The RotoExperts staff reviews the Week 8 action from fantasy perspectives, and also considers strategies for the weeks ahead.
Peyton Manning didn't come through with an ideal fantasy performance against the Titans, but his owners can certainly live with the results. Even though he was intercepted twice, Manning threw a pair of TD passes to tight end Dallas Clark, and added another score on a garbage time sneak. Maybe this isn't the Manning you expected and wanted once his knee problems were mostly behind him, but the numbers are still good enough to maintain his must-start status.
Manning now has nine TD passes in seven games, yet five have come in two of his past three games, sandwiched around a forgettable performance vs. Green Bay. Using the past three games as a sample size, though, there is no real reason to worry about Manning. He has totaled three TDs against the Ravens and Titans recently, and had the Week 7 stinker. Not every top player has a good game every week, and there are bound to be some disappointing outings. Manning's offensive line is not being bogged down by major injury concerns any more, and soon, Joseph Addai should return, adding more balance to the offense. His numbers have been decent, but Dominic Rhodes doesn't strike fear into defenses and opponents can focus mostly on containing the Indianapolis passing game while Addai is out.
The only Colts player I have concerns about is Marvin Harrison, who at this point, is a waste of roster space. That's right, I said it. I took a lot of heat in the preseason (which was fun) for saying Harrison is done, but it's apparent he is no longer a quality fantasy starter. He caught only one pass for 12 yards on Monday, and it's apparent he lacks the separation speed and explosion in and out of his cuts that previously made him so hard to defend. Knee problems and age have reduced Harrison to a guy who may occasionally show some flashes of his old self. I'm not going to keep him in my lineup, waiting for the occasional flashback from the past. Remember his outstanding performance against the Ravens? Don't forget it, because it may indeed go down as his best game in a very disappointing season. I respect and revere Harrison for all he has accomplished and attempted to battle through, but he is clearly done as a regularly viable fantasy option.
Still, Harrison will command some defensive respect, and that can only help the rest of the Colts offense. Reggie Wayne was held to only 29 yards on three catches, his second consecutive down outing. I'm not worried about him; I'll actually buy low on Wayne now if I can. You can't keep a good WR like Wayne down for long, a rebound performance or two is right around the corner. The Colts will now be desperate to get back on track after a crushing loss to Tennessee, and I'm betting Wayne will shine against the Patriots next week. Nothing brings out the best in Indy like New England, which has an inflated record, a bad quarterback, and is ripe for the Colts to knock them over as Manning and Co. try to regain a modicum of respect.
What about Dallas Clark's pair of TD receptions? Any time you get a very strong statistical performance out of your tight end, you take it. Clark could easily come back with a clunker next week, but the way tight ends are playing this season, you take what you can get from them as a nice bonus, and expect players from other positions to carry your team. Clark, however, at least reminded his owners that he is still one of the very best players at a position that has become very weak again.
Oh yeah, the Titans won the game. I'm giving all the copy to the Colts, it seems, but from a fantasy perspective, they are more compelling and have concerns to address. The Titans deserve every headline over the Colts in regular NFL sections today. For fantasy purposes, though, they gave us what we expected again. Kerry Collins didn't throw a TD pass, and he is basically useless in fantasy leagues. I'd rather take my chances with Tyler Thigpen. The Titans RBs combined for three scores, no shock there. I laugh when I hear some people say that the loss of Bob Sanders was a major blow to the Indianapolis run defense. If your strong safety is the key to the run defense, what does that say about the front seven? I'm sure the Colts brain trust is well aware of their issues with the front seven, even though the group did play much better last night. Still, I'm starting all RBs who face the Colts every week. Time to activate BenJarvus Green-Ellis!-- Scott Engel
Matt Schaub continued his recent dominant play with his best game of the season against the Bengals. Completing 24-of-28 passes, Schaub threw for 280 yards and three touchdowns, and now is now averaging 308.2 yards with nine touchdown passes over his past four games. Schaub's job has been made easier by the outstanding play of Andre Johnson, who had his third consecutive game with double-digit receptions. The Schaub-to-Johnson combo has made both players a must-start every week. Also benefiting from the Texans stellar aerial outing was Kevin Walter. Walter had five catches for 70 yards, and broke a three-game scoreless streak by catching two touchdowns. He can be a very useful flex play, depending on the matchup. Steve Slaton had another productive day, registering 53 yards on the ground and a 20-yard touchdown run. The presence of Ahman Green (nine carries, 41 yards), limits Slaton's value to a mid-level RB2.
