Posts Tagged ‘Eli Manning’

The NFC East is always a fight. Whether it is among the fans or on the field, it will never be claimed easily. Last season, it was taken via heist on the field, when a new arrival in Washington DC took the previous season’s bottom feeders to a level the organization had not reached in 13 years, and in a fashion they’d never seen before.

But staying on top has much more struggle than reaching it, and Robert Griffin III and his Redskins are primed to discover this. The battle to hold the crown will be highlighted by a brand new approach in Philadelphia, a coach that’s likely pushing to hold onto his livelihood in Dallas and a Giants team that’s search for a new identity with familiar faces.

There were some gutsy wins a year ago, such as the Redskins sweeping the season series from Dallas, and the Eagles pulling out their last win in what would prove to be in nearly a two month span over the Giants, which ultimately ended up costing New York a playoff shot. There’s not many division that break down the middle closer than the NFC East does, and once again there may very well be only one ticket to the Playoffs provided from this division. So there will be no love lost once again, not as if there ever was any in the first place.

All-Division Team

QB: Robert Griffin III, RB: LeSean McCoy, Alfred Morris, WR: Dez Bryant, Victor Cruz, Hakeem Nicks, TE: Jason Witten, OT: Jason Peters, Trent Williams, OG: Todd Herremans, Kory Litchensteiger, C: David Baas

DE: DeMarcus Ware, Jason Pierre-Paul, DT/NT: Jay Ratliff, Issac Sopoaga, OLB: Brian Orakpo, Ryan Kerrigan, MLB: Sean Lee, Demeco Ryans, CB: Morris Claiborne, Brandon Flowers, FS: Nate Allen, SS: Brandon Merriweather

K: Dan Bailey, P: Donnie Jones, KR: David Wilson, PR: Desean Jackson

Coming off his second consecutive 8-8 year, Romo is facing a season where a corner is needed to be turned.

Coming off his second consecutive 8-8 year, Romo is facing the task of leading the way for what needs to be turning the corner season, as well as a return to the playoffs for the first time in four years.

DALLAS COWBOYS (8-8 in 2012)

The Good: It finally clicked for Dez last year, and he began to deliver on the warehouse full of talent that he’s had for years. In his breakout season, he posted totals of 1,382 yards on 92 catches and 12 touchdowns, and became a regular playmaker in an offense full of steady, but not game breaking talents. 16 games of him playing at the level he finished 2012 at could change everything about the potential of this offense, and yes, even Tony Romo.

The Bad: Are they ready to play hardnosed football yet up front? Two of their previous three first round picks have been dedicated to bettering the offensive line, between Tyron Smith and Travis Frederick, so the effort is on. But with the perennially fragile Demarco Murray and an immediate need to keep Romo upright to deliver to the plethora of targets on offense, the difference between a run for the division or not starts with the development upfront paying out.

X-Factor—Sean Lee: The rangy, tackling machine in the middle of defense is the key to the success of the unit. He ran up big games of 10 and 14 tackles early in the year, before heading the PUP list after a toe injury in week 7 a year ago. His health and availability is a non-negotiable element of the success of a team whose linebacker corps are young and now without DeMarcus Ware, who moves to defensive end.

Record: NYG (W), @KC (W), STL (W), @SD (W), DEN (L), WSH (L), @PHI (L), @DET (W), MIN (W), @NO (W), @NYG (L), OAK (W), @CHI (L), GB (L), @WSH (L), PHI (W)

Prediction: There’s always going to be questions about the Cowboy’s consistency as long as Romo is calling the shots, but the biggest issue for them is finding consistency within the division. Jason Garrett is likely running short on opportunities to produce this, and health of his defensive unit will likely be the deciding factor for the season. A tough late season run with trips to Chicago and Washington, as well as hosting Green Bay will call the difference in a division title or the mud of a wild card push, with the former being more likely. 9-7

 

Cruz topped 1,000 yards for the second consecutive season, and has found the endzone 19 times in the previous two years.

