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Tuesday, October 14, 2008
The Big Rotowski: Romo, T.O. take major tumbles

By Christopher Harris

(Editor's Note: These rankings are meant to capture fantasy value from today through the end of the NFL regular season. We'll publish them every Tuesday during the season to help you decide about trades and waiver-wire acquisitions; as such, this list won't always reflect news that comes out later in the week. And remember, every Wednesday you'll find week-specific rankings from all our fantasy football writers.)

Quarterback Rankings
RANK Name Team Last Week
1 Drew Brees Saints 1
2 Kurt Warner Cardinals 4
3 Jay Cutler Broncos 2
4 Peyton Manning Colts 5
5 Donovan McNabb Eagles 6
6 Ben Roethlisberger Steelers 7
7 Eli Manning Giants 8
8 Brett Favre Jets 9
9 Philip Rivers Chargers 10
10 Aaron Rodgers Packers 11
11 David Garrard Jaguars 12
12 Tony Romo Cowboys 3
13 Matt Schaub Texans 14
14 Trent Edwards Bills 15
15 Derek Anderson Browns 20
16 Jake Delhomme Panthers 16
17 Jason Campbell Redskins 17
18 Matt Hasselbeck Seahawks 13
19 Matt Ryan Falcons 23
20 Kyle Orton Bears 24
21 Marc Bulger Rams 21
22 J.T. O'Sullivan 49ers 19
23 Matt Cassel Patriots 22
24 Chad Pennington Dolphins 29
25 Kerry Collins Titans 27
26 Gus Frerotte Vikings 31
27 JaMarcus Russell Raiders 25
28 Jeff Garcia Buccaneers 30
29 Carson Palmer Bengals 18
30 Brodie Croyle Chiefs 35
31 Joe Flacco Ravens 28
32 Dan Orlovsky Lions NR
33 Brad Johnson Cowboys NR
34 Seneca Wallace Seahawks NR
35 Jon Kitna Lions 26
36 Ryan Fitzpatrick Bengals NR
37 Brian Griese Buccaneers 32
38 Brady Quinn Browns 33
39 Matt Leinart Cardinals 34
40 Drew Stanton Lions 40

Notes: Tony Romo's broken pinkie will reportedly have him sitting four games, which will lead someone in pretty much every fantasy league in existence scrambling to the waiver wire. Unfortunately, Brad Johnson doesn't figure to be much of a fantasy option. He's the Human Checkdown, and is unlikely to go deep unless defensive backs run into one another or get distracted by cheerleaders or something. As the weeks pass, you'll see Romo's ranking rise little by little; after all, he should be fine for the fantasy playoffs. … Trent Edwards is reportedly recovered from his Week 5 concussion, and will play this week for the Bills against San Diego. … Matt Hasselbeck has already been declared out for a Week 7 game against the Bucs. Seneca Wallace will play in his place. Hasselbeck's problem reportedly isn't the knee he injured against the Giants, but rather a bulging disk in his back. That sounds bad. For the moment, I think you hang onto him, but the news could get worse. … Matt Ryan made a couple of bad mistakes that the Bears didn't punish him for in Week 6, and he definitely benefited from Chicago's litany of injured corners. But he played great. He should be owned in all leagues, even though he's still just a spot-start. … Kyle Orton nearly matched Ryan pass-for-pass, and the days of Ron Turner's arch-conservative ways are gone. Orton wasn't all that accurate against Atlanta, but he was clutch and didn't commit turnovers. … Carson Palmer is already out for Week 7, and is visiting a Mets team doctor who specializes in Tommy John surgery. Uh-oh. Ryan Fitzpatrick is his backup, but played terribly against the Jets. Wait a couple more days to hear something for sure, but it's sounding like a lost year for Palmer. … Reports among Lions beat writers are that Jon Kitna may have played his last game for Detroit. According to, the Lions are being very secretive about Kitna, and may be planning on trading him or putting him on IR because of his back. Dan Orlovsky has a big arm but isn't particularly accurate, and shouldn't be owned in fantasy leagues.

