'11 ranks: A.J. Green jumps to WR2 status 

October, 11, 2011
10/11/11
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There's a tendency in fantasy football to overreact to one nice performance or the hype of a player or team. Fantasy owners have been talking about a certain young, fleet quarterback in Denver, the changing running back situations in Kansas City and Washington, and at wide receiver ... well, just so many options are out there that it's tough to miss out on production. I try not to overreact in my year-to-end rankings, but on the flip side, rest assured that I have put in the time and effort to avoid a lack of reacting as well. We have more than two months to go before fantasy playoffs; by then, some of these "hot" names will be irrelevant.

So it is that I present the latest edition of the end-of-season rankings, putting everything we've seen and likely will see into proper perspective. Agree, disagree, whatever your take, always consider your options. And please note these are not the Week 6 rankings; those will be published Wednesday, showing our group and individual lists, then updated again Friday. Use the rankings below as if you were drafting today or trading for the rest of the way. Good luck and enjoy!

Quick click by position, for easy reference:

Top 40 Quarterbacks | Top 60 Running Backs | Top 60 Wide Receivers

Top 30 Tight Ends | Top 32 Defense/Special Teams | Top 100 Overall

Top 40 Quarterbacks



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&#8226 Michael Vick produced 21 fantasy points in Week 5, which was difficult to do considering he threw four interceptions. My concerns about Vick haven't changed; the Eagles are a mess, and he remains a huge injury risk. It's also worth noting that rookie Cam Newton has outscored him by 29 points. Can we really trust a rookie on a bad team over a potentially dominant veteran also on a bad team? It's possible Vick will still play in December, but another thing to consider: Will the Eagles force him out there if he's hurting and they're 5-8? For now I have Tony Romo at No. 6 -- Matthew Stafford moves up to No. 5 -- then Vick and Newton. But both should be considered fantasy starters.

&#8226 It was an unimpressive Week 5 outing for Tampa Bay's Josh Freeman, who produced three fantasy and real-life points in San Francisco. Freeman had a strong 2010 campaign, but most of his value was in his consistency; he regularly scored in the double digits in fantasy, eclipsing 20 points a few times. With three touchdown passes and six interceptions so far this season, this clearly isn't the same Freeman, and he drops a few spots, even though two of his next three games are against the New Orleans Saints, the eighth-most-favorable defense for opposing quarterbacks in fantasy.

&#8226 Quarterbacks who moved up a bit in the rankings include Alex Smith of the for-real 49ers, Matt Cassel of the not-for-real Chiefs (check out their difficult upcoming schedule), Matt Moore in Miami and, yes, Colts starter Curtis Painter. I'm not really buying Painter's 36 fantasy points over the past two weeks, but we'll probably learn considerably more in his next three games on the road against winning teams.

&#8226 In the end, it seems to always come down to Denver Broncos savior Tim Tebow. There's been no shortage of Tebow coverage at ESPN.com and on these fantasy pages. My opinion is Tebow will put up numbers and, considering he made my top 20 for the rest of the season, pretty decent numbers. His three starts last season might have been too small a sample size for some, and he might not complete half his passes, but he'll run enough to be relevant. The Broncos are still a 4-12 team, though.

Top 60 Running Backs



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