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The Big Rotowski: Week 11 Ranks

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Note: As of Friday, updated Week 11 rankings can be found HERE

You've been clamoring for it. Now it's finally here. With no further ado, I give you my:

Top Five NFL Player Extremities That Have The Fantasy World's Underoos In A Twist

5. Clinton Portis's Hand – Not that the Redskins were going anywhere, but ol' Clint was part of a heck of a lot of winning fantasy franchises, teams that had scraped and suffered through Portis' early-season shoulder woes, and had proudly looked on as the Washington running back rewarded this faith. Now, he's done. Late word Tuesday had him on Injured Reserve and lost for the season. Sure, Ladell Betts is a good insurance policy, but you know it's not going to be the same. You'd think that Dr.-I-Don't-Know could administer some medicine to Dolemite Jenkins, and make with the healing.

4. Tiki Barber's Thumb – Hey, did you hear Tiki Barber's retiring? Anyway, watching Barber prod and play with his thumb Sunday night like Donald Rumsfeld polishing the handrails on the Titanic sure was fun. And listening to Al and John speculate on what was ailing Barber was just awesome. It turns out Tiki says he's all right to play in Jacksonville this week, but one wonders if his fumbling woes could return.

3. Larry Fitzgerald's Leg – Does a hamstring count as an extremity? Anyway, those of us who were patient with Larry Legend during his four-week absence were furnished with a six-catch, 80-yard day that was almost perfect. Perfect, that is, until Fitzgerald leapt to catch his final pass, a beauty down near the Dallas goal line, and re-strained the hammy. Dennis Green says he "anticipates" that Fitzgerald will be able to play Sunday against Detroit. Then again, he also "anticipated" his team would win more than, y'know, one game.

2. Terrell Owens' Monkey – That's not a euphemism; get your head out of the gutter. No, I mean the invisible monkey that T.O. carries around on his back, the one that causes him to do and say stupid things, the one that prevents him from possessing a shred of self-awareness. I mean, heck, it's been like two weeks since Owens has done anything stupid enough to warrant the first two minutes of SportsCenter. Catching touchdowns simply isn't enough anymore, big guy. You've got to hijack a rickshaw,or something like that. Let's be clear: Owens' owners are simply waiting for the other shoe to drop, and it will be dropped by an invisible monkey. Fun fact: T.O.'s monkey is probably only a distant cousin of Steve Young's monkey.

1. Shaun Alexander's Foot – The power of prayer has never looked so effete. Alexander was supposed to miss a couple of games, and even made noises about missing none, because of his "non-weight-bearing" foot fracture. Each week, doctors have inspected the ankle, and each week they've found it sufficiently unhealed to cause the former MVP to miss another game. Dude's missed six games now, and this Monday, doctors once again told him they didn't like the way the ankle looked. But Alexander professes to be pain-free, and so is going to try and practice this week, with an eye toward playing Sunday in San Francisco. To Alexander's still-hanging-on owners, this is a double-edged sword. We'll all be watching with bated breath, looking for touchdowns. Unfortunately, inevitably, we're also going to be scanning the field for detached feet.

Okay. So as always, you can check back Friday for updates in my weekly rankings, as well as ratings from the other Yahoo! Sports Fantasy experts.

Quarterbacks

Rank Name Opponent Week 10 Rating
1 Peyton Manning @ DAL 2
2 Drew Brees CIN 6
3 Carson Palmer @ NO 10
4 Donovan McNabb TEN 1
5 Marc Bulger @ CAR 3
6 Michael Vick @ BAL 4
7 Philip Rivers @ DEN 9
8 Matt Hasselbeck @ SF NR
9 Jon Kitna @ ARI 5
10 Tom Brady @ GB 7
11 Brett Favre NE 11
12 Steve McNair ATL 19
13 Jake Plummer SD 14
14 Jake Delhomme STL 16
15 Tony Romo IND 12
16 Ben Roethlisberger @ CLE 20
17 Rex Grossman @ NYJ 17
18 Eli Manning @ JAC 13
19 David Carr BUF 22
20 Damon Huard OAK 8
21 Charlie Frye PIT 26
22 Joey Harrington MIN 25
23 Vince Young @ PHI 31
24 Matt Leinart DET 28
25 David Garrard NYG 23
26 Chad Pennington CHI 24
27 Alex Smith SEA 15
28 Jason Campbell @ TB NR
29 Aaron Brooks @ KC NR
30 Bruce Gradkowski WAS 30
31 J.P. Losman @ HOU 27
32 Brad Johnson @ MIA 21

