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Scott Pianowski

Shuffle Up and Deal: Crunch Time

Scott Pianowski
Roto Arcade

Every set of rankings is important to me, but this batch is really important; obviously the stakes are raised in December. Bring your playoff form to the comments and we'll work through it together; it's great if you disagree with the ranks, but bring a respectful and logical argument to the party.

Quarterback

  1. Kurt Warner
  2. Drew Brees
  3. Peyton Manning
  4. Aaron Rodgers
  5. Jay Cutler
  6. Tony Romo
  7. Tyler Thigpen
  8. Brett Favre
  9. Philip Rivers
  10. Matt Cassel
  11. Matt Ryan
  12. Eli Manning
  13. Donovan McNabb
  14. Ben Roethlisberger
  15. Shaun Hill
  16. David Garrard
  17. Matt Hasselbeck
  18. Gus Frerotte
  19. Chad Pennington
  20. Kyle Orton
  21. Jake Delhomme
  22. Joe Flacco
  23. Jeff Garcia
  24. Matt Schaub
  25. Kerry Collins
  26. Jason Campbell

Comments: The backup quarterbacks and low-end starters were trimmed off the list. You're in the playoffs, you don't need to think about JaMarcus Russell and Matt Leinart . . . Thigpen works with a net given two friendly elements: his running skills, and the terrible Chiefs defense (which basically ensures a weekly shootout) . . . I'll give Bernard Berrian a bump from Minnesota's schedule (Lions, Cardinals, Falcons), but you can only get so excited about Gus Frerotte . . . If the Niners were running anything but the Mike Martz offense this summer, you get the idea Hill would have been the quarterback on opening day. He's no savior, but he's a step forward from J.T. O'Sullivan.


Running Back

  1. Adrian Peterson
  2. Matt Forte
  3. Thomas Jones
  4. Brandon Jacobs
  5. Brian Westbrook
  6. Steven Jackson
  7. Michael Turner
  8. Steve Slaton
  9. Frank Gore
  10. Joseph Addai
  11. LaDainian Tomlinson
  12. DeAngelo Williams
  13. Marshawn Lynch
  14. Clinton Portis
  15. Chris Johnson
  16. Maurice Jones-Drew
  17. Ryan Grant
  18. Reggie Bush
  19. Marion Barber
  20. Peyton Hillis
  21. Ronnie Brown
  22. Larry Johnson
  23. Warrick Dunn
  24. LenDale White
  25. Willie Parker
  26. Kevin Smith
  27. Justin Fargas
  28. Cedric Benson
  29. Darren McFadden
  30. Le'Ron McClain
  31. Derrick Ward
  32. Pierre Thomas
  33. Sammy Morris
  34. Tim Hightower
  35. Kevin Faulk
  36. Jamal Lewis
  37. Jonathan Stewart
  38. Leon Washington
  39. Julius Jones
  40. Fred Taylor
  41. Willis McGahee
  42. Mewelde Moore
  43. Ricky Williams
  44. Jamaal Charles
  45. Ladell Betts
  46. Fred Jackson
  47. Chester Taylor
  48. Dominic Rhodes
  49. J.J. Arrington
  50. Brandon Jackson
  51. Carnell Williams
  52. Darren Sproles
  53. Ray Rice
  54. Maurice Morris
  55. Ahmad Bradshaw
  56. Jerious Norwood
  57. Tashard Choice
  58. Antonio Pittman
  59. Selvin Young
  60. BenJarvus Green-Ellis
  61. Jerome Harrison
  62. T.J. Duckett
  63. Ryan Moats

Comments: This might have been the toughest ranking assignment of the season, given how many key backs are hurt or looking at hellish schedules (in the case of Barber, both apply; he was the trickiest call of the entire exercise) . . . Gore's been a disappointment of late but they keep feeding him the ball and the schedule is reasonable after this week (Jets, Dolphins, Rams) . . . It's too early to start speculating on a Titans shutdown, though Jeff Fisher can entertain that thought if Pittsburgh loses a game soon. From a fantasy perspective, things stay more tidy if the Steelers beat Dallas this week, staying within two games of the Titans for the AFC's top spot (keep in mind Pittsburgh and Tennessee play in Week 16) . . . I don't see how anyone can risk a thing on McGahee the rest of the way.


Wide Receiver

  1. Anquan Boldin
  2. Larry Fitzgerald
  3. Greg Jennings
  4. Reggie Wayne
  5. Roddy White
  6. Brandon Marshall
  7. Calvin Johnson
  8. Steve Smith
  9. Andre Johnson
  10. Randy Moss
  11. Terrell Owens
  12. Dwayne Bowe
  13. Bernard Berrian
  14. Lance Moore
  15. Wes Welker
  16. Marques Colston
  17. Lee Evans
  18. Antonio Bryant
  19. Eddie Royal
  20. Hines Ward
  21. Jerricho Cotchery
  22. Donald Driver
  23. Kevin Walter
  24. Santana Moss
  25. Anthony Gonzalez
  26. DeSean Jackson
  27. Steve Breaston
  28. T.J. Houshmandzadeh
  29. Laveranues Coles
  30. Vincent Jackson
  31. Santonio Holmes
  32. Kevin Curtis
  33. Derrick Mason
  34. Torry Holt
  35. Donnie Avery
  36. Mark Bradley
  37. Amani Toomer
  38. Devin Hester
  39. Mark Clayton
  40. Domenik Hixon
  41. Braylon Edwards
  42. Ted Ginn Jr.
  43. Marvin Harrison
  44. Isaac Bruce
  45. Chris Chambers
  46. Reggie Williams
  47. Muhsin Muhammad
  48. Davone Bess
  49. Justin Gage
  50. Michael Jenkins
  51. Chad Johnson
  52. *Matt Jones
  53. Bobby Engram
  54. Roy Williams
  55. Shaun McDonald
  56. Jason Hill
  57. Nate Washington
  58. Deion Branch
  59. Jabar Gaffney
  60. Malcom Floyd
  61. Brandon Jones
  62. Patrick Crayton
  63. Brandon Lloyd
  64. Antwaan Randle El
  65. Jerry Porter
  66. Sidney Rice
  67. Koren Robinson
  68. Ronald Curry
  69. Harry Douglas
  70. Devin Thomas
  71. Brandon Stokley

