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The Talented Mr. Roto: One last rankings update

It changes.

By the year, by the month, by the week, the day, the hour, the second.

Value is always changing. In fantasy sports and in life.

Today is Aug. 29.

Five years ago, it was my wedding anniversary. Today? It's the Friday before the NFL regular season starts.

Two weeks ago, Paula Abdul was famous and secure. Now, with the addition of someone younger, hotter and most likely more coherent to the "American Idol" judging team? Paula's on "Celebrity Fit Club" and hawking stuff on QVC within two years.

Paula claims she's not worried, but they didn't bring in another English dude or big guy, ya dig? Take a hint, Paula. Take a hint.

Yesterday, Brandon Marshall was my 16th-ranked wide receiver overall. Today, with his three-game suspension reduced to just one game, he moves up to my seventh-ranked wide receiver and No. 29 overall.

The point is, the minute this ranking gets published, I am sure someone's value will change. It literally changes all the time. So what to do?

Well, I wrote about this topic in my "10 lists of 10" column, but it bears revisiting here.

People get too hung up on where to draft a guy and someone's ranking. I got tons of "I have the No. 3 pick but I really want Brady. Is that too early?"-type questions. And my answer is … no. As you'll see, I have Brady at No. 6 overall. But if you have the third pick and want him, draft him. He won't come back to you in the second round, so this is your only chance to get him. It's not as if he's bad or anything.

It's your team, these are the guys you're rooting for this year, so dude, just take him. These rankings are just a listing of players in an order of projected value. They give you an idea of where players are in relative value to others. No matter whose rankings you choose to follow, the final rankings will be very different at the end of the year. Nature of the beast. So grab whom you want, when you want, as long as you can be reasonably certain he won't still be there next time it's your turn.

One last point before I get into some observations about my rankings. There are definitely some places where my rankings and my articles -- specifically my "You Heard Me" article -- don't seem to match up. As I have said, especially at the beginning, I am about minimizing risk. It's my bold prediction that LT will finish outside the top five in fantasy points, but I have him ranked No. 1 here. That's because he's the safest bet fantasywise, even if he finishes at six. The rankings are the "safe" version, if you will. But if you feel daring, then that's what the bold prediction article is about. The two pieces are designed for different purposes.

Some general observations about this set of rankings

I moved Marshawn Lynch down a few spots because of concerns about Langston Walker and Jason Peters' continued holdout.

I moved Tony Romo up a spot because of where I see other quarterbacks going and because I feel there is a significant difference between him and Peyton Manning.

Larry Johnson's terrible preseason (he's averaging 3.3 yards per carry compared with last year, when he averaged 4.0 yards per carry in the 2007 preseason) along with the fact that I continue to be enamored with Darren McFadden led me to move Run-DMC ahead of LJ. Remember, Larry's yards-per-carry average has gone down each of the past three years.

I was already high on Ricky Williams (insert your own joke here) and low on Ronnie Brown when I did my last rankings. Since then, the news has come out that Ricky is playing with the first team and, at worst for Williams, this is a time-share. New rankings for both running backs reflect this.

The loss of Colts center Jeff Saturday is enough for me to move Drew Brees just ahead of Peyton Manning. I have them at basically the same spot.

Is it possible to be proud of a call before a single game is played? If so, I'd like to point out that I had Chris Johnson of Tennessee as a guy I love on my pre-preseason "Love/Hate" list (published June 16). A great camp and Jeff Fisher's announcement that Johnson and LenDale White will split time later, and suddenly everyone's on the bandwagon. I've been on record as saying I feel Johnson wins this job outright, but in the meantime, his ranking is up and LenDale's is down.

Speaking of looking good, two wide receivers move up my board. Calvin Johnson is due for the breakout folks predicted last season and DeSean Jackson (thanks to the Kevin Curtis injury) moves up. Speaking of Curtis, he's no longer ranked. I don't feel he's worth drafting in an ESPN 10-team standard league. Same goes for Chris Brown of Houston, who is looking like he's not in the mix at all for the Texans, and when you hit the PUP list, you drop off mine. Sorry, Cadillac Williams. Same goes for Musa Smith, who couldn't make the Jets, which means he no longer makes my rankings.

Another guy who drops completely off the list? Matt Leinart. With the news that it looks as though Kurt Warner will be the starting quarterbacks for the Cardinals, I have upped Warner to the top 10 overall among quarterbacks. Remember, last year, in the final eight games, no quarterback threw more touchdowns than Warner. Not Tom Brady. Not Peyton Manning. No one. Injury is always a concern, but still. I think Warner takes this job and keeps it, at least long enough that Leinart will be on the waiver wire well before he gets back under center. I figure, if you're gonna drop him anyway, what's the point of drafting him, exactly?

I've also moved Derek Anderson down a little and Rudi Johnson down a lot based on their play (or lack thereof) in the preseason. Slight bumps for Jacob Hester -- I'm betting on him over Darren Sproles for LT's handcuff -- and Brandon Jackson, since the Packers announced they want to get him in the mix more.

The rankings reflect the new situations in the Houston and Cincinnati backfields. I have Steve Slaton on top in Houston, but I've ranked Ahman Green. Don't be surprised to see Green out there -- he's worth a flier. In Cincinnati, it's worth mentioning that despite Chris Perry being named the starter, I like Kenny Watson more from a fantasy perspective.

Some new additions to the list include Josh Morgan (a rookie wideout they love in San Francisco), Tim Hightower (looking terrific so far and I've also moved Edge James down as well), Chris Henry (who will show up for the Bengals for Week 5) and Eddie Royal of the Broncos.

Thanks to everyone who came out to all the Fantasy Football events we held, especially the ones in New York and Chicago. It was great to meet everyone.

Be sure to check out our daily Fantasy Focus Football podcast. And remember, not only can you sign up for ESPN Fantasy Football, we have office pool-type Pick 'em games, for both college and the NFL, plus our salary-cap game (Gridiron Challenge), our Eliminator game (some call it "survivor"), and, last but not least, we're giving away $1 million -- you heard me, 1 million dollars -- to the first person to get 25 wins in a row in our Streak for the Cash game. Just pick who will win a game or prop bet 25 times in a row. Super simple.

Have a great holiday. Or don't. It honestly doesn't affect me either way.

Matthew Berry -- The Talented Mr. Roto -- is ESPN's senior director of fantasy. He was just as surprised as you to find out it's a real job. He is a multiple award winner from the Fantasy Sports Writers Association, including a Writer of the Year award. He is also the creator of RotoPass.com, a Web site that combines a bunch of well known fantasy sites, including ESPN Insider, for one low price. Use promo code ESPN for 10 percent off.

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