Commentary

The Big Rotowski: Week 8 Player Rankings

Updated: October 24, 2007, 3:09 PM ET
By Christopher Harris | ESPN.com

Week 8 Quarterback Rankings
RANKNameTeamOpponent
1Tom BradyPatriotsWAS
2Eli ManningGiants@MIA
3Peyton ManningColts@CAR
4Ben RoethlisbergerSteelers@CIN
5Brett FavrePackers@DEN
6Carson PalmerBengalsPIT
7Brian GrieseBearsDET
8Derek AndersonBrowns@STL
9Donovan McNabbEagles@MIN
10Jay CutlerBroncosGB
11Jon KitnaLions@CHI
12Jeff GarciaBuccaneersJAC
13Philip RiversChargersHOU
14Drew BreesSaints@SF
15Jason CampbellRedskins@NE
16Marc BulgerRamsCLE
17Chad PenningtonJetsBUF
18Vince YoungTitansOAK
19Matt SchaubTexans@SD
20Daunte CulpepperRaiders@TEN
21Cleo LemonDolphinsNYG
22Alex D. Smith49ersNO
23Trent EdwardsBills@NYJ
24Vinny TestaverdePanthersIND
25Quinn GrayJaguars@TB
26Tarvaris JacksonVikingsPHI

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(Bye-Week Notables: Tony Romo, Matt Hasselbeck, Kurt Warner, Steve McNair, Kyle Boller, Damon Huard, Joey Harrington)

Notes: Rarely does a mismatch like Giants/Dolphins come along that meets blowout expectations; nobody's operating under the assumption that the Giants are a truly elite team, and they absolutely could have a letdown in London. But I don't care: You still have to love Eli Manning's potential this week. As you'll see, I've even got Amani Toomer very high in the receiver rankings. That Miami secondary is injured and awful. I can honestly say this is the first time I've ranked Eli ahead of his big bro. ... Roethlisberger was terribly spotty in the first half against Denver last week, but Cincinnati's pass defense is there to be shredded. ... Griese is playing pretty well. He seems to hit one long throw a game, and otherwise it's just enough dink-and-dunk to make him usable. Detroit's defense has allowed the third-most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks over the last five contests. ... I'm not in full panic mode over Kitna. Mike Martz hasn't suddenly changed his stripes; that Tampa game was kind of a fluke. The Bucs dominated time of possession but still trailed, so whenever the Lions got the ball, it was incumbent upon them to burn clock. Just when you think MartzBall has turned conservative, he'll unleash the hounds. ... Brees has won two straight for New Orleans, but he didn't look as strong against Atlanta as he did in Seattle. He missed some throws and made a few poor decisions, things he never seemed to do in '06. I'm still waiting to start him if I've got an alternative. ... Vince Young will play in Oakland. Wait, is that a good thing? After decent days in Weeks 2 and 3, Young submitted games of 2 and zero fantasy points, respectively, thereafter. The Raiders have allowed among the fewest points to opposing quarterbacks. I'm benching him if I can. ... I won't be surprised to hear Josh McCown is starting for Culpepper if he's healthy enough. Boy, Daunte stinks. His lack of mobility is really hurting him, and he's so wildly inaccurate, it's like he's Quinn Gray West.

Week 8 Running Back Rankings
RANKNameTeamOpponent
1LaDainian TomlinsonChargersHOU
2Adrian PetersonVikingsPHI
3Marshawn LynchBills@NYJ
4Willie ParkerSteelers@CIN
5LenDale WhiteTitansOAK
6Joseph AddaiColts@CAR
7Brian WestbrookEagles@MIN
8Maurice Jones-DrewJaguars@TB
9Brandon JacobsGiants@MIA
10Reggie BushSaints@SF
11Kevin JonesLions@CHI
12Cedric BensonBearsDET
13Clinton PortisRedskins@NE
14Frank Gore49ersNO
15Steven JacksonRamsCLE
16DeShawn WynnPackers@DEN
17Thomas JonesJetsBUF
18Jamal LewisBrowns@STL
19Travis HenryBroncosGB
20Earnest GrahamBuccaneersJAC
21DeShaun FosterPanthersIND
22Fred TaylorJaguars@TB
23Jesse ChatmanDolphinsNYG
24Laurence MaroneyPatriotsWAS
25Kenny WatsonBengalsPIT
26LaMont JordanRaiders@TEN
27Ahman GreenTexans@SD
28DeAngelo WilliamsPanthersIND
29Kenton KeithColts@CAR
30Chester TaylorVikingsPHI
31Rudi JohnsonBengalsPIT
32Brian LeonardRamsCLE
33Reuben DroughnsGiants@MIA
34Dominic RhodesRaiders@TEN
35Derrick WardGiants@MIA
36Jason WrightBrowns@STL
37Chris BrownTitansOAK
38Leon WashingtonJetsBUF
39Michael TurnerChargersHOU
40Selvin YoungBroncosGB
41Correll BuckhalterEagles@MIN
42Justin FargasRaiders@TEN
43Najeh DavenportSteelers@CIN
44Vernand MorencyPackers@DEN
45Kevin FaulkPatriotsWAS
46Michael BennettBuccaneersJAC
47Adrian Peterson.BearsDET
48Ladell BettsRedskins@NE
49Heath EvansPatriotsWAS
50Ron DayneTexans@SD

