2009 Tiered Fantasy Football Rankings: Quarterbacks

Last year I busted out my Top 30 Quarterbacks (And other positions) in a tiered system, and many people thanked me for doing this all in a different and more helpful way. If you’ve drafted with help lists (or cheat sheets), you know there’s no better way than tiers. Not only do they help you assess value at a single position, but they also give you an open view at what’s left on your overall value board. These are how I rate out the quarterbacks for 2009, basically a prediction for how I think the quarterbacks will score out by season’s end. Hope this helps! Good luck on Draft Day!!!


  1. Tom Brady (1)
  2. Drew Brees (2)

Last year old Tom was numero uno and the only one in my first tier. How’d that work out? So well that I’m willing to rank him number one a second straight season. Okay, maybe he only had 3 fantasy points in 2009, but that was one heck of a pass to Randy for a big gain. He’ll be back this year and he still has Randy and Wes, some old running backs, and one heck of a head coach. If Matt Cassel can look like a stud in this system, you can bet Tom will do just fine. Drew Brees gets in the tier this year though. His coach is dumb enough to call Drew’s number on about 75% of the plays, and Drew is accurate and smart enough to take that and translate it into 30+ touchdowns and 5000 yards. Not too shabby. I still say, stay away on draft day if the cost is first round pay. Hay. Bay. May…


  1. Kurt Warner (3)
  2. Peyton Manning (4)
  3. Aaron Rodgers (5)
  4. Phillip Rivers (6)
  5. Donovan McNabb (7)

My second tier is full of studs, some of them have question marks, some of them are always good, some of them really surprised last season. But they are all had at a better value than the first two guys, and thus they are all more likely to make it on to my team than either guy in Tier 1. Kurt Warner might not be the sexiest name out there, but the guy deserves credit. He has a very talented offense that just got another weapon in Beanie Wells and last time I checked Anquan Boldin is still lining up at WR in Arizona. You can get him later than this, but he’s looking like a Top 3 QB to me. Peyton has a lot of question marks (new coach, no Marvin, running game questions) but he’s always been a consistent signal caller with all the answers. Aaron Rodgers wowed the world in his first season replacing a legend, and he’s won over some fans. He was better than Favre last year, and looks to have sealed his position as a Top 7 QB. Phillip Rivers may throw marshmallows, and LT may be getting old, and he may have a couple receivers that fantasy football doesn’t give much credit, but this guy wins and he puts up numbers and he plays in a terrible division. I like his chances at another huge season. McNabb won’t get as much love this year, but he stayed healthy and did work last season. He gets another stellar set of weapons in Jeremy Maclin and LeSean McCoy (Draft) and Westy should be back doing damage in the backfield. I think McNabb could have one of his best years since TO went wacko. This tier might not be the first, but they are all close to the top two, and hold better value for sure.


  1. Tony Romo (8)

Tony Romo is a very good quarterback. TO’s departure isn’t going to kill him, but I do think it will effect him a little bit. It’s hard not to put him in the 2nd tier, and I’ll still be debating it all pre-season, but right now he’s going into tier 3 all by himself. He could be great, but it depends on Roy Williams, and I’m still waiting to see how that will work out. Does he have the talent to be one of the best? Yes. Weapons? Maybe…


  1. Carson Palmer (9)
  2. Matt Schaub (10)
  3. Jay Cutler (11)

I didn’t get Carson Palmer’s rebound year right last season, but I’m hoping he fits well in my 3rd tier this time around. He was hurt basically all of 2008, but I expect 2009 to be different. Already the Bengals have a better rushing attack, and despite TJ Housh’s departure, a WR trio of Chad “Johnson”, Laveranues Coles, and Chris Henry isn’t something to scoff at. He’s far from safe, and I don’t know if I’d want him as my number one, but I think he’ll stay healthy, and if he does his talent will get him in the Top 10.  Matt Schaub needs to stay healthy and he’d be a Top 5 guy. That’s right, he’s got an offense with lots of talent, an O-Line that is slowly getting respectable, and one of the biggest baddest receivers in the game. He had the 2nd most fantasy points per attempt last season, and I’ve always liked the kid. He’ll do work in 2009. I loved Cutler last year and he did great. I don’t think as much of him this season, but he’s no slouch. I don’t think the Bears have a receiver as good as either of the Broncos’ starters in 2008, but his running game is better, and the play calling will be more balanced. I’ve yet to figure out how much that will hurt him. What does hurt him is his love for the interception, if that haunts him again, even this relatively low ranking (for him) is too high. He needs to be consistent to be a top tier guy.


  1. David Garrard (12)
  2. Matt Ryan (13)
  3. Matt Cassel (14)
  4. Matt Hasselbeck (15)
  5. Kyle Orton (16)
  6. Ben Roethlisberger (17)
  7. Eli Manning (18)

