Gregg Rosenthal

Goal Line Stand

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Week 8 Rankings Update

Friday, October 30, 2009

When Ricky Williams started the second half of last week's game against the Saints, I started to wonder if he was becoming a problem for Ronnie Brown. Williams has 25 fewer touches on the season than Brown, but only 15 fewer yards from scrimmage. After last week's outburst, Williams has only one less touchdown.

Ultimately, comparing Brown to Williams is missing the point. Both players are ranked in the top eight running backs in fantasy points-per-game in standard league. This is especially insane because the Dolphins are 2-4! If they played with a bigger lead more often, what could these two runners do?

Williams is a small concern because he's surprising stealing receiving numbers from Brown. Perhaps it's the Wildcat effect, but Ronnie no longer is much of a factor catching passes despite all his skills. Miami has built a special running attack, with or without the Wildcat, and they will continue to play to their strengths the rest of the season.

One thing to watch for this week is how the Jets defend them. The Saints did a better job than any team all season against the Wildcat – by far – by blitzing their cornerbacks. The Dolphins averaged 7.1 yards per play from the formation before facing New Orleans, but the Saints held them to 27 yards on 14 plays by blitzing their cornerbacks. They were the aggressors, and that's a recipe Rex Ryan and possibly Bill Belichick will try to reproduce.

Until proven otherwise, however, the Dolphins have the nastiest running game in the league. It's good enough for Ronnie Brown to have a career year, and still have enough left over for Ricky Williams to be a quality RB2/flex the rest of the way.

Week 8 Quarterbacks

RankPlayer NameOpponentNotes
1Peyton Manningvs. SF -
2Drew Breesvs. ATL -
3Philip Riversvs. OAK -
4Aaron Rodgersvs. MIN Probable(foot)
5Matt Schaubat BUF -
6Tony Romovs. SEA -
7Jay Cutlervs. CLE -
8Kurt Warnervs. CAR -
9Matt Ryanat NO -
10Joe Flaccovs. DEN Probable(ankle)
11Brett Favreat GB Probable(hip)
12Donovan McNabbvs. NYG -
13David Garrardat TEN -
14Eli Manningat PHI -
15Kyle Ortonat BAL -
16Matt Hasselbeckat DAL Probable(ribs)
17Matthew Staffordvs. STL Questionable(knee)
18Marc Bulgerat DET -
19Chad Henneat NYJ -
20Alex Smithat IND -
21Vince Youngvs. JAC -
22Mark Sanchezvs. MIA -
23Jake Delhommeat ARZ -
24Derek Andersonat CHI Probable(ankle)
25Ryan Fitzpatrickvs. HOU -
26JaMarcus Russellat SD -

QB Notes: I still worry about the offensive line plenty, but Aaron Rodgers is playing at an insane level right now. Okay, so last two opponents were Detroit and Cleveland. But his 9.2 yards-per-attempt average on the season is not a misprint, and he had a fine fantasy day against the Vikings last time around. Playing on grass should help his protection. As excellent as Brett Favre is playing, Rodgers should easily outshine him Sunday. … Derek Anderson makes some decisions and throws that are beyond brutal. He can also "spin it" a few times a game like a star. But Cleveland's receivers are so bad, it's hard to even fully blame him. Mohammad Massaquoi is the only one that can get separation. Players are not open. When you are counting on an extremely raw and drop-prone rookie (Mohammad Massaquoi) to carry a group, good things won't happen.

Donovan McNabb's play has been uneven the last two weeks, but spurts of inaccuracy are nothing new from him. He still throws one of the prettiest deep balls around. In a negative matchup like this week against the Giants, he's a borderline play. … The Browns get no pass rush, and pass protection hasn't really been the problem for Chicago's terrible offensive line anyway. The Bears should be primed to put a beatdown on Cleveland, and they aren't going to do it on the ground. … As inconsistent as Tony Romo has been this season, his stats are where you'd expect them to be. His YPA is above his career. Miles Austin's emergence changes the Dallas offense, making Romo an easy top-eight play in a plus matchup like the one this week against Seattle.

Buffalo's pass defense is the best part of the whole team or Matt Schaub would be ranked even higher. … Jacksonville's passing attack is acceptable this season with Mike Sims-Walker and Torry Holt. In a great matchup against Tennessee, David Garrard should have a solid afternoon. … Matt Hasselbeck owners should watch this week closely. His offensive line gave him no chance last time out against Arizona. They have had a bye week to prepare for Dallas' improving attack. Another ugly outing will be a sign that a long season is on the way. …The Broncos defense hasn't faced a line as physical as Baltimore. With Jared Gaither back at left tackle, Joe Flacco should be fine. … You could do worse than Marc Bulger against the Lions. Or Matthew Stafford against the Rams, assuming Stafford plays.

Mark Sanchez is playing like a rookie quarterback again, which was to be expected. His deep ball and willingness to throw it at the right moments is perhaps his most surprising trait, but otherwise he's just trying to survive. You should be able to do better at QB2. … Alex Smith looked fantastic in relief of Shaun Hill, but that was against the Texans. If he can sustain drives against the Colts, we'll know he has staying power. The other offensive issues in San Francisco aren't going away, so don't expect miracles. But I'd place him towards the bottom of the top-20 quarterbacks moving forward, somewhere near Chad Henne. … For the six people curious, Bruce Gradkowski was not any better than JaMarcus Russell in his relief stint.

Editor's Note: Check out our exclusive projections for all the players listed here in Rotworld's Season Pass package, now 33% off. We've also got extra columns, IDP rankings, Top 200 rankings, Evan Silva's running back report, advance workload and target data, exclusive chats, schedule analysis, and fantasy points allowed info you can only get with Season Pass.

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Gregg Rosenthal has directed Rotoworld's football content since 2003. He co-hosts the NBC Fantasy Fix and covers the NFL for and Catch him on Twitter.
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