Notes: Brees has been everything I thought he wouldn't be: strong-armed, tons of weapons at his disposal, instantly comfortable with the weight of an offense on his shoulders. It doesn't matter if the Saints are out to a big lead or mopping up down big in garbage time; Brees keeps firing. He's also a top trade target because of a very favorable schedule during your fantasy playoffs … One game didn't cure all his ills, but Palmer should keep getting right against a woeful Saints secondary that's allowed the most fantasy points to quarterbacks over the last five games … I love listening to the pundits pile on Vick, as though they're just discovering he's an inconsistent mess in "real" football. We fantasy players know better: Vick is a third running back. Keep starting him … Obviously, I've made the assumption here that Hasselbeck will play. That's far from certain, and if he doesn't, I would move Seneca Wallace down the board some … Brady put up that huge game in Minnesota, and followed it up with two outright stinkers against the Colts and Jets. Defenses are doing to him what the Pats have done to everyone else: mix up blitz and coverage packages on every single play, try to get him confused, and rely on the fact that he doesn't have a go-to guy he really trusts. Green Bay, by the way, has probably the single most-improved pass defense in the NFL over the course of this season, Charles Woodson notwithstanding … If you're going to pile on Vick, you have to throw some grief McNair's way. He led a gutsy comeback, and he's a great leader, but McNair made way too many "real" football mistakes last week, including accidentally stepping out of his own end zone dropping back to pass. Still, the Ravens threw a lot, and figure to throw more against the pass defense that's dropped the furthest over the past month … All aboard the Romo Express! I get a lot of email every week telling me how stupid I am for not putting Romo higher, and this week will be no different, I'm quite sure. However, the Colts are much tougher to pass against than rush against (they're eighth in the league in preventing fantasy points to quarterbacks over the last five games) … The bloom seems off Huard's rose. Trent Green is waiting in the wings, and the Raiders' pass defense has been good all year … Keep running, Vince Young.

Running Backs

Rank Name Opponent Week 10 Rating
1 LaDainian Tomlinson @ DEN 1
2 Larry Johnson OAK 2
3 Brian Westbrook TEN 3
4 Willie Parker @ CLE 7
5 Kevin Jones @ ARI 4
6 Steven Jackson @ CAR 6
7 Tiki Barber @ JAC 10
8 Frank Gore SEA 15
9 Shaun Alexander @ SF NR
10 Julius Jones IND 9
11 Deuce McAllister CIN 27
12 Thomas Jones @ NYJ 22
13 Rudi Johnson @ NO 12
14 Chester Taylor @ MIA 11
15 Ahman Green NE 19
16 Warrick Dunn @ BAL 14
17 Ronnie Brown MIN 8
18 Corey Dillon @ GB 16
19 Travis Henry @ PHI 32
20 DeShaun Foster STL 24
21 Fred Taylor NYG 13
22 Joseph Addai @ DAL 17
23 Tatum Bell SD NR
24 Anthony Thomas @ HOU 21
25 Wali Lundy BUF 30
26 Edgerrin James DET 26
27 Jamal Lewis ATL 18
28 Ladell Betts @ TB NR
29 Marion Barber IND 37
30 Brandon Jacobs @ JAC 36
31 Maurice Jones-Drew NYG 25
32 Reuben Droughns PIT 31
33 LaMont Jordan @ KC 35
34 Carnell Williams WAS 28
35 Laurence Maroney @ GB 20
36 Maurice Morris @ SF 29
37 Kevan Barlow CHI NR
38 Dominic Rhodes @ DAL 34
39 Reggie Bush CIN 38
40 Leon Washington CHI 33

