The debate rages on about who is the best weapon in football. Is it the flashy quarterback who lofts deep touchdown passes or is it the dynamic backfield option that always seems to have the ball in his hands? For that matter, what about that receiver that always seems to be doing some type of end zone dance? In what follows we will attempt to answer the question of who is the most valuable fantasy player at each position in our weekly column dealing with the Player Rater Tool.
What is Player Rater tool you ask? It is an emotionless, statistically driven model that takes into account your leagues rules and tells you which players are performing at the highest level. For the sake of the analysis that follows, here are the "rules" that we will be using.
Four points: Touchdown passFour points: Rushing or receiving touchdownOne point: Per 25 yards passingOne point: Per 10 yards rushing or receivingThree points: Per field goalOne point: Per extra point
Drew Brees -- 268.1 points
What's wrong with this guy? Brees has been held to less than 300 yards in three of the past four weeks, though he is still averaging 315.4 yards per contest on the year.
Kurt Warner -- 260.6 points
He has thrown only six scores the past four weeks, a total that he has matched in the interception category, even though he is averaging 315 yards per contest in that time.
Jay Cutler -- 254.9 points
How is this for consistency? Over his three seasons Cutler has produced a QB Rating of 88.5, 88.1 and 89.2.
Aaron Rodgers -- 250.9 points
Over the past four Packers' games, Rodgers has thrown for an average of 267 yards with nine touchdowns and six interceptions.
Philip Rivers -- 237.2 points
The NFL leader with a 102.0 QB Rating, Rivers hasn't been intercepted in three games while throwing five touchdowns.
Donovan McNabb -- 222.7 points
After tossing five picks in Weeks 11 and 12, McNabb has thrown for five touchdowns and no interceptions the past two weeks.
Peyton Manning -- 222.7 points
Over his last six games the elder Manning has tossed 12 scores against only three interceptions.
Matt Cassel -- 207.5 points
Cassel has thrown for just one score in two weeks but he has completed at least 20 passes in six of seven games for the Pats.
Tony Romo -- 200.9 points
Even with the three-interception effort in Week 14, Romo still has twice as many scores (22) as interceptions (11).
Brett Favre -- 199.4 points
Though he has 20 touchdowns this year, he hasn't thrown one in two weeks while throwing for an average of just 191 yards an outing.
Adrian Peterson -- 188.2 points
Consistency, thy name is AP. Peterson has gone for at least 80 yards in eight-straight games and 11 of 13 games overall.
Thomas Jones -- 187.7 points
Did nothing much against the Niners (10 carries for 56 yards), but he added another score to boost his total to 12, five more than he scored in 2006 and '07.
Matt Forte -- 187.6 points
Though he has 1,081 rushing yards, it's his receiving total that truly sets him apart (53 receptions).
DeAngelo Williams -- 185.9 points
Who is more out of control than this guy? Dazzling DeAngelo has rushed for a score in six-straight games for a total of 11 touchdowns while going over 100-yards five times.
Michael Turner -- 184.0 points
He hasn't worn down one bit in the second half with an average of 95 yards per game and eight scores in five games.
Clinton Portis -- 174.1 points
Injuries have conspired to destroy his value at crunch time as he has been held to 22 carries and 54 yards the past two weeks.
Chris Johnson -- 171.1 points
After being held down in Weeks 10-12 (118 yards, no scores), Johnson has returned with a vengeance to record 261 yards and three touchdowns the past two weeks.
Steve Slaton -- 167.4 points
So much for the little guy wearing down as he has gone over 20 carries in three straight weeks on his way to 323 yards on the ground.
Frank Gore -- 166.5 points
Dealing with an ankle injury, Gore is just 22 yards short of his third consecutive 1,000-yard effort and eight receptions away his second straight 50-reception season.
Brian Westbrook -- 165.3 points
The energizer bunny has six scores the past two weeks to give him a career best 14 scores on the year.
Anquan Boldin -- 151.1 points
After 24 receptions in Week 11 and 12, Boldin has been held to just 10 grabs the past two weeks.
