Big Rotowski: Week 6 Ranks

Christopher Harris
Yahoo! Sports

Note: As of Friday, updated Week 6 rankings can be found HERE

Who knew it would take Terrell Owens leaving Philadelphia for the City of Brotherly Love to become the epicenter of fantasy football?

It's true, and (shameless self-promotion ahoy) not just because I have a weekly radio segment with Tim McManus and Pat Callahan on WNTP in Philly. Five weeks into the '06 season, three Philadelphia Eagles properties — Donovan McNabb (No. 1), Brian Westbrook (No. 6) and the Eagles Defense (No. 7) —are in the top-seven in fantasy scoring. And that includes Westbrook missing a game.

But wait. Maybe the new home of fantasy greatness is the Windy City. After all, an amazing four Chicago Bears properties — the Chicago Defense (No. 3), Robbie Gould (No. 4), Bernard Berrian (No. 8) and Rex Grossman (No. 10) — are in the top-10 in fantasy scoring. The only other three fantasy entities in 2006's top-10 to date are the Ravens Defense (No. 2), Jeff Wilkins (No. 5) and Peyton Manning (No. 9).

All right, that's not exactly true. The top-10 to which I'm referring is expressed in terms of total fantasy points, not average points per week, so players who've already had their bye week are at a disadvantage. But even if you add in the five additional entities who've got a higher per-game fantasy average than Grossman (the Falcons Defense, the Chargers Defense, Larry Johnson, Rudi Johnson and Nate Kaeding), you've still got a full 47 percent of the top-15 devoted to Eagles and Bears. Oh my.

In the 12-team Yahoo! Experts draft, Westbrook was the only Eagle or Bear to go in the first round (12th overall); McNabb went (to yours truly) with the first pick of the fifth round, and the next Philly player drafted was Reggie Brown, in the seventh round. And that's nothing compared to the lack of respect the Bears got. Thomas Jones was the first Bears entity picked, with the ninth pick of the sixth round. Muhsin Muhammad went (to yours truly) with the last pick of the eighth round, and the Chicago Defense went in the ninth. Grossman? Undrafted. Berrian? Yeah, right.

And yet here we are. It's a Bears/Eagles world, and we all just live in it. Oh, and yeah, the experts know a lot. Let me tell you.

On to the Week 6 rankings. Remember: Indianapolis, New England, Jacksonville, Cleveland, Green Bay and Minnesota are off this week. 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 5 Rating

