Joe provides his positional rankings for dynasty leagues in this
multi-part series. He assesses these players according to three
categories—long term, short term, and job security. Joe will
update these rankings periodically throughout the year.
11. Philip Rivers, SD
LTV: Last season was Riversí first
as the starter in San Diego, and like a few of the other young quarterbacks
around the league, he had an impressive showing for himself. Starting
all 16 games, the third-year pro finished the season with over 3300
passing yards, 22 touchdowns, and just 9 interceptions. Thatís a
pretty good debut for a guy who faced a difficult task in making
people forget about Drew Brees. Playing with the likes of LaDainian
Tomlinson and Antonio Gates, thereís good reason to believe Rivers
can improve upon last seasons totals as he enters his second season
running the offense.
STV: Tomlinson and Gates will
continue making Riversí job a bit easier as he adjusts to being
a starting quarterback in the NFL. While he may not surpass last
seasonís totals, thereís a good possibility Rivers will at least
match his production from a year ago. If third-year wide receiver
Vincent Jackson can emerge as a consistent threat in the offense,
Rivers may be able to post some very surprising totals.
JS: Rivers is signed through the 2010 season, giving him 4 more years to establish his value as a starter before worrying about his next contract.
12. Vince Young, TEN
LTV: Young splashed onto the scene
as a rookie last year when he took over as the Titans starting quarterback
for an ineffective Kerry Collins. After a rough start in his first
few outings, Young finished the season in impressive fashion as
he led the Titans to 8 wins in their last 11 games. While the yardage
gained and touchdowns scored, thanks to Youngís impressive skills
to run with the football delighted many of his owners last season,
it is how well he performs with his arm that will ultimately decide
how high he climbs in the fantasy ranks in the years ahead.
STV: While Young strung together a nice set of games to close out the season, he still does not have any established weapons surrounding him in the offense. If Young is going to be a worthwhile fantasy starter on a weekly basis this season, itís likely his legs will play a large part in making that happen again. If he finds a target to emerge as a go-to guy for himself, he could finish with a surprising year.
JS: Young is another of the recently drafted quarterbacks just beginning his pro career in the NFL. With a contract that doesnít expire until 2011, expect him to remain the starter in Tennessee for some time.
13. Tony Romo, DAL
LTV: Romoís name is a bit of a
surprise to see show up this high on the list considering he was
little more than an afterthought going into last season. Once former
Cowboys head coach Bill Parcells made the decision to pull Drew
Bledsoe following the first half of a Monday Night Football game
against the Giants, Romo took advantage of the opportunity and earned
himself the chance to prove he is a capable starter in the NFL.
Playing on the last year of his contract, Romoís performance this
season will play a major role in his how his future pans out in
the NFL. A bad year and he may never get the chance to be a starter
STV: Romo started 10 games last
season, averaging 264 passing yards, and completing more than 65%
of his passes during those games. He also threw 16 touchdown passes
during his time as the starter. If he can duplicate that type of
production again this season, heíll be among the best fantasy QBís
available in 2007. With Terrell Owens, Terry Glenn, and Jason Witten
surrounding him in the offense, Romo should be poised for another
productive season with the Cowboys.
JS: Romoís play this year will be the primary factor in determining what type of offers he receives as a free agent if Dallas does not resign him following the season. If he plays well, itís likely Dallas will want to retain him as their starter. If he has a disappointing year, Romoís value will quickly disappear.
LTV: After a rookie campaign in
which Smith started 7 games, threw 11 interceptions, and just 1
touchdown pass, many were quick to begin labeling the 2005 number
one overall pick a bust. Last year however, Smith played some solid
football. Although he didnít accomplish anything extravagant that
would make him stand out--he left that to teammate Frank Gore-he
showed a substantive improvement. While Smith still has a long way
to go before emerging as a regular starter in fantasy leagues, last
season was a small step in the right direction. If 2006 first round
pick Vernon Davis can follow in the steps of Frank Gore, and have
a bust out second season, it could provide a big boost to Smithís
STV: Not only will Smith be relying
on tight end Vernon Davis becoming more involved in the offense
this season, but heíll also be relying on new additions Darrell
Jackson, and Ashley Lelie. Lelie was signed during the free agency
period and immediately provides Smith with a true deep threat at
the wide out position. Jackson was acquired during a draft day trade
for a fourth round pick, and could have a big impact on Smithís
production this season if he continues to produce at the level of
a number one receiver with his new team. While thereís reason to
expect some upside with Smith in 2007, there still remain enough
questions that he shouldnít be considered any better than back-up
material for the upcoming season.
JS: Smithís contract doesnít expire until 2012, so expect him to remain the 49ers starter for the foreseeable future.
15. Matt Schaub, HOU
LTV: Schaub will face a difficult challenge as he attempts to turn around the misfortunes of the Texans franchise. His ability to pick up on the schemes run by head coach Gary Kubiak will ultimately determine whether or not he sticks as the starter in Houston for a while, but it appears the job will be his for the next few seasons. The Texans traded a second round pick in this yearís draft to the Atlanta Falcons in order to acquire Schaub. They then signed the 25-year old quarterback to a 6-year deal worth $48 million dollars.
STV: Schaub may be able to produce
as a reliable fantasy backup this year, but whether he materializes
into a starter on a regular basis wonít be known for another season
or two. In Andre Johnson, he has a valuable asset to the offense,
but behind him the Texans wide receivers are questionable at best.
He could also use some more help in the backfield, because 30-year
old Ahman Green may not have enough left in the tank to turn around
the Texans rushing attack on his own.
JS: Schaub signed a six-year contract with the Texans after he was traded, but he could get cut after the third year due to a $10 million dollar option bonus he is set to receive in March of 2010. Consider Schaubís next three seasons with the Texans a chance for him to set his value around the league.
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