Cruz topped 1,000 yards for the second consecutive season, and has found the endzone 19 times in the previous two years. He returns to be responsible for more of the production in NY than ever before.

NEW YORK GIANTS (9-7 in 2012)

The Good: They have undergone a steady change over the past few years, and it has returned several promising offensive tools. Between Rueben Randle, Brandon Myers and Ramses Barden, the offensive unit has a lot of breakthrough potential this season. Add in the luxury of staying in complimentary roles around Victor Cruz and Hakeem Nicks leading the way, along with Eli Manning, who has an underrated ability to bring out the best in young receivers, calling the shots for them.

The Bad: Will the defense have found its identity this time around? Osi Umenyiora is gone, Jason Pierre-Paul is rebounding from back surgery and the secondary is in transition. In a division with the type of offense that the NFC East, not to mention dates with Green Bay, Seattle and Detroit, the will be tested often. There will have to be a unit that overachieves to help steady the team’s outlook.

X-Factor—David Wilson: Wilson showed his big play potential in open space last year, with an NFL-best 1,533 kick return yards, but never quite figured out the nuances of running between, off or anywhere near the tackles. But with Ahmad Bradshaw gone, he’ll be leaned on heavily to be the same type of all-purpose back that his predecessor was. Picking up the details in year two will be a must.

Record: —@DAL (L), DEN (L), @CAR (W), @KC (L), PHI (W), @CHI (L), MIN (L), @PHI (W), OAK (W), GB (L), DAL (W), @WSH (L), @SD (W), SEA (L), @DET (W), WSH (W)

Prediction: They certainly could factor into the mostly even landscape of the NFC East, via the points potential of the best QB/receiver combo in the NFC alone. But they are thin on proven depth, as well as exactly what type of production they can count on from the defense week in and out. If everything goes right, they could steal the division. Yet if one unit lags, they could just as easily slide out of the playoff picture complete. This is likely a team that has stretches with both and has a record that reflects it. Record: 8-8.

McCoy has had at least 250 touches in each of the past three seasons, and is in line to be among the busiest backs in football in Philly's new scheme.

McCoy has had at least 250 touches in each of the past three seasons, and is in line to be among the busiest backs in football in Philly’s new scheme.

PHILADELPHIA EAGLES (4-12 in 2012)

The Good: The new scheme certainly fits the pieces. It’s still not completely certain how Chip Kelly’s up tempo offense will be translated into the NFL, but he certainly has the right pieces to make it go. Desean Jackson, Michael Vick, LeSean McCoy and Michael Vick can be instant offense, and the return of Jason Peters, coupled with massive first round pick Lane Johnson gives them the right bookends to build a persistent threat on offense.

The Bad: Defensively, there’s been a major turnover in the secondary, and it could be a target early on often for Romo, Manning and RGIII for the majority of the season. Without a promise of consistent pass rush (a team total of 30 in 2012), nor much change that would change the league-worse 13 turnovers they scrounged together, they could still be among the worst units in the League.

X-Factor—Michael Vick: The enigma that is Vick continues to take on new faces. Ideally, he is the perfect option for the type of offense that is being installed. However, he hasn’t been the most flexible decision maker on the run, especially standing up to the constant pressure that he has been subjected to the last few years. If he can play within himself and put to bed the rumors of the looming Nick Foles (again), the entire picture for the team could change.

Record—@WSH (L), SD (L), KC (L), @DEN (L), @NYG (L), @TB (W), DAL (W), NYG (L), @OAK (W), @GB (L), WSH (L), ARI (W), DET (L), @MIN (L), CHI (L), @DAL (L)

Prediction: There are a lot of elements going on at once that are not point towards much of a step forward in Philly. There is unrest at quarterback, a completely new offensive scheme under a rookie head coach, an offensive line bookended by a comeback attempt and a rookie, as well as a thin defense. Add in the usual brutality of the NFC East, and you have another long season in PA. Record: 4-12.

 

Griffin lead the Redskins to heights they hadn't reached in over a decade in route to becoming Offensive Rookie of the Year. But how much of a price did he pay?

