Week 9 Rankings Preview

Saturday, Nov 1, 2008 at 12:00 pm ET

At the midpoint in the season, it's a good time to take stock of your team. I hope the Nerd has helped in same fashion. It's been an interesting ride so far and I'm looking forward to finishing the season strong.

Tight Ends

Last week Jason Witten was projected to be the #1 TE. Busted ribs put a dent in that projection and I surely missed his usual points. 1 reception for 8 yards just wasn't enough to help me win that game. The only game I lost last week was the league where I have Witten. Week 9 doesn't look so good for the Cowboy's TE either. The Nerd sees him ranked #11. He's having trouble breathing and sleeping this week as he continues to recover. Some estimates show him out of action for 3 or 4 weeks, however Witten wants to play and could be a game-time decision. That's why he's the league leader among TE's, however I'm not sure if he's a safe play against the Giants.

Speaking of TE's, 4 of the top 6 in this week's rankings are not part of the usual suspects. Bo Scaife, Anthony Fasano, John Carlson, and David Martin fall into rankings 3-6. What a difference a few weeks make. These guys have switched places with the likes of Chris Cooley (#9), Kellen Winslow (#10), and Tony Scheffler (#13). Scaife faces a Green Bay defense that gives up points and yards to opposing TE's. Fasano against Denver, Carlson against Philly, and Martin against Miami are decent matchups for these guys.


Kurt Warner graces us with his presence at the top of the QB projections chart. On paper he looks like he should have a monster game against a St Louis defense that can be picked apart. Warner averages 272 yards and has thrown 8 touchdowns against his former team in the past five games he's played.

Jay Cutler (#2) should be back in form this week against Miami. The backfield in Denver is a mess so Cutler will probably spend a lot of time in the air. I'd like to see Ryan Torain make a showing here, so keep your eyes open and if you've got a roster spot...grab him.

Chad Pennington makes his debut in the Nerd's Top 5 this week. Yes - it threw me for a loop, however he's playing Denver and their secondary needs a lot of work. If you've got him, this may be the only week where he's a strong play.

It's Chicago's turn to beat up the poor Detroit Lions and that means that Kyle Orton rounds out the Top 5 QB's. I think you'll see Orton in the Top 10 for the rest of the season. He's got some favorable games coming and he's throwing really well right now.

I haven't heard anything about Jessica Simpson finding Brad Johnson a celebrity to double date with, so I'm comfortable with seeing him ranked #19 this week. I think he's at 19 only because of his receivers who have the ability to make plays. On his own merit, Johnson should probably be ranked lower - certainly against the Giants defense.

Matt Hasselbeck is making progress, but Wallace (#25) will make his third straight start this week.

Aaron Rodgers comes off the bye week at #11 against a tough Tennessee Defense. If you're starting him this week, perhaps his $65 million contract extension will spur him to put up big numbers. I can't help but think of both Ryan Grant's and Plaxico Burress's contract extensions. New contracts didn't help either one of them. Maybe Mr. Rodgers neighborhood is different. We'll see.

If I mention Rodgers, I better mention Brett Favre who ranks #14 this week. The Bills at home only allow 170- yards through the air and an average of 15 points. That's not a lot of fantasy points to spread around.

It's nice to see Marc Bulger fall in at #10. With Steven Jackson expected back this week, the run game should set up the passing game which makes Tory Holt (#20) and Donnie Avery (#23) recipients.

Wide Receivers

As long as I'm on receivers, I have to say that there are a couple of surprises here this week. You know Dallas is in a mess when someone like Devin Hester (#24) is ranked ahead of T.O. (#25). Granted, it's only by 0.05 points, but it should never be that close to begin with. Roy Williams falls in way down below at #46. Who knew that 1 little pinky finger could cause so much trouble?

Roddy White falls in at #4 and Lee Evans follows him at #5. These two have been fantastic this year and pretty consistent. For Evans, this certainly is a nice surprise from 2007!

I have to admit that I was a little surprised to see Andre Johnson at #6. He's a receiving machine. I guess the experts think that the Minnesota Defense will be putting pressure on Matt Schaub (#12 among QB's) which could very well happen. If Houston's front line can keep the pressure off, Schaub is a Top 5 QB this week.

Brandon Marshall comes in this week at #2 right behind Larry Fitzgerald who should have a monster game. Marshall should produce nicely this week as Miami gives up the 2nd most fantasy points to wide receivers this year.

Santana Moss is having a great year and he's ranked #12 this week. Believe it or not, I think that's pretty optimistic this week. I'm not sure that he's even going to play, but if he does, perhaps the extra attention of playing on Monday night will help. It's a tough outing though no matter how you slice it. Temper your expectations.

How's this for a surprise? Bernard Berrian rounds out the Nerd's Top 10 WR's this week! The Texans allow a good deal of yards through the air and Gus Frerotte has been decent. Berrian has been pretty solid lately and the experts expect that to continue.

If you're a Housh owner, you've got to be missing the Palmer days. Ryan Fitzpatrick is no Carson Palmer, but he has targeted Houshmandzadeh frequently. The problem is that TJ hasn't been able to capitalize on those receptions. These factors combine to produce a Nerd rank of #22 this week.

Running Backs

Taking a peek at running backs, you'll see Clinton Portis at #14 after being a Top 5 back for the past few weeks. It's a temporary ranking as he faces a very tough Steelers defense.

Larry Johnson, who is being held out by the Chiefs this week, was also suspended one game by the NFL. For what it's worth, I dropped him in the 1 league I had him and I don't intend on picking him back up. Just my opinion.

Ronnie Brown (#6 this week) has a wonderful opportunity to get some solid stats this week against the Broncos. On paper, Brown should definitely see a 100 yd game today. Denver has allowed rushers to see the century mark three of the last four games.

If you follow my ramblings from week to week you know that I was at Lambeau Field to see Ryan Grant's only 100 yd game and only TD this year. I have Grant (#22) in one of my leagues and have been pretty disappointed with him this year. I don't have to travel to Nashville to see him this week, because I don't think he'll put up decent numbers. The Titans allow less than 90 yards on the ground per game at home, so Grant will have another tough day.

Joseph Addai is expected back this week and you'll find him ranked at #23. Maybe this is what the Colts need to bring themselves back to their former selves.

I have always liked Jamal Lewis (#24) and he's one of my starters in the Stinky Tee Experts League, however I expect very little production out of him tomorrow against the Ravens, the League's top run defense.

If you're reading the reports out of Pittsburgh, the Steelers keep saying that Willie Parker (#32) will be back in action this week. I'm not sure I believe that, because they said the same thing last week. The Nerd sees Mewelde Moore at #29, however neither option looks all that attractive on Monday night.

Steve Slaton falls into the #18 position this week, but I disagree with the experts on this one. The Vikes are good at stopping the run, but they've also allowed 7 rushing TD's. Slaton has been on a roll as of late and I think he'll continue that streak. Again - just my opinion.

Maurice Jones-Drew was a disappointment last week, but I expect that to change this week and so do the experts. The Nerd sees him ranked #12 against a weak Cincy Defense that has allowed 11 rushing TD's.

Keep an eye on the Injury Report for Sammy Morris and LaMont Jordan. If either of them play this week, Kevin Faulk's value is decreased. The Nerd sees Faulk at #20 among RB's this week.

That's it for now. Good luck to all this weekend!

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