The Cincinnati offense remained stagnant under the direction of Ryan Fitzpatrick. Fitzpatrick has completed one pass of over 20 yards in his four starts, and the lack of verticality in the passing game has devastated the value of Chad Johnson and T.J. Houshmandzadeh. For the second straight week, Houshmandzadeh caught eight balls, but was held under 60 yards, and Johnson managed to haul in five catches, with just 44 yards. Both Bengals receivers are still worth starting, but shouldn't be considered anything more than low-level WR2s. Cedric Benson was mildly effective, totaling 69 yards on 15 touches, but failed to reach the end zone. In a matchup that was considered very fantasy friendly, Benson's mediocre performance should temper the thought that he'll be a competent starter from here on. -- Chris Ryan
Tyler Thigpen put a scare into the Jets by throwing for 280 yards and two touchdowns on 25-of-36 passing. While Thigpen's still not ownable, his strong performance should allow Dwayne Bowe and Tony Gonazalez owners to breathe a sigh of relief. The two combined for 12 catches for 181 yards with Gonzalez catching a touchdown pass. There's no need to worry about either going forward. Filling in for the suspended Larry Johnson, Kolby Smith could only muster 15 yards on 11 carries, his second straight game with an average of 2.0 yards-per-carry or under. Jamaal Charles, on the other hand, received only five touches, but produced 45 yards, including a nice 30-yard scamper. If you're going to own one of the Chiefs backup running backs, Charles should be your guy. The big story for the Jets was Leon Washington's outstanding day. He broke a 60-yard run for a touchdown, and also had three catches for 34 yards and another score through the air. While he's explosive and versatile, Washington only had six offensive touches (he's averaging seven a game), and should only be owned in extremely deep leagues.
Thomas Jones' 54 yards on 14 carries was somewhat disappointing considering the Jets were facing a Chiefs defense that was surrendering over 200 yards on the ground coming into the game. He did score his fifth touchdown, though, and remains a very solid RB2. Brett Favre had a classic day by throwing for 290 yards, two touchdowns and three interceptions. He continues to show no favoritism between his top two receiving threats, Jerricho Cotchery and Laveranues Coles. With their season statistics nearly identical (37 catches for 433 yards for Coles/36 catches for 430 yards for Cotchery), it's apparent there's enough balls to go around to keep each receiver happy and very productive. After essentially falling off the map after a strong Week Three showing, Dustin Keller re-emerged with four catches for 38 yards. He was the only Jets tight end to register a catch, but Keller is no more than a wait-and-watch option right now. -- C.R
Chad Pennington threw for 314 yards and a touchdown. The 314 yards was Pennington's first 300-yard game since a 2006 playoff game when he was a member of the New York Jets. In his last three games, Pennington has thrown for four touchdowns, while averaging 297.6 yards per game. With upcoming games against Denver, Oakland and Seattle, Pennington has an opportunity to continue this productive streak. In an attempt to shed his label as "bust", Ted Ginn Jr. broke out with a seven-catch, 175-yard performance against a respectable Bills secondary. Ginn has exceptional speed, but had yet to figure out a way to use it in the NFL. The Dolphins are improving, and the relationship between Pennington and Ginn seems to be getting stronger. He will still be inconsistent, but the potential is being realized and Ginn can now be started as a WR3 or flex play. Despite the success of the Dolphins aerial attack, Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams couldn't get going on the ground. Brown gained only 43 yards on 14 carries while Williams ran for only 16 yards, but did find the end zone once. Brown is averaging only 40 yards on the ground the past three weeks, so it's clear that defenses are respecting the Dolphins run game. Brown remains a top-notch RB2 at this point.
