Big Rotowski: Week 2 Ranks

Big Rotowski: Week 2 Ranks
By Christopher Harris
September 13, 2006

Christopher Harris
Yahoo Sports
Note: As of Friday, updated Week 2 rankings can be found HERE

I had Jeff Wilkins at No. 4. I had Jeff Wilkins at No. 4!

All right, it wasn't my greatest week. Sure, I had some nice calls, like bumping Kurt Warner up to third among quarterbacks, insisting that Donovan McNabb should be a top-five signal-caller, jumping early on the Frank Gore and Brian Westbrook trains, and launching Donte' Stallworth above his receiving teammates. But Torry Holt as the top wideout wasn't my best moment, and Steve Smith at No. 4 was just silly. Um, yeah, and who was that moron who ranked the St. Louis Defense 32nd out of 32?

We learned a lot in Week 1, didn't we? Carson Palmer may actually have the diminished value many predicted in '06, but not because of his bad knee. Rather, the Bengals are evidently going to knock out 16 starting quarterbacks this year, enabling Palmer to spend his afternoons handing the ball off. Shaun Alexander will have days where his offensive line can't open holes the size of John Madden for him to run though. Brett Favre and the Packers are going to, um, stink.

Anyway, let's take a look at my Week 2 rankings. As always, you can check back Friday for updates in my weekly rankings, as well as ratings from the other Yahoo! Sports Fantasy experts.

Quarterbacks

Rank Name Opponent Week 1 Rating
1 Peyton Manning HOU 1
2 Matt Hasselbeck ARI 4
3 Marc Bulger @ SF 8
4 Tom Brady @ NYJ 2
5 Donovan McNabb NYG 5
6 Carson Palmer CLE 6
7 Kurt Warner @ SEA 3
8 Daunte Culpepper BUF 11
9 Jake Plummer KC 9
10 Eli Manning @ PHI 10
11 Jake Delhomme @ MIN 12
12 Michael Vick TB 14
13 Drew Bledsoe WAS 15
14 Byron Leftwich PIT 18
15 David Carr @ IND 19
16 Steve McNair OAK 20
17 Drew Brees @ GB 22
18 Mark Brunell @ DAL 21
19 Philip Rivers TEN 16
20 Brett Favre NO 24
21 Chad Pennington NE 27
22 Charlie Batch @ JAC 23
23 Brad Johnson CAR 26
24 Jon Kitna @ CHI 17
25 Chris Simms @ ATL 25
26 Alex Smith STL 29
27 J.P. Losman @ MIA 30
28 Kerry Collins @ SD 28
29 Aaron Brooks @ BAL 13
30 Rex Grossman DET 32
31 Charlie Frye @ CIN 31
32 Damon Huard @ DEN NR

Notes: At the moment, I've written these ratings as though Ben Roethlisberger (appendectomy) won't play, but there are rumblings in Pittsburgh that the extra day (the Steelers play on Monday night) may help Big Ben convince his coaches to let him start against Jacksonville. I'll revisit the issue later in the week … What a shame there's no more Manning vs. Manning hype this week, huh? … Bulger played a nice, tidy game against Denver last weekend, but couldn't punch it in the end zone. Don't expect that to be a problem against the Niners … Warner was sharp against San Francisco, and Seattle's pass defense isn't its strong suit. But he has to come down a little this week … From the Let's-Not-Get-Carried-Away Department: Plummer was truly terrible against the Rams, but it's a bit early for all the Jay Cutler talk. Hopefully for Plummer owners, that stinker is out of the way, and Jake can get his head on straight. His Week 1 mistakes were mostly mental, though he was burned at least twice by receiver gaffes. The Chief secondary is inconsistent … From the Let's-Not-Get-Carried-Away Department, Part Deux: Pennington was a great story last week, but Tennessee is in a shambles. The Patriots should present a better test, especially if Tedy Bruschi returns. New England CB Ellis Hobbs was one of this week's most talked-about players for the job he did against Buffalo last week … Should Delhomme still be this high? It's a good question. Steve Smith is as questionable as ever, and I like Minnesota's pass defense. I'm giving John Fox at least another week, though. He's a really good coach … Carr's as high as he is because he got some semblance of protection on maybe half his drop-backs last week, which is (believe it or not) an improvement. Presumably Houston will be far behind, and need to throw.

