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Movers And Shakers Week 8

  Posted 10/27 by Jeff Pasquino and Jeff Tefertiller, Exclusive for Footballguys.com

This will be a weekly contribution to the Footballguys.com schedule. Each week, either Jeff Pasquino or myself will take a deeper look at the players with the greatest movements in our dynasty rankings. The focus will be on the players that move the most and why. The emphasis will be on the long-term talent and situations more than the performance in a given week.

You can find the dynasty rankings here.

Quarterbacks

  • Ben Roethlisberger, PIT- (+5) - The Steelers' offense has evolved into a pass-happy variety that relies heavily on the arm of quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and less on the running game. Roethlisberger is on pace to setting career highs in several categories. He has thrived in the new offense and his receivers have played great. The Steelers quarterback has a completion percentage and average yards per pass attempt at an unprecedented level. It is unknown whether he can keep up this level of production, but one thing is clear ... Pittsburgh is comfortable riding the the strong arm of the star quarterback. For me, he is to be in the conversation with the league's top fantasy quarterbacks.
  • Chad Henne, MIA - (+4) - Henne has played very well since taking over for the injured Chad Pennington. Do not judge too much from the game Sunday against the Saints. He has put up good fantasy numbers despite the lack of weapons. In addition, the dedication to the "Wildcat" offense and strong running game, Henne does not get many chances to show off his strong arm. I am moving Henne up the rankings as a long-term dynasty play. When watching the Dolphins play, I sit and wonder how high Henne's ceiling would be with a better receiving corps. Ted Ginn is a fraud as a starting NFL receiver. The team will upgrade the receivers in the next year or two. To buy Henne now is a move for the future. He is pretty good now, but could be very good with experience and better weapons.
  • Vince Young, TEN- (+16) - Whether anyone likes it or not, Vince Young will see action this season. Yes, I know that the team has come out and supported starter Kerry Collins, but owner Bud Adams wants to see Young in the lineup. With a winless record, it is getting more and more difficult to defend Collins, even though he is not the major reason for the downfall of the Titans this season. In a year with little to gain, why not take a look at Young? He is a player to look at getting for nothing (or very, very little) and gambling that he has a decent game or three. It is doubtful that Young is the long-term answer in Tennessee, but this is for certain ... he will get a chance to prove his naysayers wrong.

Running Backs

  • Ray Rice, BAL - (+13) - Rice has emerged to be one of the premier running backs in the world of fantasy football. He is able to contribute as a rusher and as a receiver. Rice is a great fit for the Cam Cameron offense in Baltimore. In a season where few running backs are playing well, Rice has stood out as a stud running back. His lack of touchdown opportunities, especially in short yardage, is a concern, but Rice is playing very well right now. The Ravens like to run the ball often and rely on the diminutive runner as he is the only big play threat in the ground game. Willis McGahee and Le'Ron McClain do not break many tackles and offer few chances to bust a long gain. Rice is a back to acquire before the "consensus" realizes how good he really is. For evidence, check out the long scores the past two games, breaking tackles and scoring on plays that looked to go for little or no gain. He is for real.
  • LaDainian Tomlinson, SD - (-13) - Tomlinson looks to be a shadow of his former self. He is a player I would look to sell as quickly as possible in a dynasty league. To me, it is obvious he has lost a few steps. He does not hit the hole hard and is not able to cut back like in the past. Yes, Tomlinson is still able to churn out yardage like the past two weeks, but the upside for monster games is now long gone. The biggest sign of his aging is at the goal line. He is not able to make the first tackler miss, and the "jump cut" is not what it once was. The veteran used to be able to make that first tackler look silly. Sell Tomlinson after this decent game against the lowly Chiefs. You will not see many better opportunities. Target fantasy teams needing running back help for the current season. But, remember that his price is declining at a rapid pace and will be much lower this coming offseason.
  • Rashard Mendenhall, PIT - (+19) - Mendenhall has easily surpassed Willie Parker. It was obvious after Sunday's game with Parker having only one carry. Mendenhall is now entrenched as the starting back in Pittsburgh. While he does not have the speed to break off long runs, Mendenhall is a very good rusher between the tackles. One of the contributing factors in his emergence is the pass protection. The Steelers coaching staff has stated that they view Mendenhall as the best blocker of the team's backs. As the weather turns cold, there will be more and more scoring chances for the bruising backs. The one concern are the fumbles. It was an issue last season, and Mendenhall was pulled from the lineup after fumbling against the Vikings. Mewelde Moore replaced him. It is still Mendenhall's job going forward. He looked good against a good Viking rush defense.
  • Clinton Portis, WASH - (-10) - Portis is not the runner he once was. He has little tread left on the tires and now is suffering through nagging ankle injuries. Now, the veteran is not able to practice much during the week. He does not have the same burst of his glory days. Yes, Portis broke a long run against the Chiefs in week six, but the "old" Portis would have scored. It is difficult to remember now, but Portis was very fast in his younger days. The poor play of the Redskin offensive line does not help matters. Left tackle Chris Samuels is now lost for the season with a spine injury. The team is struggling and looks to implode any moment. Dynasty owners can safely assume that Portis will be worth even less this coming offseason, so there is no better time to trade him than the present.

