2009 NFC QB Notes heading into Training Camp
NFL Fantasy Football Analyst Russ Bliss

Be sure to register for our free fantasy football software for the entire NFL fantasy season.

Well its that time of year and Russ has his view of some interesting NFC Quarterback situations that will be well worth watching this upcoming 2009 NFL Season. When NFC Training camps open up next weekend, tons of NFL fans will flock to see early sightings of their favorite teams. Here's a look at some NFC Quarterback Training camp insight from Russ's perspecitve:

Dallas Cowboys: Tony Romo is an enigma heading into 2009. He’s been a top fantasy QB the past 2 seasons but will be without Terrell Owens for the first time. The Cowboys also have stated they want to run more. Romo’s stats could be less than what many have come to expect, but he’s still a good starting fantasy QB. Jon Kitna was brought in to be the backup and because he has shown the ability to still be effective, he would be a highly sought after fantasy football free agent pickup if Romo suffered an injury.

New York Giants: Eli Manning is the starter and while he usually starts off hot the first half of a season, he traditional cools off the second half. Manning is a steady backup fantasy QB who will have a couple of big games and a bunch of mediocre ones. David Carr is the backup and would be an emergency free agent pickup only. Rookie Rhett Bomar will battle Andre Woodson for the #3 spot and neither looks like a good bet if injuries pressed the winner into service.

Philadelphia Eagles: The Eagles always pass a lot more than they run and that means Donovan McNabb again places highly in our fantasy football rankings in 2009. In 2008 McNabb had his best season since 2004 and also stayed healthy for a full 16 games. Injuries have always been a concern with McNabb. It’s expected that with additional weapons in Philadelphia, McNabb will improve on the only 23 TD’s he threw for in 2008. His backup is Kevin Kolb. This will be Kolb’s 3rd NFL season and while he was drafted to be McNabb’s heir apparent, he has yet to get much playing time and how he would fare if thrust into a starting role is unknown. But at least we know the Eagles would still throw a lot.

Washington Redskins: Jason Campbell is still the starter and 2009 will be the first time he is in the same offensive system for consecutive years since he came to the NFL. It’s hoped that stability will finally allow Campbell to blossom into a solid NFL QB and thusly be a prime fantasy football sleeper in 2009. Doesn’t hurt it’s a contract year for Campbell. 2nd year QB Colt Brennan will battle 14 year vet Todd Collins for the backup spot and if Brennan wins, expect Collins to be released. Brennan is intriguing, but is a huge unknown for how he’d handle being a starter if called upon to do so.

Chicago Bears: The acquisition of Jay Cutler has fans hoping the Bears will finally turn into a strong passing team, and they should be right. Cutler is an emerging NFL and fantasy football star and only the lack of top weapons at WR prevent him from being ranked higher on 2009 fantasy football cheat sheets. Caleb Hanie is the backup with Brett Basanez as the 3rd QB. The team is high on Hanie’s potential, but he is only in his 2nd season and never got on the field in 2008.

Detroit: Daunte Culpepper will battle first round pick Matt Stafford for the starting job. It is believed Culpepper will open the season as the starter, but unless he has an epiphany, it’s only a matter of losses before Stafford will take over. Culpepper knows new offensive coordinator’s Scott Linehan’s offense, but whether he can still execute it to satisfaction is in doubt. If I were forced to choose, I’d say take a chance on Stafford as a 3rd fantasy QB over Culpepper for 2009. But banking on either one for more than a suspect backup is not prudent. At least whoever is throwing the ball gets Calvin Johnson to toss it to.

Green Bay Packers: Aaron Rodgers outperformed all expectations in 2008 and he is being heralded as a top 7 fantasy QB in most 2009 fantasy football rankings. He exhibited better arm strength than expected and was very accurate. The Packers say they want to run the ball more in 2009, but unless their defense makes great strides, Rodgers will still be slinging it deep into games. Matt Flynn has the lead over Brian Brohm for the top backup spot, but that will play itself out in preseason.

Minnesota Vikings: At the time of this writing, Brett Favre still hadn’t signed a contract, but if you’ve read my fantasy football blog, you know I expect he will. It’s very optimistic to think Favre will be any better than a quality fantasy backup if he signs, and that's about the same that could be said for Safe Rosenfels or Tarvaris Jackson. If Favre signs, he will be handed the starting job and Rosenfels would likely be the backup (and not a bad handcuff to Favre). If Favre doesn’t sign, the team would hold an open competition between Rosenfels and Jackson, but the smart money would be on Rosenfels. And he would be a decent fantasy backup with upside.

Atlanta Falcons: Matt Ryan played well beyond his years as a rookie in 2008. But while he led the Falcons to the playoffs, he only threw for 16 TD’s. That number would need to increase by almost 50% for him to be a good starter and I don’t see that type of jump in his 2009 fantasy football projections. Ryan makes a high upside fantasy backup, but is too often being thought of as a solid starter in fantasy football drafts. I may be missing the boat on Ryan as reports say he has had a great off-season, but I’m cautious of a potential sophomore slump. Chris Redman and D.J. Shockley will battle for the top backup spot. Neither has much chance to be more than mediocre though if called upon.

