Commentary

The Big Rotowski: Week 6 Player Rankings

Updated: October 10, 2007, 3:52 PM ET
By Christopher Harris | ESPN.com

Week 6 Quarterback Rankings
RANK Name Team Opponent
1 Tom Brady Patriots @DAL
2 Tony Romo Cowboys NE
3 Carson Palmer Bengals @KC
4 Brett Favre Packers WAS
5 Matt Hasselbeck Seahawks NO
6 Kurt Warner Cardinals CAR
7 Derek Anderson Browns MIA
8 Donovan McNabb Eagles @NYJ
9 Eli Manning Giants @ATL
10 Vince Young Titans @TB
11 Matt Schaub Texans @JAC
12 David Garrard Jaguars HOU
13 Brian Griese Bears MIN
14 Philip Rivers Chargers OAK
15 Jason Campbell Redskins @GB
16 Chad Pennington Jets @PHI
17 Joey Harrington Falcons NYG
18 Daunte Culpepper Raiders @SD
19 Damon Huard Chiefs CIN
20 Gus Frerotte Rams @BAL
21 Jeff Garcia Buccaneers TEN
22 Steve McNair Ravens STL
23 Drew Brees Saints @SEA
24 Cleo Lemon Dolphins @CLE
25 David Carr Panthers @ARI
26 Tarvaris Jackson Vikings @CHI

(Bye-Week Notables: Peyton Manning, Jon Kitna, Ben Roethlisberger, Jay Cutler, Trent Edwards, Trent Dilfer)

Notes: Don't be scared off by Romo's five picks in Buffalo. Sure, he let the night get away from him, and sometimes that'll happen with his playing style. But I'm not blown away by New England's secondary. It'll be tested. ... I have Palmer third, but I don't feel good about it.

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There just aren't a ton of other options. The Chiefs have allowed the fewest fantasy points in the league to quarterbacks so far. ... Hasselbeck is missing his top receiver and has a struggling offensive line in front of him. But what's that on the horizon? Is that the Saints? Ah, disaster averted. ... Warner has played surprisingly well. What took him out of starting gigs in years past was holding onto the ball too long, and accuracy problems when he finally did throw. This season, he's gone downfield (8.4 yards per attempt), but still has a 62 percent completion rate. It remains to be seen if he can be this effective when teams prepare specifically for him. Carolina has struggled against the pass this year, though. ... Derek Anderson is high here, but it's deserved. He, too, is going downfield to beat the band, and he's been quite effective against defenses that can't muster a pass rush. Miami can't. ... I'm wary of having McNabb even this high. His O-line is still a mess, though the Eagles have had a couple weeks to sort things out. What makes McNabb a fantasy starter are the many bye-laden quarterbacks ahead of him, and the Jets' lack of a pass rush (they have just three sacks). ... Harrington will start again for Atlanta, while Byron Leftwich waits. The Falcons are a far better team at home. ... Right now it sounds as though Herm Edwards will give Huard a chance to prove he's healthy enough to play. The Bengals, obviously, can be had via the air.

Week 6 Running Back Rankings
RANK Name Team Opponent
1 LaDainian Tomlinson Chargers OAK
2 Ronnie Brown Dolphins @CLE
3 Brian Westbrook Eagles @NYJ
4 Willis McGahee Ravens STL
5 Larry Johnson Chiefs CIN
6 Edgerrin James Cardinals CAR
7 Brandon Jacobs Giants @ATL
8 Adrian Peterson Vikings @CHI
9 Shaun Alexander Seahawks NO
10 Clinton Portis Redskins @GB
11 Reggie Bush Saints @SEA
12 Marion Barber III Cowboys NE
13 Sammy Morris Patriots @DAL
14 LenDale White Titans @TB
15 DeShaun Foster Panthers @ARI
16 Maurice Jones-Drew Jaguars HOU
17 Warrick Dunn Falcons NYG
18 DeShawn Wynn Packers WAS
19 Fred Taylor Jaguars HOU
20 Jamal Lewis Browns MIA
21 Derrick Ward Giants @ATL
22 Ahman Green Texans @JAC
23 Earnest Graham Buccaneers TEN
24 Rudi Johnson Bengals @KC
25 Thomas Jones Jets @PHI
26 Laurence Maroney Patriots @DAL
27 Julius Jones Cowboys NE
28 Justin Fargas Raiders @SD
29 Brian Leonard Rams @BAL
30 Kenny Watson Bengals @KC
31 Chris Brown Titans @TB
32 Leon Washington Jets @PHI
33 Dominic Rhodes Raiders @SD
34 Chester Taylor Vikings @CHI
35 Cedric Benson Bears MIN
36 Ron Dayne Texans @JAC
37 Ladell Betts Redskins @GB
38 Correll Buckhalter Eagles @NYJ
39 Vernand Morency Packers WAS
40 Musa Smith Ravens STL
41 DeAngelo Williams Panthers @ARI
42 Jerious Norwood Falcons NYG
43 Brandon Jackson Packers WAS
44 Aaron Stecker Saints @SEA
45 Reuben Droughns Giants @ATL
46 Mike Karney Saints @SEA
47 Greg Jones Jaguars HOU
48 LaMont Jordan Raiders @SD
49 Adrian Peterson Bears MIN
50 Mike Sellers Redskins @GB

