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Incredibly enough, the NFL is actually going to allow Denver and San Francisco to play the Wembley game this week, as scheduled. Any international progress the league made in previous years will thus be erased.

As you'll note in the image above, London Mayor Boris Johnson (center, disheveled) seems somewhat perplexed — appropriately so, because it's insane that this is the match-up we're exporting. The Broncos-Niners game has the potential to set back U.S.-British relations 240 years. Let's hope either Frank Gore(notes) or Kyle Orton(notes) can do something to save this thing. Below, both players are ranked as if they will.

The Falcons, Ravens, Browns, Giants, Eagles and Bears all have byes this week, so there's no way Jay Cutler(notes) is going to throw more than, say, two picks. Maybe three, tops.


1. Peyton Manning(notes) vs. HOU
2. Philip Rivers(notes) vs. TEN
3. Kyle Orton "at" SF
4. Drew Brees(notes) vs. PIT
5. Ben Roethlisberger(notes) at NO
6. Matt Schaub(notes) at IND
7. Aaron Rodgers(notes) at NYJ
8. Ryan Fitzpatrick(notes) at KC
9. Matthew Stafford(notes) vs. WAS
10. Tom Brady(notes) vs. MIN
11. Carson Palmer(notes) vs. MIA
12. Matt Cassel(notes) vs. BUF
13. Jon Kitna(notes) vs. JAC
14. Donovan McNabb(notes) at DET
15. Josh Freeman(notes) at ARI
16. Mark Sanchez(notes) vs. GB
17. Chad Henne(notes) at CIN
18. Matt Moore(notes) at STL
19. Matt Hasselbeck(notes) at OAK
20. David Garrard(notes) at DAL
21. Brett Favre(notes) at NE
22. Sam Bradford(notes) vs. CAR
23. Vince Young(notes) at SD
24. Jason Campbell(notes) vs. SEA
25. Troy Smith(notes) vs. DEN

Let's just get the Brett Favre discussion out of the way at the top: He's in a walking boot, he's legitimately injured, and he'd really like to re-set everyone's expectations to zero. "I would love to play," he told reporters on Wednesday, then added, "There's a chance I don't play." At no point did he mention that he's currently the 28th ranked player at his position in terms of per-game fantasy scoring, but he is. He's clearly a risky play. Even if Favre starts, he may not finish. … In a miserable loss to Cleveland in Week 7, Drew Brees still delivered a tolerable fantasy line (356 yards, 2 TDs, 4 INTs). No one ever likes to see a match-up against Pittsburgh on the schedule, but understand that Brees is basically a lock to put the ball in the air 40-plus times. You can't bench him under these circumstances. Even if the Saints had a respectable running game at the moment (they don't, they rank 26th), the Steelers would almost certainly shut it down. Pittsburgh's run defense is the best in the NFL, by a wide margin (2.8 YPC, 63.7 YPG). This sets up as another game where the run is an afterthought, and Brees is responsible for all the scoring. Start with confidence.

Back in the '80s (or whenever it was), Jon Kitna was a solid option for fantasy owners, although inaccuracy was always part of the scouting report. None of us can say precisely what a 38-year-old Kitna is going to look like after a full week of practice with the varsity, but you have to like the opponent (Jacksonville) and of course we all know he has a few weapons at his disposal. If you're in a league that doesn't penalize too severely for turnovers, he's a much safer start. You're always at risk of a five-turnover game with Kitna. Nice ceiling, killer floor. … Vince Young returned to practice for the Titans on Wednesday, so it would be a mild surprise if he can't go this weekend. The problem: He'll face the league's top-ranked pass defense. The other problem: He still hasn't thrown (or hasn't been allowed to throw) more than 28 passes in any game this season. … Troy Smith, not David Carr(notes), will draw the start for the Niners in Week 8, since Alex Smith (shoulder) is on the shelf. London is electric with anticipation. That city was geeked for Josh Johnson(notes) last year, sure, but this Smith thing is, like, 100 times bigger. 


