- Eric Karabell, ESPN.com Senior Writer
As if you can't tell from watching "SportsCenter" round-the-clock, it's always about Brett Favre. As of Friday morning, I can't pretend to know whether Favre will or will not play Sunday against the New England Patriots. I don't think coach Brad Childress knows, either, though he keeps telling people he's leaning this way or that. Some advice for Brad: Stop talking about it. It will still be an issue Sunday morning.
My advice to fantasy owners is whether he suits up this week or not, don't give up on Favre, even as I see he's one of ESPN's most dropped quarterbacks. Yes, statistically this has not been a productive Favre this season, as he has more interceptions than touchdown passes and fewer fantasy points than 27 quarterbacks, including David Garrard, Vince Young and a pair of Philadelphia Eagles passers. But I do like the matchup and the way he has overcome injuries in the past.
Frankly, I thought about ranking both Favre and backup Tarvaris Jackson. While I think Favre will play, I did drop him a few spots. He is my No. 14 quarterback -- yes, the Patriots' secondary is that problematic, fourth-easiest to accrue QB points against -- but I also think Jackson could do some damage. If Favre is deemed out, I'd rank Jackson 19th at quarterback, just after Sam Bradford and Matthew Stafford but ahead of Young, Garrard, Matt Hasselbeck and Josh Freeman. Remember, Randy Moss back in New England ... something's gotta happen there. Plus, Jackson isn't a rookie. If not for this amazing consecutive games played streak -- the situation is annoying, but that streak is incredible -- I think we'd already know Jackson is starting. In deep leagues, I'd even use him.
So, I thought about ranking Jackson but didn't, dropped Favre a few spots at quarterback, and in Friday's rankings update made some other cosmetic changes.
Panthers Pride: No Carolina Panthers player has more than 42 fantasy points this season, as DeAngelo Williams has barely outscored his team's kicker and defense. It's sad. Williams is tied for145th in standard fantasy football scoring. Still, he's talented and I continue to rank him as a top-20 running back because I feel like at any point he could emerge. However, his game-time designation worries me enough to drop him some as of Friday morning. My take in fantasy is to generally avoid game-time decisions. I did move Jonathan Stewart up some, though he still has to find holes behind that awful offensive line.
Mr. October: Reggie Jackson made noise in the 10th month of the year, but I don't think New Orleans Saints running back Reggie Bush will. I originally ranked Bush and gave him a top-30 slot because I think there's opportunity in that offense, but it doesn't appear his injured leg will comply. I don't think Pierre Thomas plays, either. Chris Ivory against the Pittsburgh Steelers is not fortuitous. I removed Bush from the top 50 and actually moved Ivory back some as well.
Max targets: I admit I had Larry Fitzgerald ranked a bit too high. I'm not giving up on the Arizona Cardinals wide receiver, but even with Steve Breaston returning, we can't safely assume Fitzgerald is a top-20 option with Max Hall/Derek Anderson at quarterback. I didn't rank a Cardinals quarterback at all, and Fitzgerald leaves my top 20. I did bump Beanie Wells up a bit, though. It certainly seems that Tim Hightower is again in the doghouse. He's been there before and still produced, but the only weakness the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have had in allowing fantasy points has been to running backs, not the opposing passing game. Wells should get chances.
Best of luck in Week 8 and beyond!
Eric Karabell discusses his rankings changes for the week, leading with Brett Favre and the mystery surrounding his ankle injury.