Griffin lead the Redskins to heights they hadn’t reached in over a decade in route to becoming Offensive Rookie of the Year. But how much of a price did he pay?

Washington Redskins (10-6 in 2012)

The Good: For all of the steps forward that the Skins took last year with RGIII at the helm, they were never truly at full strength. Pierre Garcon, Fred Davis, Trent Williams and Brian Orakpo all spent significant time off the field. All are slated to be back and in the fold from day one this year, which along with a miraculously ready (we think) Griffin back from knee surgery, this could be one of the most explosive teams in the NFL, both again and on a new level.

The Bad: Is the defense ready to carry their part of the bargain? They return much of the same unit as last year, and didn’t have many early draft picks to get creative with to infuse new life into the mix. The team won last year in spite of a bland pass rush and porous secondary. The pass rush will be improved with Orakpo back, but there have to be more elements than himself and Ryan Kerrigan to it.

X-Factor—Fred Davis: When he tore his ACL in week 7 last year, he was averaging just over 13 yards per catch and was a major target over the middle for Griffin as defensive were stuck between guarding the run and fearing the bomb. If he stays healthy and still has his unique mix of size and separation speed, he could be one of the most productive tight ends in the NFL.

Record: PHI (W), @GB (L), DET (W), @OAK (W), @DAL (W), CHI (W), @DEN (L), SD (W), @MIN (L), @PHI (W), SF (W), NYG (W), KC (L), @ATL (L), DAL (W), @NYG (L)

Prediction: RGIII may be the biggest difference maker in the NFL, for any team. Regardless of how he is deployed this year, having his full selection of tools around him this year makes him that much more dangerous and primed for an even better season. Combined with a strong complimentary threat in Alfred Morris and the bonus of the division’s best linebacker group in Orakpo, Fletcher and Kerrigan, and the Skins look to be able to repeat what could be a regular position atop the East. Record: 10-6.

Stay locked over the next week, as the previews keep coming and I walk the prediction plank. Either I look dumb, great or like the Giants. For the real-time development, follow me on Twitter at @CheapSeatFan

It’s Thursday Night Football time again, a concept I’m really down for by the way (save for Cee Lo screaming at me like he’s lost more of his mind than his hair) . It isn’t quite the big game overkill the NBA can be, but it’s a nice bridge from Monday Night until the College FB takes over on Saturday.

At any rate, it’s time for the pick and it’s time to keep the perfect Thursday alive. After opening up right last Thursday with the Packers over the Bears, let’s turn it up again for a real battle of the QBs down in Carolina…

Eli may only be able to look for himself to pull it out with all the MIA Giants tonight.

New York Giants (1-1) at Carolina Panthers (1-1): It’s Eli vs. Cam, in what appears to be the Super Bowl Champs taking on what was the ultimate one man show a year ago. But things have changed, and in a hurry. The Giants are rocked with injuries right now, Hakeem Nicks, Ahmad Bradshaw, David Diehl, the Statue of Liberty, a few bridges in Central Park….bout everything out of NY is beat up, and they are actually coming in thinner than the Panthers. Having already struggled against the deep ball, they are playing the wrong squad in the Panthers who are finally developing a varied attack in open space, while still employing the league’s ultimate weapon in Cam.

The Giants are on their heels a bit, and the Panthers have one hell of a knockout punch driving them. The Panthers win, and wound more than just the G-Men’s bones and joints in the process.

The NFC East loves to beat on itself. Each fan base has a rivalry that spills directly from what the teams leave on the field for them to feed off of. All of this is for good reason as well, as competition stays at a premium here. No team has repeated as division champion since the Eagles in 2004; and for anyone handing them the division this year, pay close attention to this fact.

A year ago, the return to prominence of Michael Vick took the NFL by storm. He was the final piece needed to push the Eagles back to the top of a division they have won more times in the last ten years than any other club. However, does it carry over again as seamlessly? The Cowboys offense woke up late last season, and the return of Tony Romo will put them in position to take a shot back at the top of a division they won just two years ago. The Giants are always in the mix, and despite a rash of injuries, still are arguably the most balanced team of the four. The Redskins are rebuilding, but offer the potential of an upset towards any of the division’s more celebrated squads.