Running Back Rankings
RANK Name Team Last Week
1 Adrian Peterson Vikings 1
2 Marion Barber Cowboys 2
3 Clinton Portis Redskins 3
4 LaDainian Tomlinson Chargers 4
5 Frank Gore 49ers 5
6 Brian Westbrook Eagles 7
7 Marshawn Lynch Bills 8
8 Steven Jackson Rams 9
9 Brandon Jacobs Giants 10
10 Joseph Addai Colts 6
11 Reggie Bush Saints 11
12 Ronnie Brown Dolphins 14
13 Jamal Lewis Browns 12
14 Michael Turner Falcons 13
15 Matt Forte Bears 15
16 Willie Parker Steelers 16
17 Ryan Grant Packers 17
18 Maurice Jones-Drew Jaguars 20
19 Larry Johnson Chiefs 18
20 Thomas Jones Jets 23
21 Chris Johnson Titans 24
22 Jonathan Stewart Panthers 21
23 Earnest Graham Buccaneers 19
24 Julius Jones Seahawks 25
25 DeAngelo Williams Panthers 27
26 Steve Slaton Texans 28
27 Willis McGahee Ravens 22
28 Justin Fargas Raiders 26
29 LenDale White Titans 29
30 Edgerrin James Cardinals 30
31 Darren McFadden Raiders 32
32 Fred Taylor Jaguars 35
33 Sammy Morris Patriots 33
34 Selvin Young Broncos 34
35 Chris Perry Bengals 36
36 Kevin Smith Lions 31
37 Michael Pittman Broncos 46
38 Tim Hightower Cardinals 37
39 Felix Jones Cowboys 39
40 Rudi Johnson Lions 45
41 Warrick Dunn Buccaneers 43
42 Darren Sproles Chargers 38
43 Cedric Benson Bengals 41
44 Deuce McAllister Saints 42
45 Laurence Maroney Patriots 40
46 Le'Ron McClain Ravens 44
47 Ricky Williams Dolphins 47
48 Dominic Rhodes Colts NR
49 Correll Buckhalter Eagles NR
50 Ahman Green Texans 50

Notes: Brian Westbrook gets a bye to sort out his broken ribs and injured ankle. I have to believe he'll start Week 8; if he doesn't, it'll be time to drop him further. … Joseph Addai left Sunday's game with a hamstring tweak, and Dominic Rhodes had one huge run with Ravens hanging off him, a run that one had to wonder if Addai could make. Regardless, Tony Dungy says Addai's problem isn't serious, and he should return next week. Watch the injury reports, though. … Willie Parker is expected back against the Bengals in Week 7; he likely won't match the production from his first two games, but he's a fantasy starter. … Willis McGahee came out of Sunday's game in the third quarter and didn't return. What looked like a sweet matchup against the Colts turned terribly sour, as McGahee managed just 18 yards on eight carries. Physically, he doesn't seem right, and the Ravens seem to have really fallen out of love with him. … Kevin Smith hurt his shoulder against the Vikings and didn't return. Rudi Johnson may start next week, but we know how this movie ends. I'd rather not use either guy. … Selvin Young could return in time for Monday night's game against the Patriots, as his groin injury isn't considered serious. In his absence, though, Michael Pittman rushed for over 100 yards; it was the first time in eight games a Denver running back did so.

Wide Receiver Rankings
RANK Name Team Last Week
1 Brandon Marshall Broncos 2
2 Larry Fitzgerald Cardinals 4
3 Reggie Wayne Colts 3
4 Andre Johnson Texans 7
5 Greg Jennings Packers 5
6 Steve Smith Panthers 6
7 Terrell Owens Cowboys 1
8 Plaxico Burress Giants 8
9 Marques Colston Saints 26
10 Roddy White Falcons 12
11 Randy Moss Patriots 9
12 Calvin Johnson Lions 10
13 Braylon Edwards Browns 11
14 Dwayne Bowe Chiefs 13
15 Lee Evans Bills 14
16 Santana Moss Redskins 15
17 Jerricho Cotchery Jets 17
18 Santonio Holmes Steelers 18
19 Laveranues Coles Jets 19
20 Anquan Boldin Cardinals 20
21 Wes Welker Patriots 21
22 Hines Ward Steelers 23
23 T.J. Houshmandzadeh Bengals 16
24 Marvin Harrison Colts 28
25 Donald Driver Packers 22
26 Torry Holt Rams 24
27 Bernard Berrian Vikings 30
28 Roy Williams Lions 25
29 Chad Johnson Bengals 27
30 Chris Chambers Chargers 33
31 Eddie Royal Broncos 32
32 DeSean Jackson Eagles 31
33 Vincent Jackson Chargers 36
34 Bobby Engram Seahawks 29
35 Kevin Walter Texans 37
36 Anthony Gonzalez Colts 38
37 Patrick Crayton Cowboys 35
38 Matt Jones Jaguars 39
39 Kevin Curtis Eagles 44
40 Joey Galloway Buccaneers 43
41 Isaac Bruce 49ers 34
42 Muhsin Muhammad Panthers 42
43 Greg Camarillo Dolphins 46
44 Deion Branch Seahawks 41
45 Reggie Brown Eagles 40
46 Steve Breaston Cardinals NR
47 Lance Moore Saints NR
48 Derrick Mason Ravens 50
49 Justin Gage Titans 47
50 Bryant Johnson 49ers 45

