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Week 2 Rankings

By Cody Smith

In Week 1 we saw some interesting things. Mr. Unlimited himself – Russell Wilson – led the way among quarterbacks, while Aaron Rodgers also seemed to find a little life in his throwing arm on his way to a four-touchdown day.

Josh Jacobs had a huge day (called it) and so did a few surprise candidates. Nyheim Hines, Raheem Mostert and Malcolm Brown all weaseled their way into the top-10 among running backs.

Some big names were also injured (see below) while others just had a down week (A.J. Brown, Cooper Kupp, Michael Gallup, Keenan Allen, etc.)

In all, it felt great to have football back, and I’m just as excited for Week 2 as I was for Week One!

So, let’s get this party started!

Injury Notes

Marlon Mack has torn his Achilles and is done for the season. This will certainly open the door for Hines and Jonathan Taylor. You can probably start both this week if you’re up to the risk.

Adam Gase said on Monday that Le’Veon Bell could “be looking at a couple weeks” before his return from a hamstring injury suffered in Sunday’s game. By Tuesday, Bell was placed on the IR, guaranteeing he’ll miss at least the next three weeks. This opens the door for the ever-ageless Frank Gore, as well as Josh Adams. I can’t advise you to start either this weekend against the 49ers.

Phillip Lindsay left Monday night’s game against the Titans with what is believed to be a mild case of turf toe. Lindsay is having an MRI done this week. Even if he is a go this weekend, he’s better left on the bench against a stout Steelers' run defense that limited Saquon Barkley to single digit rushing yards Monday night.

James Conner is once again dealing with an injury, this time to his ankle. The team believes he avoided a high ankle sprain but keep an eye on practice reports this week. Conner will face a tough match-up against the Denver Broncos even if he does play. If you can, invest in Benny Snell Jr.

Duke Johnson injured his ankle on Thursday night, and as of Tuesday evening is still day-to-day according to head coach Bill O’Brien. Johnson didn’t have a huge role Thursday, so no matter what he should be sat in a week two match-up with the Ravens.

Michael Thomas was rolled up on late on Sunday’s game against the Bucs, suffering a dreaded high-ankle sprain. Originally, Thomas believed he could play through it, but it was later revealed to be a more serious injury than originally thought. This is the same injury that caused Saquon Barkley and Alvin Kamara to both miss some time last year. Give Emmanuel Sanders, Jared Cook and even Kamara a slight bump with Thomas out.

Brandin Cooks played through a quad injury Thursday but is still being bothered by it this week. Chances are he will play through it again, though he caught just two passes for 20 yards trying to do so last week. If he can’t play, Will Fuller V and Randall Cobb will see a bump.

DeVante Parker is still having hamstring issues that he is currently working on rehabbing. He attempted to play through the injury Sunday, but the issue is still lingering. Keep an eye on the situation, as Mike Gesicki will receive a bump if Parker is a no-go, though Preston Williams will probably be a better play if Parker is able to go. If Parker sits, Tre White will cover Williams all game.

David Njoku hit the IR this week after suffering a knee injury in week one. He will be out at least three weeks, and in the meantime, Austin Hooper will get most Cleveland’s tight end targets. Though I wouldn’t plan on putting him in your lineup right away.

George Kittle has been diagnosed with a sprained knee which occurred Sunday. He played through the injury in the second half on Sunday but was largely ineffective over the course of the game. This could be bad news for the 49ers, as the pass-catchers are depleted. Deebo Samuel is out at least three weeks after opening the season on IR. If you have to play a pass-catcher, it’s probably Kendrick Bourne or maybe Jordan Reed, but I’m staying away from this mess.

Blake Jarwin also hit the IR this week after tearing an ACL. He’ll be done for the year and will give way to Dalton Schultz at starting tight end… Yuck.

Quarterbacks I like

Josh Allen accounted for three touchdowns against the Jets, two through the air and one on the ground. This week he takes on the Dolphins who just allowed Cam Newton to rush for 75 yards and a pair of touchdowns. I’d expect a nice day from Allen, including one, if not two touchdowns via the run.

