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Rotisserie By the Numbers: Top 40 NFL QBs


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August 30, 2002

By Craig Rondinone

SportsTicker Staff Writer

JERSEY CITY, New Jersey (Ticker) - Quarterbacks make the fantasy football world go round.

They throw the ball to our receivers and tight ends. They hand the ball off to our running backs. They keep our defenses off the field. And sometimes they even hold the ball for our kickers.

Quarterbacks can singlehandedly win your league for you (Kurt Warner) or lose your league for you (Jon Kitna). Only running backs are as important to a fantasy team as the good ol' signal caller.

Here are the top 40 quarterbacks in fantasy football entering the 2002 campaign, starting with the man who heads up the most dangerous offense in the NFL today:

1. Kurt Warner, Rams: He is unquestionably the top quarterback in fantasy football, averaging over two touchdowns and almost 300 yards passing per game over the past three seasons. And he could be even better this year now that Az-Zahir Hakim is not around to drop any of his passes. Warner and teammate Marshall Faulk should go one-two in all fantasy drafts.

2. Jeff Garcia, 49ers: He is the perfect player to run the West Coast offense as no one is better at completing short passes than he is. Garcia has been responsible for 72 touchdowns the past two years and could add another 38 to that total in 2002.

3. Peyton Manning, Colts: Manning's interception total should come way down now that Edgerrin James is back to take the pressure off of him. He should finish second in the NFL in passing yards and among the leaders in TDs.

4. Brett Favre, Packers: Favre's receiving corps took a hit in the offseason, losing favorite targets Antonio Freeman and Bill Schroeder. Now he has to get on the same page with first-round pick Javon Walker and first-class troublemaker Terry Glenn. Favre has proven he can still put up great numbers with mediocre receivers, though.

5. Daunte Culpepper, Vikings: Culpepper was the cream of the crop in 2000 (40 total touchdowns), but he was just creamed in 2001 thanks to an undermanned offensive line and a below-average running game hurt by the retirement of Robert Smith. Now he does not have Cris Carter to bail him out anymore, but the combination of Culpepper's world-class wheels and Randy Moss should help D.C. have a bounce-back year.

6. Aaron Brooks, Saints: Brooks is the mini-Culpepper. He is just a smidge below Culpepper in running ability, although he can throw the ball just as well. Brooks' value takes a hit in leagues where interceptions count against you, however.

7. Rich Gannon, Raiders: Gannon is 400 years old and still going strong, just like most of the fossils on Oakland's offensive unit. But will he be as effective without Jon Gruden barking at him from the sidelines?

8. Donovan McNabb, Eagles: McNabb should hit Broadway, because he is a very entertaining one-man show. His receivers are lackluster, his running backs are marginal and his offensive line is so-so. McNabb could be a top-five fantasy performer if he had a decent supporting cast.

9. Steve McNair, Titans: Boy, what a great house he had on "MTV Cribs". But I digress. McNair passed for a career-high 3,350 yards last season. He will have trouble doing that again this year if Eddie George is 100 percent and carrying the ball 30 times a game.

10. Brian Griese, Broncos: Griese has more weapons to work with than your average Army base, but he has yet to stay healthy enough to play an entire NFL season.

11. Trent Green, Chiefs: His 17 TD/24 INT ratio last season caused many fantasy football owners to go back to collecting coins as a hobby. Look for Green to be much more accurate this season, provided Tony Gonzalez signs soon.

12. Drew Bledsoe, Bills: Bledsoe still has one of the best arms in the business. Now he goes from Tom Brady's Gatorade getter to the top man throwing deep passes to speedsters Eric Moulds and Peerless Price.

13. Jake Plummer, Cardinals: No running game plus David Boston plus playing for a team constantly trailing in games equals another 3,500-yard season for "The Snake".

14. Kordell Stewart, Steelers: "Slash" has never had a better crew of receivers to catch his passes than he does now. Hines Ward, Plaxico Burress, Terance Mathis and Antwaan Randle-El could lead Stewart to his best season ever, but Pittsburgh is still a running team.

15. Tom Brady, Patriots: The Super Bowl MVP could be in for a rude awakening as the league attempts to put him in his place.

16. Danny Wuerffel, Redskins: Sports Illustrated's Peter King was on television a couple weeks ago saying that Wuerffel could throw for as many yards as Peyton Manning in Steve Spurrier's "Fun 'n Gun" offense. We shall see.

17. Vinny Testaverde, Jets: Testaverde should be more comfortable with Paul Hackett's offense now that he has had over a year to learn it. Look for him to throw more often with Santana Moss in the mix.

