Sports

TheDC Fantasy Outsider: Week 2, part I

Andy Hayes Contributor

Welcome to the Fantasy Football Rankings for Week 2. Please feel free to contact us with any specific line-up questions or general thoughts on the rankings.

Week 2

RBs:

1.    Michael Turner – nice match-up this week against Arizona. He’ll get lots of carries. (And, if I’m not mistaken, Mike Smith likes to run the ball at home quite a bit.)

2.    DeAngelo Williams – didn’t do much last week against the NYG, but I didn’t expect him to. This week, he’ll be good.

3.    Adrian Peterson – Miami will struggle to contain AP this week.

4.    Frank Gore – despite New Orleans doing a decent job against Adrian Peterson last week, Gore and the 49ers will be playing desperate. I expect a big week from Gore, possibly a monster week.

5.    Steven Jackson – at Oakland is a good match-up for Jackson. The more Sam Bradford plays and the more passes he completes, the better chance that defenses will need to start respecting the passing game. Until then, they will simply key on Jackson. It’s truly amazing he gets the stats he does when defenses spend so much energy trying to stop him, but I see him doing it here again.

6.    Ryan Mathews – didn’t look that impressive to me last week but somehow wound up with 75 yards rushing. I expect the story line next week to be “Ryan Matthews makes the Chargers feel better about moving on from LT”.  Early in the season, young RBs often get a huge psychological boost playing at home in front of their fans. And younger RBs are often more inclined to feed off of that positive adrenaline.

7.    Ahmad Bradshaw – Bradshaw had a good game last week. Indy’s run D obviously is not very good (see last week’s “effort” against Houston). With Bob Sanders out, I think Indy’s run D is now quite a bit worse.

8.   Darren McFadden – was very tempted to start McFadden in one league  last week (mistakenly went with JeromeHarrison). I figured he’s been waiting for a chance to be THE guy. Well, he finally got that chance and delivered and now he could be ready to launch. McFadden was one of the most dominant college players I’ve ever watched play. He could end up being very good this year if he stays healthy. Good match-up this week (despite Michael Bush being back and stealing a few carries).

9.    Chris Johnson – tough match-up for CJ this week. The Steelers’ D looks good again with Polamalu back in the fold. Johnson will still get some stats, but I expect this to be a defensive showdown.

10.    Ray Rice – Rice did not look like himself against the Jets. Not just because of the Jets’ D, but because his mind didn’t seem to be in the game. A couple dropped passes and what looked to me like hitting the wrong holes on 2-3 occasions. Odd, I expected Rice to end up the #1 RB this year – now I’m not so sure.

11.    Brandon Jackson – Jackson is now the #1 back for the Packers with Grant out for the year. Jackson is a decent back, but runs cautiously – seemingly obsessed with not fumbling. He’ll probably run a bit more aggressively considering he’ll be extra pumped to be starting in front of the home crowd. And, importantly,  this game won’t be close. Only possible problem with playing Jackson this week? FB/HB John Kuhn may steal his TDs and some of his receptions out of the backfield.

12.    Maurice Jones-Drew – he’s good anywhere and I wasn’t that impressed by San Diego’s run D Monday Night. Drawback could be that Jax may be playing catch-up/throwing a lot in this one.

13.    Jahvid Best – Best was actually very weak against the Bears last week w/regard to running/catching the ball – but he managed to get 2 TDs, so fantasy-wise he did well. While his poor yards-per-carry performance bears monitoring, I’m a bit more focused on the fact that he made it into the end zone twice – a skill some backs seem to either have or not. (Psychologically, seeing a RB convert on TD opportunities also affects a coach’s likelihood of calling that player’s # in the red zone – see Balt’s John Harbaugh and his Willis McGahee strategy. I like Best in this game because I think Detroit  will be especially angry after last week’s controversial finish. (And despite a good first quarter, the Philly D run D wasn’t THAT good against the Packers last week.)

