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Fantasy Fix: Leader Of The Pack . . . And 19 Other QBs Worth Drafting

Anyone who reads this column knows I have been an Aaron Rodgers fan for a long time.

I predicted two years ago in the preseason that he would be that season's MVP. It didn't happen, and Rodgers even had something of a disappointing start last year before attaining post-season glory, but I think there is finally no doubt in anyone's mind who the No. 1 fantasy QB should be this year.

The decisions do get a little harder as we go down the list, and I've got a couple real gambles here that might not be for the fainthearted - and I'm not just talking about Jay Cutler.

Here are my top 20 QBs:

1) Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay: A healthier JerMichael Finley at TE could help him to his best year yet.

2) Michael Vick, Philadelphia: I have been jostling around my second-, third- and fourth-ranked QBs, and this week I'm liking Vick a bit more to come close to last year's numbers.

3) Drew Brees, New Orleans: A safe bet at No. 2 if you don't want to take a chance on Vick. Loaded with targets as usual.

4) Tom Brady, New England: Also could easily be No. 2, with OchoCinco and Housh added to his list of receivers.

5) Philip Rivers, San Diego: Potential for 4,800 passing yards and 30-plus TDs makes him seem like a bargain here.

6) Peyton Manning, Indianapolis: He gets the fantasy deck stacked against him every year, and then wows out of the gate.

7) Matt Ryan, Atlanta: Another solid QB with an increasing number of viable targets, including rookie Julio Jones.

8) Matthew Stafford, Detroit: Here's where things get a little crazy. I'm probably too big of a fan of a guy who has been often injured, but the Lions will finally pile up points this year.

9) Matt Schaub, Houston: Disappointed last year when ranked higher, but he still has the best receiver in the business in Andre Johnson.

10) Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh: Really no reason for him to be this low, except the three ahead of him have better receivers and better potential for the occasional 400-yard day.

11) Josh Freeman, Tampa: Bumping him up a spot or two, but a huge second-half last year with only one INT in the last seven weeks. He had 25 TDs and 6 INTs overall.

12) Kevin Kolb, Arizona: Has looked good in his new home so far, but he will need to hit Larry Fitzgerald early and often.


(picks No. 13 and later likely backup slots)

13) Sam Bradford, St. Louis: Some will say this is too high, and I wouldn't necessarily take him as a starter, but like Stafford, he gets a loaded offense and an order to throw frequently from a pass-happy offensive coordinator.

14) Eli Manning, NY Giants: 25 INTs and seven fumbles dulled a 4,000-yard passing performance last year.

15) Tony Romo, Dallas: Surprised? I'll admit this may be way too low, but he is coming off injury and I am tired of figuring out why he is so streaky and so bad in big games. He has to earn it this year.

16) Jay Cutler, Bears: I'm not buying into Mike Martz's optimism or a Roy Williams resurgence, but something has changed with Cutler - if only the O-line gives him a few seconds to show it.

17) Joe Flacco, Baltimore: The options start thinning here because with the exception of RB Ray Rice, he doesn't have many reliable receivers.

18) Matt Cassel, Kansas City: Not flashy, but very few INTs and he doesn't fumble.

19) Donovan McNabb, Minnesota: Not sure what to think except he and Percy Harvin occasionally will play catch to give Adrian Peterson a breather from running between end zones.

20) Mark Sanchez, NY Jets: Long way to go for him, but his receiver choices - Santonio Holmes, Plaxico Burress, Derrick Mason and Dustin Keller - intrigue.

Expert Wire
* Bleacher Report likes Sam Bradford as a sleeper, maybe even more than I do.

* ESPN puts Tom Brady as the No. 4 QB, and reminds me I left Ryan Fitzpatrick off my list. I'm fine with that.

* USA Today also likes Josh Freeman as an up-and-comer. If I don't get Rodgers, Vick, Brees, or Brady, I might seriously consider waiting a few rounds and taking Freeman.

* Yahoo! contributor Adam Sparks makes the case for Jahvid Best, RB, Detroit. No argument here.


Dan O'Shea's Fantasy Fix appears in this space every Wednesday. He welcomes your comments. You can also read his about his split sports fan personality at his Beachwood blog SwingsBothWays.

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