Commentary

The Big Rotowski: Week 13 Player Rankings

Updated: November 28, 2007, 4:18 PM ET
By Christopher Harris | ESPN.com

Week 13 Quarterback Rankings
Rank Name Team Opponent
1 Tom Brady Patriots @BAL
2 Derek Anderson Browns @ARI
3 Tony Romo Cowboys GB
4 Ben Roethlisberger Steelers CIN
5 Brett Favre Packers @DAL
6 Kurt Warner Cardinals CLE
7 Peyton Manning Colts JAC
8 Matt Hasselbeck Seahawks @PHI
9 Carson Palmer Bengals @PIT
10 Matt Schaub Texans @TEN
11 Jason Campbell Redskins BUF
12 Drew Brees Saints TB
13 Jon Kitna Lions @MIN
14 Vince Young Titans HOU
15 Eli Manning Giants @CHI
16 David Garrard Jaguars @IND
17 Marc Bulger Rams ATL
18 Donovan McNabb Eagles SEA
19 Jay Cutler Broncos @OAK
20 Kyle Boller Ravens NE
21 Philip Rivers Chargers @KC
22 Rex Grossman Bears NYG
23 Trent Dilfer 49ers @CAR
24 Daunte Culpepper Raiders DEN
25 Kellen Clemens Jets @MIA
26 Bruce Gradkowski Buccaneers @NO
27 Brodie Croyle Chiefs SD
28 Vinny Testaverde Panthers SF
29 Tarvaris Jackson Vikings DET
30 John Beck Dolphins NYJ
31 Trent Edwards Bills @WAS
32 Joey Harrington Falcons @STL

Notes: If Warner could stay on the field, we'd really have something here. Granted, his huge day against the Niners was helped immensely by a Hail Mary touchdown pass just before halftime, but the ol' grocery bagger keeps posting nice fantasy days, doesn't he? One salivates at the thought of him not having to come out of games when the Cardinals are in the red zone, giving up the bunnies to Tim Rattay. … It sounds like Peyton Manning has a shot at getting Marvin Harrison back for the Jacksonville game (stay tuned, and see below), which would obviously help. … Schaub's matchup in Tennessee would've sounded scarier a few weeks ago. Now the Titans are coming off two games in which they allowed a combined five touchdown passes and an aggregate completion percentage of 81.3. Just ask Chad Johnson how scary the Tennessee secondary is these days. I'm sure he'll tell you. … Campbell is taking an unnecessary beating for his late-game interceptions the last two weeks. The picks are just a sign of growing pains. But overall, his accuracy has improved immensely of late; he has three straight games with better than a 60 percent completion percentage, after posting just two such games in Washington's previous eight contests. Obviously, the distraction factor for this team will be justifiably high, but here's hoping they rally around one another. … A week after I praised him to high heaven, Vince Young bumped himself down a peg, though his comfort in the pocket is leaps and bounds ahead of where it was to begin the season. He took a bad sack that killed his team, but he's still worth starting consideration this week. … Eli Manning has gotten pilloried in the press, but only one of last week's four interceptions was his fault. Jeremy Shockey consistently makes mental mistakes in routes, and Plaxico Burress can hardly run out of his breaks. Hey, I'm far from a Manning apologist, but facts are facts: The kid isn't Troy Aikman, but he's not Dave Brown, either. … I'm assuming Bulger will be cleared from his concussion symptoms and play, so this is kind of a mealy mouthed ranking. Against Atlanta, he probably deserves to be a little higher. I guess I'm factoring in the possibility he gets bounced from the game by injury again. … I'm also guessing McNabb plays, but again, there's no guarantee he'll finish what he starts. Also, Seattle's pass defense has tightened up of late. … When Jeff Garcia tells a Tampa radio station he's so banged up he can't throw a ball, I take it seriously. For now, I've assumed Gradkowski starts, and you want none of it despite the favorable matchup against the Saints.

