Commentary

Big Rotowski: Week 5 Player Rankings

Updated: October 3, 2007, 4:43 PM ET
By Christopher Harris | ESPN.com

Week 5 Quarterback Rankings
RANKNameTeamOpponent
1Tony RomoCowboys@BUF
2Tom BradyPatriotsCLE
3Peyton ManningColtsTB
4Brett FavrePackersCHI
5Jon KitnaLions@WAS
6Vince YoungTitansATL
7Eli ManningGiantsNYJ
8Jay CutlerBroncosSD
9Ben RoethlisbergerSteelersSEA
10Matt HasselbeckSeahawks@PIT
11Jason CampbellRedskinsDET
12Jeff GarciaBuccaneers@IND
13Matt SchaubTexansMIA
14Chad PenningtonJets@NYG
15Drew BreesSaintsCAR
16Joey HarringtonFalcons@TEN
17Damon HuardChiefsJAC
18Brian GrieseBears@GB
19Derek AndersonBrowns@NE
20David GarrardJaguars@KC
21Philip RiversChargers@DEN
22Gus FrerotteRamsARI
23Trent GreenDolphins@HOU
24Steve McNairRavens@SF
25David CarrPanthers@NO
26Matt LeinartCardinals@STL
27Trent EdwardsBillsDAL
28Trent Dilfer49ersBAL

(Bye Week Notables: Carson Palmer, Donovan McNabb, Daunte Culpepper, Kelly Holcomb)

Notes: Who'd have thought opposing quarterbacks would be licking their chops heading to a prime-time matchup with the Bears? That's what happens when you lose both your starting corners (and a lot of other stuff, too). Chicago actually submitted kind of a gritty performance on defense last week through three quarters (they were winning 13-3), but just ran out of gas. Favre should be solid again. … This is the first time in '07 I've had Cutler in my top 12. Bye weeks are assisting him, but so is the disappointing San Diego secondary. Not only is Quentin Jammer struggling to cover receivers, but the entire unit back there can't tackle. It's amazing how bad the Chargers' tackling has been. … Nickel corner Bryant McFadden will be out for Pittsburgh, which should encourage Seattle to spread it out. Pass protection was better for Hasselbeck in Week 4. Playing the Lions is license for a big offensive day. Campbell gets his turn Sunday. … Schaub was gutty without many weapons in Atlanta last week. Miami's defense looks just horrible, and I think it gets better for Houston's offense. … Yes, the Giants made Donovan McNabb look sick last week. But Winston Justice, Philly's not-ready-for-prime-time reserve tackle, was the problem, and the Eagles never switched things up to give him any help. The Jets won't have such issues, and Pennington will be able to take advantage of the Giants' secondary. … Yes, this officially means I'm worried about Drew Brees.

Week 5 Running Back Rankings
RANKNameTeamOpponent
1LaDainian TomlinsonChargers@DEN
2Joseph AddaiColtsTB
3Willie ParkerSteelersSEA
4Willis McGaheeRavens@SF
5Edgerrin JamesCardinals@STL
6Ronnie BrownDolphins@HOU
7Larry JohnsonChiefsJAC
8Marion Barber IIICowboys@BUF
9LenDale WhiteTitansATL
10Clinton PortisRedskinsDET
11Travis HenryBroncosSD
12Marshawn LynchBillsDAL
13Thomas JonesJets@NYG
14Reggie BushSaintsCAR
15Shaun AlexanderSeahawks@PIT
16Frank Gore49ersBAL
17DeShaun FosterPanthers@NO
18Ahman GreenTexansMIA
19Kevin JonesLions@WAS
20Laurence MaroneyPatriotsCLE
21Derrick WardGiantsNYJ
22Fred TaylorJaguars@KC
23Jamal LewisBrowns@NE
24Cedric BensonBears@GB
25Sammy MorrisPatriotsCLE
26Brian LeonardRamsARI
27Julius JonesCowboys@BUF
28Ladell BettsRedskinsDET
29Michael PittmanBuccaneers@IND
30DeAngelo WilliamsPanthers@NO
31Earnest GrahamBuccaneers@IND
32Ron DayneTexansMIA
33DeShawn WynnPackersCHI
34Maurice Jones-DrewJaguars@KC
35Warrick DunnFalcons@TEN
36Chris BrownTitansATL
37Leon WashingtonJets@NYG
38Brandon JacobsGiantsNYJ
39Aaron SteckerSaintsCAR
40Jerious NorwoodFalcons@TEN
41Selvin YoungBroncosSD
42Tatum BellLions@WAS
43Brandon JacksonPackersCHI
44Adrian Peterson.Bears@GB
45Musa SmithRavens@SF
46Kenton KeithColtsTB
47Heath EvansPatriotsCLE
48Pierre ThomasSaintsCAR
49Najeh DavenportSteelersSEA
50Samkon GadoTexansMIA

