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First Glance: Quarterback Strength of Schedule ’09

Welcome to the pre-draft edition of the

Brew Crew Corner. The NFL Draft is just moments away and for me, that signals the start of the new season. I get fired up as I watch the pre-game shows and then anticipate every team’s selections as if I were the GM running that team. When I get the selection right, it feels good. When the team selects a player that makes no sense, I just yell at the TV as if I know more then the GMs and coaches. In reality, they have far more experience and knowledge than I do, but it’s fun and entertaining to get yourself involved in the draft. With that said, I have another good write up I hope you will enjoy reading. We look at the teams in the league that will be playing an easy pass schedule and those who may struggle. Allan King joins me once again to give his take on the situation.

The Top 10 teams with the easiest pass strength of schedule heading into the 2009 season.

Rank

NFL Team

Pass Rank

PYA

PTDs

1

St. Louis

20.06

220.76

22.06

2

San Francisco

19.31

219.48

20.19

3

Arizona

19.31

219.81

20.00

4

Indianapolis

18.69

216.80

21.50

5

Tennessee

18.56

215.09

20.75

6

Buffalo

18.25

214.58

20.38

7

Minnesota

17.94

213.99

21.63

8

Houston

17.81

214.68

20.38

9

Green Bay

17.75

213.53

21.13

10

New England

17.63

213.04

18.56

The Rams enter the season with the easiest pass schedule in the league but may not have the personnel to take advantage of it. They have let go of

Torry Holt and

Drew Bennett. They are now left with Donnie Avery as their best receiving option. Avery played well last year as he caught 54 passes for 684 ReYDs and three ReTDs. The rest of the receiving corps. still on the roster had 19 catches combined last year.

Keenan Burton is second with 13 rec. for 172 ReYDs and one ReTD and

Derek Stanley had six rec. for 119 ReYDs and one ReTD.

Dane Looker, who had 23 rec. for 271 ReYDs and two ReTDs is a free agent and not listed on the roster at this time. You also have to take into consideration that the Rams finished 26th in passing offense last year and threw just 11 PaTDs all season, tied for the lowest amount of TDs with

Cleveland and

Cincinnati. This brings us to the QB postion.

Marc Bulger looks to be the starter in 2009 but he will be learning the West Coast system for the first time under new coordinator Pat Shurmer. There will be a learning curve and the lack of receivers won’t help. They will face teams that ranked 20.1 overall in pass defense with 220.8 PaYDs allowed and 22.1 PaTDs. If they can get some playmakers on the team that understands the West Coast offense, the schedule could help them out. However, considering how many needs this team has, it would be difficult to count on Bulger as your fantasy starter.

 

Once upon a time

Bulger threw over 4,000 yards. I don’t think he’ll ever reach that plateau again, not anytime soon anyway. The Rams offense is in shambles. The o-line is like Swiss cheese and their WRs are in-experienced and average at best. And, the new coaching staff wants to build the team around

Steven Jackson (what other options do they have?).

Bulger used to be selected within the first 10 QBs in fantasy drafts, but, at this point, for me, he’s a bye-week fill-in/play the matchup type of fantasy QB. You could do worse for your QB2 on your fantasy team then Bulger. But, if you are counting on him as your starting QB, you could be in big trouble!

It is still unclear of what the 49ers will do this off season with their QB situation. They signed

Damon Huard and resigned

Alex Smith. They also have last year starter

Shaun Hill. All three are not great starters and the team may look to add another QB in the Draft such as USC’s

Mark Sanchez with their 10th pick. Last season they were 13th in PaYDs with 211.2 and 13th in PaTDs with 21. If they can find a QB that can take advantage of a pass schedule where they will face the second easiest pass SOS with teams ranked 19.31 overall in pass defense with 219.5 PaYDs allowed and 20.2 PaTDs, they will be able to get out to a great start.

Isaac Bruce will return for another season. The team signed

Brandon Jones to start along side

Josh Morgan or

Jason Hill. As expected though, you will look to grab the starting 49ers QB as waiver wire pickup at best.

I expect

Hill to return as the 49ers QB. Head Coach Mike Singletary really likes him. I expect

Huard and

Smith to compete for the backup job. I don’t think

Smith will ever live up to his No, 1 pick expectations, and it wouldn’t surprise me to see

Huard as the No. 2 QB. 

