Top 10 active NFL passer rating leaders

The NFL draft is over and free agency is kind of in a lull. Mini-camps and stories about letting Pacman back into the league, JaMarcus Russell being released, or what counseling Big Ben is attending just don’t help the football jones we all have. So that’s why we’re back with a few Top 10 lists to ponder. This one for the active NFL passer ratings is good because it’s a solid indicator of who you might think about drafting for your fantasy team come August or September. And hey, we’re just a few months away!

1. Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers (97.2)—Rodgers really emerged last season with 103.2 rating, especially once his line decided to keep him upright. He and the two guys immediately below him should win at least one ring in their careers solely because of their own talent.

2. Phillip Rivers, San Diego Chargers (95.8)—Rivers has topped 104 in QB rating the last two seasons. If you told me I could have one quarterback to win one game, I’m not sure this isn’t the guy I’d take. In fact, he IS the guy I’d take.

3. Tony Romo, Dallas Cowboys (95.6)—Romo cut down his interceptions drastically in 2009, but the pundits and fans in Dallas still couldn’t lay off the guy. I’m telling you, they don’t know how good they have it with Romo at QB. As a Giants fan, this is one guy I cringe when facing.

4. Peyton Manning, Indianapolis Colts (95.2)—Always solid, but Manning needed a freakish 121.1 rating in 2004 and two more seasons after that over 100 to make up for some really bad years early in his career. Still, he’s Peyton Freaking Manning.

5. Tom Brady, New England Patriots (93.3)—Speaking of freakish, Brady’s 117.2 in 2007 kicked him up a few spots here. You know, maybe this is the guy I want in a must-win game, but then again, he’s shown to be slightly damaged goods since the 2008 opener.

6. Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints (91.9)—Brees finally won that elusive ring in 2009, and he also led the NFL with a 109.6 QB rating as well as a ridiculous 70.6 completion percentage. Yeah, I’d say he earned that ring.

7. Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers (91.7)—A great quarterback that sadly has so much baggage, he has the Steelers and their fans wondering if he’s worth it. The two Super Bowl wins surely don’t hurt, but has Ben peaked?

8. Matt Schaub, Houston Texans (91.3)—Finally healthy a full season, this guy was fantasy gold in 2009. Look for his QB rating number to continue climbing—well, assuming he still has Andre Johnson to throw to.

9. Chad Pennington, Miami Dolphins (90.1)—He hasn’t quite matched his 104.2 mark in 2002, but Pennington was always an underrated QB. And kind of still is. I mean, this guy is still a backup? I can think of at least three teams he’d be starting for.

10. Carson Palmer, Cincinnati Bengals (87.9)—He hasn’t reached 90 in QB rating since 2006, but it’s not often you hear anyone say a bad thing about Mr. Palmer.

Notable omissions: Not on this list are Donovan McNabb, Brett Favre, Eli Manning and Matt Hasselbeck. Okay, really, just the first two are surprising, but then again, maybe not so surprising.

Source: Pro Football Reference

Follow the Scores Report editors on Twitter @clevelandteams and @bullzeyedotcom.

Fantasy Fallout, Week 3: Jets @ Chargers

Jets 29 @ Chargers 48
LT2 was *supposed* to split touches with Darren Sproles, but when the lights were on, Tomlinson got 29 touches to Sproles’ seven. LT2 gained 87 total yards and scored twice…Sproles looked good gaining 77 yards on his seven touches…Phillip Rivers looked great once again, throwing for 250 yards, a TD and a pick. He’s really starting to look like an every week fantasy starter…Rivers spread the ball around to Vincent Jacskson (3-74), Craig Davis (3-43), Chris Chambers (1-27-1) and Antonio Gates (2-25-1). None of those guys had an outstanding game, which is what happens when the QB spreads it around…Brett Favre finished with good fantasy numbers (271 yards, 3 TD, 2 INT), but is still having regular miscommunication with his receivers. Still, Jerricho Cotchery (10-76), Laveranues Coles (6-75-1), Chansi Stuckey (6-42-1) and Dustin Keller (4-41-1) all had solid games. One thing’s for sure with Favre – if his team is behind early, he’s probably going to finish with a lot of yards and a few TD (along with a few picks)…Since the Jets trailed the entire game, Thomas Jones (12 touches, 54 yards) never really got it going.

For QBs, it’s boom or bust in the middle rounds

Take a look at this list of fantasy QBs, in order of Average Draft Position. The ADP is from Antsports’ 12-team league drafts from 8/1-9/1, and the last number on each line is the player’s average points per game in Antsports’ High Performance scoring system.

QB7 (5.09) Derek Anderson, 9.5
QB8 (5.11) Donovan McNabb, 30.4*
QB9 (7.04) Jay Cutler, 28.5
QB10 (7.05) Matt Hasselbeck, 10.6
QB11 (8.04) Brett Favre, 15.3
QB12 (8.07) Marc Bulger, 10.3
QB13 (8.08) Eli Manning, 20.4
QB14 (8.09) David Garrard, 11.7
QB15 (9.04) Matt Schaub, 18.5*
QB16 (9.07) Phillip Rivers, 26.4
QB17 (9.11) Jake Delhomme, 13.0
QB18 (10.04) Jon Kitna 19.8
QB19 (10.05) Aaron Rodgers, 26.7
QB20 (10.12) Vince Young, 7.9*

* only one game of data is included

Save for Favre, Delhomme and maybe Schaub, each of these quarterbacks is either greatly outperforming or severely underperforming in relation to their preseason expectations. I see two distinct groups: Boom and Bust.

