QB rankings: Manning still the best Michael Harmon / FOXSports.com I know it's only the start of May, but it's never too early for fantasy football analysis, is it? Today marks the beginning of our long and arduous journey to fantasy football draft day 2007. Sign up to be notified when the 2007 FOXSports.com game goes live. Our path will be fraught with injury and personnel concerns, and the inevitable change of heart for players once the pads start popping in July. However, it's only appropriate in the week following the draft to take stock of the goings on and begin the preparation for a fantastic season ahead. Let's begin this road with a look at the quarterback position. I'm whetting the appetite with a look at my top-15. I'll expand and refine the list as the glorious day approaches. Until then, here's a look at the incomparable Peyton Manning. 1. Peyton Manning, Indianapolis Manning achieved his third career 30-touchdown season in 2006, tossing two touchdowns in the final week of the season against Miami to reach the hallowed mark. No doubt he also came through for fantasy owners in championship week with his 282-yard, three-touchdown (one rushing) performance. The win got the Colts back on track and ultimately to the Super Bowl win over Chicago. The Indianapolis superstar provides a stability that is virtually unmatched in the game. Manning has started 144 straight games and has ranked in the Top 5 in touchdown passes in each of his nine NFL campaigns. When his few rushing touchdowns are included in the equation, Manning has averaged two touchdowns per game played. He has also ranked in the top seven in passing yards in nine consecutive seasons while throwing 10 or fewer interceptions in four straight seasons. Injuries to Brandon Stokley, an improved defense and longer drives contributed to a decrease in his touchdown passes from his torrid 2004 pace, but the ring says it all. The addition of Anthony Gonzalez from Ohio State on draft day should serve to get this offense clicking from the first snap of the year. The selection of Manning is money in the bank. I'm looking for a return to 35 or more touchdown passes this year (and maybe this rushing touchdown fad will continue). 2. Tom Brady, New England The consummate winner picked up several new pieces to the equation in 2007, going into the season with the best collection of talent at wide receiver that he's ever led. The additions of Donte' Stallworth and Wes Welker were huge, but the draft weekend deal for Randy Moss solidifies Brady's place at No. 2 in my rankings.With inferior components in the passing attack, Brady has ranked in the Top 10 in touchdown passes in four consecutive years, and has cracked the Top 5 in back-to-back campaigns. Additionally, the spread field and his ability to check down his receiving corps has placed him inside the top seven in passing yards in five consecutive years (he led the NFL in 2005). 3. Carson Palmer, Cincinnati After an unfortunate end to his 2005 season, it was anticipated that Palmer would take some time to get his feet on solid ground in 2006. And though he struggled in the early going (twice shut out in his first four starts), the former Heisman winner settled in and finished the season ranked second in the NFL with 28 touchdown passes. (He led the league with 32 in 2005.) Palmer threw multiple touchdown passes 10 times last season and finished the year with 4,035 passing yards. The loss of Chris Henry to suspension leaves a hole in the receiving corps that must be addressed. The Bengals will enter camp in search of a new deep ball threat to complement Chad Johnson and T.J. Houshmandzadeh. Tab Perry, Glenn Holt and Skyler Green will battle for the role, barring the late entry of another candidate. 4. Drew Brees, New Orleans It was certainly a charmed season for Brees and the Saints in 2006. New Orleans struck gold with unheralded rookie wide receiver Marques Colston, Devery Henderson averaged 23.3 yards per reception, and Reggie Bush lived up to the advance billing. With such explosive playmakers in the unit, the always efficient Brees led the NFL in passing yards (4,418) and finished inside the Top 10 in passing touchdowns for the third consecutive year. Coming into camp, the Saints are positively stacked. They waved goodbye to all-time receiving leader and local hero Joe Horn, but added two new pieces to the arsenal. If he can stay healthy, Eric Johnson offers a tremendous pass-catching option from the tight end position. Rookie Robert Meachem has all the tools to make an immediate impact, particularly in this frenetic passing attack. And, of course, Reggie Bush and Marques Colston are game-breakers. It all adds up to another huge season in New Orleans. 5. Marc Bulger, St. Louis Bulger finally put it all together for Rams fans and fantasy owners in 2006. He ranked third in passing yards (4,301) and cracked the Top 10 in touchdown passes for the first time in his career with 24. More importantly, Bulger limited his turnovers, surrendering a career-low eight interceptions. The Rams have done well to expand his receiving options for 2007, bringing the athletic, albeit injury-plagued, Drew Bennett over from Tennessee. Additionally, the team expects a bigger contribution from Marques Hagans and the selection of Brian Leonard will give Bulger another receiving option out of the backfield. 