Bruce has recently said he plans on returning for a 16th season. He’s not flashy anymore, but, he’s still a decent WR. I expect

Morgan to take a step forward in his second season, as long as he can stay healthy. Offensive Coordinator Mike Martz was let go, so don’t expect a pass-happy offense as last season. Sure they have a very friendly schedule against the pass, but this year I expect it to be the

Frank Gore show.

After

Kurt Warner saw the SOS he would face this season, he decided to sign on for one more year. OK, maybe that wasn’t the reason but he should be smiling in this pass-first offense. The Cardinals will face the third-easiest pass SOS with teams ranked 19.3 overall in pass defense with 219.8 PaYDs and 20 PaTDs. Warner posted 4582 PaYDs with 30 PaTDs. He will be overlooked on draft day as he has in the past, especially if they trade

Anquan Boldin. The team still has

Steve Breaston and

Jerheme Urban who can step in and pick up the slack if Boldin is dealt. Not to mention second-year WR

Early Doucet who saw limited playing time last season. Unlike last preseason, we know Warner will be the starter for 2009.

The strength of schedule is very appetizing if you’re drafting

Warner this year or any of the WRs.

Larry Fitzgerald will probably be the first WR taken in most fantasy drafts. If

Boldin returns, he should be drafted high as well. If Boldin is traded, then

Steve Breaston would move into the No. 2 slot and would be a savvy pick in drafts this summer. Warner will probably be in the Top 10 QBs selected in your draft, and I think he’s gonna put in another solid season. If you land Warner as your No. 1 QB, you should be very happy. Just don’t overpay, and draft him too early. Manning, Tom Brady and Drew Brees should still go a few rounds before Warner. But, don’t wait too long either.

Peyton Manning’s offseason surgery caused some uncertainty for the start of the 2008 season. Although he slid in some drafts, he still was taken early. By the end of the season, Manning posted typical Manning numbers by surpassing 4,000 PaYDs. With a year removed from surgery, he shouldn’t have any trouble performing at the top of his game. The loss of

Marvin Harrison won’t affect his stats as they still have

Reggie Wayne and

Anthony Gonzalez. They may add another receiver in the draft or later on when roster cuts are made. They will be playing against the fourth-easiest pass SOS with teams ranked 18.7 overall in pass defense with 216.8 PaYDs and 21.5 PaTDs. So look it should be another good year for the Colts passing game.

Manning will probably be the first QB taken in your draft, as most owners will be a little apprehensive to take Brady before him due to Brady’s knee injury. I’d probably take Manning before Brady myself for that reason. Tony Dungy retired and

Marvin Harrison was released (who hasn’t been much of a factor the last couple seasons anyway), but I still expect the Colts to score a lot of points.

Wayne is a top-flight WR and I think

Gonzalez is ready to take it to the next level. The Colts also still have

Dallas Clark. Factor in the favorable schedule and for me, it means that Manning and company are still going to be very good to fantasy owners.

The Titans are going to run the ball A LOT this season. With

Chris Johnson a year more experience and a slimmer

LenDale White, this could be a limited passing offense. They have the league’s fitth-easiest pass SOS with teams ranked 18.6 overall in pass defense with 215.1 PaYDs and 20.8 PaTDs. However, this is a good example of how the SOS does not equate into fantasy gold.

Kerry Collins will be under center where he threw for just 12 PaTDs on 2,676 PaYDs. He finished as the 24th QB overall in Shark Leagues averaging just 10.3 FTPs per game. The did sign

Nate Washington this offseason which could help balance the offense some but I would keep Collins as a reserve, waiver wire pickup. I would be surprised if

Vince Young ever starts again for the Titans.

I know the Titans have a very favorable schedule against the pass, But, I agree with Walter, the Titans are going to run the ball a ton this season.

Collins a bye-week fill-in at best and should not be considered a fantasy QB for your team. I still believe

Young has what it takes to be a QB in the NFL. I am just not sure if it’s ever going to happen in

Tennessee.

Washington was added, but still I wouldn’t expect much from any of the Titans WRs.

