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Value Plays - Week 8

  Updated 10/22 by Jeff Tefertiller, Exclusive for Footballguys.com

This article will take a weekly look at players who could provide value in a given week. The basis for this value will be the difference between the Top 250 forward, a look at the top 250 players with the whole season in mind, and the weekly rankings. Both of these are from the Footballguys.com subscriber content. An emphasis will be on the players with the largest differences between the season outlook and this week only. Also, a preference will be given to differences for the higher ranked players. Some of these differences will be due to injury, matchup of the week, or short-term situation. Now, let's take a look at this week's value players.

Quarterback

Tony Romo

  • Top 250 ranking: 11
  • Weekly ranking: 4
  • Difference: +7

Few passers have been as hot as Romo the last two games. He and Miles Austin are connecting for frequent big gains. This week, they meet the feeble Seattle Seahawks pass defense which has been sieve-like the past few games. Romo makes for a great start this week.

Jay Cutler

  • Top 250 ranking: 14
  • Weekly ranking: 5
  • Difference: +9

Cutler has endured his share of ups and downs this season. Coming off a poor outing against the Cincinnati Bengals, there is nothing like seeing the Cleveland Browns next on the schedule. The Browns have little in terms of defensive talent and make for a great matchup for the inconsistent Cutler. He has a chance for a monster game this week.

David Garrard

  • Top 250 ranking: 17
  • Weekly ranking: 7
  • Difference: +10

Garrard is an underrated fantasy passer that can put up big points in a given week. With the game against the banged up Tennessee Titan secondary Sunday, Garrard has a chance for a good fantasy game. He has good weapons in Mike Sims-Walker and Torry Holt, not to mention Maurice Jones-Drew out of the backfield. This week's game against the Titans makes for a good spot play for Garrard.

Running Back

Steven Jackson

  • Top 250 ranking: 9
  • Weekly ranking: 1
  • Difference: +8

Steven Jackson looked awesome against the Colts last week. He was running hard and picking up large chunks of yardage on almost every carry. Jackson is a player that has a few monster games each season. This week's contest against the Detroit Lions is the perfect opportunity for Jackson to finally score a touchdown, in addition to the big yardage. He should have a big game this week.

Kevin Smith

  • Top 250 ranking: 15
  • Weekly ranking: 7
  • Difference: +8

Smith has been fairly productive running behind a poor offensive line against some of the best defenses in the league. He, and the Lions, meet the porous Ram defense this week in a great matchup for both running backs. Smith is a very good receiver and should have opportunities to score. This is a great week to start the second-year runner.

Marshawn Lynch

  • Top 250 ranking: 23
  • Weekly ranking: 11
  • Difference: +12

The Bills have now won two games in a row with backup Ryan Fitzpatrick under center. Under the direction of coach Dick Jauron, Buffalo is a conservative offense that prefers to run the ball often. Lynch has now emerged as the primary back, garnering most all of the carries, with Fred Jackson as the backup. The Texans yielded big rushing totals to backs earlier in the season, but have clamped down the past two weeks. Lynch makes for a good start with so many good fantasy options on bye this week.

LaDainian Tomlinson

  • Top 250 ranking: 20
  • Weekly ranking: 5
  • Difference: +15

Tomlinson is still able to accumulate yardage each week, but has struggled scoring in short yardage situations. The Oakland Raiders are next up for the Chargers. This should give Tomlinson plenty of chances to score. Sunday presents a tremendous matchup for the Charger rushing offense after what the Raiders yielded last week.

Wide Receiver

Mike Sims-Walker

  • Top 250 ranking: 17
  • Weekly ranking: 7
  • Difference: +10

Sims-Walker has quietly been one of the most productive receivers this season. He is the primary pass catcher in Jacksonville. This week, the Jaguars meet the Titans in a game that should be easy for Garrard to find his favorite receiver. Sims-Walker has the chance of a huge game this week. The Titan secondary has been horrendous this season, and the makings of a great matchup.

Steve Smith (CAR)

  • Top 250 ranking: 20
  • Weekly ranking: 8
  • Difference: +12

Smith has been frustrated by the poor quarterback play this season. He has yet to catch a touchdown pass and struggles many weeks as defenses double-team the diminutive receiver. The Panthers meet the Arizona Cardinals in what may be a shoot-out. The Cardinals will likely have the lead, making the Panthers throw to catch up. This is a good week to risk playing the struggling star.

Donald Driver

  • Top 250 ranking: 22
  • Weekly ranking: 12
  • Difference: +10

While defenses key on stopping Greg Jennings, Driver has room to roam. He has been very productive this season. The Packers host the Vikings in what may be a high scoring game. This is a great week to start the aging Packer pass catcher against the division foe. Driver has been able to get open deep this season and should do so again this week.

Miles Austin

  • Top 250 ranking: 31
  • Weekly ranking: 13
  • Difference: +18

Miles Austin has been incredible the past two games. He has 421 receiving yards in these two games. Dallas gets the poor Seahawks secondary Sunday in a contest that could allow Austin to continue his record-setting ways. This is a great matchup for Austin and the Dallas passing game. The Seattle defense has not played well this season, especially in the defensive backfield.

Tight End

Donald Lee

  • Top 250 ranking: 19
  • Weekly ranking: 7
  • Difference: +12

Lee is a sleeper this week for a pair of reasons. Jermichael Finley is injured and is unlikely to play this week. Plus, the Packers face the Vikings. Minnesota is one of the worst defenses in regard to tight end production. For fantasy owners needing a tight end off of the waiver wire this week, Lee is a good option.

Marcedes Lewis

  • Top 250 ranking: 20
  • Weekly ranking: 10
  • Difference: +10

Lewis has been quiet this season, but gets a great matchup against the Tennessee Titans this week. Lewis is another tight end who makes for a good spot play this week. Jacksonville needs the win and should play well coming off the bye week.

Kicker

Nick Folk

  • Top 250 ranking: 9
  • Weekly ranking: 4
  • Difference: + 5

The Dallas offense should give Folk plenty of scoring opportunities this week. The Seahawks are a sieve of a defense and give up big production to opposing passing offenses. This will bode well for Folk. He should see plenty of extra points and a couple of field goal chances.

Robbie Gould

  • Top 250 ranking: 14
  • Weekly ranking: 5
  • Difference: +9

The Bear offense has been unproductive for most of the season, leaving few chances for Gould to score. This week's game against the Browns is a good time for Chicago to get back on track. Gould makes a good start this week. He is on many waiver wires and is a good play.

Defense

Arizona Cardinals

  • Top 250 ranking: 10
  • Weekly ranking: 1
  • Difference: +9

The Cardinal defense is improving and playing well. The Panthers make for a great matchup, no matter who plays quarterback. The strength of the Arizona defense is against the run which is a great asset when playing Carolina. Delhomme threw three picks last week against the Bills. This week could even be worse for the veteran against the Cardinals.

San Diego Chargers

  • Top 250 ranking: 12
  • Weekly ranking: 3
  • Difference: + 9

The Chargers have played better of late, especially against the run. They get a great matchup against JaMarcus Russell and the Oakland Raiders. San Diego should get plenty of turnovers this week. Russell has trouble with accuracy and will be under pressure all game.