1

Donovan McNabb

@ NO

2

2

Carson Palmer

@ TB

bye

3

Michael Vick

NYG

bye

4

Drew Bledsoe

HOU

7

5

Rex Grossman

@ ARI

11

6

Matt Hasselbeck

@ STL

bye

7

Eli Manning

@ ATL

4

8

Marc Bulger

SEA

3

9

David Carr

@ DAL

bye

10

Philip Rivers

@ SF

22

11

Jon Kitna

BUF

14

12

Chad Pennington

MIA

8

13

Drew Brees

PHI

12

14

Mark Brunell

TEN

10

15

J.P. Losman

@ DET

23

16

Jake Plummer

OAK

16

17

Damon Huard

@ PIT

20

18

Jake Delhomme

@ BAL

15

19

Steve McNair

CAR

19

20

Vince Young

@ WAS

26

21

Alex Smith

SD

18

22

Joey Harrington

@ NYJ

NR

23

Bruce Gradkowski

CIN

25

24

Ben Roethlisberger

KC

24

25

Matt Leinart

CHI

28

26

Andrew Walter

@ DEN

27

Notes: With Peyton Manning on bye, I don't have to concern myself with rating him against McNabb this week; I've a feeling that at this point, McNabb would win. He's the highest-scoring fantasy player in most formats … Palmer's stats to date don't warrant a placement this high; in standard formats, he's around 25th among fantasy QBs. But the Bengals are coming off a bye and the taste of that awful game against New England has eaten at them for two weeks. Tampa Bay tends not to give up the deep stuff, but if he stays patient (and he will), Palmer can pick the Bucs apart … Vick has 333 rushing yards, three fewer than LaDainian Tomlinson in the same number of games. He's valuable for this reason only; he's simply not a very accurate thrower, but he'll cannibalize TDs like nobody's business … I aimed too high on Bledsoe in Philly last week, so why am I aiming even higher in Week 6? Two words: Houston Texans … The truth is that Hasselbeck may be too high here, as well. He hasn't done much yet in '06, and the Rams have been surprisingly good against the pass. Both St. Louis corners are ailing, though, and after the bye, I'm thinking the 'Hawks may have ironed out some kinks … If Eli Manning can do it this week against a Falcons team giving up the fewest fantasy points to QBs, he's even studlier than seventh … Rivers threw the ball 37 times on Sunday night, the highest total of his career. If the leash is off, the Chargers can throw all day against the Niners … Pennington was awful in Jacksonville, but this is one of those games I think the Jets will win; they were humiliated, and they're coming home … Losman was abominable in Chicago, but the Lions are decimated on defense. They give up the third-most fantasy points to QBs (after Green Bay and Houston) … Gradkowski was excellent against New Orleans; in standard formats, he was tied for fourth among all QBs in points scored. Cincinnati's a lot easier to run against than throw against, though, so I'd temper my enthusiasm for a week, anyway … Am I reading this right? Roethlisberger has zero passing touchdowns? Ouch.

