Dr. Beeper: “I thought you’d be the man to beat this year.”
Ty Webb: “I guess you’ll just have to keep beating yourself.”
For those who don’t know, these quotes were taken from Caddyshack, a classic documentary credited with shedding light on the rapidly expanding gopher population during the early 80s. Today, they represent the Week 1 performances of two of the most hyped (overhyped?) teams in recent memory. The Dallas Cowboys and the New York Jets came into 2010 with Super Bowl aspirations, but both teams left Week 1 with no one to blame but themselves. The Cowboys combined questionable play calling with untimely penalties to drop their opener to the Redskins. New York lost to the Ravens on Monday night.
Fortunately, the Café has assembled a team of rankers to help you avoid the types of decisions that doomed these supposed NFL juggernauts in Week 1. Here’s how we do it. In 2010, we’re ranking all the players we expect could see a significant amount of game action each week. We factor in a player’s overall ability, his weekly matchup, and the current status of his health. The result is one Start/Sit number, based on a scale of 100, and we’ll use each member’s ratings to find an average for each player. The higher a guy is on our list, the better you should feel starting him. Finally, below each table, I will give my personal Start/Sit recommendations for each position. Without further ado, let’s get to Start/Sit for the NFL’s second week.
Ed. Note: Thanks to Dan Lambskin, SameSongNDance, Case Ace, seahawks506, B-Chad, WWM, tclangham and daullaz for ranking!
|2||Drew Brees||NO||at SF||93.75|
|5||Matt Schaub||HOU||at WAS||86.00|
|7||Tom Brady||NE||at NYJ||82.75|
|8||Michael Vick||PHI||at DET||79.07|
|11||Eli Manning||NYG||at IND||74.38|
|12||Jay Cutler||CHI||at DAL||74.25|
|13||Joe Flacco||BAL||at CIN||73.88|
|18||David Garrard||JAC||at SD||65.75|
|19||Matt Hasselbeck||SEA||at DEN||64.75|
|20||Matt Cassel||KC||at CLE||64.13|
|22||Derek Anderson||ARI||at ATL||62.75|
|23||Chad Henne||MIA||at MIN||62.38|
|24||Sam Bradford||STL||at OAK||60.63|
|25||Dennis Dixon||PIT||at TEN||59.50|
|28||Josh Freeman||TB||at CAR||56.68|
|30||Trent Edwards||BUF||at GB||49.25|
|35||Kevin Kolb||PHI||at DET||6.95|
Start: Kyle Orton, Denver Broncos. His name doesn’t inspire confidence. Offer him in a trade and you’re likely to be met with skepticism and/or violence. However, if you can look past the name and the unfortunate neck beard you’ll see a quarterback that looked sharp from the preseason through the first game of the regular season. You’d also see that Denver is a pass first team and Orton does a nice job of going through his progressions and making good decisions (except for the beard). Combine that with a favorable matchup (Seahawks) and you’ve got a spot starter for Week 2.
Sit: Tom Brady, New England Patriots. I could tell you to bench Mark Sanchez, but that would hardly be helpful. Instead, I’ll be bold and go with Brady. New England faces a Jets defense that looked to be in midseason form despite playing without Kris Jenkins who hurt his knee in the first quarter of Monday night’s game. (Update: It’s been confirmed that Jenkins will miss the remainder of the year with a torn ACL so now he’s also in midseason form). Still, Brady was only able to throw one touchdown combined in two meetings with the Jets last year. I ranked him as a fringe starter in a 14-team league this week. If you’re in a relatively shallow league and you have a serviceable backup, this is the week to use said backup.
