Early Position Ranks, Week 13


No margin for error this week, gamers. It's a must-win. Let's not leave any fantasy points on the bench.

Basically, the lineup choices you're about to make are THE MOST IMPORTANT SIT/START DECISIONS OF YOUR LIFE. (Until next week). So don't blow it.

Hopefully you've got an Eagle or two available, because the Thursday night game should be a fantasy buffet, at least for Philly. Michael Vick(notes) is facing a Houston defense that ranks 31st against the pass (286.2 YPG), and dead-last in TD passes allowed (25). This has the makings of a 30-point week. Or possibly 40. Scoring records are at risk.


In keeping with Wednesday tradition, below you'll find a rough draft of my position ranks for Week 13. Please note: I've never taken the ranking process so seriously. This happens to be Rivalry Week (see image, right). Can't afford a misstep. Facing Chet Gresham, everything at stake. Playoffs on the line. Extremely tense. Much too nervous to use complete sentences.

If you'd like an animated preview of the Behrens-vs.-Gresham matchup, click here. (That'd be me in the green hat, obviously). Or if you have no interest in other people's fantasy leagues, then by all means, please scroll…


1. Michael Vick vs. HOU
2. Aaron Rodgers(notes) vs. SF
3. Drew Brees(notes) at CIN
4. Peyton Manning(notes) vs. DAL
5. Philip Rivers(notes) vs. OAK
6. Matt Cassel(notes) vs. DEN
7. Kyle Orton(notes) at KC
8. Eli Manning(notes) vs. WAS
9. Jay Cutler(notes) at DET
10. Matt Ryan(notes) at TB
11. Tom Brady(notes) vs. NYJ
12. Ryan Fitzpatrick(notes) at MIN
13. Sam Bradford(notes) at ARI
14. Matt Schaub(notes) at PHI
15. Ben Roethlisberger(notes) at BAL
16. Jon Kitna(notes) at IND
17. Mark Sanchez(notes) at NE
18. Josh Freeman(notes) vs. ATL
19. Brett Favre(notes) vs. BUF
20. Joe Flacco(notes) vs. PIT
21. David Garrard(notes) at TEN
22. Matt Hasselbeck(notes) vs. CAR
23. Carson Palmer(notes) vs. NO
24. Kerry Collins(notes) vs. JAC
25. Donovan McNabb(notes) at NYG


My worry with Ben Roethlisberger isn't necessarily the opponent — although Baltimore ranks 8th against the pass (205.6 YPG, 13 TDs) — and it's not the sprained foot. Ben has a history of overcoming difficult match-ups and playing through injuries. But the Steelers are currently last in the NFL in pass attempts per game (27.5), and there's little reason to think they'll veer away from the approach that led them to the 8-3 record. Roethlisberger has attempted fewer than 30 passes in five of his seven games thus far.

We've discussed Matt Cassel a few times already this week (here, here and here), but let's just give you the key stats once more: Over the past seven weeks, he's thrown 18 touchdown passes and just one interception. That's absurd. Kellen Moore hasn't been that good in his last seven games. Don't be surprised if Todd Haley's team puts up a big number against Josh McDaniels this week. Denver's defense has given up 23 passing scores this year, and they're next-to-last in interceptions (6). … Sam Bradford is coming off his most impressive statistical day as a pro, and he's facing a bad Arizona defense that's coming off a short week. Right now, there's really no reason to sit any skill player who gets to face the Cardinals. That team ranks 25th against the pass and 31st against the run. … Kerry Collins (calf) seems likely to return for the home match-up with Jacksonville — good news for the Titans, because Rusty Smith(notes) was a disaster. The Jaguars have allowed 261.1 passing yards per game, so Collins is in play if, say, you happen to be a desperate Shaun Hill(notes) owner. (Hill is dealing with a broken finger; Drew Stanton(notes) is expected to start against Chicago).


