This week's question: Among the expected top-10 fantasy QBs for 2010, which player do you feel might be overvalued on draftday?...'
The name I am going to throw out there that many people might not be talking about right now: New England Patriots QB Tom Brady.
Brady has finished in the top 10 among fantasy quarterbacks every year since 2002, excluding 2008, when he was lost to injury for the season in the opener. Last year he had an amazing season with 4,398 yards passing, 28 touchdowns, 13 interceptions and a QB rating of 96.2, which earned him the NFL Comeback Player of the Year Award. He ranked eighth in fantasy scoring by quarterbacks.
There are a variety of issues in New England.
We are used to seeing this team as an elite one, but by the end of last year, they looked done. WR Randy Moss was not right the second half of the season. Moss had just 25 receptions for 373 yards and six touchdowns in his final seven games, three of those touchdowns coming against the struggling Jacksonville Jaguars secondary. Compare that to the first nine games of the season, when he had 58 receptions for 891 yards receiving and seven touchdowns. In the playoff loss to Baltimore, Moss had just five receptions for 48 yards and no touchdowns.
He followed that up by saying that this year is probably his last one in New England. That is a pretty early point in the offseason to make that proclamation.
Moss is a player that has proven he does not give full effort when he does not feel appreciated or wanted. He is slowly looking like the player that left Oakland for a fourth-round pick instead of the one with 23 touchdown receptions in 2007. Even if his attitude was not in question, at 33 years old he is starting to leave the prime years of his career, which is terrible news for New England, especially if he is not going to play or work hard.
The Patriots really need Moss to step it up this year. WR Wes Welker tore his ACL in the final regular season game at Houston. It is uncertain if he will be ready for the season opener, and how close to 100 percent will he be even if he is able to play?
TE Ben Watson signed with the Cleveland Browns. That leaves WR Julian Edelman as the next leading receiver / tight end with 37 receptions for 359 yards and one touchdown.
If Moss is not going to play hard and Welker is not healthy, there is not a lot to be scared of on the current roster. The Patriots have many journeymen that they rotate into the lineup. The reason why that strategy is working is that teams have no answer for Moss and Welker, which gives the Patriots' runners and other receivers a lot of room to operate. Without these two players at their best, teams are going to find it a lot easier to stop the run and guard these other players.
Just how important is Moss to this offense?
In the games where Moss had at least 100 yards receiving or scored at least one touchdown, Brady threw for 304.4 yards per game and had 22 touchdown passes to just six interceptions. The Patriots were 8-2 in those games.
In the games where Moss failed to reach at least one of those totals, Brady averaged just 225.7 yards passing per game and had six touchdown passes to seven interceptions. The Patriots were 2-4 in those games.
If Moss is going to pull the same stunts that he pulled in Oakland and play at cruising speed in 2009, the Patriots do not have enough weapons for Brady to have a successful NFL or fantasy season.
We still have Brady ranked sixth in our seasonal rankings, as he has been too good for too long to bet against, but I would be lying if I did not say that I am nervous about how the 2009 season ended for New England. Whether he falls out of the top 15 remains to be seen. The 15th-ranked quarterback in fantasy last year was Jacksonville Jaguars QB David Garrard, who finished with 3,597 yards passing, 15 touchdowns and 10 interceptions.
It would seem difficult to believe Brady would have that type of season. However, if Moss does not play hard, it is going to be hard for Moss to repeat his No. 2 ranking, which will negatively affect Brady. How much he's negatively impacted is a big question Fantasy Owners will be asking themselves come draft time.
Brady and Moss are two players I would keep my eye on to decline in 2010. New England does not look like the sure bet they did for the better part of a decade, and their offensive weapons do not look as appealing in fantasy football as they did from 2007 to 2009.
Ryan of LestersLegends.Com says:
Ben Roethlisberger threw for 4328 yards with 26 touchdowns to 12 interceptions. It was his first time topping 4000 yards. It's not that I don't think he's capable of putting up big numbers, but I feel Pittsburgh will run more in 2010. Oh, and did I forget to mention that Big Ben could miss some time if Roger Goodell sees his latest accusation as conduct detrimental to the league.
Russ of FantasyFootballStarters.Com says:
Every year there are players at every position who finish in the top 10 of the final fantasy football rankings only to drop off of it the following season. Identifying which of those players are the most likely to do so is one of the jobs we, as fantasy football experts, try to do.