14.    Cedric Benson – Benson will have a good week only because people think he won’t. He’s a football contrarian.

15.    Jamaal Charles – should be good again at the Cleve, but keep an eye on his touches. I wasn’t expecting the distribution of touches to be even between Charles and Thomas Jones like it was last week. Throw in McCluster and what will surely be more passes overall (limited passing Week 1 due to heavy rain) and Charles may end up with fewer touches than he needs to dominate fantasy.

16.    Knowshon Moreno – Moreno wasn’t bad last week, but at home this week, he should do quite well. Denver may end up having a surprisingly decent offense this year, especially if Orton can throw it like he did last week.

17.    Matt Forte – I’ve seen other rankings with Forte not even in the top 20 despite his fantastic performance last weekend. Don’t get that. I think Forte could end up having a big week because the Dallas pass rush is sure to force Cutler to throw check down, safe passes to his TEs and RBs. And of course, planned screens are a great way to get around aggressive pass-rushing and screens are Fortes…ummm…forte. I’m guessing Forte ends up with a bunch of catches.

18.    Arian Foster – The Wash D was pretty good last week slowing down Dallas. I expect this game to evolve into more of a passing game once the RBs are slowed down. Foster will still get some stats, but I wouldn’t be surprised if 3rd down RB Steve Slaton comes close to matching Foster’s stats in this one due to getting more passes.

19.    Rashard Mendenhall – Because I expect this game to be a defensive showdown, I expect Pitt to focus on running the ball and throwing screens – 2 things Mendenhall does well. But the potential drawback playing him this week is that Tenn will definitely key on stopping the run, making Dennis Dixon beat them through the air.

20.    Ricky Williams – A bit of a flier pick here, but I get the feeling Williams could see the end zone in MN. Their vaunted run D is a bit older now, Pierre Thomas did well against it last week and Williams has the kind of relentless running style that I think may play out well on the turf in MN.

QBs:
1.    Aaron Rodgers – The game against the Bills won’t be close. Rodgers was really frustrated with himself after his weak performance last week. I expect a big one from Rodgers and the GB passing game – TDs all over the place.

2.    Phillip Rivers – Rivers got some decent stats Monday Night in a super heavy rain. In sunny San Diego against a mediocre defense, I can see Rivers having a huge day.

3.    Tony Romo – Romo didn’t look too bad leading Dallas back in the final seconds last week. I’m regretting the fact that I was so dismissive of Austin Miles heading into this fantasy season – he is very good at getting open. I expect the Bears’ D to spend most of its energy trying to stop the Cowboys run game – so Romo could have a big afternoon.

4.    Peyton Manning – Indy played catch-up last week which is why Manning set personal records for passes (I believe 57 pass attempts). There will be more balance this week – first half will be a much slower game, though Manning’s stats will get a boost in the 2nd half.

5.    Jay Cutler – the Bears will need to pass against Dallas this weekend. While Cutler still is prone to the pick, he did have a monster week last week. The Dallas D is better than Detroit’s D to be sure, but if Chicago falls behind, which I expect they will, Cutler will be forced to throw and he could do some damage.

6.    Matt Schaub – Last week, I was WAY off on Matt Schaub (he was my #1 QB). Nobody, including the Colts, expected Houston to focus so much on the run. While some take it as a sign of things to come, I take it as Houston simply taking steps to create a more diverse and less predictable offense. When the run doesn’t work, they’ll go with the pass – because they already know the pass works. Wash slows down Foster Sunday so Schaub airs it out.

7.    Drew Brees – I’ve cooled a bit on Brees this year. Teams may have a better sense about the NO offense and it could interfere with him putting up ridiculous numbers (good numbers yes, but maybe not ridiculous numbers). That said, I think it’s possible the Saints are playing catch-up Monday Night to an inspired and mostly desperate 49ers team. That means lots of passing for Brees.