Running Backs

Rank Name Opponent Week 1 Rating
1 LaDainian Tomlinson TEN 3
2 Shaun Alexander ARI 1
3 Larry Johnson @ DEN 2
4 Tiki Barber @ PHI 4
5 Ronnie Brown BUF 7
6 Rudi Johnson CLE 6
7 Frank Gore STL 11
8 Steven Jackson @ SF 8
9 Carnell Williams @ ATL 9
10 Warrick Dunn TB 14
11 Willie Parker @ JAC 15
12 Willis McGahee @ MIA 13
13 Brian Westbrook NYG 10
14 Clinton Portis @ DAL 30
15 Edgerrin James @ SEA 5
16 Reuben Droughns @ CIN 19
17 Chester Taylor CAR 29
18 Tatum Bell KC 25
19 DeShaun Foster @ MIN 18
20 Julius Jones WAS 20
21 Thomas Jones DET 17
22 Jamal Lewis OAK 33
23 Corey Dillon @ NYJ 12
24 Reggie Bush @ GB 22
25 Laurence Maroney @ NYJ NR
26 Deuce McAllister @ GB 23
27 LaMont Jordan @ BAL 16
28 Dominic Rhodes HOU 35
29 Kevin Jones @ CHI 21
30 Fred Taylor PIT 27
31 Wali Lundy @ IND 32
32 Ahman Green NO 34
33 Joseph Addai HOU 31
34 Chris Brown @ SD 26
35 Derrick Blaylock NE 36
36 Mike Bell KC 28
37 Kevan Barlow NE 38
38 Cedric Benson DET 40
39 Travis Henry @ SD 37
40 Ladell Betts @ DAL NR

Notes: The Big Three stay in the first three slots for another week, if only because two of them (Tomlinson and Alexander) have what look like sweet matchups. Denver's rush defense looked bad against the Rams (4.5 yards per carry), but I expect them to tighten up … Buffalo doesn't seem to have fixed its defensive-line issues yet, so Ronnie Brown is bumped up … Gore is just a little bottle of thunder, eh? Then again, he does have two pretty nice matchups to start the year. Can't say I think he's going to be a top-10 fantasy back for the season, but he'll certainly look like a tradable commodity to his owners after Week 2 (though be careful of the injury to OT Jonas Jennings) … Parker is trapped in a Catch-22: he needs the ball a lot to finally find a hole through which to break a big one, but the times where he doesn't break a big one, he takes big-time punishment and doesn't gain anything. One does wonder whether he can hold up … Portis got 10 carries on Monday night to Betts' eight, and reported no ill effects. Still, the shoulder has to be tender, and Dallas's rush defense allowed 2.4 ypc in Jacksonville … James is a recipe for disaster this week. Seattle allowed 38 yards on 17 carries on the road last weekend, and Arizona's offensive line looks weak. It should be a raucous crowd cheering on the 'Hawks for the first time since the Super Bowl … Maroney looked so much better than Dillon in Week 1, it seems just a matter of time before the rushing ratio swings in the rookie's favor. For now, they're a straight platoon, but when the Patriots needed a key drive late, they turned to Maroney … Mike Bell's finger injury may or may not keep him out (ew, bone pushing on fingernail, ew), but in my mind Tatum Bell is still on his way to taking away this job for good. Tatum was crummy in the first half, but again, when Denver needed a comeback, they used him … Hated Jordan's opening-night matchup with the Charger run defense. Hate the road tilt against Baltimore even more. Be patient; there are better games coming.

Wide Receivers

Rank Name Opponent Week 1 Rating
1 Marvin Harrison HOU 3
2 Torry Holt @ SF 1
3 Chad Johnson CLE 4
4 Larry Fitzgerald @ SEA 2
5 Terrell Owens WAS 8
6 Hines Ward @ JAC 17
7 Reggie Wayne HOU 10
8 Chris Chambers BUF 9
9 Donald Driver NO 20
10 Anquan Boldin @ SEA 6
11 Plaxico Burress @ PHI 12
12 Darrell Jackson ARI 25
13 Laveranues Coles NE 21
14 T.J. Houshmandzadeh CLE 11
15 Javon Walker KC 14
16 Lee Evans @ MIA 15
17 Santana Moss @ DAL 19
18 Andre Johnson @ IND 23
19 Randy Moss @ BAL 7
20 Donte' Stallworth NYG 27
21 Rod Smith KC 18
22 Roy Williams @ CHI 13
23 Derrick Mason OAK 22
24 Drew Bennett @ SD 33
25 Matt Jones PIT 30
26 Isaac Bruce @ SF 36
27 Joe Horn @ GB 34
28 Keenan McCardell TEN 28
29 Joey Galloway @ ATL 24
30 Eddie Kennison @ DEN 16
31 Reggie Brown NYG 29
32 Nate Burleson ARI 26
33 Troy Williamson CAR 32
34 Jerricho Cotchery NE NR
35 Drew Carter @ MIN NR
36 Antonio Bryant STL 35
37 Eric Moulds @ IND NR
38 Keyshawn Johnson @ MIN 43
39 Muhsin Muhammad DET 37
40 Terry Glenn WAS 38
41 Michael Clayton @ ATL 45
42 Marques Colston @ GB NR
43 Braylon Edwards @ CIN 48
44 Ernest Wilford PIT 39
45 Bobby Engram ARI NR
46 Antwaan Randle El @ DAL NR
47 Reggie Williams PIT NR
48 Mark Clayton OAK 47
49 Wes Welker BUF NR
50 Dennis Northcutt @ CIN NR