Larry Fitzgerald -- 150.8 points
The third quarter is when he makes his mark with quarter bests in receptions (28), yards (449) and touchdowns (four) right after halftime.
Roddy White -- 149.3 points
The NFL leader in receiving yards (1,249), White may have only one score over his last five games but he has been averaging 103.2 yards per contest.
Calvin Johnson -- 141.4 points
Of the nine 1,000-yard receivers (he has 1,055), Johnson is the only one with less than 61 receptions (he has 56).
Greg Jennings -- 141.1 points
He failed to score in Week 14, and with three TDs in four games he has seven this year, five less than the 12 he scored last season.
Andre Johnson -- 140.1 points
In each of his six seasons he has caught at least 60 passses, and with 92 receptions this season he is 11 off his career-high set in 2006.
Steve Smith -- 128.5 points
Smith is over 1,000 yards (1,075) for the fourth-straight season thanks to a run of 390 yards the past three weeks.
Brandon Marshall -- 126.9 points
With 11 grabs in Week 14, Marshall will need 17 receptions the final three weeks to record his second consecutive 100-reception effort.
Terrell Owens -- 123.4 points
Owens has scored in three-straight games, though he has been held to less than 40 yards in six of his last eight contests.
Kevin Walter -- 118.1 points
You may not have noticed but Walter has scored five times in the past seven weeks and eight times overall.
Tony Gonzalez -- 115.9 points
Gonzo has caught at least five passes in eight straight weeks, during which time he has scored five times.
Jason Witten -- 89.1 points
He has found the comfort zone once again with Tony Romo as Witten continues to fight through injuries while being productive (15 receptions, 177 yards and one TD the past two weeks).
Antonio Gates -- 77.4 points
One of the most frustrating performers in the game in '08, Gates was held without a catch in Week 14 and has just eight receptions for 66 yards his past four outings.
Owen Daniels -- 75.3 points
Matt Schaub returns and, lo and behold, Daniels returns to relevance with six grabs for 65 yards in Week 14.
Chris Cooley -- 75.3 points
You picked a great time to disappear, Chris, with a putrid performance during the fantasy playoffs (one reception for 12 yards).
Dallas Clark -- 70.2 points
He hasn't been caught for more than 30 yards in three weeks and he has fallen short of that mark in four of five games.
John Carlson -- 68.5 points
We told you this kid was legit. Over the past three weekly he has 16 receptions, 188 yards and two touchdowns.
Zach Miller -- 65.4 points
With 13 receptions for 143 yards the past two weeks Miller has one more reception that last season with 45, and 170 extra yards (614).
Visanthe Shiancoe -- 63.8 points
He has only 32 receptions on the year, but with five scores he is tied for third at the position.
Bo Scaife -- 59.7 points
What happened to this guy's production? Over the past four weeks he has only eight receptions for 95 yards.
Stephen Gostkowski -- 117 points
In three years he has never attempted a kick of less than 20 yards. He is 20-for-21 at kicks of under 40 yards this year.
John Carney -- 116 points
He would certainly be the leader in points if he hadn't been benched in Week 11, though he missed his long FG attempt in Week 14.
David Akers -- 115 points
He missed two kicks last week dropping his conversion rate to 81.3 percent, just above his career 80.8 percent mark.
Matt Bryant -- 115 points
A perfect 25-for-25 under 40-yards, that number nosedives to 4-for-9 on kicks over that mark.
Ryan Longwell -- 109 points
He has converted at least two field goals in each of the past four games.
Jasin Elam -- 109 points
He just doesn't miss kicks as he is 8-for-8 over the past five weeks.
Rob Bironas -- 108 points
He leads the NFL with 14 kicks in the 40-49 range (on 17 attempts).
Neil Rackers -- 106 points
Neil is a perfect 6-for-6 on kicks between 40-49 yards.
Mason Crosby -- 105 points
The past four games he has alternated three field goal outings with zero field goal outings.
Phil Dawson -- 104 points
Over the past four weeks he has converted 12 kicks and over the past seven weeks he has made at least two field goals each outing.