6. Donovan McNabb, Philadelphia Donovan McNabb was excellent before an injury ended his 2006 season, but the Eagles made some off-season moves that indicate he may not yet be fully healthy. (Al Bello / Getty Images) McNabb is one of the most interesting players to watch as mini-camps unfold. He's recovering from a devastating knee injury and watched the team select a quarterback in the second round, even after adding veteran Kelly Holcomb this off-season. Those moves (after re-signing A.J. Feeley) leave the door open to speculation that McNabb's rehab is coming along more slowly than anticipated. On paper, all the components are there for McNabb to reclaim his position among the game's elite. After all, he tossed 18 touchdown passes (eight multi-TD efforts) in 10 games last season. The loss of Donte Stallworth was softened with the additions of Kevin Curtis and former Patriot Bethel Johnson. They'll work alongside 2006 surprise Hank Baskett, tight end L.J. Smith and Reggie Brown. McNabb has shown an ability to produce tremendous numbers with questions in the supporting cast. But the fact that he's missed 13 games in the last two seasons makes him the question mark this year. 7. Matt Leinart, Arizona Kurt Warner's early struggles for the Cardinals in 2006 thrust Leinart into the spotlight sooner than expected. He produced a number of stellar performances and experienced the natural growing pains of the position. Leinart threw multiple touchdown passes in three games and amassed 2,547 passing yards in 12 games played (212.3 yards per game).The Cardinals had no need to find another skill position player. With Larry Fitzgerald, Anquan Boldin, Edgerrin James and Leonard Pope, they should be set for the foreseeable future. However, they needed to address the offensive line after surrendering 35 sacks and a number of rushed plays that resulted in 17 fumbles from the quarterback position (five lost). The addition of 6-foot-5 tackle Levi Brown will pay immediate dividends for Leinart and the rushing game. As such, he'll make a dramatic rise up the ranks with these weapons at his disposal. 8. Eli Manning, New York Giants Manning continues to airmail passes, and his 18 interceptions last season drew the ire of Tom Coughlin and fantasy owners. Given that he plays in New York and wears the "Manning" name on the back of his jersey, Eli will always have his play criticized perhaps more than it should be. He has ranked in the top 5 in touchdown passes in two straight seasons and has finished in the Top 10 in completions in those seasons as well. Yes, his career completion percentage of 54.1 percent is low, but does it matter in the fantasy ranks when you're consistently ranked among the league leaders in the category and get the ball into the end zone? The loss of the dynamic play-making abilities of Tiki Barber is certainly a concern, but the duo of Brandon Jacobs and Reuben Droughns should be able to keep the chains moving. For Manning to rank among the top fantasy performers, he'll need Plaxico Burress and Jeremy Shockey to remain healthy, and for either Sinorice Moss or 2007 selection Steve Smith to offer game-changing deep routes. Amani Toomer remains a reliable receiver when on the field, but he could he be displaced by the recently released Keyshawn Johnson? The Giants have often struggled in third-down situations under Manning. The possession-conscious Johnson could be a strong addition, and would relish a return to the bright lights of New York. 9. Matt Hasselbeck, Seattle Hasselbeck returned to the field much sooner than anticipated following off-season shoulder surgery. He's still a ways from full participation, but these are encouraging signs. Hasselbeck enters 2007 without leading receiver Darrell Jackson, who was shipped to division rival San Francisco, and the drops of tight end Jerramy Stevens. He'll still have a loaded offense starting with Shaun Alexander and 2006 acquisition Deion Branch. Possession receiver Bobby Engram will be joined by 6-foot-4rookie Jordan Kent from Oregon who'll offer red zone acrobatics once he recovers from a toe injury.Hasselbeck finished with 18 touchdowns in his injury-shortened 2006 season after having ranked in the Top 10 in three consecutive seasons. The big question for Hasselbeck (his shoulder aside) rests in the offensive line play. The team took a hit with the loss of Steve Hutchinson and struggled to find its stride even before the injuries to Hasselbeck and Alexander. If healthy, they'll put up points once again. 10. Philip Rivers, San Diego Lost in the brilliance of LaDainian Tomlinson's 2006 season was the fact that Rivers stepped in for Drew Brees and didn't miss a beat. Rivers finished with 22 touchdowns and was only shut out three times. In fact, he threw multiple touchdown strikes in eight games and three in the final four weeks of the year to lead owners through the fantasy playoffs. I expect Rivers' contribution to grow this season as Vincent Jackson continues to progress alongside Eric Parker, the athletic Malcom Floyd and, of course, the dominant Antonio Gates. The Chargers will also work rookie Craig Davis into the mix, so this offense should be stacked and among the league's top-scoring units once again. 