The 2010 NFL Preseason has begun, and opening kickoff to the regular season is less than a month away. That also means millions of observers, and even many actual players, will participate in fantasy football.
Today's NFL markets the quarterback mostly, and this is also reflected fantasy football itself. Most of the time, the quarterback accumulates his fantasy their most points through his statistical output.
Here are the five best quarterbacks for the upcoming season:
Peyton Manning, Indianapolis Colts
Not only does he have Pro Bowlers in wide receiver Reggie Wayne and tight end Dallas Clark, but he has a plethora of other weapons at his disposal. He calls his own plays with a playbook heavily slanted towards the pass.
With young receivers like Pierre Garcon, Austin Collie, Anthony Gonzalez, with versatilr running backs Joseph Addai and Don Brown, expect the ten-time Pro Bowler Manning to approach last seasons career best mark of 4,500 passing yards again.
Not only is he the most consistent regular season quarterback since 1999, many expect the Colts to give him a $100 million contract this year to ensure he retires a member of the franchise.
Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints
Not only is he the leader of the defending champions, but Brees is at the top of his game right now. The offense Sean Payton runs is perfect for him, so Brees has an explosive unit under him built on precision. They also have run the ball well just enough to maintain some unpredictability.
He led the NFL in 2009 with an astounding 70.6 completion percentage, and there is no indicator he wont come close to it again with the way the rules of the league are built today. He may not duplicate the 34 touchdown passes he has hurled in each of the last years, but no one is crazy enough to bet against him.
With wide receivers like Marques Colston, Robert Meachum, Devery Henderson, along with tight end Jeremy Shockey and running backs Pierre Thomas and Reggie Bush, Brees should not miss the recent loss of wide receiver Lance Moore to a season ending ending injury. Adrian Arrington and veteran Mark Bradley will be given every opportunity to try to fill his void because Brees is well known for his propensity to spread the ball out to all his teammates.
Tom Brady, New England Patriots
All Brady has done was defied critics ever since he was unexpectedly thrust into action during the 2001 season. What followed was legendary and well known, winning four championships, several awards and five Pro Bowl appearances.
He suffered a knee injury, during the first game of the 2008 season, thought to be so severe that many thought he would never be the same. An injury that takes usually 18 months to fully heal from, he started every game of the 2009 season anyways.
Though his numbers were just as solid as seasons past, he could be on the verge of another special season to include into his life's magical tour. His contract expires at seasons end, and some think the Patriots are waiting to see how he plays before determining the amount in an offer. Others think they might be gambling on the impending players strike at seasons end.
This is something that could be perceived as a lack of loyalty, a recurring theme of the NFL, that could backfire and have Brady in a different uniform next year. Until this situation is settled, expect Brady to show he is 100% healthy and in the running for his fifth ring. With guys like Randy Moss, Wes Welker, Torry Holt, Julian Edelman, Fed Taylor, Sam Morriss, Laurence Maroney, Kevin Faulk, and possible sleeper Brandon Tate to go to, Brady should put up huge numbers and a lot of wins this year.
Philip Rivers, San Diego Chargers
Rivers has an interesting situation in 2010. Gone is future Hall of Fame running back LaDainian Tomlinson, in is rookie Ryan Matthews. As they bring him along, expect the smallish Darren Sproles to get many of the reps, thus having the Bolts air it out often.
With an excellent receiving corp led by Pro Bowl tight end Antonio Gates, the three game suspension of Pro Bowl wide receiver Vincent Jackson shouldn't hurt too much. Malcom Floyd, Legedu Naanee, Josh Reed, Gary Banks, and possibly Buster Davis are all more than capable of picking up the slack.
Rivers is easily capable of surpassing the career best 4,254 passing yards he had last year. With the offensive line seemingly having issues, as stalwart left tackle Marcus McNeill hold out for a better contract, San Diego might have problems running the ball and may need to frequently chuck it to have any success.
Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers
Rodgers came into his own in 2009, making his first Pro Bowl, tossing for 4,434 yards with 30 touchdowns against just seven interceptions. His 1.3 interception percentage led the NFL, and his has tossed 58 scores against just 20 picks the past two years.
Besides his obvious progression, it is easily seen that the 26-year old is the leader of his team. He led Green Bay to the playoffs last year before losing to the Arizona Cardinals 51-45 in what some call the greatest playoff game of the decade.
He has an excellent receiver corps to work with, led by Pro Bowler Greg Jennings and steady veteran Donald Driver. Jordy Nelson and James Jones are two other big receivers who work well in the slot, and up and coming tight end Jermichael Finley helps Donald Lee and converted linebacker Spencer Havner give Rodgers even more options.
Though the Packers run the ball pretty well, relying mostly on Ryan Grant, they do their most damage relying on their quarterbacks brains and arm. Expect more of the same this year with a team many are picking to win their division and battle for the rights to get to the Super Bowl.