As said last year in this same column, the NFC East will be the traditional battlefield it always has been.

 

ALL-DIVISION TEAM

QB: Michael Vick RB: Ahmad Bradshaw, LeSean McCoy FB: Leonard Weaver WR: Miles Austin, DeSean Jackson, Hakeem Nicks TE: Jason Witten OT: Jason Peters, Doug Free OG: Chris Snee, Todd Herremans C: Jamaal Jackson

DE: Justin Tuck, Trent Cole DT: Jay Ratliff, Mike Patterson OLB: DeMarcus Ware, Brian Orakpo MLB: London Fletcher, Bradie James CB: Nnamdi Asomugha, Asante Samuel S: LaRon Landry, OJ Atogwe

K: Lawrence Tynes P: Mat McBriar Returner: DeSean Jackson

 

DALLAS COWBOYS (6-10 in 2010)

Offense: T. Romo-QB, M. Austin-WR, J. Witten-TE, D. Bryant-WR (B+)

Defense: D. Ware-OLB, J. Ratliff-NT, T. Newman-CB, G. Sensabaugh-S (C+)

 

The Good: For all that is said about the offense stalling out, it played better once Jason Garrett took control of the team last season. Also, it will get a boost with the return of Tony Romo, a healthy and more experienced Dez Bryant and using more of Felix Jones. The biggest difference here could be Rob Ryan taking over as Defensive Coordinator. His aggressive scheme should help a Dallas defense that had coverage like a broken dam downfield, while put for too little pressure on the quarterback outside of DeMarcus Ware.

The Bad: The offensive line is rebuilt, but still has a long way to go. Tyron Smith will take his lumps as the youngest player in the league while starting at right tackle. Add to that that they will be breaking in four new starters in front of Romo, and it could be a repeat of last year’s poor unit that gave up 30 sacks a year ago and could not field a 1000 yard rusher either.

Romo is Dallas' greatest asset. The sooner they start protecting him as such, the better.

X-Factor-Felix Jones: Jones is a definite candidate for biggest breakout player this fall. He could be called on more in the receiving game than any other running back in the league, especially if the line doesn’t hold up well. He’ll have the advantage of having his great speed to hit defenses that are busy guarding the multiple Cowboy receiving threats off guard quickly.

Fearless Prediction: @NYJ (L), @SF (W), WSH (W), DET (L), @NE (L), STL (W), @PHI (L), SEA (W), BUF (W), @WSH (L), MIA (W), @ARI (W), NYG (L), @TB (L), PHI (W), @NYG (W)

In The End: They’ll be better if they stay healthy, and that’s a big if. Miles Austin is hurting already and Romo has to stay upright for them to be much better at all. A mixture of a revived defensive approach, along with a more steady offense will make them better, but they still aren’t tough enough up front to push into the playoffs this year. Record: 9-7

 

NEW YORK GIANTS (10-6 in 2010)

Offense: E. Manning-QB, A. Bradshaw-RB, H. Nicks-WR, M. Manningham-WR (B+)

Defense: J. Tuck-DE, O. Umenyiora-DE, A. Rolle-S, C. Webster-CB (B-)

 

The Good: They can move the ball downfield. Hakeem Nicks and Mario Manningham are one of the more underrated receiving tandems in the game, despite combining for 1,996 yards and 20 TD in 2010. Eli Manning is far from the “elite” passer he fashioned himself as, but gets it done more often than he doesn’t. Ahmad Bradshaw’s breakout last season gave them the Tiki Barber like dual threat they had been lacking for years, and the Bradshaw-Jacobs backfield is capable of giving defenses multiple types of headaches being deployed together.

The Bad: They didn’t get much better at any critical area, and now they could be paying for it. The offensive line was already a problem, and now with the departure of Steve Smith and Kevin Boss, there is less talent for Eli to have bail out the rushed throws that will be even more common now. The defense was in position bail them out, but a plague of injury swept over that unit, claiming Osi Umenyiora, Terrell Thomas and first round pick Prince Amukamara.