Using the high performance decimal point scoring system from my friends at Antsports.com, where each touchdown pass was worth 4 points and each interception -1, the top 10 fantasy football QB's from 2009 were (in order) Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees, Peyton Manning, Matt Schaub, Tom Brady, Phillip Rivers, Tony Romo, Brett Favre, Ben Roethlisberger, and Eli Manning.
Which one of these quarterbacks from this list is most likely to not finish top 10 in the 2010 fantasy football rankings when it's all said and done? To me, it's Ben Roethlisberger.
I liked Roethlisberger heading into last year, but looking ahead to 2010 I see a lot of potential for a letdown. Even if you take out his off-field issues going on right now, there was word after the 2009 season was over that the team wanted to scale back on its reliance throwing the football and get back to much more balanced attack. In 2009, the Steelers posted their highest pass ratio (56%) in the last 30 years, and probably their entire history. It led to Roethlisberger having great fantasy numbers, but it didn't translate into enough victories for Pittsburgh to make the NFL playoffs.
There's also the fact that Roethlisberger continues to get knocked around a lot. I don't think any quarterback been sacked more than Roethlisberger (189) in the last 4 seasons combined. He's managed to only miss 3 games in that span, but that's a lot of punishment, and sooner or later those injuries he plays thru will become more of a concern if the high sack totals continue.
Finally, there's the current sexual assault allegation. Regardless of how it plays out, it will hang over his, and the organization's, head. It could be a distraction even if it gets settled months before the season begins.
When I combine the situation Roethlisberger is facing with the probability of the team throwing the football less, and the potential for injury if the sack totals don't come down, I see Roethlisberger as being the most likely quarterback to really struggle to finish in the top 10 of the 2010 fantasy football rankings.
Dave of RotoPicks.Com says:
I’m taking Ben Roethlisberger as my top 10 QB that will struggle to repeat for a number of reasons.
The first, and most important, reason is that Pittsburgh is looking at a 2010 schedule that is not conducive to top tier fantasy QB production. The Steelers will play 9 games this year against defenses ranked in the top 10 in passing yards allowed from 2009, including games vs. Buffalo, Carolina, and the Jets who all ranked in the top 5. With the emergence of Mike Zimmer’s defense in Cincinnati, the AFC North is becoming a much stronger division. Now add in games vs. the AFC East (Jets, New England, Miami and Buffalo) and NFC South (Atlanta, Carolina, New Orleans and Tampa Bay) and you’re looking at a rough road ahead (Pittsburgh also has games against Oakland and Tennessee). I can assure you that Ben will not be looking forward to seeing defensive standouts like Darrelle Revis, Nnamdi Asomugha, Jairus Byrd, etc. on the opposing sideline week after week.
Another important point is that Pittsburgh’s O-line has been just short of terrible over the last few seasons and I haven’t seen any indication that they are addressing this glairing need. Hopefully, they’ll go that way early in the draft, but if not, we can expect Roethlisberger to take a pounding again this season. Since 2006, no QB has been sacked more than Roethlisberger (50 sacks in 2009, 46 in 2008, 47 in 2007, and 46 in 2006). Those hits will start showing effects at some point and I’m thinking that the Steelers will revert back to a run-first approach in 2010 to help keep Ben off his back.
Finally, for those of you that don’t know me, I am an absolute stat-monger. The way I see it is that Ben’s 2009 totals were way too high for his average level of performance. Over his first 5 seasons, Ben averaged roughly 3,000 yards and 20 passing TDs on 380 passing attempts per season. Last year he put up over 4,300 yards and 26 passing TDs on over 500 attempts. In statistics there’s a term called regression toward the mean that basically says that within a sample of data, an extreme value will be followed up by one that is closer to the sample average. I’m expecting Ben’s 2010 stats to be closer to his career average of 3,200 yards and 21 TDs, which should land him somewhere in the high teens when the final QB totals are tallied at the end of 2010.
And of course, there is still a real possibility that Roethlisberger might face some penalty from the league for his off the field issues. If (and this is a big if) Ben is handed a suspension for “X” number of games, his fantasy production is guaranteed to suffer.
Jake of JunkYardJake.Com says:
Judging from the very early rankings, the top couple QBs who will likely be selected in the first few rounds of fantasy drafts this upcoming season are usual suspects Peyton Manning and Drew Brees, likely to be followed up by new fantasy darling Aaron Rodgers. Tom Brady is likely to be the #4 QB based on 2010 fantasy rankings, and he might be the player who will represent a marginal disappointment.