(Bye Week Notables: Brian Westbrook, Adrian Peterson [Minnesota], Chester Taylor, LaMont Jordan, Justin Fargas, Rudi Johnson, Kenny Watson)

Notes: Tomlinson looked like himself in the first half last week, carrying it 14 times for 116 yards and a 5-yard score, giving the Chargers a 16-6 halftime lead. But San Diego is officially too clever for its own good, and only gave LT the ball three times in the third quarter and three times in the fourth. But fear not, Tomlinson owners: Denver is the ninth-friendliest defense to fantasy rushers so far this season, and can't decide which of their mediocre defensive tackles to dress each week. … There's no shame in James only getting 77 yards on his 21 carries against a rough Pittsburgh rush D last week. The larger lesson continues to be: Arizona is going to run him into the ground. St. Louis is extremely soft. … Larry Johnson owners are breathing a sigh of relief. The road is still tough this week against Jacksonville, which has stood up well against the run after that opening-day disaster, but after that for LJ it goes: Cincy, Oakland, Green Bay (tougher), Denver, Oakland. … Time for LenDale White to show his stuff. The Falcons are allowing 128 yards a game on the ground, and if they've only given up one rushing TD it's because they haven't had to tackle this 260-pound goliath. … Bush hasn't shown anything yet this season, and has relapsed to the first half of '06, when he seemed to see too many things at once and tried to make a Barry Sanders move on every play. Rushing is instinct, so it won't do for Sean Payton to describe what he wants, but Bush needs to know the East-West stuff doesn't cut it. He deserves to be this high because of opportunity, but the leash is short, and Pierre Thomas is a legitimate big back. … It sounds like Ahman Green will be back, though I wouldn't forget Ron Dayne entirely. … Kevin Jones and Tatum Bell split carries (11 for Bell, 10 for Jones) against the Bears, but things are surely shifting KJ's way. Bell's first fumble of the year -- it could've been a killer last week -- won't help his cause. … You'd love Maroney, except it's hard to know if he'll play, or if he'll get anything approaching a full accompaniment of carries. … Fred Taylor gets the nod over Maurice Jones-Drew. The carries are close to split, but watch the tape and there's no question who the more decisive, sharper runner has been.

Week 5 Wide Receiver Rankings
RANKNameTeamOpponent
1Randy MossPatriotsCLE
2Steve SmithPanthers@NO
3Terrell OwensCowboys@BUF
4Plaxico BurressGiantsNYJ
5Braylon EdwardsBrowns@NE
6Roy WilliamsLions@WAS
7Reggie WayneColtsTB
8Santonio HolmesSteelersSEA
9Donald DriverPackersCHI
10Torry HoltRamsARI
11Laveranues ColesJets@NYG
12Marvin HarrisonColtsTB
13Chris ChambersDolphins@HOU
14Jerricho CotcheryJets@NYG
15Larry FitzgeraldCardinals@STL
16Joey GallowayBuccaneers@IND
17Deion BranchSeahawks@PIT
18Brandon MarshallBroncosSD
19Greg JenningsPackersCHI
20Dwayne BoweChiefsJAC
21Antwaan Randle ElRedskinsDET
22Hines WardSteelersSEA
23Anquan BoldinCardinals@STL
24Marques ColstonSaintsCAR
25Javon WalkerBroncosSD
26Lee EvansBillsDAL
27Patrick CraytonCowboys@BUF
28Shaun McDonaldLions@WAS
29Wes WelkerPatriotsCLE
30Calvin JohnsonLions@WAS
31Roddy WhiteFalcons@TEN
32Bernard BerrianBears@GB
33Derrick MasonRavens@SF
34Bobby EngramSeahawks@PIT
35Vincent JacksonChargers@DEN
36Donte' StallworthPatriotsCLE
37James JonesPackersCHI
38Brandon JonesTitansATL
39Roydell WilliamsTitansATL
40Drew BennettRamsARI
41Andre DavisTexansMIA
42Dennis NorthcuttJaguars@KC
43Lance MooreSaintsCAR
44Mark ClaytonRavens@SF
45Darrell Jackson49ersBAL
46Marty BookerDolphins@HOU
47Michael JenkinsFalcons@TEN
48Joe JureviciusBrowns@NE
49Mike FurreyLions@WAS
50Muhsin MuhammadBears@GB

