It’s week one; another beginning for fantasy players and actual players alike. There are very few injuries concerns for quarterbacks heading into the start of the year, so there aren’t many owners out there looking to pick-up and play a QB. I’ve compiled a complete ranking of all 32 starting QBs, and grouped them into tiers to help you even more. Enjoy, and good luck!
1. Peyton Manning (vs. HOU)- As scary as it sounds, the Colts offense may be better this year than last, and Manning is almost a guarantee to put up consistently remarkable numbers. Manning will start another good year by putting up big numbers in a shootout against the Texans.
2. Aaron Rodgers (vs. PHI)-Brett Favre who? Aaron Rodgers has made cheeseheads forget about their former HOF QB. Rodgers and the Packers offense were unstoppable in the preseason. Expect that to continue when they face the Eagles.
3. Drew Brees (vs. MIN)- As the defending champs, the Saints will kick-off the regular season in a rematch of the NFC Championship game. I expect Brees to put up more yardage than he did the last time he faced the Vikings and come out ahead for the second time.
4. Matt Schaub (vs. IND)- Houston always steps up against the Colts, but they haven’t succeeded in the last 6 matchups. However, with Schaub and receiver Andre Johnson clicking, this might be the Texans’ year.
5. Tom Brady (vs. CIN)- In his second season since suffering a horrendous knee injury, we’ll see if Brady can return to his record-breaking pre-injury form.
6. Philip Rivers (vs. KC)- Rivers is a premiere quarterback in this league and he will be relied upon until as rookie Ryan Mathews gets his feet wet in the NFL. Even without Vincent Jackson, expect him to put up points on Monday night against the Chiefs.
7. Brett Favre (vs. NO)- The grandfather will try to avenge last season’s playoff loss to the Saints. Whether that leads to a classic 400 yard, 4 TD Favre performance, or a classic 5 interception game, no one knows.
8. Tony Romo (vs WAS)- With Cowboy Stadium hosting the Super Bowl this year, added pressure has been placed on underachieving Romo and his ‘Boys. Expect him to either step up or fold against a division rival.
9. Jay Cutler (vs. DET)- Thanks to Mike Martz, many fantasy pundits are expecting increased production out of Cutler. But, keep in mind, he is Jay Cutler. I won’t believe in him until I see production. STUD ALERT: That said, his few bright spots last year game against the Lions. He had a 6:0 TD to INT ratio in two games against Detroit. If he starts well, expect a big game.
10. Kevin Kolb (vs. GB)- Kolb has a good chance to produce in his first game as “the guy” in Philly thanks to a banged-up Packers secondary. He will have to if the Eagles are to keep up with the high-flying Packers.
11. Joe Flacco (vs. PIT)- The Ravens quickly and quietly transitioned from a defensive team to an offensive one. With Derrick Mason, Anquan Boldin and recent pick-up T.J. Houshmandzadeh catching passes, the passing game will be much improved this year. Everyone will see how good they will be when they go up against the tough Jets D.
12. Carson Palmer (vs. NE)- Like Flacco, Palmer has many more targets to throw to this year. It’s time to put up numbers if Palmer wants to continue being considered an elite NFL quarterback.
13. Donavan Mcnabb (vs. DAL)- Under a new coach and with a new team, little is known about what to expect from Mcnabb and the Redskins. However, we do know that Mcnabb likes to beat Dallas, and he probably will play well on Sunday night.
14. Eli Manning (vs. CAR)- The Giants have been the quietest NFC East team this summer, and there aren’t a lot of variables on the offense. You know what you are going to get with little brother Manning. DUD ALERT: The Panthers defense quietly had an incredible preseason and Manning has never fared well against them in the past. If you’ve got comparable options, I’d sit Eli.
15. Alex Smith (vs. SEA)- Alex Smith has been a big sleeper candidate this year. Week 1 against the Seahawks, Smith will show if he’ll live up to the hype this year. STUD ALERT: Going up against an already-weak D still learning Pete Carroll’s playbook, Alex Smith has a chance to start the year off well.
16. Kyle Orton (vs. JAC)- Josh Mcdaniels put a lot of pressure on Orton by bringing in Brady Quinn and drafting Tim Tebow. Without Brandon Marshall, Orton will have to produce with an inferior receiving corps.
17. Matt Ryan (vs. PIT)- Now with a second year under Ryan’s belt and with Michael Turner back healthy , the Falcons offense is expected to improve this year. They will face a tough test week 1 at Heinz Field. DUD ALERT: Expect the Steelers D to play strong as they know they can’t rely on a Dixon-led offense for points. If Turner doesn’t produce, it will be a long day for the whole Falcons offense.
18. Jason Campbell (vs. TEN)- The JaMarcus Russell era is over, and Jason Campbell has come in with a group of young, promising receivers. While I like Campbell to produce this year, I’m still hesitant to back any Raider. Proceed with caution.
19. Vince Young (vs. OAK)- Facing Campbell and the Raiders will be Vince Young. Young finished strong last year and comes into this year with much more confidence. Sharing the backfield with Chris Johnson, Young will likely be challenged to throw the ball against 8-man fronts.
21. Matt Cassell (vs. SD)- In his second year as the Chiefs QB, Cassell will most likely take a backseat to Thomas Jones, Jamaal Charles and the running game. Don’t expect a big game from Cassell.
22. Matt Moore (vs. NYG)- Moore played well when given the reins at the end of last year. He had a good connection with Steve Smith and will be aided by a trio of rookie receivers this year. Moore has the potential to make some fantasy owners look smart. STUD ALERT: Moore had an awful preseason, but Steve Smith will start against the Giants, who had the worst total defense in the preseason.
23. Matthew Stafford (vs. CHI)- Stafford enters his second year with an improved offense around him. If he stays healthy, Stafford may surprise some people this year.
24. David Garrard (vs. DEN)- You know what you are getting with Garrad, and it isn’t much.
25. Mark Sanchez (vs. BAL)- Sanchez won’t be asked to do much outside of not lose games for the Jets.
26. Matt Hasselbeck (vs. SF)- He’s old, and fragile, and will be throwing to an unproven receiving corps. Stay away.
27. Derek Anderson (vs. STL)- Anderson is the starter now in Arizona, and he has Larry Fitzgerald to throw to. Still, he’s not yet worthy of a roster spot, much less a start, in most leagues.
28. Sam Bradford (vs. ARI)- Bradford is the only rookie QB starting in week 1. He has shown signs of greatness in the preseason. While Bradford might be worth a shot later in the year, let’s let him prove something in the regular season first.
29. Josh Freeman (vs. CLE)- The Bucs went out and helped Freeman by getting Arrelious Benn and Mike Williams in the draft. Now, there is a lot of potential in the passing game for years to come, but Freeman isn’t worthy of a start in week 1.
30. Dennis Dixon- After Roethlisberger’s suspension and Leftwich’s untimely preseason injury, Dennis Dixon was handed the keys to the Steelers offense. Dixon was electric in college, but he’s not much of an NFL quarterback.
31. Jake Delhomme- Delhomme’s better days are behind him. And he now plays for the Browns. That should be enough to dissuade any sane man from playing Delhomme.
32. Trent Edwards- Trent Edwards somehow will be starting again this year. No one really knows how or why.