Week 8 composite rankings

Let’s begin being wrong all over again while seeing how much others around the Interwebs have failed, because if there’s one skill I’ve mastered, it’s deflecting blame elsewhere.

Week 8 is here, so as is our custom we have lots of players ranked numerically according to their predicted level of awesomeness. We can safely assume that the guy pictured above will be rather proficient while passing the football against Jacksonville and its 24th-ranked passing defense.

But what of all the other players at all the other positions? There are charts for that. With the help of Devang Desai, the Robin to my Batman (or perhaps he prefers Poochie), we went through the weekly adventure of compiling the composite rankings from our usual group of experts while chiming in with some musings of our own. This week we used NFL.com‘s Michael Fabiano and Adam Rank, and Jamey Eisenberg and Dave Richard from CBSSports.com

Quarterbacks

Player Fabiano Rank Eisenberg Richard Average
Aaron Rodgers vs. JAC 1 1 1 1 1.00
Drew Brees @DEN 2 4 2 3 2.75
Peyton Manning vs. NO 4 3 3 2 3.00
Robert Griffin III @PIT 3 2 6 6 4.25
Tom Brady @STL 5 5 4 4 4.50
Matt Ryan @PHI 7 8 5 5 6.25
Ben Roethlisberger vs. WAS 6 6 7 8 6.75
Andrew Luck @TEN 8 7 10 7 8.00
Eli Manning @DAL 11 9 8 9 9.25
Michael Vick vs. ATL 9 10 9 12 10.00
Tony Romo vs. NYG 10 11 13 11 11.25
Philip Rivers @CLE 12 15 12 10 12.25
Carson Palmer @KC 19 12 11 15 14.25
Brandon Weeden vs. SD 16 16 14 13 14.75

I expect Brady to struggle, or at least struggle by Brady standards. Janoris Jenkins and Cortland Finnegan have quickly emerged as one of the league’s most impressive cornerback duos, and they should be able to minimize Brady’s deep looks.

And I expect RGIII to excel, even by RGIII standards. He’ll be passing and running — but maybe mostly running — against a Pittsburgh defense that’s still playing without Troy Polamalu, who’s both a ball hawker and a hard-hitting presence who comes up to the line and either blitzes or stuffs the run. And surely we’re not forgetting that Tim Tebow — who’s similar to Griffin in that he’s very mobile, but he’s not similar to Griffin in that he can’t complete a forward pass — posted 316 passing yards and two touchdowns on this same defense with a healthy Polamalu, adding 50 rushing yards on 10 carries.

Running backs

Player Fabiano Rank Eisenberg Richards Average
Chris Johnson vs. IND 4 2 2 1 2.25
Jamaal Charles vs. OAK 2 1 4 2 2.25
Adrian Peterson vs. TB 1 4 3 4 3.00
LeSean McCoy vs. ATL 3 3 1 7 3.50
Ryan Matthews @CLE 5 7 5 3 5.00
Trent Richardson vs. SD 17 12 0 0 7.25
Frank Gore @ARI 11 10 6 4 7.75
Marshawn Lynch @DET 9 8 7 8 8.00
Darren McFadden @KC 7 5 12 11 8.75
Alfred Morris @PIT 6 9 10 13 9.50
Matt Forte vs. CAR 8 11 8 12 9.75
Willis McGahee vs. NO 10 14 11 5 10.00
Ahmad Bradshaw @DAL 13 11 9 9 10.50
Reggie Bush @NYJ 12 13 13 10 12.00
Rashad Jennings @GB 14 15 14 16 14.75
Doug Martin @MIN 15 17 20 14 16.50
Stevan Ridley @STL 18 19 15 15 16.75
Michael Turner @PHI 19 18 19 17 18.25
Darren Sproles @DEN 20 20 17 20 19.25
Shonn Greene vs. MIA 16 16 24 23 19.75
Vick Ballard @TEN 26 21 18 18 20.75

Don’t hurt us now, Chris Johnson. We trust you, and now we’re living like it’s old times again. Remember when we used to hang out in the senior cafeteria when we were still just juniors? And remember that time we put the whoopie cushion on Sarah Beth’s chair? Good times.

Now we’re just hanging out, and chillin’ like it’s 2009. Blackberrys are cool again, Lance Armstrong isn’t a complete fake, society hasn’t met Honey Boo Boo yet, and you’re just pumping out rushing yards because you can, and everything feels so right.

After having only 45 yards (*shudders*) over his first three games, Johnson’s since eclipsed the 90-yard mark three times, including last Sunday’s 195 yards and two touchdowns against a Bills defense that can’t doing anything right ever. So there’s no reason why Johnson shouldn’t put a flame to the Colts in a matchup that’s equally appealing, as they’re allowing 141.7 rushing yards per game on the ground.

