Aaron Rodgers finished the season with 4,434 yards and 30 touchdown passes.
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Looking back on the past NFL season to evaluate what went right and what went wrong is always a valuable tool. So let's take a look at each of the positions, starting with quarterback, and check performance with expected value which in this case is measured by Average Draft Position (ADP).
Bargain - Aaron Rodgers, Matt Schaub, Brett Favre, Vince Young, Alex Smith, Chad Henne
Rodgers was usually the fifth quarterback off the board, but out-performed all of those picked in front of him. The Green Bay quarterback matched the "big guys" pass-for-pass and then won the points title by rushing for 316 yards and a league-leading five scores. He finished the season with 4,434 yards, 30 touchdown passes and just seven interceptions. His 326 points led second-place Peyton Manning by 20 points, although it should be noted that Manning didn't play much in the final two contests after clinching a bye and home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs.
Schaub was the 12th quarterback selected and a huge bargain for all those who took the chance. He finished sixth overall (league-leading 4,770 yards, 29 TD, 15 INT) despite losing his star tight end eight games into the season (Owen Daniels).
Because Favre signed so late in the preseason (August 19th), his ADP was abnormally low. Those who heard the rumors and took a chance on him were rewarded with a magnificent season (4,202 yards, 33 TD, 7 INT) and held a big advantage over those owners who spent a top-five draft choice on one of the other elite quarterbacks. Favre wins the 2009 TSN Best Bargain Award at quarterback.
The three remaining quarterbacks on the bargain list (Young, Smith, Henne) weren't likely to have been drafted at all, but had some useful weeks as a spot starter.
Fair Market Value - Peyton Manning, Drew Brees, Tony Romo, Philip Rivers, Ben Roethlisberger, Donovan McNabb, Eli Manning, Kyle Orton, Joe Flacco, Jason Campbell, Josh Freeman, Matthew Stafford, Mark Sanchez
You paid a high price for Peyton Manning, Brees, Romo and Rivers and they all delivered as expected. The remainder of the "Fair Market Value" quarterbacks were a lower cost and each had their moments. They also had a few bad moments, or in the case of McNabb missed two full games, which is why they didn't make it into the top tier.
Overpaid - Tom Brady, Matt Cassel, David Garrard, Carson Palmer, Matt Ryan, Brady Quinn, Kerry Collins, Marc Bulger, Shaun Hill, Daunte Culpepper
Despite returning to the lineup just one year after major knee surgery, fantasy owners made Brady the No.1 quarterback. Expectations that he would return to the 4,807 yard, 50 TD season of 2007 were just foolish. He certainly wasn't as sharp after missing a full year and the Patriots team wasn't as good offensively or defensively. Still finishing fourth overall wasn't horrible, just not worthy of the No.1 choice.
Ryan came off a surprising rookie campaign and then the team added one of the best tight ends in Tony Gonzalez. Expectations were high, but Ryan couldn't live up to them. Part of the reason for the drop in performance was the running game which didn't play up to its 2008 level when Michael Turner led the team with 1,699 yards and 17 scores. Injuries only allowed Turner to play 11 games.
Bust - Kurt Warner, Jay Cutler, Matt Hasselbeck, Jake Delhomme, Trent Edwards, JaMarcus Russell
Warner was expected to be a top-flight quarterback in 2009, but was done in by two things - injuries and a rare appearance in the desert - a running game. Warner threw for 800 yards less than in 2008 and four less touchdowns. His 300- yard games dropped from seven to four. Warner finished at No.13 and there is talk of retirement.
We all knew that Cutler (3,666 yards, 27 TD, 26 INT) wouldn't put up statistics like he did in Denver, but somehow he managed to still disappoint fantasy owners. Perhaps it was seven games with two interceptions-or-more. Cutler threw eight touchdowns against just one interception in the final two weeks of the season after most fantasy owners had long since dropped him from their starting lineups making his numbers look better than they actually were. He's probably praying the team tries to trade for disgruntled Broncos wide receiver Brandon Marshall.
Seattle brought in a top free-agent wide receiver in T.J. Houshmandzadeh to go along with Nate Burleson, Deion Branch and tight end John Carlson, so Hasselbeck was expected to rebound from a horrible, injury-plagued 2008. Despite playing 14 games (versus just seven in 2008), Hasselbeck didn't get the job done for fantasy owners or the 5-11 Seahawks.
Here's a question for Russell owners...how do you play 12 games and score just three fantasy points? Perhaps a change in professions is in order, I hear they have an open seat at the next Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest.
2009 Quarterback Statistics
* - Alex Smith, Chad Henne and Josh Freeman were drafted in less than 5% of all leagues.
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