(Bye-Week Notables: Larry Johnson, Marion Barber, Julius Jones, Edgerrin James, Willis McGahee, Shaun Alexander, Warrick Dunn, Jerious Norwood)

Notes: Tomlinson will go batty this week. Houston has allowed the second-most fantasy points to opposing backs over their last three games, and LDT is red-hot. ... Lynch didn't produce massive numbers against the Ravens, but boy, the kid runs hard. I love him this week against a Jets' front four that seems beyond listless. ... I feel good about jumping aboard the LenDale White Express early. He has four touchdowns in six games, and has carved out a very nice role for himself, even if Chris Brown does return to action. There's nothing wrong with being Jeff Fisher's battering ram. Fisher employs the ram a lot. ... Addai evidently will continue to lose carries to Kenton Keith, which caps his fantasy value a bit. Nevertheless, I don't think this will turn into a Dominic-Rhodes-style situation, so for me Addai is still a No. 1 rusher. ... I'm assuming Jones-Drew comes away from his knee sprain Monday night perfectly fine. If not, Fred Taylor would jump. ... I've spent about a month talking bad about Benson; he hasn't topped 67 yards in five games. He has a banged-up knee, but should play in a sweet match-up against the Lions. Of course, last time out against Detroit, he carried it 15 times for 50 yards and no scores. Honestly, I'm waiting for the Bears to use their Adrian Peterson more, but for now, you have to start Benson. ... Gore toughed it out against the Giants with a bad ankle, and he'll go against the Saints. New Orleans is fourth-best against opposing fantasy backs over the last month, so it's no picnic, but Gore is always a better-than-even chance to punch one in. ... Steven Jackson returns, and it's against a weak Cleveland rush defense. Of course, he'll be running behind one of the most injured O-lines in recent history. I think he'll produce well enough to start, but we'll certainly know more about his potential for the rest of this year after Week 8. ... Henry has badly bruised ribs. He should play, but I'd be surprised if he gets a full accompaniment of carries Monday night. ... I called Graham's big day last week, but I'm not so sanguine about him facing a riled-up Jaguars defense. That said, Michael Bennett probably isn't stealing too many touches yet. ... When last we left "As The Panthers Turn," DeAngelo Williams was posting 121 yards rushing, though most of those came on a late garbage-time run. DeShaun Foster, meanwhile, was busy carrying it 17 times for 43 yards, and in his last three games, has a 3.2 yards-per-carry average. For now, Foster's the starter and deserves the higher ranking. For now. ... Chatman, it should go without saying, needs to be owned in all leagues. Against the Giants in London, he's a marginal No. 2 RB start, but he'll have better days. The Miami O-line has been the team's lone bright spot. ... I haven't given up on Maroney yet. The Pats know they'll need him against the Colts, Ravens and Steelers. So they're easing him ever so gently back into action.

Week 8 Wide Receiver Rankings
RANKNameTeamOpponent
1Plaxico BurressGiants@MIA
2T.J. HoushmandzadehBengalsPIT
3Steve SmithPanthersIND
4Braylon EdwardsBrowns@STL
5Randy MossPatriotsWAS
6Reggie WayneColts@CAR
7Santonio HolmesSteelers@CIN
8Hines WardSteelers@CIN
9Laveranues ColesJetsBUF
10Chad JohnsonBengalsPIT
11Kevin CurtisEagles@MIN
12Wes WelkerPatriotsWAS
13Donald DriverPackers@DEN
14Roy WilliamsLions@CHI
15Marvin HarrisonColts@CAR
16Torry HoltRamsCLE
17Donte' StallworthPatriotsWAS
18Jerricho CotcheryJetsBUF
19Marques ColstonSaints@SF
20Joey GallowayBuccaneersJAC
21Muhsin MuhammadBearsDET
22Brandon MarshallBroncosGB
23Amani ToomerGiants@MIA
24Greg JenningsPackers@DEN
25Bernard BerrianBearsDET
26Ronald CurryRaiders@TEN
27Andre DavisTexans@SD
28Ike HilliardBuccaneersJAC
29Chris ChambersChargersHOU
30Lee EvansBills@NYJ
31Arnaz Battle49ersNO
32Vincent JacksonChargersHOU
33Calvin JohnsonLions@CHI
34Reggie BrownEagles@MIN
35Antwaan Randle ElRedskins@NE
36Shaun McDonaldLions@CHI
37Marty BookerDolphinsNYG
38Brandon StokleyBroncosGB
39Kevin WalterTexans@SD
40Joe JureviciusBrowns@STL
41Troy WilliamsonVikingsPHI
42Dennis NorthcuttJaguars@TB
43Santana MossRedskins@NE
44Jerry PorterRaiders@TEN
45Isaac BruceRamsCLE
46Roydell WilliamsTitansOAK
47Devery HendersonSaints@SF
48Mike FurreyLions@CHI
49James JonesPackers@DEN
50Darrell Jackson49ersNO

