NFL Fantasy Musings for Week 8

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How is that stud running back theory faring so far this year? The current fantasy football leader board doesn't quite resemble the one projected by the experts this past preseason. LaDainian Tomlinson is near the bottom of the top 10. Marion Barber III is sitting in LT's throne, and rookie Matt Forte's versatility is Westbrook-like, placing him fourth in scoring for running backs.

Disclaimer: Your league may look slightly different, since I am using the stats from a high-scoring point-per-reception league as the basis for this analysis.

• To all you Peyton Manning owners and your creative comments about where I should hide my feelings about his disappointing performance so far this year, I have some news for you.

His completion percentage (60.7), passer rating (80.0), and yards per attempt average (6.8) are at their lowest since 1998, his rookie season. I am equally sure you didn't draft him in the first or second round, hoping that after six games he'd have produced eight touchdowns to seven interceptions. In fact, he has played so poorly in four of his six games that he produced only three touchdowns combined against Chicago, Minnesota, Jacksonville, and Green Bay.

Did I mention that Kurt Warner and Philip Rivers went much later in the draft and are occupying comfortable places on most of my rosters? Moral of this story? Never take a quarterback before the fifth round unless your league starts two.

• Larry, Larry Larry. I never realized how jealous you were of all the attention garnered by Adam Jones. Seriously though, tossing your drink in a woman's face? It doesn't matter if it was at a bar, a party, or a wake, that's just something you don't do. Did she make you angry? Are you such a wimp that you can't control yourself, or were you fearing she'd hurt you or something? It's time for Roger Goodell to step up again and suspend Larry Johnson. Maybe Dick Vermeil can stop by with a fresh bag of Pampers to ease the pain.

• While you are at it Mr. Goodell, please pay a visit to Cleveland and give Phil Savage and the gang some of that tough love. It's darn near criminal that they are suspending Kellen Winslow Jr. for a game, and a game check worth over $200,000, for telling reporters he had a staph infection. There is something heinous going on, considering the number of staph infections reported in the Browns' organization. It wasn't like he did anything wrong. If anything, it was embarrassing to the Browns. Savage said on his weekly radio show, "The Browns are bigger than one person. We couldn't and won't allow one person to tear down the organization, so we had to do something." That sounds like a pretty fowl dung action to me.

• The Hot Seat claimed another victim this week when freshly seated Mike Nolan was torched after a career 18-37 win-loss record with San Francisco. I've been contemplating who should move up to the first seat now that it is vacant. With Nolan, Lane Kiffin, Matt Millen, and Scott Linehan already removed from the table, it becomes an interesting debate over who should be next. I've heard a lot of water cooler talk about Wade Phillips as that guy, but is it really his fault that the best Jerry Jones could acquire as a backup QB is Brad Johnson? I wouldn't lay that at Phillips' feet. Jason Garrett might be the de facto replacement, but it was his offense that let the 'Boys down. I don't think Jones is foolish enough to think Garrett is going to right the ship. Marvin Lewis and Herm Edwards should be the next to go, but both have owners who don't like being on the hook for dead salary dollars, and in both cases, the problems are systemic. Kansas City has talent issues across the board, and those are exacerbated with the announcement that Tyler Thigpen is now the default quarterback thanks to injuries to Brodie Croyle and Damon Huard. No wonder they've been talking to Daunte Culpepper, but I doubt he is going to be a positive figure in the clubhouse. Brad Childress has been pretty warm lately, but I think I'm going to nominate Norv Turner from San Diego. If he doesn't beat New Orleans in London this weekend, he might be invited to stay there for an extended vacation.

• Willis McGahee, where the heck have you been? Not that I've actually been looking for you since I didn't draft you this year, but I'm guessing you were warming the bench of many a fantasy team when you finally showed up against the Dolphins last week. With Oakland paying a visit, I recommend that it's time to dust him off and start him.

• How bad is it in Dallas right now? The front office led us to believe that Tony Romo could start last week, possibly this week, but Romo apparently isn't reading from the same script. Romo said it will likely be after the bye week before he returns.

• Anquan Boldin is one tough dude. How many people would butt heads with teammates in practice to test the condition of a surgically-repaired sinus and jaw? They had to cut his jaw and line it back up, and that was three weeks ago? I'm getting faint just thinking about it. Not a chance I would risk him against Carolina this week, but then again I'm not paying his salary. If it were up to me (it isn't), and considering how well Steve Breaston has played, I'd give Boldin at least another week.

• I love reading Pete Prisco, but I think he was a bit premature on his "The Colts are back" commentary. One game after looking like the old Peyton Manning, he choked on Lambeau Field against a Packers defense which is not nearly as tough as Baltimore's. This week he'll face another stiff challenge against division foe Tennessee, and I've seen a lot of people predicting a loss for the Titans. I'm not one of those people. Jeff Fisher is one of the best strategists in the game, and I am certain he'll have his players ready for this one. Chris Johnson and LenDale White, fresh off a huge romp against Kansas City, should shred the Colts defense this week.

• New England looked really good Monday night. Or did Denver look really bad? I've not been impressed to date with the Patriots, who have looked lost at times on offense with Matt Cassel running the show. Denver was already a poor defensive team; losing the Bailey Boys was a dual nail in the coffin. On the surface, St. Louis doesn't seem to be a threat to challenge the Patriots on their home turf, but after two weeks of dismantling quality teams, this might just be the barometer that determines the direction of both squads. If the Rams can win in Foxboro, they could prove to be a real fly in the ointment for Arizona and the NFC West, not to mention a death knell for the Patriots. A Rams loss would simply prove their suckitude and provide some hope for the Patriots faithful.

• Jeff Garcia looked pretty good against Seattle last week, but the Bucs still only beat the Seahawks by 10 points at home. While the Dallas secondary seems to be in tatters, it isn't like the Bucs have any real speed merchants to challenge them. If Warrick Dunn can't go this week, I do like Earnest Graham to get 20-plus touches. Maybe he will finally get a chance to show Jon Gruden that he deserves more than half the carries. That isn't a knock on Dunn, who has been miraculously effective this year, but that says more about the offensive line play than it does about his abilities.

• Terrell Suggs has been under fire for his comments on a radio show, especially Mike and Mike on ESPN radio. I wonder if they've listened to the interview? I've not been able to get my hands on the archive yet, so I'm not willing to comment until I do. I wonder if they've had the same thought. By the sounds of it, Suggs was led into the comment, and he has spent the last few days clarifying his words. Maybe he should just not do interviews for a while.

• It's a bittersweet moment in Tampa Bay Rays history. Our first World Series and our first World Series loss came on the same night. Props to Cole Hamels for pitching one hell of a game. I'm hoping we beat up on the next three pitchers and bring this home to hungry Tampa Bay. It would certainly be a fitting end to an incredible story.

Ben Ice is the founder of and hosts Sports Smack, a weekly radio show on the Fantasy Sports Channel, with co-host Mike Gilbert every Friday night. You can talk smack back at him at