As always, the quarterbacks will be covered more lightly than running backs. The consensus tends to be closer to the mark when it comes to signal callers. Likewise I am in agreement with the majority about who the top qbs are. You can't go wrong by taking one of the solid seven and I don't think they are as far apart in value as the top guys might be in an average year. Nonetheless, I will split the top tier into two mini tiers, with the caveat that I would rather wait and take Romo in the 4th than take Rodgers in the 1st. I'd much rather have, say Gore and Romo as opposed to Rodgers and Forte.
1. Aaron Rodgers-Packers-Average Pick 10(2)
Should the top backs and Andre Johnson be off the board in the late first, Rodgers is an acceptable pick.
2. Peyton Manning-Colts-Average Pick 14(3)
Too dependable and safe to pass up, if you have the choice.
3. Phil Rivers-Chargers-Average Pick 37(6)
Only concern is that his schedule is too easy, and he may not score much in 4th quarter.
4. Drew Brees-Saints-Average Pick 5(1)
Didn't Rodgers outscore him last year? Is there anything to jusify picking him that high? Yes and no.
5. Matt Schaub-Falcons- Average Pick 30(5)
Bumped down half a tier because of lack of evidence he can play like last year consistently. Health concerns are overblown but present.
6. Tony Romo-Cowboys-Average Pick 38(7)
With Rivers, a good target because of where you can draft them. Good team, good targets, he will score.
7. Tom Brady-Patriots-Average Pick 19(4)
I foresee struggles in New England, just enough to notch him here.
The strategy I see myself using is to take two backs and a receiver with the first three picks, than possibly scooping Romo or Rivers in the 4th. If you can't get one of the seven, and that means three teams in a standard league, ou need to go with option 2. If you remember from last year, that means taking two guys with upside, and exploiting matchups or getting a breakout from one of them. If the guys you take don't pan out, or you suffer an injury to your choice of the solid seven, you have option 3: musical quarterbacks with the wavier wire. So while I think guys like Chad Henne will have a solid year, he isn't a good choice for option 2 because he doesn't have the upside.
8. Jay Cutler-Bears-Average Pick 81(10)
Cutler was 10th among qbs last year and it was widely seen as a disaster. The line couldn't block anyone, the defense couldn't get off the field. This year, the line can only get better and the defense would have to be better even without the addition of Peppers and the return of Urlacher. Next year at this time, we will be debating him among the solids.
9. Brett Favre-Vikings-Average Pick 56(8)
We all know the upside, we saw it in 2009. The honeymoon is likely over, and the career low in interceptions is likely a fluke. His upside and floor are both greater than the guys below him. However, if I miss out on the seven, I probably wait still longer than where you need to take Favre. UPDATE: I am not changing rankings of Favre or any Viking based on speculation he might not play. I will believe Favre is retired when week 1 starts and he is not out there.
10. Kevin Kolb-Eagles-Average Pick 92(12)
Young qb stepping into a good situation, with a good target like Desean Jackson and a veteran team around him. Similarly to Aaron Rodgers two years ago, I like this pick even if we knew nothing about Kolb. The inexperience means its no sure thing but in the scenario, big numbers are possible.
11. Donovan McNabb-Redskins-Average Pick 93(13)
The former Eagle is in the opposite situation as his replacement. A qb who we know can produce in a scenario that we are unsure of. The presence of Shanahan is what tips the balance for me. I feel confident the coach can utilize McNabb's abilities and put up points.
12. Alex Smith-49ers-Average Pick 139(23)
Ranked absurdly low. As long as he gets a shot he has a chance to put up big numbers against a cupcake schedule. Two prime targets and a top notch running game to take the pressure off. I'm riding the Niners this year and the means Smith makes a nice backup and a great risk/reward pick in deep leagues.
13. Matt Ryan-Falcons-Average Pick 101(14)
Should be a bounce-back year in Atlanta, and Ryan has a chance to be a solid starter. Still just a chance and he makes more sense as a low floor guy with a little extra upside.
Eli Manning-Giants-Average Pick 90(11)
Consistently a top 10-15 quarterback, but unlikely to break out and deliver big numbers.
Chad Henne-Dolphins-Average Pick 125(19)
I think he will be fine and safe but the team if too focused on the run for him to score big.
Joe Flacco-Ravens-Average Pick 68(9)
People are getting way too excited about Flacco. He will be okay, but I don't see a breakout.
In a deeper league, other options become necessary. You may not be able to draft two second tier guys, and it may be attractive to take a sturdier option. Matt Ryan fits in here as well.
Matt Stafford-Average Pick 134(20)
Second year qb ready to make the leap on a team that can only get better. And he throws the ball to Calvin Johnson.
Jason Campbell-Raiders-Average Pick 146(24)
Most talented Raider quarterback since Rich "The Canon" Gannon. Campbell can throw the deep ball, he will get a shot to do that here.