It's never wise to bet against such an accomplished player like Brady, and he will probably go on to have his customary solid season. However, there are a number of factors that may prevent him from matching his 2009 performance of 4,300 passing yards and 28 TDs. Two such factors that should be considered are his aging offensive line and inconsistent running game, and I think his receiving corps and schedule could also pose some problems.
In terms of receivers, notwithstanding any improvements that the Patriots will generate from the upcoming draft or additional free agent signings, the New England receiving corps going into 2010 looks inferior to the group they went into the 2009 season with. Of course, the biggest question mark is Wes Welker, who will be trying to make it back from ACL surgery performed in late January. A reasonable timetable for his return might be October or November, and while the Patriots did sign David Patten, it's hard to imagine replacing Welker's unique quick-cutting and impeccable route-running abilities. Then there is the venerable Randy Moss, who once again delivered a strong season with 1,264 receiving yards and 13 TDs in 2009. However, Moss is now 33 years old, and it's safe to say that the explosive speed and play-making ability he exhibited in his younger days is probably long gone, and this limits the vertical dimension of the Patriots passing attack. At tight-end, New England parted ways with Ben Watson and it's looking like recent signee Alge Crumpler might be his 2010 replacement. While Watson never fulfilled his expected potential, he did offer better speed in comparison to the 33 year-old Alge Crumpler, and it's difficult to see how this change will transpire as much of an improvement for the Patriots passing game.
The fairly challenging New England schedule could represent another obstacle for Tom Brady and Patriots passing game in 2010. In terms of division play, the AFC East is expected to be extremely competitive once again, with the Patriots having to contend with last season’s top two pass defenses, Buffalo and New York, in four total meetings. These two teams combined to hold opposing QBs to only 168 pass yards and .7 passing TDs per game in 2009. When you factor in two other games against the improving Miami Dolphins defense, plus home games against the 2009 top-10 pass defenses of Green Bay, Baltimore and Cincinnati, the chance of merely average stats by Tom Brady in about half his games looks possible.
While Tom Brady is simply too good to ignore if he happens to fall into the 3rd or 4th round of your draft in 2010, I think he should be considered as only another solid 2nd tier fantasy option in 2010, and it may be wise to resist the temptation to draft him anywhere near his 2009 average position of late 1st to early 2nd round.
Rick of FantasyFootballTrader.com says:
Most of you will think I'm off my rocker for pegging 2009's yardage leader (4,770 to be exact) as the top 10 fantasy QB least likely to repeat. Allow me to clarify that I don't actually believe Matt Schaub's inaugural landing inside fantasy's top 5 elite last year was a fluke. As an owner of Schaub in one of my Dynasty leagues, I can earnestly say I'd love nothing more than to be wrong on this one.
And there's a good chance I will be wrong. Hell, I'll go a step further and even say that I should be wrong. Schaub has arguably the most gifted WR in the league at his disposal, a returning TE in Owen Daniels who was pacing all others before succombing to a knee injury in week 8, an O-Line that allowed Schaub to only absorb a 5th ranked 25 sacks and an "OLE!" defense to ensure the Texans' offense often needs to score in bunches to hang with their opponent. What's not to like here?
Well...plenty actually. I don't think we can simply bury the fact that 2009 was the first year in Schaub's six year's in the league that he started more than 11 games. And...he played through a shoulder injury to do that! Yes, his sacks taken are encouraging and I do believe the Texans' O-line is on the upswing buuut.
Also, one gets the feeling that Schaub is more...how do I put this, at the mercy of Andre Johnson's health than Drew Brees is to Colston or Manning is to Wayne or Brady is to Moss. And the reason for that is apparent. Brees has gone weeks without Colston and not missed a beat. When Welker went down last year, some schmoe named Edelman stepped right in and it was status quo. Heck, in the playoffs last year, defenses took a chance by doubling Wayne and Clark and saying you're NOT beating us with these two! To that, Manning said "fine", and made Pierre Garcon and Austin Collie the #1 and #2 playoff leading WR's.
But with Schaub & Johnson it feels different doesn't it? Johnson had a league high 171 targets last year and even the Texans' SECOND most targeted player Kevin Walter had a measly 70 targets. Something tells me that if anything ever happened to A.J. it could be devastating to Schaub - unlike the league's other top passers.
Again, I am NOT forecasting any of the above to happen - just acknowledging that Schaub's perch among the top 6-7 QB's is much less stable than the other elite passers.
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