After a pretty brash offseason on the interview circuit, Manning will have to show and prove like never before this year.

X-Factor-Jason Pierre-Paul: Placed in the middle of a deep defensive end rotation, the team’s 2010 first rounder had to make the best of his limited opportunities last season. He still managed 4.5 sacks, and with Umenyiora out for the beginning of the season, he will have an opportunity to be a priority for the first time. Even after Osi returns, he will have a chance to be one of the best third ends in the league.

Fearless Prediction: @WSH (L), STL (W), @PHI (L), WSH (W), SEA (W), BUF (W), @MIA (L), @NE (L), @SF (W), PHI (W), @NO (L), GB (L), @DAL (W), WSH (W), @NYJ (W), DAL (L)

Summary: It’s a roughly unsettled team that is battling injury, depth and a tough division. However, if any team has the tools to improve and pull out an upset divisional win it’s the G-Men, but it doesn’t seem to be in the cards this year with a still unsettled offensive line and thin receiving and linebacker groups. Record: 9-7

 

PHILADELPHIA EAGLES (10-6 in 2010; Division Champs)

Offense: M. Vick-QB, D. Jackson-WR, L. McCoy-RB, J. Maclin-WR (A)

Defense: N. Asomugha-CB, T. Cole-DE, J. Babin-DE, A. Samuel-CB (B+)

 

The Good: It’s a track meet in Philly, with an offense that can score from anywhere. DeSean Jackson, Michael Vick, Jeremy Maclin and LeSean McCoy can finish a drive as soon as they touch the ball. But they had that last year. The biggest improvement in this team is that now, it’s going to be much harder to play catch up, because there are very few windows to throw the ball into. The additions of Nnamdi Asomugha and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie make avoiding Asante Samuel nowhere near as easy of a proposition, therefore letting Trent Cole and new additions Cullen Jenkins and Jason Babin go blitz crazy without worrying about any repercussions. If the Eagles get ahead by 10, it may be over.

The Bad: The offensive line could derail all hopes of a high powered offense if they don’t keep Vick on his feet and give McCoy a chance to get in the open field. Vick could be well served to take fewer hits in the open field, but he has to be able to drop back and work at least. Keeping him healthy is the key to how far this team can go, and that responsibility is being given to a group he’s already been forced to protect, a bit of odd role reversal so soon.

The additions of Rodgers-Cromartie and Asomugha gives the Eagles' blitz Secret Service-like protection to do as they please.

X-Factor-Casey Matthews: The team’s third round pick is being thrust into the middle of a subpar linebacker corps, and is inheriting a world of responsibility immediately. Since teams will be more apprehensive about going deep against their corners, the attacking over the middle and with the run will be the plan to overcome Philly. Matthews will have to rise to the occasion in a hurry to bring this unit up to speed.

Fearless Prediction: @STL (W), @ATL (L), NYG (W), SF (W), @BUF (W), @WSH (W), DAL (W), CHI (W), ARI (W), @NYG (L), NE (L), @SEA (W), @MIA (W), NYJ (W), @DAL (L), @WSH (W)

Summary: There’s a world of expectation here, and for good reason. It is a team that showed great promise a year ago, and went out and seemingly signed every available impact player on the market to finish their ascent. There will be some bumps along the way, but they will once again be the class of the East and will push deeper towards Super Sunday this year…health permitting. Record: 12-4

 

WASHINGTON REDSKINS (6-10 in 2010)

Offense: S. Moss-WR, C. Cooley-TE, T. Williams-OT (C)

Defense: D. Hall-CB, B. Orakpo-LB, L. Landry-S, L. Fletcher-LB (D+)

 

The Good: For better or worse, most of the internal drama is moved out. Mike Shanahan vs. Donovan McNabb vs. Albert Haynesworth took down this team before it took to the field quite often. Regardless of the right or wrong of the scenario, having focused team will benefit the entire prognosis for the season. The new blood of Tim Hightower, Jabar Gaffney, Donte Stallworth, Ryan Kerrigan and OJ Atogwe both addresses problem areas from a year ago and provide new hope at formerly controversial positions.