Alge Crumpler was a fantasy bust at TE last season, and I don’t expect his stats to go up much this season either. Lastly,

Bo Scaife is boycotting offseason workouts after the Titans placed the franchise tag on him. He should be ready to play, though, for the 2009 season. He’s probably the Titans’ best receiver, and at that he’s a TE No. 2 for fantasy teams.

Trent Edwards will be the starting QB this season and he has

Terrell Owens now to help improve his numbers. I think you have to curb your expectations though as

Buffalo finished 22nd last year in PaYDs with 190 per game. T.O. will help the offense but don’t expect Edwards to post more than 3,200 PaYDs and 20 PaTDs. You also have to consider Edwards’ injuries and the weather in December at home. The schedule should favor the Bills early as they will face the sixth-easiest SOS with teams ranked 18.3 on pass defense with 214.6 PaYDs and 20.4 PaTDs. The team just traded Jason Peters who is seen as one of the best left tackles in the league that may have some effect on the offensive line protection.

 

I think

Buffalo will try to be a bit more aggressive in the passing game in an effort to get T.O. the ball and to get

Edwards back on track after last season (he just didn’t seem right after his concussion). But, I still expect the running game to be the Bills’ focal point. T.O. will still go high in a lot of drafts, but, frankly his fantasy value took a big hit going to

Buffalo. I’m not a real big believer in

Edwards and for me T.O. should be considered a WR No. 2.

Lee Evans should come pretty cheap in fantasy drafts, and he could offer pretty good value as a WR No. 3 or at your Flex spot.

The Vikings traded this offseason for

Sage Rosenfels who has been the backup in

Houston and played in six games last season when

Matt Schaub was injured. He posted 1,431 PaYDs with six PaTDs but threw 10 INTs. Over a full year that could translate into 3,816 PaYDs with 16 TDs and 27 INTs. We will have to take into consideration that he will no longer be throwing to

Andre Johnson and the team will use

Adrian Peterson as often as they can. Even though he will have the seventh-easiest pass SOS and the run support to keep defenses honest, Rosenfels could put up around 3,200 PaYDs with 18 PaTDs. That is similar to what the Vikings pass offense put up last season with

Tarvaris Jackson and

Gus Frerotte combining for 3,213 PaYDs and 21 PaTDs. So we will see if the offseason move makes any difference in this offense.

I’m really surprised

Minnesota didn’t try to trade for

Jay Cutler.

Rosenfels is a good backup. But, I’m not so sure he’s an NFL starter. Still, he’s probably the best QB Minnesota has (and no I don’t think they will be bringing in Jeff George anytime soon). Head coach Brad Childress has said that it’s an open competition between Rosenfels and

Jackson for the starting job. But, it’s pretty safe to say Rosenfels will win the job. They have a favorable schedule against the pass and with

Peterson in the backfield, their passing game could be pretty decent. But, time will tell.

 

That brings us to the Houston Texans who will have

Matt Schaub under center in his third season with the team. He has yet to play a full season since being traded to

Houston as he’s missed five games in each of the past two years. If you plan to wait on the QB position in drafts and have taken Schaub to be your starter, you better spend the next pick on a backup to ensure you are covered. Owners learned last year they had to go six weeks with out him. The team faces the eighth-easiest schedule with teams ranking 17.8 overall in pass defense with 214.7 PaYDs allowed and 20.4 PaTDs. Last season,

Houston finished fourth in the league in passing with 266.7 PaYDs per game.

Andre Johnson is a stud and as long as he’s on the team, Schaub should be considered an option. They also have

Kevin Walter and

Andre’ Davis as well as

David Anderson who they matched

Denver‘s offer to retain. This team has weapons to compete. Schaub will also look to TE

Owen Daniels, who was second on the team in targets with 100 and caught 70 passes for 862 ReYDs and two ReTDs.

 

I think if

Schaub can stay healthy he can probably put up stats with the Top 10 QBs in the league this season. The Texans have a favorable schedule against the pass and let’s face it,

Johnson is a stud WR. A.J. will be the first WR selected in a lot of drafts this year, and you can’t go wrong with that.

Steve Slaton is also a good receiver out of the backfield. Schaub needs to stay healthy, especially since the Texans let Rosenfels go. Schaub has a lot of upside this season, but, if you draft him as your No. 1 QB, I agree with Walter, you need to follow it up with another QB you can count on if Schaub goes down to injury.

