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Shuffle Up: Eli Manning, bargain again

Scott Pianowski
Roto Arcade

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We ranked Eli higher, and Peyton's not happy (USP)

New week, new Shuffle Up. The ranks you find below are not Week 6 fantasy ranks; instead, they're rest-of-season ranks. If I were to enter a start-fresh draft right now, I'd be using something similar to this blueprint.

In the even-numbered weeks, we discuss the quarterbacks and wide receivers. In the odd-numbered weeks, the running backs and tight ends have the floor.

I reserve the right to tweak this list as the day goes along. The quarterbacks are on board for now, the wideouts will follow shortly. I welcome your intelligent disagreement, in the comments and on Twitter (you can get me @scott_pianowski, and use the hashtag #shuffleup).

Make the jump and we'll sort it out together.

1. Drew Brees
2. Matt Ryan
3. Aaron Rodgers
4. Tom Brady
5. Eli Manning
6. Robert Griffin

It comes down to health for Griffin. If we knew for sure he would play the full 16 games, he could easily rank anywhere you want, even No. 1. But can he withstand the pounding and punishment for a full season? And if they pull back on the rushing attempts, will he throw the ball well enough to be an elite fantasy QB? … One astounding thing about Manning is how well he's played through a host of receiver injuries. Like the true greats at the position, he's able to excel almost in spite of his supporting cast at times. That said, the occasional collapses of the New York defense have also helped his fantasy cause. You get the idea 2013 will be the first season Manning goes for his just price tag; when's the last time anyone drafted Eli Manning and regretted it afterwards? … Brady is a tricky call given how New England's rushing game has grown up. And the NFC West schedule, a slate that looked fairly cushy back in August, looks challenging now.

7. Peyton Manning
8. Andrew Luck
9. Matthew Stafford
10. Cam Newton
11. Ben Roethlisberger
12. Michael Vick

Denver's Manning currently stands No. 6 in QB points per game, and he's done that in his get-to-know-you month with a new batch of teammates. The efficiency figures to go up from this point forward, but as the Broncos face an easier batch of opponents (they've already lost to Houston, Atlanta, and New England), Manning might not have to throw as much. … I'd like to go even lower on Newton, but he's an aggressive runner and that obviously pays the bills. And despite the pricy in-house backfield, the Carolina staff still likes to script rushing plays for Newton around the goal. The Panthers just lost center Ryan Kalil for the season, another major hit for this stumbling offense. The bye week arrived at a good time, but the formidable Dallas and Chicago defenses are lying in wait. … If I ran the Eagles, I'd dump all of those Vick goal-line draws into the nearest trash bin. For all of Vick's streakiness and erratic play, you need him healthy for the long haul if you have any designs on a Super Bowl run.

13. Philip Rivers
14. Tony Romo
15. Andy Dalton
16. Joe Flacco
17. Christian Ponder
18. Jay Cutler

[Video: Fantasy video: Sneaky WR sleeper in Week 6]

The awful offensive line keeps Romo's upside limited, and on some occasions the Cowboys will be able to win on the strength of the defense (consider the Tampa Bay victory). Where are the shootouts going to come from? … Cutler's setup is similar to Romo's: mediocre offensive line, very strong defense, a few stinkers here and there. Cutler rates lower in the Shuffle Up because his defense is stronger and his receiving corps isn't nearly as deep.

19. Carson Palmer
20. Matt Schaub
21. Ryan Fitzpatrick
22. Brandon Weeden
23. Ryan Tannehill
24. Alex Smith
25. Jake Locker
26. Josh Freeman
27. Kevin Kolb

Palmer gets this ranking because I respect Oakland's skill players — assuming everyone can stay healthy for 15 seconds — and I don't see how this Raiders defense is going to stop anyone (even when the secondary heals up). Garbage time production is a beautiful thing. … Schaub has attempted a mere 14 fourth-quarter passes this year, last among regular quarterbacks. To put that number in some context, Brees leads the way, at 71. … Smith is getting a lot of props for his recent play, but he still has to worry about Kaepernick swiping some snaps every week — and perhaps some at the goal line. I'm also curious to see how Smith handles playing from behind, or under adversity; he didn't show a thing during the Minnesota loss.

28. Russell Wilson
29. Sam Bradford
30. Brady Quinn
31. Matt Hasselbeck
32. Blaine Gabbert
33. Mark Sanchez
34. Matt Cassel
35. Matt Flynn
36. John Skelton

I don't think we've seen the last of Skelton, not the way Kolb is handing out sacks in Arizona. I know, I know, the Cardinals offensive line is horrendous. No one disputes that. But Kolb's pocket awareness is still on back-order — he's not good at identifying blitz triggers pre-snap, and he's slow to process information post-snap. He's as much to blame on those 22 sacks as the Arizona blocking, and I can't see how he stays healthy all season playing like this. … Maybe Quinn will return to fantasy obscurity after his likely Tampa Bay start, but if he shows anything against the Bucs, you have to figure the Chiefs might consider a long-term switch. To make things more interesting, Kansas City has a Week 7 bye: that would present a perfect opportunity for a regime change. Cassel hasn't done anything to protect his job through the opening five weeks.