Trent Edwards has recovered from his Week 5 concussion, but he is likely to have a headache after throwing for 227 yards and an interception. Edwards is a great game manager, but this doesn't translate to fantasy. The yards have been there, but Edwards doesn't have a multi-touchdown game this season. He is an ideal fantasy backup. Lee Evans had his third 100-yard game, catching seven passes for 116 yards. He only has three touchdowns, but Evans' consistency has placed him at WR1 status. Marshawn Lynch scored his sixth touchdown and ran for 61 yards on 13 attempts. Lynch left the game early on with a minor injury, and missed out on a great goal-line scoring opportunity. Keep plugging Lynch into the lineup and watch him score more often than not. -- Brad Rysz
Marc Bulger, who had yet to throw for more than 188 yards in any game, threw for 301 yards and an interception. Bulger has been a huge disappointment, but the emergence of Donnie Avery makes him a worthy fantasy backup. Avery, who has been a hot waiver wire pick up as of late, further made his claim as a mid-season gem by catching six passes for 163 yards, including a 69-yard touchdown reception. Avery has now scored in two straight weeks and is entering WR2 territory. Torry Holt's miserable season continued, as he caught three passes for 28 yards. Holt's lack of production is puzzling. He seems to be healthy, but the numbers are not there. Holt is a WR3 or flex play at best right now. Antonio Pittman started for the injured Steven Jackson and carried 19 times for 83 yards. Pittman is only worth playing if Jackson is hurt, but this week proved that Pittman is indeed Jackson's handcuff.
Matt Cassel passed for 267 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions against a pretty horrible Rams defense. Cassel is providing mediocre numbers each week and is a below-average fantasy starter. Randy Moss and Wes Welker caught seven passes apiece, but couldn't haul in a touchdown catch. Both receivers are fine WR2 plays, despite Cassel's inconsistencies. BenJarvus Green-Ellis carried nine times, but scored the Patriots only rushing touchdown. Kevin Faulk had 107 total yards and a receiving touchdown. Green-Ellis and Faulk are likely to continue splitting carries while Sammy Morris and LaMont Jordan are out. -- B.R.
Derek Anderson continues to do just enough to keep the Brady Quinn rumors to a minimum. Anderson threw for 246 yards and a touchdown, leading the Browns to an improbable victory over the Jaguars. Anderson isn't the top performer that he was last season, but he's gaining confidence as the season wears on and can be counted on as a decent starting option. Jamal Lewis scored his third touchdown and ran for 81 yards on 20 attempts. Lewis doesn't have a 100-yard game this season, but he is proving adequate for yardage and scoring. Lewis has been a prototypical RB2 all season. Steve Heiden continued to fill in admirably for Kellen Winslow Jr. and caught three passes for 73 yards. Heiden is worth starting when Winslow is out. Braylon Edwards caught a 43-yard pass and ended with 64 yards. Edwards has been better the last three weeks, but still isn't scoring enough to warrant him being anything more than a WR2. Donte' Stallworth caught a short touchdown pass, but was otherwise ineffective. Stallworth shouldn't be started in any format.
David Garrard passed for 283 yards and two touchdowns. Garrard has been a solid play all season and his recent rushing numbers (59 rushing yards against the Browns) only increase his value. Garrard is a top-10 fantasy quarterback. Maurice Jones-Drew's roller-coaster season hit a low after accumulating only 48 total yards. Jones-Drew has been increasingly frustrating and his inconsistencies are making him a low-end RB2. Fred Taylor had 24 yards on eight carries. Taylor had one good game (121 yards in Week 3) and has been otherwise useless. Taylor isn't even a flex play right now. MattJones had eight catches for 117 yards and a touchdown. Jones has been the most consistent Jaguar receiver, but his limited upside keeps him as a WR3. Reggie Williams scored his first touchdown and finished with three catches for 42 yards. Williams isn't a reliable fantasy option. -- B.R.
