Gregg Rosenthal

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Week 5 Rankings Update

Friday, October 9, 2009

Eddie Royal is not Michael Clayton.

He's not a rookie fantasy phenom that will fade into obscurity despite staying in the starting lineup. His quickness, hands, and route running are skills that will eventually serve him well with a creative pass-first coach like Josh McDaniels.

Royal is a reminder that a career arc isn't always a smooth ride, especially when your quarterback and head coach change. Donnie Avery knows this well.

Along with Royal, Avery was one of three rookie wideouts in '08 to take fantasy football by storm early in the year. The thought that Avery would naturally emerge as a true "number one" receiver just because Torry Holt left now looks as silly as assuming Eddie Royal would immediately become the new Wes Welker just because he was in the same offense.

While these two struggle, DeSean Jackson is making the gains we hope for in a second-year wideout. He's going to make too many big plays not to finish in the top-15 receivers. It's no coincidence he's the only one of the three that remains in the same offensive system.

Perhaps Royal's struggles teach us a lesson that players with overwhelming physical tools – Brandon Marshall, a younger T.O. – are the best suited to overcome a change in schemes. Maybe there isn't a lesson; it's just fantasy football kicking us in the ass again.

Either way, Royal's road to every-week fantasy starter status has clearly taken a detour. With a quarter of the season behind us, this week's set of rankings notes will skip the tape analysis and focus on other players that have seen their value take an unexpected turn.

Week 5 Quarterbacks

RankPlayer NameOpponentNotes
1Peyton Manningat TEN -
2Matt Schaubat ARZ -
3Ben Roethlisbergerat DET -
4Tom Bradyat DEN Probable(-)
5Donovan McNabbvs. TB Probable(ribs)
6Kurt Warnervs. HOU Probable(right shoulder)
7Joe Flaccovs. CIN -
8Tony Romoat KC -
9Matt Ryanat SF -
10David Garrardat SEA -
11Brett Favreat STL Probable(foot)
12Eli Manningvs. OAK Questionable(foot)
13Carson Palmerat BAL -
14Trent Edwardsvs. CLE -
15Matt Hasselbeckvs. JAC Probable(ribs)
16Jason Campbellat CAR -
17Derek Andersonat BUF -
18Mark Sanchezat MIA -
19Kyle Ortonvs. NE -
20Matt Casselvs. DAL -
21Jake Delhommevs. WAS -
22Shaun Hillvs. ATL -
23Kerry Collinsvs. IND -
24Josh Johnsonat PHI -
25Kyle Bollervs. MIN -
26Chad Hennevs. NYJ -
27Daunte Culpeppervs. PIT -
28JaMarcus Russellat NYG -

QB Notes: This is the bizarro Ben Roethlisberger: tons of yards, not many touchdowns. Owners should be very encouraged by this development. He leads the league in completion percentage, is third in yards per attempt (YPA), and is on pace set his career high in pass attempts by 100. There are quarterbacks with higher ceiling, but are few are safer week-to-week bets, which is a surprise. He's a true QB1 and should finish in the top eight at the position.

Shaun Hill has not been able to throw the ball vertically, even against mediocre pass defenses. Michael Crabtree won't change that. We had hopes that Hill could be a quality QB2, but he's borderline droppable in most 12-team leagues. … I called Tony Romo one of the five true every-week starters at quarterback to start the season. He's no longer in that category, but he should be lineups against the Chiefs. Other players I'd put in the every week category: Peyton Manning, Brees, Schaub, Rivers, and Aaron Rodgers. Guys knocking on the door: Cutler, Flacco, and Ryan. Warner, Cutler, and Eli are also producing, while McNabb is on the way back. There are more than enough quarterbacks to go around. If you have two of the top ten, I'd trade away the depth.

Tom Brady is coming off his best performance of the year. His yards per game is the second best of his career; the touchdowns will come. … Matt Schaub is giving us just what we hoped for after the opening week hiccup: Big production, and the ever-present feeling that it all could end on any play. … Eli Manning is a player a lot of fantasy writers would like a mulligan on, myself included. FootballOutsiders noted how significant his gains were in 2008, and he's continued to build on them. He's tied with his brother for the league lead in passes over 20 yards, and has only been sacked twice. It's so easy to forget that quarterbacks are still developing at his age, and the 2004 class seems to be just now hitting their prime. Manning's foot injury is a big concern, but he should provide excellent borderline QB1 value, possibly better.

Carson Palmer and Kyle Orton have a 7-1 record combined, but have been underwhelming from a fantasy perspective. Neither player can hit the deep ball. Orton can't get the ball there in time; Palmer is just inaccurate. Orton has a built-in excuse on a new team. Maybe Palmer's is a missed preseason. Either way, they are a notch below where we expected them to be. … David Garrard is avoiding interceptions and running the ball again. His schedule has been easy, but it stays easy. He's a prototype QB2, and a solid play against the Seahawks. … Trent Edwards feels disappointing because of his last two games, but he's roughly where we expected. But if he can't turn in a plus day against the Browns at home while the weather is still nice, he's not going to be terribly useful.

Matt Cassel has quietly been a disappointment. His touchdowns have kept his numbers afloat, but the lack of aggression from the Kansas City passing attack is surprising. Cassel is completing passes, but is only ahead of Marc Bulger and JaMarcus Russell. It's hard to separate Cassel from the rest of the mess in Kansas City, but what's the difference? The one spot for optimism is that the schedule gets far easier after this week. … Matthew Stafford (once healthy) and Mark Sanchez can both carve out low-end QB2, which is about as good as can be expected. Stafford has the better chance to put up big numbers by year's end.

Editor's Note: Not happy with your fantasy teams? New weekly leagues are drafting every single day at Snapdraft. Draft your team during the week, even Sunday morning, and win cash by Tuesday. It's a great complement to your yearly leagues and rewards the most skilled fantasy players who know matchups and value.

You can even play against me in "Gregg Rosenthal's League" this week. Although I can't keep the money if I win. So that's my excuse if I don't.

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Gregg Rosenthal has directed Rotoworld's football content since 2003. He co-hosts the NBC Fantasy Fix and covers the NFL for and Catch him on Twitter.
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