Notes: Steve Smith, we hardly knew ye. Fool me once, shame on me, etc. I'm not starting him until I'm sure he's starting. Check back much later … Harrison and Wayne should have another field day against Houston. The Fitzgerald/Boldin combo probably has to be downgraded just a bit. Again, that hostile Seattle environment … Ward jumps way up, as his hamstring seems no longer to be an issue, and Charlie Batch was comfortable getting him the ball … Driver also makes a sort of incongruous (Lambeau) leap. I don't think Brett Favre will be overly effective all told, but I do think he'll try and shut up his critics, which could lead to a couple scores. He looked for Driver 11 times in Week 1 … Houshmandzadeh is supposedly fine to play, but make sure he practices this week before you start him … Randy Moss takes a beating this week. He had a fine stretch in that Monday night game, but otherwise looked as lost as he claims to feel. He also threw the ball at a defender out of bounds, and cost his offense 15 yards, which just about halved its production … I like Stallworth and Brown against Giants corners Sam Madison and Corey Webster. Donovan McNabb will need time, and the pass rush will certainly be more fierce than it was in Houston. But the Eagles can still be effective through the air … Roy Williams guarantees notwithstanding, I expect another low-scorer in Chicago this week … Matt Jones was the guy Byron Leftwich looked for when things got rough against Dallas. He, too, totaled 11 targets. It'll be interesting to see whether Ike Taylor gets matched up on Jones all night. If not, look for the huge Jones to feast … Bennett set the mark for most targets in Week 1 with 17. Given the state of his hands, that probably isn't a recipe for overall success, but his owners can't complain. That San Diego's pass defense looked good against Oakland means absolutely nothing. It's still not what the Chargers do best.

Tight Ends

Rank Name Opponent Week 1 Rating
1 Antonio Gates TEN 1
2 Tony Gonzalez @ DEN 2
3 Jeremy Shockey @ PHI 3
4 Todd Heap OAK 7
5 Benjamin Watson @ NYJ 4
6 Kellen Winslow @ CIN 11
7 Chris Cooley @ DAL 5
8 Alge Crumpler TB 8
9 Jason Witten WAS 10
10 L.J. Smith NYG 12
11 Heath Miller @ JAC 6
12 Vernon Davis STL 15
13 Jermaine Wiggins CAR 21
14 Ben Troupe @ SD 9
15 Randy McMichael BUF 13
16 Desmond Clark DET NR
17 Marcedes Lewis PIT 17
18 Anthony Becht @ ATL NR
19 Chris Baker NE 30
20 Dallas Clark HOU 14
21 Itula Mili ARI 24
22 Daniel Graham @ NYJ 22
23 Stephen Alexander KC NR
24 Alex Smith @ ATL 18
25 Courtney Anderson @ BAL 28
26 Joe Klopfenstein @ SF 19
27 Leonard Pope @ SEA 27
28 Bubba Franks NO 26
29 Ben Utecht HOU NR
30 Jeb Putzier @ IND NR

Notes: Gonzalez got 12 targets last week, most among tight ends. Seven of these came after Damon Huard came in for Trent Green with about five minutes left in the third quarter. To me, that means Huard will look to Gonzo a lot this weekend … Those who believed Heap would benefit from Steve McNair's old tight-end-loving ways were right. Heap and Winslow were second among tight ends with nine targets in Week 1 … Watson is still the best pass-catching threat the Patriots have. And truthfully, that will be the case even if they do acquire Jerry Porter … Miller was a big star on Thursday night (though he was obviously out-of-bounds on his long TD), but lost in the shuffle is the fact that he was targeted only three times, which explains why I lowered his ranking. If Big Ben returns, I'd move Miller up … Vernon Davis looks terrific, but note that Eric Johnson is still getting a few looks in San Francisco … Wiggins was open all night against the Redskins, and the Monday Night crew's foaming notwithstanding, Wiggins ate Sean Taylor's lunch on several plays. Loved seeing that … I've got Lewis listed here, but if he can't play again, I'd pretty much just substitute George Wrighster in the same place on this list. The Jags actually threw to Wrighster in the Dallas game, and to me that indicates they've got a lot of plays ready to go for Lewis, and didn't want them to go to waste … Maybe it was just Green Bay's defense, but Desmond Clark was open on every single pass play in Week 1. And that's only barely hyperbole. All told, he was targeted eight times, and caught five passes for 77 yards. He's only been targeted that much twice in the last two seasons, and never racked up that many yards doing so. Glorified tackle, indeed.

