Week 8 Rankings

As all of New England understandably freaks out about Tom Brady's never-ending knee surgeries, there is one source of optimism: the remarkable recoveries of a trio of players who underwent ACL surgeries last season. Philip Rivers, Ronnie Brown, and Deuce McAllister are playing like their procedures never happened.

Rivers was practicing in August and is playing the best football of his career. He leads the NFL in touchdown passes, and his accuracy has not been compromised. His deep ball somehow looks better. Ronnie Brown is cutting up a storm on his surgically repaired knee and ranks in the top-ten fantasy backs. He was never a great speed threat, but he still makes the first tackler miss as well as any back in the league. McAllister's story is the most remarkable. He's returned to prominence at 29 years old after a second ACL surgery and microfracture surgery on his other knee. The flash is gone from his game, but he presses a hole quickly and is tough to take down. He'll be a useful RB2 option while Reggie Bush is out.

Brady's case, of course, is complicated by his subsequent problems with infection. I'm not smart enough to comment knowledgeably on the situation, but another potential reconstruction sure sounds devastating. What we know from Brown, Rivers, and McAllister is that one reconstructive knee surgery doesn't appear to be the automatic fantasy downer it once was. At least that's what Brady's keeper league owners can quietly mumble to themselves as memories of his 50 touchdowns recede further in the rearview mirror.

On to happier topics: Week 8 Rankings! . For Week 8 projections for every player ranked here, head to Season Pass

Week 8 Quarterbacks

RankPlayer NameOpponentNotes
1Drew Breesvs. SD -
2Donovan McNabbvs. ATL -
3Matt Schaubvs. CIN -
4Philip Riversat NO -
5Jason Campbellat DET -
6Brett Favrevs. KC -
7Trent Edwardsat MIAProbable(concussion)
8J.T. O'Sullivanvs. SEA Sneaky 100K pick?
9Kurt Warnerat CARFierce Panthers pass defense
10Ben Roethlisbergervs. NYG -
11Peyton Manningat TEN -
12Matt Casselvs. STL -
13Jake Delhommevs. ARZ -
14Eli Manningat PIT -
15David Garrardvs. CLE -
16Jeff Garciaat DAL -
17Derek Andersonat JAC -
18Marc Bulgerat NEProbable(finger)
19Chad Penningtonvs. BUF -
20Ryan Fitzpatrickat HOU -
21Seneca Wallaceat SF -
22Kerry Collinsvs. IND -
23Brad Johnsonvs. TB -
24Matt Ryanat PHI -
25Dan Orlovskyvs. WAS -
26Joe Flaccovs. OAK -
27Tyler Thigpenat NYJ -
28JaMarcus Russellat BAL -

QB Notes: Weird week. A lot of top quarterbacks are facing the best pass defenses. Peyton Manning has the Titans, who have given up one touchdown pass all season. One! A few weeks ago, I was filled with an unhealthy amount of self-loathing after ranking Manning as a QB2 because of a tough matchup again Baltimore. He's not quite that low this time around, but he can be benched for players like Jason Campbell and Trent Edwards with better matchups. Fear for the Colts offensive line against Albert Haynesworth. We'll see if I'm hating myself again Monday Morning.

Other top quarterbacks with tough matchups: Kurt Warner faces a stingy Panther pass defense that shut down Drew Brees. Carolina is second in the league in yards-per-game allowed and yards-per-attempt allowed. With an improved pass rush to help out, Carolina's cornerback trio of Chris Gamble, Ken Lucas, and Richard Marshall matches up well with any group in the league. This will be a good test to see if the Cardinals can still be the Cardinals in the Eastern time zone. . Eli Manning and Ben Roethlisberger face of in Pittsburgh. Don't expect a repeat of the 33-30 game the two teams had in 2004. Ben is the better fantasy play because the Giants are more vulnerable through the air. The trick will be protecting him. For all the talk of Eli's development, his fantasy stats are remarkably similar to how they look every season, minus some interceptions. The Steelers lead the league in passing yards-per-game allowed, so he's a shaky play.

Another reason to believe Matt Schaub will remain a top-eight fantasy quarterback the rest of the season; Gary Kubiak loves throwing in the red zone. Schaub is first in the league in red zone pass attempts despite starting only five games. He's fourth in goal line attempts. Other quarterbacks who rank high on both lists: Kurt Warner, Jay Cutler, and Donovan McNabb. . J.T. O'Sullivan is the ultimate quarterback that can be better in fantasy than reality. He still ranks in the top ten in YPA and passing yards despite playing the Eagles and Giants the last two weeks. He lit up Seattle last time and their defense is in worse shape now. I'd play him with confidence.