Running Backs

Rank

Name

Opponent

Week 5 Rating

1

Clinton Portis

TEN

2

2

LaDainian Tomlinson

@ SF

3

3

Brian Westbrook

@ NO

11

4

Rudi Johnson

@ TB

bye

5

Julius Jones

HOU

10

6

Ronnie Brown

@ NYJ

12

7

Thomas Jones

@ ARI

8

8

Larry Johnson

@ PIT

1

9

Steven Jackson

SEA

4

10

Willie Parker

KC

24

11

Carnell Williams

CIN

27

12

Willis McGahee

@ DET

23

13

Tiki Barber

@ ATL

6

14

Kevin Jones

BUF

9

15

Deuce McAllister

PHI

17

16

Frank Gore

SD

7

17

Warrick Dunn

NYG

bye

18

Tatum Bell

OAK

31

19

LaMont Jordan

@ DEN

5

20

Edgerrin James

CHI

13

21

Travis Henry

@ WAS

NR

22

Maurice Morris

@ STL

bye

23

Reggie Bush

PHI

22

24

Jamal Lewis

CAR

29

25

DeShaun Foster

@ BAL

20

26

Leon Washington

MIA

39

27

Ron Dayne

@ DAL

bye

28

Marion Barber III

HOU

37

29

Cedric Benson

@ ARI

NR

30

LenDale White

@ WAS

26

31

Brandon Jacobs

@ ATL

38

32

Kevan Barlow

MIA

21

33

Musa Smith

CAR

NR

34

Jerious Norwood

NYG

bye

35

Mack Strong

@ STL

bye

36

Justin Fargas

@ DEN

NR

37

Ladell Betts

TEN

36

38

Michael Robinson

SD

33

39

Samkon Gado

@ DAL

bye

40

Chris Brown

@ WAS

30

Notes: Neither Portis nor Tomlinson set the world on fire last week, but each has what should be a far easier matchup in Week 6. Each should score at least once … I bumped Westbrook down last week over fears about his knee; when you hear the words "microfracture surgery," that'll tend to happen. But I've given up worrying about him. For the time being, I'm going to rank him each week as though he's fine, and advise you to keep an eye on Philly's game-day inactives … Larry Johnson looks as though his neck will be okay, but you have to worry about him going into Pittsburgh to play an angry Steelers team. A short score is always a possibility, though … Parker, Williams and McGahee all take large leaps. In the cases of Parker and McGahee, they change to far softer opponents. Cadillac scared me with talk about back surgery during Tampa Bay's bye, but came back strong in New Orleans last week, to the tune of 20 carries for 111 yards. Mike Alstott vultured a TD, though … Gore carried it 27 times for 134 yards against Oakland, but Michael Robinson got three straight goal-line carries in the second half (he converted none of them). The sledding gets much harder against San Diego … Jordan drops through no fault of his own; Art Shell apparently is trying to write a script called "Return Of Huggy Bear Jr." by playing Fargas more. Jordan got 12 carries against San Francisco last week, while Fargas got eight. Each was successful, but they face a tougher rush defense in Denver … Morris has been dissed quite a bit during Seattle's bye, but I've always liked him. Frankly, if Shaun Alexander stayed out for the year, I think Morris would be a serviceable starter, and the Rams are in the bottom 10 in terms of fantasy points allowed to RBs. Still, the Seahawks' o-line has questions to answer … I've got Washington ahead of Barlow, but really, last week's carry totals aren't any kind of indicator; Washington was on the field because the Jets were down by a million early. But if trends mean anything, you have to think that Barlow is falling out of favor, and Washington is insinuating himself into the offense more … Benson posted great numbers last week, though just about all of it came in garbage time. He could be worth a spot start this week simply because there could be quite a lot of garbage time in Arizona, too.