Aaron Rodgers impressed me quite a bit Sunday when he torched the Minnesota secondary for 364 yards and four passing touchdowns. Hopefully, this isn’t a week one overreaction, but I think Rodgers may be back. He ought to be for this week at least, as he takes on the Lions who were just defeated by Mitch Trubisky who completed 20 passes for 242 yards and three scores on the Detroit defense.

Quarterbacks to avoid

The Seahawks let Russ cook last weekend, as Russell Wilson completed 31-of-35 passing attempts for 322 yards and four touchdowns against Atlanta. A tougher defensive test awaits this weekend when New England comes to town. Despite some opt outs, the Pats defense looked strong in Week 1, and could limit Wilson’s numbers in week two.

Gardner Minshew II put on a passing efficiency clinic in week one, completing 19-of-20 passing attempts for 173 yards and three touchdowns. This week the team travels to Nashville to face the Titans in what is almost always a low-scoring affair. After what the Titans' defense looked like on Monday night, it may be best to put Minshew on the bench this week.

Quarterback Rankings

1. Lamar Jackson @Hou

2. Dak Prescott vs. Atl

3. Aaron Rodgers vs. Det

4. Josh Allen @Mia

5. Patrick Mahomes @LAC

6. Kyler Murray vs. Wsh

7. Cam Newton @Sea

8. Drew Brees @LV

9. Deshaun Watson vs. Bal

10. Russell Wilson vs. NE

11. Matthew Stafford @GB

12. Ben Roethlisberger vs. Den

13. Matt Ryan @Dal

14. Philip Rivers vs. Min

15. Teddy Bridgewater @TB

16. Carson Wentz vs. LAR

17. Daniel Jones @Chi

18. Tom Brady vs. Car

19. Kirk Cousins @Ind

20. Joe Burrow @Cle

21. Jimmy Garoppolo @NYJ

22. Derek Carr vs. NO

23. Ryan Tannehill vs. Jax

24. Mitch Trubisky vs. NYG

25. Jared Goff @Phi

26. Sam Darnold vs. SF

27. Tyrod Taylor vs. KC

28. Dwayne Haskins @Ari

29. Drew Lock @Pit

30. Baker Mayfield vs. Cin

31. Gardner Minshew II @Ten

32. Ryan Fitzpatrick vs. Buf

Runningbacks I like

Ezekiel Elliott ran for nearly 100 yards on a somewhat decent Rams run defense in Week 1. This week he gets the Falcons who allowed a pair of touchdowns to Chris Carson in week one. Zeke’s role in the passing game seemed apparent Sunday night, as he grabbed three receptions, including a score through the air. Heavy volume and a vulnerable defense could spell a big game for Zeke.

I know both of these picks are top tier running backs, but I feel very strongly about Alvin Kamara this week. One week removed from being on my avoid list and finishing with 12 carries for 16 yards against Tampa Bay, Kamara takes on a Las Vegas defense that was torched on the ground by Christian McCaffrey last week. Kamara may see an increase in passing work as well with Michael Thomas struggling through an ankle injury. All the more reason to roll him out and expect a big week.

Runningbacks to avoid

David Johnson is in an interesting position this week. The team’s other Johnson (Duke) is injured and may miss the contest, giving David Johnson more work. However, the team plays the Ravens, which could result in a negative game script for the Texans. If David Johnson returns value this week, he’ll have to do it through the air.

Another running back whose counterpart is injured – Melvin Gordon – also makes my avoid list. Despite having more opportunity this week if Phillip Lindsay misses time with a turf toe injury, Gordon faces the Steelers who just limited Saquon Barkley to six rushing yards on 15 carries in Week 1. I’m finding someone else to play if I can this week if I own Gordon.

