A Fantasy Football Year in Review: Part I

ORCHARD PARK NY - DECEMBER 26: Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots throws a pass against the Buffalo Bills at Ralph Wilson Stadium on December 26 2010 in Orchard Park New York. New England won 34-3. (Photo by Rick Stewart/Getty Images)

Well, 2010 is in the rear view mirror, so before it gets out of sight, let's take a look back at what happened during the season to try and gain some insight into what it might mean for the future. This is the first in a 5 part series that will examine the different positional groups of fantasy football: QBs, RBs, WRs, TEs/K/DST, and the 5th installment will be an IDP specific look. Without further delay, your 2010 fantasy football season passers await.

Now, we all play in different leagues, and different leagues have different rules (which was covered in the 101 series), so for the purposes of the following five articles I will be using CBS standard scoring (where our WCG league is hosted).

CBS standard scoring has QBs getting: 6pts per Passing TD, 1pt per 25 passing yards, 2pt per 2pt conversion, -2 per interception, -2 per fumble lost, 6pts per Rushing TD, 1 pt per 10 rushing yards. If you play ESPN, its 4pts per TD, but the rest is the same.

Some Fantasy Football 2010 predictions (CBS): Tony Romo will be a top 2 Fantasy QB. Eli Manning will pay off. Matt Ryan and Joe Flacco will finish 2010 as #1 QBs. Kevin Kolb will be better than Donovan McNabb. Chad Henne, Matthew Stafford, and Alex Smith will step up, and Jay Cutler, Eli Manning and Brett Favre will disappoint.

CBS projected QB performance for 2010 (top 10):Peyton Manning, Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers, Tony Romo, Matt Schaub, Phillip Rivers, Tom Brady, Carson Palmer, Joe Flacco, Eli Manning

Reality: Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, Peyton Manning, Michael Vick, Drew Brees, Phillip Rivers, Josh Freeman, Matt Ryan, Eli Manning, Matt Schaub

I think its worth noting that fantasy projectors take a lot of heat from fantasy players, so its worth noting that they were right about 7 of the top 10 QBs (and Palmer was #11). The only surprises here from that angle then are that Josh Freeman had such a good year, and that Michael Vick was phenomenal for the first 3/4 of the season, when he was supposed to be a backup. The Tony Romo collapse may have been the only thing predictable out of their top 10.

With that in mind, Cutler finished 16th, a solid backup, mostly due to 50+ sacks and some missed game time. He finished 41 points outside of the top 10. The fall off of Joe Flacco was a surprise, the collapse of Favre was not.

Rivers, Brees, Schaub, and Manning (both of them) all had 4000 yard seasons.

Brady, Brees, and Manning (both of them) had 30+ TDs.

Regardless of regular season success, it is important to note that Tom Brady, Drew Brees, and Peyton Manning pretty much do that every year, and Phillip Rivers is always right there with them.

If I were setting my draft board for 2011 QBs now, I would still have those 4 in the top 10, probably the top 5. If I was in a keeper league, I would start to shy away from P. Manning soon though, but he is still too good to completely pass on.

What did 2010 tell us about QBs, especially after 2009 saw 10 4000 yard passers and 2010 only had 5? Running can matter, as long as you can throw. Freeman crawled into the top 10 on over 360 rushing yards (Remember, that's 36 points, and Cutler missed the top 10 by 41). Rodgers had over 350 and 4 rushing TDs, while Vick had over 670 rushing yards and 9 scores. The top 10 QBs are mostly comprised of guys who can run some, or who regularly throw for 4000 yards or more. Those two categories equal 8 of our top 10 passers.

While this is a fantasy review article, I do want to be clear: Cutler is a 2011 top 10 QB. He had 230+ rushing yards and over 3200 passing yards, behind that line, in a new system. Anyone doubt me that he gets to the 4000 yard passing or 300 yard rushing mark in 2011? (Assuming 2011 plays, as per normal).

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Next week, we will tag the running backs, so stay tuned!

Things still to come: A Year in Review: 2010 (5 part series), Post-Draft Fantasy Update, Fantasy Football Team Reports (8 part series, by division)

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