Kickers

Rank Name Opponent Week 1 Rating
1 Adam Vinatieri HOU 7
2 Jason Elam KC 1
3 Jeff Wilkins @ SF 4
4 Shayne Graham CLE 3
5 Jay Feely @ PHI 5
6 Neil Rackers @ SEA 2
7 David Akers NYG 6
8 Josh Brown ARI 10
9 John Kasay @ MIN 8
10 Nate Kaeding TEN 9
11 Lawrence Tynes @ DEN 11
12 Matt Stover OAK 14
13 Jeff Reed @ JAC 12
14 John Carney @ GB 29
15 Ryan Longwell CAR 15
16 Olindo Mare BUF 18
17 Josh Scobee PIT 21
18 Mike Vanderjagt WAS 13
19 Stephen Gostkowski @ NYJ 16
20 Robbie Gould DET 26
21 Rian Lindell @ MIA 20
22 Michael Koenen TB 17
23 Phil Dawson @ CIN 22
24 Rob Bironas @ SD 23
25 Kris Brown @ IND 24
26 Joe Nedney STL 31
27 Dave Rayner NO 32
28 John Hall @ DAL 27
29 Matt Bryant @ ATL 28
30 Sebastian Janikowski @ BAL 19
31 Mike Nugent NE 30
32 Jason Hanson @ CHI 25

Notes: Vanderjagt has supposedly been cleared by the training staff, so I expect he'll actually play against the Redskins, but be sure he's definitely in before starting him. Bill Parcells seems about at his wits' end with him already … Vinatieri was obviously just fine against the Giants, and he'll kick his first home game in a dome this weekend … Carney is the week's biggest mover. Who knew he was still in the league?

Defenses

Rank Name Opponent Week 1 Rating
1 Chicago Bears DET 1
2 Seattle Seahawks ARI 3
3 Baltimore Ravens OAK 8
4 Jacksonville Jaguars PIT 2
5 Indianapolis Colts HOU 11
6 Pittsburgh Steelers @ JAC 6
7 Carolina Panthers @ MIN 4
8 New York Giants @ PHI 17
9 Denver Broncos KC 18
10 Miami Dolphins BUF 9
11 Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ ATL 5
12 Atlanta Falcons TB 12
13 Washington Redskins @ DAL 7
14 Philadelphia Eagles NYG 10
15 Dallas Cowboys WAS 13
16 New England Patriots @ NYJ 14
17 San Diego Chargers TEN 20
18 Minnesota Vikings CAR 15
19 Cincinnati Bengals CLE 22
20 New York Jets NE 23
21 St. Louis Rams @ SF 32
22 Detroit Lions @ CHI 30
23 New Orleans Saints @ GB 28
24 Green Bay Packers NO 16
25 Buffalo Bills @ MIA 26
26 Oakland Raiders @ BAL 31
27 Cleveland Browns @ CIN 21
28 Arizona Cardinals @ SEA 19
29 Kansas City Chiefs @ DEN 29
30 Tennessee Titans @ SD 24
31 San Francisco 49ers STL 27
32 Houston Texans @ IND 25

Notes: I'm trying not to get irrationally exuberant about the Ravens defense, but Tampa Bay isn't nearly as bad as they looked last week. Ray Lewis and Adalius Thomas were the two most impressive players on the field, and first-rounder Haloti Ngata returned an interception 60 yards. He's a nosetackle, folks … Jacksonville will be hurt by the loss of Reggie Hayward, who has 29 sacks over the last three seasons. They've got some depth with which to cover Hayward's injury, but anyone else going down will be a problem … The Giants look like a major leaper on this list, but really, they were simply very low last week because they hosted Peyton and the boys. It's going to be tough heading into Philly, but this pass rush can still be a wrecking ball … Denver's D wasn't all that terrible in Week 1; the main problem was the five turnovers. With Damon Huard helming the Chiefs and the media storm surrounding Jake Plummer, this is one of the more predictable reactionary blowouts of the season. Broncos win big … Atlanta should be higher on this list, but I don't know the status of John Abraham yet. If he's healthy, bump them up … Yes, the Chargers shut out the Raiders. And yes, they should easily handle the Titans. But don't be surprised if Tennessee gets some work done via the air … That the Rams are still ranked only 21st after a really nice display last weekend (and in Week 2 they play the Niners) reminds me of college football's ranking system. If you start out at 32nd, there's only so high you're going to go in a single week, I suppose.

Christopher Harris is a Fantasy Sports Writers Association award-winning columnist and beagle-owner who has written about fantasy sports for SportsIllustrated.com, NBA.com, and TalentedMrRoto.com. Send Christopher a question or comment for potential use in a future column or webcast.

Updated on Wednesday, Sep 13, 2006 3:41 pm, EDT

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