FINAL UPDATE: SEPTEMBER 1ST, 2011:
A player with a "U" symbol next to him signifies updated information.
Well here it is, the long awaited 2011 Quarterback Rankings brought to you by yours truly.
The votes are in and the final rankings have been updated and applied for everyone out there.
Also be sure to bone up on our other rankings:
What I have done is separated this particular piece into three sections: The Top 10, The Middle Tier and High risk/High Reward, with a little something extra at the end.
Not mentioned in this ranking are Rex Grossman (Washington) and Vince Young (Philadelphia) who are slated as primary backups.
Be sure to stop by and also look at our Top 8 Bounce-Back Players for 2011 when you're done here.
The Top 10:
|1. Aaron Rodgers – GB: Rodgers plays in the most explosive offense in the NFL, and there is little reason to doubt another repeat performance of his stellar 2010 campaign that saw him pass for 3,922 yards with 28 TDs, 11 INT and a completion rate of 65.7%. The real point to notice here is the Packers will have a better O-line in 2011 and they also get Jermichael Finley back.U: The Packers have also retained James Jones, and plan on getting Jordy Nelson more involved in the passing game, which makes this team even deadlier than 2010…if you can imagine that. Rodgers is set to have a better season in 2011 than he did in 2010, and should remain my number 1 QB for the duration.
2. Tom Brady - NE: Brady moves into the number two spot as one of the best fantasy quarterbacks to come into this season. He has a new weapon in OchoCinco, and he is coming off of a career 2010 season which he'll only build upon.
|3. Drew Brees – NO: Brees is another QB who is among the elite, but concerns about having too many cooks in the kitchen—some of which with health issues— raises a tiny red flag. But for Standard leaguers, Brees might be better than originally anticipated with some new red-zone weapons at his disposal.
|4. Matt Ryan - ATL: Saturday's preseason game was confirmation that the Falcons are not only going pass-happy this season, but also plan to utilize the shotgun more which will bode well for Ryan and the Falcons. Ryan could wind up the leading passer in 2011 if all goes well.
|5.Tony Romo - DAl: Final rankings are all about reality—especially in the Top 10—and the reality is, Romo has been on fire and is ready to reclaim his place as a fantasy QB elite. Remember, Romo had three straight seasons as a Top 9 fantasy QB before last year's injury.
|6. Phillip Rivers - SD: It's hard to leave Rivers out of the Top 5, but it'll be pulling straws in comparison at the end of the year. if you miss out on the first five, Rivers is just as good, and could potentially be better.
|7. Michael Vick - PHI: Vick has had a nice preseason, but he also showed he has significant trouble against the 3-4 defenses (he faces 9 teams who run that defense this season) and he hasn't played a full 16 since 2006. He's still dangerous as hell, but this is as high as he should be ranked considering who's ahead of him and his given risk factors.
|8. Matt Schaub - HOU: The Texans will put more emphasis on the ground game this year which will hurt Schaub just a little bit, but I have a feeling they will be playing from behind in a lot of contests this year which will keep his numbers right where they should be every year.
|9. Peyton Manning - IND:Sorry but he falls. Things are too risky, but keep in mind that these rankings reflect draft rankings more than projections. Manning should be fine once he does play.
|10. Ben Roethlisberger – PIT: Big Ben should have a monster year with Pittsburgh going more vertical in 2011.
The Middle Tier:
|11. Matthew Stafford - DETStafford has been on fire this preseason and has shown why—if he remains healthy—you should view him as a borderline elite fantasy quarterback.Stafford has completed 24 of 31 pass attempts (77.4% completion rate), and has thrown for 356 yards, five TDs and zero touchdowns, but he will also have a new three-wide set to play around with, and if he remains healthy, this guy is going to live up to all the hype.
The health concerns keeps him out of the Top 10.
|12. Joe Flacco – BAL: If Flacco goes as the number 12 quarterback in fantasy football draft, he will be the greatest value pick for a QB 1 have seen in years. Expect big things from Flacco this season.
|13. Josh Freeman – TB: U - Freeman looks like a new quarterback and has been playing extremely well given he is a very slow work in progress player. He is not QB1 material just yet, but he is a solid member consideration for your roster this year.
|14. Eli Manning - NYG: Manning is a great source for fantasy points, but he is also a huge turnover liability which nullifies those point totals. He has been having a horrid preseason, and still shows he throws off the back foot, which is where all the bad throws come from.
|15. Sam Bradford – STL - U: Despite no change in Bradford's ranking, it is noteworthy to mention that the addition of MSW greatly improves his overall projected fantasy value. Bradford is expected to make for a fine QB2 pick.
|16. Jay Cutler – CHI: I don’t believe the Bears have elite talent at WR, and I don’t believe Cutler is mature enough to rise to the Top 10 level. He’s a safe QB 2, nothing more.