I can't remember having this tough a week ranking people, probably because all the poor quarterbacks have good matchups. There is very little separation between spots #9-20. When push comes to shove, I still go with the better player over the better matchup if it's a toss up. The Garcia/Anderson/Garrard/Delhomme/Bulger group was especially hard to separate. Garrard is starting to play better, and I believe in him more than the others. The Cowboys are now a plus or neutral matchup, but I think their defense will be fired up to improve. I'm not fully buying the Jeff Garcia revival yet, although he's a decent QB2. It's hard to say if the Cardinals are a good or bad matchup, although their defense has not been the same on the road. Jake Delhomme is relatively steady, but unspectacular, against average defenses. The Panthers run a lot in the red zone. Delhomme is 26th in the NFL since Week 2 in red zone pass attempts. . Anderson could get benched if he struggles, so his "upside" probably isn't worth it. Bulger doesn't produce even when the Rams when. . The Colts are somehow first in the league at preventing fantasy points to quarterbacks, so stay away from Kerry Collins. . Matt Ryan grows more impressive by the week, but I don't like his chances on the road against a Jim Johnson defense. Expect a good "lesson" game by Ryan.

Week 8 Running Backs

RankPlayer NameOpponentNotes
1Clinton Portisat DET
2Marion Barbervs. TB -
3Frank Gorevs. SEA -
4Brian Westbrookvs. ATL
5Steven Jacksonat NEExpected to start, keep eye on
6Chris Johnsonvs. IND -
7Marshawn Lynchat MIA -
8Steve Slatonvs. CINGreat matchup
9Thomas Jonesvs. KC -
10LaDainian Tomlinsonat NOProbable(toe)
11Brandon Jacobsat PIT -
12Michael Turnerat PHI -
13Ronnie Brownvs. BUF -
14Maurice Jones-Drewvs. CLE -
15Sammy Morrisvs. STLQuestionable(knee)
16LenDale Whitevs. INDCheap scores
17Willis McGaheevs. OAKProbable(knee)
18Jamal Lewisat JAC -
19Jonathan Stewartvs. ARZ -
20Willie Parkervs. NYGFully expected to start
21Deuce McAllistervs. SD -
22Earnest Grahamat DALMoves up if Dunn is out
23Julius Jonesat SF -
24DeAngelo Williamsvs. ARZ -
25Ahman Greenvs. CINSneaky play
26Cedric Bensonat HOU Waiver pickup
27Justin Fargasat BAL -
28Dominic Rhodesat TEN -
29Edgerrin Jamesat CAR -
30Warrick Dunnat DALQuestionable(back)
31Tim Hightowerat CAR -
32Fred Taylorvs. CLE -
33Darren McFaddenat BAL -
34Fred Jacksonat MIA -
35Jamaal Charlesat NYJMore explosive than Smith
36Ricky Williamsvs. BUF -
37Kolby Smithat NYJExpected to start
38Mewelde Moorevs. NYG
39LaMont Jordanvs. STLMoves way up if Morris is out
40Derrick Wardat PIT -
41Jerious Norwoodat PHI -
42LeRon McClainvs. OAK -
43Correll Buckhaltervs. ATL -
44Kevin Smithvs. WASProbable(shoulder)
45Maurice Morrisat SF -
46Rudi Johnsonvs. WAS -
47Pierre Thomasvs. SDCould be him or Stecker behind Deuce
48Leon Washingtonvs. KC -
49Darren Sprolesat NOProbable(ankle)
50Kevin Faulkvs. STL -
51Shaun Alexanderat DET -
52Ray Ricevs. OAK -
53Kenny Watsonat HOU -
54Aaron Steckervs. SD

RB Notes: Mike Tomlin said it earlier in the week: The Giants offensive line is as good as any offensive line in recent history. Couldn't agree more. Eli Manning doesn't get touched in the passing game, but their run blocking takes it to another level. Consider this: Brandon Jacobs is on pace for over 1,300 yards and 16 touchdowns. His backup, Derrick Ward, is on pace for 1,200 total yards! Including Ahmad Bradshaw, the Giants backfield is on pace for over 3,000 yards from scrimmage this year. The schedule gets much tougher down the stretch, starting this week against the Steelers. I can't imagine benching Jacobs in any format, but Ward isn't a great flex play because of the tough matchup. . Ryan Grant ran harder last week against Indy, but the results were still not great. After getting 64 carries in two weeks, Grant is at risk of breaking down. It's a great time to sell while you can.

