2009 Fantasy Football Draft Tips: Quarterbacks
AFC Team by Team Training Camp QB Notes
By NFL Fantasy Football analyst- Russ Bliss

As you begin to prepare for your 2009 fantasy football draft be sure to take a look at Russ's early season training camp notes around each AFC teams quarterback situation. This insight prior to training camp will give you a good starting point to be in the know this season. Be sure to check out why you want to be a member of fantasy football starters.

Buffalo Bills: Trent Edwards is the unquestioned starter but he has had problems staying healthy. But with a new weapon in Terrell Owens, Edwards is getting a lot of interest as a quality fantasy backup. Ryan Fitzpatrick was signed from Cincinnati and would be nothing more than serviceable if pressed into action.

Miami Dolphins: Chad Pennington is the starter but could face some competition from Chad Henne. Henne will be the top backup and while a lot of hype will be made about rookie Pat White, don’t expect White to do anything more than run a handful of plays each game from the trendy “Wildcat” formation. If Pennington got injured, it would be Henne who would start.

New England Patriots: Tom Brady returns from a serious knee injury and while he is expected to be just fine, you have to be just a little concerned. Matt Cassel is gone so the backup to Brady is going to be decided in training camp. 3rd year QB Matt Gutierrez is the favorite, but second year QB Kevin O’Connell could pass him up. Given the weapons on the Patriots, whoever wins this battle is definitely worth handcuffing to Brady.

New York Jets: Mark Sanchez is likely to start right away, but Kellen Clemens could surprise. Sanchez is a rookie short on starting experience and there’s a chance that even if Sanchez does start week 1, if he struggles, Clemens could get a shot. The Jets aren’t particularly strong at WR so it’s unlikely either QB would make more than a mediocre backup for fantasy purposes.

Baltimore Ravens: Joe Flacco enters 2009 with a firm grip on the starting job. Troy Smith, whom many expected would have started in 2008 if not for a string of injuries before the season ever began, is the backup. Smith will have some competition with former Dolphin John Beck, but unless offensive coordinator Cam Cameron (who drafted Beck when he was in Miami) has a hidden agenda, it should be Smith as the backup. Flacco is a mediocre fantasy QB so his backup shouldn’t be counted on to be anything more than a desperation free agent pickup if injuries decimate your team.

Cincinnati Bengals: Carson Palmer avoided having surgery on the elbow injury that allowed him to only play in 4 games in 2008 and word is that Palmer is expected to be just fine. Call me cautious though. Last year’s backup Ryan Fitzpatrick has moved onto to Buffalo leaving the backup battle to be between former 49ers starter J.T. O’Sullivan and Carson’s younger brother, Jordan Palmer. O’Sullivan has some starting experience but outside of a Mike Martz offense, he has played poorly. Jordan Palmer has no starting experience in the NFL and probably wouldn’t be worthy of picking up either if Carson’s elbow doesn’t hold up.

Cleveland Browns: Nothing is set yet in the battle to be the starter between Brady Quinn and Derek Anderson. Quinn is considered the favorite, but he only made it thru 3 games last year before falling to injury. If you draft one of them, you should seriously consider drafting the other as insurance. 3rd QB Brett Ratliff was acquired during the NFL draft from the Jets and has some favor with new Browns (and former Jets) Head Coach Eric Mangini, but unless Anderson or Quinn is traded (which would be a surprise now) Ratliff will be 3rd on the depth chart.

Pittsburgh Steelers: Ben Roethlisberger managed to start all 16 games last year but had a problem finishing a handful of them because of various injuries. Byron Leftwich was the backup in 2008 but has since moved on leaving Charlie Batch to battle last year’s 5th round pick Dennis Dixon for the top backup spot. Batch missed all of 2008 because of injury but has proven capable of handling the offense prior to last season. But Dixon is being talked up as being a legitimate contender for the job and could win it. Houston

Texans: Matt Schaub has a firm grasp on the starting job and if he can stay healthy he is primed to be a top 10 fantasy QB in 2009. That’s why he was included my 2009 fantasy football sleeper Quarterbacks list. Gone is backup sage Rosenfels, and now it is former Lion Dan Orlovsky. Orlovsky will get some battle from former Bear Rex Grossman, but I expect Orlovsky will win this battle. Considering Schaub’s injury history, Orlovsky will garner attention from Schaub owners at the first sign of any injury trouble. Indianapolis

Colts: Peyton Manning has never missed a game in his career and finishes every season as a top 5 fantasy QB (usually top 3). In case you were wondering, Jim Sorgi is the backup with 2009 6th round draft pick Curtis Painter likely headed to the practice squad since the Colts only keep 2 QB’s on their active roster.

Jacksonville Jaguars: David Garrard has no competition for the starting job in 2009 as the team appears to be willing to give him a pass for a poor 2008 after the offensive line was decimated by injuries right before the season began. Garrard is another prime fantasy football sleeper for this season, but his WR corps needs to prove itself. Todd Boumann is the 37 year old backup and the Jags would be in trouble if they needed to call on him.

Tennessee Titans: Kerry Collins got paid and he is the starter. While Vince Young still has his supporters, and would likely get first crack if Collins got injured, Patrick Ramsey has played in the Titans offensive system before and will push Young for the backup job. Regardless, unless the WR’s make unexpected giant strides, neither Young nor Ramsey would have much value. Heck, Collins doesn’t have much value even as a backup for fantasy purposes and he is the starter!

Denver Broncos: The Kyle Orton era begins! Okay, not so much fanfare there, but Orton is another potential sleeper as new coach Josh McDaniels runs an open passing attack. We’ll see if Orton can surprise us and become a good fantasy starter. He’s a quality fantasy backup though and has a lot of upside. Chris Simms is the backup and it doesn’t say much that the “open competition” between the two came to a decisive end during June OTA’s. Rookie Tom Brandstater could surprise in dynasty leagues in 2010 if Orton fails to impress this season.

Kansas City Chiefs: Right or wrong, the Chiefs brought in Matt Cassel to be their starter. Cassel has a lot to prove before he makes a believer out of me though. He’s a high risk/high reward fantasy player who should be drafted as a fantasy backup with boom or bust potential. Last year’s fantasy surprise, Tyler Thigpen is the backup and after gaining a lot of experience last season could surprise if called upon because of injury or Cassel struggling.

Oakland Raiders: The Raiders will give JaMarcus Russell every opportunity to succeed before pulling the plug on him in favor of backup Jeff Garcia. Russell has little upside for fantasy even if he plays well enough to stay the starter. Garcia is an odd fit for the Raiders as he isn’t the big time downfield passer they usually prefer. But he brings vocal leadership and that may be what this team needs to wake up offensively. To be blunt, I’d rather have Kerry Collins as my backup fantasy QB than either Russell or Garcia.

San Diego: Seems like years ago I was writing in my fantasy football blog about how the Chargers were making the right move by turning to the future and going with Rivers. In fact, it was a couple of years ago, and Rivers has responded by turning into a quality NFL and fantasy football QB. Rivers is currently enjoying an average draft position of around 65th in 12 team leagues (early 6th round) and that’s low considering he threw for over 4,000 yards and 34 TD’s in 2008. As the Chargers transition from a run first to a more wide open offense, Rivers is a quality top 7 QB on 2009 fantasy football rankings and makes it easier to pass on taking a QB the first four rounds. His backup is Billy Volek and he has an impressive resume, although he isn’t nearly as good as Rivers and he could be pushed by 4th year veteran Charlie Whitehurst for the backup spot.