November 13, 2008
Every Friday during the NFL season, we'll review the Yahoo! weekly position ranks. If an expert breaks from the herd on a particular player, they'll be asked to show their work. You're encouraged to discuss the wisdom or lunacy of these opinions in comments.
Adrian Peterson: No. 14 in Evans' ranks, No. 7 in the Yahoo! composite ranks
For the sake of full disclosure, the last time the Noise wrote something negative about the Purple Jesus, he established a new NFL single-game record for rushing yards. It's likely this entry propels him to 350 rushing yards and double-digit touchdowns in Tampa.
Still, examining the elements closely, All-Day could underwhelm. Monte Kiffin's stiff Cover 2 has played brilliantly against backs this season, especially at home. Fans who've attended games at the Ray Jay have yet to see an opposing rusher eclipse 60 yards or cross the chalk this season. Since Week 6, the Bucs have surrendered a lowly 106.5 total yards per game and one touchdown to rushers, equal to the third-fewest fantasy points allowed. If Gus Frerotte can't keep Tampa's disciplined defense honest through the air, the Bucs will creep an extra defender into the box to stuff the run.
Demoting Peterson is complete lunacy, but an effort similar to Carolina Week 3 (17 carries, 77 yards, 0 TDs) is certainly possible.
Fearless Forecast: 21 carries, 88 rushing yards, 1 reception, 7 receiving yards, 0 touchdowns.
Brett Favre: No. 9 in Funston's ranks, No. 14 composite
Admittedly, Favre is not an obvious top 10 play, but there are a few aspects of his matchup at New England that I like. First, the Patriots have suffered some major hits to their defense in the past few weeks with the losses of S Rodney Harrison and top sack man LB Adalius Thomas. They could also be without starting DE Ty Warren, and CB Ellis Hobbs is, well, hobbled. The Patriots hadn’t previously done a very good job of getting to the quarterback (16 sacks – 10th-fewest in the league), and I suspect they’ll be even less so without the players I mentioned. I also believe that New England, in a game that will feature rainfall, is going to be geared up to stop Thomas Jones, who has eight touchdowns in his past five games, two in which he rushed for at least 149 yards. On a national stage, I don’t think Favre is going to just sit back and handoff to TJ all night. There’ll be opportunities against the Pats’ banged-up secondary, and I think Favre is going to take his shots.
Steve Slaton: No. 11 in Behrens' ranks, No. 18 composite
No one liked hearing that Slaton appeared to be "really worn down" last week. Those were head coach Gary Kubiak's words, so you have to take them seriously. Still, it's worth noting that even in a six-touch effort against Baltimore, Slaton had a 58-yard TD nullified by a holding penalty. He's a threat on any down, in virtually any situation, and Kubiak has since said that Slaton is "fresher" and has "practiced well." Don't overreact to the bad week.
Houston travels to Indianapolis on Sunday, and the Colts have allowed 134.2 rushing yards per game. Slaton had 96 combined yards and two TDs against them in Week 5 (the Sage Rosenfels implosion game). You can't sit the rookie unless your other options are exceptional.
Thomas Jones: No. 11 in Pianowski's ranks, No. 19 composite
There are several underreported stories with the 2008 Jets, themes that are constantly screened by the media-friendly storyline that is "Brett Favre, Legend." Darrelle Revis has turned into one of the five best cornerbacks in the league, Kris Jenkins is dominating again on the defensive line, and Thomas Jones, the back just about left for dead, is kicking up his heels again and running to daylight (call it the Alan Faneca effect). Jones is cranking out 4.7 yards per carry this autumn, he's more involved in the passing game (20 receptions), and he's hitting the hole decisively at the goal line (eight rushing TDs, nine total). The Jets have dramatically downshifted to a run-first offense since the Week 5 bye; Favre has just four touchdown passes since the holiday, and Jerricho Cotchery can't find the end zone with a road map (no spikes since September).
The aging New England defense has circled the wagons nicely against the run, keeping the end zone closed to opposing backs for six weeks running, but I'm not as impressed when I go over the resume; the offensive lines in Buffalo, Indianapolis and St. Louis aren't pushing anyone around right now. Jones also gets some touch insurance from the weather; with heavy rains in the forecast for Thursday night, the passing games could be limited. It's not unusual to see big rushing numbers in slippery weather; the back knows where he's going, the defenders don't –- so help yourself to a Jones play in Week 11.
Greg Camarillo: No. 27 in Evans' ranks, No. 42 composite
In order to protect himself from Oakland's "Black Death," Camarillo will don garlic cloves and fill his pockets with posies. Nnamdi Asomugha is expected to man one half of the field, victimizing whoever lies in his path. Because the Wes Welker-clone is very effective on short-to-intermediate routes, look for Tony Sparano to position his trustiest possession wideout on Chris Johnson's side whenever possible.
Since Ricky Williams and Ronnie Brown are the strength of the Miami offense, Oakland will try to stack the line to stop the run, which will turn Chad Pennington loose. Based on Pennington's remarkable short-field accuracy, it seems likely Camarillo, not Ted Ginn Jr., will be his primary aerial weapon. The 26-year-old has been inconsistent of late, but he's primed to post very serviceable WR3 totals, especially in PPR formats.
Fearless Forecast: 6 receptions, 79 receiving yards, 0 touchdowns
Shaun Hill: No. 15 in Pianowski's ranks, No. 19 composite
While Hill didn't light the world on fire Monday night in Arizona, I saw enough positive things to suggest that San Francisco has finally found some stability at quarterback. Hill threw two messy interceptions, sure, but he managed the pocket well, kept the chains moving, and threw a couple of touchdown passes. Don't blow off the importance of that last item; some bigger-name quarterbacks are still looking for their first two-bagger of the season (Jeff Garcia and Trent Edwards come to mind).
The matchup falls in nicely for Hill in Week 11, up against a St. Louis pass defense that looks bad any way you slice it (99.0 QB rating, 8.77 YPA, 237 yards per game). My rank on Hill doesn't make him an automatic play in most public leagues, but he's a nice option if you're digging deep, in need of a second starter, or managing your depth at the position. He'll probably tack on a couple of points on the ground, as well.
Antonio Bryant: No. 21 in Funston's ranks, No. 34 composite
Tampa Bay is the second-most pass heavy offense in the league. On Sunday, it will face a run-stuffing Minnesota defense with a banged-up backfield – Earnest Graham is questionable with a sore knee. So, I expect the Buccaneers to stick with a pass-heavy plan. Enter Bryant, who has averaged 92 receiving yards and has scored twice in his past three games. Given the matchup scenario and the fact that Bryant is the 11th-most targeted receiver in the league, I’m actually surprised I’m the only Yahoo! driving his bandwagon this week.
Donald Driver: No. 13 in Behrens' ranks, No. 20 composite
It's no accident that the two Chicago fans here have Driver ranked higher than our colleagues. Brad has Driver 16th, and I've got him 13th. We saw enough of CB Nathan Vasher last week to make us absolutely dread this match-up (and Brad Biggs of the Sun-Times agrees).
The Bears have the NFL's fourth best run defense (74.9 yards per game, 3.1 per carry), but they've allowed the third most fantasy points to wide receivers. Driver is a heavily targeted receiver with a match-up he should be able to exploit. Expect a strong bounce-back game from Aaron Rodgers, and an extremely useful day from No. 80.
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