Week 13 Running Back Rankings
RANK Name Team Opponent
1 Brian Westbrook Eagles SEA
2 LaDainian Tomlinson Chargers @KC
3 Joseph Addai Colts JAC
4 Steven Jackson Rams ATL
5 Willie Parker Steelers CIN
6 Frank Gore 49ers @CAR
7 Justin Fargas Raiders DEN
8 Willis McGahee Ravens NE
9 Adrian Peterson Vikings DET
10 Marion Barber Cowboys GB
11 Jamal Lewis Browns @ARI
12 Clinton Portis Redskins BUF
13 LenDale White Titans HOU
14 Edgerrin James Cardinals CLE
15 Kolby Smith Chiefs SD
16 Maurice Jones-Drew Jaguars @IND
17 Reggie Bush Saints TB
18 Selvin Young Broncos @OAK
19 Adrian Peterson Bears NYG
20 Ryan Grant Packers @DAL
21 Maurice Morris Seahawks @PHI
22 Earnest Graham Buccaneers @NO
23 Reuben Droughns Giants @CHI
24 Ron Dayne Texans @TEN
25 Jesse Chatman Dolphins NYJ
26 Chester Taylor Vikings DET
27 Rudi Johnson Bengals @PIT
28 Chris Brown Titans HOU
29 Laurence Maroney Patriots @BAL
30 Fred Taylor Jaguars @IND
31 Thomas Jones Jets @MIA
32 Julius Jones Cowboys GB
33 Warrick Dunn Falcons @STL
34 DeShaun Foster Panthers SF
35 Kevin Jones Lions @MIN
36 Andre Hall Broncos @OAK
37 Anthony Thomas Bills @WAS
38 Aaron Stecker Saints TB
39 Samkon Gado Dolphins NYJ
40 Cecil Sapp Broncos @OAK
41 Kenny Watson Bengals @PIT
42 Najeh Davenport Steelers CIN
43 Heath Evans Patriots @BAL
44 Kenton Keith Colts JAC
45 DeAngelo Williams Panthers SF
46 Fred Jackson Bills @WAS
47 Correll Buckhalter Eagles SEA
48 Leon Washington Jets @MIA
49 T.J. Duckett Lions @MIN
50 Jerious Norwood Falcons @STL

Notes: Keep an eye on Addai. (Hey, that rhymes, and probably should be the young man's catchphrase.) The Colts are a bit concerned about his neck injury, although they did let him back into Thursday's game in Atlanta after the injury occurred. If he practices, he'll play. … Steven Jackson had to come out of the Rams' loss to Seattle last week after taking a blow to the head, but he came back in during Gus Frerotte's ill-fated goal-line series, and I assume he'll play this week. Atlanta's rush defense has gotten a little better statistically of late, but I still like S-Jax an awful lot this week. … Same with Gore. We Gore owners were finally rewarded for our patience last week, with a 214 total yards and two touchdowns against Arizona that ranks as one of the season's fantasy-best. He's healthy, he's mad, and Carolina just stinks. … For me, there's a pretty big drop off after the top six this week. Fargas has been a workhorse, but Denver's defense has stiffened a bit against the run lately. McGahee is very consistent, but it's always unsafe to think a team will stay with the run against New England. Purple Jesus is awesome, but will he get enough carries? You get my drift. … I have Barber as a sneaky high performer Thursday night. The Packers have allowed double-digit fantasy points to an opposing rusher in each of their last five games, and they're fighting depth injuries along the defensive line. … I talked about LenDale White on TV Tuesday; he's a fantasy menace right now. Can't sit him, hate to start him. He has blown two tasty matchups (Denver and Cincy) the past two weeks, with just 69 combined rush yards, and maybe part of that's due to his lard. But the Titans have also fallen behind early and needed to throw. Houston's another great opponent, and maybe Tennessee stays close enough to be able to use White. … Keep starting Bush, but beware of his shin bruise. He was basically a third-down back last week. … For the moment, I'm assuming Selvin Young emerges from the Denver mess. As of this posting, Travis Henry still hadn't been suspended, and he says his knee is OK, but he has said that before. Somehow, I think circumstances will conspire to keep him out. Young's own knee cost him a start last week, but my Wednesday guess is that he plays Sunday. Alas, you probably won't know until game time. Andre Hall is also questionable with a sprained ankle, so Cecil Sapp could wind up being worth a look in deeper leagues. … The return of Brian Young and continued healing of Charles Grant could help the Saints' defense get tough on the run again. I'd start Graham but adjust my expectations. … For the moment, I'm guessing Chatman overcomes neck and leg issues to play against the Jets, but if he can't go, the newly signed Samkon Gado likely will start over Patrick Cobbs.

