HOW FANTASTIC! by James Masse..."/>

  HOW FANTASTIC! by James Masse..."/>

The NFL’s Version of the Fantastic 4



by James Masse aka IRONMAN

Who’s Fantastic4 is the most fantastic? This is a a look at the Fantastic4 of all 32 teams, grading the QB, WR1, RB and TE of every team. The rankings are based on many variables and personal opinion. Ironman used this year for rookies mainly. This is not a power ranking. These are just ratings of a team’s top-four offensive players and has nothing to do with actual team performance.


Dallas Cowboys – A+

Tony Romo – A+

Marion Barber – A+

Terrell Owens – A+

Jason Witten – A+

No surprise here. The Dallas Cowboys have more talent than any team should be aloud to carry. I may sound like a homer, but with Brady out and Manning struggling, Romo could be the best QB in the NFL. Terrell Owens is like wine as he get better with age, he is unarguably the best receiver in the league. MBIII is a top 5 back and he’s a beast, or should I say barbarian? Grab your tissues Chiefs fans, but Jason Witten is the best “All around” TE in the NFL.

Indianapolis Colts – A+

Peyton Manning – A+

Joseph Addia – A

Reggie Wayne – A+

Dallas Clark – A+

Although Manning has looked lost for most of the new season, he is still Peyton Manning. Addia seams soft for the type of back the colts expect him to be, but he is still dominant. Reggie Wayne isn’t as flashy as some other diva receivers, but if I could have anyone who wasn’t named T.O. this would be my guy. Dallas Clark is a touchdown machine with awesome hands.

San Diego Chargers – A+

Phillip Rivers – A

Ladainian Tomlinson – A+

Chris Chambers – A-

Antonio Gates – A+

Rivers has made a name for himself in the NFL with a big arm, a big heart and a big attitude. Come on, name another QB that jaws at the division rivals sideline. L.T. could be on the downside of his great career, but the Chargers still have the best running back in the NFL. Chris Chambers is the best receiving option the chargers have had in a long time. Antonio Gates is the best pass catching TE in the NFL.


Pittsburgh Steelers – A

Ben Roethlisberger – A+

Willie Parker – A+

Santana Holmes – A-

H. Miller – B+

Big Ben is a superstar, he’s also the youngest starting QB to ever win a super bowl. Fast Willie Parker is a Cinderella story that has become a household name. Holmes has started off slow this year, but his speed and agility makes him a top 12 receiver. Heath Miller is like Frankenstein with shoulder pads on. The perfect TE for this Steelers team, blocking is his strong point, but he can catch the ball.

New Orleans Saints – A

Drew Brees – A

Reggie Bush – A

Marcus Colston – A (injured)

Jeremy Shockey – A

When Drew Brees is on the field the Saints have serious fire power. Reggie Bush was being called a bust before this season started, he’s clearly not a bust, he is a weapon. Colston was listed as a no-name TE on my fantasy roster a few years ago. Now he is one of the best 7th round picks of all time. If Shockey can “Be a Saint” in New Orleans, he adds a needed dimension to an already dangerous offense.

Philadelphia Eagles – A

Donovan McNabb – A

Brian Westbrook – A+

DeSean Jackson – A-

L.J. Smith – B

McNabb seemed to be on his way to Minnesota/Chicago in the off season. Well folks, it kills me to say this but McNabb has still got it. If L.T. retired tomorrow, Westbrook would be the best back in the NFL. D. Jackson may be a man-child with his antics and childish mistakes, but the boy has lots of talent. I always thought L.J. Smith had the tools to be a dominant TE. Although he never fully blossomed, he’s still pretty solid.

Cleveland Browns – A

Derek Anderson – B+

Jamal Lewis – B-

Braylon Edwards – A-

Kellen Winslow – A+

This years Anderson doesn’t resemble last years Anderson, but I know somewhere in there is the cannon from last year. Lewis picked up his game half way through last year, I don’t know if he will be able to do it again this year. Edwards is a top five receiver talent with butter on his hands. Winslow is as good as they get.


Green Bay Packers – A-

Aaron Rodgers – A

Ryan Grant – B+

Greg Jennings – A

D. Lee – B

Green Bay has quickly become Mr. Rodgers neighborhood and for good reason, this guy looks awesome. I‘m not fully sold on Grant yet, but you can‘t deny his end-of-the-year performance from last season. Jennings not only fired up fantasy owners with a break out season, he fired up all Packers fans. Donald Lee is a fresh talent with a bright future.

Buffalo Bills – A-

Trent Edwards – B+

Marshall Lynch – A+

Lee Evens – B+

R. Royal – B

Edwards looks like the Derek Anderson from last year, that spells good things for the Bills! I know I said that B. Westbrook was the best RB outside of L.T., but next to Frank Gore, Lynch is the next best pure runner in the league. Evens is a big play guy, but he needs to establish himself as an every down threat. Royal will be Edwards’ safety blanket all year.

