Commentary

Engel's 2007 Rankings: LJ back in the top 5

Updated: October 24, 2007, 3:25 PM ET
By Scott Engel | ESPN.com

Each week, I will update my fantasy football player rankings for the 2007 season. These yearly ratings are overall in-season rankings, not weekly lineup recommendations. They serve as a handy reference tool to make trades and decisions on long-term starters. Last week's rankings are in parentheses for each player.

Quarterbacks

1. Tom Brady, Patriots (1)
2. Peyton Manning, Colts (2)
3. Tony Romo, Cowboys (3)
4. Carson Palmer, Bengals (4)
5. Matt Hasselbeck, Seahawks (5)
6. Derek Anderson, Browns (7)
7. Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers (8)
8. Jeff Garcia, Buccaneers (12)
9. Jon Kitna, Lions (6)
10. Brett Favre, Packers (10)
11. Brian Griese, Bears (16)
12. Eli Manning, Giants (11)
13. Jay Cutler, Broncos (17)
14. Donovan McNabb, Eagles (14)
15. Jason Campbell, Redskins (13)
16. Drew Brees, Saints (19)
17. Philip Rivers, Chargers (18)
18. Matt Schaub, Texans (15)
19. Daunte Culpepper, Raiders (22)
20. Damon Huard, Chiefs (20)
21. Vince Young, Titans (21)
22. Cleo Lemon, Dolphins (24)
23. Kurt Warner, Cardinals (NR)
24. Marc Bulger, Rams (23)
25. Joey Harrington, Falcons (NR)

NOTES: Garcia has proved himself as a steady performer and should remain in the top 10. Kitna is dropping, as consistency is once again becoming an issue for him, even with a great crew of receivers. Adding Calvin Johnson didn't make him a better quarterback or improved his pass protection. Griese is starting to approach the top 10, and could vault past Favre soon if the Green Bay quarterback continues to be unreliable. Cutler's Sunday night performance was quite impressive, but he must show more to crack the top 12. Brees is slowly moving back up the ladder, though I'm still not sold on him. Injuries have dropped Schaub, but I still believe he should bounce back when Andre Johnson ultimately returns. Lemon is putting up some pretty good numbers, but you have to wonder how much longer Miami will stick with him. Warner is still obviously risky.

Running Backs
1. LaDainian Tomlinson, Chargers (1)
2. Joseph Addai, Colts (2)
3. Adrian Peterson, Vikings (4)
4. Brian Westbrook, Eagles (6)
5. Larry Johnson, Chiefs (10)
6. Willie Parker, Steelers (5)
7. Willis McGahee, Ravens (8)
8. Edgerrin James, Cardinals (7)
9. Marshawn Lynch, Bills (9)
10. Clinton Portis, Redskins (11)
11. Maurice Jones-Drew, Jaguars (13)
12. Travis Henry, Broncos (12)
13. Frank Gore, 49ers (14)
14. Marion Barber III, Cowboys (15)
15. Reggie Bush, Saints (17)
16. Brandon Jacobs, Giants (19)
17. Kevin Jones, Lions (32)
18. LenDale White, Titans (27)
19. Shaun Alexander, Seahawks (16)
20. Steven Jackson, Rams (30)
21. Thomas Jones, Jets (18)
22. Jamal Lewis, Browns (24)
23. Cedric Benson, Bears (21)
24 . LaMont Jordan, Raiders (20)
25. Jesse Chatman, Dolphins (NR)
26. Rudi Johnson, Bengals (25)
27. Kenny Watson, Bengals (39)
28. Laurence Maroney, Patriots (28)
29. Derrick Ward, Giants (23)
30. Chester Taylor, Vikings (31)
31. DeShaun Foster, Panthers (29)
32. Earnest Graham, Buccaneers (37)
33. Kenton Keith, Colts (43)
34. DeAngelo Williams, Panthers (35)
35. Brian Leonard, Rams (26)
36. DeShawn Wynn, Packers (33)
37. Fred Taylor, Jaguars (34)
38. Ahman Green, Texans (36)
39. Jason Wright, Browns (38)
40. Michael Bennett, Buccaneers (40)
41. Jerious Norwood, Falcons (41)
42. Julius Jones, Cowboys (42)
43. Selvin Young, Broncos (43)
44. Warrick Dunn, Falcons (45)
45. Kevin Faulk, Patriots (47)
46. Najeh Davenport, Steelers (46)
47. Vernand Morency, Packers (49)
48. Chris Henry, Titans (NR)
49. Reuben Droughns, Giants (48)
50. Michael Turner, Chargers (50)