Wide Receivers

Rank

Name

Opponent

Week 5 Rating

1

Torry Holt

SEA

1

2

Darrell Jackson

@ STL

bye

3

Santana Moss

TEN

6

4

Terrell Owens

HOU

4

5

Chad Johnson

@ TB

bye

6

Steve Smith

@ BAL

2

7

Andre Johnson

@ DAL

bye

8

T.J. Houshmandzadeh

@ TB

bye

9

Terry Glenn

HOU

12

10

Plaxico Burress

@ ATL

5

11

Roy Williams

BUF

10

12

Javon Walker

OAK

15

13

Anquan Boldin

CHI

17

14

Bernard Berrian

@ ARI

26

15

Chris Chambers

@ NYJ

9

16

Laveranues Coles

MIA

7

17

Deion Branch

@ STL

bye

18

Amani Toomer

@ ATL

30

19

Marques Colston

PHI

19

20

Jerricho Cotchery

MIA

20

21

Isaac Bruce

SEA

11

22

Reggie Brown

@ NO

22

23

Lee Evans

@ DET

42

24

Hines Ward

KC

16

25

Muhsin Muhammad

@ ARI

27

26

Joey Galloway

CIN

28

27

Eric Moulds

@ DAL

bye

28

Eddie Kennison

@ PIT

32

29

Randy Moss

@ DEN

29

30

Keyshawn Johnson

@ BAL

31

31

Bobby Engram

@ STL

bye

32

Bryant Johnson

CHI

NR

33

Drew Bennett

@ WAS

34

34

Mike Furrey

BUF

36

35

Antonio Bryant

SD

35

36

Rod Smith

OAK

37

37

Keenan McCardell

@ SF

33

38

Wes Welker

@ NYJ

NR

39

Greg Lewis

@ NO

38

40

Michael Jenkins

NYG

bye

41

Nate Burleson

@ STL

bye

42

Joe Horn

PHI

44

43

Hank Baskett

@ NO

NR

44

Arnaz Battle

SD

NR

45

Eric Parker

@ SF

NR

46

Ronald Curry

@ DEN

NR

47

Michael Clayton

CIN

39

48

Cedrick Wilson

KC

48

49

Az-Zahir Hakim

BUF

NR

50

Derrick Mason

CAR

40

Notes: Holt leads the NFL in targets and has scored in four consecutive weeks, so he makes an ultra-worthy No. 1 … Darrell Jackson had a rough game in Chicago before Seattle's bye, complete with two drops (one of which could've been a touchdown), but he's as healthy as he's going to be all year, and playing against banged-up Rams corners … Owens' punkishness need not be reiterated here. Suffice it to say that Houston does not have a Lito Sheppard to control T.O. the way Philly did. I still think you have to rate him highly, and even a little more highly than his red-hot teammate Glenn … Same goes for Chad Johnson and Houshmandzadeh. Housh has been far more productive because defenses key on 7/11, but Johnson is too talented not to score seven or eight times over the rest of the year. Cincinnati is another angry team coming off a bye looking to explode … Roy Williams sounds like his back or shoulder is okay, and that he'll play. But we've seen quite a lot of injury-list shenanigans this year, so be sure on Sunday morning … With Larry Fitzgerald out, Boldin gets the limelight on Monday night. Matt Leinart was very controlled and patient in his first start, but he won't have that luxury against Chicago; still, Boldin is the kind of security-blanket possession guy who can save the kid a lot of grief … I believe, Mr. Berrian! I believe! … Time to make me look smart, Deion Branch … In retrospect, despite Chicago's excellent defense, I had Evans too low last week. He was targeted a league-high 14 times in Week 5, and caught nine passes for 94 yards and a garbage-time TD. Against an injured Detroit defense, he's startable … Now's the time to trade Randy Moss. He's scored in consecutive weeks, but folks who aren't paying attention may not have noticed how little he's trying. He could've scored at least one other time against the Niners on Sunday, but simply seems not to care. A week with Champ Bailey isn't going to increase his value … Bryant Johnson replaced Fitzgerald, and he looked fine catching six passes for 82 yards after Fitz left last week against the Chiefs. But Johnson has done this before. He's a perpetual tease from whom far more was expected than his classmate, Boldin. You should probably pick him up, but against the Bears, don't expect miracles … Welker looked like an absolute force for Miami last week; Joey Harrington targeted him 12 times, and Welker, looking like Wayne Chrebet with more speed, caught nine for 77 yards. Marty Booker is out, and Harrington likes Welker.

Tight Ends

Rank

Name

Opponent

Week 5 Rating

1

Antonio Gates

@ SF

5

2

Marques Colston

PHI

2

3

Todd Heap

CAR

6

4

Alge Crumpler

NYG

bye

5

L.J. Smith

@ NO

9

6

Tony Gonzalez

@ PIT

7

7

Jeremy Shockey

@ ATL

1

8

Heath Miller

KC

4

9

Desmond Clark

@ ARI

13

10

Eric Johnson

SD

8

11

Chris Cooley

TEN

11

12

Randy McMichael

@ NYJ

22

13

Owen Daniels

@ DAL

bye

14

Ben Troupe

@ WAS

15

15

Alex Smith

CIN

18

16

Bo Scaife

@ WAS

23

17

Jason Witten

HOU

14

18

Chris Baker

MIA

17

19

Daniel Wilcox

CAR

NR

20

Ernie Conwell

PHI

25

21

Joe Klopfenstein

SEA

19

22

Itula Mili

@ STL

bye

23

Kris Mangum

@ BAL

NR

24

Stephen Alexander

OAK

24

25

Courtney Anderson

@ DEN

28

26

Leonard Pope

CHI

NR

Notes: I'm sorry I doubted you, Antonio. Nice TD catch Sunday night, by the way … The Colston hate-mails have slowed to a trickle. Thanks for asking … Shockey gets bumped down a bit because of his persistently balky ankle. Still, you have to play him unless you're sure he's inactive on Sunday … McMichael was one of Joey Harrington's primary targets last Sunday. McMichael was targeted nine times, which tied Kellen Winslow for most among tight ends. The most he'd been targeted in any other game this year was six … Me thinks Norm Chow read the press clippings this offseason, and decided that if everyone thought the Titans were going to emphasize the tight end, he'd confound them and ignore the tight end. Scaife and Troupe each received one target in Week 5 … Witten is long overdue for a score. He registered six TDs in each of the last two seasons, but is on pace for only 52 catches and zero scores right now. Covering the tight end is one of the few things the Texans defense has done well this year … Wilcox makes his debut on this list because he's a good red-zone threat, and Carolina is susceptible over the middle. Heap is certainly the primary guy, but when he draws attention, Wilcox can be open … Mili should be back this week, marking the end of the Will Heller Era in Seattle … Too bad the Bills don't really use the tight end as a pass-catcher. The Lions continue to be the worst in football limiting the tight end, fantasy-wise. Go long, Robert Royal!