1. Adrian Peterson at NE
2. Frank Gore vs. DEN
3. Chris Johnson at SD
4. Arian Foster(notes) at IND
5. Maurice Jones-Drew(notes) at DAL
6. Steven Jackson vs. CAR
7. Rashard Mendenhall(notes) at NO
8. Ryan Torain(notes) at DET
9. LaDainian Tomlinson(notes) vs. GB
10. Jamaal Charles(notes) vs. BUF
11. Marshawn Lynch(notes) at OAK
12. Darren McFadden(notes) vs. SEA
13. Thomas Jones(notes) vs. BUF
14. Felix Jones(notes) vs. JAC
15. Beanie Wells(notes) vs. TB
16. Cedric Benson(notes) vs. MIA
17. Jahvid Best(notes) vs. WAS
18. Jonathan Stewart(notes) at STL
19. Knowshon Moreno(notes) at SF
20. LeGarrette Blount(notes) at ARI
21. Fred Jackson(notes) at KC
22. Donald Brown(notes) vs. HOU
23. Ryan Mathews(notes) vs. TEN
24. CJ Spiller(notes) at KC
25. Shonn Greene(notes) vs. GB
26. Ronnie Brown(notes) at CIN
27. Ricky Williams(notes) at CIN
28. Dexter McCluster(notes) vs. BUF
29. Mike Hart(notes) vs. HOU
30. BenJarvus Green-Ellis(notes) vs. MIN
31. Justin Forsett(notes) at OAK
32. DeAngelo Williams(notes) at STL
33. Carnell Williams(notes) at ARI
34. Danny Woodhead(notes) vs. MIN
35. Derrick Ward(notes) at IND
36. Marion Barber(notes) vs. JAC
37. Brandon Jackson(notes) at NYJ
38. Christopher Ivory(notes) vs. PIT
39. Tim Hightower(notes) vs. TB
40. Darren Sproles(notes) vs. TEN

There really shouldn't be many surprises at the top of the ranks this week — it's mostly brand-name backs and/or match-up plays. But perhaps you're wondering about Felix Jones, who seemed to take a step back in Week 7 (nine carries for 35 yards, three receptions for 27). Dallas only ran the ball 13 times against the Giants, as the team went into catch-up mode in the second half. Assuming the score never gets out of hand against Jacksonville, Jones should get all the work he can handle, particularly with Kitna at the controls of the Cowboys' offense. He's been a sneaky PPR play. Stay the course, Felix owner.

DeAngelo Williams was held out of practice on Wednesday, due to a foot injury of unknown severity. Thus, he was held out of the top-30 in my early RB ranks, and Jonathan Stewart received a bump. If there's better news on Williams later in the week, those two may flip positions. … Carnell Williams and LeGarrette Blount will reportedly share carries in the Arizona game. According to the St. Petersburg Times, Cadillac will not be used exclusively on third downs. Blount was a monster in the win over St. Louis (11 carries, 72 yards), but Williams caught the game-winning score. … Beanie Wells has an outstanding match-up in Week 8, no question. Brad gave you the details in this week's Flames. Tampa Bay's defense ranks last in the NFC in stopping the run (157.7 YPG). The problem is, I have no confidence that the Cards' offense can score more than 10-13 total points, so Wells doesn't crack the top-10. I can only award him three-and-a-half Noises:

Really wish I could be more bullish, but the lousy team context in Arizona limits Beanie's ceiling. 


