Shuffle Up and Pass: The Eli Manning Problem

Scott Pianowski
Roto Arcade

It's an odd-numbered week, so that means we're back in the air with our Shuffle Up series. Today we tackle the passing positions (QB, WR, TE), trying to answer one simple question: who's worth the most in a standard league beginning with the Week 7 action? The games to this point matter for audition purposes, but this isn't going to read as a list of scoring leaders.

We'll do the running backs, kickers and defenses next week (and in all even-numbered weeks). And again, this is not a set of weekly ranks — those will be out at some point Wednesday night.

As always, I welcome your respectful and intelligent disagrement in the comments. I just ask for a few things: back up your disagreement (and your disdain, in some cases) with a fact-based case; be kind to your neighbors; and remember the golden rule, players don't gain 20 percent of bonus value just because they're on your roster. I'll consider all intelligent arguments and if you win the debate, perhaps I'll tweak the rank. Let's go for a win-win here, amigos.

Onto the fresh batch of ranks, right out of the oven. I'll add additional comments during the day.{ysp:more}

Quarterback
1. Aaron Rodgers
2. Tom Brady
3. Drew Brees
4. Cam Newton
5. Michael Vick
6. Tony Romo
7. Matthew Stafford
8. Philip Rivers
9. Eli Manning
10. Ben Roethlisberger
11. Tim Tebow
12. Ryan Fitzpatrick
13. Matt Ryan
14. Joe Flacco
15. Matt Hasselbeck
16. Jay Cutler
17. Josh Freeman
18. Matt Schaub
19. Andy Dalton
20. Alex Smith
21. Carson Palmer
22. Sam Bradford
23. Kevin Kolb
24. Mark Sanchez
25. Curtis Painter
26. Matt Cassel
27. Colt McCoy
28. John Beck
29. Blaine Gabbert
30. Matt Flynn
31. Christian Ponder
32. Matt Moore
33. Charlie Whitehurst
34. Tarvaris Jackson
35. Kyle Orton
36. Rex Grossman
37. Jon Kitna
38. Vince Young
39. Shaun Hill
40. Mike Kafka
41. Kyle Boller
42. Donovan McNabb
43. Kerry Collins

Comments: I struggled with the Manning rank, for a few reasons. Yes, he's playing terrific ball: 101.1 rating, 9.1 YPA, 11 touchdowns, 296 yards per game. Even in the Pinball World of 2011, those are tasty numbers. But can Manning keep the production going in the second half of the year? Consider his career rating by month, stats that have collected eight years in New York: 91.3, 85.8, 76.3, 74.3. And his YPA follows the same trend: 7.7, 7.1, 6.6, and 6.4.

Manning's messy rookie year skews the data a little bit: he was a green and overmatched kid in that first season and he didn't get the job until midway through the year. And if he's truly making the full-season leap in 2011, he hasn't had a chance to bolster his second-half stats yet. That said, I think about the wind tunnel of The Meadowlands and I wonder how Manning will hold up going forward. I still ranked him with a lofty number, of course, but I could see the case for moving him down a few slots.

And then there's New York's murderous schedule, another tricky element for us to consider. Will Manning struggle against so many challenging opponents, or will he pick up a bunch of garbage-time stats if the Giants have some games where they fall behind early? It's a chicken-egg thing, you can make arguments for both sides. Tell me how you feel about Manning in the comments.

Phil Simms, for what it's worth, posted this month-by-month QB rating (80.7, 78.7, 73.4, 80.7). It's possible to be consistent playing somewhere in the swamps of Jersey.

