The following is a list of the Week 8 leaders in looks and touches. It defines those running backs and receivers who received the most attention this past weekend.
Touches is defined as the number of times a running back carried or caught the football.
Looks is defined as the number of times a player was the intended target of a pass.
In Week 8, we saw the continuing struggles of Jamal Lewis, a valiant effort from Corey Dillon, and Giants tailback Tiki Barber running wild in a highly anticipated divisional matchup with the Redskins.
Let's rip apart this week's play-by-play logs.
Antonio Gates led the charge (pun fully intended) against the Chiefs this past week, putting up 10 catches and three scores. It's no surprise, then, that Gates leads the Looks column this week with 16. Gates has been targeted nearly 10 times (9.71, to be exact) in his seven games this season. He and Drew Brees successfully hook up on 63 percent of their attempts.
Terrell Owens racked up the Looks in Week 7, targeted 13 times by Donovan McNabb while playing catch-up to the Broncos. The two connected on only three passes, but fantasy owners couldn't be too disappointed with a score and more than 150 receiving yards. Owens and McNabb have successfully hooked up on 50 percent of passes thrown in his direction this year. Keep an eye on the news about Owens' ankle. According to published reports, Owens may sit out the next two weeks with the injury. That would push L.J. Smith (five Looks) and Greg Lewis (four Looks) to the forefront of the passing game alongside Brian Westbrook (six Looks).
The Raiders passing game finally got on track this week, despite the mounting injuries for Randy Moss. Jerry Porter put up his best game of the season, catching six of the eight passes thrown his way. Those two touchdown catches shouldn't be ignored, either! With the Chiefs defense on tap for Week 9, Porter looks to be a solid play this week. Moss (six Looks in Week 8) will play, and his presence will leave Porter space to operate against the league's 31st-ranked pass defense.
Tennessee has seen its offense blitzed by injuries in much the same way as the Packers. Last week, rookies Courtney Roby (13 Looks) and Roydell Williams (10 Looks) kept the Titans on the heels of the Raiders. With Drew Bennett, Ben Troupe, and fellow rookie Brandon Jones still banged up for this week, look for the rookies to factor heavily into the game plan against Cleveland.
Willis McGahee and the Bills almost crashed Tedy Bruschi's homecoming party on Sunday night. Though the effort fell short, McGahee's effort certainly cannot be faulted, as he led the league with 33 Touches this week. Mike Mularkey and company certainly aren't looking back on McGahee's injury past, putting the ball into his hands over 25 times per game through the first half of the season. Now, if he could just find the end zone more …
Nick Saban must have rubbed his hands together and uttered a C. Montgomery Burns-like "Excellent" with the big effort turned in by his two-headed backfield. Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams combined for 42 Touches on Sunday against the Saints. This is the type of workload split that Nick Saban would like to see going forward, so owners in need of a running back with a decent number of Touches might look in Williams direction.
In his first game since Week 4, Carnell Williams failed to get out of first gear against the 49ers. He gained a paltry 20 yards on 13 carries (one catch for five yards) in the loss. The workload was certainly a far cry from the nearly 30 carries per game he turned in to start the season.
I would be remiss if I failed to applaud the efforts of rookie Marion Barber against the Cardinals. He found the end zone twice and gained 127 yards on 27 carries while also contributing two catches for 21 yards. The Cowboys are on a bye and expect Julius Jones back thereafter. However, Wednesday's release of Anthony Thomas means that Barber will serve as Jones' primary backup.