Wide Receivers

Player Fabiano Rank Eisenberg Richard Average
Brandon Marshall vs. CAR 3 3 4 4 3.50
Demaryius Thomas vs. NO 5 10 3 1 4.75
Percy Harvin vs. TB 1 1 14 3 4.75
Jordy Nelson vs. JAC 9 7 2 5 5.75
Victor Cruz @DAL 4 4 5 11 6.00
Julio Jones @PHI 14 11 1 2 7.00
Calvin Johnson vs. SEA 2 13 6 8 7.25
Marques Colston @DEN 10 8 11 7 9.00
Roddy White @PHI 6 2 10 20 9.50
Reggie Wayne @TEN 12 12 7 9 10.00
Wes Welker @STL 8 9 8 16 10.25
Mike Wallace vs. WAS 7 6 17 12 10.50
Eric Decker vs. NO 13 11 12 6 10.50
Vincent Jackson @MIN 11 15 9 10 11.25
Miles Austin vs. NYG 16 11 13 21 15.25
Larry Fitzgerald vs. SF 15 14 20 14 15.75
Randall Cobb vs. JAC 18 22 15 19 18.50
Dez Bryant vs. NYG 19 16 24 17 19.00
Antonio Brown vs. WAS 17 17 19 24 19.25

The massive swings and indecisiveness on the top two Falcons receivers are quite understandable due to two fellows named Nnamdi Asomugha and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie who will oppose them. Until Juan Castillo decided that being employed is way overrated and he changed the coverage scheme late in the second half, the Eagles were shutting down Calvin Johnson two weeks ago. Prior to that they also held the speedy Mike Wallace to just 17 yards on two catches during a loss to Pittsburgh, while Antonio Brown had a successful day with seven catches for 86 yards.

That’s probably what Roddy White and Julio Jones will be looking at Sunday. The Eagles will choose their poison, with one wideout given a few opportunities and therefore a chance to produce, while the other is stymied. White has been far more consistent when faced with aggressive press coverage, so we’ll side with him.

Also, monitor Jordy Nelson. His outlook will fluctuate throughout the weekend, and he’ll clearly take a steep plunge in all rankings if a Sunday morning decision on his hamstring injury isn’t a positive one.

Tight Ends

Player Fabiano Rank Eisenberg Richard Average
Rob Gronkowski @STL 1 1 1 1 1
Jimmy Graham @DEN 5 2 6 2 3.75
Tony Gonzalez @PHI 2 5 5 6 4.50
Heath Miller vs. WAS 3 3 3 4 3.25
Antonio Gates @CLE 6 4 4 3 4.25
Jason Witten vs. NYG 4 7 9 10 7.50
Vernon Davis @ARI 7 8 10 8 8.25
Aaron Hernandez @STL 8 6 2 5 5.25
Kyle Rudolph vs. TB 11 10 7 7 8.75
Martellus Bennett @DAL 12 9 8 11 10
Brent Celek vs. ATL 9 11 13 9 10.50
Greg Olsen @CHI 10 13 12 12 11.75
Dustin Keller vs. MIA 18 18 14 15 16.25
Brandon Pettigrew vs. SEA 14 14 17 16 15.25

Similar to Nelson, monitor Graham tomorrow and throughout the weekend, and make the necessary adjustments to your personal rankings if he’s ruled out for the secondary straight week due to his still lingering ankle injury. He was limited in practice again today.

And be worried about Vernon Davis. A week after he wasn’t even targeted, he now faces an Arizona defense that didn’t allow a reception by a Vikings tight end last week, and two weeks ago against Buffalo Scott Chandler had only one catch for four yards.

Defense/Special Teams

Defense Fabiano Rank Eisenberg Richards Average
Bears vs. CAR 1 1 1 2 1.25
49ers @ARI 2 2 2 1 1.75
Packers vs. JAC 3 4 3 3 3.25
Falcons @PHI 4 5 8 19 9
Seahawks @DET 7 6 6 4 5.75
Vikings vs. TB 10 3 4 6 5.75
Patriots @STL 5 7 9 13 8.5
Giants @DAL 8 9 5 10 8
Cardinals vs. SF 6 12 16 11 11.25
Lions vs. SEA 13 11 13 8 11.25

Oh Cammy Cam Newton. A year ago if I was scouring the available defenses for a quality matchup play, I would have taken every possible measure to avoid the Panthers quarterback. Now he’s ideal streaming fodder, and it gets even better when the Bears defense — you know, the Bears defense that has 21 sacks and is allowing an opposing passer rating of just 62.8 — gets to lower the boom.

This could easily be a week when those who own the Bears defense win their matchups through more Newton mistakes that fill his suggestion box.