FanHouse's crack squad of savvy fantasy football personnel put our six heads together and amassed consensus rankings for non-keeper, standard scoring leagues. We'll update as the season gets closer, but this is our "incredibly early yet still fun" version.
While none of us really agree on who should be the No. 1 fantasy quarterback heading into 2010, we're all pretty sure that Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees and Peyton Manning are the cream of the crop. Rodgers has three first place votes, Brees two and Manning just one, but there wasn't a lot of room between Rodgers and Brees.
Matt Schaub, Tom Brady, Tony Romo and Phillip Rivers make up the second tier, and Schaub actually got one third place vote. I can envision some movement in these rankings between now and August, that's for sure. But for right now, sit back and enjoy writing out your first fantasy draft boards -- just make sure to write in pencil.
| 1. Aaron Rodgers
| Rodgers continues to grow as a passer. In his second season as a starter he upped his QB rating, his completion percentage, his touchdown passes, his passing yardage and cut his interceptions almost in half. His five rushing touchdowns -- tops of any quarterback last year -- are just gravy.
| 2. Drew Brees
| No one threw more touchdown passes in 2009 than Brees, and there's no reason to think that he can't replicate his dominance in 2010. He plays in a division where the pass defenses aren't stellar, and if you look at his 70.6 percent completion rate you'll notice that's it was never higher than last season.
| 3. Peyton Manning
| Let's talk about consistency. Over the last eight seasons Manning has averaged a 66.8 percent completion percentage without varying by more than two points in either direction. The same can be said that he's as much of a lock as there can be for 30 touchdown passes and 4,000 passing yards. Manning may not have the flash of Brees or Rodgers in fantasy circles, but you won't worry about this pick one time during the season.
| 4. Matt Schaub
| No quarterback threw for more yards than Schaub's 4,770 last year. And it was quite a step up from his career best 3,043 yards the year before. I don't think you'll be seeing another 1,727 yard jump from Schaub in 2010, but you should expect him to maintain his production levels, and that'll make him a top fantasy option for sure.
| 5. Tom Brady
| Considering that he missed all but 11 attempts in 2008 because of injury, Brady's 4,398 passing yards last year were remarkable. However, his completion percentage was down from 2007 and his interceptions were up. Brady also has a watchful eye on Wes Welker, who made a surprise appearance at OTAs this month. If Welker is able to return from his horrible knee injury by the start of the season, Brady could flourish. If not, his fantasy value will drop.
| 6. Tony Romo
| Do you remember last year at this time when many were warning you that Romo was a huge question mark, especially without T.O.? Yeah? Well, Romo sure showed us that his success isn't tied to any one loudmouth receiver. He almost threw for an extra 1,000 yards in 2009 and has the ability and weapons to continue growing. It will be very interesting to see what kind of impact rookie receiver Dez Bryant makes in "Big D".
| 7. Philip Rivers
| If Rivers can continue to lower his interception totals and raise his yardage numbers, he'll become one of the best fantasy quarterbacks around. The fact that San Diego continues to evolve into a pass-first offense and that Rivers has targets like Antonio Gates and Vincent Jackson, only shows Rivers' fantasy value could be on the rise.
| 8. Jay Cutler
| Cutler couldn't bring Christmas to Chicago, even though he was born in Santa Claus, Indiana. Most expected the 27 touchdowns, but few foresaw 26 interceptions -- even from a gunslinger like Cutler. He's never going to be a guy who keeps his picks in the single digits, but Cutler will have to improve on that front to become a top fantasy option.
| 9. Kevin Kolb
| Very few players were as huge a beneficiary of a transaction this offseason than Kolb, who is now the starting quarterback in Philadelphia because the team shipped Donovan McNabb to Washington. He's not as green as most think. Kolb threw for 300 yards twice last season in his only two starts filling in for an injured McNabb.
| 10. Matt Ryan
| Ryan battled injury towards the end of the 2009 season but comes into this year healthy and with two amazing weapons in Tony Gonzalez and Roddy White. The Falcons also plan to open up the playbook for their third-year quarterback and transform the offense into a more explosive aerial-attacking unit.
| 11. Donovan McNabb
| As much as Kolb was helped by McNabb leaving town, McNabb was hurt by landing with the Redskins. His receiving corps isn't nearly as potent and the offense focuses more on the running back than McNabb was used to in Philadelphia. Expect a down slide in fantasy value.