|2||Maurice Jones-Drew||JAC||at SD||90.19|
|3||Steven Jackson||STL||at OAK||89.56|
|7||Ray Rice||BAL||at CIN||85.38|
|9||Jamaal Charles||KC||at CLE||82.63|
|10||Rashard Mendenhall||PIT||at TEN||82.13|
|11||LeSean McCoy||PHI||at DET||81.06|
|12||Arian Foster||HOU||at WAS||80.13|
|13||Ahmad Bradshaw||NYG||at IND||79.25|
|15||Pierre Thomas||NO||at SF||78.00|
|18||Matt Forte||CHI||at DAL||74.00|
|22||Thomas Jones||KC||at CLE||72.63|
|24||Brandon Jacobs||NYG||at IND||71.75|
|30||Ronnie Brown||MIA||at MIN||70.38|
|34||Cadillac Williams||TB||at CAR||68.63|
|35||Reggie Bush||NO||at SF||68.13|
|36||Justin Forsett||SEA||at DEN||67.88|
|37||Tim Hightower||ARI||at ATL||66.25|
|38||Ricky Williams||MIA||at MIN||65.63|
|39||C.J. Spiller||BUF||at GB||60.88|
|40||Fred Taylor||NE||at NYJ||59.75|
|41||Steve Slaton||HOU||at WAS||58.00|
|42||Beanie Wells||ARI||at ATL||57.99|
|43||Leon Washington||SEA||at DEN||52.25|
|45||Fred Jackson||BUF||at GB||48.72|
|46||Chester Taylor||CHI||at DAL||48.63|
|50||Marshawn Lynch||BUF||at GB||41.88|
|51||Kareem Huggins||TB||at CAR||40.25|
|52||Willis McGahee||BAL||at CIN||40.13|
|57||Mike Bell||PHI||at DET||35.76|
|58||Kevin Faulk||NE||at NYJ||34.50|
Start: Brandon Jackson, Green Bay Packers. Jackson turned in a solid effort in relief last week as he rushed for 63 yards on 18 carries against an Eagles defense that was inspired by the prospects of a Michael Vick-led comeback. Ryan Grant has been ruled out for for the season, which means Jackson gets the start against a Buffalo team that surrendered 132 yards and a score to Miami’s ground game last week. The strength of Buffalo’s defense is … whoa, that doesn’t sound right. The relative strength of Buffalo’s defense is its secondary, which means Jackson should find himself in an ideal situation for his first start of the year.
Sit: Jerome Harrison, Cleveland Browns. The table was set for Harrison in Week 1. With Montario Hardesty out for the year, many expected Harrison to be the featured back against a Tampa Bay defense that may or may not rank in the top 32 this year. Nine carries and 52 yards later, Harrison finds himself in an RBBC with Peyton Hillis. Moreover, Hillis is clearly the better goal line runner, which will further limit Harrison’s value. I know they say not to panic after only one week, but I have a bad feeling it will be long time before Harrison’s name appears on my “start” list.
|2||Andre Johnson||HOU||at WAS||92.13|
|5||Brandon Marshall||MIA||at MIN||87.38|
|6||DeSean Jackson||PHI||at DET||87.13|
|8||Larry Fitzgerald||ARI||at ATL||85.62|
|9||Marques Colston||NO||at SF||84.25|
|12||Hines Ward||PIT||at TEN||81.88|
|13||Randy Moss||NE||at NYJ||81.25|
|14||Wes Welker||NE||at NYJ||81.13|
|15||Anquan Boldin||BAL||at CIN||81.00|
|16||Dwayne Bowe||KC||at CLE||80.25|
|18||Jeremy Maclin||PHI||at DET||78.50|
|20||Hakeem Nicks||NYG||at IND||77.48|
|21||Steve Smith||NYG||at IND||77.38|
|28||Mike Sims-Walker||JAC||at SD||71.63|
|30||Steve Breaston||ARI||at ATL||71.13|
|31||Devin Aromashodu||CHI||at DAL||70.38|
|35||Mark Clayton||STL||at OAK||68.38|
|36||Devery Henderson||NO||at SF||68.25|
|38||Derrick Mason||BAL||at CIN||67.50|
|T-38||Jacoby Jones||HOU||at WAS||67.50|
|T-38||Robert Meachem||NO||at SF||67.50|
|43||Mike Wallace||PIT||at TEN||65.75|
|45||Mike Williams||SEA||at DEN||65.25|
|46||Kevin Walter||HOU||at WAS||65.00|
|47||Mario Manningham||NYG||at IND||64.63|
|49||T.J. Houshmandzadeh||BAL||at CIN||63.00|
|50||Johnny Knox||CHI||at DAL||62.38|
|52||Mike Williams||TB||at CAR||61.75|
|55||Lee Evans||BUF||at GB||60.50|
|57||Lance Moore||NO||at SF||58.50|
|58||Chris Chambers||KC||at CLE||58.38|
|59||Mike Thomas||JAC||at SD||57.75|
|62||Jason Avant||PHI||at DET||54.88|
|63||Devin Hester||CHI||at DAL||54.75|
|T-63||Dexter McCluster||KC||at CLE||54.75|
|65||Danny Amendola||STL||at OAK||53.63|
|66||Davone Bess||MIA||at MIN||53.50|
|67||Brian Hartline||MIA||at MIN||52.25|
|68||Laurent Robinson||STL||at OAK||52.18|
|72||Deion Branch||SEA||at DEN||50.88|
|73||Sammie Stroughter||TB||at CAR||45.25|
|79||Deon Butler||SEA||at DEN||41.25|
Start: Santana Moss, Washington Redskins. Here are four things I learned from Week 1 of the 2010 season: the NFL’s decision to go to an 18-game schedule will ultimately be popular; Mike Sims-Walker’s decision to go to a 15-game schedule will remain unpopular; Santana Moss is going to be Donovan McNabb’s favorite target (followed closely by Chris Cooley); if the Houston Texans defense turns out to be better than average, it will be because of their ability to stop the run. Of the four items I just listed, at least half of them bode well for Moss this week.