 

As the Packers faded down the stretch losing seven of their final none games, some fantasy Owners forgot about

Aaron Rodgers. Rodgers played through injury and threw for 4,038 PaYDs with 28 PaTDs and 13 INTs. He finished second among QBs in Shark Leagues just 18 points behind

Drew Brees. Consider that he had seven 290+ passing games with 10 muli-touchdown games, you have to consider him a Top 5 QB pick. Given the chance I would draft him third or fourth depending on the league I was drafting in. The Packers will be facing the ninth-easiest pass defense with teams ranking 17.8 overall against the pass with 213.5 PaYDs and 21.1 PaTDs. They will have

Greg Jennings and

Donald Driver as well as

James Jones to catch a ton of passes.

Green Bay is one of those teams that could be playing from behind where Rodgers will have to throw more. If he’s still on the board after four or five QBs have been taken, grab him and grin.

I agree 100%, now that the Favre monkey is off his back, I think Rodgers can improve even more on last year’s numbers. The Packers have a great passing attack; leading the way is

Jennings who is probably going to be in the top dozen or so WRs selected in fantasy drafts.

Driver is back and

Jones is only going to get better. As long as Rodgers doesn’t regress, and I don’t really see that happening. If you draft Rodgers as your No. 1 QB, you’re in excellent shape.

Is it just me or does the Patriots always have an easy SOS? This is good news for

Tom Brady as he returns from injury. The team traded

Matt Cassel to

Kansas City which should indicate the confidence level they have in Brady’s recovery. The question is, will he return like

Carson Palmer or will he struggle like Dante Culpepper coming back from their injuries? This is something no one can really know until the hitting starts. When Brady throws his first TD, everyone will breathe a sigh of relief. The Patriots will be facing the 10th-easiest SOS with teams ranking 17.6 on pass defense with 213 PaYDs with 18.6 PaTDs. The days of no name receivers in

New England are gone. The team added

Joey Galloway and traded for

Greg Lewis to go with

Randy Moss and

Wes Welker.

Galloway is no longer a fantasy starter but in this system he could be a good spot starter or flex receiver in deeper leagues.

Bill Belichik and company must be pretty sure that

Brady is going to be near 100% this season, and I hope they are right. Otherwise, it could prove very costly letting

Cassel go to the Chiefs. I’m hoping Brady returns to form; he’s good for the NFL. If Brady is fully recovered I expect the old

Brady we know, plenty of TDs and passing yards.  The only QB I’d draft over Brady would be

Peyton Manning and probably

Drew Brees. But, Brady could wind up putting up better numbers then both of them if his knee is ok.

Moss and

Welker will both benefit from a healthy

Brady, and even

Galloway could be a sneaky flex player for your fantasy team. They have a favorable schedule, one of the best o-lines in football (figurative metaphors, anyone?), and all the big weapons on offense are returning. The question is, will

Brady be ready? I think so.

We now look into the Top 10 teams with the hardest pass strength of schedule heading into the 2009 season. 

Rank

NFL Team

Pass Rank

PYA

PTDs

23

NY Jets  

15.19

208.80

19.44

24

Dallas

14.94

209.87

20.00

25

Washington

14.81

208.36

20.25

26

Atlanta

14.81

208.08

20.13

27

Carolina

14.81

207.69

20.75

28

NY Giants

14.31

207.23

20.50

29

New Orleans

14.31

207.23

20.13

30

Kansas City

14.13

205.54

19.44

31

San Diego

13.56

203.84

18.38

32

Denver

13.13

203.82

19.19

The Jets had to formula last year to win the division. Bringing in

Brett Favre sparked the offense and the Jets looked like a contender after beating the Patriots and the Titans in back-to-back games. They lost the final four out of five games including the season finally against

Miami that decided the division and the ended the Jets’ playoff push. Favre has retired leaving the QB position up in the air with

Kellen Clemens,

Erik Ainge and

Brett Ratliff competing for the starting position. Clemens has the edge to start as he has been in Brian Schottenheimers’ system for the past four years but lacks enough game experience. In 2007 he played in 11 games in which he saw extensive action in seven of those games with just five PaTDs. Entering the draft, the team could look at QB or address their WR needs in the first round.

