Gregg Rosenthal

Goal Line Stand

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Week 10 Rankings Update

Saturday, November 14, 2009

In August, Rashard Mendenhall was called "ordinary" by the Pittsburgh media. He finished September in Mike Tomlin's doghouse, with seven carries for the month. Now it's early November, and he's an every-week fantasy starter.

Mendenhall is a reminder of a few fantasy maxims. 1. Things change fast. It doesn't matter how ugly your starting lineup looks in Week 3 if it's peaking near playoff time. This year's Pierre Thomas, next month's Mendenhall, is still out there.

Second lesson: If you are going to gamble in fantasy drafts, gamble with youth at running back. Mendenhall went in drafts after Larry Johnson, who owners had hopes would bounce back for the third straight year. He went after Willie Parker, who we saw begin to collapse last year.

I ranked LaDainian Tomlinson out of the top-15 this year, which was met by cries that Rotoworld was giving up on the old star too fast. He was going to be healthy and turn it around! I did a poor job because LT2 wasn't rank him nearly low enough. No matter how much we adjust for a running back's decline once it starts, we almost never adjust enough.

Mendenhall still has a lot to prove as an NFL running back. He doesn't help on passing downs much, and he's prone to losing yards and piling up short gains before breaking a few long ones. He doesn't always fight through traffic.

The profile is remarkably similar to a bigger version of Willie Parker in his prime. That approach isn't perfect for the Steelers, but it will lead to top-10-15 fantasy running back production. He'll get the vast majority of carries on a team that should play with the lead often and has an outstanding passing game. That's more than enough for all the owners that smartly gambled on youth in August, then had the patience to see it emerge.

Week 10 Quarterbacks

RankPlayer NameOpponentNotes
1Drew Breesat STL -
2Peyton Manningvs. NE -
3Tom Bradyat IND Probable(right shoulder)
4Aaron Rodgersvs. DAL Probable(feet)
5Brett Favrevs. DET Probable(hip)
6Tony Romoat GB -
7Kurt Warnervs. SEA -
8Philip Riversvs. PHI -
9Jay Cutlerat SF -
10Donovan McNabbat SD -
11Joe Flaccoat CLE -
12Ben Roethlisbergervs. CIN -
13Carson Palmerat PIT -
14Alex Smithvs. CHI -
15Matt Hasselbeckat ARZ Probable(ribs)
16Matt Ryanat CAR -
17Chad Hennevs. TB -
18Vince Youngvs. BUF -
19Kyle Ortonat WAS -
20David Garrardat NYJ -
21Trent Edwardsat TEN Probable(concussion)
22Matt Casselat OAK -
23Marc Bulgervs. NO -
24Mark Sanchezvs. JAC -
25Josh Freemanat MIA -
26Brady Quinnvs. BAL -
27Matthew Staffordat MIN Probable(knee)
28Jake Delhommevs. ATL -
29Jason Campbellvs. DEN Probable(ankle)
30JaMarcus Russellvs. KC -

So we're on a new weekly schedule with Thursday Night Football starting. By popular request, the rankings will go up by Wednesday evening at the latest. (Rankings will continue to first appear on Season Pass Tuesdays at noon, with full projections on Wednesdays.)

QB Notes: The loss of two Philadelphia cornerbacks should help Philip Rivers this week. So does the fact that San Diego gives up running quickly when they face quality rush defenses. … Ben Roethlisberger and Carson Palmer probably won't put up huge numbers in a game that is likely to be a defensive struggle. But who are you going to bench them for … Alex Smith? Maybe because he faces the Bears, but it gets too shaky after that. … I'm staying away from slumping Matt Ryan against one of the pass defenses in the league. You attack Atlanta on the ground.

I'm intrigued by Josh Freeman, but haven't been able to watch the game yet. The matchup is right and his running ability could give him significant value in 2 QB leagues the rest of the way. … David Garrard just hasn't been competent against quality opponents, so expect an ugly game against a rested Jets defense. … Jay Cutler is going to have to continue throwing like crazy to keep up with Chicago's terrible defense, not to mention running game. He's on his way to a remarkably similar season to the one that we would have expected in Denver. … Kurt Warner owners have to live with the ups and downs. With the schedule he has, there shouldn't be a lot of downs coming up.

Chad Henne isn't a bad play if you need help this week, but how many teams really need help? It's hard not to have a reasonable QB1 on your roster in this pass-crazy season. … Kyle Orton has a very small margin for error most weeks. I think the Broncos will find a way to blow out the Redskins, but Orton's lack of vertical plays makes him a QB2, and not a particularly exciting one. … Joe Flacco threw for 342 yards on 35 attempts last time against Cleveland in a 34-3 win. Cam Cameron will continue to throw the ball even with a lead so the young quarterback gets work. Hard to sit him.

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