J.T. O'Sullivan was benched after throwing for 131 yards, a costly interception, and two fumbles in the first half against Seattle. O'Sullivan was replaced by Shaun Hill who finished with 173 yards and a touchdown. There is officially a quarterback controversy in San Francisco, and it's unclear who will start after the upcoming bye week. Frank Gore had his typical all-around game and finished with 159 total yards. Isaac Bruce had four catches for 49 yards and continued his pedestrian play. He shouldn't be a fantasy starter, even in three wide-receiver leagues.
Seneca Wallace threw for 222 yards and two touchdowns. Wallace had a solid game, but it was more of an indication of the 49ers being in disarray than Wallace playing well. Leonard Weaver had two receiving touchdowns and finished with 116 yards. Weaver hadn't done anything all season, so chalk this up as a nice game for a player not worth considering. The Seattle running game was completely shut down. Julius Jones rushed for nine yards on six carries while Maurice Morris gained 16 yards on 11 carries. The Seattle offense hasn't been the same without Matt Hasselbeck, and the running game has taken a huge hit. Neither Morris nor Jones should be anything but a flex play. T.J. Duckett scored a touchdown, but had only one yard on eight carries. Duckett is getting the goal-line carries, but the Seahawks are rarely in that situation. Bobby Engram had four catches for 40 yards. Engram has no value without Hasselbeck throwing him the ball. -- B.R.
Anquan Boldin returned to the lineup in a huge way, hauling in nine passes for 63 yards, including two touchdowns. As a bonus, he added a nifty 30-yard run. Even with Boldin back, Steve Breaston was a major target for Kurt Warner as he also had nine receptions for 91 yards. While you can't expect this kind of production from Breaston every week, the Cardinals are a passing team, and Breaston makes a good bye-week replacement going forward. Larry Fitzgerald led the Cardinals in yards, with 115 on seven receptions. Warner finished with 381 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. This was the sixth straight game in which Warner passed for at least two touchdowns. The major reason why the Cardinals passing offense has to be potent is the complete ineptitude of the running game. Edgerrin James had only 17 rushing yards, and has had less than 50 yards rushing in three of his past four games. Hopefully, you have the luxury of benching James, as his fantasy value is negligible, especially when Tim Hightower is brought in on the goal line for those short-yardage touchdowns. Hightower had another touchdown, and has now scored in five of seven games.
When Jake Delhomme and Steve Smith are on the same page, it means big fantasy numbers. Delhomme finished with 248 yards and two touchdowns, while Smith had five receptions for 117 yards and two touchdowns. Delhomme now has thrown two or more touchdowns in four of his past five games, and has earned the right to be a must-play at quarterback. Smith now has surpassed 100 yards receiving three straight weeks. Muhsin Muhammad had five catches for only 38 yards, the fourth straight game his receiving yards have decreased. If you haven't already, yank Muhammad from your lineup. DeAngelo Williams had 108 yards and one touchdown, and now has five total touchdowns in his past four games, making him a good option at RB2 for your squad. Meanwhile, Jonathan Stewart never got his game going, and finished with 10 yards on eight carries. Keep Stewart on the bench until he gets his act together. -- Matt Wirkiwoski
Michael Turner continued his radical home/away tendencies, with another poor performance on the road. Turner had only 58 yards on 17 carries. Seriously consider benching Turner on the road if you have the depth, as he has been held to less than 60 rushing yards in three out of four road games, and has only one touchdown on the road. That meant it was up to Matt Ryan to generate some offense, and he was up to the task. Ryan threw for 277 yards and two touchdowns; however he also threw two interceptions. Ryan has some good matchups coming up (Oakland, New Orleans, Denver) as all of those teams are in the bottom half in the league against the pass. If you need a bye-week replacement, and Ryan is available, he demands consideration. Roddy White continues to excel, as he grabbed eight balls for 113 yards and two touchdowns. White now has had at least 90 receiving yards in five straight games, and also has five touchdowns during that same stretch. Jerious Norwood was more involved in the passing game than the running game, as he caught five balls for 55 yards, while he only rushed the ball four times for five yards.
