Commentary

The Big Rotowski: Week 11 Player Rankings

Updated: November 14, 2007, 7:54 PM ET
By Christopher Harris | ESPN.com

Week 11 Quarterback Rankings
RANKNameTeamOpponent
1Tom BradyPatriots@BUF
2Tony RomoCowboysWAS
3Peyton ManningColtsKC
4Marc BulgerRams@SF
5Ben RoethlisbergerSteelers@NYJ
6Derek AndersonBrowns@BAL
7Brett FavrePackersCAR
8Carson PalmerBengalsARI
9Drew BreesSaints@HOU
10Matt SchaubTexansNO
11Donovan McNabbEaglesMIA
12Matt HasselbeckSeahawksCHI
13Eli ManningGiants@DET
14Kurt WarnerCardinals@CIN
15Jeff GarciaBuccaneers@ATL
16Kyle BollerRavensCLE
17Jon KitnaLionsNYG
18Vince YoungTitans@DEN
19Jason CampbellRedskins@DAL
20David GarrardJaguarsSD
21Jay CutlerBroncosTEN
22Philip RiversChargers@JAC
23Kellen ClemensJetsPIT
24Byron LeftwichFalconsTB
25Rex GrossmanBears@SEA
26J.P. LosmanBillsNE
27Alex Smith49ersSTL
28Vinny TestaverdePanthers@GB
29John BeckDolphins@PHI
30Brodie CroyleChiefs@IND
31Josh McCownRaiders@MIN
32Tarvaris JacksonVikingsOAK

Notes: Peyton Manning was terrible Sunday night, and it's folly to explain his performance away by saying it was the result of a weaker cast than 1985's "Saturday Night Live." He made bad decisions and a few awful throws even to Reggie Wayne, who presumably knows where to be. However, that doesn't sour me on Manning this Sunday against a poor Chiefs pass defense. Kansas City's D started the year strong against opposing fantasy quarterbacks, but in the past five weeks it is among the nine worst in the league, and Manning, at home, is too good to let one week get him down. ... Bulger was healthy and looked strong against the Saints; he, too, has a sweet matchup against a Niners secondary that flopped around embarrassingly in Seattle on Monday night. ... Derek Anderson continues to be a good trade acquisition candidate. He still isn't getting proper respect, and I'd play him against the Ravens' injured corners this Sunday. Anderson's schedule gets really nice after Baltimore: HOU, ARI, NYJ, BUF, CIN, SF. ... Palmer couldn't throw touchdowns against the Ravens, and in Arizona he gets a pass defense that's been seventh-best against the pass over the past five weeks. You still use him, but I'm not as high on him as usual. ... Brees owners were pleased with the end numbers, but the Saints quarterback played terribly against the Rams. The mistakes that characterized his first month were back: poor decisions, inaccurate throws and what looked like a general confusion. St. Louis called off the dogs in the fourth quarter and suddenly Brees looked strong again, which should tell the Texans what they have to do: blitz like crazy and be aggressive in man coverage. ... Schaub should play after his bye, and he gets the Saints' lousy secondary. ... McNabb's final numbers were fine, but without a poorly thrown touchdown to Reggie Brown and a dump-off that Brian Westbrook took to the house, he'd have been as pedestrian as ever. I don't like Miami's secondary, and Zach Thomas may be done for the year, but I still grow weary of Mr. McNabb, whose best days are in his rearview. ... Boller will start for Baltimore against Cleveland's worst-in-the-NFL pass defense. ... Garrard will be back for the Jags, but all that really means is about 40 more rushing yards from the quarterback spot. He's not a much better passer than Quinn Gray. ... I've assumed Leftwich's ankle will be healthy enough to play. If not, I'd bump Joey Harrington a few spots lower than I've got not-so-Iron Byron. ... It sounds like Grossman will play over Brian Griese, Beck will start instead of Cleo Lemon, and Tarvaris Jackson will be un-concussed.