18. Tim Couch, Browns: He is steadily improving every season, but if Kevin Johnson is double-covered who is Couch going to throw to?

19. Mark Brunell, Jaguars: Keenan McCardell is gone, Jimmy Smith is not signed and Darnay Scott is injured. Sounds like Brunell will be calling his own number a lot.

20. Michael Vick, Falcons: He has all the talent in the world. Too bad he has no talent out at wide receiver. Watch for Vick to go through some growing pains as he attempts to find the likes of Brian Finneran downfield.

21. Brad Johnson, Buccaneers: It sounds like Johnson's starting job will be safe for a while as Jon Gruden seems disinterested in giving Rob Johnson a shot.

22. Kerry Collins, Giants: Before you start making fun of him, remember that Collins threw for more yards than Garcia last year.

23. Jay Fiedler, Dolphins: The Miami fans are starting to grow impatient with Fiedler. It may not take long for him to get the hook.

24. Drew Brees, Chargers: Brees is getting a chance to start in his sophomore NFL season. He should have a decent fantasy impact this season, but a much greater one in a year or two.

25. Trent Dilfer, Seahawks: Seattle will be running a whole lot more than they will be passing, so Dilfer will be lucky to pass for 200 yards per game.

26. Jim Miller, Bears: If Marty Booker, Marcus Robinson and David Terrell can all stay healthy and productive, Miller should have a halfway decent season.

27. David Carr, Texans: Expansion quarterbacks take a beating and throw a ton of interceptions. Ask Tim Couch.

28. Gus Frerotte, Bengals: I am not imagining many fantasy owners will be shouting with glee, "In Gus We Trust!" this year.

29. Chris Weinke, Panthers: His rookie season was a disaster, and there are no signs pointing to a successful second season.

30. Quincy Carter, Cowboys: Let a rabid Cowboy fan draft this guy a couple rounds too high.

31. Chris Redman, Ravens: I have seen Redman play a couple of times and the thought of him being a starting quarterback makes me yawn.

32. Mike McMahon, Lions: He is no Jim McMahon.

33. Shane Matthews, Redskins: Steve Spurrier likes switching quarterbacks as much as a couch potato likes switching channels, so Matthews should see plenty of playing time this year.

34. Joey Harrington, Lions: There is a reason why Detroit threw a ton of money at this kid. He should start by mid-season.

35. Chris Chandler, Bears: Chandler might be the best backup quarterback in the NFL right now.

36. Steve Beuerlein, Broncos: Griese has been warned that he is on a short leash. Beuerlein threw the ball in the preseason like he did when he was a fantasy star on the Panthers.

37. Matt Hasselbeck, Seahawks: He should start the first game or two while Dilfer recuperates from his preseason knee injury.

38. Doug Flutie, Chargers: There is a one percent chance that Brees will take every snap for San Diego this season.

39. Jeff Blake, Ravens: If Redman falters, the experienced Blake will be there to pick up the pieces.

40. Jon Kitna, Bengals: One word sums it up -- awful.

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Couple things of note:

1. Aaron Brooks is without a doubt one of the most overrated QBs in the NFL, along with a certain Donovan McNabb in tow. So anyone who places him above Rich Gannon, has gotta be smoking some socks.

2. Brian Griese @ #10?! Again, I don't think so. His TD/INT ratio last year was one of the league's worst, on top of that ... you think that WE had problems with time-out calling ... Denver's offense was the second-worst in the league with clock management (guess who was #1?)

3. Wuerffel @ 16. Interesting that the writer here bases his opinions on something Peter King wrote. We all of course will have to see, now that Matthews is the starter.

4. Something that I find completely laughable is that "In Gus We Trust" Frerotte is ranked ahead of Quincy Carter. It almost takes away completely from that other list that I posted (the CBS Sportsline Power-Rankings).

Anything else that you all want to note, go ahead. If I find anything else, I'll be sure to add it.

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This is fantasy football which is purely stat based, so you can basically save your real-life-based fine tuning. It doesn't apply here.

Incidentally, that begs the question, what scoring system applies? And is it a redraft or keeper league. These idiots who pontificate about their rankings always seem to fail to take that into account.

As for the Griese bashing, I happen to like him and think that last year was the result of awful injuries at WR, with no depth to help him. It didn't help that they kept trying to start a less-than-healthy Terrell Davis. With McCaffrey and Sharpe back there, and a solid running game as always, Griese will be fine.

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