The Bad: Rotating between John Beck and Rex Grossman doesn’t inspire much hope. While the improved supporting cast (especially at running back) will help mask some of these inadequacies, in the end the QB has to bear down and win some games for their team, and Beck couldn’t win over the Dolphins less than desirable QB opening and Grossman is a thrill seeker of the worst kind. The “best” thing either of them could do is get the team in position to draft a suitable QB of the future in April.

No matter who is throwing the ball, Santana Moss will have more freedom to roam with the boost to his supporting cast at receiver.

X-Factor-OJ Atogwe: A quick signing before the lockout took place, he stands to be the most meaningful addition to the club in the end. The Skins porous pass defense (261 yards per game, 2nd worst overall) had to be addressed in multiple places, and adding the former Ram’s diverse ability to play either safety spot will provide a much needed final line of defense.

Fearless Prediction: NYG (W), ARI (W), @DAL (L), @STL (L), PHI (L), @CAR (W), @BUF (W), SF (L), @MIA (W), DAL (W), @SEA (L), NYJ (L), NE (L), @NYG (L), MIN (L), @PHI (L)

Summary: It will be another frustrating year in D.C. There will be flashes of greatness and the defense will improve this year, but in the end it all comes back to the lack of a field general to pull out the tough wins and a tough end of the schedule. There are still some major moves that need to made to pull this team up the ladder and for the first time in two years, they will not improve their on their win total. Record: 5-11

 

To see how right, wrong or in-between this all works out, and me living with it, follow me on Twitter at @CheapSeatFan and @STLSport360

As evidenced by last night’s Hall of Fame game, the NFL season is back upon us again, and with it the premier fantasy sports season coming along as well. While backups and bums take 90% of the preseason games, it’s the stars that make the game go, and here are where those stars align best for the fantasy football world.

It’s important to remember that the best player is always the greatest fantasy player. For example, here is the quarterback world, there are not a lot of people who would put Aaron Rodgers over Peyton Manning if you had one game to play, but in very few rack up the stats like Mr. Rodgers does on Sundays, with Green Bay’s wide open attack. It’s important to go with what is going to put up the best numbers, because while Peyton’s real life Colts may win nearly every week, Rodgers could do way more with an 8-8 Packers squad, because he’s throwing a lot because they are behind more often than the Colts are. It’s all about building the best balance you can for your “fantasy” team.

Rodgers better than Peyton? In the fantasy world, this is not far from the truth.

In this several part prep guide at the upcoming fantasy football season, we’ll take a look at whose the best producers over at each spot, how they did last season, whether there is room for improvement or is a decline coming up and where is the best place to look to add them at. Starting off today with football’s most essential position, but one of fantasy’s supporting spots…

Quarterback

On the actual field 9 out of 10 times, your offense will go as far as your quarterback can take them. However, in fantasy that pressure most often falls to the running back spot. Having a great quarterback is off course an asset, but a successful team can be built with an average quarterback. In most leagues, only one quarterback is in play at a time, so the need to build depth at other positions is more essential, because there are always QBs to have. However, selecting the right one at the right time can often separate an average team from a great one, much like real life, so making the patient pick is essential.

1. Drew Brees-New Orleans Saints

–          2009: 4,388 yards, 34 TD, 11 Int, 70.6% Comp

–          3 Year Average: 4,626 yards, 32 TD, 15 Int. 67.7% Comp

–          Summary: He is in a class of his own for sustained high numbers. He has a deep stable of receivers and every offensive player in New Orleans stock can make the catch. With the increased presence of the run game, it actually opens up more downfield opportunities for him. A safe pick in either the middle first to early second rounds. Trend: Steady

Brees going to look to pass, a lot, as usual. A safe non-running back to build around early.