Week 11 Running Back Rankings
RANKNameTeamOpponent
1Willie ParkerSteelers@NYJ
2Brian WestbrookEaglesMIA
3LaDainian TomlinsonChargers@JAC
4Joseph AddaiColtsKC
5Reggie BushSaints@HOU
6Steven JacksonRams@SF
7Chester TaylorVikingsOAK
8Edgerrin JamesCardinals@CIN
9Brandon JacobsGiants@DET
10Willis McGaheeRavensCLE
11Marion BarberCowboysWAS
12LenDale WhiteTitans@DEN
13Clinton PortisRedskins@DAL
14Maurice Jones-DrewJaguarsSD
15Frank Gore49ersSTL
16Ryan GrantPackersCAR
17Jesse ChatmanDolphins@PHI
18Justin FargasRaiders@MIN
19Warrick DunnFalconsTB
20Laurence MaroneyPatriots@BUF
21Priest HolmesChiefs@IND
22Kevin JonesLionsNYG
23Maurice MorrisSeahawksCHI
24Earnest GrahamBuccaneers@ATL
25Selvin YoungBroncosTEN
26Cedric BensonBears@SEA
27Anthony ThomasBillsNE
28Julius JonesCowboysWAS
29DeShaun FosterPanthers@GB
30Rudi JohnsonBengalsARI
31Jamal LewisBrowns@BAL
32Ahman GreenTexansNO
33Thomas JonesJetsPIT
34DeAngelo WilliamsPanthers@GB
35T.J. DuckettLionsNYG
36Kenny WatsonBengalsARI
37Fred TaylorJaguarsSD
38Ron DayneTexansNO
39Reuben DroughnsGiants@DET
40Michael PittmanBuccaneers@ATL
41Adimchinobi EchemanduTexansNO
42Adrian Peterson.Bears@SEA
43Kenton KeithColtsKC
44Dwayne WrightBillsNE
45Najeh DavenportSteelers@NYJ
46Ladell BettsRedskins@DAL
47Aaron SteckerSaints@HOU
48Leonard WeaverSeahawksCHI
49Pierre ThomasSaints@HOU
50Michael Robinson49ersSTL

Notes: Tomlinson's roll of seemingly difficult opponents continues, and I was surprised how well the Jags held up against Tennessee without the suspended Marcus Stroud. But Jacksonville has been the 14th-easiest defense for opposing backs to score against over the past five weeks, including very productive days from Addai and Bush. LDT has had about enough of NorvBall, but I've a feeling he finally produces Sunday. ... Bush sounds like his noggin is okay, though the Saints have taken some heat for allowing him to keep playing with a concussion. Assuming his knee is also all right, he's got an awesome matchup against the second-friendliest defense to opposing fantasy backs (and the franchise that passed on him in the draft). ... Chester Taylor takes a massive and temporary leap into the top 10; he and Minnesota face the dreadful Raiders rush defense. Now, I have little question Minny will have to do something to keep Oakland's safeties honest. I'd throw downfield a few times in the first quarter, and pass three or four screens to Taylor, then set my jaw and start blasting between the guards. From the looks of it, Warren Sapp has lost his will. ... It sounds like LenDale White's sore knee will be fine, and Denver's rush defense is still bad. ... Portis has been a terrific surprise over the past month. He's running harder than he did to start the year, lending credence to the idea that he wasn't healthy. The Cowboys have a better-than-average rush defense, but I'd count on starter-worthy numbers from Portis for the foreseeable future. ... At least Gore made it through Monday night without hurting himself again, though if the Niners are going to play that badly, Gore will have trouble exceeding 13 carries a lot of weeks. Nevertheless, he's the only thing San Francisco has going for it on offense, so you need to keep using him. ... Don't get blinded by Grant's big day against the Vikings; he's not a great player, and he took advantage of perhaps the league's premier underperforming defense. Carolina stinks against the run, so I'm starting Grant this week, but he's not an every-week play for me just yet. ... As long as Jerious Norwood is out, the risk associated with Dunn is lower. You might as well use him while he's hot; it can't last forever. ... I'd like to say the fact that Dwight Freeney is out for the year benefits Priest Holmes, but Freeney doesn't stop the run much anyway. But I admit I was surprised that Holmes still has a surge in his legs, and while I do believe he'll get hurt, he's worth starting as a weak No. 2 rusher or flex most weeks. ... Marshawn Lynch is all but out with a bad ankle for the Bills, which means Anthony Thomas should start, while surprising Fresno St. rookie Dwayne White will get some carries, too. Needless to say, I'm not all that excited about either guy against New England, though Thomas can be a flex guy if you're desperate. ... I've assumed neither Travis Henry nor Shaun Alexander will play. Neither of those assertions is set in stone, though. Keep checking ESPN.com for updates.