Carolina Panthers: Jake Delhomme is firmly entrenched as the starter and signed a 5 year contract extension back in April. Delhomme’s best fantasy years are behind him, but he can still deliver the occasional big game. He’s a safe choice for a fantasy backup. His backups are Josh McCown and Matt Moore and neither have big time upside, but both could equally be stable as mediocre fantasy backups if Delhomme were to suffer an injury.

New Orleans Saints: with 13,910 passing yards and 88 TD passes the last 3 seasons in New Orleans, Drew Brees has emerged as the #1 QB on most 2009 fantasy football rankings. Some are taking Tom Brady as the first QB in fantasy football drafts, but I’d easily make Brees the first QB off the board. He’s an elite fantasy stud, period. Handcuffing Brees to one of his backups is hard to recommend though as neither Joe Harrington nor Mark Brunell inspire confidence as they battle for the backup spot.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: There will be a 3 way battle for the starting job in Tampa this season and I wouldn’t be surprised if all 3 of the candidates start a few games for the Bucs. Byron Leftwich was brought in from the Steelers to compete with veteran Luke McCown and it’s not out of the realm of possibility that if neither impresses (and so far both have had mixed reviews during the OTA’s) it could rookie Josh Freeman who wins the job outright. But the Bucs would really prefer to not start Freeman right away and that’s why it’s likely we will see all 3 QB’s start games in 2009. This uncertainty, coupled with the Bucs stating they want to be a power running team in 2009 means this situation should be avoided during fantasy drafts.

Arizona Cardinals: Kurt Warner stayed healthy for a full 16 games and was one of the top fantasy QB’s in 2008. He was rewarded with a 2 year contract and his fantasy football projections have him among the elite. His injury risk is high though and therefore handcuffing backup Matt Leinart to him is a smart move. Leinart hasn’t developed as hoped, but he has shown flashes of capability and with the weapons the Cards have, it’s hard to imagine he wouldn’t be a great late round pick as insurance for Warner. There have been rumors that 3rd string QB Brian St. Pierre will be allowed to compete with Leinart for the backup spot, but it’s considered highly unlikely he would really pass up Leinart.

St. Louis Rams: 2009 is probably Marc Bulger’s last chance to hold onto the starting job. Once on the cusp of being a top QB in fantasy football rankings after a solid 2006 season, Bulger’s production has gone way down the last 2 seasons. A crumbling offensive line has hurt, but Bulger’s problems appear to be deeper than just a poor line as he has thrown more interceptions than touchdowns each of the last 2 seasons. With a suspect WR corps and a new offensive philosophy featuring the running game more, Bulger is a high risk/medium reward backup fantasy QB in 2009. If he were to get injured or benched, Kyle Boller is the backup. Boller has cannon for an arm, but accuracy hasn’t been one of his strong suits. Uninspiring Brock Berlin and rookie Keith Null will battle it out for the 3rd string job.

San Francisco 49ers: While it is expected Shaun Hill will be the starter, former first round pick Alex Smith has impressed in OTA’s and appears to have closed the gap. The current word is that no starter will be named until preseason, but it is still likely Hill’s job to lose. Hill has been competent as a starter and has some deep fantasy football sleeper potential providing he is named the starter. Smith will need to prove that the proverbial light bulb has come on for him after struggling to make plays when he was the starter previously. If Hill does win the job, and it may not be until late in the preseason until we know for sure, he makes a decent fantasy backup. But will this be a situation where a poor week or two means a messy situation? It could be. Veteran Damon Huard is entrenched as the 3rd QB and his job is more likely to be a veteran sounding board for Hill and Smith. Rookie Nate Davis is likely headed to the practice squad in 2009.

Seattle Seahawks: A back injury suffered before the 2008 preseason began ruined Matt Hasselbeck’s season last year. Between the bulging disc and a knee injury, Hasselbeck only managed to start 7 games and clearly wasn’t the QB he had been in 2007. Word is that Hasselbeck is completely recovered and should be back to form in 2009, but there is concern about whether he’ll return to producing starting caliber fantasy stats. Age, the uncertainty about how his back will hold up once he starts taking hits, and a new offensive system that is supposed to feature a more balanced attack than the pass happy system previous coach Mike Holmgren preferred all point to Hasselbeck being more in line as a top fantasy backup rather than a guy you feel confident starting every week. Seneca Wallace is the backup and while he has shown some flashes of ability, he hasn’t been as consistent or showed the progress you would hope in a guy entering his 5th NFL season. Rookie Mike Teel will be the 3rd string QB and while he has some promise for the future, if he were pressed into action you would have to be desperate to acquire him for your fantasy football roster.