Fantasy football rankings report

by Cory J. Bonini on August 20, 2010 @ 19:00:00 PDT's fantasy football rankings are fluid from week to week - and even on a daily basis if news dictates such. To keep you in the loop, our Rankings Report series will track the changes in a snapshot approach, which will be released each Friday throughout the draft season.

Players on the rise

Ronnie Brown, running back, Miami Dolphins

Reason: Brown (foot) has received positive reports about his Lisfranc fracture recovery and appears to be ready to go. We're not high on him, but he moved up slightly in our rankings via an increase in projected touchdowns scored. He has a frightening injury history and is still coming off a major procedure to a wheel. Let the buyer beware! He's a No. 3 running back, at best.  

Ahmad Bradshaw, running back, New York Giants

Miami Dolphins RB Ronnie Brown
Brown needs to stay healthy

Reason: Even though Bradshaw (feet) started the team's preseason opener, we're not convinced he'll be the Week 1 starter. If he is, he'll still have a committee approach to contend with. We've increased him a little bit after seeing him move well on his surgically repaired feet. Draft Bradshaw as a No. 3 fantasy back.

C.J. Spiller, running back, Buffalo Bills

Reason: Everyone knew Spiller was electric before he entered the NFL, but the rookie back has the balance, cutback ability and quickness to excel behind the Bills' meager front five. With Fred Jackson (hand) and Marshawn Lynch (ankle) possibly missing into the regular season, Spiller will be given a long, hard look. He's a No. 3 back in PPR leagues and has considerable upside despite being in a potentially three-headed backfield.

Jason Snelling, running back, Atlanta Falcons

Reason: Jerious Norwood (hip) is still on the mend, so Snelling was increased a tad in our rankings. He is the handcuff to Michael Turner of this backfield, Norwood should see more touches once he is healthy. 

Arian Foster and Steve Slaton, running backs, Houston Texans

Reason: Rookie running back Ben Tate (ankle) suffered a fractured ankle and is expected to be placed on Injured Reserve soon. Foster is running as the No. 1, and being a larger back than Slaton, he'll likely be the guy on clear running downs as well as in short-yardage situations. Slaton is the better receiver and is more dynamic, so he should be the third-down back as long as he can keep his fumblitis at bay. Both are No. 4 fantasy backs with No. 3 potential, but Slaton has more value in point-per-reception leagues. 

Anthony Dixon and Brian Westbrook, running backs, San Francisco 49ers

Reason: The sudden retirement of running back Glen Coffee this week caused the Niners to sign Westbrook. Dixon will compete with Westy for the No. 2 job, but we don't see this being a fair battle. Westbrook should be the third-down back, and both backs could be the change-of-pace runner if starter Frank Gore needs a breather. Dixon may be the better true handcuff because he is built to take a pounding, but Westbrook would still be mixed in heavily should Gore go down. Westbrook is a fifth fantasy back in PPR leagues.

Legedu Naanee, wide receiver, San Diego Chargers

Reason: The Vincent Jackson situation isn't getting any better, and it appears as though he could be traded to the Seattle Seahawks soon. Nothing is concrete, of course, but Naanee was elevated in our rankings to bring more awareness to fantasy owners of his potential. Take a chance on him as your fifth receiver. 

Mike Williams, wide receiver, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Reason: Williams was raised earlier in the week in our rankings once it was clear he had a stranglehold on the No. 1 job. As a rookie and a deep threat, he will probably be inconsistent. He's a worthwhile flier as your fourth receiver if you have three strong starters.

Mike X. Williams, wide receiver, Seattle Seahawks

Reason: Seattle's version - Big Mike - looks to have earned a roster spot. He was added with nominal projected stats and doesn't deserve a fantasy roster spot until he shows a little more.

Dez Bryant, wide receiver, Dallas Cowboys

Reason: The first-round rookie is on his way upward in our rankings after removing his walking boot a little ahead of schedule. We still feel most owners are way too overzealous in drafting him as high as they have. He's still a rookie receiver and, at best, the third target in the passing game. Bryant is a fifth fantasy receiver, not a third like he is being drafted as. 

Jason Hill and Ted Ginn Jr. wide receivers, San Francisco 49ers

Reason: The 49ers released wideout Brandon Jones this week, which led us to increase Hill and Ginn in our rankings a little. Even still, neither is worth owning in a standard league.

Brian Finneran, wide receiver, Atlanta Falcons

Reason: With Michael Jenkins (shoulder) possibly missing Week 1, we upped Finneran in our rankings. As usual, he's not worth drafting in any format. 

Players on the decline

Frank Gore, running back, San Francisco 49ers

Reason: After Brian Westbrook was signed we lowered Gore's projected receptions a bit. We're not convinced Westbrook even makes that big of an impact. Gore remains a midrange No. 1 fantasy back.

Jerious Norwood, running back, Atlanta Falcons

Reason: Norwood's hip is still bothering him, and we lowered his projected touches considerably. He'll probably wind up with more touches than No. 3 running back Jason Snelling, but the latter is the better handcuff to starter Michael Turner.

Marshawn Lynch, running back, Buffalo Bills

Houston Texans RB Arian Foster
Foster's value bumped up

Reason: A sprained ankle will sideline Lynch three to four weeks. This probably removes any immediate chance of a trade, but fantasy owners should still target him as a No. 6 back in deep leagues. We expect a deal to be completed once he is healthy if rookie back C.J. Spiller continues to impress.