| 12. Eli Manning
| His 4,021 passing yards were a career best. So were his 27 touchdowns and 62.3 percent completion percentage. Eli will never put up the fantasy numbers of brother Peyton, but he is closing the gap.
| 13. Brett Favre
| It's a shame that Favre's season will be remembered by that last play where he broke the cardinal sin of quarterbacking by throwing the ball against the grain and getting picked off. Prior to that his numbers were phenomenal. His 33 touchdowns and seven picks were huge improvements from any recent year, maybe even his career.
| 14. Joe Flacco
| Not only did Flacco throw seven more touchdowns and almost 25 percent more yards in his sophomore campaign, but the Ravens added some firepower to the offense this offseason. With the additions of Dante Stallworth and Anquan Boldin, Flacco should show more upward statistical mobility in 2010.
| 15. Matthew Stafford
| Stafford got the crap kicked out of him last season. He hurt his knee, his shoulder and probably all kinds of pride. But he showed guts throughout it all, which his teammates loved. He missed six games because of injury and if you take out one incredible five-touchdown performance against Cleveland, his numbers would have been dismal instead of just bad. Expect some growth in his second season, but Stafford shouldn't be your fantasy QB1.
| 16. Chad Henne
| Henne finished the season -- looking at his last five games -- averaging 273.2 passing yards per game, a huge increase in output. In the offseason the Dolphins added Brandon Marshall to the payroll, which should further enhance Henne's fantasy value.
| 17. Vince Young
| Young's fantasy numbers weren't huge by any stretch of the imagination, but he showed moxie righting the ship and leading the Titans to eight wins in their final 10 games after losing the first six. Next step... increasing the fantasy output. Expect steps, not leaps forward.
| 18. Alex Smith
| Career highs in touchdown passes and completion percentage give Smith hope that he'll keep his job for the duration of the season in 2010. Just remember that his 2,350 passing yards and 18 touchdowns were compiled in only 10 starts last year.
| 19. Carson Palmer
| Are the Bengals a run-first offense now? If Palmer can only complete 60.5 percent of his passes, than the answer will be a resounding yes. If fantasy owners want a return to 2005-2007 numbers by Palmer, they may need a Hot Tub Time Machine.
| 20. Ben Roethlisberger
| Bad behavior -- and that's putting it mildly -- landed Roethlisberger a six-game suspension that can be reduced to four games. His fantasy value is taking a beating, but look at the bright side. Since we've seen his name so much in the news, every person on the planet can now spell Roethlisberger.
| 21. Matt Cassel
| Charlie Weis was pivotal in Tom Brady's success and now that Weis in coaching Cassel, many see him flourishing. I'm not buying it. Cassel isn't the quarterback that Brady was and the Chiefs sure as heck aren't the Patriots.
| 22. Matt Leinart
| Leinart is now the heir apparent in Arizona with Kurt Warner retired and waiting for Canton to call. The rest of the AFC West is smiling. So is Derek Anderson, who has a chance of dethroning Leinart before his crown is fitted upon his head. When Anderson can give you a run for your money, your fantasy value isn't going to be high.
| 23. David Garrard
| With a three-year downward trend in completion percentage and the safe assumption that Jacksonville can't provide him with enough talent to eclipse the 20 touchdown mark, Garrard is destined for fantasy QB2 destitution.
| 24. Mark Sanchez
| Asking Sanchez to do anything more than play like a rookie last year was unfair. He had huge ups and downs and will get better in 2010. However, just like Ben Roethlisberger, Sanchez is a much better "real" quarterback than fantasy option.
| 25. Matt Moore
| Moore doesn't have a lock on the starting quarterback job that Jake Delhomme handed over last year. He'll get competition from rookie quarterback Jimmy Clausen. Whoever wins will miss Muhsin Muhammad, who elected to retire early in June.
26. Matt Hasselbeck, Seahawks
27. Kyle Orton, Broncos
28. Jason Campbell, Raiders
29. Josh Freeman, Buccaneers
30. Jake Delhomme, Browns
31. Sam Bradford, Rams
32. Trent Edwards, Bills
33. Byron Leftwich, Steelers
34. Michael Vick, Eagles
35. Derek Anderson, Cardinals
36. Charlie Whitehurst, Seahawks
37. Jimmy Clausen, Panthers
38. Dennis Dixon, Steelers
39. Brady Quinn, Broncos
40. Tarvaris Jackson, Vikings