Denver Broncos – A-

Jay Cutler – A

S. Young – A-

Brandon Marshall – A

T. Scheffler – B

Matt Leinart who? Vince Young who? Jay Cutler proves to be the best QB from that 06’ draft. He’s just a natural born gunslinger sort of like… yup… you guessed it… Jon Elway! Young gets it done, but anyone who runs in Denver gets it done. Marshall is just a beast with an occasional crazy haircut. Scheffler was listed as a backup coming into the season, but not anymore!

Carlonia Panthers – A-

Jake Delhomme – B+

D. Williams – B-

Steve Smith – A+

D. Rosario – B+

Delhomme looked pretty good missing his # 1 receiver, he should only look better now that Smith is back. Williams is a home run type back, but I think he will be a compliment to Stewart by the end of the month. Steve Smith has hot and cold years, but he’s still unstoppable when he’s hot. I don’t know much about Rosario, but his stats are pretty good after 2 weeks.

St. Louis Rams – A-

Marc Bulger – B

Steven Jackson – A

Tory Holt – A-

R. McMichael – B-

Bulger used to be a top tier QB, what happened? Stephen Jackson used to be a top tier RB, what happened? Holt used to be a top tier WR. He still is, he just has no help. Randy McMichael is actually pretty good.

Chiefs – A-

Tyler Thigpen – C-

Larry Johnson – B+

Dwayne Bowe – B+

Tony Gonzales – A+

Who is Thigpen? L.J. got his money and disappeared just like Shaun Alexander did. Bowe is a great young talent. Tony Gonzo is still a top TE in the NFL. I think him and T.O. take secret trips to the Fountain of youth together.


Giants – B+

Eli Manning – A

B. Jacobs – B +

Plaxico Burress – A+

Kevin Boss – C+

Eli Manning has a Super Bowl ring, but he still doesn’t play with the confidence of a champion. With that being said, he’s still pretty darn good. Jacobs scares me, he should be a fullback. Burress has proved to be one of the best WR in the league. I believe Kevin Boss will be better than a C+ before the year ends, but right now he is still pretty green.

Patriots – B+

Matt Cassel – B

Laurence Maroney – B-

Randy Moss – A+

Ben Watson – B+

Cassel impressed me last week, he wasn’t a huge factor, but he was a game manager. The patriots have enough talent to win with him at the helm. Maroney is an average back, he never really impressed me much. Moss is a match up problem for any team. Ben Watson isn’t a top tier TE, but he’s an upper tier TE

49ers – B+

J.T. O’Sullivan – C+

Frank Gore – A+

Isaac Bruce – B

Vernon Davis – B

O’Sullivan may deserve a better grade than this, but I didn’t know much about him. I had to base my grade off of this season and week one dragged him down. Like I said before, putting L.T. aside, Gore and Lynch are the best pure runners. Bruce is still a factor after all these years. I’m sorry to say this, but if Davis doesn’t bust out this year, then he’s a bust.

Vikings – B+

Gus Frerotte – C

Adrian Peterson – A+

Bernard Berrian – C+

V. Sheancoe – B

Frerotte can’t play much worse than Jackson did. A.P. is as dangerous as L.T. is. Berrian is a deep threat with no consistency. Sheancoe has a bright future at TE.

Jets – B+

Brett Favre – A

Thomas Jones – B-

J. Cotchery – A-

D. Keller – C+

It could be argued that Favre is the best QB of all time. Thomas Jones is a tad better than Julius, but that’s not saying much. Cotchery is one of the most underater Receivers in the NFL. Favre will make Keller better than he could have ever been.

Seahawks – B+

Matt Hasselbeck – A-

Julius  Jones – B-

Deion Branch – C

J. Carlson – B+

Hasselbeck may have already reached his peak, but he’s still pretty good. Julius was a let down to all Cowboys fans, soon to be for all Seahawks fans. Branch was the Super Bowl MVP, since then he has been just a name on the roster. Carlson has a good skill set.

Texans – B+

Matt Schaub – A-

Ahmad Green – C

A. Johnson – A

Owen Daniels – B

Everyone jumped off the Schaub wagon when he got hammered by the Steelers. NEWS FLASH: 90% of the Quarter Backs that play the Steelers D, Get hammered! I still think this guy has it. Green should hang up his cleats and talk about football with Tiki Barber on Sunday mornings. If Johnson can stay healthy he could be a top 3 WR, he has the talent. Daniels is a very solid TE.


