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Shuffle Up: The Michael Vick problem

Scott Pianowski
Roto Arcade

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Michael Vick runs for his life (USP)

Shuffle Up rankings are for the rest of the season. These are not Week 4 ranks. What's happened to this point is an audition, nothing more. If I were starting a fresh league tonight, here's how I'd attack the quarterback position.

If you have a comment on the ranks, I'm all ears. Best place to get my ear: respond to me on Twitter. Use the hashtag #shuffleup.

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

The easiest fantasy advice of the week: don't panic, watch Rodgers go off against the crummy New Orleans defense. No heavy lifting there. … While Brees probably won't get last year's efficiency level back, the volume keeps him very much float. … If there weren't any injury concerns tied to Griffin, he could easily be in the Top 3. It's hard to watch his snaps every week — he's getting the tar beaten out of him.

6. Cam Newton
7. Matthew Stafford
8. Eli Manning
9. Ben Roethlisberger
10. Peyton Manning
11. Michael Vick

While Griffin feels like an injury risk, Vick is more of an injury certainty. He's managed one full season as a pro, his line stinks, and his pocket awareness has never really developed. As soon as Vick presents a monster game, sell sell sell. The timing probably isn't right to sell him right now, but your mileage will vary. … To be honest, I'm not exactly mad for Peyton Manning. But he should show notable improvement as he gets more familiarity with his new teammates, and he's still as smart as anyone in the game — note the second-half adjustments he's made every week.

12. Philip Rivers
13. Tony Romo
14. Joe Flacco
15. Andy Dalton
16. Andrew Luck
17. Christian Ponder
18. Matt Schaub

Schaub really has no upside when you consider his setup: outstanding defense, outstanding running game, team that's probably headed for 11 or 12 wins. Where will the shootouts come from? How many fourth-quarter passes will he need to throw? … While Romo's defense and offensive line count against him, at least he still has a deep batch of receivers to work with. And sometimes Miles Austin or Dez Bryant will take a short pass and go long with it, or win on a contested ball. … Any Norv Turner offense wants to try for shot plays, intermediate and deep passes (often with play action or run action). But the spotty pass blocking in San Diego is mucking things up; you can't chuck it downfield if the line doesn't do its job.

19. Jake Locker
20. Carson Palmer
21. Shane Falco
22. Jay Cutler
23. Ryan Fitzpatrick

The Bills are protecting Fitzpatrick well, though the low sack total is also tied to the design of the offense: short drops, get the ball out quickly. But where are the special downfield talents? Stevie Johnson is a nice player. The backs obviously can catch the ball and make something happen. I don't see much else. … The Bears really can't be too proactive with Cutler, not with that offensive line and that receiver group. And Chicago's plus defense is going to win a lot of games on its own.

24. Matt Cassel
25. Alex Smith
26. Josh Freeman
27. Russell Wilson
28. Sam Bradford
29. Kevin Kolb
30. Mark Sanchez

The Seahawks are making it clear with Wilson: they don't trust him, not yet, anyway. They'll try to keep winning games through defense and running the ball. … Sanchez hasn't played that poorly in two of his games, but he's not getting much help from the offense. Shonn Greene can't be trusted, the wideout group isn't deep, and the Dustin Keller injury hurts as well. And you never know when the knee-jerk Jets might look to give Tim Tebow a look.

31. Blaine Gabbert
32. Brandon Weeden
33. Ryan Tannehill
34. Nick Foles
35. Tim Tebow

Foles is just a rookie, but we've seen Andy Reid and Marty Mornhinweg pull off miracles before. If and when Vick gets hurt, I'm at least curious to see what Foles might be able to do.

36. John Skelton
37. Matt Hasselbeck
38. Shaun Hill
39. Colin Kaepernick
40. Matt Moore

Skelton isn't getting his job back unless Kolb completely tanks. Too many things have fallen right for the Cardinals; they won't rock the boat.

41. Kyle Orton
42. Matt Flynn
43. Colt McCoy
44. Jason Campbell
45. Joe Webb
46. Charlie Whitehurst
47. Brady Quinn

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Metrodome Monster (USP)

And here are your wide receivers:

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

Harvin's touchdown upside isn't silly, but he gets the ball in a variety of ways (don't overlook his rushing contributions) and his snap percentage has jumped significantly in 2012 (a continuation of how things ended last year).

8. Andre Johnson
9. Jordy Nelson
10. Mike Wallace
11. Demaryius Thomas
12. Brandon Marshall
13. Greg Jennings
14. Miles Austin
15. Steve Smith
16. Hakeem Nicks
17. Eric Decker

The usual caveats apply to Houston's Johnson: injury concerns, never scored 10 touchdowns, etc. And the Texans might throw less in the fourth quarter than any other team this year. … Nicks is pretty much an impossible rank at the moment, considering his foot problems. If completely healthy, he's in the Top 10 and maybe the Top 5. … If you can buy low on the Broncos passing game at the moment, I'll sign off on it.

18. Jeremy Maclin
19. Reggie Wayne
20. Antonio Brown
21. Marques Colston
22. Stevie Johnson
23. Dez Bryant
24. Torrey Smith
25. Dwayne Bowe
26. Wes Welker
27. Brandon Lloyd
28. Pierre Garcon

I've pushed Colston down somewhat, but maybe it's not deep enough. The foot problem could be an issue most of the year, but the volume of the offense can't be overlooked. … Stevie Johnson's yardage numbers have been ordinary, but you can't ignore the consistent visits to the end zone. And he's clearly the No. 1 downfield option in this passing game.

29. Malcom Floyd
30. Vincent Jackson
31. DeSean Jackson
32. Lance Moore
33. Santonio Holmes
34. Danny Amendola
35. Denarius Moore
36. Kenny Britt
37. Robert Meachem
38. Michael Crabtree
39. Anquan Boldin
40. Brandon LaFell

Amendola is constantly compared to Welker, and some feel he'll be the Welker replacement (reunited with Josh McDaniels) next year. … LaFell was invisible in week 3, like most of the Panthers, but the creative ways he was used in Week 1-2 hold an impression. He still looks like one of the breakout players of the season to me.

41. Darrius Heyward-Bey
42. Andrew Hawkins
43. Sidney Rice
44. Greg Little
45. Jerome Simpson
46. Nate Burleson
47. Justin Blackmon
48. Mike Williams
49. Nate Washington
50. Titus Young
51. James Jones
52. Donnie Avery

I'm giving Blackmon another week or two. If he doesn't show something significant by then, he'll be buried on this list. At least Gabbert has made some strides in Season 2.

53. Randall Cobb
54. Kendall Wright
55. Andre Roberts
56. Golden Tate
57. Brian Hartline
58. Donald Jones
59. Kevin Ogletree
60. Alshon Jeffery
61. Davone Bess
62. Julian Edelman
63. Leonard Hankerson

Cobb has the jets to score from anywhere on the field, but he might not be thick enough to handle the backfield touches the Packers are exposing him to.

64. Ramses Barden
65. Emmanuel Sanders
66. Laurent Robinson
67. Randy Moss
68. Kevin Walter
69. Jonathan Baldwin
70. T.Y. Hilton
71. Stephen Hill
72. Jeremy Kerley
73. Devery Henderson
74. Armon Binns
75. Jacoby Jones
76. Steve Breaston
77. Mario Manningham
78. Santana Moss
79. Brandon Stokley
80. Brandon Gibson
81. Rod Streater
82. Michael Floyd

Questions, comments, suggestions? Hit me up on Twitter, using the hashtag #shuffleup.

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