Donovan McNabb had a quiet outing, considering that the Falcons were one of the worst teams in the league against the pass entering the game. McNabb finished with 253 passing yards and no touchdowns or interceptions through the air; he did manage to rush for a touchdown. This is the second time in three games McNabb had no touchdown tosses. Kevin Curtis returned to the lineup and caught three balls for 45 yards. Expect him to be a bigger part of the offense in the coming weeks. However, DeSean Jackson will still get his looks. Jackson finished with three catches for 72 yards, and with his big-play ability, he needs to be in your lineup. Reggie Brown was inactive for the game due to his groin injury. L.J. Smith suffered a concussion and left the game and his status for Week Nine is in question. Brian Westbrook also returned to the lineup, and he looked fantastic, racking up 209 yards of total offense and scoring two touchdowns. -- M.W.
Unless you own Nick Folk or Matt Bryant, there wasn't much to get excited about in this game from a fantasy perspective. Jeff Garcia passed for 227 yards, but had no touchdowns or interceptions. Garcia has yet to throw more than one touchdown in a game, and should not be started. Antonio Bryant led Buccaneers receivers with six catches for 45 yards, marking the sixth time in eight games he hasn't reached 60 yards. Bryant should also be on your bench. The running game wasn't much better, as Earnest Graham rushed for only 42 yards. Graham did add four receptions for 22 yards, however this was the fourth straight game that Graham failed to rush for 60 yards, and Graham can't be counted on as a starter for your fantasy team.
Brad Johnson, filling in once again for the injured Tony Romo, did enough to win, which translates into "squat" for your fantasy team, 122 passing yards with one touchdown won't get it done. Especially when you consider that the longest pass play of the day went for only 14 yards, you have to consider that the Cowboys aren't going to ask Johnson to make big plays. So, with a game at the Giants, a bye, and a date at Washington coming up on the schedule, there's no reason to hang onto Johnson. Terrell Owens cannot wait until Romo returns. Owens finished with five catches for 33 yards. Johnson's one touchdown throw went to Roy Williams, who finished with two catches for 10 yards. Jason Witten was also invisible for most of the game, catching only one ball for eight yards. Marion Barber III finished with exactly 100 yards of total offense, marking the third straight game he has accomplished that feat. -- M.W.
Fantasy owners had circled this matchup as one that could generate gobs of fantasy points, and the game didn't disappoint. Philip Rivers threw for 341 yards, three touchdowns and one interception, while LaDainian Tomlinson totaled 170 yards and a touchdown. Antonio Gates had his best game of the season, reeling in six balls for 96 yards and a touchdown. Vincent Jackson caught four balls for 60 yards and a touchdown, and dropped what could've been another touchdown grab. Jackson now has scored in three straight games, and should be in your lineup regularly. Chris Chambers returned to action after missing two games and caught five balls for 47 yards. With the resurgence of Gates and the emergence of Jackson, Chambers' looks should decrease, and you should keep Chambers on your bench.
