RankingsAugust 15, 2011

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2011 Fantasy Football Rankings: Quarterback

By R.J. White

The quarterback position has shaken out as the Big Six and everyone else in 2011. Michael Vick tends to go high in fantasy drafts — sometimes as high as first overall — but our rankers were understandably a little pessimistic that Vick could enjoy a full repeat in 2011. As such, Aaron Rodgers makes the cut as the Cafe’s top QB this year. In my opinion (which you’ll get a lot of throughout the rankings), neither guy is worthy of a first-round selection. The quarterback position is too deep with six top-end starters and as many as 10 quality second-tier players from which to chose for teams to be bypassing a stud RB or WR for a quarterback.

More thoughts below the QB rankings.

QB | RB | WR | TE | PK | DF | IDP

1Aaron RodgersGB1.44
2Michael VickPHI2.22
3Drew BreesNO3.67
4Philip RiversSD4.56
5Tom BradyNE4.67
6Peyton ManningIND4.78
7Tony RomoDAL7.22
8Matt SchaubHOU8.00
9Matt RyanATL9.67
10Ben RoethlisbergerPIT9.78
11Matthew StaffordDET14.44
12Josh FreemanTB12.89
13Joe FlaccoBAL14.22
14Jay CutlerCHI14.33
15Sam BradfordSTL14.78
16Kevin KolbARI18.56
17Kyle OrtonDEN22.78
18Eli ManningNYG10.44
19Ryan FitzpatrickBUF18.78
20Matt CasselKC19.22
21Mark SanchezNYJ20.00
22Donovan McNabbMIN21.67
23Chad HenneMIA31.00
24Matt HasselbeckTEN24.22
25Jason CampbellOAK24.67
26David GarrardJAC26.33
27Colt McCoyCLE26.56
28Cam NewtonCAR26.78
29Alex SmithSF28.56
30John BeckWASN/A
31Tarvaris JacksonSEA30.44
32Andy DaltonCIN33.11
33Kerry CollinsINDN/A
34Tim TebowDEN28.67
35Blaine GabbertJAX33.89
36Rex GrossmanWAS34.00
37Christian PonderMIN34.22
38Jake LockerTEN34.44

Update: The rankings have been updated as of 8/30/11. All updates are mine and mine alone, so I have left the original average rank of each player intact.

While my second-round grade on Vick and Rodgers will mean I likely miss out on both, I’m well prepared to take one of the other four Big Six members in the third round. Any of Tom Brady, Philip Rivers, Drew Brees or Peyton Manning (if healthy by Week 1) could challenge for the league lead in fantasy points this year, and it wouldn’t surprise anyone to see any of those names at the top by season’s end. Therefore, you late-pick drafters would do wise to bypass both Vick and Rodgers in the first and second rounds in favor of a name like Brees, Rivers or Manning in the last half of the third.

Tony Romo appears right on the cusp of joining the Big Six as elite, so he’s a worthwhile selection in the fourth if you miss out on a top-six QB. After that, I think youngsters like Sam Bradford, Matthew Stafford (again, if healthy) and Kevin Kolb all have just as good a shot at rounding out the top ten as mid-tier QBs like Matt Schaub, Ben Roethlisberger and Matt Ryan. Unless you can get any of the mid-round QBs for a great value, I would encourage you to wait on a QB, round out the rest of your skill position lineup (and immediate bench), and then grab a couple upside QBs in the 9-11 rounds.

Those owners that grabbed Michael Vick, Aaron Rodgers, Philip Rivers or even Tom Brady should consider ditching the notion of a traditional backup fantasy QB like Ryan Fitzpatrick or Matt Cassel and instead picking up their starter’s real-life backup QB. Matt Flynn, Billy Volek and Brian Hoyer all have experience running their offense on the practice field, and each is surrounded by enough talent that should something happen to a QB1, they could step in and give quality fantasy performances. Vince Young has a ton of talent on his side and would be surrounded by a great offensive corps if called upon — do you think there’s any question he’d be a top-12 QB if given the reins of the Eagle offense? I think all four would be startable in the event of an injury, so why not save yourself the expense of a mid-to-late pick on a backup QB and just take one of these guys in the last round? I’m obviously hesitant to grab Manning’s and Brees’s backups; if you own either, I think the correct play is to grab a traditional fantasy backup.

R.J. White is the head editor at the Cafe, writes for FanDuel and Razzball and has previously written for FanHouse. Catch up with him in the forums under the name daullaz. Follow him on Twitter; don't follow him in real life.
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