Quarterback Tiers of HeavenTuesday, August 30, 2011
These are the borderline, low-end QB1s. Schaub's fantasy ranking is likely to drop for a second straight season as Houston evolves into a running offense coordinated by former line coach Rick Dennison. Arian Foster
and Ben Tate
are a dynamic duo, and the Texans won't play from behind as much with improvement on defense. Don't draft Schaub thinking he's a top-ten quarterback.
To this point in his career, Flacco's big arm has gone to waste surrounded by possession receivers in a run-heavy offense. Baltimore has ranked 30th, 25th, and 24th in pass attempts during Flacco's three years as a starter. There is reason to believe Flacco could turn the corner with Lee Evans
lighting up the preseason, but it's a "prove-it" year for Flacco in fantasy terms.
Freeman will hit tough sledding with a far more difficult schedule than he faced last season. Until the Bucs remove the training wheels and open up the offense, Freeman will be a better real-life NFL than fantasy quarterback. He's the most commonly overdrafted QB.
Manning hasn't finished better than No. 9 among fantasy quarterbacks in six years, and struggled throughout camp and preseason. The Giants' offense would operate much more smoothly getting back to its run-heavy approach of 2007 and 2008. Like Freeman, Eli is often overdrafted.
Bradford may have the highest ceiling in this group. He'll be top five in pass attempts assuming good health, and the Josh McDaniels factor could help push Bradford into the top-ten QBs. We see the St. Louis supporting cast as limiting, but we could be wrong. He's our favorite QB2.
One of our favorite quarterback pairings is Stafford as a fantasy starter backed up by Bradford, drafting them consecutively in the middle rounds after loading up early on receivers and backs.
Mid-range to low-end QB2s. Sanchez and Cassel play in run-heavy offenses and lack QB1-caliber talent. Cutler has all the skill in the world, but a horrible situation from a fantasy perspective. Kolb has one proven playmaker in his pass-catching corps, and an offensive line that threatens to tank.
Tier Six: Ryan Fitzpatrick, Donovan McNabb, Cam Newton, Kyle Orton, David Garrard, Colt McCoy, Jason Campbell, Matt Hasselbeck, Chad Henne, John Beck, Alex Smith, Tarvaris Jackson, Andy Dalton
Bottom-barrel QB2s and Week 1 starters. Fitzpatrick, McNabb, and Orton are draft-able, but still undesirable. McNabb does have more security than anticipated with Christian Ponder
struggling in August. The change from Josh McDaniels' pass-happy offense to John Fox's prehistoric approach is a death knell for Orton. Keep a close eye on Newton, McCoy, and Beck from this group.
Tier Seven: Tim Tebow, Vince Young, Charlie Whitehurst, Rex Grossman, Colin Kaepernick, Christian Ponder, Bruce Gradkowski, Blaine Gabbert, Matt Moore, Shaun Hill, Matt Flynn, Tyler Thigpen, Seneca Wallace, Jon Kitna, Jake Locker, Matt Leinart, Caleb Hanie, Jimmy Clausen, Chase Daniel, Sage Rosenfels, Tyrod Taylor, Kerry Collins, Brian Hoyer
All of these players are expected to be backups in Week 1, though Tebow, Young, Daniel, Flynn, and Hoyer would all be intriguing if they fell into playing time. Leinart, Kitna, and Rosenfels could be buoyed by enough surrounding talent to qualify as QB2s in the event of a starter's injury.