11. Michael Vick, Atlanta It's been a tumultuous off-season for Vick, to say the least. His ranking could fall before the draft season depending on the results of the current investigation regarding a dog-fighting ring associated with one of his homes. On the field, things were looking up. New coach Bobby Petrino will design an offense to better utilize his unique talents. Additionally, the team added a strong veteran presence to the receiving corps in Joe Horn. He'll team with Alge Crumpler to anchor this unit and allow Michael Jenkins, Roddy White and the returning Brian Finneran to better exploit matchups from the No. 3 roles. Vick actually finished in the Top 10 in passing touchdowns (10th with 20) and added two more on the ground. The new offense in Atlanta should allow Vick to record his first 3,000-yard season via the air, but the question remains whether he gets shackled on the ground (1,039 yards last year). If Petrino can strike the right balance (and Vick stays out of trouble), there's the possibility that he eclipses his personal best of 24 total touchdowns set in 2002. 12. Vince Young, Tennessee Even though Tennessee's offense has question marks at various positions, Vince Young has enough athleticism to post solid numbers of his own. (Rick Stewart / Getty Images) This season's opponents are no doubt breaking down play after play from Young's ROY campaign. Of course, they're also hoping that the infamous "Madden Curse" strikes again. They're not cheering for injury, but for the downward spiral in production. Given the fact that three of the final four opponents were able to keep him out of the end zone by air (though he did rush for three scores), the league began to catch on late. In addition to the ramped-up efforts to thwart Young, there's also the fact that Tennessee lost one of its only established wide receiving options in Drew Bennett and has an unsettled backfield. It's now David Givens and a number of young and unproven receivers working routes. Brandon Jones flashed signs of becoming a star, but the team will need Roydell Williams, off-season acquisition Justin Gage or one of the trio of rookies drafted in 2007 to make an immediate impact. The team is also working to round out its backfield. LenDale White, Chris Brown and rookie Chris Henry will be competing for reps, and there's still a possibility that a trade is made to bring on another veteran (or sign Corey Dillon?). Whatever the case, Young's rocket arm and athleticism will allow him to pile up solid numbers. We'll have to watch how the rest of the preseason progresses to determine his ceiling. 13. Tony Romo, Dallas By the time he reports for training camp at the end of July, Romo will have had many months to think about the mishandled hold that sent the Cowboys home early from the playoffs. One might argue that he shouldn't have been holding as the starting quarterback, but that's neither here nor there. Romo set the league on fire when he assumed the reins from Drew Bledsoe, tossing for seven touchdowns in his first four starts. But it was his 306-yard, five-touchdown performance against the Buccaneers that cemented his status. Romo finished the season with 2,903 passing yards in spite of the fact that he threw two passes in the first four games! Terry Glenn, Jason Witten and the mercurial Terrell Owens return to the field, giving Romo the opportunity to become one of this year's top fantasy signal callers. They also re-signed Patrick Crayton, who was one of Romo's favorite targets after claiming the starting gig. So long as Romo stays within himself and keep Owens contented, the sky is the limit. 14. Brett Favre, Green Bay The future Hall of Famer returns for another year in Green Bay following an encouraging 2006 season. For all of the Packers' success, it marked the first season in his career that Favre did not rank in the league's Top 10 in passing touchdowns. Favre threw only 18 touchdown passes, which matched the career-low set in 1992, his first year as the starter.We do know this. Barring something strange, Favre will start every game for the Packers. Donald Driver ranks among the league's most productive receivers, and Greg Jennings showed flashes of being a top-tier contributor. Draft choice James Jones may be able to make an impact, but many expected the team to upgrade the tight end position over Bubba Franks. Additionally, the team still needs to address the running back position. One move that would make sense for the squad is to bring Keyshawn Johnson in for talks. He would provide a steady receiving option to extend possessions and take away some of the double-teams from Driver. In any event, you know that Favre is going down gunning, so pass attempts are always high. 15. Jon Kitna, Detroit Kitna had an uneven season in Detroit, but there's no doubt that he can perform in this Mike Martz offense if the unit clicks. Kitna ranked ninth in touchdowns (21) and fourth in passing yards (4,208) in 2006. The big sticking issue for him is the turnover. He's thrown at least 15 interceptions in each season during which he was the primary quarterback option. You have to like his chances to replicate his 2003 totals when he quarterbacked the Bengals based on the personnel around him. Kitna threw 26 touchdowns that year and has a fully stocked receiving corps in the frenetic Mike Martz-led unit. Roy Williams, 2006 surprise Mike Furrey and rookie Calvin Johnson should make for an interesting unit and push Kitna's totals north. He just needs to cut down on the turnovers.