Gregg Rosenthal

Goal Line Stand

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Week 7 Rankings

Thursday, October 22, 2009


The Cardinals offense has survived the Super Bowl hangover. It has survived Kurt Warner's 38th birthday, Warner's hip surgery, and another offseason full of questions about Anquan Boldin's happiness.

The team's pass attack is a little different, but still effective. Warner still throws like crazy. He's tied for the league lead in attempts per game and is on pace for over 4,600 yards.

He just doesn't throw as deep, as Marcus Fitzgerald is happy to tell you. Warner has turned Marcus' bro into a possession receiver; Fitz hasn't had a play over 26 yards all year and is averaging only 10.3 yards per catch. His previous career low was 13.4, and that was as a rookie.

It's not just Fitzgerald Warner isn't connecting deep with. Warner is 19th in the league in plays over 20 yards, behind Mark Sanchez, Matthew Stafford, and Kyle Orton. (He has one more than "Captain Checkdown" Trent Edwards.) Warner has completed one play over 40 yards, tied for 25th in the league. Last year, Warner was in the top five in both explosive play categories.

Perhaps the hip surgery has eroded Warner's deep ball. The difference was obvious when watching him try to throw a hail mary from the fifty-yard line at the end of the first half against Seattle. Warner loaded up, but had to throw the ball without any arc to get over the goal line.

It's a testament to Warner's accuracy and smarts that he's still able to thrive. He's turned Steve Breaston into a legitimate every week fantasy option. (Breaston, Boldin, and Fitzgerald have similar yardage.) Warner has survived despite a running game that still remains among the league's worst by any measure – more on that in the notes.

After an uneven start to the season, the Cardinals passing attack is back. The lack of explosive plays should cost them eventually, but Warner also should have been washed up six seasons ago when Eli Manning passed him on the Giants depth chart. Warner's wild career was not built on logic. It was built on an ability to adapt.

Slideshow: Goal Line Stand

Week 7 Quarterbacks

RankPlayer NameOpponentNotes
1Peyton Manningat STL -
2Tom Bradyat TB
3Drew Breesat MIA -
4Philip Riversat KC -
5Matt Schaubvs. SF -
6Aaron Rodgersat CLE
7Ben Roethlisbergervs. MIN -
8Jay Cutlerat CIN -
9Matt Ryanat DAL -
10Eli Manningvs. ARZ
11Kurt Warnerat NYG -
12Tony Romovs. ATL -
13Brett Favreat PIT -
14Donovan McNabbat WAS
15Carson Palmervs. CHI -
16Matt Casselvs. SD -
17Chad Hennevs. NO -
18Shaun Hillat HOU -
19Josh Johnsonvs. NE -
20Jake Delhommevs. BUF -
21Marc Bulgervs. IND -
22Jason Campbellvs. PHI -
23Ryan Fitzpatrickat CAR -
24Derek Andersonvs. GB -
25Mark Sanchezat OAK -
26JaMarcus Russellvs. NYJ -


QB Notes: Was Philadelphia's offensive line meltdown a one-game anomaly or a long-term problem for Donovan McNabb? Yes, McNabb missed some throws, mostly in the fourth quarter. But the line was so ridiculously bad the rest of the game, it was hard to put the blame on him. And it wasn't just left tackle Jason Peters' injury. Philly was just as bad up the middle and to the right side. Washington's defense isn't playing that poorly, so it will be a tough test. McNabb isn't an automatic fantasy start. … The Bucs give up more yards per pass play than any team, so Tom Brady's rejuvenation should last at least another week. … A co-worker benched Matt Schaub last week because he didn't like the matchup compared to his other option. Schaub is beyond matchups at this point, an every-week fantasy play in the same tier as Manning, Brees, Rodgers, and Brady. … Eli Manning often struggles at home, but Arizona's stout rush defense will make him have to throw to win.

Long term, the fact that Aaron Rodgers still had protection problems against Detroit is a concern. But it won't matter this week against Cleveland. … As Joe Flacco showed last week, you can throw on the Vikings if you are willing to take a hit. Ben Roethlisberger certainly is willing, and his receiver group is superior to Baltimore's. Expect a solid QB1 day. … As a diehard Tony Romo believer since the day he entered the league, it pains me to say I trust Matt Ryan much more as a fantasy option this week when they play each other, even with Atlanta thin in the secondary. I also trust the Falcons defense more as a whole. The ascension of Miles Austin will help Romo, but the Cowboys should still be a run-first team and they have a lot to prove in the passing game. … The Bengals defense is a neutral matchup. Play Jay Cutler as you normally would. … A decent pass-catching tight end would make Carson Palmer infinitely better. That's why the team reportedly went after Dallas' Martellus Bennett before the trading deadline, only to be denied.

Chad Henne gets his chance this week to prove his Monday Night Football performance against the Jets wasn't a fluke. I don't think it was. Henne will have ups and downs as a young quarterback and he's not an exciting fantasy option most weeks because the Dolphins will run a ball control offense led by the Wildcat. But this week is a game the Dolphins will need to throw to win, and you could do worse than Henne. His receivers will limit his ceiling this year, but he can make all the throws. … JaMarcus Russell's decent statistical day last week, wasn't a sign of hope. He made enough mistakes in the second half to lose; the Raiders defense just bailed him out. It's hard to imagine Chaz Schilens having much value with the way Russell is playing. … Matt Cassel is a fine bye week option if you need help against a suspect San Diego secondary. … The Cardinals are Saints-lite. They can pick on New York's struggles at safety by working the middle of the field too. Kurt Warner should be solid.

Follow Gregg Rosenthal, Evan Silva, Chris Wesseling , and Rotoworld football on Twitter.

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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 NBCSports.com and Profootballtalk.com. Catch him on Twitter.
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