Notes: At some point, Tomlinson has to come down off the three-TDs-per-game kick. Doesn't he? … Parker certainly would've made his fantasy owners a little happier if he could've broken one (or both) of those huge runs for scores, at least in leagues that award bonus points for longer TDs … I'm assuming Tiki Barber and Gore are okay, and then there's the big one: Alexander. As of this writing, The Great was cleared to practice, though doctors still seem skeptical that his cracked foot is healed. Alexander says he has no pain, though, and you can bet until his foot comes detached, he's not saying nothin' to nobody about no owie … For the moment, I've decided to treat McAllister as a first-string back. The truth is that he and Bush are still splitting touches just about down the middle, but McAllister gets all the juicy ones, and I'm betting the Saints feel pressure not to make Bush look bad on complicated delay and trap plays from scrimmage. Reggie needs to be in space, and I think that means Deuce carries the load where and when it matters … That Vikings/Dolphins game provides two difficult match-ups for two talented backs. Chester Taylor has been slow and steady, but is losing touches to Mewelde Moore here and there, so that's something to watch. The Vikings' rush defense is about the only thing that hasn't gone to pot, so Ronnie Brown has a potentially tough day ahead of him, too. Then again, he shredded the Bears' defense two weeks ago. Still, be careful of his balky groin … Dillon has been the clear choice for the Patriots over the last month, while Maroney handles kickoff duties. Dillon has over six fantasy points per game over the Pats' last six games, while Maroney has just over two … Neither Foster nor DeAngelo Williams could do squat against a Tampa Bay rush defense that's been bad and is hurting. The hope here is that Williams gets back into a rhythm. Foster has pretty much shown he's not an every-down back … Lundy lost carries to Samkon Gado last week, especially in short yardage. The Texans weren't happy with the way Lundy left yards out on the field, but his fantasy owners were fine, since he scored an early TD. Buffalo has been dreadful against the rush … I don't mind Washington's match-up against that same banged-up Bucs' defense, but it's hard for me to get excited about Betts, especially considering Jason Campbell makes his first career start. Keep an eye on T.J. Duckett, too, who should probably be owned in deep leagues, but definitely shouldn't be started yet.

Wide Receivers

Rank Name Opponent Week 10 Rating
1 Steve Smith STL 2
2 Javon Walker SD 7
3 Chad Johnson @ NO 14
4 Marques Colston CIN 12
5 Terrell Owens IND 6
6 Hines Ward @ CLE 13
7 Darrell Jackson @ SF 5
8 T.J. Houshmandzadeh @ NO 10
9 Torry Holt @ CAR 1
10 Roy Williams @ ARI 4
11 Reggie Wayne @ DAL 11
12 Andre Johnson BUF 8
13 Marvin Harrison @ DAL 3
14 Donte' Stallworth TEN 31
15 Mark Clayton ATL 40
16 Reggie Brown TEN 9
17 Donald Driver NE 17
18 Anquan Boldin DET 16
19 Joey Galloway WAS 24
20 Joe Horn CIN 22
21 Plaxico Burress @ JAC 18
22 Chris Chambers MIN 20
23 Muhsin Muhammad @ NYJ 21
24 Laveranues Coles CHI 15
25 Deion Branch @ SF 19
26 Randy Moss @ KC 25
27 Braylon Edwards PIT 23
28 Derrick Mason ATL 38
29 Lee Evans @ HOU 29
30 Eddie Kennison OAK 37
31 Antonio Bryant SEA 28
32 Larry Fitzgerald DET 30
33 Jerricho Cotchery CHI 32
34 Chris Henry @ NO 34
35 Keyshawn Johnson STL 26
36 Isaac Bruce @ CAR 41
37 Michael Jenkins @ BAL 47
38 Matt Jones NYG 27
39 Doug Gabriel @ GB 33
40 Patrick Crayton IND NR
41 Kevin Curtis @ CAR NR
42 Drew Bennett @ PHI 42
43 Mike Furrey @ ARI 36
44 Arnaz Battle SEA NR
45 Bryant Johnson DET 44
46 Reggie Williams NYG 35
47 Rod Smith SD NR
48 Joe Jurevicius PIT 45
49 Reche Caldwell @ GB NR
50 Wes Welker MIN 39