Wide Receivers

  • Steve Smith, CAR - (-10) - Steve Smith still has tremendous talent. This move down the rankings is due to the poor play at the quarterback position. Jake Delhomme has been nothing short of horrible this season. The lack of a true WR2 has allowed opposing defenses to key on stopping the explosive Smith. Even if the Panthers upgrade the quarterback position through the draft in the offseason, having a rookie under center will not help Smith put up 1,200 yards or double digit touchdowns. He is a player that will have some big games, but is totally dependent on the play of the Panther quarterbacks ... which is an unsettling thought. I still believe in Smith, just not the situation.
  • Mike Sims-Walker, JAX - (+9) - This is my second time to highlight the big upgrade of Sims-Walker. He is one receiver that is producing good fantasy points every game. Sims-Walker has emerged as the WR1 in Jacksonville, and is a great WR2 option for fantasy owners. He has tremendous hands and runs good routes. The after-the-catch ability is something the Jaguars have been missing. With an aging Torry Holt as the other starter for the Jaguars, Sims-Walker is the primary target when quarterback David Garrard needs a big play. Injury is the only worry. The talent is most certainly present. If he keeps up this pace, Sims-Walker will be a player that is worth a ton in the offseason. He is making a case to be mentioned in the same breath as former college teammate, Brandon Marshall.
  • T.J. Houshmandzadeh, SEA - (-11) - Houshmandzadeh was valued early this season off his career in Cincinnati instead of the circumstances in Seattle. The Seahawks have an aging, injury-prone passer, no running game, and the offensive line is not able to give the quarterback enough time for Houshmandzadeh to get open. He is not a yards-after-the-catch receiver and relies on catching the ball in front of the defender. This is not a good fit for the inert Seahawks offense. With the Bengals, Houshmandzadeh could catch enough passes for his low yards per catch average to accumulate good statistics. In Seattle, fantasy owners get games of forty yards on four receptions. It is tough to insert him into starting lineups unless in PPR (Points Per Reception) leagues. Nate Burleson has emerged as the primary receiver for the Seahawks, leaving the crumbs for Houshmandzadeh and Carlson to split.
  • Andre Caldwell, CIN - (N/A) - Caldwell is quietly emerging as the second target for quarterback Carson Palmer. The dropped passes and overall inconsistency of Laveranues Coles and the lack of big plays from Chris Henry have opened the door for the second-year receiver to make a difference. He is a player that Palmer looks for when he needs a clutch reception, as evidenced by the late in the game touchdown receptions this season. Admittedly, I held out hope for Coles too long. Yes, he has scored some, but does not offer Palmer a consistent target. It is now Caldwell that looks to be the WR2 of the future for the Bengals. He looks like a young T.J. Houshmandzadeh as he settles down in a hole in the zone, waiting for the ball. Like the veteran, he uses his body well when going over the middle of the field.

Tight Ends

  • Heath Miller, PIT - (+8) - Miller has benefited greatly from the new pass-oriented offense in Pittsburgh. At this pace, he will surpass his career highs in just a few more games. Miller is on a pace to have a shot at 100 receptions and 1,000 yards. With so many top tight ends not playing well, Miller has to be considered a great player to buy. Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is showing great confidence in the young tight end this season.
  • Chris Cooley, WASH - (-4) - Cooley still has great talent but is limited by the poor play of the Washington offense. The feeble play of the offensive line, in particular, is making it so Cooley has to stay in to block instead of running a pass pattern. With the spine injury to tackle Chris Samuels, this looks to be a trend. The horrid play of Jason Campbell only hurts Cooley's chances. The entire offense needs to be blown up and start over. Cooley is the only player that can be an asset for the future, but too bad he is lost amidst the Bad News Bears in the Nation's Capitol.

Until we meet again...