The Big Rotowski: Week 11 Ranks

Christopher Harris
Yahoo! Sports

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

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

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

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

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.

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