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News-Herald Assistant Sports Editor Kevin Kleps doesn’t just write headlines and stories. He also checks on his fantasy sports teams. A lot. See if the moves and news from the world of sports affect your fantasy teams.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Fantasy football: Top keepers for 2011, QBs

Eagles quarterback Michael Vick will present one of the most unique draft-day dilemmas in 2011.

If you select the best athlete at his position, are you getting the player who threw for 3,018 yards and 21 touchdowns in only 12 games in 2010? Or are you getting the player who runs so often he is an injury waiting to happen? Both?

Even more of a dilemma: If you own Vick in a keeper league.

Where does he fit after the best season in his career, a campaign in which two of the 12 games he played consisted of a seven-attempt effort before getting hurt (Week 4) and a second-half mop-up in place of an injured Kevin Kolb (Week 1)?

I would place him in the top eight, ahead of Ben Roethlisberger, but that's as much of a risk as I would be willing to take on Vick, who might have a difficult time avoiding injuries because of his entertaining (reckless?) style.

That brings us to our top 10 fantasy keepers at quarterback. You might be surprised by No. 1, but only if you're expecting the list to go in order of the biggest names in the business.

1. Aaron Rodgers, Packers (age 27): In his last three seasons, he's averaged 4,131 yards, 29 touchdown passes and four rushing TDs. He also ran for 356 yards in 2010 -- and you might recall that he's had a pretty decent postseason.

2. Philip Rivers, Chargers (29): He threw for a career-high 4,710 yards and had 30 TD tosses in 2010. Rivers has averaged 31 TD passes the last three seasons, a span in which he's throw for more than 4,000 yards each year.

3. Peyton Manning, Colts (34): He will be 35 on March 24, but even in a "down" year in which many of his weapons were injured, Manning threw for 4,700 yards and 33 scores. In the last five years, he's averaged 4,328 yards passing and 31 TDs.

4. Drew Brees, Saints (32): Since 2008, he's thrown for at least 4,388 yards and 33 touchdowns each year, though he was intercepted a career-high 22 times in 2010.

5. Tom Brady, Patriots (33): He threw for 3,900 yards and 36 TDs, with only four picks, in 2010, and Gisele's husband has averaged 4,149 yards and 32 TDs the last two seasons.

6. Matt Ryan, Falcons (25): Ryan was very productive in Year 3 (3,705 yards and 28 TDs), and his touchdowns have increased by six each season (from 16 as a rookie to 22 in 2009 to ... you get the idea).

7. Josh Freeman, Buccaneers (23):
What a second season. Freeman threw for 3,451 yards and 25 TDs, with a 95.6 rating and 364 yards rushing.

8. Michael Vick, Eagles (30): In his first extensive action since 2006, he posted career highs in TD passes (21), passing yards (3,018), rushing TDs (9) and passer rating (100.2).

9. Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers (28): He threw for 3,200 yards and 17 TDs, with two rushing scores, in 12 games. He's a winner, but in fantasy, he's only had two big seasons -- 2007 (34 total TDs) and 2009 (4,328 yards passing, 28 total TDs).

10. Eli Manning, QB, Giants (30): He's averaged 4,012 yards and 29 TDs the last two seasons, but he threw a career-worst 25 interceptions in 2010.

Honorable mention

11. Matt Schaub, Texans (29): He's averaged 4,570 yards and 27 TDs since 2009.

12. Joe Flacco, Ravens (26): He threw for 3,622 yards, only 9 better than the year before, but his TD passes increased from 21 in 2009 to 25 in 2010.

13. Tony Romo, Cowboys (30): An injury ended his season after six games, but don't forget his 2007-09 production (91 total TDs).

NEXT: Running backs

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