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Fantasy Fodder: Picking your passer and more

Four quarterbacks -- Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers, Peyton Manning and Tom Brady -- are routinely flying off the board in the first two rounds of fantasy drafts. If you aren't lucky enough to land one or, if you're like me, and you prefer to load up on running backs and wide receivers early and look for a quarterback in the middle rounds, picking your passer will be tricky.

You can make arguments for a few other guys being top-five fantasy quarterbacks: Matt Schaub, Tony Romo, Philip Rivers, Brett Favre. In my original rankings, I had Romo and Rivers in my top five, with Brady ranked sixth.

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But preseason performances have shook up my rankings a bit, and they can help you sort out the quarterback mess, too, if you're in a league that has yet to hold its draft. Let's see whose stock has risen, and whose has declined during exhibition action.

Matt Schaub: No change. He's still healthy. That's all that matters with Schaub.

Tony Romo: Stock down. The Cowboys have struggled, as has Romo. He has a 56.5 completion percentage in the preseason and has thrown more interceptions (2) than touchdowns (1).

Philip Rivers: Stock up. Rivers hasn't missed a beat during Vincent Jackson's holdout, good news for the Chargers and for owners of Rivers.

Brett Favre: Stock down. Favre has thrown two interceptions in limited work, but his whining about his ankle is what scares me here. I can't help but wonder if Favre will finally hit the wall in 2010.

Joe Flacco: Stock up. I expect the Flacco we saw against the Giants to show up more often than the one we saw against the Redskins.

Jay Cutler: Stock down. Cutler has completed just 51.4 percent of his passes in the preseason, which has given me doubts about him having a monster bounce-back season under Mike Martz.

Kevin Kolb: Stock down. He looked sharp in the Eagles' first preseason game. Not so much in their last two outings. I expect an up-and-down season from Kolb.

Matt Ryan: No change. Ryan hasn't been bad, but he hasn't been good either. If I had to choose between Ryan and Flacco right now, I think I'd go against my original rankings and take Flacco.

Another dork draft recap:

I'm coming down the home stretch with my dork drafts (a term dubbed by my girlfriend, who doesn't appreciate my obsession with managing fake football teams). I got myself into a jam in my next-to-last draft Sunday night.

It's a 12-team keeper league, and I hung onto running backs Jonathan Stewart and Shonn Greene. I had the ninth pick and grabbed DeAngelo Williams, the best back on the board and a logical pick considering I own Stewart. When the draft wrapped back around, none of my top five wideouts were left (I just missed out on Brandon Marshall) so I took Ryan Grant, who was somehow still out there despite it more or less being the fourth round.

Sure, I was drafting like it was 1999 and that wasn't my game plan going in, but there's nothing wrong with taking the best player on the board like Ozzie Newsome and looking to make midseason trades to burn off the roster depth.

Here's the rest of the team: WR Hakeem Nicks, WR Vincent Jackson (I was desperate for an impact wideout in Round 6), WR Jeremy Maclin, QB Jay Cutler (reluctantly), RB Willis McGahee, TE Chris Cooley, WR Devin Aromashodu, Philly D/ST, WR Darrius Heyward-Bey, WR Austin Collie, RB Toby Gerhart, K Nate Kaeding.

Five final draft trends:

1. People are drafting Sam Bradford after a strong showing against the Patriots. (His average draft position is up +30.4 according to ESPN's live draft results.) Haven't we learned by now to stay away from rookie quarterbacks, especially when they're starting for atrocious teams?

2. Redskins running back Clinton Portis has been the 34th back of the board, on average, in ESPN drafts. I think Portis is a sleeper at this point, though I got myself in trouble for putting my faith in him last season. Sure, Portis is part of a backfield committee, but I like Chris Cooley's fantasy take on his teammate.

3. Bernard Berrian is a sleeper no more. With Sidney Rice likely out for half the season and Percy Harvin battling migraines, Berrian's ADP has gone up 31.2 spots over the past week. I'm on board. Get him while he's hot, but not before the sixth round.

4. Ditto for Arian Foster, whose ADP has climbed 24.8 spots to 57.4 (fifth or sixth round). I was able to grab the Texans back in the later rounds two weeks ago. I tried to wait and do that again in a couple of recent drafts, but no dice. If you do take Foster, consider drafting Steve Slaton in the bottom third of the draft just in case Foster doesn't pan out.

5. I'm not sure why, but Texans tight end Owen Daniels is being selected two or three rounds later than he was a week ago. Sure, he hasn't played in the preseason, but that was a likely scenario from the start. I'll gladly take this guy as my tight end in the 10th round and find someone to hold down his spot in the starting lineup until Daniels is ready to go.

My weekly Fantasy Fodder column will run in some fashion on the Virtual Vensanity blog every Wednesday. E-mail your fantasy questions to matt@btheite.com, Tweet them to twitter.com/mattvensel or leave them in the comments section below. Carrier pigeons are also acceptable. 

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