As I begin to prepare my first official 2011 fantasy football rankings, I reflect on the 2010 fantasy season:
2011 TOP FIVE
--Aaron Rodgers: The passing yards (4,468) and touchdowns (34) are there, but his ability to pick up rushing numbers is hugely overlooked as he finished with 373 yards and five scores on the ground. That element of his game makes him my No. 1 pick at the position.
--Peyton Manning: For the fourth time in five years the Colts’ quarterback surpassed the 30-touchdown plateau while throwing for a career-high 4,925 yards. Injuries hampered the Colts’ badly, but Manning still proved fantasy worthy and perhaps the safest pick.
--Phillip Rivers: He set a career high in passing yards for the third straight season and emerged as an elite fantasy option. The 13 interceptions were a bit higher than we are used to seeing but when you consider all of the weapons that he was missing you have to really appreciate his 2010 effort.
--Drew Brees: It’s hard to believe that Brees actually set a career-high this past season with 35 passing touchdowns. His 5,024 passing yards were the second most of his career. His 22 interceptions were way too many, but there’s no reason not to keep him as a tier one fantasy option moving forward.
--Tom Brady: After a record streak of 335 passes without an interception and passing for 36 touchdowns with only four picks during the regular season, Brady reminded all fantasy owners that he can carry a team. Add to the fact he averaged 299 yards per game and consistency was king.
YOU KNOW WHAT YOU GET
--Michael Vick: Huge upside, big games, but with big injury risk
--Matt Ryan: Steady, but very few breakout games
--Ben Roethlisberger: He wins games, but doesn’t post huge fantasy numbers
--Tony Romo: Big numbers in pass-happy system; not dependable
--Eli Manning: Capable of big days, but hard to figure when they’ll come
--Jay Cutler: Decent yards and TD totals with a ton of turnovers
ON THE RISE
--Josh Freeman: The nucleus of a talented, young and exciting Bucs’ offense
--Mark Sanchez: Highly underrated with room to grow on talented team
--Sam Bradford: A stunning effort as a rookie suggests bigger things to comes
WAIT AND SEE
--Joe Flacco: Didn’t take a step to the next level even with newly added weapons
--Matt Schaub: Burned many owners as he took a back seat to Arian Foster
--Matt Cassell: Fool’s gold. Shined at times, but will find it tough to repeat in 2011
--Carson Palmer: Threats of retirement shows how badly he needs a change of scenery
--Donovan McNabb: Ages every second. Skills are declining and needs to find a good fit
--Chad Henne: Proved he is not the long-term answer in Miami