(Bye-Week Notables: Terrell Owens, Patrick Crayton, Larry Fitzgerald, Anquan Boldin, Dwayne Bowe, Bobby Engram, Deion Branch, Derrick Mason, Mark Clayton, Roddy White)

Notes: Burress doesn't practice, but it doesn't matter. Sure, Plax didn't score for the first time last week, but he figures to swallow that Miami secondary whole. ... Wayne put on a show Monday night. With Harrison playing fewer snaps than expected, it was left to Robin to make up for Batman's absence. Peyton Manning threw it Wayne's way 13 times, and Reggie caught nine of 'em. ... Minnesota "held" Dallas to 253 yards passing last week, which was actually a minor victory. Expect Philly's short aerial game to take its toll on a sub-par group of safeties, which sounds like a perfect recipe for another big Kevin Curtis run after catch. ... I've given in. For as long as the Patriots go Air Coryell on everyone, Welker and Stallworth should be in your starting lineup. ... Colston has just four catches the last two weeks, a fact at least partly attributable to his bad back. He'll play against the Niners, but he'll get attention from Nate Clements. ... If I had any guts, I'd rank Hilliard ahead of Galloway. Ike has 28 catches in his last four games, while Joey has 14. Um, that's double. Of course, Hilliard is benefiting from plentiful Galloway double-teams, and one of these guys runs like the wind while the other runs like, well, me. That and the fact that the Jags play a lot of man forces me to put Galloway a bit higher. ... I can all but guarantee this is the highest I've ever ranked Amani Toomer. But who'll cover him Sunday? The disgraced Jason Allen will be starting again in Miami's secondary, now at strong safety (making him one of the least-strong strong safeties in the biz), Lance Schulters (remember him?) was just signed off the street, and there isn't a corner on this roster who can cover a decent receiver one-on-one. ... Andre Johnson sits again, allowing Andre' Davis to keep his starting gig for a couple more weeks. I know Kevin Walter has out-produced Davis lately, but Walter was on his way to a poor day before Houston rallied late. The Texans' offense is designed to get AJ this ball, and AD is in that role for now. ... Chambers makes his Chargers' debut, and my logic says if Norv Turner had been happy with Vincent Jackson as his No. 1, he wouldn't have made this move. So Chambers gets the higher slot for now.

Week 8 Tight End Rankings
RANKNameTeamOpponent
1Antonio GatesChargersHOU
2Dallas ClarkColts@CAR
3Kellen WinslowBrowns@STL
4Heath MillerSteelers@CIN
5Chris CooleyRedskins@NE
6Owen DanielsTexans@SD
7Jeremy ShockeyGiants@MIA
8Randy McMichaelRamsCLE
9Desmond ClarkBearsDET
10Kyle BradyPatriotsWAS
11Greg OlsenBearsDET
12Eric JohnsonSaints@SF
13Donald LeePackers@DEN
14Alex SmithBuccaneersJAC
15Jeff KingPanthersIND
16Vernon Davis49ersNO
17Zach MillerRaiders@TEN
18Bo ScaifeTitansOAK
19David MartinDolphinsNYG
20Marcedes LewisJaguars@TB
21Tony SchefflerBroncosGB
22Matt SchobelEagles@MIN
23Jeb PutzierTexans@SD
24Justin PeelleDolphinsNYG
25John MadsenRaiders@TEN
26Casey FitzSimmonsLions@CHI

(Bye-Week Notables: Jason Witten, Tony Gonzalez, Todd Heap, Alge Crumpler, Marcus Pollard, Leonard Pope)