Drew Brees threw at will against the Chargers, finishing with 339 yards and three touchdowns. Lance Moore bounced back from a poor performance against Carolina with six catches for 90 yards and a touchdown. Because of his inconsistency, Moore should be looked at as a bye week fill-in for your fantasy squad. Billy Miller had his best game, starting in place of Jeremy Shockey. Miller finished with seven catches for 82 yards. Shockey did play, but only had one catch for six yards. Marques Colston, playing in his second game since Week 1, caught two balls for 56 yards, including one for 49 yards, and should be inserted back in your lineup. Colston's return impacts the value of Devery Henderson, who finished with three receptions for 34 yards and a touchdown. With Reggie Bush out, the Saints turned to Deuce McAllister. However, his status was in doubt due to a positive test for a diuretic. McAllister did appeal, and did play, finishing with 85 total yards and one touchdown. With Bush out, McAllister becomes a low-end RB2 for your team. Keep in mind that McAllister's appeal will be heard in mid-November, and he could miss four weeks, so plan accordingly. -- M.W.
Raise your hand if you thought Santana Moss would be the more valuable Moss to own this year? Put your hands down, you bunch of liars. But sure enough, Santana Moss is the Moss you want, as he has the better numbers this year, thanks in part to his spectacular game against the Lions, in which he had nine catches for 145 yards and a touchdown. But Moss was not content to just eat up the Lions secondary, he felt the need to devour its special teams as well, adding an 8-yard punt return for a touchdown. We won't waste time telling that you should start Moss from here on. We'll tell you, however, that it might even be a good idea to buy high on Moss. He's already got a couple bad games out of the way. Not every game will be like this, but the Redskins rookie receivers have not worked out as planned and Moss is the clear No. 1 receiver in Washington. Plus, you might have noticed that juicy matchup against Cincinnati during the fantasy playoffs of Week 15. Moss was not the only one violating the Detroit secondary as Chris Cooley caught six passes for 74 yards. Continue to start Cooley with confidence. The most reliable first-round pick this year however, has been Clinton Portis. A dark cloud appeared for those owners as there was a "disagreement" in the first half between Jim Zorn and Portis about the use of Shaun Alexander, but obviously both parties made nice and Portis did bad things to Detroit, rushing for 126 yards. If you don't have Portis on your team, forget it. Only a foolish or truly desperate owner would give him up at this point. Meanwhile, Jason Campbell had his highest totals of the season, throwing for 328 yards and a touchdown. Campbell remains worthy of a start in deeper leagues.
Dan Orlovksy had a solid day, passing for 228 yards and a touchdown to Calvin Johnson. With 57 yards receiving, Johnson is on pace for over 1,200 yards and nearly 10 touchdowns. However, note to Calvin and the Lions: You don't have to wait until late in the game to become fantasy relevant. Speaking of fantasy relevance, Rudi Johnson scored a touchdown. But 21 yards on eight carries tells you why to keep expectations low for Johnson moving forward. Not that Kevin Smith's 12 yards on four carries is anything to get excited about. We'll repeat it: If you can avoid the Detroit running game, do so. For those keeping track of the WR2 position in Detroit, Shaun McDonald evened the score with Mike Furrey by catching five passes for 68 yards. Expect the revolving door to continue. -- Mark Strausberg
Schoolyard ball, this was not. There was actually a lot more offense than the 21-14 score would indicate, but the zebras had a busy day and a number of big plays were negated because of penalties or the instant replay official. Ben Roethlisberger's owners probably wish they could have negated much of his performance. He passed for only 189 yards, completed 13 of 29 attempts and the lone touchdown was outweighed by his four interceptions. The Giants have a pretty good defense; you'll just have to give Roethlisberger a mulligan. As stated, some big plays got called back. Depending on your other options, Roethlisberger should continue to be started, especially if the matchup is a good one. Meanwhile, Nate Washington stepped in for the deactivated Santonio Holmes, and smoked (pun intended) the Giants secondary for a 65-yard touchdown. That is now three consecutive weeks with a touchdown for Washington. If Holmes is suspended for any additional amount of time, Washington becomes an immediate add, if he's even available. Mewelde Moore also had a decent game, rushing 19 times for 84 yards and a touchdown. He's done well in Willie Parker's absence and will still get some carries when Parker returns, but you should obviously expect his production to dwindle.
