Every Friday during the NFL season we'll review the Yahoo! weekly position ranks. If an expert breaks from the herd on a particular player, they'l be asked to show their work. We'll focus on names near the start/sit line in public leagues. Let the arguments commence.
After an embarrassing debut against one of the NFL's supreme run defenses (Pittsburgh), LenDale Light is poised to post one of his classic low-yardage, multi-TD games. Though he averaged just 3.1 yards per carry and 37.5 total yards per contest against the Texans a season ago, White should be able to run with marked success against a Houston unit that was manhandled in the trenches by the Jets Week 1. Mario Williams(notes) and company surrendered 193 total yards and 4.7 yards per carry to green-clad rushers.
White shed a few pounds during the offseason cutting tequila out of his diet, but his power has remained intact. Because Jeff Fisher will likely emphasize the ground game early, the slimmed down back will likely net at least 12-15 touches.
Even though the Titans O-line played unsettlingly throughout the preseason and in opening week action, the bulldozing back should tally numbers in range of 50-70 yards with 1-2 scores – good enough to sneak into the Noise's RB top 20.
Believe it or not, the Kolb Effect has already been factored into this ranking. I'm just starting from a different place with Jackson than my colleagues. He was No. 11 in my preseason wide receiver ranks. If you think of him only as a deep threat, then you're missing the full skill set. Jackson is plenty capable of turning short routes into long gains, and he's the most talented member of the Philadelphia receiving corps – by orders of magnitude.
Sure, the Eagles might like Brian Westbrook(notes) to dominate the offense on Sunday, but the Saints have likely considered that possibility, too. Jackson will get his looks. He was targeted seven times last week and he'll remain a threat on direct-snaps and punt returns. I don't send elite playmakers to the bench for just anyone. For example, I'm not starting Justin Gage(notes) or Earl Bennett(notes) over Jackson, though certain Yahoo! coworkers would disagree.
It took a while for Hasselbeck to get his sea legs last week but he was letter perfect in the second half against the Rams (when that same story played in New England, we canonize Tom Brady(notes)). Okay, so the matchup for the Seahawks is a lot harder this week, Patrick Willis(notes) and a snarling, underrated Niners defense. I watched every snap of San Fran's upset at Arizona last week and trust me, it's far easier to throw on these guys than it is to run on them (6.5 YPA vs. 2.4 YPC).
The Seattle offensive line is a concern, of course, but at the end of the day it's far easier to mask a makeshift line in the pass game than it is in the run game. Hasselbeck will need to throw it 35-40 times this week, and with that you'll get at least 235 yards and a good shot at two scores. Opportunity is always the key to our numbers racket, and that's why I'm unafraid to dial up Hasselbeck in this spot.
Yes, Marshall only had four catches for 27 yards in Week 1, but I'll attribute much of that to rust. If you saw the game, you know that, in addition to it being an incredibly ugly display by two teams, Marshall was easily Denver's most-targeted receiver. And he could have tacked on an additional 40-50 yards had he not let a deep ball go right through the circle he had formed with his hands to catch the ball. That's not the kind of ball a player with back-to-back 100-catch seasons typically let's get away from him.
After the game, head coach Josh McDaniel was more comlimentary of Marshall than anything else, so I'm confident the war that the two have been waging throughout this summer can remain on the back burner for the time being. I like Marshall's home matchup with Cleveland – he went for 89 yards and a TD against the Browns in Week 10 last season. And he's had another week of practice to shake off the rust and learn McDaniel's playbook. I like the rebound potential.