The Colts struggled to push the Packers up front, which doesn't bode well for their matchup with the Titans. Most of Dominic Rhodes' yards came when the Colts went four wide and delayed a handoff. Translation: The Colts just can't gain rushing yards by blocking people hat on hat. Joseph Addai has an outside chance to play this week, but avoid waiting for the Colts backs if possible. . It feels strange to defend Jamal Lewis, who has been a punch line in this space in previous years. But he's actually playing better than his numbers would indicate the last two weeks. The passing game is limiting his scoring chances, but he still has great vision and is finding holes. Stick with him against the Jaguars. . It looks like Steven Jackson will play this week. Monday Night's game notwithstanding, the Patriots rush defense is average. Start him. . Brian Westbrook is fully practicing again, making Correll Buckhalter a useful fantasy reserve. . Julius Jones' dustup with Mike Holmgren may not help his chances of fending off a Maurice Morris committee.

Justin Fargas is clearly Tom Cable's guy. Oakland has a tough matchup against Baltimore, so Fargas and Darren McFadden should both be on fantasy benches. McFadden has topped 50 rushing yards once all season and is now getting only 8-10 carries a game. Frank Gore's offensive line is absolutely terrible, especially when facing a physical defense. Luckily, they get the lightweight Seahawks this week. The Saints' run blocking has improved throughout the year. They have opened up some big holes for Deuce McAllister the last two weeks and he's responded with decisive cuts and a yards-per-carry average over five. The Chargers are no longer a tough matchup, making McAllister a decent bet to score. He's a solid RB2 for the week. Aaron Stecker and Pierre Thomas should get involved behind him, but it's uncertain who will be the backup.

I continue to rank Jonathan Stewart ahead of DeAngelo Williams because he's more likely to score. Stewart owners hoping that he'll eventually take over are going to be disappointed though. The Panthers backs complement each other well and share snaps on nearly every drive. It's working for John Fox and he's unlikely to change his strategy. . LenDale White is actually running worse than last season, but playing on the rejuvenated Titans has it's perks. Jeff Fisher loves using him near the goal line, much to the consternation of Chris Johnson owners. It's hard to sit the NFL leader in rushing touchdowns, especially against the Colts, who are softer than White's midsection. . Michael Turner and Ronnie Brown have been inconsistent and face tough matchups, but there just aren't overly reliable options to rank in front of them this week.

Sammy Morris is ranked as if he'll start. That's far from certain to happen. If Morris is out, a healthy LaMont Jordan would climb into the top-25. BenJarvus Green-Ellis figures to be third on the depth chart at best. . Ahman Green and Cedric Benson are both sneaky plays this week because of the matchup. We said to start Green as a flex against the Lions last week and it's fair to expect a similar performance against Cincy, one of the worst rush defenses in the league. Benson may not look great, but he should get 15-20 touches in a plus matchup. . Earnest Graham owners should keep an eye on Warrick Dunn's status. . Jamaal Charles will come off the bench, but he's got a better chance than Kolby Smith to break a big play against a shockingly stout Jets rush defense.

Week 8 Wide Receivers

RankPlayer NameOpponentNotes
1Steve Smithvs. ARZ -
2Andre Johnsonvs. CIN -
3Lee Evansat MIA -
4Larry Fitzgeraldat CAR -
5Santana Mossat DET -
6Plaxico Burressat PITProbable(finger)
7Reggie Wayneat TEN -
8Randy Mossvs. STL -
9Roddy Whiteat PHI -
10Marques Colstonvs. SDKeep the faith
11Braylon Edwardsat JAC -
12Calvin Johnsonvs. WASBig test
13Jerricho Cotcheryvs. KCStatus Uncertain (shoulder)
14Laveranues Colesvs. KCStatus Uncertain (head)
15Santonio Holmesvs. NYG -
16Anquan Boldinat CARQuestionable(head)
17Wes Welkervs. STL -
18Vincent Jacksonat NOKeep eye on Chambers' status
19Hines Wardvs. NYG -
20T.J. Houshmandzadehat HOUQuestionable(ankle)
21DeSean Jacksonvs. ATL -
22Chad Ocho Cincoat HOU -
23Terrell Owensvs. TBThe Brad Johnson effect
24Dwayne Boweat NYJ -
25Antonio Bryantat DAL -
26Josh Morganvs. SEAWe have the fever
27Muhsin Muhammadvs. ARZProbable(knee)
28Lance Moorevs. SD -
29Matt Jonesvs. CLEAvoids suspension for a week
30Marvin Harrisonat TENBoom or bust
31Derrick Masonvs. OAK -
32Donnie Averyat NE -
33Greg Camarillovs. BUF -
34Kevin Curtisvs. ATLExpected to start
35Devery Hendersonvs. SD -
36Kevin Waltervs. CIN -
37Antwaan Randle Elat DET -
38Torry Holtat NEHow the might have fallen
39Joey Gallowayat DALQuestionable(foot)
40Isaac Brucevs. SEA -
41Malcom Floydat NOKeep eye on Chambers
42Anthony Gonzalezat TEN -
43Reggie Brownvs. ATLStatus Uncertain
44Justin Gagevs. INDQuestionable(knee)
45Donte' Stallworthat JAC -
46Roy Williamsvs. TB -
47Steve Smithat PIT -
48Mike Furreyvs. WAS -
49Amani Toomerat PIT -
50Bobby Engramat SF -
51Steve Breastonat CARWould move way up if Boldin is out
52Patrick Craytonvs. TB -
53Arnaz Battlevs. SEA -
54Josh Reedat MIA -
55Chansi Stuckeyvs. KCKeep eye on Coles/Cotchery