Laveranues Coles signed with

Cincinnati, leaving

Jerricho Cotchery to lead a good corps. of young WRs in

Brad Smith,

Chansi Stuckey and

David Clowney. Clowney is the speed guy with Stuckey as a move the chains kind of receiver. They all have great potential but it will come down to the QB position. They will be facing the league’s 10th-hardest pass strength of schedule with teams ranked 15.19 overall on pass defense with 208.8 PaYDs allowed and 19.4 PaTDs surrendered.

I think the Jets are going to be really focused on the ground game this season. They don’t have the old Gunslinger this year (Favre) and they face a tough schedule against the pass. Plus, the QB situation leaves a lot to be desired. Clemens is the favorite to get the starting job, but, I’m not sure he’ll hang on to it. In fact I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Jets draft a QB next weekend. Cotchery is probably the best option at WR, but there are rumors that the Jets are interested in trading for a WR. Clowney is an interesting player. He’s got excellent speed and from what I gather the Jets coaching staff love the guy. Still, I believe the Jets passing offense won’t be anything spectacular and I would keep expectations towards the low side for fantasy production from the QBs and WRs at this point.

The Cowboys are always in the spotlight and this season they will be playing in a new stadium which they will open against the Giants in Week 2. After the recent

Jay Cutler off field circus, Jerry Jones express to the media that

Tony Romo is their guy and will not be traded. OK, Romo, here is your chance to prove yourself as the leader of this team. Last year, Romo missed four weeks after breaking his pinky finger on his throwing hand. He still managed to throw for 3,448 PaYDs and 26 PaTDs. He posted six 300+ passing games and seven multi-TD games, five of which were three PaTDs. The team missed the playoffs and let

Terrell Owens go. This will leave

Roy Williams as their top receiver who played through injuries to post just 36 rec. for 430 ReYDs and just two ReTDs. The team will also have

Patrick Crayton, Miles Austin,

Isaiah Stanback and

Sam Hurd competing to play opposite Williams. Any of these guys could put up good numbers with Romo at QB, but the offense will have to rely more on the running game to be affective. I think the passing stats will take a hit this season as they will be facing the league’s ninth-hardest pass SOS. They will face teams ranked 14.9 overall on pass defense with 209.9 PaYDs and 20 PaTDs. The question for fantasy owners will be if Romo is the guy you can count on to win you a championship. I’m putting my money on

Jason Witten to lead the team in receiving.

The Cowboys will miss T.O. in my opinion. But, they are still going to score a lot of points. The Cowboys gave up a ton to get

Williams, so they are hoping he can be “the guy”. For all the picks they gave for him, he better be. Romo will still put up very good numbers even without T.O. I’m just not sure he will have monster numbers.

Witten is as solid as there is in fantasy for TEs, and I expect a bump up in his numbers with Owens no longer on the team. Back to Romo, I still think he’s one of the top QBs in fantasy this season. But, he’s not in the same tier as Brady, Manning or Brees. He’s in the second tier.

Jason Campbell played all of last year after missing the final games of the season in 2007.

Campbell, playing in his seventh season, posted 3,245 PaYDs with just 13 PaTDs and six INTs. He will enter camp this year having to compete with second-year QB

Colt Brennan. The team is hoping that young WRs

Devin Thomas and Malcom Kelly can start opposite

Santana Moss. Kelly has not yet been cleared to participate in off season workouts and his knee could be a concern entering the season. Keep an eye on that situation as the WR corps isn’t stable yet. Moss posted his best season since his first season with

Washington in 2005 but the lack of PaTDs is a concern for those taking Moss as your starter. They will be facing the league’s eighth toughest pass SOS with teams’ ranked 14.8 overall pass defense with 208.4 PaYDs and 20.3 PaTDs. Like I said about

Witten,

Chris Cooley could lead the team in receiving also. As we get closer to the draft, rumors of the team moving up to draft

Mark Sanchez has surfaced.

The Redskins aren’t happy with

Campbell at QB. That’s pretty obvious. First, they haven’t given him a contract extension, second, they tried like heck to land

Jay Cutler from the Broncos (who went to the Bears) and now there are hot rumors the Redskins will do anything they can to land USC QB

Sanchez at this week’s draft. I don’t think

Campbell will be a Redskin for much longer.

