Commentary

Alone on an Island: Smith no longer top 10?

Updated: October 27, 2007, 10:41 PM ET
By ESPN Staff

Wondering what these guys were thinking when they broke from the pack in the
Week 8 rankings? We like to call that being "alone on an island." Here is what our castaways had to say.

Matthew Berry on Steve Smith
Ranked: 14 Composite Rank: 7.4

Well, it's not as if I ranked him crazy low, but I do have some concerns about Smith this week, starting with the fact that no team allows fewer passing yards per game than the Colts. Also, he has a 43-year-old quarterback throwing to him who wasn't even in the league a month ago. In addition, only one team has allowed fewer passing touchdowns than the Colts, and Indy is allowing fewer than 13 fantasy points a game to wide receivers, which is best in the NFL. If you own him, you have to start him, but I'm not seeing a huge day for him.

Eric Karabell on Muhsin Muhammad
Ranked: 37 Composite Rank: 26.2

Muhammad's numbers looked pretty average in Week 7 until the final play of the game, when Brian Griese found him alone for the winning touchdown. Philly was paying more attention to Bernard Berrian and Devin Hester, probably even to the Chicago tight ends, on the play. Also, that play doesn't change the fact Muhammad has caught only 17 passes in seven games. Facing Detroit would seem like a terrific matchup, but it wasn't such a can't-miss against Tampa this past week. Muhammad remains a No. 3 fantasy WR to me.

Scott Engel on Calvin Johnson
Ranked: 19 Composite Rank: 28.6

The Chicago defense obviously isn't playing up to expectations recently, and Johnson showed us in Week 7 that he is ready to start playing well again. I believe the Bears and Lions will engage in a shootout, and Johnson has quickly become one of Jon Kitna's preferred targets. Kevin Jones is back and playing well, and the Lions will run the ball effectively and give Kitna the opportunity to direct a balanced attack. Johnson will be open often when Kitna has time to throw or use play-action fakes. Kitna is going to throw more than one touchdown pass this week, and one should go to Johnson. In a week when many fantasy teams are looking for bye-week or injury replacements, Johnson is a solid choice.

Christopher Harris on DeShawn Wynn
Ranked: 16 Composite Rank: 27.4

The big question with Wynn is whether his neck is healthy. As of Friday morning, it's starting to sound as though he'll play without constraint Monday night. The Packers reportedly worked on their run game hard during the bye, and if there's a defensive line for a rushing attack to get healthy against, it's Denver's. (The Broncos have allowed the sixth-most fantasy points to opposing backs over the past three and past five weeks.) Brandon Jackson will be a healthy scratch; Vernand Morency is hurting with a knee injury; and I like Wynn to get more touches than Ryan Grant. With Champ Bailey returning, and the Steelers offering a blueprint of how not to play in Denver in prime time in Week 7, I expect the Pack to be more committed to the run. Wynn can add to his four touchdowns and be a surprising No. 2 running back this week.

Nate Ravitz on Amani Toomer
Ranked: 44 Composite Rank: 30.4

I'm sorry, but I'm not buying Toomer just because he has scored in the past two games. Before this monstrous streak started, he'd gone nine games without finding the end zone. He has topped the 100-yard mark just once in his past 37 games. In short … He's Amani Toomer!!! The Miami pass defense isn't nearly as bad as the Tom Brady-influenced stats would make it appear, and even with that game, the Dolphins rank a respectable 14th in passing yards allowed. Toomer is fine as a No. 3 receiver … in a 16-team league.