Wide Receiver
1. Calvin Johnson
2. Wes Welker
3. Greg Jennings
4. Hakeem Nicks
5. Mike Wallace
6. Larry Fitzgerald
7. Dwayne Bowe
8. Miles Austin
9. Steve Smith
10. DeSean Jackson
11. Vincent Jackson
12. A.J. Green
13. Roddy White
14. Jeremy Maclin
15. Marques Colston
16. Pierre Garcon
17. Stevie Johnson
18. Dez Bryant
19. Andre Johnson
20. Brandon Marshall
21. Jordy Nelson
22. Sidney Rice
23. Anquan Boldin
24. Eric Decker
25. Brandon Lloyd
26. Santonio Holmes
27. Mike Williams
28. Santana Moss
29. Mario Manningham
30. Michael Crabtree
31. Reggie Wayne
32. Victor Cruz
33. Nate Washington
34. Greg Little
35. Deion Branch
36. Darrius Heyward-Bey
37. James Jones
38. Early Doucet
39. Julio Jones
40. Percy Harvin
41. Doug Baldwin
42. Torrey Smith
43. David Nelson
44. Malcom Floyd
45. Mike Thomas
46. Danario Alexander
47. Jerome Simpson
48. Antonio Brown
49. Braylon Edwards
50. Steve Breaston
51. Robert Meachem
52. Greg Salas
53. Hines Ward
54. Mohamed Massaquoi
55. Arrelious Benn
56. Lance Moore
57. Jabar Gaffney
58. Preston Parker
59. Laurent Robinson
60. Jacoby Ford
61. Damian Williams
62. Jason Hill
63. Jacoby Jones
64. Michael Jenkins
65. Kevin Walter
66. Devery Henderson
67. Dane Sanzenbacher
68. Nate Burleson
69. Jason Avant
70. Devin Hester
71. Titus Young
72. Brandon LaFell
73. Brian Hartline
74. Johnny Knox
75. Denarius Moore
76. Plaxico Burress
77. Naaman Roosevelt
78. Brandon Gibson
79. Harry Douglas
80. Mike Williams
81. Ben Obomanu
82. Davone Bess
83. Derrick Mason
84. Donald Driver
85. Mike Sims-Walker
86. Lee Evans
87. Joshua Cribbs
88. Randall Cobb

Comments: I panned Bowe most of the summer (partly a regression tune, partly a Haley Paranoia tune) and he didn't do anything in Week 1, but he's been a monster since (21-413-4 in four games). I can't deny him a Top 10 slot any longer . . . No one knows the return date on Andre Johnson. I don't know, you don't know, the guy with the clipboard and the medical mumbo-jumbo doesn't know . . . Manningham has played 122 snaps the last two weeks, compared to 66 for Cruz. If I ran the Giants, I'd simply make the three-wide package the base set —Manning has a 126.5 QB rating this year when the formation has three WRs.

Tight End
1. Jimmy Graham
2. Aaron Hernandez
3. Jason Witten
4. Rob Gronkowski
5. Jermichael Finley
6. Vernon Davis
7. Tony Gonzalez
8. Brandon Pettigrew
9. Fred Davis
10. Antonio Gates
11. Owen Daniels
12. Greg Olsen
13. Jermaine Gresham
14. Jared Cook
15. Dustin Keller
16. Jake Ballard
17. Kellen Winslow
18. Benjamin Watson
19. Kevin Boss
20. Ed Dickson
21. Dallas Clark
22. Marcedes Lewis
23. Delanie Walker
24. Heath Miller
25. Jeremy Shockey
26. Todd Heap
27. Brent Celek
28. Scott Chandler
29. Visanthe Shiancoe
30. Jeff King
31. Evan Moore
32. Lance Kendricks
33. Joel Dreessen

Comments:Keller is losing some snaps because of his woeful blocking, but mostly it's the run-first offense that's killing his value, along with a few scattershot Sanchez throws . . . Gates will be on the field soon enough, but it's foolish to expect him to be 100 percent. Chronic injuries don't go away . . . I really hate to put Finley this low but the spread-it-around ways in Green Bay are crushing his value. He's staying in to pass-block about 3-4 times a week, so the problem goes deeper than that. You can't blame Aaron Rodgers for being matchup-driven; when you post a ridiculous 122.5 rating through six weeks, there's no need to change anything . . . Don't get hung up on the snap count with Hernandez. He's essentially used as a wide receiver in New England's offense, and he's been productive in all four of his 2011 games. So long as he can stay on the field, he's a very safe starter, a no-doubt weekly play.

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Images courtesy of Associated Press