Week 13 Wide Receiver Rankings
RANK Name Team Opponent
1 Randy Moss Patriots @BAL
2 Terrell Owens Cowboys GB
3 Braylon Edwards Browns @ARI
4 Larry Fitzgerald Cardinals CLE
5 Reggie Wayne Colts JAC
6 Hines Ward Steelers CIN
7 T.J. Houshmandzadeh Bengals @PIT
8 Andre Johnson Texans @TEN
9 Wes Welker Patriots @BAL
10 Anquan Boldin Cardinals CLE
11 Greg Jennings Packers @DAL
12 Chad Johnson Bengals @PIT
13 Bobby Engram Seahawks @PHI
14 Marques Colston Saints TB
15 Torry Holt Rams ATL
16 Roy Williams Lions @MIN
17 Plaxico Burress Giants @CHI
18 Brandon Marshall Broncos @OAK
19 Marvin Harrison Colts JAC
20 Joey Galloway Buccaneers @NO
21 Chris Henry. Bengals @PIT
22 Deion Branch Seahawks @PHI
23 Bernard Berrian Bears NYG
24 Donald Driver Packers @DAL
25 Roddy White Falcons @STL
26 Steve Smith Panthers SF
27 Dwayne Bowe Chiefs SD
28 Calvin Johnson Lions @MIN
29 Lee Evans Bills @WAS
30 Santonio Holmes Steelers CIN
31 Patrick Crayton Cowboys GB
32 Donte' Stallworth Patriots @BAL
33 Derrick Mason Ravens NE
34 Justin Gage Titans HOU
35 Jerricho Cotchery Jets @MIA
36 Santana Moss Redskins BUF
37 Kevin Curtis Eagles SEA
38 Arnaz Battle 49ers @CAR
39 Shaun McDonald Lions @MIN
40 Chris Chambers Chargers @KC
41 Reggie Brown Eagles SEA
42 Ike Hilliard Buccaneers @NO
43 Kevin Walter Texans @TEN
44 David Patten Saints TB
45 Isaac Bruce Rams ATL
46 Ronald Curry Raiders DEN
47 Ted Ginn Jr. Dolphins NYJ
48 Muhsin Muhammad Bears NYG
49 Joe Jurevicius Browns @ARI
50 Amani Toomer Giants @CHI