Sit: Bernard Berrian, Minnesota Vikings. Last week, I made what turned out to be terrible call on Percy Harvin by suggesting he would be productive. My reasoning was partly based on the fact that Berrian had a terrible preseason and did not look to be in sync with Brett Favre, resulting in more targets for Harvin. After watching Minnesota struggle against New Orleans, I’m confident that better days are ahead the Vikings offense. Except for Berrian, who looked bad before the season and looked worse on Thursday night, dropping a pass and a punt in limited action. As of this writing, he is over 90% owned and over 30% started. Both numbers are way too high.
|6||Brent Celek||PHI||at DET||85.14|
|11||Heath Miller||PIT||at TEN||75.57|
|12||John Carlson||SEA||at DEN||73.43|
|13||Greg Olsen||CHI||at DAL||70.57|
|14||Marcedes Lewis||JAC||at SD||70.00|
|15||Kellen Winslow||TB||at CAR||68.09|
|16||Todd Heap||BAL||at CIN||67.53|
|17||Owen Daniels||HOU||at WAS||65.56|
|20||Jeremy Shockey||NO||at SF||58.86|
|21||Tony Moeaki||KC||at CLE||57.00|
|25||Anthony Fasano||MIA||at MIN||53.86|
|29||Aaron Hernandez||NE||at NYJ||50.57|
Start: Kellen Winslow, Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Rookie WR Mike Williams looked good last week in spite of his pedestrian totals. He beat single coverage fairly consistently and got plenty of targets before the Bucs took the lead. Winslow was second on the team in targets but was double teamed all day, resulting in only four catches for 32 yards. I’m betting Williams was impressive enough to earn a few double teams, allowing Winslow some opportunities to beat single coverage in the middle of the field. (Honorable mention: Chris Cooley).
Sit: Brent Celek, Philadelphia Eagles. On draft day, there is no more compelling argument for grouping players into tiers than Brent Celek. He’s never as good as the tight end taken before him and he’s painfully similar to the five taken after. Now he faces the Lions in a seemingly favorable match-up. I’m cautiously pessimistic. The Eagles are going to run a lot more than usual behind Michael Vick and LeSean McCoy.
Start: New Orleans Saints. The Saints defense looked good against Minnesota, but that’s probably the fifth best reason to like them this week. The first four are Alex Smith, who didn’t look like an NFL quarterback against what turned out to be a shockingly competent Seahawks team. New Orleans is going to score points and that should force the 49ers to open up the offense. If that happens, the Saints could find themselves on the right side of more than a couple of turnovers.
Sit: New York Giants. Selecting a fantasy defense is all about match-ups. The headlines say the Giants forced five turnovers last week, but if the opposing quarterback was Matt Moore can you really say the turnovers were “forced?” Perhaps a caption that read, “Giants accept five turnovers” might be more accurate. My point is they had a very favorable match-up. That’s not the case this week as they travel to Indianapolis to face Peyton Manning and the Colts. Look elsewhere.
|2||David Akers||PHI||at DET||87.57|
|5||Neil Rackers||HOU||at WAS||84.29|
|6||Garrett Hartley||NO||at SF||82.14|
|9||Lawrence Tynes||NYG||at IND||78.57|
|10||Stephen Gostkowski||NE||at NYJ||77.00|
|12||Robbie Gould||CHI||at DAL||75.43|
|14||Jay Feely||ARI||at ATL||73.86|
|16||Ryan Succop||KC||at CLE||61.86|
|17||Jeff Reed||PIT||at TEN||61.57|
|18||Dan Carpenter||MIA||at MIN||61.29|
|T-20||Josh Brown||STL||at OAK||60.71|
|24||Josh Scobee||JAC||at SD||60.00|
|28||Olindo Mare||SEA||at DEN||57.29|
|30||Billy Cundiff||BAL||at CIN||56.14|
|31||Connor Barth||TB||at CAR||53.71|
|32||Rian Lindell||BUF||at GB||53.00|
Start: Mason Crosby, Green Bay Packers. Good match-up. Good offense. Be the ball.
Sit: Stephen Gostkowski, New England Patriots. Gostkowski is coming off a game in which he missed two field goal attempts. Now, he faces the Jets in what is likely to be a low scoring affair. If you watched HBO’s Hard Knocks, you know New York’s motto for 2010 is, “Play Like a Jet.” What you may not know is their original slogan, “Defense Yay, Offense Boo,” was the more accurate choice. Gostkowski will be worth starting most weeks, but I don’t think he gets more than five fantasy points here.
Drew is a lifelong Jets fan. Playing and writing about fantasy football has proven helpful in easing the pain.
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