[Related: Pickups of the Week]

36. Shaun Hill
37. Tim Tebow
39. Colin Kaepernick
40. Nick Foles
41. Kyle Orton
42. Jason Campbell

Sticking with the bye week theme for a minute, note that the Jets get their break in Week 9. If they're going to switch from Sanchez to Tebow for good, that's the time to do it — a Tebow-centric offense requires a significant foundation change. It's going to be a major challenge for any Gang Green quarterback to make something of the upcoming schedule, however; after the Colts in Week 6, the Jets line up this way: at NE, MIA, bye, at SEA, at STL, NE, ARI. Where are the plus matchups? The Jets don't get their much-anticipated Bills rematch until Week 17 — fantasy nothingness.

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Missed Connections (USP)

Here's a preliminary list of wide receivers. I am not married to this list yet. Comments shortly.

1. Calvin Johnson
2. A.J. Green
3. Victor Cruz
4. Roddy White
5. Julio Jones
6. Percy Harvin
7. Reggie Wayne
8. Larry Fitzgerald

It could be the right time to trade for Fitzgerald. While the Arizona line is a mess, it's easier to massage a bad pass-blocking line than it is a weak run-blocking line. And I don't see a difference maker in the Cardinals backfield to begin with. … Harvin's touchdown upside is modest, but they use him all over the formation and he's no longer handled with kid gloves with respect to snap count. His rushing yardage kickback is also a selling point. … There are so many things wrong with the Lions I really don't know where to start, but Megatron is the same guy he's always been. No worries on him. … Wayne is the clear No. 1 target on his team; Luck has no problem forcing the ball to Wayne in a tough spot. That's what we're looking for. And if you want a clinic in how to run routes and set up defenders, settle in for some tape on No. 87. He's a dynamite technician, always has been.

9. Brandon Marshall
10. Demaryius Thomas
11. Marques Colston
12. Mike Wallace
13. Andre Johnson
14. Antonio Brown
15. Wes Welker
16. Dwayne Bowe
17. Miles Austin
18. Eric Decker

I'm enjoying Welker's resurgence and I'm obviously expecting it to continue from this rank, but I would like to see him stop poking the bear with his sarcastic comments about Bill Belichick. Don't give the team an excuse to marginalize you, ace. … There's nothing wrong with Johnson from an efficiency standpoint, but he remains a sucker play because of the volume and the injury risk. And we're still waiting for that 10-touchdown season; now that he's 31, maybe it's time to go wish for something else. He remains a dynamite player, but he's been an overrated fantasy commodity for a few years now.

19. Jordy Nelson
20. Torrey Smith
21. Vincent Jackson
22. Hakeem Nicks
23. Steve Smith
24. Dez Bryant
25. Brandon Lloyd
26. Steve Johnson
27. Jeremy Maclin
28. Greg Jennings
29. DeSean Jackson
30. Pierre Garcon

If you put Fitzgerald's makeup and work ethic into Bryant's head, you'd have a Top 5 receiver, easily. Alas, in-season transplants are still frowned upon by the league. … No one really knows how healthy Nicks is today, or how healthy he'll be a month from now. He's a Pro Bowl contender at his best, but the context clues make me doubt he'll be 100 percent at any point this year.

31. Malcom Floyd
32. Brian Hartline
33. Michael Crabtree
34. Denarius Moore
35. Lance Moore
36. Kenny Britt
37. Anquan Boldin
38. James Jones
39. Mike Williams
40. Nate Burleson
41. Darrius Heyward-Bey
42. Kendall Wright
43. Andre Roberts
44. Brandon LaFell

I liked how Britt was moving at practice this week; I think he might do something Thursday night against Pittsburgh. But he's pulled the football away from us several times before. … I'm not completely selling on LaFell yet; I want to see what he's able to do (more specifically, how he's used) when Carolina emerges from the bye.

45. Andrew Hawkins
46. Randall Cobb
45. Donnie Avery
48. Mario Manningham
49. Robert Meachem
50. Jeremy Kerley
51. Justin Blackmon
52. Nate Washington
53. Davone Bess
54. Sidney Rice
55. Titus Young
56. Brandon Gibson

Blackmon is starting to look more comfortable in the pro game, and his first start after the bye is a date with Oakland's crummy secondary. Sounds good to me. … Kerley's skill set best translates to a role in the slot, but the injury-prone Jets will probably need to use him as an outside receiver now and again. He should be the team's top receiver for the balance of the season.

57. Stephen Hill
58. Leonard Hankerson
59. Rueben Randle
60. Jerome Simpson
61. Golden Tate
62. Josh Gordon
63. Devery Henderson
64. Domenik Hixon
65. Greg Little
66. Kevin Ogletree
67. Ramses Barden
68. Jonathan Baldwin
69. Emmanuel Sanders
70. Donald Jones
71. Mohamed Massaquoi
72. Doug Baldwin
73. Chris Givens
74. Julian Edelman
75. Chaz Schilens
76. Jordan Norwood

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