Boom: McNabb, Cutler, E. Manning, Rivers, Kitna and Rodgers

Bust: Anderson, Hasselbeck, Bulger, Garrard and Young

Sure, it’s early, but think about it this way – if you had a QB in the Bust group, is there any possible trade for a player in the Boom group (i.e. Anderson-McNabb, Hasselbeck-Cutler, etc.) where you wouldn’t pull the trigger? I was high on Garrard before the season, but after two weeks of watching the Jaguars disappointing pass offense in action, I’d be more than willing to make a Garrard-for-Kitna swap if the opportunity presented itself (although Kitna is a little dicey because his job isn’t that secure). Likewise, if you have a Boom player, would you trade him for any of the players in the Bust group? I wouldn’t.

Chances are that a few quarterbacks in each group will return to the mean. Some in the Boom group will cool off while some in the Bust group will heat up. But right now, there is a big disparity within this group of quarterbacks.

Start ‘Em & Sit ‘Em: Week 2

Every week, I highlight a few players to start and a few players to sit at each position. I’m a firm believer in starting your studs, so I won’t tell you about how Drew Brees or LaDainian Tomlinson has a tough matchup – just go ahead and start them. I’ll focus on the borderline guys – players you’ll only start under the right circumstances. It’s important to note that depending on your roster and situation, you may not be able to follow these recommendations. For example, if I suggest you bench a solid starter like Ben Roethlisberger, only do so if you have a clearly better option on your bench.


QB: Eli Manning (@ STL) has an excellent matchup with a Rams defense that allowed Donovan McNabb to throw for 361 yards and three TD last week. Also, Manning played better away from home last year, so the table is set for a very nice day…Phillip Rivers (@ DEN) has an interesting matchup against the Broncos, who looked great last week, but struggled against the pass last season. Rivers had a nice game in Week 1 against the Panthers, and he’ll probably have to throw the ball a lot to keep up with a dynamic Denver offense…Kurt Warner (vs. MIA) has a great matchup against a historically bad Dolphin defense that allowed 194 passing yards and two TD to Brett Favre and the Jets last week. Warner should be in for a nice day…Aaron Rodgers (@ DET) looked great on Monday night and faces a suspect Lions defense…For the desperate, Kerry Collins (@ CIN) has a great matchup with a Bengals secondary that has struggled to stop the pass over the last several years…For the super-desperate Joe Flacco (@ HOU) has a nice matchup as well.

RB: If Willis McGahee is out, Ray Rice (@ HOU) has a good matchup with a Texans defense that allowed a ton of yards to Willie Parker last week. If McGahee plays, we’re probably looking a split, which will hurt the value of both players…If Ryan Grant (@ DET) ends up playing, make sure he’s in your lineup (unless you have a far better option). The Lions gave up 220 rushing yards to Michael Turner and the Packers should find success in the ground game as well…Brandon Jacobs (@ STL) should find lots of running room against a bad Rams defense…Frank Gore (@ SEA), Willie Parker (@ CLE) and Marshawn Lynch (@ JAX) should have nice games as well.

WR: Jerricho Cotchery and Laveranues Coles (vs. NE) are good starts against a Pats defense that is struggling at CB…Santonio Holmes and Hines Ward (@ CLE) should be in your lineup since they face the Browns, who have been bad against he pass for the last few seasons…Make room in your lineup for Joey Galloway (vs. ATL) who has a good matchup with a suspect Falcons pass defense…Santana Moss (vs. NO) has a nice matchup with a Saints defense that gave up some points to a conservative Bucs offense last week.


QB: David Garrard (vs. BUF) struggled last week and a hot Bills defense (that shut down Matt Hasselbeck and the Seattle offense) is coming to town…In the same game, Trent Edwards (@ JAX) doesn’t have a good matchup against a solid Jacskonville defense…Baltimore did a great job shutting down the Bengals’ high-octane passing game, and that doesn’t bode well for Matt Schaub (vs. BAL) and the rest of the Texans. I’d bench Schaub only if I had a solid option to go with.

RB: Jamal Lewis (vs. PIT) may find the running room is tough to find when he faces a good Steelers defense. He’s startable, but I’m not optimistic about his chances…Steve Slaton (vs. BAL) looks like he will get the start, but he faces a very tough Ravens defense. Bench him unless you are desperate…Neither DeAngelo Williams nor Jonathan Stewart are particularly good starts against a Chicago defense that is normally very stout against he run.

WR: Lee Evans (@ JAX) is startable, but I’m not optimistic about his chances against a good Jacksonville defense stinging from a loss against the Titans last week…Bernard Berrian and Sydney Rice (vs. IND) should probably be benched against a feisty Colts team that lost in Week 1. Adrian Peterson figures to have the most success against Indy.


Looking for a good defense to plug into your lineup this week? Welcome to the world of Defensive Team By Waiver Wire (DTBWW). Here are my picks for this week. (All teams are available in at least 40% of ESPN fantasy leagues.)

ARI (vs. MIA), KC (vs. OAK), HOU (vs. BAL) and OAK (@ KC)

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