2. Aaron Rodgers-Green Bay Packers

–          2009: 4,434 yards, 30 TD, 7 Int. 64.7% Comp

–          3 Year Average: 2,896 yards, 20 TD, 7 Int. 66.5% Comp

–          Summary: Rodgers is in only his third year as starter, but has made 4,000 plus yards a routine. Another QB with great vision and many options, he features nearly a different receiver as his prime target weekly. This makes it nearly impossible to stop him and an improved offensive line should actually make it easier on him this year. Also a threat to run as well, with 5 rushing touchdowns in ’09. A safe pick in the late first to second round. Trend: Steady

3. Peyton Manning-Indianapolis Colts

–          2009: 4,500 yards, 33 TD, 16 Int. 68.8% Comps

–          3 Year Average: 4,180 yards, 30 TD, 14 Int. 67% Comp

–          Summary: The standard of consistency in all of football, Manning is a guarantee to play 16 games, throw for 4,000 yards and 25 touchdowns. He makes essentially any receiver a threat and has two premier targets in Reggie Wayne and Dallas Clark. The safest buy for week to week steady contribution at the position. A solid round 2 pick and steal in the 3rd. Trend: Steady

4. Tom Brady-New England Patriots

–          2009: 4,398 yards, 28 TD, 13 Int. 65.7% Comp

–          3 Year Average*: 4,244 yards, 34 TD, 11 Int. 65.4% Comp (*excludes 2008 injury year)

–          Summary: Brady features perhaps the best wide receiver tandem in the NFL in Randy Moss and Wes Welker, which give him high touchdown and reception targets, respectively. While he probably won’t reach is record-breaking 2008 form, he is still a difference maker that can win some games by himself. Solid late 2nd to 3rd round pick. Trend: Steady

5. Tony Romo-Dallas Cowboys

–          2009: 4,483 yards, 26 TD, 9 Int. 63.1% Comp

–          3 Year Average: 4047 yards, 29 TD, 14 Int. 62.9% Comp

–          Summary: Coming off his best overall season, Romo has added a new option for this season in rookie Dez Bryant. This gives him another downfield threat to go with Miles Austin, which could spell potentially even more yards/touchdowns. Romo could be a dark horse for the MVP this year, even if the injured Cowboys running game is able to shoulder more of the load. Safe for the 3rd and 4th rounds, a steal from there on out. Trend: Upwards

With all of the targets he has at his disposal, Romo should look like he's at the firing range weekly.

6. Matt Schaub-Houston Texans

–          2009: 4,770 yards, 29 TD, 15 Int. 67.9% Comp

–          3 Year Average: 3,351 yards, 17 TD, 11 Int. 66.8% Comp

–          Summary: Schaub is hard to peg due to his injury history, which cannot be ignored. If he keeps his health on par this year, he’s a top flight option. While it’s hard to imagine him getting much better, he is still coupled with league’s most productive receiver in Andre Johnson, which is worth having him on your roster alone. Safe to grab from the 4th rounds on down. Trend: Steady

7. Philip Rivers-San Diego Chargers

–          2009: 4,254 Yards, 28 TD, 9 Int. 65.2% Comp

–          3 Year Average: 3,805 Yards, 27 TD, 11 Int. 63.5% Comp

–          Summary: Rivers is another consistent threat that stays around the same level yearly. He passed 4,200 yards for the first time in ’09 and could be headed past that in 2010, with the departure of LaDainian Tomilinson and emergence of Malcolm Floyd. Solid 5th round choice. Trend: Upwards

8. Brett Favre-Minnesota Vikings

–          2009: 4,202 yards, 33 TD, 7 Int. 68.4% Comp

–          3 Year Average: 3,943 yards, 27 TD, 14 Int. 66.8% Comp

–          Summary: A dangerous pickup with his non-committal to playing again. However the numbers are spectacular for any QB, let alone a 40-year-old. He’s a definite to suit up every week regardless, and he has the keys to a very dangerous Minnesota offense. The very definition of a high risk, high rewards pick. Round 6 or 7 and below is safe regardless of status. Trend: Steady (if available)

9. Eli Manning-New York Giants

–          2009: 4,021 Yards, 27 TD, 14 Int. 62.3% Comp

–          3 Year Average: 3531 yards, 23 TD, 14 Int. 59.5% Comp

–          Summary: He has spent every moment of his career in big bro’s considerable shadow, but he quietly put up his best year of career last season. With more emphasis going towards the growth of Steve Smith and Hakeem Nicks, Eli’s should continue to grow. 6th/7th round pick. Trend: Upwards

With the Giants looking to pass more than ever, the "other" Manning's value skyrockets.

