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Fantasy Check

Quarterbacks of the decade

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The best: Peyton Manning
The next: Brett Favre
The rest: Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Kurt Warner

While others may have had a season or two of staggering numbers, Manning produced at such a high level so often that he is without peer among the decade's fantasy quarterbacks.

Since 2000, he has averaged 4,216 yards and 31 touchdowns per season, including a then-record 49 touchdowns in 2004. During this decade, Manning once has failed to reach 4,000 yards passing and never has thrown fewer than 26 touchdowns.

Best of all, you know injuries won't sideline him for the fantasy playoffs, even if a coach's decision does.

There's a lot to be said about a player whom you know will be in your lineup each week and produce on average 264 yards and two touchdowns every start. That's what separates Manning from the rest of the fantasy quarterback field.

Because availability is one of the most important factors in rating fantasy players, Favre is second among the decade's best. Favre also has not missed a start in his career and has averaged 3,780 yards and 26 touchdowns per season since 2000.

Brady, Brees and Warner all had outstanding seasons during the 2000s, but none did so as consistently as Manning or Favre.

Take Brady's record-setting 2007, when he threw 50 touchdown passes and carried many owners to fantasy titles. The following season, Brady was lost for the season in Week 1 because of a knee injury.

Brees has been durable since a shoulder injury ended his 2003 season after 11 games. In six subsequent seasons, Brees has missed just one game while averaging 4,172 yards and 29 touchdowns.

Warner, meantime, has had a career renaissance over the past three seasons after emerging as the top fantasy quarterback to start this decade. In 2001, Warner threw for 4,830 yards and 36 touchdowns, then had a five-year lull during which he became a fantasy afterthought.

But after becoming Arizona's full-time starter in 2007, Warner again is among the elite fantasy quarterbacks.

The next decade figures to belong to the likes of Philip Rivers, Aaron Rodgers and Matt Schaub, all of whom are giving fantasy owners reason to reevaluate the top three at the position.

Regardless, Manning remains the safest pick at quarterback and perhaps in all of fantasy.

By Gene Wang  |  December 28, 2009; 2:00 PM ET  | Category:  Fantasy Football Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
Previous: A decade of fantasy excellence | Next: Running backs of the decade

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