The less obvious fantasy trend, however, is while Brandon Jacobs sputtered (18 carries for only 47 yards) and failed to get into the end zone on multiple tries, the Giants began to turn toward Derrick Ward more, who had 37 yards on 13 carries to accompany his 47 yards receiving. This will still be a running back committee, but don't be surprised to see a little more Ward and a little less Jacobs moving forward. Steve Smith led all Giants receivers with three catches for 45 yards. In tough matchups, expect Smith to see a bump in production. Plaxico Burress was not started by, but Burress still did get in the game and contributed three catches for 15 yards. If you're counting on Burress this season, hope he can stay out of the coach's doghouse. Kevin Boss is a TE, but he was actually the best Giants receiver to own on Sunday, as he had four catches for 34 yards and a touchdown. Boss makes a great bye week fill-in and fantastic depth at TE if you have a large bench. Don't be surprised to see Boss have another good game against Dallas next week. Eli Manning had a better day than Roethlisberger, but I'm sure his owners were not very excited about his 19-for-32 for 199 yards and one touchdown. Like his counterpart, however, he faced a tough defense. -- M.S.
An amazing thing happened: Joe Flacco contributed a pretty good fantasy day. He ran for only 23 yards, but that included a touchdown. He only threw for 140 yards, but did not throw a pick and did toss a 70-yard strike to Demetrius Williams for a touchdown. And to round it off, Flacco caught a pass for 43 yards. I'm unaware of a single league in which that kind of performance isn't at least double digits, and in many leagues that is at least 20 points. But let's not go "wacko for Flacco" just yet. Should he be on any keeper team? Yes. But if you're in a re-draft league, its best to wait to see if he can have two good fantasy weeks in a row before you try to acquire him. Now, as far as Demetrius Williams goes, who could have predicted that? Oh yeah, that's right, I did. Of course my editor berated me (rightfully so) for not telling you why he would score. As the only Ravens receiver as tall as or taller than the two Oakland defensive backs, I assumed the Ravens would try to exploit that difference. His height was actually a non-issue because he was so completely wide open that the beer vendor was closer to Williams than the nearest Oakland DB. However, Williams should still only be considered in the deepest of touchdown-heavy leagues, but continue to watch him as the season progresses. On the same aforementioned play, interestingly, Todd Heap was also wide open. Heap only finished with two catches for 17 yards, but was targeted often. Let Heap prove he's worthy of starting, however, before you activate him again. The rest of the receiving corps was also pretty quiet, as Ray Rice was third behind Williams and Flacco with 37 yards. Rice also rushed for 64 yards on eight carries. Willis McGahee, however, was the rusher you wanted. He scored a touchdown and managed 58 yards on 23 carries. Moving forward, expect the Ravens "Three -eaded Monster" to follow the same pattern it has the last couple weeks: McGahee will see the bulk of the carries with 20 to 25 carries, but Rice and Le'Ron McClain (seven carries for 32 yards) will split the remaining 10 to 15 carries. However, those looking for McGahee's handcuff should probably consider Rice over McClain.
If you're looking for a player to watch for, keep your eye out for Raiders receiver Chaz Schilens. He made some tough grabs and showed his ability to get open downfield when he caught 60 of his 76 yards on a pass from the grenade launcher of JaMarcus Russell's arm (who showed more promise than his 15/33 for 228 yards and a touchdown would indicate). Schilens will stay under the radar for probably about another week, but don't be surprised to see him as Russell's primary WR by the end of the season. Zach Miller caught two passes for 56 yards and continues to be worthy of a weekly TE play. No other Oakland receiver was noteworthy and the running game was equally unimpressive. Darren McFadden did not even suit up for this game, but neither Justin Fargas (24 yards) or Michael Bush (eight yards) did anything to take advantage of the opportunity. -- M.S.