Ben Tate, running back, Houston Texans

Reason: Tate suffered a fractured ankle and is expected to be placed on Injured Reserve. He has been removed from our rankings and shouldn't be considered by single-year fantasy leaguers. 

Derrick Ward, running back, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Reason: Reports suggest Ward is on the roster bubble and has fallen to third on the depth chart behind Kareem Huggins. We didn't care for Ward before all of this. Unless you're in an extremely deep draft, leave him for the wire.

Fred Jackson, running back, Buffalo Bills

Reason: Jackson suffered a fractured hand bone and will miss four to six weeks of action, which may cost him some regular-season time. He is a very weak No. 3 or an acceptable fourth fantasy back this year.

Vincent Jackson, wide receiver, San Diego Chargers

Reason: We didn't like Jackson's chances of staying in San Diego before news broke today that the Seattle Seahawks were given permission to speak with him about a contract. He is a No. 4 fantasy receiver for most owners. If you can take the risk, make him your third, but we advise against it. 

Hank Baskett, wide receiver, Philadelphia Eagles

Reason: Baskett lost his No. 4 job to rookie wideout Riley Cooper and has been downgraded to an even further level of undraftability in our rankings. 

Kevin Walter, wide receiver, Houston Texans

Reason: There has been an ongoing battle between Walter and Jacoby Jones this summer. Walter has a new contract on his side, but Jones is more explosive. We feel they will be interchangeable and have been moved closer to each other in our rankings. Walter is a No. 6 receiver in PPR setups.

Torry Holt, wide receiver, free agent

Reason: A knee injury was the listed cause for an injury settlement between the New England Patriots and Holt this week, but he is free to sign with any team if he isn't too injured. Nonetheless, he has been pulled from our rankings. 

Michael Jenkins, wide receiver, Atlanta Falcons

Reason: Jenkins' bum shoulder has him potentially missing Week 1. We have docked him one game from our rankings, which he will regain if his prognosis improves.

Brandon Jones, wide receiver, free agent

Reason: The San Francisco 49ers released Jones this week, and we have sent him packing from our rankings. Just when we thought he couldn't have less fantasy value....

Shawn Nelson, tight end, Buffalo Bills

Reason: Nelson was suspended the first four games for violating league policy regarding substance abuse. We have docked these four games from his projected totals. He can be ignored in all formats.

Ty Warren, defensive end, New England Patriots

Reason: Warren (hip) was placed on Injured Reserve and has been removed from our rankings. He has no fantasy value in single-year leagues.

Jairus Byrd, free safety, Buffalo Bills

San Diego Chargers WR Vincent Jackson
V-Jax keeps dropping

Reason: The exciting 2009 rookie has a groin injury that will keep him out indefinitely. That's not good news for a player whose fantasy value was already negligible. Avoid him in all non-keeper drafts. 

Entering rankings/unchanged newsmaker

Kareem Huggins, running back, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Reason: Huggins has a little burst and wiggle to his game. Reports say he is ahead of Derrick Ward for the No. 2 job and may force Tampa Bay to outright release Ward. Huggins is a speculative No. 6 fantasy back at this time.

Ladell Betts, running back, New Orleans Saints

Reason: The Saints signed Betts to replace Lynell Hamilton (knee), who was lost for the season and subsequently released. Betts will battle P.J. Hill for the short-yardage and goal line work. Should he win, and we expect he will, Betts is a No. 6 fantasy back in deep leagues.

Danny Ware, running back, New York Giants

Reason: Ware was added to account for Brandon Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw possibly missing time due to their respective injury histories. He shouldn't be considered in standard leagues.

Riley Cooper, wide receiver, Philadelphia Eagles

Reason: The Eagles rookie is now No. 4 on the depth chart after passing veteran Hank Baskett this week. Unless you play in a very deep full-retention keeper league, look elsewhere. 

Brandon Tate, wide receiver, New England Patriots

Reason: The Patriots released Torry Holt (knee) recently, which paves the way for Tate to see more playing time. He doesn't figure to be worth fantasy consideration in normal-sized leagues. 

Jared Cook, tight end, Tennessee Titans

Reason: Cook has drawn some praise this offseason and could challenge Bo Scaife for playing time. He was given token numbers to represent his token placement in our rankings. Fantasy owners shouldn't consider him in any non-keeper format. 

Gerard Warren, defensive end, New England Patriots

Reason: For what it's worth, Warren was added to our rankings to replace defensive end Ty Warren (hip), who New England placed on IR this week. Gerrard Warren has no fantasy value.

Patrick Chung, strong safety, New England Patriots

Reason: Chung has a good chance at winning the starting strong safety spot, which would put him on the fantasy owners' radars as a No. 3 IDP DB with No. 2 potential. Stay tuned....

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About Cory J. Bonini

Cory is KFFL's General Manager. In late 2002, he joined the KFFL staff as a research analyst and has been involved in fantasy sports since 1996. A member of the Fantasy Sports Trade Association, as well as Fantasy Sports Writers Association, Bonini has been featured in print, on radio and on scores of websites. Bonini co-hosted Big Lead Sports on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio from 2011 to 2012.

Bonini was recognized with the 2010 Best Article in Print Award from the FSWA and was a finalist for the same award in 2011. In '11, he finished first overall in the FSWA NFL experts challenge that featured 60 of the industry's best competitors.

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