There are a lot of moving parts in this week's receiver rankings: I'm trying to account for changes in pass defenses as well as a dose of reality for the WRs themselves. For instance, Harrison gets so much attention from Indianapolis opponents that Wayne sees mostly either single coverage or fluffy-soft zones, so I'm bumping Wayne above his more prolific teammate against Dallas, who has struggled some at CB2 this year. Stallworth was healthy and clearly Donovan McNabb's favorite target last week, so he takes the spot I've been reserving for Reggie Brown. And so on … Javon Walker is a great fantasy story, but one wonders how long he can last. At some point, teams are going to have to dare anyone else to beat them … Did I read that right: Colston has the most catches through nine games of any rookie in history? … The Bengals/Saints can be another aerial show. Neither pass defense has stopped anyone lately … Mark Clayton is playing well, and Steve McNair has shown the proclivity to go to him deep. He takes the single biggest jump of the season. That Falcons/Ravens game could be just as explosive; Baltimore is the worst defender of fantasy receivers in the NFL over the last five weeks. Atlanta is second-worst … Bruce Gradkowski "only" threw it to Galloway seven times Monday night. So why did it seem like every single play was designed for Joey G.? Michael Clayton also got seven balls thrown his way. The difference: Galloway, five catches for 87 yards; Clayton, two catches for 22 yards. Galloway dropped a long TD, though … Houston's secondary is actually playing pretty well, though attrition is taking its toll, both in the pass rush, and at corner, where Lewis Sanders will miss the year with a broken hand. Despite all the injuries, the Texans haven't been the complete pushover we all expect over the past five games, especially against the pass … If he's healthy, Fitzgerald obviously belongs much higher on this list. He was the most dangerous Cardinal last weekend before tweaking his hammy. I'll update him on Friday … Cotchery runs slow-developing routes, but when Chad Pennington has time, the NC State product will go get it. That touchdown in New England was a pretty ludicrous catch. Still, I don't think C-Pen gets as much time with the fierce Bears pass rush on him this week … Jenkins may have replaced Alge Crumpler as Michael Vick's favorite end-zone target. Okay, proabably not. But the gap is narrowing … Jacksonville's passing game is an utter mess. As tempted as I'd be to play the Jags' receivers against an extraordinarily beaten-up Giants defense, I'd still be worried. David Garrard was horrid last week, and even when he throws accurate passes, who knows who'll get 'em? … I put Reche Caldwell on this list. I feel dirty.

Tight Ends

Rank Name Opponent Week 10 Rating
1 Marques Colston CIN 1
2 Antonio Gates @ DEN 2
3 Alge Crumpler @ BAL 3
4 Todd Heap ATL 5
5 L.J. Smith TEN 4
6 Kellen Winslow PIT 7
7 Jason Witten
IND
8
8 Desmond Clark @ NYJ 10
9 Jeremy Shockey
@ JAC
9
10 Chris Cooley @ TB 12
11 Jerramy Stevens @ SF 16
12 Ben Watson
@ GB
11
13 Dallas Clark @ DAL 13
14 Randy McMichael MIN 14
15 Alex Smith WAS 17
16 Heath Miller @ CLE 15
17 Owen Daniels BUF 19
18 David Martin NE 20
19 Vernon Davis SEA 18
20 George Wrighster NYG 21
21 Jermaine Wiggins @ MIA 26
22 Ben Utecht @ DAL 24
23 Randal Williams
@ KC
NR
24 Bo Scaife @ PHI 22
25 Joe Klopfenstein
@ CAR
27
26 Jason Dunn OAK NR
27 Chris Baker CHI 25
28 Kris Wilson OAK 23
29 Ben Troupe @ PHI 29
30 Bubba Franks NE 30
31 Leonard Pope DET 31
32 Kris Mangum STL 32

Tony Gonzalez seems like he'll almost surely be out with a bad shoulder, but check back. Only those in truly deep leagues and desperate situations need to consider Dunn, his likely replacement in the starting lineup … Hard to know exactly what's eating Shockey. He should be much better than he is, and maybe the ankle that's troubled him the past two seasons is acting up again. Eli Manning targeted him exactly twice last week, and Shockey's on a pace for career-lows in catches and yards receiving … Witten's resurgence isn't hard to trace. When Drew Bledsoe was in there, Witten had to stay in and block on almost every play, because of Bledsoe's bad mobility. With Tony Romo stepping around pass rushers and making people miss, Witten can go run routes … Stevens looks healthy, and one thing the San Francisco defense isn't doing much better is defend the tight end. They're second-worst for the past month and over the whole season, right behind Cincinnati, whose linebackers are all hurt … I was premature ranking Vernon Davis last weekend, but it's sounding more and more like the high first-rounder will be back in Week 11.

