The debate rages on about who is the best weapon in football. Is it the flashy quarterback who lofts deep touchdown passes or is it the dynamic backfield option that always seems to have the ball in his hands? For that matter, what about that receiver that always seems to be doing some type of end zone dance? In what follows we will attempt to answer the question of who is the most valuable fantasy player at each position in our weekly column dealing with the Player Rater Tool.
What is Player Rater tool you ask? It is an emotionless, statistically driven model that takes into account your leagues rules and tells you which players are performing at the highest level. For the sake of the analysis that follows, here are the "rules" that we will be using.
Four points: Touchdown passFour points: Rushing or receiving touchdownOne point: Per 25 yards passingOne point: Per 10 yards rushing or receivingThree points: Per field goalOne point: Per extra point
Drew Brees -- 338.7 points
He finished with 5,069 yards, 15 short of the league record, as he threw for twice as many scores (34) as interceptions (17).
Aaron Rodgers -- 310.2 points
Rodgers tossed the ball for 4,038 yards and 28 scores as he completed at least 20 passes in 10 of his last 12 games in a fantastic first season at the helm.
Jay Cutler -- 309.0 points
Only Brees threw more passes (635 to 616) as Cutler threw for 4,526 yards (third overall) and 25 touchdowns.
Philip Rivers -- 304.8 points
Tied Brees for the NFL lead with 34 scores while throwing six fewer interceptions (11) as he led the league with a 105.5 QB Rating.
Kurt Warner -- 303.1 points
Warner used a career-high 598 attempts for a career-best 401 completions as he tossed the rock for 4,583 yards and 30 touchdowns for the Cards.
Peyton Manning -- 274.2 points
Mind-numbingly consistent, Peyton had his 11th-straight year of at least 3,700 yards (4,002) and 26 scores (27).
Donovan McNabb -- 271.3 points
McNabb tossed a four-year high 23 scores while just missing out on his first 4,000-yard season (3,916).
Matt Cassel -- 266.7 points
Cassel started slow with seven scores in eight games but he finished on a high note with 14 scores against only four interceptions over his last eight games. Cha-ching (that's the sound of a cash register by the way).
Tony Romo -- 246.0 points
Romo tossed 26 scores against 14 interceptions, and his average of 265.2 yards per contest was the best of his young career.
David Garrard -- 244.4 points
Garrard threw for 3,620 yards but he tossed only 15 scores and 13 interceptions after a 2007 season of 15 and 3.
DeAngelo Williams -- 243.6 points
Over the past eight games of the season, Williams was unconscious averaging 124.1 yards per game while scoring 15 touchdowns.
Michael Turner -- 242.0 points
Turner led the league with 376 carries as he finished second in rushing yards (1,699) and rushing scores (17).
Adrian Peterson -- 228.5 points
AP led the league in rushing yards (1,760) and ran for at least 80 yards in 10 of his last 11 games (the only time he missed he rushed for 76 yards).
Matt Forte -- 219.5 points
The Bears rookie led the position with 63 receptions and scored 12 touchdowns overall (eight rushing, four receiving).
Thomas Jones -- 211.9 points
Jones scored 15 times (13 rush, two receiving) in '08, or just two fewer than he scored the previous three seasons combined.
Clinton Portis -- 206.5 points
Portis averaged just 68 yards a game the second half of the year, but he still recorded his fourth season of at least 1,450 yards (1,487).
Steve Slaton -- 205.9 points
What a rookie season for the West Virginia grad, who was one of only three backs to catch at least 50-passes while recording 1,000-yards on the ground (1,282).
LaDainian Tomlinson -- 201.6 points
LT saved his season by scoring five times in the final four weeks, though he still rushed for "just" 1,1110 yards, a career-low.
Maurice Jones-Drew -- 194.9 points
Drew caught 62 passes and scored 14 times despite sharing touches with Fred Taylor yet again.
Brian Westbrook -- 189.8 points
Though he scored 14 times this year, he finished with a three-year low in rushing yards (936) and a five-year low in receptions (54).
Larry Fitzgerald -- 191.1 points
Fitzgerald had 96 receptions for 1,431 yards and 12 scores, his second straight season with at least 95-1,400-10.
Andre Johnson -- 189.5 points
The NFL leader in receptions (115) and yards (1,575), Johnson had eight 100-yard outings on the season.