To make things easier on your life (keeping friends, not being angry and bitter, not quitting fantasy football altogether because you hate everything) I’d target somebody in the first 4 tiers… But, if you want to walk the line, take a chance, and really be a fantasy rebel, here are a group of guys that could deal out fantasy worthy numbers for you in 2009 – but don’t get really crazy and leave yourself without anybody in the top 19. Tiers 6 and on aren’t places you want to be choosing a fantasy starter from. David Garrard heads this list because despite a bad offense, no real receiving threat, an O-line that was never healthy, and being knocked down more than any other quarterback in the league, he was still a Top 12 QB last season. He’s good. He’s accurate, and unless forced into a hellstorm of 300lb defensive lineman, he’s as mistake free as they get. He has Tory Holt this season, and while old, Tory is still always open. Jones Drew will be in the back field even more in ’09, and that can only mean good things for Garrard. He’s not a top level guy, but he’s going to get you points week in and week out – there’s something to be said for that. Matt Ryan, here’s a guy with a high ceiling. But he’s still a second year player and he still is in an offense that will give lots of carries to two very good running backs, Turner and Norwood. Too many weapons isn’t a bad problem though. Matt Cassel makes the biggest jump from ’08 to ’09, but he looks like a nice back-up option with a high reward possible. He has a very offensive minded head coach, he’s accurate, he has some talented young receivers (Dwayne Bowe is legit) and while I don’t think he’ll match last year’s totals, he’ll be serviceable in ’09. Matt Hasselbeck is a pretty low risk pick here. He got the best receiver on the free agent market as an upgrade. All his hurt receivers are coming back, and his new offense should take more downfield chances. He’s still very accurate and if he can stay healthy, he could be back to the Pro Bowl. Kyle Orton might be an awkward name to see here, but why not? Orton is in a pretty good situation with and offensive genius, a decent O-line, a super talented rookie running back, two very good receivers and an accurate offense that fits his throwing style. He still has that weird facial hair, but if he can do what he did in Chicago, Denver might turn out to be real nice. Big Ben is an interesting case, he takes lots of hits and gets hurt a lot. He isn’t asked to make too many mistake happy throws, and he isn’t asked to light up the airways. He’ll never have high yardage numbers, and with a couple real good running backs, his TDs will be limited too – but he can start for you in more than a couple situations. Everybody was ready to anoint Eli as the second coming of Peyton – and while he kind of is, blood wise, he’s just not. He makes way too many mistakes. He doesn’t have the most talented set of receivers, and he’s never played that well without Plax. Plus, don’t look now but his numbers seem to be declining – is that a good sign for a young QB? At least he won a Super Bowl…


  1. Sage Rosenfels (19)
  2. Joe Flacco (20)
  3. Jason Campbell (21)
  4. Jake Delhomme (22)
  5. Marc Bulger (23)
  6. Trent Edwards (24)
  7. Shaun Hill (25)
  8. Chad Pennington (26)
  9. Daunte Culpepper (27)

I actually think Sage could be a starter (fantasy-wise) at some point during the season. He’s had some great games over the years, but he also makes some bone-head moves. He won’t be asked to light up the airways in Minnesota, but I do think he’ll win the job, and it’s not like ‘Sota is a place without weapons. Percy Harvin can only help to take some attention away from Bernard Berrien, and Adrian Peterson will require 7-8 guys near the box most of the time. Sage could really surprise. Joe Flacco loses Derrick Mason, and old guy who just happened to be his best receiver. Todd Heap is a shadow of his former self. I like Mark Clayton, but as a number 1? Yikes. But Joe put up solid points last year and he’s got a cannon. Jason Campbell was almost traded, but that doesn’t mean he won’t play well. Looking for a new chance, a new contract, and having a coach that believes in him are three things I like about the former Auburn Tiger. Campbell has the tools, I just hope that off season motivated him. Jake Delhomme had a semi-successful return from elbow surgery, and he might be even stronger in 2009, but his huge interceptions and the fact that Carolina runs the ball half the time makes Jake a tough sell to me, even with one of the scariest receivers in the league. Marc Bulger once had a promising career. Then he signed a big contract. Now he just throws interceptions. Still, those big numbers came from somewhere, and this late that might be worth a shot. Trent Edwards has TO on his side now. An older TO, sure, but still a freak of nature. Will that make him fantasy worthy in ’09? I bet a lot of leagues will see him owned on draft day. I’m not sure I believe the hype, but 2 talented receivers and couple solid running backs might have Trent as a steal on draft day. I’m assuming Shaun wins the job in SF, but you never know. Still, when he does play he usually makes good things happen. It’s never pretty, but Hill has started for me a couple times and always come through. Chad Pennington might deserve more love than this, I just don’t see any upside, and as a #3 *maybe low end #2 fantasy QB, low upside is Chinese water torture. Daunte Culpepper might not even get the start, but I’d love to see what happens if he does. If he’s in good shape, he might have just found his Randy Moss clone in Calvin Johnson, and if it weren’t for a few bad seasons, almost no future, and a #1 pick rookie QB behind him, I might just rank him higher…


  1. Brady Quinn (28)
  2. JaMarcus Russell (29)
  3. Byron Leftwich (30)
  4. Vince Young (31)
  5. Matthew Stafford (32)
  6. Kerry Collins (33)
  7. Mark Sanchez (34)

I find it coincidental that these two find themselves ranked in the same tier, albeit a different order than a couple seasons ago when they found themselves drafted in the 1st round. JaMarcus actually looked pretty damn good at the end of the season, throwing 2 touchdowns in each of his last 3 games. But he plays for the Raiders. Not much better, but a little higher ranked in my lists, is Brady Quinn. Both of these guys have some talent, but I don’t see more than a handful of wins from each team and that usually doesn’t mean fantasy prowess. Byron Leftwich could find a nice fantasy situation, but who knows, I can’t trust him much, even though I like the guy. He has a couple good running backs, a nice offensive line, and a couple decent receivers – but he still winds up like Hideo freaking Nomo… Vince Young is the back-up in Tennessee, maybe, but I still think he’s the most valuable of QB’s there. Kerry Collins (even if he does start) isn’t worth anything fantasy-wise, where Vince can do some amazing things if he ever gets the chance again. Matt Stafford has a huge arm, and could be throwing to Calvin Johnson, so there’s at least 10 TDs… I already talked about Kerry, hope you never see that guy on your team. Mark Sanchez has a talented player or two in New York, and he’s a better fantasy prospect than the guy who will likely start, but I don’t see a fantasy worthy year out of either. Last but least I guess, but there’s 34….