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Quarterback Player Rankings – Week 2
Quarterbacks (Updated: Saturday, Sept. 15 - 12:44PM CT)
1. Matt Ryan (vs. Den - Monday Night) – One of the things I was super-excited to see last weekend was the Falcons new wide-open, up-tempo, no-huddle attack…and Matt Ryan showed me why. I can’t say he’ll repeat that four TD effort from Sunday (3 passing, 1 rushing) this coming Monday night as the Broncos pass D is far better than what the Chiefs tossed out there sans Brandon Flowers, but they won’t be good enough to stop Julio Jones, Roddy White and Tony Gonzalez. Ryan also loved playing at home last season tossing up over two TDs per game with a nice 8.1 yards-per-attempt.
2. Tom Brady (vs. Ari) – Brady’s final numbers didn’t look like much last weekend with just 236 yards and two TDs, but the Patriots didn’t really need him to do more as they had the game pretty well in hand up 21-3 by halftime. I suspect the same might happen this weekend against the Cardinals, but I also expect Bill Belichick to open up the offense a little more as well so look for Brady to settle into the season with his first 300-yard game and three TDs.
3. Andrew Luck (vs. Min) – Luck showed against the Bears that he’ll be a fantasy force to be reckoned with this season and should outperform his Week 1 numbers (309 yards, 1 TD) against Minnesota this weekend. No offense to Blaine Gabbert as he’s certainly improved this season, but if the Vikings can give up 260 yards, two TDs and no INTs to him while at home, then it’s very possible we see Luck go up over 300 yards once against and likely stack it up with 2-3 TDs as well. The Vikes DID give up the most passing TDs last season and with Austin Collie back in the lineup, I really like Luck’s potential this week.
4. Drew Brees (@ Car) – Brees tends to do better at home than on the road, though I don’t think it will make much difference against the Panthers this weekend. Despite their loss to the Buccaneers in Week 1, Carolina is a pretty darn good team that gave Brees and the Saints a nice scare when they played in Carolina last season. That being said, I don’t think it will matter much if the game is close or a blow-out as New Orleans will give Brees every opportunity to keep his team from two straight losses to start the year.
5. Peyton Manning (@ Atl - Monday Night) – When one of the best of all-time tries to come back from a possible career-ending injury, there are usually more questions than answers. Is he really healthy? Will he ever regain the arm-strength he once had? Is it even possible at 36-years-old? Well it looks like those questions were pretty well answered last Sunday night as Manning tossed up 253 yards and two TDs against the Steelers top-rated pass defense of 2011. His move to Denver and playing with new receivers didn’t make much of a difference but on Monday night, Manning will have to prove his worth yet again if the Donkeys want to keep up with this new Falcons offense…and I believe he will. Remember, this is Peyton Manning we’re talking about here. The same guy who finished outside the Top-5 fantasy QBs in a season just once since 2000 (sixth in 2008).
6. Eli Manning (vs. TB) – Week 1 wasn’t quite the showing fantasy owners were looking for, but they can look forward to Eli improving his numbers against the Bucs this Sunday. Tampa did well to shut down Cam Newton and Co. last Sunday, but they won’t have the advantage of having faced Eli and his group of receivers twice last season like they did with the Panthers. I’m expecting a real nice fantasy line for the Giants QB as there’s no way he lets his team start out 0-2 at home.
7. Cam Newton (vs. NO) – How Tampa Bay kept Newton from going absolutely nuts on them last weekend is beyond me, though he did end up with 303 yards and a TD. New Orleans won’t be able to contain Cam this weekend, though, as they just let rookie QB Robert Griffin III throw for 320 yards and two TDs along with another 42 yards rushing on them. Newton may not have fared so well against the Saints last season, but there’s nothing like a little bit of home cookin’ to make things right.
8. Jake Locker (@ SD) – It was a bummer to see Locker go down with that injury while trying to tackle his interceptor last weekend as he was well on his way to a 300-yard game before leaving early in the fourth quarter, but the word is that Locker is just fine and will start next weekend against a banged up San Diego pass D that gives up a lot of fantasy points to opposing QBs. With Kenny Britt back in the lineup, I’m really excited to see how Locker moves this offense as his weaponry is simply off the charts. I’ve been on his wagon for about a year now, so I’m expecting he’ll do well to prove my allegiance worthy this weekend.
