11. Jay Cutler: As with all NFC North quarterbacks, Cutler’s schedule is about as easy as you could ask for. The loss of Offensive Coordinator Mike Martz is a positive for Cutler; he will no longer get pummeled into the ground on every other pass under Martz’s pass first, protect second offensive scheme. Add in the addition of Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery and all the sudden this passing game has the potential to be extremely explosive. If you feel like getting your RB’s and WR’s before you draft a QB, Cutler will be your man
12. Peyton Manning: I truly believe Peyton Manning will back to his former form this year in Denver. The only reason I have Manning a bit low on my list is because Denver has the worst collection of playmakers in the entire NFL. Peyton has the ability to turn no-name guys into quality WRs but doing that with a team full of them is a tall order for even him. I wouldn’t draft him as my top QB but if you are looking for a solid backup QB and don’t want to play QB hot-potato with the waiver wire, Peyton is an attractive option.
13. Matt Schaub: Another guy who has a favorable schedule that plays the AFC South (twice), the NFC North, and the AFC East (only the NYJ should be a problem). Schaub is always going to be a risk due to injuries so drafting him as a number one QB should be out of the question. He definitely has the potential to be a top-6 QB due to his skills and weapons around him but the guy just can’t stay healthy. My advice would be to keep him on the bench all year, except during your starter’s bye week and possibly during weeks 11-17 when his schedule is an absolute cake walk (assuming he’s still healthy).
14. Ben Roethlisberger: Big Ben and Brees are the two most over-rated fantasy QBs to me this year. You don’t believe me? Let’s take a look at Ben’s off season:
1. His owner has publically stated that he wants the team to go back to a power-run oriented offense
2. A coach he doesn’t like (Todd Haley) replaces player friendly Bruce Arians as offensive coordinator.
3. His star WR Mike Wallace is currently having a contract dispute with the team.
On top of all that he already plays in the best conference in the AFC that is filled with great defenses. Even for a QB that has won a couple of Super Bowls I can’t see Big Ben having anything more than a mediocre year this year.
15. Josh Freeman: A really disappointing year for Freeman last year but he still managed to end up the 17th best QB. The TB offense has improved with the addition of Vincent Jackson and you have to think he will be closer to his 25 TD, 6 INT year in 2010 than his 16 TD, 22 INT performance last year. He’s a quality fantasy backup that has some potential and I would definitely take him before anyone listed below him. He might even sneak up near the top-ten by the end of the year.
16. Carson Palmer: Take away Palmer’s first game and he averaged about 20 fantasy points a game (that would have qualified him as a top ten QB). He turned the ball over at an alarming pace but in fairness to Palmer he was kind of just thrown in there after a long layoff from football. Oakland’s offense has changed to a West Coast offense so he won’t have to air to out as often, especially if McFadden can stay healthy. I think Palmer is a very under-rated fantasy player this year so if you can get him late you might have yourself a steal.
17. Alex Smith: I don’t have much faith in Smith but my love for Randy Moss makes me put him this high. Smith has a nice collection of quality playmakers and had a decent year last year but I’m going to have to classify it as a fluke until he proves me otherwise. He might have some good games against some of the weaker teams on his schedule so he does have some possible value. I’d be surprised if he ended up this high at the end of the year but if Moss is back to form like everyone says I might be mistaken.
18. Christian Ponder. I won’t go into detail about Ponder here (see my previous post) but I really like his potential as a very good fantasy backup quarterback. His schedule and improvement of players around him make him an attractive option, especially since you probably won’t have to draft him till the last couple rounds (if at all).
19. Joe Flacco: Check down to Ray Rice. Deep pass to Torrey Smith. I just summed up 80 percent of Flacco’s throws. He’s as consistent as Matt Ryan but constantly puts up mediocre numbers. I don’t really see any fantasy upside with Flacco because other bench QBs have a chance to put up better numbers in an emergency situation. He’ll end up being around the 19th best fantasy QB because doesn’t get hurt and he‘ll play all 16 games. Flacco is a pass for me.
20. Andy Dalton: I am very worried about a sophomore slump for Dalton. It’s hard to tell if he overachieved at the beginning of the year or defenses figured him out by the end of the year, either way it’s not a good sign for Dalton. His tough division scares me further but if AJ Green develops into a stud receiver Dalton could put together an alright year.