Running Back Rankings

1. Zeke Elliott vs. Atl

2. Alvin Kamara @LV

3. Derrick Henry vs. Jax

4. Saquon Barkley @Chi

5. Josh Jacobs vs. NO

6. Christian McCaffrey @TB

7. Dalvin Cook @Ind

8. Chris Carson vs. NE

9. Clyde Edwards-Helaire @LAC

10. Kenyan Drake vs. Wsh

11. Todd Gurley @Dal

12. Miles Sanders vs. LAR

13. Austin Ekeler vs. KC

14. Kareem Hunt vs. Cin

15. Joe Mixon @Cle

16. David Johnson vs. Bal

17. Aaron Jones vs. Det

18. Melvin Gordon @Pit

19. Nick Chubb vs. Cin

20. James Conner vs. Den

21. James Robinson @Ten

22. Raheem Mostert @NYJ

23. David Montgomery vs. NYG

24. Benny Snell Jr. vs. Den

25. Ronald Jones vs. Car

26. Nyheim Hines vs. Min

27. Jonathan Taylor vs. Min

28. Devin Singletary @Mia

29. J.K. Dobbins @Hou

30. Malcolm Brown @Phi

31. Adrian Peterson @GB

32. James White @Sea

33. Mark Ingram II @Hou

34. Sony Michel @Sea

35. D’Andre Swift @GB

36. Zack Moss @Mia

37. Peyton Barber @Ari

38. Antonio Gibson @Ari

39. Latavius Murray @LV

40. Leonard Fournette vs. Car

41. Boston Scott vs. LAR

42. Carlos Hyde vs. NE

43. Jerick McKinnon @NYJ

44. Joshua Kelley vs. KC

45. Myles Gaskin vs. Buf

46. Giovani Bernard @Cle

47. Tarik Cohen vs. NYG

48. Alexander Mattison @Ind

49. Chase Edmonds vs. Wsh

50. Cam Akers @Phi

Wide Receivers I like

T.Y. Hilton gets to go off against the Minnesota secondary this week that allowed Aaron Rodgers to pass for over 350 yards and four touchdowns. With a gun slinging QB in Phil Rivers, opportunities should be plenty for the veteran wid eout. Deploy Hilton with confidence this week, and hope Parris Campbell and Nyheim Hines don’t take away too many targets.

Julian Edelman led the Patriots in targets last week, catching five-of-seven for 57 yards. The quiet stat line may have been a result of the Patriots keeping the ball on the ground for 42 plays while passing just 19 times. This week the team faces the Seahawks who are much more vulnerable through the air than on the ground. If Bill Belichick lets Cam Newton open up the passing game, Edelman should be the main beneficiary.

Wide Receivers to avoid

D.J. Moore may be in a bit of trouble this week. After getting off to a slow start with new quarterback Teddy Bridgewater in Week 1, Moore now faces off against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Moore is likely to match-up against cornerback Carlton Davis who was able to shut down Michael Thomas in week one. Look out for back-to-back busts from Moore to open the season, then go buy him on the cheap.

Preston Williams may look like a solid option with news that DeVante Parker is still struggling with a hamstring injury, but I’m here to tell you he’s not. If Parker doesn’t suit up, the potential is there that Williams is shadowed by Tre’Davious White, one of the best cover corners in the league. Last year, receivers covered by White scored a whopping ZERO touchdowns. I’m looking elsewhere this week even if Parker does play, although Parker playing probably increases Williams’ value this week.