(Bye-Week Notables: Joseph Addai, Willie Parker, Marshawn Lynch, Frank Gore, Travis Henry, Kevin Jones, Selvin Young, Kenton Keith, Najeh Davenport)

Notes: Lost in Ronnie Brown's terrific start is how well Miami's offensive line has played. Vernon Carey looks like a different guy on the blind side, and L.J. Shelton has been a bear. Given Trent Green's absence, Cleveland will focus on stopping the run, but I still like Brown a lot. ... Westbrook owners have to keep checking the news. So far, so good, as he practiced Monday. At this point, it may just be a matter of pain management, but the Jets are the second-most generous defense to fantasy rushers. ... Larry Johnson's Last Stand, Part One: Cincinnati allows 21.7 fantasy points per game to opposing rushers, so this is the defense LJ owners have been waiting for. If Johnson does nothing this week, then I'll start to worry. ... With six teams on bye, it gets ugly pretty quickly at this position. I don't particularly love Alexander at No. 9, particularly because of how little push the offensive line has gotten. But again, the Saints are a tempting opponent for Alexander to get right. ... I relented, swapping Jones-Drew and Fred Taylor back to their original order. Not so, Sammy Morris and Laurence Maroney. I'll believe Maroney is healthy when I see it. ... I've ranked Jamal Lewis and Ahman Green as though they'll play. But is anyone surprised they're both battling injuries? I wrote all summer that this is what you should've expected. ... Rudi Johnson didn't practice again Monday because of his bad hamstring, which isn't a good sign. Still, we'll know more if he sits Thursday and/or Friday. ... I'm assuming LaMont Jordan isn't playing, though he hasn't been ruled out. Dominic Rhodes comes back from his suspension this week and deserves a pickup in most leagues, but Justin Fargas was quite good against Miami two weeks ago. Still, the Chargers are very good against the run, so there's little reason to expect either guy to break out. Plus there's the fact that Rhodes sort of stinks. ... My patience has run out with Thomas Jones at just about the same time as the Jets' patience. Leon Washington got nine carries to Jones' 13 last week, and while Washington didn't do anything with those touches, he had an awesome return for a touchdown. Neither guy should be a starter, unless it's as a flex. ... I know Brian Leonard has the size and one-cut ability to be a No. 2 fantasy running back, but not against Baltimore.

Week 6 Wide Receiver Rankings
RANK Name Team Opponent
1 Randy Moss Patriots @DAL
2 Plaxico Burress Giants @ATL
3 Terrell Owens Cowboys NE
4 Steve Smith Panthers @ARI
5 Braylon Edwards Browns MIA
6 Donald Driver Packers WAS
7 Chad Johnson Bengals @KC
8 T.J. Houshmandzadeh Bengals @KC
9 Larry Fitzgerald Cardinals CAR
10 Torry Holt Rams @BAL
11 Laveranues Coles Jets @PHI
12 Greg Jennings Packers WAS
13 Joey Galloway Buccaneers TEN
14 Dwayne Bowe Chiefs CIN
15 Ronald Curry Raiders @SD
16 Vincent Jackson Chargers OAK
17 Chris Chambers Dolphins @CLE
18 Bobby Engram Seahawks NO
19 Kevin Curtis Eagles @NYJ
20 Jerricho Cotchery Jets @PHI
21 Patrick Crayton Cowboys NE
22 Anquan Boldin Cardinals CAR
23 Derrick Mason Ravens STL
24 Antwaan Randle El Redskins @GB
25 Roddy White Falcons NYG
26 Marques Colston Saints @SEA
27 Reggie Brown Eagles @NYJ
28 Donte' Stallworth Patriots @DAL
29 Wes Welker Patriots @DAL
30 Jerry Porter Raiders @SD
31 Bernard Berrian Bears MIN
32 Muhsin Muhammad Bears MIN
33 Dennis Northcutt Jaguars HOU
34 Nate Burleson Seahawks NO
35 James Jones Packers WAS
36 Brandon Jones Titans @TB
37 Drew Bennett Rams @BAL
38 Andre Davis Texans @JAC
39 Roydell Williams Titans @TB
40 Reggie Williams Jaguars HOU
41 Isaac Bruce Rams @BAL
42 Mark Clayton Ravens STL
43 Michael Jenkins Falcons NYG
44 Joe Jurevicius Browns MIA
45 Bryant Johnson Cardinals CAR
46 Sidney Rice Vikings @CHI
47 Lance Moore Saints @SEA
48 Marty Booker Dolphins @CLE
49 Devery Henderson Saints @SEA
50 Ernest Wilford Jaguars HOU