Calvin Johnson -- 181.0 points
He scored four times in the final four weeks and 12 times overall on his way to 1,331 yards.
Steve Smith -- 170.1 points
He finished 164 yards behind Andre Johnson for the league lead with 1,421 yards, meaning he likely would have led the league if he hadn't been suspended for two games (he averaged 101.5 per game).
Roddy White -- 166.6 points
In 13 of 16 games this season White caught at least four passes as he finished with 88 receptions and 1,382 yards (fourth in the league).
Greg Jennings -- 165.2 points
Certainly didn't miss a step with Rodgers under center as he produced the best totals of his young career (80-1,292-9).
Antonio Bryant -- 155.0 points
Bryant had the best season of his career (83-1,248-7) with career-high's in every category in his first year in Tampa.
Anquan Boldin -- 154.5 points
His totals were simply amazing (89 receptions, 1,038 yards, 11 scores) consider that he was limited to only 12 games.
Brandon Marshall -- 150.1 points
Caught two more passes (104) than in '07, but he finished with 60 fewer yards (1,265) and one fewer touchdown (six).
Terrell Owens -- 148.5 points
Had his third straight season of 1,000-yards (1,052) and double-digit scores (10), but caught only 69 passes, his lowest total in a full season since 1999.
Tony Gonzalez -- 145.8 points
Tony G. led the position in yards (1,058), receptions (96) and touchdowns (10) in a clean sweep.
Jason Witten -- 112.9 points
Despite battling injuries for most of the second half, he finished just 48 yards short of a second straight 1,000-yard effort as he hauled in 81 passes.
Dallas Clark -- 108.8 points
Clark set career bests in receptions (77) and yards (848) while he averaged 84 yards and scored three times over the final four games.
Antonio Gates -- 102.4 points
The numbers were solid (60 receptions, 704 yards, eight scores), but all three were his worst totals since his rookie season of '03.
Owen Daniels -- 94.2 points
Even with Matt Schaub spending some time on the sidelines, Daniels was still one of only five tight ends with 70 receptions (he had 70) and 800 yards (862).
Chris Cooley -- 88.9 points
He had 83 receptions and failed to catch at least four passes in only two of 16 games.
Visanthe Shiancoe -- 87.6 points
Shiancoe had four scores in 80 career games coming into the year, and with three scores in the final four weeks he finished with seven this season.
John Carlson -- 82.7 points
Quite a rookie campaign for Carlson, who was the Seahawks best receiving option on the year (55 receptions, 627 yards and five touchdowns).
Zach Miller -- 81.8 points
It's pretty amazing that he had 55 receptions for 778 yards when no other Raider had more than 29 catches (Darren McFadden) or 366 yards (Johnnie Lee Higgins).
Greg Olsen -- 77.4 points
The numbers improved in year two (54-574-5), but the presence of Desmond Clark continues to limit his upside.
Stephen Gostkowski -- 148 points
In two straight years his points have increased (103, 137 and 148), as has his field-goal percentage (76.9, 87.5 and 90.0).
David Akers -- 144 points
Akers had a career best 144 points, thanks to a career-high of 33 field goals.
John Carney -- 143 points
He made an impressive 92.1 percent of his kicks and likely would have led the league in points if he had not been benched for one game.
Matt Bryant -- 131 points
Bryant was perfect on kicks under 40 yards, going 27-for-27 as he finished with a career-high 131 points.
John Kasay -- 130 points
Kasay was money on kicks of under 50 yards as he hit 27-of-28 such kicks.
Jason Elam -- 129 points
Elam tied a career best with 10 FGs between 40-49 yards on his way to a career-high 93.5 percent conversion rate (29-for-31).
Nate Kaeding -- 127 points
Produced a four-year low with a 84.4 percent conversion rate, but he has still recorded at least 112 points in each season of his five-year career.
Mason Crosby -- 127 points
Produced very similar numbers to his rookie season (79.5% percent and 141 points) in Year 2 (79.4 percent and 127 points).
Rob Bironas -- 127 points
He limped to the finish line with just five FGs in his last four games, though he still led the league with 15 field goals between 40-49 yards.
Ryan Longwell -- 127 points
After three straight years in the 90', Longwell produced 127 points, which included an amazing 6-for-6 effort on kicks of at least 50-yards.