Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Quarterback Rankings for Fantasy Postseason

The best way to win your Fantasy Postseason league is to get a quarterback on a team that outperforms its seeding. With the said, let's trot out a ranking of the quarterbacks. I think there are three tiers, so let's divide them this way:

Tier 1: Quarterbacks you want

1. Aaron Rodgers
2. Tom Brady
3. Drew Brees

The difference between these three quarterbacks is not as great as perhaps as it may seem with the Packers running out to a 15-1 record. Rodgers is the most valuable player and had an unbelievable season, but for our purposes Brees and Brady are right there. Brees has the possibility of playing an extra game, but only gets one home game. Rodgers and Brady get two home games (if they win). The Saints were able to win their last three road games against Atlanta, Tennessee and Minnesota (after losing at Tampa and St. Louis). Brees' inside/outside splits are more important than his home/road splits. He played five games outside and had 12 touchdowns and eight interceptions. He did have three TD's, no interceptions, and 419 yards against the Packers in Week 1, but the game at San Francisco scares me. Because of that, I am putting Brady slightly ahead of Brees. Because of Rodgers and Brees, Brady's excellent season was somewhat overlooked. He had 5235 yards and 39 TD's for the second best season of his career. Because the AFC and NFC East posted just one playoff team, the Patriots only played three playoff teams this season. They lost to the Steelers and Gaints, but beat Denver badly a couple of weeks ago. He actually had more TD's (23) on the road than at home (16). I'd be happy with any of the three quarterbacks and check your league settings because if you can get two of these guys, you should.

Tier 2: Quarterbacks you can live with

4. Ben Roethlisberger
5. Eli Manning
6. Matthew Stafford
7. Matt Ryan

Roethlisberger would be higher if he were healthy and had Rashard Mendenhall behind him. He hasn't thrown a TD pass since Dec. 8 and only had 21 scores this year. On the road, Big Ben only had seven TD's and ten interceptions. Even though the Broncos didn't win in the last two weeks, their defense looked pretty decent against the Chiefs (ok, whose defense didn't look against Kansas City?). Of the four quarterbacks in Tier 2, I think Roethlisberger has the best chance of playing two games. Manning and Stafford have the highest upsides. Manning had a remarkable season. For people with short term memories, the Giants have been playing well (they did lose to the Redskins in Week 15). Somehow, he had 4933 yards with 29 TD's. He had 900 fewer yards last year and two more TD's last year. I think Stafford is going to be overrated. He had a huge game last weekend against the Packers' second string defense. The Green Bay first string defense wasn't all that great. He did have 408 yards against New Orleans in Week 13, but only had one TD. The Saints are pretty good at home and the noise will affect the Lion offensive line. For a dome QB, Ryan had pretty good stats on the road. He had 600 more yards away from home with 12 TD's and seven of his 12 interceptions. In outdoor games, he had nine TD's and three picks. The Giants are favored against Atlanta, but I wouldn't be shocked to see Matty Ice (and more importantly, Michael Turner) get a win in the Meadowlands.

Tier 3: Quarterbacks you aren't going to win with

8. Joe Flacco
9. Alex Smith
10. Andy Dalton
11. Tim Tebow
12. T.J. Yates

In his four years in the league, Flacco has been one of the most consistent quarterbacks. He has through for 3600 yards the last three seasons (2971 in his rookie season) with 20 TD's and 10-12 picks. In six games against teams in the playoffs, he threw eight TD's and two interceptions. He won't wow you like Ray Rice, but Flacco is fairly close to a Tier 2 QB. Last year in the playoffs, Flacco had three TD's and a pick with 390 yards in two games. He has already played in seven playoff games. That is seven more than the other QB's in Tier 3. The Bengals, 49ers, Broncos and Texans are run-first teams. The Final Four QB's will be asked not to lose their games. I have Smith rated atop the four because his team has the best chance of playing in two games. The first pick of the 2005 draft did throw for 3150 yards in his career-best season, but did not top 291 yards in any one game. He threw just five picks. The 49ers will likely play the Saints and Packers - two teams with sub par passing defenses, but Smith doesn't have the ability to take advantage. Dalton had a nice rookie season, but only had two 300-yard games (both against playoff teams - Denver and Baltimore - in losses). He had 189 yards and one TD against the Texans in Week 14. Tebow looked pretty bad against the Bills and Chiefs, but he comes with the ability to get some rushing yards. Yates will have Andre Johnson back for the playoff game, but Johnson may not be 100%. The Texan QB is battling a shoulder problem of his own. I expect Houston to blast away with Arian Foster and Ben Tate behind one of the better offensive lines against the Bengals.