While we are on the subject, the projection software can be programmed to allow any fantasy scoring format, and all formats can be saved so the rankings can easily be re-calculated using different scoring formats, for those of us that are in 6 different leagues with 6 different scoring rules.
Anyway, here are the QB's:
A year ago, no one would have predicted Vick (2010 rank: #1) to be at the top of this list. We are projecting him for 400 attempts. He's never had more than 388 in his career, so maybe 400 is a bit high. We are also projecting 8.0 yards per attempt. His last 3 year's TPV (click the link to the right to find out what True Player Value, or "TPV" means) yards per attempt have been 6.3 (2006), 6.6 (2009), and 8.1 (2010). So it looks like we are putting a lot of weight on his 2010 numbers. He didn't have many attempts in 2009 (13), so it makes sense that that wouldn't drag his numbers down much, but it appears that 2006 is not getting any weight in the equation. Maybe the software doesn't realize that 2007 and 2008 were lost seasons. Maybe this is the right thing to do since this is the "new" Michael Vick that appears to be a much more accomplished passer. There's not much precedent for this one, but we should think on this some more...
Aaron Rodgers' (2010 rank: #2) TPV yards per attempt rose from 7.7 to 8.5 from 2009 to 2010, and we are projecting it to come down to 7.9 next year. Still good enough to be the #2 fantasy QB in the league.
Drew Brees' (2010 rank: #6) TPV yards per attempt of 6.9 last year tied for his worst number in his last 7 seasons. The last time (2007), he bounced back for a TPV YPA of 8.2 in 2008. We are projecting a bounce back to only 7.6 this year, but with all the passes he throws, he is our #3 QB.
Phillip Rivers (2010 rank: #5) has been durable throughout his career and incredible consistent over the past three years. We are projecting a slight spike in TD passes (from 30 to 34), and for him to keep up his consistency in yards-per-attempt.
Tom Brady (2010 rank: #3) didn't see his production fall off with Randy Moss, as his TPV YPA actually rose from 8.2 to 8.4. We project him throwing at a 8.3 yards per attempt clip next year, but with a less attempts (480) than in his heyday. Still good enough for the #5 QB.
I often think of Matt Ryan (2010 rank: #9) as being the next great QB, but his TPV YPA has actually fallen each year he has played (7.9 in 2008, 6.9 in 2009, 6.5 in 2010). Still, we are expecting the trend to reverse in a minor way next year, and Ryan to make #6 on our list with 7.2 yards per attempt.
Matt Schaub (2010 rank: #10) has finally shaken the injury-prone label and started all 16 games the last two years. We don't expect this trend to continue, so we have projected him to throw "only" 514 passes next year. We do expect a slight bounce back in YPA (from 7.6 to 8.0) and TD percentage (from 4.0 to 4.5), making Schaub #7 in our rankings.
Ben Roethlisberger (2010 rank: #18) missed 4 games due to suspension in 2010, but don't expect the same next year. He has had a career bump in TPV YPA the last two years (8.4 and 8.5 compared to a career average of 8.1) but we are projecting him to slip back down to his career norm.
What?! Payton Manning (2010 rank: #4) nowhere near the top of this list?! Whats going on here??? Well, we have a rule in our projection algorithm that once a player is on the downside of his career arch, never project him to have a better year on a per-attempt basis the next year. And Manning, entering his 14th season, is definitely on the downside of his career. Manning's overall numbers last year were helped by the total amount of passes that he throw and a relatively easy schedule in terms of pass defenses faced, but his TPV yards per attempt of 6.6 was a full yard below his average over the last seven seasons. Maybe getting Dallas Clark for an extra 10 games next year will help, but we don't think too much (Jacob Tamme put up very similar numbers to Clark's).
Finally, we round out the top 10 with the other, lesser, Manning brother, Eli (2010 rank: #8). With the emergence of Hakeem Nicks and the surprisingly solid play of Mario Manningham, how its hard to believe that Eli did much worse in 2010 than he did in 2009. But he did. His TPV YPA fell from 8.2 to 7.2, and his TPV TD % fell from 5.8 to 5.4. All while his interception percentage skyrocketed from 2.8 to 4.6. No way the Giants let him throw this much next season. Still, we project 500 attempts, 7.6 yards per attempt, and a 5.3% TD percentage for the Manning that is not quite yet on the downside of his career.
Falling out of the top 10 is last year's #7 QB, Josh Freeman. He had a pretty high spike in TPV TD% last year, from 3.1 to 5.8 percent. We are projecting a fall back to 3.2 percent (which frankly does seem a bit low...) and Freeman to fall to #12 overall (behind Joe Flacco).