Kickers

Rank Name Opponent Week 10 Rating
1 Robbie Gould @ NYJ 2
2 Adam Vinatieri @ DAL 1
3 Jeff Wilkins @ CAR 3
4 Nate Kaeding @ DEN 4
5 Josh Brown @ SF 9
6 Matt Stover ATL 11
7 Shayne Graham @ NO 10
8 John Carney CIN 6
9 Mike Vanderjagt IND 5
10 Jeff Reed @ CLE 15
11 Morten Andersen @ BAL 8
12 Joe Nedney SEA 23
13 John Kasay STL 13
14 Lawrence Tynes OAK 14
15 Jason Hanson @ ARI 18
16 Dave Rayner NE 19
17 Phil Dawson PIT 22
18 Josh Scobee NYG 7
19 Neil Rackers DET 21
20 David Akers TEN 12
21 Jay Feely @ JAC 20
22 Jason Elam SD 16
23 Stephen Gostkowski @ GB 26
24 Olindo Mare MIN 24
25 Sebastian Janikowski @ KC 31
26 Rob Bironas @ PHI 30
27 Kris Brown BUF 28
28 Ryan Longwell @ MIA 17
29 Rian Lindell @ HOU 25
30 Mike Nugent CHI 29
31 Matt Bryant WAS 27
32 Nick Novak @ TB 32

For a guy on a stellar offense, Carney has definitely slowed down. Still, once again, you have to believe the Bengals/Saints game will have some scoring … Graham has been the third-most-productive kicker over his past five games … Nedney has also been hot. His big leg is definitely a fantasy-blessing when the Niners reach their opponents' 35. You can hear his fantasy owners nationwide shouting, "Incomplete pass! Incomplete pass!" … Dawson is someone to keep an eye on. The University of Texas product scored 20 fantasy points two weeks ago, his second 10-plus point outburst in five games … Scobee takes a big hit because I'm not convinced David Garrard will move the ball against a banged-up Giants' D.

Defenses

Rank Name Opponent Week 10 Rating
1 Chicago Bears @ NYJ 2
2 Baltimore Ravens ATL 1
3 Philadelphia Eagles TEN 9
4 Minnesota Vikings @ MIA 6
5 Seattle Seahawks @ SF 14
6 Miami Dolphins MIN 16
7 Jacksonville Jaguars NYG 4
8 Denver Broncos SD 3
9 Carolina Panthers STL 10
10 Pittsburgh Steelers @ CLE 18
11 New York Giants @ JAC 5
12 New England Patriots @ GB 12
13 Oakland Raiders @ KC 19
14 Kansas City Chiefs OAK 17
15 Green Bay Packers NE 21
16 San Diego Chargers @ DEN 7
17 San Francisco 49ers SEA 25
18 Dallas Cowboys IND 11
19 Atlanta Falcons @ BAL 8
20 Arizona Cardinals DET 13
21 Detroit Lions @ ARI 23
22 Cleveland Browns PIT 29
23 Buffalo Bills @ HOU 31
24 Tennessee Titans @ PHI 30
25 Houston Texans BUF 24
26 New York Jets CHI 28
27 St. Louis Rams @ CAR 27
28 Indianapolis Colts @ DAL 22
29 Tampa Bay Buccaneers WAS 26
30 Cincinnati Bengals @ NO 20
31 New Orleans Saints CIN 15
32 Washington Redskins @ TB 32

Philadelphia is injured on defense, and the pass rush misses Jevon Kearse, but something tells me the Linc isn't going to be terribly kind on the Tennessee offense … I like San Francisco's somewhat resurgent defense; while they probably can't be started this week against Seattle, you can think about using them in your fantasy playoffs against, say, Green Bay and Arizona. However, I'll take the Seahawks' D this week at Candlestick … Miami leaps from 16th to sixth. Anyone who's seen them play the last two weeks knows they're a completely different animal now. No fun to try and run against, and no fun to be tackled by … The Broncos are good on defense, but not all-world. No one has stopped LaDainian Tomlinson yet … The Giants are so depleted on defense, it's getting nerve-racking to start them.