NOTES: Ronnie Brown was ranked third but is now off the list. Addai won't stay in the second spot if he continues to share carries with Kenton Keith. Larry Johnson is not stable in the fifth spot, but he has earned it for now. If McGahee continues to score, he might move up a little more. Lynch is unspectacular but solid; look for improved totals as his schedule gets a bit easier. Portis will stay in the top 10 as long as he keeps scoring. Bush is becoming more reliable and is on the way up. Kevin Jones' impressive performance against Tampa Bay assures him of a top-20 spot for now. White is making the most of an opportunity to get more carries. Alexander may soon fall out of the top 20. Steven Jackson could finally return this week, and Brian Leonard drops as a result. If the Jets make a quarterback change, it could benefit Thomas Jones. Kellen Clemens would move the team more consistently, leaving Jones with more scoring chances. Jamal Lewis is expected to return this week. Jesse Chatman is now on the list, but there are no guarantees he will remain a starter. Rudi Johnson's status is still uncertain, and Watson will be hard-pressed to come close to his performance against the Jets if he stays in the starting lineup. Derrick Ward is falling while Brandon Jacobs is rising, but a Jacobs injury could always put Ward back in position for prime touches. Graham's hold on a top-35 spot is anything but secure. Keith will continue to rise if the goal-line carries and part-time work keep coming. Tennessee's Henry could go back to the third-string role when Chris Brown returns, but Henry showed some promise against Houston and could push his way back into the picture.

Wide Receivers
1. Randy Moss, Patriots (1)
2. Plaxico Burress, Giants (2)
3. T.J. Houshmandzadeh, Bengals (3)
4. Steve Smith, Panthers (4)
5. Braylon Edwards, Browns (5)
6. Chad Johnson, Bengals (6)
7. Terrell Owens, Cowboys (7)
8. Reggie Wayne, Colts (8)
9. Larry Fitzgerald, Cardinals (9)
10. Torry Holt, Rams (10)
11. Laveranues Coles, Jets (16)
12. Wes Welker, Patriots (22)
13. Donald Driver, Packers (13)
14. Roy Williams, Lions (11)
15. Dwayne Bowe, Chiefs (14)
16. Jerricho Cotchery, Jets (17)
17. Marvin Harrison, Colts (12)
18. Patrick Crayton, Cowboys (15)
19. Anquan Boldin, Cardinals (21)
20. Santonio Holmes, Steelers (20)
21. Brandon Marshall, Broncos (19)
22. Andre Johnson, Texans (18)
23. Derrick Mason, Ravens (26)
24. Deion Branch, Seahawks (27)
25. Calvin Johnson, Lions (28)
26. Kevin Curtis, Eagles (29)
27. Roddy White (32)
28. Donte' Stallworth, Patriots (33)
29. Hines Ward, Steelers (39)
30. Bobby Engram, Seahawks (23)
31. Joey Galloway, Buccaneers (24)
32. Greg Jennings, Packers (31)
33. Ike Hilliard, Buccaneers (46)
34. Chris Chambers, Dolphins (30)
35. Vincent Jackson, Chargers (36)
36. Marques Colston, Saints (35)
37. Ronald Curry, Raiders (37)
38. Kevin Walter, Texans (41)
39. Muhsin Muhammad, Bears (50)
40. Lee Evans, Bills (42)
41. Andre Davis, Texans (44)
42. Bernard Berrian, Bears (40)
43. Brandon Stokley, Broncos (NR)
44. Nate Burleson, Seahawks (34)
45. Arnaz Battle, 49ers (NR)
46. Antwaan Randle El, Redskins (45)
47. Amani Toomer, Giants (NR)
48. James Jones, Packers (47)
49. Santana Moss, Redskins (43)
50. Roydell Williams, Titans (NR)

NOTES: Burress did not score this week, but he has been too good overall to drop out of the second spot. Fitzgerald is doing well despite quarterback issues in Arizona, and Holt was very busy against Seattle, even though he did not score. Coles can keep his place in the top 12 if he can start to perform more consistently. Welker has now exploded in two consecutive weeks and will maintain a spot in the top 15. Kitna is slumping, so Roy Williams is slipping. Harrison should perform better when fully healthy. Boldin scored twice in his return but admitted he might not be 100 percent for the rest of the season. Andre Johnson could at least return to practice this week. Branch could return after the bye, meaning fewer opportunities for Engram and Burleson. Ward looked good in his return and should continue to rise. Galloway is unreliable, but his teammate, Hilliard, now gets more respect here and should continue to rise. We'll have to wait and see how the Chambers/Jackson scenario plays out statistically with the Chargers, but I ultimately believe Jackson will soon pass Chambers. I am still not a big believer in Walter. It seems he pads his numbers when the Texans play from behind, and they won't always being doing that when Andre Johnson returns. Stokley made some noise on Sunday night and will get a big boost if he continues to play well next Monday night.