Wide Receiver Rankings

1. Davante Adams vs. Det

2. Amari Cooper vs. Atl

3. Julio Jones @Dal

4. DeAndre Hopkins vs. Wsh

5. Allen Robinson vs. NYG

6. Adam Thielen @Ind

7. Juju Smith-Schuster vs. Den

8. Chris Godwin vs. Car

9. Tyreek Hill @LAC

10. Julian Edelman @Sea

11. Hollywood Brown @Hou

12. Robert Woods @Phi

13. D.J. Chark @Ten

14. Will Fuller V vs. Bal

15. Calvin Ridley @Dal

16. D.J. Moore @TB

17. T.Y. Hilton vs. Min

18. Mike Evans vs. Car

19. Michael Gallup vs. Atl

20. Keenan Allen vs. KC

21. Cooper Kupp @Phi

22. Emmanuel Sanders @LV

23. Jamison Crowder vs. SF

24. Tyler Lockett vs. NE

25. Odell Beckham Jr. vs. Cin

26. Stefon Diggs @Mia

27. Terry McLaurin @Ari

28. A.J. Green @Cle

29. A.J. Brown vs. Jax

30. DK Metcalf vs. NE

31. DeVante Parker vs. Buf

32. Tyler Boyd @Cle

33. Diontae Johnson vs. Den

34. Jarvis Landry vs. Cin

35. Parris Campbell vs. Min

36. Marvin Jones Jr. @GB

37. Henry Ruggs III vs. NO

38. Darius Slayton @Chi

39. Brandin Cooks vs Bal

40. CeeDee Lamb vs. Atl

41. Sterling Shepard @Chi

42. Mike Williams vs. KC

43. John Brown @Mia

44. Preston Williams vs. Buf

45. Robby Anderson @TB

46. Larry Fitzgerald vs. Wsh

47. Scotty Miller vs. Car

48. DeSean Jackson vs. LAR

49. Curtis Samuel @TB

50. Tre’Quan Smith @LV

Tight Ends I like

If you guys didn’t know, Mark Andrews is my guy this season. Coming off of a two-touchdown performance, he gets the Houston defense that faced Travis Kelce last week and allowed six receptions for 50 yards and a score. Andrews can, and should produce similar numbers this week

It should also be a nice week to throw Hunter Henry in your lineup, as he awaits a match-up with Kansas City. The Chiefs allowed Jordan Akins to score last week, and he is barely a viable part of the Houston offense. Someone with the talent of Henry, who is arguably the team’s second-best receiving weapon, should have a solid chance to find the endzone.

I usually only take two guys in each section, but here is a bonus play this week. Logan Thomas caught four passes on a team-high eight targets Sunday against the Eagles. Those receptions accounted for 37 receiving yards and a touchdown. Thomas gets the Arizona defense this week, a team that was woefully bad against the position last season.

Tight Ends to avoid

Zach Ertz worries me a bit this week. In a game where Carson Wentz had limited reliable receiving options, Ertz finished the game with three receptions for 18 yards – though he did salvage his day with a touchdown – in a loss to the Washington Football Team. He was outplayed by fellow tight end Dallas Goedert by a mile, and rumor has it that Ertz and the team aren’t happy with each other due to an ongoing contract dispute. This whole situation seems like something I’d want to stay away from this week.

On the other side of the ball, Tyler Higbee faces an Eagles defense that was tough on tight ends last season. Philadelphia allowed 697 yards and just four touchdowns to the position last season, though Logan Thomas did score on them last week. Higbee could be touchdown dependent this week.

Tight End Rankings

1. Mark Andrews @Hou

2. Travis Kelce @LAC

3. Darren Waller vs. NO

4. Hunter Henry vs. KC

5. George Kittle @NYJ

6. Dallas Goedert vs. LAR

7. Evan Engram @Chi

8. Noah Fant @Pit

9. T.J. Hockenson @GB

10. Tyler Higbee @Phi

11. Logan Thomas @Ari

12. Zach Ertz vs. LAR

13. C.J. Uzomah @Cle

14. Jonnu Smith vs. Jax

15. Jared Cook @LV

16. Hayden Hurst @Dal

17. Mike Gesicki vs. Buf

18. Jack Doyle vs. Min

19. Chris Herndon vs. SF

20. Austin Hooper vs. Cin

21. Rob Gronkowski vs. Car

22. Jordan Akins vs. Bal

23. O.J. Howard vs. Car

24. Jimmy Graham vs. NYG

25. Eric Ebron vs. Den

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