Scouting the Quarterbacks

1. Tom Brady - Patriots (AP Photo/Brian Blanco)
1. Tom Brady - Patriots (AP Photo/Brian Blanco) (AP)
Posted: August 25, 2011

SCOUTING REPORT

Sam Bradford, St. Louis: Can't consider him a fantasy starter until the Rams upgrade his wide receivers. Mike Sims-Walker and Danny Amendola aren't exactly Isaac Bruce and Torry Holt.

Tom Brady, New England: Seeing whether Brady can develop chemistry with eccentric wide receiver Chad Ochocinco will be among the most fun things to watch this season.

Drew Brees, New Orleans: If rookie running back Mark Ingram can help stabilize the running game, Brees will be even more dangerous. The only time in Brees' tenure the Saints had a 1,000-yard rusher was in 2006 (Deuce McAllister). Brees had only 11 interceptions that year. He had 22 last season.

Matt Cassel, Kansas City: Will have Jim Zorn as his position coach this year. Zorn was in an unwinnable job as the Redskins' head coach, but has been successful as an assistant. Adding Steve Breaston as a secondary receiver will help, too.

Jay Cutler, Chicago: The Bears have serious questions along the offensive line and your fellow owners will have similar questions about you if you draft Cutler as a starter.

Joe Flacco, Baltimore: The front office gave him wide receiver Lee Evans to help stretch the field and running back Ricky Williams to smoke whatever grass is left in between.

Josh Freeman, Tampa Bay: Ended the season with 15 touchdowns and one pick over his last eight games, including a five-TD game against Seattle. Entering his third season and is on the verge of taking the next step into the Matt Ryan/Tony Romo realm.

Kevin Kolb, Arizona: The Cardinals are dreaming of Matt Schaub-like production for Kolb. Schaub, too, was a backup to Michael Vick before blossoming for another team. It would help if another receiver emerged opposite Larry Fitzgerald.

Eli Manning, N.Y. Giants: His career-high 31 TDs last year were tempered by his career-worst 25 picks. Will be breaking in a new security blanket now that Steve Smith is wearing midnight green.

Peyton Manning, Indianapolis: Wednesday's signing of Kerry Collins casts even more doubt on Manning's availability for Week 1. We have Manning (neck surgery in May) listed as the fifth overall QB, but that's very tentative. If you have guts, draft him. If you're scared, get a dog.

Philip Rivers, San Diego: The Chargers run game is a bit in flux, which means Rivers will be depended on even more.

Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay: Love his grittiness, but wouldn't mind seeing him run the ball less frequently. The four rushing TDs last season were nice, but his missing most of Weeks 14 and 15 because of a concussion killed a lot of fantasy teams.

Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh: Talked offensive coordinator (and former Temple coach) Bruce Arians out of retiring after the Super Bowl loss. Big Ben owes him a big season.

Tony Romo, Dallas: Fort Worth Star-Telegram beat writer Gil LeBreton pointed out that there's been a comforting lack of wide receiver drama in the Cowboys camp this year, which is just what Romo needs coming off a broken collarbone that ended his 2010 season in Week 7.

Matt Ryan, Atlanta: Will have a serious downfield threat if rookie Julio Jones plays as well in the regular season as he has in August.

Matt Schaub, Houston: Was one of three quarterbacks with a league-best seven 300-yard games last season. Peyton Manning and Drew Brees were the others. Four of Schaub's came in the final five games of the season.

Matthew Stafford, Detroit: He's got the weapons, but can he stay off the injury report? If he can, he'll fetch quality value as a second-tier quarterback.

Michael Vick, Eagles: A number of outlets have him as the No. 1 overall quarterback. That midseason slump and the uncertainty of Jeremy Maclin and Steve Smith make that feel a little ambitious.

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QUICK HITTERS

On the way up: Josh Freeman, Tampa Bay

On the way down: Eli Manning, N.Y. Giants

Riskiest pick: Kevin Kolb, Arizona

Sleeper: Donovan McNabb, Minnesota

Late-round look: Colt McCoy, Cleveland

Please avoid: Alex Smith, San Francisco

Top rookie: Cam Newton, Carolina

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THE TOP 30 (With Bye Week)

1. Tom Brady, New England, 7

2. Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay, 8

3. Philip Rivers, San Diego, 6

4. Drew Brees, New Orleans, 11

5. Peyton Manning, Indianapolis, 11

6. Tony Romo, Dallas, 5

7. Michael Vick, Eagles, 7

8. Matt Ryan, Atlanta, 8

9. Matt Schaub, Houston, 11

10. Joe Flacco, Baltimore, 5

11. Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh, 11

12. Josh Freeman, Tampa Bay, 8

13. Kevin Kolb, Arizona, 6

14. Matt Cassel, Kansas City, 6

15. Eli Manning, N.Y. Giants, 7

16. Matthew Stafford, Detroit, 9

17. Mark Sanchez, N.Y. Jets, 8

18. Donovan McNabb, Minnesota, 9

19. Sam Bradford, St. Louis, 5

20. Tim Tebow, Denver, 6

21. Jay Cutler, Chicago, 8

22. Jason Campbell, Oakland, 8

23. Kyle Orton, Denver, 6

24. Colt McCoy, Cleveland, 5

25. Matt Hasselbeck, Tennessee, 6

26. Rex Grossman, Washington, 5

27. Alex Smith, San Francisco, 7

28. Chad Henne, Miami, 5

29. Cam Newton, Carolina, 9

30. Ryan Fitzpatrick, Buffalo, 7

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