Group-think can be an especially scary thing when it comes to fantasy football rankings. After all, the unpredictable nature of the NFL game is part of what makes fantasy football so popular, and why some people like to say that the NFL acronym stands for "No F****** Logic." But when one of our Yahoo fantasy football analysts veers particularly far away from the rankings consensus, our curious nature begs for an explanantion. So, with that in mind, I've identified two players from our Week 2 rankings that our Yahoo analysts love/hate significantly more than the rest of us, and have asked them to explain their reasoning. I'll kick things off with a couple of my outliers:
Love him: Pierre Garcon, Was, WR - Funston WR rank No. 14 (Y! rank No. 25)
No receiver was targeted more in '13 than Garcon. For whatever reason, RGIII loves the guy. So it was no surprise when Garcon was back among the target leaders in Week 1, catching 10 of 12 passes for 77 yards. That line played much better in PPR leagues, obviously, but the important takeaway is that he's still the apple of RGIII's eye. And with TE Jordan Reed out with a hamstring issue, Garcon is likely to hog even more of his quarterback's attention. And despite what my colleague Brad Evans has to say (below) about the vaunted Ball/Gratz cornerback duo, I'm not ready to admit that Jacksonville is anything special when it comes to pass defense. Look for Garcon to top the century mark in yardage on Sunday.
Hate him: Shonn Greene, Ten, RB - Funston RB rank No. 32 (Y! No. 21)
I can't believe I'm the "Yahoo" standing in the way of Greene landing among our top 20 running backs this week. Obviously, facing the Cowboys is a feather in Greene's cap, but let's not overrate the matchup too much - the RBs for arguably the best rushing team in league (San Francisco) posted a 25/117/1 line against Dallas last week, which was middle of the road production for Week 1 backfields. Middling was also the best way to describe Greene's Week 1 line (15/71/0) against a KC run defense that allowed a healthy 4.5 YPC in '13. Greene's also a non-factor in the passing game, and he gave away a combined 20 touches to the other Titans RBs. I expect rookie RB Bishop Sankey's role to grow with each passing week, so Greene may not even reach the 15-carry mark on Sunday if my suspicions are correct about Sankey. I can accept Greene as a solid flex option, but slam dunk RB2? No way.
Love him: Shane Vereen, NE, RB - Evans RB rank No. 7 (Y! No. 13)
The Swiss Army Knife logged 70.9 percent of Patriots snaps last week, a trend that should continue given Stevan Ridley’s downsides. Another 12-15 touches, 70-plus yards and a touchdown are on tap in Minnesota.
Hate him: Pierre Garcon, Was, WR - Evans WR rank No. 36 (Y! No. 25)
The reigning receptions leader is a terrific wideout who is sure to bounce back soon, but don’t bank on it against Jacksonville. Jags starting corners Alan Ball and Dwayne Gratz surrendered a combined 8.8 yards per catch and a 40.0 catch rate to their assignments in Philly last week. Expect a decent, not great showing (Fearless forecast: 5-60-0) from Garcon.
Love him: DeSean Jackson, Was, WR – Behrens WR rank No. 21 (Y! No. 32)
D-Jax faced one of the league's best defenses in the opener, and he came away with eight catches for 62 yards on nine targets. This week, he's at home against a Jacksonville D that isn't so intimidating. (Philly whiffed on a bunch of big plays against the Jags. Details in this feed.) You don't have to love RG3, but let's not lose sight of Jackson's big-play talent.
Hate him: Rashad Jennings, NYG, RB – Behrens RB rank No. 33 (Y! No. 19)
He's facing a defense that ranked first in the league against the run last season (84.4 YPG, 5 TDs), and that allowed only 52 rushing yards to the Chargers in Week 1. The only thing you can possibly like about Jennings in this matchup is his workload. But how many carries would he need to crack 100 yards against Arizona? 30? 40? More? Look elsewhere, gamers.
Love him: Torrey Smith, Bal, WR - Pianowski WR rank No. 19 (Y! No. 30)
I want to be careful not to overreact to how the Smiths did in the Baltimore opener (and not to radically change the opinions I held of them a week ago). Steve Smith had one big catch against Cincinnati but was otherwise woefully inefficient with a ton of targets. To be fair, Torrey Smith was not a big factor last week (3-50, seven looks), but we're talking about someone who's coming off a strong 65-1128 season, and someone who posted a 6-93-1 line in the last Pittsburgh meeting (and an acceptable 61 yards in the prior dance). It's not a bad time to kick the tires on a Torrey Smith deal, amigos. I'll play him wherever I can in Week 2.
Hate him: Arian Foster, Hou, RB - Pianowski RB rank No. 12 (Y! No. 4)
I realize the Raiders were trampled by the Jets ground game, and Foster is coming off 103 yards of his own. But let's not forget Foster only averaged 3.8 yards a pop last week (he also lost a fumble), and he has just one touchdown in his last nine games. I don't want to be hypnotized by the brand name. If Foster wants to regain residence in my Top 10, I need to see more explosive plays, and more visits to the end zone.
DALTON DEL DON
Love him: Robert Griffin III, Was, QB - Del Don QB rank No. 9 (Y! No. 17)
He wasn't great in Week 1 and will need to start running to reach his fantasy potential, but Griffin goes from playing a tough Houston defense on the road to a home game versus a Jacksonville team that allowed the third-most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks last season. The Jags' secondary was torched after Johnathan Cyprien left with a concussion in Week 1, and his status for Sunday is questionable. Look for Griffin to bounce back with a big performance this week.
Hate him: Matt Stafford, Det, QB - Del Don QB rank No. 16 (Y! No. 9)
Stafford looked terrific Monday night, but he has a career 6.9 YPA away from home, and he gets a Carolina secondary this week that allowed the second-fewest fantasy points to opposing QBs last season. The Panthers' defense has allowed two touchdowns or fewer in 16 of their past 17 games and looked dominant Week 1.