In the National Football League, it’s the quarterbacks that sell NFL tickets, and it’s also a crucial position in fantasy football.
Consistency is key, as you want a quarterback who can get the job done week in and week out, both in reality and in fantasy. Here are the 10 quarterbacks I think will have the best fantasy seasons in 2009, in order.
Peyton Manning, Indianapolis Colts: Manning is as consistent as they come, which is the key to winning in fantasy. He’s basically a lock for 4,000 yards and 25 touchdowns, and he won’t give you many bad weeks, if any. Manning has gotten lost in the shuffle a bit as of late with Tom Brady’s barrage of touchdowns in 2007 and Drew Brees’ yardage total in 2008, but Manning remains the safest bet atop the quarterback rankings. Manning does have a new coaching staff this season, but that should affect him less than it would any other quarterback thanks to his unique responsibilities on offense.
Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints: Brees had a fantastic season last year, throwing for more than 5,000 yards and 34 touchdowns. The Saints throw the ball a lot, but they could find some stability on the ground with a full season employing the platoon backfield of Pierre Thomas and Reggie Bush. Brees has a lot of weapons and should be able to put up huge yardage numbers once again.
Tom Brady, New England Patriots: Brady is coming off a 2008 season in which his missed nearly every snap due to a torn ACL. He’s been tirelessly rehabbing and should be in good shape for opening day. There are bound to be a few bumps along the way this season, as if the case when any player returns from a major injury, but he’s too good and to hard of a worker not to shine in 2009. Keep in mind, he’s got guys like Randy Moss, Wes Welker and Joey Galloway to throw to.
Tony Romo, Dallas Cowboys: Romo threw 26 touchdowns last season and he missed multiple games with an injury. Terrell Owens’ departure could hurt him statistically a bit, but I don’t think it will. He’s still got his favorite target in tight end Jason Witten and Roy Williams is definitely capable of being a number one receiver. They need someone to step up and be the number two, but this offense should be a scary one thanks to a dangerous ground game as well.
Aaron Rogers, Green Bay Packers: Rodgers had a great first season as the starter in Green Bay, though the team didn’t perform as well as a whole. He figures only to improve in 2009. He’s got a lot of good weapons, including Greg Jennings, James Johnson and Donald Driver, and a consistent running game in Ryan Grant and Brandon Jackson.
Kurt Warner, Arizona Cardinals: Warner has the benefit of throwing to the best receiver in the league in Larry Fitzgerald. It’s still unclear what’s going to happen with Anquan Boldin, but the Cards have a number of other talented receivers on board. The only thing that could force this offense to take a small step back is the uncertainty of how the running game will perform.
Philip Rivers, San Diego Chargers: Rivers had a great season in 2008, but I think the team will run the ball more often in 2009, which should increase the number of team wins, but hurt his individual stats a bit.
Donovan McNabb, Philadelphia Eagles: McNabb finally has a number of good weapons to work with on the outside and should be full of confidence coming off the restructuring of his deal.
Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons: Ryan is coming off one of the best rookie seasons by a quarterback and he figures only to get better with more time on the field and the addition of tight end Tony Gonzalez.
Carson Palmer, Cincinnati Bengals: I think Palmer has a bounce-back season and helps return the Bengals to relevance in 2009.