Moss leads the receiving corps. Moss is a deep play guy, not a “true” No. 1 WR, which the Redskins are missing. When it’s 3rd and 4, they don’t have someone to go across the middle and make the play, to move the chains, other than Cooley. The Redskins are hoping that WRs Thomas and Kelly will come along and fill that role. But, I’m not confident in that either. For fantasy, I’d consider

Moss a WR No. 2,

Campbell a backup QB/ bye-week fill-in, and

Cooley still a solid TE No. 1.

Rookie of the Year

Matt Ryan will have higher expectations this season after leading the Falcons to the playoffs. Ryan posted 3,440 PaYDs and 16 PaTDs with 11 INTs. How does it compare to starting rookies of all-time? He posted the third-most passing years behind

Peyton Manning and Jim Kelly. Amazingly,

Joe Flacco finished fifth. It is no surprise that QBs are drafted expecting to step in and take over right away without having the chance to really sit and digest the information like they used to 10 years ago. Ryan will have a tougher time in his second year as the schedule is a lot harder this season and teams now have a full season of tape to study. Ryan will face teams ranked 14.8 overall in pass defense with 208.1 PaYDs allowed and 20.2 PaTDs. The Falcons lack depth at WR behind

Roddy White and

Michael Jenkins. White was a stud last season and a great value pick as he posted career best with 1,382 ReYDs and seven PaTDs.

 

Like I posted in the RB writeup a few weeks back, the Falcons aren’t going to surprise anyone this season. That said, I fully expect

Ryan to mature at the QB situation. I think he’ll continue to get better and add on to last year’s passing TD total.

White is the No. 1 WR and will go a lot earlier in fantasy drafts this summer. And, because they just traded for TE Tony Gonzalez, that gives

Ryan and the Falcons a big red zone target. In fantasy drafts I’d rank

Ryan as a high QB No. 2 (low QB No. 1) with a ton of upside.

As I started writing this section,

Jake Delhomme threw another pick to the Cardinals. During that playoff game last season, he threw five INTs, almost half of what he threw during the whole season when he had 12 INTs. The Panthers do not have the QB of the future on their roster.

Matt Moore and

Josh McCown are backups in this league. I wish they could have traded

Julius Peppers to the Broncos for Jay Cutler. That trade would have helped both teams. It drives me nuts to see “Got Jake?” t-shirts for the past six seasons during Panther games. In terms of fantasy, he has not been a Top 10 starting QB since 2004. The team will be a run-first team as they have a difficult schedule this season. They will be facing the sixth-hardest pass schedule with teams ranked 14.8 overall in pass defense with 207.7 PaTDs and 20.8 PaTDs. On the receiving side, they are still thin at WR.

Steve Smith is always a legitimate fantasy starter but after that the drop off is steep. The gamble on

D.J. Hackett did not pay off as he could not stay healthy and has been cut.

Muhsin Muhammad proved he had one year left in him with 923 ReYDs and five ReTDs but don’t expect much this season.

Dwayne Jarrett remains a bust until he can prove himself.

I agree,

Delhomme‘s best days are way behind him. And, I fully expect the Panthers to address the QB situation in the draft.

Smith is a still a big-time WR and can be considered a WR No. 1 for your fantasy team. But, the Panthers will continue to be a running team with

DeAngelo Williams and

Jonathan Stewart. If you leave your draft and wind up with Delhomme as your QB No. 1, you could be in big trouble. He’s nothing more than bye-week fill-in/matchup play at this point. Buyers beware.

The Giants dominated in the run game but the offense struggled late after

Plaxico Burress‘ clumsy self-shooting incident and has been cut from the team.

Eli Manning posed typical Eli stats with around 3,300 PaYDs and 21 PaTDs. He did cut his INTs down from the year before in half with only 10 INTs. The problem was he started the season hot and ended cold. In the first four games he averaged 258 PaYDs with six PaTDs. The final four games he averaged just 153.5 PaYDs with two PaTDs. That is not reliable stats come fantasy playoff time. The Giants will have the fifth-hardest pass SOS as they face teams ranked 14.3 overall in pass defense with 207.2 PaYDs and 20.5 PaTDs. Over a 16-game season, those averages are in-line with Manning’s yearly production, but it isn’t enough to count on him as a fantasy started. The Giants receiving group is in need of help as Burress and

Amani Toomer are no longer on the roster. The Giants offense spread the ball out to all their players which limits to production of any one receiver. Last year, the Giants had four receivers with 450 to 596 ReYDs. They may add a WR in the draft and were very close to a trade for

Braylon Edwards but did not want to give up

Steve Smith. There will be a lot of question marks for this team’s pass offense heading into the draft.