Week 11 Wide Receiver Rankings
RANKNameTeamOpponent
1Randy MossPatriots@BUF
2Reggie WayneColtsKC
3Braylon EdwardsBrowns@BAL
4Terrell OwensCowboysWAS
5T.J. HoushmandzadehBengalsARI
6Torry HoltRams@SF
7Larry FitzgeraldCardinals@CIN
8Hines WardSteelers@NYJ
9Plaxico BurressGiants@DET
10Wes WelkerPatriots@BUF
11Marques ColstonSaints@HOU
12Santonio HolmesSteelers@NYJ
13Chad JohnsonBengalsARI
14Greg JenningsPackersCAR
15Roy WilliamsLionsNYG
16Andre JohnsonTexansNO
17D.J. HackettSeahawksCHI
18Brandon MarshallBroncosTEN
19Donte' StallworthPatriots@BUF
20Anquan BoldinCardinals@CIN
21Joey GallowayBuccaneers@ATL
22Lee EvansBillsNE
23Patrick CraytonCowboysWAS
24Bobby EngramSeahawksCHI
25Donald DriverPackersCAR
26Steve SmithPanthers@GB
27Jerricho CotcheryJetsPIT
28Kevin CurtisEaglesMIA
29Derrick MasonRavensCLE
30Roddy WhiteFalconsTB
31Chris Henry.BengalsARI
32Reggie BrownEaglesMIA
33Mark ClaytonRavensCLE
34Kevin WalterTexansNO
35Bernard BerrianBears@SEA
36Laveranues ColesJetsPIT
37Arnaz Battle49ersSTL
38David PattenSaints@HOU
39Shaun McDonaldLionsNYG
40Dwayne BoweChiefs@IND
41Brandon StokleyBroncosTEN
42Muhsin MuhammadBears@SEA
43Andre DavisTexansNO
44James JonesPackersCAR
45Marty BookerDolphins@PHI
46Chris ChambersChargers@JAC
47Amani ToomerGiants@DET
48Mike FurreyLionsNYG
49Keenan McCardellRedskins@DAL
50Craphonso ThorpeColtsKC

Notes: Lest you worry about Edwards playing against a nominally strong Ravens D, the last time he faced Baltimore, he had 97 yards and a score, and Chris McAlister was healthy (and torched). Now three guys in the Ravens' starting secondary are hobbled. ... Houshmandzadeh's streak ended, but I believe Chris Henry's return will be a good thing for Housh owners in the long term. Let Henry score a couple times, and suddenly those red-zone double-teams will go away. ... With Boldin still not right (I sure misjudged his healing powers over Arizona's bye), Fitzgerald took a step forward as a scoring threat against Detroit. He has a sweet matchup against those young Cincy corners. ... In his first week rated ahead of Donald Driver, Jennings didn't deliver: four catches for 63 yards and a missed Brett Favre throw away from another long touchdown. Still, he's the primary deep threat on one of the league's top deep-throwing teams. ... Andre Johnson returns, and I've optimistically (Pollyanna-ishly?) made him a fantasy starter right away. The Houston papers have me believing A.J. could've gone in Week 9 against Oakland, so the logic is he's really healthy now. With Matt Schaub (presumably) back, the sky should be the limit. ... I have three Patriots receivers before I've got any Bucs, Bills, Panthers, Jets, Eagles, Ravens, Falcons, Bears, 49ers, Chiefs, Dolphins, Chargers, Redskins, Jaguars, Vikings, Titans or Raiders pass-catchers. ... Kevin Curtis takes a bit of a dive while Reggie Brown rises a bit. Brown finally scored on a deep ball in Week 10, while Curtis's consistency is flagging. ... If you've been waiting for a week to start Derrick Mason or Mark Clayton, here it is: home against Cleveland, with Kyle Boller passing. ... Steve Smith didn't do himself any favors fumbling at the goal line last week. The chances are so few and far between; mistakes like that commit fantasy murder. ... If Rex Grossman really is back, it benefits Bernard Berrian. You notice: the moment Sexy Rexy returned, Berrian broke loose for his go-ahead 59-yard score. ... I've got Coles pretty far down, and further than his teammate Cotchery, because of his concussion. I may reverse field in Friday's update, depending on how they practice.

Week 11 Tight End Rankings
RANKNameTeamOpponent
1Antonio GatesChargers@JAC
2Kellen WinslowBrowns@BAL
3Tony GonzalezChiefs@IND
4Jason WittenCowboysWAS
5Jeremy ShockeyGiants@DET
6Heath MillerSteelers@NYJ
7Chris CooleyRedskins@DAL
8Donald LeePackersCAR
9L.J. SmithEaglesMIA
10Alge CrumplerFalconsTB
11Benjamin WatsonPatriots@BUF
12Greg OlsenBears@SEA
13Vernon Davis49ersSTL
14Jeff KingPanthers@GB
15Owen DanielsTexansNO
16Eric JohnsonSaints@HOU
17Randy McMichaelRams@SF
18Leonard PopeCardinals@CIN
19Bryan FletcherColtsKC
20Tony SchefflerBroncosTEN
21Desmond ClarkBears@SEA
22Quinn SypniewskiRavensCLE
23Zach MillerRaiders@MIN
24Ben UtechtColtsKC
25Chris BakerJetsPIT
26Alex SmithBuccaneers@ATL
27Will HellerSeahawksCHI
28Bo ScaifeTitans@DEN
29Marcedes LewisJaguarsSD
30Matt SpaethSteelers@NYJ
31David MartinDolphins@PHI
32Sean McHughLionsNYG