|17. Matt Cassel – KC: Cassel should have another solid fantasy season, but needs to show fantasy owners his available weapons are quality producers before ranking any higher.
|18. Kyle Orton – DEN: Orton should be the starter this season, but John Fox is far more conservative than McDaniels ever was. Expect a run first approach this season which will dip into Orton’s value. U: Orton is the starter, but his value may drop a bit in a run first approach expected to be deployed by coach Fox.
|19. Jason Campbell – OAK: Has plenty of receivers with huge upside, but whether or not they step up is left to be seen. He will have sleeper candidate Jacoby Fordat his disposal for a full season this year, which should help.
|20. David Garrard – JAC: He’s a good quarterback in a bad offense.
|21. Ryan Fitzpatrick - BUF: Fitzpatrick rises to 21, but don't necessarily view him as a low-ball option.Remember, this is a guy who threw for 3,000 yards and 23 TDs to only 13 INTs in 2010, and he accomplished that while SPLITTING TIME with Trent Edwards.
High Risk or High Reward?
|22. Donovan McNabb - MIN:I cover the Vikings exclusively in other capacities, and I have given this a lot of thought.The consensus is, McNabb isn't going to be that great, but I believe raising up to 22nd is just about right, and he could be a great waiver wire addition to someone later in the season, or even a savvy late-round draft selection for those who wan to to roll the dice.
You could do a whole lot worse, trust me.
23. Matt Hasselbeck - TEN: Hasselbeck—previously un-ranked—now cracks the list at 23 taking the place of Browns QB Colt McCoy. While Hasselbeck's presence will be immediately felt, it is important to remember that Jake Locker WILL get his chance. Whether it is this season or next, however, is yet to be seen.
|24. Mark Sanchez – NYJ: Sanchez isn’t required to throw the ball much, and is set to lose Braylon Edwards, but that’s not even the real problem. Last year the Jets, and Sanchez, struggled heavily in drop-back passing because of the fact that Sanchez holds the ball way too long, rather than going through his progressions.
His 3,291 yards and 17 touchdowns may cause some people to argue this point, but his 13 Interceptions are a better gauge of what’s to come in 2011 with a receiving corp. that will have fewer veterans, and a greater emphasis on the running game. Like I said, it’s still early, so something could happen to show a different possibility, but for now, Sanchez stays put.
Remember, the Jets are a defensive team first and can win with or without him. Sanchez has looked horrible this preseason, ad should be left on the waiver wire as far as I am concerned.
|25. Kevin Kolb - ARI: Kolb finally lands in the desert and cracks the list at 25, but that doesn't mean he is devalued, only that it will take time for Kolb to learn the offense and prove to fantasy owners he is worthy of something higher than a possible mid to late round selection.Kolb has some exciting weapons to play with, though, in Fitzgerald and newly acquired TE Todd Heap which could raise his value by opening day.
|26. Chad Henne - MIA: Henne is waiver wire material anyway, so i don't think anyone is even going to notice his drop from 21 to 26.
|27. Colt McCoy - CLE: Goodbye Tarvaris Jackson and hello Colt McCoy (again)! I am really turned by this guy and he is looking more and more as if he could be the real deal this season.The problem with McCoy will be what he does against the better defenses of the league, which is the fantasy concern. McCoy should wind up being a late season WW trend pick by my estimation.
The remaining balance of available quarterbacks do not rank high enough to be placed on this list, but do deserve a quick viewpoint for all of you fantasy owners out there.
The Redskins will go with the unproven John Beck who is getting an unwavered show of support from coach Shanahan. But Washington offers little weapons for the youngster, and there is too little amount of information for fantasy owners to trust him even in a Dynasty setting.
The 49ers will initially go with the reeling Alex Smith who is in a now-or-never mode. The 49ers will introduce the West Coast offense this year which could breath life into Smith's career temporarily, but with rookie Colin Kaepernick breathing down his neck, and given Smith's track record, I can't seem him lasting a full 16 games. At this point he hold little value, but Kaepernick is an obvious choice for Dynasty leaguers.
The Panthers, Vikings and Bengals all offer rookie quarterback considerations for fantasy owners. But out of three offered—Cam Newton, Andy Dalton and Christian Ponder—only Ponder and Dalton offer limited value.
I don't see Newton becoming the next "big thing" as many feel he will become, and would say that he ranks last among the 2011 rookie QB class.
Andy Dalton will get the nod as the opening day starter in Cincy, but the Bengals have all sorts of offensive issue right now, killing Dalton's initial projected value for the 2011 season, while Christian Ponder will likely sit for a year or so behind McNabb, unless McNabb falls flat on his face.
I like Ponder over Dalton myself for all of you in Keeper and Dynasty leagues.
If you have a specific question please feel free to leave it below for me, and I will answer it. Also, be sure to check back regularly as these rankings will go through a few more changes before the season opens in September.