Notes: At some point, haggling over the Nos. 2 and 3 spots in a position rank is so much hot air, but I pushed Dallas Clark above Kellen Winslow this week, by sheer dint of the fact that Clark is in Gates Country as far as being used like a wideout. ... Heath Miller scored twice last week, and Cincy is notoriously vulnerable to tight ends, especially considering their linebacker problems. ... McMichael is McRising a bit. That's largely due to a good match against Cleveland, who allows the third-most fantasy points to tight ends. ... Benjamin Watson should be out again, so Kyle Brady once again should be a threat in the red zone. ... Donald Lee has had fumbling issues in the past, but with Bubba Franks hurt, Lee has a chance to be a starting fantasy tight end soon. Denver is also vulnerable to the tight end, as the three scores (two by Miller, one by Matt Spaeth) they allowed to Pittsburgh's group last week illustrates. ... Zach Miller got nine targets against Kansas City last week, catching four for 48 yards. Only the idle Jason Witten and Tony Gonzalez got more looks at this position in Week 7.

Week 8 Kicker Rankings
RANKNameTeamOpponent
1Kris BrownTexans@SD
2Rob BironasTitansOAK
3Stephen GostkowskiPatriotsWAS
4Adam VinatieriColts@CAR
5Robbie GouldBearsDET
6David AkersEagles@MIN
7Lawrence TynesGiants@MIA
8Phil DawsonBrowns@STL
9John KasayPanthersIND
10Shayne GrahamBengalsPIT
11Mason CrosbyPackers@DEN
12Jeff ReedSteelers@CIN
13Jason HansonLions@CHI
14Jay FeelyDolphinsNYG
15Mike NugentJetsBUF
16Ryan LongwellVikingsPHI
17Jason ElamBroncosGB
18Matt BryantBuccaneersJAC
19Jeff WilkinsRamsCLE
20Nate KaedingChargersHOU
21Shaun SuishamRedskins@NE
22Joe Nedney49ersNO
23Rian LindellBills@NYJ
24John CarneyJaguars@TB
25Sebastian JanikowskiRaiders@TEN
26Olindo MareSaints@SF

(Bye-Week Notables: Nick Folk, Matt Stover, Josh Brown, Neil Rackers, Morten Andersen, Dave Rayner)

Week 8 Defense Rankings
RANKNameTeamOpponent
1New YorkGiants@MIA
2TennesseeTitansOAK
3ChicagoBearsDET
4MinnesotaVikingsPHI
5New EnglandPatriotsWAS
6Green BayPackers@DEN
7San DiegoChargersHOU
8Tampa BayBuccaneersJAC
9PhiladelphiaEagles@MIN
10New OrleansSaints@SF
11JacksonvilleJaguars@TB
12IndianapolisColts@CAR
13PittsburghSteelers@CIN
14OaklandRaiders@TEN
15ClevelandBrowns@STL
16BuffaloBills@NYJ
17WashingtonRedskins@NE
18DenverBroncosGB
19CarolinaPanthersIND
20New York.JetsBUF
21CincinnatiBengalsPIT
22St. LouisRamsCLE
23DetroitLions@CHI
24San Francisco49ersNO
25HoustonTexans@SD
26MiamiDolphinsNYG

(Bye-Week Notables: Baltimore, Dallas, Seattle, Kansas City, Arizona, Atlanta)

Notes: I found myself apologizing for rating the Giants fourth among fantasy defenses last week, and they turned in the second-best score of the week. So I'm not apologizing for putting them first against the Lemon/Chatman/Booker Dolphins in London. ... The Titans were on their way to another decisive defensive performance before Sage Rosenfels went nutty in the fourth quarter last week. You know how earlier I mentioned how poorly Daunte Culpepper is playing? Expect that to matter here. ... The Saints mustered 18 fantasy points on defense two weeks ago, but just four against a shaky Atlanta offense last week. However, the Niners have allowed opposing fantasy defenses to score 17 or more points against them in three of San Francisco's last four contests. ... The Steelers dip below the Starter Mendoza Line this week, in part because Cincinnati's offense has posted some very big games against them in recent years, and in part because the unit has looked less-than-vicious in its last two roadies, at Arizona and at Denver. ... Believe it or not, the Browns could make a passable bye-week defense, given the fact that they get to rush the passer against the worst offensive line around. St. Louis will probably score some, but Cleveland will generate some fantasy points. ... Giants first, Dolphins 26th. Gee, I wonder who I'll pick to win that game.

Don't forget to read The Breakdown on Fridays, for more detailed thoughts on every team and every game.

Christopher Harris is a fantasy baseball, football and racing analyst for ESPN.com. You can e-mail him here.

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