1. Calvin Johnson(notes) vs. WAS
2. Andre Johnson(notes) at IND
3. Reggie Wayne(notes) vs. HOU
4. Terrell Owens(notes) vs. MIA
5. Brandon Lloyd(notes) at SF
6. Brandon Marshall(notes) at CIN
7. Pierre Garcon(notes) vs. HOU
8. Mike Williams (TB) at ARI
9. Randy Moss(notes) at NE
10. Dwayne Bowe(notes) vs. BUF
11. Chad Ochocinco(notes) vs. MIA
12. Santana Moss(notes) at DET
13. Percy Harvin(notes) at NE
14. Mike Wallace(notes) at NO
15. Miles Austin(notes) vs. JAC
16. Dez Bryant(notes) vs. JAC
17. Greg Jennings(notes) at NYJ
18. Marques Colston(notes) vs. PIT
19. Steve Smith (CAR) at STL
20. Steve Johnson(notes) at KC
21. Hines Ward(notes) at NO
22. Kenny Britt(notes) at SD
23. Davone Bess(notes) at CIN
24. Braylon Edwards(notes) vs. GB
25. Wes Welker(notes) vs. MIN
26. Patrick Crayton(notes) vs. TEN
27. Larry Fitzgerald(notes) vs. TB
28. Santonio Holmes(notes) vs. GB
29. Jabar Gaffney(notes) at SF
30. Lee Evans(notes) at KC
31. Mike Williams (SEA) at OAK
32. Mike Sims-Walker(notes) at DAL
33. Donald Driver(notes) at NYJ
34. Deion Branch(notes) vs. MIN
35. Eddie Royal(notes) at SF
36. Lance Moore(notes) vs. PIT
37. James Jones(notes) at NYJ
38. Michael Crabtree(notes) vs. DEN
39. Anthony Gonzalez(notes) vs. HOU
40. Roy Williams vs. JAC
41. Nate Burleson(notes) vs. WAS
42. Kevin Walter(notes) at IND
43. Danny Amendola(notes) vs. CAR
44. Dexter McCluster vs. BUF
45. Buster Davis vs. TEN
46. Robert Meachem(notes) vs. PIT
47. Jordan Shipley(notes) vs. MIA
48. Blair White(notes) vs. HOU
49. Mike Thomas(notes) at DAL
50. David Gettis(notes) at STL

At the rate the Bucs are targeting Mike Williams (11 times last week), there's a huge game coming. The rookie is a massive talent, and he's facing one of the league's most user-friendly Ds in Week 8. Arizona has allowed 26.7 points and 368.7 total yards per game. Respect the two-Mike Williams fantasy alignment.

Steve Johnson has found the end zone five times in his last four games for Buffalo, and he's coming off an eight-catch, 158-yard effort against Baltimore. He's more than a garbage-time phenomenon. (Irrelevant detail: Four years ago, I was convinced that Johnson's college quarterback, Andre Woodson, was going to be a star. It's possible that I didn't appreciate Kentucky's receiving corps — Johnson, Keenan Burton(notes), Jacob Tamme(notes). Told you this was irrelevant). … Apparently, last week's reports about Anthony Gonzalez's re-tweaked ankle were slightly exaggerated (or just flat-out wrong). Gonzalez is expected to be ready for the match-up with Houston, which complicates the Blair White situation. … Malcom Floyd(notes) (hamstring) is expected to be sidelined on Sunday, and there's reportedly a possibility that he'll be out through San Diego's Week 10 bye.


1. Antonio Gates(notes) vs. TEN
2. Jason Witten(notes) vs. JAC
3. Kellen Winslow(notes) at ARI
4. Dustin Keller(notes) vs. GB
5. Visanthe Shiancoe(notes) at NE
6. Tony Moeaki(notes) vs. BUF
7. Chris Cooley(notes) at DET
8. Zach Miller vs. SEA
9. Aaron Hernandez(notes) vs. MIN
10. Owen Daniels(notes) at IND
11. Vernon Davis(notes) vs. DEN
12. Marcedes Lewis(notes) at DAL
13. Heath Miller(notes) at NO
14. Jermaine Gresham(notes) vs. MIA
15. Jacob Tamme vs. HOU  


1. Pittsburgh Steelers at NO
2. Tampa Bay Buccaneers at ARI
3. Seattle Seahawks at OAK
4. Washington Redskins at DET
5. New York Jets vs. GB
6. Oakland Raiders vs. SEA
7. Green Bay Packers at NYJ
8. Tennessee Titans at SD
9. St. Louis Rams vs. CAR
10. Kansas City Chiefs vs. BUF
11. Miami Dolphins at CIN
12. San Diego Chargers vs. TEN
13. Dallas Cowboys vs. JAC
14. Cincinnati Bengals vs. MIA
15. Jacksonville Jaguars at DAL 


Photos via Getty Images

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