Notes: Among the fantasy studs, Shockey has the matchup of the week against a Detroit defense that's allowed the fourth-most points to opposing tight ends in the past five weeks. ... Donald Lee has five targets and four catches in each of the past two weeks. He also caught an easy score against Minnesota. ... One target and zero catches for Olsen in Week 10? Where'd that come from? Des Clark wasn't much better (three targets, two scores), but too many more weeks like that, and you'll have to use a more consistent option that Olsen in your fantasy playoffs. ... Watch out for Jeff King as an injury fill-in for a guy like Todd Heap. King had another five targets in Week 10, and Green Bay has struggled against tight ends all year. ... Daniels may go higher in my Friday update. I just want to see him practice with the high-ankle thing behind him.

Week 11 Kicker Rankings
RANKNameTeamOpponent
1Stephen GostkowskiPatriots@BUF
2Nick FolkCowboysWAS
3Jeff ReedSteelers@NYJ
4Rob BironasTitans@DEN
5Josh BrownSeahawksCHI
6Mason CrosbyPackersCAR
7Matt StoverRavensCLE
8Adam VinatieriColtsKC
9Kris BrownTexansNO
10Shayne GrahamBengalsARI
11David AkersEaglesMIA
12Jason ElamBroncosTEN
13Neil RackersCardinals@CIN
14Jason HansonLionsNYG
15Nate KaedingChargers@JAC
16Lawrence TynesGiants@DET
17Phil DawsonBrowns@BAL
18Jay FeelyDolphins@PHI
19John KasayPanthers@GB
20Jeff WilkinsRams@SF
21Robbie GouldBears@SEA
22Rian LindellBillsNE
23Ryan LongwellVikingsOAK
24Joe Nedney49ersSTL
25Olindo MareSaints@HOU
26Shaun SuishamRedskins@DAL
27Sebastian JanikowskiRaiders@MIN
28Morten AndersenFalconsTB
29Matt BryantBuccaneers@ATL
30Josh ScobeeJaguarsSD
31Mike NugentJetsPIT
32Dave RaynerChiefs@IND

Week 11 Defense Rankings
RANKNameTeamOpponent
1Green BayPackersCAR
2PittsburghSteelers@NYJ
3New EnglandPatriots@BUF
4PhiladelphiaEaglesMIA
5New YorkGiants@DET
6SeattleSeahawksCHI
7IndianapolisColtsKC
8TennesseeTitans@DEN
9DallasCowboysWAS
10MinnesotaVikingsOAK
11DetroitLionsNYG
12JacksonvilleJaguarsSD
13Tampa BayBuccaneers@ATL
14BaltimoreRavensCLE
15San DiegoChargers@JAC
16ChicagoBears@SEA
17AtlantaFalconsTB
18St. LouisRams@SF
19New OrleansSaints@HOU
20OaklandRaiders@MIN
21CarolinaPanthers@GB
22Kansas CityChiefs@IND
23DenverBroncosTEN
24CincinnatiBengalsARI
25San Francisco49ersSTL
26ClevelandBrowns@BAL
27ArizonaCardinals@CIN
28HoustonTexansNO
29New York.JetsPIT
30WashingtonRedskins@DAL
31MiamiDolphins@PHI
32BuffaloBillsNE

Notes: It's getting yuckier and yuckier to rank defenses each week. Green Bay is No. 1? Really? I guess it's because of last week's shutout, fresh in my mind, as well as the prospect of facing a Vinny-led Panthers offense at Lambeau. Still, I'll be the first to say I don't think the Packers corners are as all-fired spectacular as everyone seems to be saying. … The Steelers haven't put together any particularly good road efforts, which makes me nervous saying they'll definitely dominate the Jets. Still, personnel would seem to indicate this is a mismatch when New York has the ball. ... Look for the Giants to put a lot of pressure on a very weak combination of Detroit tackles. No Jonathan Scott means the Lions will have to start George Foster again, despite his constant benching. ... Simeon Rice won't be productive over the entire rest of the season, but I can imagine him putting some pressure on Brodie Croyle Sunday, especially since Tony Dungy knows Rice well enough to know how disinterested he is in stopping the rush. Most weeks, the Colts will have to play more man than ever with their corners, eschewing the Cover-2 a lot, to get pressure on quarterbacks. But against Herm Edwards's conservative play-calling and an offensive line that doesn't scare you without Larry Johnson running behind it, I think it'll pretty much be business as usual this week for Indy. ... Wish I'd known Albert Haynesworth was going to miss Sunday's game before I rated the Titans so highly against the Jags. Haynesworth's hammy has healed, and he's got a good chance to play Sunday.

Don't forget to read The Breakdown on Fridays, for more detailed thoughts on every team and every game.

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

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