1. Michael Turner(notes) at TB
2. Arian Foster(notes) at PHI
3. Chris Johnson vs. JAC
4. Adrian Peterson vs. BUF
5. Steven Jackson at ARI
6. Maurice Jones-Drew(notes) at TEN
7. Peyton Hillis(notes) at MIA
8. Jamaal Charles(notes) vs. DEN
9. Felix Jones(notes) at IND
10. Matt Forte(notes) at DET
11. Rashard Mendenhall(notes) at BAL
12. LeSean McCoy(notes) vs. HOU
13. Ahmad Bradshaw(notes) vs. WAS
14. Mike Tolbert(notes) vs. OAK
15. Knowshon Moreno(notes) at KC
16. Fred Jackson(notes) at MIN
17. Darren McFadden(notes) at SD
18. Ray Rice(notes) vs. PIT
19. Brandon Jacobs(notes) vs. WAS
20. LaDainian Tomlinson(notes) at NE
21. Cedric Benson(notes) vs. NO
22. Mike Goodson(notes) at SEA
23. Ronnie Brown(notes) vs. CLE
24. Jonathan Stewart(notes) at SEA
25. LeGarrette Blount(notes) vs. ATL
26. Christopher Ivory(notes) at CIN
27. Thomas Jones(notes) vs. DEN
28. BenJarvus Green-Ellis(notes) vs. NYJ
29. Shonn Greene(notes) at NE
30. Brian Westbrook(notes) at GB
31. Brandon Jackson(notes) vs. SF
32. Donald Brown(notes) vs. DAL
33. Tashard Choice(notes) at IND
34. Justin Forsett(notes) vs. CAR
35. Ricky Williams(notes) vs. CLE
36. Beanie Wells(notes) vs. STL
37. Danny Woodhead(notes) vs. NYJ
38. Marshawn Lynch(notes) vs. CAR
39. Toby Gerhart(notes) vs. BUF
40. Pierre Thomas(notes) at CIN


Yeah, that's pretty bullish on Felix Jones. But he's averaged 112 total yards and 17 touches per game over the past three weeks. He's also facing the Colts' defense, a unit that's allowed 4.9 yards per carry to opposing ball carriers. Tashard Choice is a viable option this week, too, with Marion Barber(notes) sidelined by a calf injury. Choice has averaged 5.1 YPC during his three-year career. … Adrian Peterson (ankle) didn't practice on Wednesday, which of course isn't a surprise. Minnesota head coach Leslie Frazier described Peterson's situation this way:

"It’ll probably be day-to-day, maybe going all the way up until Sunday as to whether or not he’s going to be playing or not. … We’ve all got our fingers crossed. We’ll see what he’s able to do today. May or may not be on the practice field — we’ll see. But we are hoping that he’ll make it to Sunday."

The Vikes are about to face the NFL's worst run defense — Buffalo gives up 167.4 rush YPG — so Toby Gerhart will prove useful if Peterson is limited. … Brandon Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw split touches fairly evenly last Sunday (14 and 13), so don't panic about the depth chart. That backfield has an outstanding match-up in Week 13; Washington's defense allows 131.5 yards per game and 4.9 per carry. … Pierre Thomas (ankle, prolonged inactivity) is reportedly a game-time decision this week, but Christopher Ivory has clearly carved out a role in the Saints' backfield. If PT returns, you can't reasonably expect him to dominate touches, as he did at the beginning of the season. … Ryan Mathews(notes) (ankle) has allegedly returned to practice in some capacity, but the Kool-Aid Man has delivered a pair 100-yard games. Tolbert owns the goal line work, too.