 

The Giants will continue to be a running team. And, I don’t blame them. They have a great o-line and some very good RBs. Rumors are flying again that the Giants are going to trade for Browns WR

Braylon Edwards. If that happens, he will fill the spot left open by

Burress, who was released. If a trade doesn’t happen, expect the Giants to use their first-round pick on a WR.

Manning is a decent QB No. 2 for fantasy teams, and depending on the size of your league, he could be considered a low-end QB No. 1.

 

Drew Brees was the best fantasy QB last season and came within 16 PaYDs of breaking Dan Marino’s all-time record for PaYDs in a season. That’s one drop pass, one tipped ball or one holding penalty that could have made the difference. He will have a hard time matching those numbers this season considering the schedule. He will be facing the fourth-hardest pass SOS with teams ranking 14.3 overall against the pass with 207.2 PaYDs and 20.1 PaTDs. Brees will be a Top 3 QB taken in drafts. It all depends on how much confidence you have in him. He makes for a safe pick behind

Peyton Manning as you have to proceed with some caution with

Tom Brady as he returns from knee surgery. Brees can throw the ball to anyone, the question is who will be available to play. Both

Marques Colston and

Reggie Bush have had knee surgery and are not yet 100%. The team still hasn’t resigned restricted free agent

Lance Moore but brought back

Devery Henderson.

Robert Meachem has not produced yet and there is always

Jeremy Shockey and his demand for a contract extension. It all adds up to a decline for the Saints’ pass offense in 2009. I would be cautious in taking any of the Saints to high.

Some pretty good points brought up Walter. But, I still think

Brees is a top QB. After Brady and Manning, he is absolutely third in my rankings. All of the weapons will be returning, and I expect Bush and Colston to be healthy for the start of the season. I agree it’ll be tough for Brees to match last season’s numbers, but, if you land Brees as your QB for your fantasy team, you’re in great shape.

Bush is a very good receiving RB, and he has more value in PPR leagues.  Colston is a low end WR No. 1 with upside. I expect a bounce back season from him.

New coach, new QB, new beginning for the Chiefs after the Herm Edwards project did not work.

Matt Cassel was traded and will compete with

Tyler Thigpen for the starting job.

Cassel last year stepped in when

Tom Brady went down for the season and played will throwing for 3,693 PaYDs and 21 PaTDs with 11 INTs. He will now have to prove that he is a legitimate starter in this league and that the success was not due to the Patriots system. The team brought in

Bobby Engram and

Terrance Copper to help the receiving corp.

Mark Bradley will most likely start opposite

Dwayne Bowe who should see the bulk of the targets, now that Tony Gonzalez has been traded. At this point it remains to be seen if

Cassel is a viable starting option. They will be facing the league’s third-toughest pass SOS with teams ranking 14.1 overall against the pass with 205.5 PaYDs and 19.4 PaTDs. I would let someone else draft

Cassel and not deal with the struggles the Chiefs will face with rebuilding and playing a difficult schedule.

The Chiefs have a brutal schedule.

Cassel will have his work cut out for him. We’ll find out if

Cassel is a legitimate QB or a product of the Patriots system. It’ll be tough.

Bowe is the top WR on the team and he should be considered a WR No. 2 with upside and probably the only Chiefs WR worth owning for fantasy teams. I’d probably let someone else in your league draft

Cassel. For me, he’s very risky. But, sometimes if you want to win your league, you have to roll the dice. Just don’t draft him too early (when the run on premiere QBs begins during your draft).   

The Chargers open up the 2009 season without the claim of having the best RB in the NFL.

LaDainian Tomlinson is still a good RB. He should still go in the first round of drafts.

Philip Rivers had his best season last year and help lead the Chargers to the playoffs after a 4-8 start. The Chargers will open the season at

Oakland for a Monday night doubleheader. They will face the league’s second-toughest pass SOS with teams ranked 13.6 overall passing defense with 203.8 PaYDs and 18.4 PaTDs.  Rivers still has Antonia Gates,

Chris Chambers and

Vincent Jackson to throw to with LT and

Darren Sproles out of the back field. Rivers has weapons but the question remains if the defense can bounce back to give the offense more opportunities. With a very tough road ahead, Rivers might not be the best QB option in the early rounds as they go up against eight teams in the Top 10 on pass defense last season.