(Bye Week Notables: Chad Johnson, T.J. Houshmandzadeh, Kevin Curtis, Reggie Brown, Ronald Curry, Jerry Porter)

Notes: The scary thing is, at this point, I don't see any reason Moss's ludicrous pace can't keep up. A few weeks ago, I told every radio station who'd listen the Patriots weren't the kind of team that produced 15-TD seasons from receivers, but heck, now Moss just has to get one more per game the rest of the year, and he's there. … Steve Smith's ranking is a leap of faith, huh? Listen, David Carr isn't good, but he's not as bad as he showed last week. With some prep time and some cranial adjustments, he'll be able to throw the ball downfield a little bit. Plus the Saints have allowed the fourth-most points to opposing receivers, and if Jason David gets anywhere near Smith, it's six. … I wouldn't let the New England matchup scare me off of Edwards. He's getting open against everyone, and the Pats don't have anything approaching a lockdown corner (Asante Samuel ain't it). … I've ranked Hines Ward as though he'll play, but he might be limited, so Santonio Holmes gets the most love. Big Ben targeted him nine times last week, and he scored twice. … I suspect Marvin Harrison will play, and if he does, you obviously start him, but I like Reggie Wayne more. Tampa will play zone and tackle, which means fewer deep balls Marvin's way. Slants and crosses are passes Wayne will take to the house; Harrison, not so much. … It's time to admit I was sleeping when it came to Chambers. What can you say? For all his flaws, Trent Green has been invaluable to Chambers' return. He's fifth in the NFL in targets, with 44, and tied for 11th in receiving yards. The touchdowns will come. … The Rams' defense is such a sweet matchup for a passing (and rushing) attack, but because Matt Leinart is beaten up (physically and mentally) and Anquan Boldin's hip isn't right, it's hard to project exactly who'll take advantage. I'd love to rank someone in the passing game higher, but it's hard to be sure about any of 'em. … With Santana Moss hurting, Antwaan Randle El against the Lions appears to be a great play. … I'll update Javon Walker Friday if he's practiced. I'll bet he sits again.

Week 5 Tight End Rankings
RANKNameTeamOpponent
1Antonio GatesChargers@DEN
2Jason WittenCowboys@BUF
3Dallas ClarkColtsTB
4Kellen WinslowBrowns@NE
5Benjamin WatsonPatriotsCLE
6Todd HeapRavens@SF
7Tony GonzalezChiefsJAC
8Alge CrumplerFalcons@TEN
9Jeremy ShockeyGiantsNYJ
10Chris CooleyRedskinsDET
11Heath MillerSteelersSEA
12Bo ScaifeTitansATL
13Owen DanielsTexansMIA
14Jeff KingPanthers@NO
15Donald LeePackersCHI
16Eric JohnsonSaintsCAR
17Desmond ClarkBears@GB
18Chris BakerJets@NYG
19Randy McMichaelRamsARI
20Daniel GrahamBroncosSD
21Greg OlsenBears@GB
22Alex SmithBuccaneers@IND
23Marcus PollardSeahawks@PIT
24Marcedes LewisJaguars@KC
25Bubba FranksPackersCHI
26Sean McHughLions@WAS
27David MartinDolphins@HOU
28Leonard PopeCardinals@STL

(Bye Week Notables: L.J. Smith, John Madsen, Zach Miller, Reggie Kelly, Visanthe Shiancoe)

Notes: Dallas Clark got 10 more targets last week against Denver. Expect him to get lots more work against the Tampa zone. It's worth noting that Tampa has literally given up the fewest points to fantasy tight ends so far this year, but I've a feeling Mr. Manning can change that if he so desires. It's also worth noting that Clark was essentially playing wideout part of the time while Marvin Harrison was out last week. … Keep an eye on Heap and his hamstring. Obviously I've rated him as though he'll play, but the Ravens sound worried. If he's out, Quinn Sypniewski might have some value. … Here's why you should never take Jeremy Shockey anywhere near Antonio Gates. Gates has 43 targets, while Shockey has 31. OK, Gates gets used a little more, but that's reasonable. But Gates has turned his targets into 33 catches. Shockey's got 16. Hands, anyone?