1. Dwayne Bowe(notes) vs. DEN
2. Roddy White(notes) at TB
3. Andre Johnson(notes) at PHI
4. Brandon Lloyd(notes) at KC
5. DeSean Jackson(notes) vs. HOU
6. Calvin Johnson(notes) vs. CHI
7. Jeremy Maclin(notes) vs. HOU
8. Greg Jennings(notes) vs. SF
9. Steve Johnson(notes) at MIN
10. Marques Colston(notes) at CIN
11. Reggie Wayne(notes) vs. DAL
12. Santonio Holmes(notes) at NE
13. Mario Manningham(notes) vs. WAS
14. Terrell Owens(notes) vs. NO
15. Mike Williams (TB) vs. ATL
16. Dez Bryant(notes) at IND
17. Miles Austin(notes) at IND
18. Larry Fitzgerald(notes) vs. STL
19. Anquan Boldin(notes) vs. PIT
20. Johnny Knox(notes) at DET
21. Mike Wallace(notes) at BAL
22. Pierre Garcon(notes) vs. DAL
23. Mike Sims-Walker(notes) at TEN
24. Percy Harvin(notes) vs. BUF
25. Santana Moss(notes) at NYG
26. Michael Crabtree(notes) at GB
27. Chad Ochocinco(notes) vs. NO
28. Braylon Edwards(notes) at NE
29. Hines Ward(notes) at BAL
30. Wes Welker(notes) vs. NYJ
31. Davone Bess(notes) vs. CLE
32. Derrick Mason(notes) vs. PIT
33. Randy Moss(notes) vs. JAC
34. Sidney Rice(notes) vs. BUF
35. Eddie Royal(notes) at KC
36. James Jones(notes) vs. SF
37. Lance Moore(notes) at CIN
38. Devin Hester(notes) at DET
39. Brandon Marshall(notes) vs. CLE
40. Malcom Floyd(notes) vs. OAK
41. Danny Amendola(notes) at ARI
42. Nate Washington(notes) vs. JAC
43. Deion Branch(notes) vs. NYJ
44. Ben Obomanu(notes) vs. CAR
45. Kevin Walter(notes) at PHI
46. Jacoby Ford(notes) at SD
47. Robert Meachem(notes) at CIN
48. Danario Alexander(notes) at ARI
49. Mike Thomas(notes) at TEN
50. Jabar Gaffney(notes) at KC
51. Blair White(notes) vs. DAL
52. Steve Smith (CAR) at SEA
53. Steve Breaston(notes) vs. STL
54. Lee Evans(notes) at MIN
55. Danny Woodhead vs. NYJ
56. Earl Bennett(notes) at DET
57. Donald Driver(notes) vs. SF
58. Nate Burleson(notes) vs. CHI
59. Deon Butler(notes) vs. CAR
60. Legedu Naanee(notes) vs. OAK


DeSean Jackson is apparently bickering with his coach, unhappy with his deal, and he was a mess following the loss at Chicago. But the Texans defense has no answer for him. (Or for anyone other than Rusty Smith). Jackson is a must-start, despite the back-to-back quiet games. Also, when you have a diva receiver coming off a meltdown week, you play him. Golden rule.

Drew Stanton worked well with Megatron earlier this year, as the pair connected on an 87-yard TD in the loss to the Giants. Don't get in the habit of sitting Calvin. He's recession proof, and the Lions are still putting the ball in the air 44.0 times per game. … Danario Alexander is a receiver of interest, no doubt. But it sounds like the Rams are limiting his snaps, in consideration of his history of knee issues. That obviously lowers the ceiling. … Brandon Marshall (hamstring) returned to a limited practice on Wednesday, but he's hardly a lock to face the Browns. That's a situation to revisit late in the week. Even if he's a full participant on Thursday, he won't make a significant move on my board. Marshall hasn't topped five receptions or 64 yards in any game since Week 6. … Austin Collie(notes) (concussion) was officially limited in practice for the Colts on Wednesday, but that's hardly an indication that he's been cleared to return. This is not the time to drop Blair White.


1. Jacob Tamme(notes) vs. DAL
2. Antonio Gates(notes) vs. OAK
3. Todd Heap(notes) vs. PIT
4. Tony Gonzalez(notes) at TB
5. Jason Witten(notes) at IND
6. Vernon Davis(notes) at GB
7. Visanthe Shiancoe(notes) vs. BUF
8. Brent Celek(notes) vs. HOU
9. Kellen Winslow(notes) vs. ATL
10. Dustin Keller(notes) at NE
11. Greg Olsen(notes) at DET
12. Marcedes Lewis(notes) at TEN
13. Tony Moeaki(notes) vs. DEN
14. Chris Cooley(notes) at NYG
15. Brandon Pettigrew(notes) vs. CHI



1. Chicago Bears at DET
2. Green Bay Packers vs. SF
3. New Orleans Saints at CIN
4. San Diego Chargers vs. OAK
5. Pittsburgh Steelers at BAL
6. New York Giants vs. WAS
7. St. Louis Rams at ARI
8. Miami Dolphins vs. CLE
9. Seattle Seahawks vs. CAR
10. Detroit Lions vs. CHI
11. Minnesota Vikings vs. BUF
12. New York Jets at NE
13. Philadelphia Eagles vs. HOU
14. Tennessee Titans vs. JAC
15. New England Patriots vs. NYJ


Photos via Getty Images (Cartman) and US Presswire (Ben, Felix, DeSean)

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