Notes: That Browns/Cardinals game looks like a 41-40 game, if ever there was one. Each team is missing key corners named Eric (Cleveland is without Eric Wright; Arizona is without Eric Green), and now Arizona's Adrian Wilson is also out for the season. The big three in this game (Edwards, Fitzgerald, Boldin) should all be in line for tons of touches. … Need any more proof (13 catches, 149 yards) that Welker is a No. 1 fantasy receiver? … With D.J. Hackett out another couple of weeks (at least), I pushed Engram to the top of the No. 2 wideout heap. Both he and Branch should get tons of targets, but I'm guessing Engram continues to run out of the slot. The Eagles have depth issues in their nickel and dime packages, and we saw what Lito Sheppard did to Randy Moss last week. He should be on Branch, leaving more space for Engram. … Burress still doesn't look right, but the Giants made a concerted effort to get it his way Sunday, targeting him on 13 throws (in part because they were down big). By the way, I think sometimes we lose sight of how cool a name "Plaxico" is. … OK, so then there's Marvin. For the moment, I have him ranked as though he'll play but not quite be in game shape. But here's the thing: There's still significant scuttlebutt that optimistic assessments of Harrison's chances of playing this week are a smokescreen, and he won't go. Keep an eye on whether he's able to practice; if he still doesn't participate in team drills by Friday, you probably shouldn't risk starting him. The only reason this should vex you is if you have someone on Green Bay or Dallas you normally wouldn't start over a healthy Harrison. For instance, while right now I have Driver (who sprained an ankle last week) rated below Harrison, you'd be forgiven for taking the "surer" thing and starting Driver on Thursday, rather than potentially taking another Marvin goose egg. [Editor's Note: It's looking more and more like Harrison won't play. Look for updated rankings on Friday.] … What a catch by Berrian in the end zone last week, huh? Dude's making himself some money. … Another week in which Steve Smith has a terrific matchup (the Niners have allowed the most fantasy points to opposing receivers in the last five weeks), but there's just no one in Carolina who can effectively get him the ball. … Calvin Johnson looks healthier, and he got a whopping 15 targets on Thanksgiving, scoring his second touchdown in as many weeks. I'm not here to say Megatron is definitively the No. 2 guy in Detroit because Shaun McDonald got 14 targets the week before. But there are good signs. … I've rated Santonio Holmes as though he'll play but be limited against Cincinnati. It's a sweet matchup, though, and if he looks healthy this week, I'll bump him up on Friday.

Week 13 Tight End Rankings
RANK Name Team Opponent
1 Kellen Winslow Browns @ARI
2 Antonio Gates Chargers @KC
3 Donald Lee Packers @DAL
4 Jason Witten Cowboys GB
5 Jeremy Shockey Giants @CHI
6 Dallas Clark Colts JAC
7 Tony Gonzalez Chiefs SD
8 Heath Miller Steelers CIN
9 Benjamin Watson Patriots @BAL
10 Chris Cooley Redskins BUF
11 Vernon Davis 49ers @CAR
12 Owen Daniels Texans @TEN
13 Tony Scheffler Broncos @OAK
14 L.J. Smith Eagles SEA
15 Greg Olsen Bears NYG
16 Alge Crumpler Falcons @STL
17 Marcedes Lewis Jaguars @IND
18 Desmond Clark Bears NYG
19 Bo Scaife Titans HOU
20 Alex Smith Buccaneers @NO
21 Randy McMichael Rams ATL
22 Jeff King Panthers SF
23 Ben Utecht Colts JAC
24 Leonard Pope Cardinals CLE
25 Eric Johnson Saints TB
26 Will Heller Seahawks @PHI
27 Robert Royal Bills @WAS
28 Chris Baker Jets @MIA
29 Zach Miller Raiders DEN
30 Visanthe Shiancoe Vikings DET
31 Sean McHugh Lions @MIN
32 Reggie Kelly Bengals @PIT

Notes: Another 10 catches for 107 yards and a score for Winslow last week; another six catches for 105 yards and two scores for Gates. Does it really matter who gets the No. 1 spot and who's No. 2? If you own both and didn't trade one before your deadline, well, oops. … I have Donald Lee high this week, for sure. Maybe I've fallen in love with this statistic a little too much, but here goes: The Cowboys have allowed the most fantasy points to opposing tight ends over the past five weeks. There was a chance Bubba Franks would be back for this game, but that's not happening, and Thanksgiving's disappointment notwithstanding, Lee is Brett Favre's preferred red zone target right now (Greg Jennings tends to get his love from farther out). … Gates torched the Ravens; don't think the Patriots didn't notice. I have a feeling Watson scores one this week. … Scheffler caught all five of his targets for 82 yards and a score last week. He's verging on starter territory in 12-team leagues. … Marcedes Lewis had nine targets against Buffalo, and tight ends can definitely get open against Indy's Cover 2. He's a sneaky play as Jacksonville's only healthy guy at the position.

