to continue to be efficient on passing downs. Assuming he will, Rivers is a nice QB1 option this season.
6 Tony Romo
Dallas may utilize a more conservative, run-based offense to showcase the talent of their running backs, which does not bode well for Romo’s fantasy numbers. On the other hand, the departure of Terrell Owens may help his fantasy production as he will have a chance to run the offense without distraction.
7 Kurt Warner
If the 38-year old Warner can stay healthy he should enjoy another productive year throwing to the best receiving trio in the NFL. His age and recent hip surgery make him a risky option within the top 50 overall picks, but when he plays he will remain a top-10 fantasy QB. Warner will be overvalued in most drafts this season so draft with caution.
8 Matt Schaub
Injuries are a lingering concern for Schaub as he has missed nine games due to injury during the last two seasons. When healthy, he is a legit QB1 option and the young Texans offense is primed for another good year.
9 Donovan McNabb
Despite being benched in Week 12, McNabb threw for a career high 3,916 yards last season. The Eagles made offseason upgrades to the O-line, WR, and RB to further improve their high-scoring offense. McNabb can get streaky at times, but he is surrounded with talent and should have a nice fantasy season assuming he stays healthy.
10 Carson Palmer
Palmer missed ten games last season with an elbow injury but opted to not have Tommy John surgery in the offseason. Two seasons ago Palmer was a top-five QB and his value this season is largely dependent on his health. Palmer has declared himself 100 percent healthy and he could be a nice value pick this season.
11 Matt Ryan
The 2008 Rookie of the Year has all the tools in place for a nice sophomore season. With Michael Turner, Roddy White, and the offseason addition of Tony Gonzalez, we expect Ryan’s numbers to improve across the board. Ryan is a borderline QB1 option this season.
12 Jay Cutler
Cutler’s fantasy stock took a big hit when he was traded to the Bears. Cutler should have some success in Chicago, but he could be overvalued in a lot of drafts this season as we expect a decline in his numbers from 2008.
13 Matt Cassel
Cassel had a breakout season filling in for the injured Tom Brady which earned him a starting gig of his own in KC. Cassel does not have the same weapons or coaching staff that he had in New England, but the Chiefs are a past-first offense and Cassel should see plenty of opportunities.
14 David Garrard
Garrard had a rough ’08 season being knocked down more than any other QB and his receivers led the league in dropped passes. The Jags have made some offensive line improvements and they signed Torry Holt. Garrard could be a great value pick this season and a nice QB2 option.
15 Ben Roethlisberger
Big Ben had average 2008 fantasy numbers coming off of a 34-touchdown a season prior. There is no doubt that he is one of the toughest QBs in the league, but he can be prone to turnovers and inconsistent at times. Pittsburgh’s conservative offense will limit his upside, but he still makes an excellent QB2 option.
16 Eli Manning
Manning’s numbers took a big hit without Plaxico Burress. He failed to top 200 yards in each of his final six games last season. The Giants drafted Hakeem Nicks in the first round to try and help fill the void, but without a go-to guy, Manning will only be an average fantasy option.
17 Joe Flacco
Derrick Mason’s recent retirement further weakens an already poor Ravens receiving corps. The addition of TE L.J. Smith should help some, but Baltimore will again play to their strengths; running the ball, and defense. Flacco’s ceiling will remain low within Baltimore’s system.
18 Kyle Orton
Orton landed in a nice situation with the trade to Denver. Orton may not have Cutler-like production, but he should have plenty of opportunity to throw the ball as Denver’s bad defense will keep them playing catch-up. Orton has a pretty big upside and could offer nice value as a QB2.
19 Jake Delhomme
Steve Smith continues to make Delhomme appear better than he actually is. Delhomme does appear to be healthy after coming back from Tommy John surgery in 2007, but Carolina’s commitment to the running attack further diminishes his fantasy value.