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Quarterback Lineup Rankings:
I expect Jake Locker to be the center of questions this week, as he looked good and is now facing Dallas. (Hey, if people can boycott the Washington team name because it is offensive, can’t I do the same for the Dallas defense?). He’s a nice play and I’m buying the talent of this Titans offense, but opposing a bad defense doesn’t guarantee a pass-heavy approach. I’m looking for the Titans to try to control the clock with Shonn Greene in an effort to keep the Dallas offense on the bench. Tennessee has a nice offense, but their odds of winning dip dramatically if they get caught up in a shoot out. I expect Locker to be productive, but the volume of attempts may underwhelm those who have him higher than 10th in their lineup rankings.
The Jay Cutler lineup ranking is going to seem a little high considering that he struggled against the Bills defense and now faces a 49ers unit that didn’t appear to miss a beat in Week 1. First of all, that San Francisco defense was the beneficiary of some very questionable Tony Romo decisions, so let’s not completely slot them back among the defenses you want to avoid, not quite yet any way. Say what you will about Cutler, but the gunslinger in him rarely hurts Fantasy owners in back-to-back weeks. Did you know that he hasn’t had consecutive games with multiple interceptions since December 2009? Martellus Bennett, Matt Forte, and Brandon Marshall all looked good in Week 1, and if my man Alshon Jeffery can recover from a mild hamstring injury, the weapons at Cutler’s disposal make it difficult to not produce. I expect San Francisco to load the box in an effort to stop Forte from having the level of success that DeMarco Murray (22 carries for 118 yards and a TD) had against them last week, something that should favor the Bears’ down field passing attack.
Running Back Lineup Rankings:
Nothing crazy this week, as the majority of my Top 10 is comprised of the players you drafted in the first two rounds of your draft. Jamaal Charles falls to the five spot due to the Broncos ability to score early and often, thus potentially limiting his carries, not because I am worried about him at all long-term. The lone surprise rank here may be Arian Foster at number four. Listen, he didn’t look great last week (3.8 yards per carry with a long of 10 yards), but 29 touches is 29 touches. The Texans offensive philosophy is obvious: run to set up the pass, and then take a shot down field. This should play favorably for Foster owners against a Raiders defense that allowed a similarly built Jets offense to pile up 212 rushing yards with a significantly less talented Chris Ivory (10 carries for 102 yards and a TD) leading the way. Yes, Carlos Hyde looked good in his first NFL action, but I still think that Frank Gore gets the lion’s share of touches in a close game in addition to short yardage work more often than not, for now. As the season takes a toll on the 31-year-old, then you may need to reconsider, but for Week 2, I’m OK with Gore as a RB1.
Wide Receiver Lineup Rankings:
I’m standing by this prediction, but Brandin Cooks did look good in his debut and now gets a Browns secondary that couldn’t prevent the Steelers from doing whatever they wanted in Week 1. I’d expect Joe Haden to follow Marques Colston around a bit, thus leaving Cooks (and hopefully, Pierre Thomas) to handle a high percentage of Drew Brees’ passing attempts. I don’t expect the Saints running game to consistently vulture touchdowns like last week, so if Haden can do his job on Colston (I wouldn’t read too far into his struggles with Antonio Brown, that’s nothing new), there are going to be receiving scores to be had. The other surprise Top 10 option would be Eric Decker, as I am thinking that the Jets fall behind and are forced to pass. The Packers’ defense was gashed on the ground by Marshawn Lynch in Week 1 and will probably be aggressive this week with loaded boxes and constant blitzes. Geno Smith looked competent last week, albeit against the Raiders and in small chunks, and he should be able to find Decker with a fair amount of passes in this one. The Jets top receiver hauled in five passes for 74 yards in his debut, a stat line that seems repeatable this weekend but with a touchdown, as his size could be a problem for Green Bay inside the red zone.
Tight End Lineup Rankings:
Get used to it. As long as Jake Locker is healthy, Delanie Walker is going to be a reasonable play every single week. He has the size that none of his teammates have, and given the underwhelming nature of Tennessee’s Week 1 ground game, he could essentially become the de facto vulture. His volume of targets may not be ideal, but the Fantasy potential of those targets is enough for me to rank him as a starter this week against the aforementioned defense in Dallas. Charles Clay is another big bodied (255 pounds) pass-catcher that I like to produce this week. The Bills struggled against the size of the Bears in Week 1, and given the general lack of size elsewhere in Miami, Clay becomes a player with high target potential. The versatile Dolphin was targeted at least six times in eight of his last nine games, a trend that curbs his downside a bit if you believe in Ryan Tannehill. Not mentioned in the lineup rankings, but still very much on the TE1 radar this week is Jermaine Gresham. The Tyler Eifert injury sounds serious and with Marvin Jones still sidelined, Andy Dalton needs a second big pass-catcher. OK, “needs” may not be the right term, as he is perfectly content throwing the ball deep to A.J. Green without looking at his teammates (hey, how can I argue with the checks he is cashing on a weekly basis?), but a tight end with the size/athleticism of Gresham is appealing, especially in a game that should see plenty of points.
Questions or concerns? Get at me on Twitter and I’ll give you advice based on your own situation.