Comments: I know Wayne is letting people down and he's come up small in a lot of favorable spots, but the schedule (Browns, Lions, Jags) won't allow me to rank him lower . . . Matt Jones has actually been rock solid of late, but that suspension looms over his head . . . Andre Johnson has a terrible schedule to finish, but how low can you really rank him? AJ gets the Packers, Titans and Raiders the next three weeks . . . The Dallas schedule is more daunting against the run, so Owens should be okay . . . The Cardinals won't see a good secondary the rest of the way (Rams, Vikings, Patriots, Seahawks), which keeps Breaston afloat . . . Clayton would have a higher rank if the Ravens weren't looking at the Redskins, Steelers and Cowboys the next three weeks.


Tight End

  1. Tony Gonzalez
  2. Dallas Clark
  3. Jason Witten
  4. Dustin Keller
  5. Antonio Gates
  6. Chris Cooley
  7. Kevin Boss
  8. Tony Scheffler
  9. Zach Miller
  10. Jeremy Shockey
  11. John Carlson
  12. Owen Daniels
  13. Visanthe Shiancoe
  14. Greg Olsen
  15. Bo Scaife
  16. Donald Lee
  17. Marcedes Lewis
  18. Vernon Davis
  19. Heath Miller
  20. Billy Miller
  21. Todd Heap
  22. Kellen Winslow
  23. Anthony Fasano
  24. Jerramy Stevens
  25. Brent Celek
  26. Martellus Bennett

Comments: Anyone got a good theory on Gates? . . . Carlson is basically the No. 1 guy in the Seattle passing game now . . . The Olsen breakout has come crashing to earth: 12-102-0 over the last five weeks . . . I've relented a bit on Shockey, but I'm still leery of ranking him too aggressively. We've seen the rug get pulled out on us before . . . Keller looked like a great 2009 sleeper for a while, but the cover is blown now.

Kicker

  1. Rob Bironas
  2. Neil Rackers
  3. Stephen Gostkowski
  4. Mason Crosby
  5. Adam Vinatieri
  6. Jets Kicker
  7. Ryan Longwell
  8. Jason Elam
  9. Giants Kicker
  10. Matt Prater
  11. Robbie Gould
  12. Matt Bryant
  13. Garrett Hartley
  14. Jeff Reed
  15. Nate Kaeding
  16. Nick Folk
  17. Dan Carpenter
  18. John Kasay
  19. David Akers
  20. Phil Dawson
  21. Shaun Suisham
  22. Rian Lindell
  23. Matt Stover
  24. Kris Brown
  25. Joe Nedney
  26. Josh Scobee
  27. Sebastian Janikowski
  28. Connor Barth
  29. Josh Brown
  30. Olindo Mare
  31. Shayne Graham
  32. Jason Hanson

Comments: As well as Jay Feely has kicked of late, I could easily see him pushed aside after one bad boot, especially if the Jets don't win at San Francisco this week. Mike Nugent has to be close to 100 percent now . . . Vinatieri finishes the year with four weather-safe games (three indoors at home, one at Jacksonville). Just hope the Colts aren't scoring just touchdowns against Cincinnati and Detroit . . . The Dallas schedule makes Folk too risky to gamble on.


Defense

  1. Tennessee Titans
  2. New York Giants
  3. Pittsburgh Steelers
  4. Baltimore Ravens
  5. Indianapolis Colts
  6. Minnesota Vikings
  7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
  8. Philadelphia Eagles
  9. New York Jets
  10. Green Bay Packers
  11. Miami Dolphins
  12. Chicago Bears
  13. Arizona Cardinals
  14. Dallas Cowboys
  15. Carolina Panthers
  16. Oakland Raiders
  17. New England Patriots
  18. Buffalo Bills
  19. San Diego Chargers
  20. San Francisco 49ers
  21. New Orleans Saints
  22. Washington Redskins
  23. Atlanta Falcons
  24. Seattle Seahawks
  25. Jacksonville Jaguars
  26. Cincinnati Bengals
  27. Cleveland Browns
  28. Houston Texans
  29. Denver Broncos
  30. Kansas City Chiefs
  31. Detroit Lions
  32. St. Louis Rams

Comments: Again it's a schedule play for the Colts, who should be able to get fourth-quarter cheap defensive points against Ryan Fitzpatrick and Daunte Culpepper . . . Oakland's defense doesn't get a lot of support from Russell and the boys, but that's a pretty nasty group, improving all the time . . . Arizona's secondary is a joke, but this defense forces a lot of negative plays, too. Look for some of them against St. Louis this week.

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