Kickers

Rank

Name

Opponent

Week 5 Rating

1

Robbie Gould

@ ARI

7

2

Jeff Wilkins

SEA

2

3

Nate Kaeding

@ SF

4

4

Shayne Graham

@ TB

bye

5

John Carney

PHI

3

6

Matt Stover

CAR

5

7

John Kasay

@ BAL

6

8

Lawrence Tynes

@ PIT

9

9

Mike Vanderjagt

HOU

12

10

Jason Elam

OAK

18

11

David Akers

@ NO

15

12

Jay Feely

@ ATL

16

13

Josh Brown

@ STL

bye

14

Morten Andersen

NYG

bye

15

Rian Lindell

@ DET

17

16

Jason Hanson

BUF

20

17

Joe Nedney

SD

11

18

Neil Rackers

CHI

14

19

Olindo Mare

@ NYJ

21

20

Jeff Reed

KC

27

21

Sebastian Janikowski

@ DEN

25

22

Rob Bironas

@ WAS

28

23

Nick Novak

TEN

NR

24

Kris Brown

@ DAL

bye

25

Mike Nugent

MIA

24

26

Matt Bryant

CIN

26

Notes: Gould is a much-publicized 17-for-17 in field-goal attempts; of course, only one of them has really mattered: a 49-yarder in the fourth quarter of a tight game against Minnesota. Still, they don't pay for mattering … Can I get an 'amen,' now that we can spend a week not worrying whether Adam Vinatieri's crotch hurts? … Some games just scream "15-12," don't they? Is Carolina/Baltimore one of those? Could be … Elam goes from kicking against Baltimore to kicking against Oakland. That's a relief … After making 40 out of 42 in 2005, Rackers has made only six of nine in '06. He's 24th among fantasy kickers. Please, please, please don't draft kickers high. Or keep them … Novak won the audition to substitute for the injured John Hall in Washington. Tennessee will give up fantasy points to kickers (11th-most so far this year), but do you really want your fantasy fate resting with a guy who hasn't tested his foot in a big-league game all year? … Nice use of a second-round pick by the Jets on Mike "Noodge" Nugent, huh? He's two-for-four in '06, and that's after 16-for-22 in '05. That's almost as cool as paying a first-rounder for Sea-Bass.

Defenses

Notes: The Eagles' secondary is getting healthier, and with that comes an ability to stop teams from going deep – Man, am I scientific, or what? It doesn't hurt that the Philly offense is putting a ton of pressure on opposing teams by scoring so much … I loved what I saw in the Carolina game against Cleveland last week, and I'm sure the Panthers D will be worth starting. But there are some offenses that just don't take enough chances to result in huge defensive plays, and Baltimore's is one of those. Man, they're boring … Buffalo jumps up, if only because of the relief of getting out of Chicago. Rookie first-rounder John McCargo is out with a broken foot, but he wasn't playing that much anyway. Detroit's offense has been extremely generous to fantasy defenses, turning it over nine times and allowing 19 sacks in five games … For as long as offenses stay away from Champ Bailey, the Broncos defense may not produce huge numbers, but they're allowing 8.5 points per game, second-best in the league. They haven't generated much in the way of sacks or turnovers yet, but the Raiders are coming to town. Give 'em time.

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