8.    Matt Ryan – Atlanta is a tough team. They played a tough team in a tough environment last weekend (Pitt) and almost won. I expect the offense to open up big-time this weekend against Arizona and Ryan to have a big day along with RB Michael Turner.

9.    Alex Smith – He won’t repeat last week. This will be a big one for him because it has to be.

10.    Michael Vick – getting the starting nod for Philly this week will be a bit different role than Vick is used to. Yes, he was fantastic last week – looked so good against the Packers – but as the starter, there is more pressure and he will be facing a very angry Detroit team. I expect him to be mediocre in the first half, but to possibly explode statistically in the 2nd half.

11.    Kyle Orton – Kyle Orton is a weird dude. He doesn’t seem to endear himself to his fans almost wherever he goes – and I’m not sure why because ultimately, surprisingly, he’s a winner. Kyle Orton is 29-20 as a starter in the NFL and over the last year over so, has been racking up some nice stats. He really racked up stats at Purdue in a pass-friendly offense and it’s possible he could end up doing the same this year as he becomes more familiar with Josh McDaniels’ offensive game plans.

12.    Eli Manning – the Giants will try to run the ball against Indy considering Indy’s horrendous run D in week 1 against Houston. It will work with some degree of success, but eventually Eli will have to throw in this one to match Indy’s scoring. And like lots of games this week, I expect this game to pick up some offensive steam in the second half (can a game really pick up “offensive steam”?).

13.    Brett Favre – Favre looked really off Week 1 – and should be a concern for fantasy owners. I had Favre down for an off year when I learned he was finally coming back. The dynamics in MN have changed with the Sidney Rice injury and Favre just doesn’t do well with the weight of expectations. In this game, I happen to see Favre racking up some stats – but over the course of the year, his inconsistency could frustrate fantasy owners.

14.    Tom Brady – I honestly worry about Brady getting injured in this game. I don’t even like writing such a thing, but there is bad blood between these 2 teams, things have been said, the Jets are quite frustrated with their loss Monday Night and frankly, I’m not sure the Jets will take well to losing (or even falling behind). If he can stay upright, I expect Brady to pass quite a bit actually – because I don’t expect him to get much help from the run game.

15.    Matt Hasselbeck – I still want to see a couple more solid outings from Hasselbeck before elevating him to #1 QB status, but he did look good last week and he could end up being a surprisingly good fantasy player this year.

16.    Chad Henne – Henne and the Dolphins’ passing game was mediocre Week 1 and this week, they will be playing in MN, a tough place to play. But it is on turf which I think often helps WRs and Henne and the offense may find that they have to start passing if the Vikes aging run D can hold up.

17.    David Garrard – could end up with a big week this week because I am envisioning a high scoring game against the Chargers. Jax will fall behind and Garrard will have to throw in this one. He might be a quietly good play if you’re weak at QB.

18.    Joe Flacco – I didn’t think Flacco was bad Monday Night considering the pressure the Jets’ D brings. Clearly, the acquisition of Anquan Boldin was big. I imagine that once TJ Housh learns the offense better, teams will be at the very least annoyed having to account for Housh, Boldin, Derrick Mason, Rice out of the backfield and Todd Heap (if his shoulder is OK). Despite Cincy having 2 high quality cornerbacks, I can see Balt opening up the passing game, with Flacco trying more deep balls than he did Week 1.

19.    Derek Anderson – I leave Anderson here only because I anticipate AZ having to catch-up. He did have nearly 300 yards passing last week but only 1 TD. I expect Anderson to again rack up the yards, just not sure he’ll have any more than a couple TDs (and he’s likely to throw a pick).

20.    Donovan McNabb – if this game turns into a game like I think it will, McNabb may put up some decent numbers. Houston’s pass D obviously has some holes (Manning went nuts last week against them), and I don’t see Wash scoring tons of TDs on the ground this year for some reason.