Week 5 Kicker Rankings
RANKNameTeamOpponent
1Matt StoverRavens@SF
2Jeff ReedSteelersSEA
3Nick FolkCowboys@BUF
4Stephen GostkowskiPatriotsCLE
5Adam VinatieriColtsTB
6Kris BrownTexansMIA
7Jason HansonLions@WAS
8Mason CrosbyPackersCHI
9Jason ElamBroncosSD
10Rob BironasTitansATL
11Morten AndersenFalcons@TEN
12Shaun SuishamRedskinsDET
13Josh BrownSeahawks@PIT
14Jay FeelyDolphins@HOU
15Neil RackersCardinals@STL
16Lawrence TynesGiantsNYJ
17Joe Nedney49ersBAL
18Matt BryantBuccaneers@IND
19Phil DawsonBrowns@NE
20Dave RaynerChiefsJAC
21Robbie GouldBears@GB
22John KasayPanthers@NO
23Jeff WilkinsRamsARI
24Nate KaedingChargers@DEN
25Mike NugentJets@NYG
26Olindo MareSaintsCAR
27John CarneyJaguars@KC
28Rian LindellBillsDAL

(Bye Week Notables: Shayne Graham, David Akers, Ryan Longwell, Sebastian Janikowski)

Notes: We had a Nate Kaeding sighting in San Diego last week. Normally I'd be all over his visit to the thin air at Mile High. Let's see him do it one more week. … Wilkins is an utter mess right now. He missed an important early-game field goal for the second straight week, and his confidence looks shot. You have to find another kicker. … Olindo Mare has a big, erratic leg, and has been held hostage by Drew Brees so far this season. He's another huge-potential guy you have to have serious reservations about using. … Morten Andersen: 4-for-5 last week. Man. Just own him.

Week 5 Defense Rankings
RANKNameTeamOpponent
1New EnglandPatriotsCLE
2Green BayPackersCHI
3PittsburghSteelersSEA
4TennesseeTitansATL
5ChicagoBears@GB
6BaltimoreRavens@SF
7HoustonTexansMIA
8DallasCowboys@BUF
9IndianapolisColtsTB
10San DiegoChargers@DEN
11WashingtonRedskinsDET
12SeattleSeahawks@PIT
13JacksonvilleJaguars@KC
14ArizonaCardinals@STL
15Kansas CityChiefsJAC
16Tampa BayBuccaneers@IND
17New YorkGiantsNYJ
18San Francisco49ersBAL
19DetroitLions@WAS
20CarolinaPanthers@NO
21DenverBroncosSD
22AtlantaFalcons@TEN
23New OrleansSaintsCAR
24St. LouisRamsARI
25ClevelandBrowns@NE
26New York.Jets@NYG
27MiamiDolphins@HOU
28BuffaloBillsDAL

(Bye Week Notables: Philadelphia, Minnesota, Oakland, Cincinnati)

Notes: Rodney Harrison comes back for the Patriots this week. … The Packers didn't do a ton on defense against Minny last week, but here come the turnover-prone Bears. … Tennessee has quietly been a really great story on defense. They've averaged more than 10 fantasy points a game, and this despite the fact that one of their three contests was against the high-octane Colts. The Titans have been especially stingy against the rush; they've allowed the fifth-fewest fantasy points to opposing backs, and the second-fewest rushing yards per game. Albert Albert Haynesworth is stomping his way to a fat new contract. … Washington is my big risk of the week. I don't fully trust that defense. But I see how generous the Detroit offense is every week. Even though they'll score a bunch on you, they'll allow sacks, turnovers and special teams touchdowns. In the last three weeks, opposing defenses have scored 20, 15 and 13 fantasy points against Kitna and Co.

Don't forget to tune into The Breakdown on Fridays, for more detailed thoughts on every team.

Christopher Harris is a fantasy baseball, football and racing analyst for ESPN.com. You can e-mail him here.

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