WR Notes: Wideout and tight end notes will be added Thursday afternoon.

Week 8 Tight Ends

RankPlayer NameOpponentNotes
1Jason Wittenvs. TB -
2Chris Cooleyat DET -
3Antonio Gatesat NO -
4Owen Danielsvs. CIN -
5Tony Gonzalezat NYJ -
6Jeremy Shockeyvs. SDExpected to start
7Dallas Clarkat TEN -
8Todd Heapvs. OAKMatchup is right for a breakout
9Vernon Davisvs. SEA -
10Anthony Fasanovs. BUF -
11Heath Millervs. NYG -
12Bo Scaifevs. IND -
13Zach Millerat BAL -
14Ben Watsonvs. STL -
15Marcedes Lewisvs. CLE -
16John Carlsonat SF -
17Billy Millervs. SDKeep eye on Shockey
18L.J. Smithvs. ATL -
19Steve Heidenat JACQuestionable(pectorals) - Keep eye on Winslow
20Alex Smithat DAL -
21Robert Royalat MIA -
22David Martinvs. BUF -
23Dustin Kellervs. KC -
24Alge Crumplervs. IND -

Week 8 Team Defense

RankPlayer NameOpponentNotes
1Ravens Def/Spec Teamvs. OAK -
2Eagles Def/Spec Teamvs. ATL -
3Buccaneers Def/Spec Teamat DAL -
4Titans Def/Spec Teamvs. IND -
5Giants Def/Spec Teamat PIT -
6Steelers Def/Spec Teamvs. NYG -
7Jets Def/Spec Teamvs. KC -
8Bills Def/Spec Teamat MIA -
9Redskins Def/Spec Teamat DET -
10Patriots Def/Spec Teamvs. STL -
11Texans Def/Spec Teamvs. CIN -
12Cardinals Def/Spec Teamat CAR -
13Jaguars Def/Spec Teamvs. CLE -
14Raiders Def/Spec Teamat BAL -
15Seahawks Def/Spec Teamat SF -
16Rams Def/Spec Teamat NE -
17Fortyniners Def/Spec Teamvs. SEA -
18Cowboys Def/Spec Teamvs. TB -
19Chargers Def/Spec Teamat NO -
20Colts Def/Spec Teamat TEN -
21Panthers Def/Spec Teamvs. ARZ -
22Dolphins Def/Spec Teamvs. BUF -
23Browns Def/Spec Teamat JAC -
24Falcons Def/Spec Teamat PHI -
25Saints Def/Spec Teamvs. SD -
26Bengals Def/Spec Teamat HOU -
27Chiefs Def/Spec Teamat NYJ -
28Lions Def/Spec Teamvs. WAS -

Week 8 Kickers

RankPlayer NameOpponentNotes
1Shaun Suishamat DET -
2Stephen Gostkowskivs. STL -
3Nate Kaedingat NO -
4Nick Folkvs. TB -
5Josh Scobeevs. CLE -
6John Carneyat PIT -
7Kris Brownvs. CIN -
8Jason Elamat PHI -
9Joe Nedneyvs. SEA -
10Rob Bironasvs. IND -
11David Akersvs. ATL -
12Josh Brownat NE -
13Jay Feelyvs. KC -
14Taylor Mehlhaffvs. SD -
15John Kasayvs. ARZ -
16Matt Bryantat DALProbable(hamstring)
17Jeff Reedvs. NYG -
18Sebastian Janikowskiat BAL -
19Adam Vinatieriat TEN -
20Rian Lindellat MIA -
21Neil Rackersat CAR -
22Olindo Mareat SF -
23Shayne Grahamat HOU
24Phil Dawsonat JAC -
25Matt Stovervs. OAK -
26Jason Hansonvs. WAS -
27Connor Barthat NYJ -
28Dan Carpentervs. BUF -
Copyright Archive Sources
Contact Us