Ultimate Fantasy Football Strategy – Top 10 QBs Based on Historical Trends

Predicting the Top 10 Quarterbacks Based on Historical Trends

Year after year there are surprises and disappointments in the NFL even though before the season starts many seem convinced that they can predict the top five or ten players at each position. We decided to look at past seasons to try and predict which players will finish in the top ten and where the top ten in pre-season rankings will end up at the end of season. This is more of a fun article that will likely make us look foolish at the end of the season and we do not recommend drafting based on this but it offers a different perspective and hopefully will make everyone understand that there are no sure things in the NFL. In the first article of this series of three we will look at the quarterback position.

Where does the pre-season top 10 end up?

Pre-season ranking (ADP) End of season ranking
1 to 5 6 to 10 11 to 15 16 to 20 21 to 30 31 and up
1 to 5 2.4 0.6 0.8 0 0.8 0.4
6 to 10 1 1.4 1.2 0.2 0.2 1

2008 top 5 pre-season quarterbacks:
Tom Brady
Peyton Manning
Tony Romo
Drew Brees
Carson Palmer

Will remain in the top 5:
Our Prediction: Tom Brady and Peyton Manning
Tom Brady was very dominating and to drop out of the top five he would need his statistics to drop by about 35%. It is possible since Manning’s dropped by 30% after his dominating 2004 season but it is unlikely. Peyton Manning has been a top five quarterback for eight consecutive seasons so there is no reason to believe that he would not be in it next year. It is also very hard to go against Manning and Brady since neither has missed a game in six years.

Will finish in the 6 to 10 range:
Our Prediction: Drew Brees and Tony Romo
Brees has been a top ten quarterback for four consecutive seasons. Last season three of the top five remained in the top five but that has only happened once in the past three seasons. If that happens again Brees could remain in the top five but the loss of Faine could affect him more than people think and he could drop in the six to ten range. Last season was the only time in the last five years that four of the top five quarterbacks remained in the top ten and we think it will happen again but if it does not, Romo would be the most likely to drop. The main reasons that Romo could drop are that he does not have a deep receiver group, Owens is 35 years old and his offensive line is also getting up there in age.

Will finish outside the top 20:
Our Prediction: Carson Palmer
Every year there is a top five quarterback that disappoints, last year it was Bulger and this year we think it will be Carson Palmer. It is very hard to go against any of the other four and there are so many question marks in Cincinnati with Levi Jones and Chad Johnson that everything could collapse and Palmer may not be amongst the top 20 quarterbacks.

2008 pre-season 6 to 10 quarterbacks:
Derek Anderson
Ben Roethlisberger
Matt Hasselbeck
Donovan McNabb
Eli Manning

Will move into the top 5:
Our Prediction: Donovan McNabb
In each of the last four seasons a quarterback in the pre-season six to ten range has moved up into the top five. As you may have seen in our rankings, we highly doubt that Roethlisberger and Hasselbeck will match last season’s statistics because they relied heavily on touchdowns and the Giants offense is too balanced to produce a top five quarterback. This leaves Derek Anderson and Donovan McNabb and although Anderson was in the top five at the end of season, we feel McNabb has the best chance of finishing there this year. No, we would not draft McNabb ahead of Anderson mainly because McNabb has not played all 16 games in a season since 2003 but he is the one with the most upside in this group.

Will remain in the 6 to 10 range:
Our Prediction: Derek Anderson
Based on statistics one or two of these guys will remain in the six to ten group but the last time that seven top ten quarterbacks remained in the top ten was in 2004 so we had to choose only one. The decision comes down to Ben Roethlisberger or Derek Anderson and either could be a good choice. Since our choice for the 11 to 15 range is already made and it is neither of these two, the one of these two that does not finish in the top ten could drop a lot. The one most likely to drop is the one who lost his best offensive lineman and who has struggled with injuries his entire career which means that Derek Anderson is more likely to remain in this six to ten group.

Will finish in the 11 to 15 range:
Our Prediction: Eli Manning
We are not sure why Eli Manning is being drafted in the top ten since he’s finished eleventh and fourteenth in the past two seasons. He has been consistent, he is durable, has the same offensive line as last year and a very similar group of wide receivers so should remain in that 11 to 15 group.

Will finish outside the top 15:
Our Prediction: Matt Hasselbeck and Ben Roethlisberger
Matt Hasselbeck and Ben Roethlisberger are the most likely out of this group to finish outside the top 15. Both are good quarterbacks but Hasselbeck has a pretty bad supporting cast this season and last season was a bit of a fluke while Roethlisberger has struggled with injuries and will not be able to match last season’s 33 passing touchdowns.

 

Where was the top 10 drafted?

End of season ranking Pre-season ranking (ADP)
1 to 5 6 to 10 11 to 15 16 to 20 21 to 30 31 and up
1 to 5 2.4 1 1 0.2 0.2 0.2
6 to 10 0.6 1.4 1 0.8 1 0.2

Will finish in the top 5:
Three of them as we mentioned previously should come from the pre-season top ten in Manning, Brady and McNabb which leaves one from the 11 to 15 range and one from outside the top 15. The choices in the 11 to 15 range are Bulger, Rivers, Cutler, Garrard and Rodgers, the last three being quarterbacks that we have ranked higher than most sites. Jay Cutler is our favorite of the three; he is entering his third NFL season with his improved line and we feel could very well finish amongst the top five quarterbacks. Although we feel stronger about Garrard and Rodgers moving into the top five, one quarterback outside of the top 15 has moved up in the top five in each of the last three seasons. Our two best guesses would be Matt Leinart or Alex Smith. Last season the Cardinals were fifth in passing yards and fourth in passing touchdowns so if Leinart wins the starting job (which he should), he definitely has the supporting cast to be a sleeper at quarterback. Alex Smith on the other hand will be running Mike Martz’s complicated offense which did wonders in Detroit for Jon Kitna but his supporting cast is not very good so Leinart would be our first choice.
Our Prediction: T. Brady, P. Manning, D.McNabb, J. Cutler, M. Leinart

Will finish in the 6 to 10 range:
Three of them as we mentioned previously should come from the pre-season top ten in Brees, Romo and Anderson which leaves one from the 11 to 15 range and one from outside the top 20. In each of the last two seasons only one quarterback from the top ten finished in the six to ten range but we feel those three are pretty safe picks. Amongst our favorite sleepers at quarterback are David Garrard and Aaron Rodgers, both of whom we feel very strongly about and we think both could move up into this group. If we had to choose only one though it would be David Garrard since he showed last year that he had the talent to be a top ten quarterback but he missed time because of injuries. As mentioned earlier, Alex Smith could be a top ten candidate and even though his group of wide receivers is still pretty weak, it is better than last year and so is his offensive line. On a side note, Matt Schaub showed last year that he has the talent to be a solid quarterback in this league and could also be a potential top ten if he stays healthy.
Our Prediction: D. Brees, T. Romo, D. Anderson, D. Garrard, A. Smith