10. Donovan McNabb-Washington Redskins

–          2009: 3,553 yards, 22 TD, 10 Int. 60.3% Comp

–          3 Year Average: 3,597 yards, 21 TD, 9 Int. 60.7% Comp

–          Summary: McNabb is steady, but will moving into brand new reigns this year and is always prone to a few tragically bad games, but just has many spectacular ones. It’s best to utilize him as a compliment to a team that has plenty of other weapons and he can be used to be the extra push. Rounds 9 and down for Donovan. Trend: Downwards

11. Carson Palmer-Cincinnati Bengals

–          2009: 3,094 yards, 21 TD, 13 Int. 60.5% Comp

–          3 Year Average: 2,652 yards, 16 TD, 12 Int. 61.1% Comp

–          Summary: Palmer found his health last year and operated the Bengals offense close to how he did before his series of injuries from 2007-08. With Terrell Owens joining the fold among other new features, the Cincy offense should be better again. Solid Round 8 to 10 pick. Trend: Steady

12. Joe Flacco-Baltimore Ravens

–          2009: 3,613 yards, 21 TD, 12 Int. 63.1% Comp

–          2 year Average: 3,292 yards, 17 TD, 12 Int. 61.7% Comp

–          Summary: He has improved every year, despite being in run based offense and not having receivers that could truly stretch the field. That’s a problem of the past with Anquan Boldin and Donte Stallworth coming to Baltimore. He may have the strongest arm in football, and it won’t be a rare scene to see him featuring it to his new options. He could be a real steal in the middle rounds, if you can grab him around round 9 he could be a steal. Trend: Upwards

13. Ben Roethlisberger-Pittsburgh Steelers

–          2009: 4,328 yards, 26 TD, 12 TD, 66.6% Comp

–          3 Year Average: 3,594 yards, 25 TD, 12 Int. 63.9% Comp

–          Summary: Big Ben gets this position due to his pending suspension of at least four games to start the season. His talent places him much higher, but it’s a jump to take a player whose availability isn’t immediate in the first 7 rounds. Look to him around round 8 and below, he be worth it by weeks seven to nine. Trend: Downwards.

Big Ben's suspension will keep him off the field early in the year, making his draft value very volatile.

14. Jay Cutler-Chicago Bears

–          2009: 3,666 yards, 27 TD, 26 Int. 60.8% Comp

–          3 year average: 3,896 yards, 24 TD, 19 Int. 62.1% Comp

–          Summary: Cutler’s first season in Chicago looked like a horror movie at some times, but he still managed to accumulate strong totals. However those totals came throughout a rough week to week battle in his awful transition from Denver and its thin air. If he cuts down on the interceptions he once again becomes a solid second tier pick. Since that’s far from certain, peg him around round 9 or so. Trend: Steady

15. Vince Young-Tennessee Titans

–          2009: 1,879 yards, 10 TD, 7 Int. 58.7% Comp

–          3 Year Average*: 2208 yards, 10 TD, 12 Int. 57.5% Comp (Non starter year in 2008 removed)

–          Summary: 2010 was a renaissance of a season for Young, who took over for the  Titans early in the season. He used his combination of speed and arm to have a solid comeback season. If the Titans feature Chris Johnson less, Young could benefit. Even if they keep the same game plan, his numbers will improve by having the job all season. Round 10 is safe area. Trend: Steady

Top Sleeper Options: Matt Ryan-Atlanta, Kevin Kolb-Philadelphia, Alex Smith-San Francisco, Matt Cassell-Kansas City, Matt Stafford-Detroit