Titans – B

Kerry Collins – B-

Chad Johnson – A-

J. Gage – C

Alge Crumpler – B-

Kerry Collins may not be flashy, but he is an upgrade for the Titans passing game. Chris Johnson is like a stick of dynamite, EXPLOSIVE! Gage is the best receiver on the Titans roster. Crumpler could be reborn in Tennessee, we’ll see.

Cardinals – B

Kurt Warner – B+

Edgerrin James – C+

Larry Fitzgerald – A

L. Pope – B-

Warner is like T.O. and Tony Gonzo, ageless. The Edge in on the downside of his career. Fitzgerald is one of the best receivers in football. Pope is slightly better than an average TE.

Redskins – B

Jason Campbell – C+

Clinton Portis – A

Santana Moss – B+

Chris Cooley – B+

Campbell played well last week, but his consistency is a problem. Same problem Michael Vick had, he either plays great or terrible with no happy medium. Portis may be over rated, but he is still an upper tier RB. Moss is better than he played last year. Chris Cooley seems to have lost his pro bowl form, he may find it in the coming weeks.

Bears – B

Kyle Orton – C

Matt Forte – A-

Devin Hester – C-

G. Olsen – B+

Orton is Orton. Forte has a bright future in the NFL. Hester is a great return man, but a poor #1 receiver. Greg Olsen has some serious talent.

Jaguars – B

D. Gerrard – B-

M. Jones-Drew – A

J. Porter – B-

M. Lewis – B-

Gerrard proved that he can play mistake free football. Jones-Drew is a mini-monster. If he can ever get on the field for the Jaguars, Porter is a good receiver. Lewis has the skill set to be a pretty good TE.

Raiders – B

J. Russell – C

Darren McFadden – A-

J. Walker – B-

Z. Miller – B

Russell may have a bright future in this league, but as of right now he has yet to show me anything. Same goes for McFadden, but backs have an easier transition into the NLF. Once upon a time, Walker was great. Miller is slightly above average.

Ravens – B

J. Flacco – C

W. McGahee – B+

D. Mason – B-

T. Heap – B+

Flacco could turn out to be a good QB. McGahee will never be as good as he believes he is. Mason is still playing at a high level. Heap has been underachieving for his talent.

Lions – B

J. Kitna – B

K. Smith – B-

R. Williams – A

M. Gaines – C

Kitna has a gun, but he may never have a 10 win season in his career. Smith will be a good RB. Williams is a top tier WR. I don’t know enough about Gaines, but he hasn’t done much yet.

Bangles – B

C. Palmer – B+

C. Perry – C+

T.J. Houshmandzadeh – A-

B. Utecht – B-

Palmer has had a bumpy road, but he is still very talented. Perry is a “For now” back, they will probably use a top 5 pick on RB next year. T.J. has some of the best hands in the NFL. Is Utecht good or did Peyton just make it seem that way?


Buccaneers – B-

B. Griese – C+

E. Graham – B

J. Galloway – B+

A. Smith – B-

Griese used to be solid, we will find out if he still is. Graham is a descent RB. Galloway’s age should catch up to him in the next year or two. Smith is slightly above average.

Falcons – B-

M. Ryan – C

M. Turner – A

R. White – B

B. Hartsock – C

Ryan will eventually be great, give it time. Turner has the perfect balance of speed and strength. White is the best receiver that Atlanta has had in a while. Hartsock is another unknown for most of us.

Dolphins – B-

C. Pennington – C

R. Brown – C+

T. Ginn Jr. – B

A. Fasano – B-

Pennington has an accurate arm, but that’s about it. Brown has been banged up, but he should blow up before the year ends. The Tuna will build a good team down in Miami, when he does Ginn Jr. will be that teams heart beat. Fasano will establish himself as a top tier TE, it’s just hard to do with Witten playing in front of you.

You may need more than a Fantastic4 to have a good football team, but to have a good offense a Fantastic4 is exactly what you need. Take a look at my top 10 Fantastic4’s after 2 weeks: Cowboys, Colts, Chargers, Steelers, Saints, Eagles, Browns, Packers, Bills and Broncos. Eight of them are in the top 10 for total touchdowns, 7 of 10 in Total yards, 8 of 10 in my power rankings and 7 of 10 in QB ratings. The top 10 have a total of 13 wins and 7 losses, but 4 of the losses come from inside of the top 10. That makes 17-3 inside of the top 10 Fantastic4’s. Not bad, considering one of the 3 outside losses comes from the 11th ranked Panthers, who knocked off the Chargers in week one. Had Manning not been so rusty against the Bears, and the Saints not blown a fourth quarter lead to the Redskins, we could be looking at 20 wins inside of the top 10. This is proof enough that the key to a fantastic offense is in fact, your Fantastic4.