 

The Chargers face a very difficult schedule this season. It will be tough for

Rivers to match last year’s numbers (in which he had a career year). I still consider Rivers a QB No. 1 in fantasy, but I would put him in a tier below the big three (Brady, Manning, Brees). Gates was nicked up last season with a toe injury, but they expect him to be Ok going into this season, and should still be drafted in the Top 3 TEs (

Witten and Gonzalez).

Jackson is a quality No. 2 WR for fantasy teams, with upside.

Chambers is a decent WR No. 3/flex play.

Denver

is the third AFC west team ranked at the bottom as they face the league’s hardest pass SOS. They will play teams ranked 13.1 overall pass defense with 203.8 PaYDs and 19.2 PaTDs. Like the Chargers, they face eight teams in the Top 10 on pass defense. Since the collapse last season that left them out of the playoffs after a large division lead, the team fired long-time head coach Mike Shanahan and have big changes after new head coach Josh McDaniels traded

Jay Cutler who threw for 4,526 PaYDs with 25 PaTDs. They now have

Kyle Orton, who they acquired in the trade and

Chris Simms, who they signed from

Tennessee. The 2009 Bronco season has disaster all over it. I would stay away from all players early in drafts. Yes, even

Brandon Marshall who will face some type of suspension heading into the season. Orton does not have the arm Cutler did where

Marshall can score on deep plays. The team went out and added

Jabar Gaffney who isn’t an upgrade over Marshall or

Eddie Royal. Sometimes you have to have to foresight to see the storm coming and for the Broncos, it will looks to be a dreary 2009.

The Broncos traded away franchise QB

Jay Cutler to the Bears for QB

Kyle Orton and draft picks. While the draft picks might help down the road, the addition of Orton may not. Cutler has a big-time arm, and I am surprised they traded him. All of the Broncos WRs fantasy value takes a big hit (Brandon Marshall,

Royal, TE Tony Scheffler) with the loss of Cutler. Orton might not even beat out

Simms for the starting QB job in

Denver. It’s hard to decide where to rank

Marshall going into drafts this summer, with Cutler he was a WR No. 1, now with Orton (or Simms) he might only be a WR No. 2. I agree, 2009 could be very ugly for the Broncos.

Thanks for reading. Below is the full chart of the QB SOS.

Rank

NFL Team

Pass Rank

PYA

PTDs

1

St. Louis

20.06

220.76

22.06

2

San Francisco

19.31

219.48

20.19

3

Arizona

19.31

219.81

20.00

4

Indianapolis

18.69

216.80

21.50

5

Tennessee

18.56

215.09

20.75

6

Buffalo

18.25

214.58

20.38

7

Minnesota

17.94

213.99

21.63

8

Houston

17.81

214.68

20.38

9

Green Bay

17.75

213.53

21.13

10

New England

17.63

213.04

18.56

11

Pittsburgh

 

17.38

213.13

19.81

12

Jacksonville

17.31

214.21

19.31

13

Detroit

17.19

212.36

20.44

14

Seattle

17.13

212.99

21.75

15

Oakland

16.94

210.91

20.06

16

Tampa

Bay

16.56

212.33

20.00

17

Chicago

16.44

210.45

21.06

18

Cincinnati

 

16.38

208.37

19.50

19

Baltimore

16.19

207.90

19.38

20

Miami

16.13

209.49

19.69

21

Cleveland

15.94

207.23

19.50

22

Philadelphia

15.56

210.46

19.75

23

NY Jets  

15.19

208.80

19.44

24

Dallas

14.94

209.87

20.00

25

Washington

14.81

208.36

20.25

26

Atlanta

14.81

208.08

20.13

27

Carolina

14.81

207.69

20.75

28

NY Giants

14.31

207.23

20.50

29

New Orleans

14.31

207.23

20.13

30

Kansas City

14.13

205.54

19.44

31

San Diego

13.56

203.84

18.38

32

Denver

13.13

203.82

19.19

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