Tight Ends
1. Antonio Gates, Chargers (1)
2. Dallas Clark, Colts (2)
3. Jason Witten, Cowboys (3)
4. Tony Gonzalez, Chiefs (4)
5. Kellen Winslow, Browns (5)
6. Chris Cooley, Redskins (6)
7. Jeremy Shockey, Giants (8)
8. Heath Miller, Steelers (10)
9. Benjamin Watson, Patriots (7)
10. Owen Daniels, Texans (9)
11. Todd Heap, Ravens (11)
12. Desmond Clark, Bears (12)
13. Donald Lee, Packers (13)
14. Greg Olsen, Bears (15)
15. Eric Johnson, Saints (17)
16. Vernon Davis, 49ers (16)
17. Alge Crumpler, Falcons (14)
18. Kyle Brady, Patriots (NR)
19. Matt Spaeth, Steelers (NR)
20. Jeff King, Panthers (18)
21. L.J. Smith, Eagles (19)
22. David Martin, Dolphins (21)
23. Zach Miller, Raiders (25)
24. Bo Scaife, Titans (22)
25. Randy McMichael, Rams (23)

NOTES: The top six remains unchanged, and one down performance from Cooley isn't going to make me panic about him. Miller moves up, and Spaeth deservedly joins the list. They are the premier fantasy tight end duo in the AFC. Injuries are keeping Watson and Heap down. Eric Johnson continues his slow and steady climb. Brady will continue to be a scoring option while Watson is out. Zach Miller is proving he belongs on the list.

Kickers
1. Nick Folk, Cowboys (1)
2. Adam Vinatieri, Colts (2)
3. Stephen Gostkowski, Patriots (7)
4. Kris Brown, Texans (4)
5. Matt Stover, Ravens (5)
6 Jeff Reed, Steelers (3)
7. Shayne Graham, Bengals (6)
8 Robbie Gould, Bears(11)
9. Mason Crosby, Packers (8)
10. Jason Hanson, Lions (9)
11. Neil Rackers, Cardinals (10)
12. Jay Feely, Miami (12)
13. Josh Brown, Seahawks (15)
14. Nate Kaeding, Chargers (13)
15. Phil Dawson, Browns (14)
16. David Akers, Eagles (16)
17. Shaun Suisham, Redskins (17)
18. Jason Elam, Broncos (18)
19. John Kasay, Panthers (19)
20. Mike Nugent, N.Y. Jets (23)
21. Lawrence Tynes, Giants (20)
22. Rob Bironas, Titans (NR)
23. Dave Rayner, Chiefs (24)
24. Joe Nedney, 49ers (21)
25. Rian Lindell, Bills (NR)

NOTES: As long as the Patriots continue to run up the score, Gostkowski will continue to roll up the points. With Griese at the helm in Chicago, Gould should continue to climb upward. Josh Brown had a great week, but has not been dependable. Nugent is starting to show signs of being able to move upward. Bironas needs much more than one great week to be taken seriously.

Defense/Special Teams
1. Pittsburgh (1)
2. Baltimore (2)
3. New England (3)
4. Chicago (4)
5. Green Bay (5)
6. Washington (9)
7. N.Y. Giants (14)
8. Jacksonville (6)
9. Minnesota (11)
10. Tampa Bay (7)
11. Indianapolis (10)
12. Kansas City (12)
13. Tennessee (8)
14. San Diego (13)
15. Seattle (17)
16. Dallas (19)
17. Denver (18)
18. Philadelphia (15)
19. Carolina (20)
20. Arizona (22)
21. Detroit (25) 22. N.Y. Jets (21)
23. Oakland (24)
24. Buffalo (26)
25. San Francisco (23)
26. Atlanta (27)
27. Houston (16)
28. New Orleans (28)
29. Cincinnati (32)
30. Cleveland (31)
31. St. Louis (29)
32. Miami (30)

NOTES: The Steelers had an off week but didn't lose their top spot. The Redskins are inching closer to the top of the list, and the Giants have been streaking because of great defense up front. Minnesota makes plays even when it gives up yardage. The Titans were a disappointment last week. Seattle would rank higher if the offense didn't cause the defense to spend too much time on the field. The Texans have dropped in a major way after they started the season with so much promise.

Scott Engel covers fantasy sports for ESPN.com. You can contact Scott here.

Scott Engel | email

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Scott Engel covers fantasy sports for ESPN.com.

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