Notes: A few receivers stood out for their ridiculous play and/or opportunities in Week 6. Andre Johnson and Brandon Marshall got 19 and 18 targets, respectively. In particular, Johnson was an absolute beast, basically winning the Texans their first game single-handedly. Roddy White was absolutely everywhere for the Falcons, showing his best hands and concentration maybe ever. … Tony Romo's injury throws Terrell Owens down the list, as he doesn't have nearly as much chance of catching a long pass from Brad Johnson. But he can still catch-and-run, which is why you don't think about benching him. … Marques Colston should return from his thumb injury this week against the Panthers, and immediately goes back into every starting lineup on Earth. Lance Moore should stay on as the Saints' second receiver. … Calvin Johnson scored a touchdown in Week 6, but only got seven targets from Dan Orlovsky. There's trouble brewing, but he's such an ascendant talent, you have to keep using him. … T.J. Houshmandzadeh is the possession guy for Cincinnati, so with Ryan Fitzpatrick potentially settling in for a long stint as Bengals quarterback, Housh isn't rendered completely worthless. And Fitzpatrick did his best to keep Chad Johnson involved, too, getting him six targets. But some of that came in garbage time, and I don't trust the Bengals' offense to go downfield without Carson Palmer. … Reggie Brown missed Week 6 with a bad groin, and DeSean Jackson reasserted himself. He's not a lock to be a starter in mid-sized leagues, but if you play with a flex, Jackson is a good option. … Bobby Engram takes a hit with Matt Hasselbeck out. How does your sure-handed slot guy have zero catches (and only four targets) if you're Charlie Frye? … Anquan Boldin could return after the Cardinals' bye, but Steve Breaston has earned a place at the table regardless. In his past three games, Breaston has 27 targets, 24 catches and 301 yards. He'll have fantasy value as Arizona's third receiver.

Tight End Rankings
RANK Name Team Last Week
1 Jason Witten Cowboys 1
2 Antonio Gates Chargers 2
3 Kellen Winslow Browns 3
4 Tony Gonzalez Chiefs 4
5 Dallas Clark Colts 5
6 Owen Daniels Texans 6
7 Chris Cooley Redskins 7
8 Tony Scheffler Broncos 16
9 Greg Olsen Bears 8
10 Heath Miller Steelers 9
11 Zach Miller Raiders 10
12 John Carlson Seahawks 13
13 Jeremy Shockey Saints 15
14 Vernon Davis 49ers 19
15 Todd Heap Ravens 11
16 Anthony Fasano Dolphins 12
17 L.J. Smith Eagles 21
18 Dustin Keller Jets 14
19 Bo Scaife Titans 22
20 Visanthe Shiancoe Vikings 17
21 Marcedes Lewis Jaguars 28
22 Benjamin Watson Patriots 18
23 Donald Lee Packers 20
24 Alge Crumpler Titans 23
25 Alex Smith Buccaneers 29
26 Desmond Clark Bears 27
27 Kevin Boss Giants 24
28 Dante Rosario Panthers 25
29 Robert Royal Bills 26
30 David Martin Dolphins 30

Notes: I don't downgrade Jason Witten at all. Brad Johnson loves to check to secondary receivers. … Tony Scheffler's injury is reportedly not a sports hernia, which is very good news for his fantasy owners. It's a groin problem, and it might allow him to play as soon as Monday against New England. … Jeremy Shockey seems less certain to play in Week 7 against the Panthers than his teammate Marques Colston, but I give him a pretty good chance of getting in there. Apparently, his surgically repaired groin is all right, but he's just not in football shape yet. … A week after I gave up completely on him (and a week after Mike Martz said he didn't think he was a very good pass-catcher yet), Vernon Davis logged six catches for 75 yards against the Eagles. He'll be inconsistent, but he clearly flashed what made him a first-round draft pick.

Defense Rankings
RANK Name Last Week
1 NY Giants 1
2 Tennessee 2
3 Pittsburgh 4
4 Minnesota 6
5 Philadelphia 7
6 Baltimore 3
7 Tampa Bay 9
8 Carolina 11
9 Chicago 5
10 San Diego 12
11 Buffalo 13
12 Jacksonville 14
13 New England 8
14 Green Bay 16
15 Dallas 10
16 Miami 18
17 Indianapolis 17
18 NY Jets 22
19 Oakland 15
20 Arizona 19
21 Houston 21
22 Seattle 20
23 Washington 24
24 Atlanta 25
25 New Orleans 26
26 San Francisco 23
27 Denver 29
28 Cincinnati 28
29 Cleveland 27
30 Kansas City 30
31 St. Louis 31
32 Detroit 32

Notes: The Ravens had their corners exposed against the Colts; the fact that Frank Walker looked bad against Reggie Wayne wasn't that much of a surprise, but the fact that Chris McAlister got torched by Marvin Harrison was alarming. … The Bears can stuff the run with the best of them, but as long as they've got so many wounded defensive backs, they're going to be tough to start. Nathan Vasher and Charles Tillman could both miss next week's game. … The Patriots need to cut ex-Bengals corner Deltha O'Neal. Until they do, I wouldn't use them in any fantasy league. … The Cowboys are also really hurting at corner. Terence Newman is hurt, and Anthony Henry was embarrassed by the Cardinals this week. … I'm not getting carried away by the Colts' fine effort Sunday. Yes, they bore down and stopped the run against a quarterback who couldn't hurt them, and in retrospect, doubting that was a mistake. And Robert Mathis looked great schooling ancient Willie Anderson on the Ravens O-line. But things get harder as soon as this week against the Packers.

Christopher Harris is a fantasy baseball, football and racing analyst for You can e-mail him here.