(Bye-Week Notables: Marvin Harrison, Reggie Wayne, Roy Williams, Shaun McDonald, Calvin Johnson, Mike Furrey, Hines Ward, Santonio Holmes, Brandon Marshall, Javon Walker, Lee Evans, Darrell Jackson)

Notes: Evidently Burress doesn't need to practice to score touchdowns (he's got at least one in every game). Granted, he should've been stopped by Andre Dyson last week, but then again, betting on Dyson has never been a profitable pastime. ... I know David Carr is scary as Steve Smith's partner, but it sounds as though the Panthers will remain admirably fixated on getting Smith the ball. They used him to good effect in the fourth quarter Sunday for sure. ... Laveranues Coles is cool. He's so precise, which is why Chad Pennington throws to him so much. One has the sense that once Kellen Clemens takes over in New York, Jerricho Cotchery may actually become more valuable. ... Keep an eye on Dwayne Bowe. Like everyone else, the Bengals will focus on Larry Johnson with some extra attention given to Tony Gonzalez. ... I like Curry this week because the Chargers' secondary regularly falls asleep. Quentin Jammer can look terrific on a couple of consecutive plays, then lose focus and get torched. And as I mentioned last week, the tackling hasn't been good, either. ... Engram and Burleson are worth some attention because of Deion Branch's absence. Hopefully they take turns getting lined up against Jason David. ... Crayton could be even higher here; he's worth starter consideration even against New England. I think Dallas throws a ton on Sunday. ... Keep an eye on Boldin's hip (OK, not literally). He says it came through pretty well during a rigorous workout early this week. It still smells like a 50-50 proposition for Week 6, though. ... Randle El caught all seven of his targets for 100 yards in the first half last week before leaving with an injured hamstring. However, he thinks he'll play against Green Bay this week, while Santana Moss still sounds highly questionable. ... Oh, Mark Clayton. Why have you forsaken me? (Clayton isn't the only one who'd benefit from a Steve McNair benching, but he's probably the leader in the clubhouse.)

Week 6 Tight End Rankings
RANK Name Team Opponent
1 Antonio Gates Chargers OAK
2 Jason Witten Cowboys NE
3 Kellen Winslow Browns MIA
4 Benjamin Watson Patriots @DAL
5 Tony Gonzalez Chiefs CIN
6 Chris Cooley Redskins @GB
7 Jeremy Shockey Giants @ATL
8 Owen Daniels Texans @JAC
9 Todd Heap Ravens STL
10 Alge Crumpler Falcons NYG
11 Alex Smith Buccaneers TEN
12 Eric Johnson Saints @SEA
13 Desmond Clark Bears MIN
14 Greg Olsen Bears MIN
15 Bo Scaife Titans @TB
16 Donald Lee Packers WAS
17 Jeff King Panthers @ARI
18 Randy McMichael Rams @BAL
19 Marcedes Lewis Jaguars HOU
20 Chris Baker Jets @PHI
21 Marcus Pollard Seahawks NO
22 Quinn Sypniewski Ravens STL
23 Bubba Franks Packers WAS
24 David Martin Dolphins @CLE
25 John Madsen Raiders @SD
26 L.J. Smith Eagles @NYJ

(Bye-Week Notables: Dallas Clark, Heath Miller, Daniel Graham, Vernon Davis, Sean McHugh)

Notes: Witten is closing the gap on Gates. He'll probably never catch the elusive Chargers stud, but Witten benefits from Romo's mobility perhaps more than anyone on the field; those extra couple of seconds Romo earns freeze linebackers and get Witten open. He had another eight targets Monday night. ... Watson won't score two touchdowns many weeks, but like Witten, the scary receivers around him can deflect attention. New England spreads the ball around, but Watson will get his. ... Daniels finally pulled the nutty that folks have been predicting for him since Andre Johnson's injury: seven targets, six catches, 96 yards. ... Alex Smith had only three targets and two catches against Indy, but it helped that both the receptions were scores. ... Clark and Olsen both benefit from the Brian Griese Dink-And-Dunk Machine. Too bad they cannibalize one another. ... Todd Heap used to be known as terribly injury-prone, but he had played in 36 straight games before missing last Sunday's contest. Heap is said to be optimistic he'll play this week, but watch to see if he practices. ... Deep-leaguers in search of a serious Hail Mary can try David Martin. He doesn't have more than three targets in any game this year, but Cleveland is allowing the most fantasy points to tight ends in the league.