9. Tony Romo (@ Sea) – The Tony Romo we have come to expect (in the early part of the season) showed his stuff in the NFL kickoff game last Wednesday against the Giants, but that New York secondary can’t hold a candle to what the Seahawks have going on in Seattle. Still, I think the Cowboys will have to throw the ball to win this one due to the ‘Hawks strong rush defense, so look for Romo to put up a good 35-40 passes in this one. Last year Romo threw for 279 yards and two TDs against this team in Week 9, numbers he should be able to reproduce en route to a borderline QB1 fantasy day.
10. Matthew Stafford (@ SF - Sunday Night) – I wouldn’t call Stafford’s three interceptions against the Rams last weekend “fluky” as he’s been prone to rough accuracy days like that in the past, but the ONE TD certainly WAS a fluke that won’t likely happen again. I know, we all saw what San Fran did to the Packers and Aaron Rodgers last week, but awesome defense or not, Stafford didn’t have a single game on the road last season where he either threw for less than 325 yards or fewer than two TDs, so look for the Lions QB to bounce back against a team he should probably throw 50+ passes against.
11. Matt Schaub (@ Jax) – Schaub showed he is ready for a comeback this season after a solid, if not outstanding Week 1 performance with 266 yards and a TD. Schaub should be in store for another solid week as he faces a Jaguars defense that allowed Christian Ponder to complete 20 of 27 passes for 270 yards. Schaub should be able to do better.
12. Philip Rivers (vs. Ten) – Philip Rivers did not have a great game by his standards last Monday night, but he did lead his team to a victory and was able to finish the game without an interception, which was good to see. He was accurate, but also had problems in the red-zone without his two starting RBs from a year ago (Mathews and Tolbert). The hopeful return of Ryan Mathews will give the Chargers the dimension they were missing against the Raiders and should open up the passing game for Rivers and his receivers. Though the Titans held Tom Brady to just 236 yards in Week 1, Rivers should still be able to improve on his own initial performance.
13. Ben Roethlisberger (vs. NYJ) – Normally a game against the Jets wouldn’t be a preferred start for your QB, but with Darrelle Revis already declared Out for the game with a concussion, this could be a nice showing for Big Ben. Antonio Brown should have a field day against New York’s backup CBs (Kyle Wilson and Ellis Lankster) and might even see a couple of plays against RB Joe McKnight, if you can believe it. Don’t be afraid to give Roethlisberger a whirl if your other options look a little hairy.
14. Joe Flacco (@ Phi) – Flacco had a very impressive first game of the season throwing for 299 yards and two TDs under the big lights of Monday Night Football. Joe seemed very comfortable in the Ravens new no-huddle offense and will look to continue that trend against a tough Eagles D that gave Brandon Weeden quite a rude welcoming to the NFL last weekend. He’ll certainly have his hands full in this tough, road matchup and I’m thinking that in the end, this game will go a long way towards showing just how much Flacco has improved.
15. Robert Griffin III (@ StL) – The kid has everything you could possibly want out of franchise QB and showed pretty much ALL of it in a Week 1 win against the Saints IN NEW ORLEANS. His arm, his awareness, his running ability and his leadership were all A+ and there’s no reason to think it doesn’t continue against the Rams this weekend. Granted, this St. Louis defense isn’t the same D that allowed offenses to do whatever they wanted on them last season, but Griff isn’t a normal talent either. Assuming Pierre Garcon makes it back for this game, bet on the rookie proving his worth yet again.
16. Carson Palmer (@ Mia)
17. Andy Dalton (vs. Cle)
18. Michael Vick (vs. Bal)
19. Matt Cassel (@ Buf)
20. Josh Freeman (@ NYG)
21. Christian Ponder (@ Ind)
22. Alex Smith (vs. Det - Sunday Night)
23. Ryan Fitzpatrick (vs. KC)
24. Kevin Kolb (@ NE)
25. Ryan Tannehill (vs. Oak)
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