Week 13 Kicker Rankings
RANK Name Team Opponent
1 Nick Folk Cowboys GB
2 Stephen Gostkowski Patriots @BAL
3 Rob Bironas Titans HOU
4 Mason Crosby Packers @DAL
5 Jeff Reed Steelers CIN
6 Matt Stover Ravens NE
7 Shayne Graham Bengals @PIT
8 Josh Brown Seahawks @PHI
9 Kris Brown Texans @TEN
10 Adam Vinatieri Colts JAC
11 Jason Hanson Lions @MIN
12 David Akers Eagles SEA
13 Jason Elam Broncos @OAK
14 Robbie Gould Bears NYG
15 Neil Rackers Cardinals CLE
16 Phil Dawson Browns @ARI
17 Nate Kaeding Chargers @KC
18 Lawrence Tynes Giants @CHI
19 John Kasay Panthers SF
20 Jeff Wilkins Rams ATL
21 Ryan Longwell Vikings DET
22 Sebastian Janikowski Raiders DEN
23 Shaun Suisham Redskins BUF
24 Josh Scobee Jaguars @IND
25 Joe Nedney 49ers @CAR
26 John Carney Chiefs SD
27 Rian Lindell Bills @WAS
28 Olindo Mare Saints TB
29 Matt Bryant Buccaneers @NO
30 Jay Feely Dolphins NYJ
31 Mike Nugent Jets @MIA
32 Morten Andersen Falcons @STL

Week 13 Defense Rankings
RANK Name Team Opponent
1 New England Patriots @BAL
2 Minnesota Vikings DET
3 San Diego Chargers @KC
4 New York Giants @CHI
5 Pittsburgh Steelers CIN
6 New Orleans Saints TB
7 Indianapolis Colts JAC
8 Denver Broncos @OAK
9 Tampa Bay Buccaneers @NO
10 Chicago Bears NYG
11 Seattle Seahawks @PHI
12 San Francisco 49ers @CAR
13 St. Louis Rams ATL
14 Tennessee Titans HOU
15 Kansas City Chiefs SD
16 Detroit Lions @MIN
17 Jacksonville Jaguars @IND
18 Philadelphia Eagles SEA
19 Washington Redskins BUF
20 Green Bay Packers @DAL
21 Miami Dolphins NYJ
22 Oakland Raiders DEN
23 New York. Jets @MIA
24 Dallas Cowboys GB
25 Cincinnati Bengals @PIT
26 Baltimore Ravens NE
27 Buffalo Bills @WAS
28 Carolina Panthers SF
29 Atlanta Falcons @STL
30 Houston Texans @TEN
31 Cleveland Browns @ARI
32 Arizona Cardinals CLE

Notes: This is a harsh week for some very fantasy-relevant defenses. I've used the Packers all season, but I'm sitting them Thursday in Dallas; that game just has way too much offensive firepower in it. No matter what you think of the aging and injured Ravens defense, you can't use it against New England. … The Jags looked strong even without Mike Peterson, but do you really want to start them at Indy? … Even the Steelers have a bad matchup against Air Marvin Lewis, though I'd probably start them because they have a history of making big plays against the Bengals. … As such, I have some weird teams in my "startable" territory this week. Minnesota as No. 2? Really? Eesh. I can easily envision the Lions getting off the schneid against a Vikings secondary that'll be without Antoine Winfield again and has been shaky most of the season (last week's defensive-touchdown fiesta notwithstanding). But I just don't see a lot of other options. … I have New Orleans ridiculously high here, but a lot of that depends on Jeff Garcia potentially not playing. I still hate the Saints' secondary; I just don't trust any Tampa backup signal-caller to take advantage of it. … Heck, I have the Niners as a starter in a 12-team league. Ick. But when you're playing against a team without a decent quarterback …

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.