Gregg Rosenthal

Goal Line Stand

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Week 8 Rankings

Sunday, October 31, 2010

The Bills offense has to be seen to be believed.

When you see the generic name "Steve Johnson" in the box score, it doesn't quite register that he's actually talented enough to have produced like a WR2 this year. When you see Ryan Fitzpatrick ranks second in the NFL in quarterback rating and the Bills racked up over 500 yards in Baltimore, it just looks like a fluke.

I'm here to tell you that Fitzpatrick's performance against the Ravens was the best I've seen by a quarterback all season. He was decisive, deadly accurate, and not afraid to squeeze passes into tight windows. The ball wobbles sometimes, but it gets there. He's one of the best running quarterbacks in the league and doesn't shy away from contact. He has a red beard. And he throws a pretty deep ball to an underrated group of receivers.

Johnson is the guy to own of the group, although Lee Evans isn't far behind. The reason Johnson gets the edge is that he's more versatile. He's not the fastest or biggest receiver, but he runs professional routes and has a knack for creating separation. He doesn't drop passes. He can go over the middle and break tackles. He gets YAC. His fantasy value should be here to stay because of his red zone ability.

Fitzpatrick says Johnson is the best receiver he's ever played with at creating space and making plays near the goal line. Whether that's hyperbole or not, Fitzpatrick is including Evans, Terrell Owens, Chad Ochocinco, Torry Holt, Isaac Bruce, and T.J. Houshmandzadeh in that assessment.

I'm having a hard time even comparing Johnson to anyone. I thought perhaps a young, taller Laveranues Coles. I asked folks on twitter what they thought, and the differing answers show how tough Johnson is to classify: Deion Branch, Houshmandzadeh, Bruce, Koren Robinson, Derek Mason, Jerricho Cotchery, Mario Manningham, Donald Driver and Roy Williams came up. (Housh and Cotchery may be closest.)

Whoever Johnson is like, I think he's here to stay as a reasonable weekly WR3 option. Is it possible that I'm basing too much on one game? Perhaps, but there are reasons to think the Bills will provide fantasy goodness for a while:

1. We've been here before with Chan Gailey. He created something out of nothing with Tyler Thigpen and the Chiefs. These Bills have better players.

2. The Bills offense has steadily improved for weeks; it wasn't just a one week thing.

3. The Bills defense is an epic disaster. Buffalo is going to have to try to score like crazy every week to keep up with them. There should be plenty of garbage time and comeback attempt points all year.

4. The Bills offensive line has stabilized. One of the craziest things about last week's game was watching Buffalo's line blow Baltimore off the ball on many occasions. Fred Jackson had a few long gains called back. (His value is rising too.) The group protected Fitzpatrick well.

This week is a great test to show whether the Bills offense is for real. The Chiefs defense is rock solid, especially against the pass. It's another road game for the Bills, who didn't have two weeks to prepare for this game unlike last week.

Maybe you have to watch the Bills for yourself before buying in. I believe.

Week 8 Quarterbacks

RankPlayer NameOpponentNotes
1Peyton Manningvs. HOU -
2Philip Riversvs. TEN -
3Aaron Rodgersat NYJ -
4Matt Schaubat IND -
5Drew Breesvs. PIT -
6Ben Roethlisbergerat NO -
7Tom Bradyvs. MIN -
8Ryan Fitzpatrickat KC -
9Kyle Ortonat SF -
10Matthew Staffordvs. WAS Probable(shoulder)
11Donovan McNabbat DET
12Carson Palmervs. MIA -
13Chad Henneat CIN -
14Matt Casselvs. BUF -
15Josh Freemanat ARZ -
16Brett Favreat NE Questionable(ankle)
17David Garrardat DAL Probable(concussion)
18Jon Kitnavs. JAC -
19Mark Sanchezvs. GB -
20Tarvaris Jacksonat NERanked as if starting
21Matt Mooreat STL -
22Vince Youngat SD Probable(knee)
23Sam Bradfordvs. CAR -
24Matt Hasselbeckat OAK -
25Jason Campbellvs. SEA -
26Troy Smithvs. DEN -
27Max Hallvs. TB Probable(concussion)

Editor's Note: For exclusive projections of all ranked players and tons of extra stats tools and columns, check out 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.
Email :Gregg Rosenthal

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