Week 6 Kicker Rankings
RANK Name Team Opponent
1 Kris Brown Texans @JAC
2 Nick Folk Cowboys NE
3 Matt Stover Ravens STL
4 Stephen Gostkowski Patriots @DAL
5 Mason Crosby Packers WAS
6 Jay Feely Dolphins @CLE
7 Neil Rackers Cardinals CAR
8 David Akers Eagles @NYJ
9 Rob Bironas Titans @TB
10 Shayne Graham Bengals @KC
11 Shaun Suisham Redskins @GB
12 Jeff Wilkins Rams @BAL
13 Morten Andersen Falcons NYG
14 Josh Brown Seahawks NO
15 Phil Dawson Browns MIA
16 Robbie Gould Bears MIN
17 Lawrence Tynes Giants @ATL
18 Sebastian Janikowski Raiders @SD
19 John Kasay Panthers @ARI
20 Ryan Longwell Vikings @CHI
21 Nate Kaeding Chargers OAK
22 Olindo Mare Saints @SEA
23 Matt Bryant Buccaneers TEN
24 John Carney Jaguars HOU
25 Dave Rayner Chiefs CIN
26 Mike Nugent Jets @PHI

(Bye-Week Notables: Adam Vinatieri, Jeff Reed, Jason Elam, Jason Hanson, Joe Nedney, Rian Lindell)

Notes: Considering Kris Brown set a record by kicking three field goals of 54 yards or longer last week, he probably deserves the top spot. You know how ranking kickers goes, though: it'll almost certainly not happen two straight weeks. ... I don't have too many other pithy things to say about fantasy kickers. Every year around this time, fantasy owners re-realize why they should never, ever draft a kicker before the last round or two.

Week 6 Defense Rankings
RANK Name Team Opponent
1 Minnesota Vikings @CHI
2 Seattle Seahawks NO
3 Chicago Bears MIN
4 Baltimore Ravens STL
5 New England Patriots @DAL
6 Tennessee Titans @TB
7 San Diego Chargers OAK
8 New York Giants @ATL
9 Jacksonville Jaguars HOU
10 Arizona Cardinals CAR
11 Green Bay Packers WAS
12 Philadelphia Eagles @NYJ
13 Tampa Bay Buccaneers TEN
14 Washington Redskins @GB
15 Kansas City Chiefs CIN
16 Houston Texans @JAC
17 Dallas Cowboys NE
18 Oakland Raiders @SD
19 Cincinnati Bengals @KC
20 New York. Jets @PHI
21 Atlanta Falcons NYG
22 St. Louis Rams @BAL
23 Carolina Panthers @ARI
24 Cleveland Browns MIA
25 Miami Dolphins @CLE
26 New Orleans Saints @SEA

(Bye-Week Notables: Pittsburgh, San Francisco, Buffalo, Indianapolis, Detroit, Denver)

Notes: The Vikings have scored more fantasy points per game than any defense yet this year. If they have a vulnerability, it's certainly defending the pass (speaking of guys with concentration lapses, how about that Antoine Winfield?), but one has a hard time imagining Griese going crazy with downfield throws. This one smells like a defensive battle. ... Seattle isn't defending the run particularly well, but they're most vulnerable to the kinds of power stunts the Steelers ran on them last week. That's not Reggie Bush's game. Plus, the Saints' offense is allowing 13 fantasy points a game to opposing defenses. ... As of Wednesday, the Titans defense was owned in just 23 percent of ESPN.com leagues. That's not nearly enough. They're practically an every-week play, and they dominate the run (third-fewest rush yards allowed per game). Tampa's is a steady offense that doesn't beat itself, but it's hard to envision Earnest Graham breaking out in any kind of meaningful way this week. ... I've made a habit of bashing the Giants D, and Aaron Ross' two picks last week didn't do a lot for me (considering they both came on stupid Chad Pennington throws). Heck, Ross was benched when the game started. Still, Atlanta is a mess on offense, and Wayne Gandy being out for the year thrusts undrafted rookie Renardo Foster into a starting-tackle role. Winston Justice, anyone? ... I know the Redskins D scored 24 fantasy points throttling the Lions last week, and they're not nearly as inept in creating sacks and turnovers as they've been the past couple seasons. Still, I'm not sure I'm ready to start them against the Packers, who'll throw-throw-throw this week. ... The Cowboys defense has an NFL-high 10 interceptions along with two defensive scores and 12 sacks. And I still think you'd be crazy to start them against New England. The Patriots haven't allowed a single fantasy defense to score positive points against them this year. That's nuts.

Don't forget to read 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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