Gregg Rosenthal

Goal Line Stand

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Week 1 Rankings

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Week 1 is my favorite week of the NFL season because the long, dark winter of the NFL offseason is as far away from starting as possible.

This is also a week where we begin to unlearn so many of the assumptions of the offseason. You never know how a season will shape up, but here are four teams we are particularly interested in watching this Sunday to see how they start.

1. Bengals: Even without T.J. Houshmandzadeh, the receiving weapons in Cincinnati are deeper than ever. Ocho Cinco looks revitalized at receiver, and backups Chris Henry and Andre Caldwell are better than most team's starters. (Including this team's starter: Laveranues Coles.) Ocho Cinco will reportedly be shadowed by Champ Bailey, so this game will test his offseason hype.

Ocho's biggest concern is his quarterback. Carson Palmer missed three preseason games after missing 12 games last year, and the offensive line could be a mess. This team could be a great source of fantasy value, including in the running game, but it all hinges on Palmer staying upright. They get an inviting first matchup against Denver.

2. Broncos: Lot of questions here, but a lot of potential. How soon will Knowshon Moreno be a 20-touch difference-maker? (Could take some time.) When do owners just play Brandon Marshall? (We'd take the risk this week if the Broncos do. And they wil.) Can Josh McDaniels create fantasy magic out of Kyle Orton? (Chances are better than people think.)

3. Cardinals: Don't panic that a Super Bowl hangover seemed to slow this offense in the preseason. Be more concerned if Kurt Warner, Larry Fitzgerald and the boys don't get their mojo back against an improved 49ers defense on opening day.

Also: we'll be watching closely to see how long it takes for Tim Hightower's bubble to be burst. He needs to solidify his offseason gains in a game that matters, and we'd still start Beanie Wells over him in fantasy leagues.

4. Falcons: Atlanta will be different this year, but we're not sure how different. Things to watch for in Week 1: Jerious Norwood's involvement in the offense, and how aggressive they are throwing the ball against Miami. With a little run-pass ratio adjustment, Matt Ryan can make a Peyton Manning-like second year leap. (We suspect Atlanta won't be that aggressive.)

And without any more foreplay, here are your Week 1 rankings for the best time on the football calendar.

Week 1 Quarterbacks

RankPlayer NameOpponentNotes
1Drew Breesvs. DET -
2Tom Bradyvs. BUF -
3Peyton Manningvs. JAC -
4Philip Riversat OAK -
5Aaron Rodgersvs. CHI -
6Tony Romoat TB -
7Donovan McNabbat CAR -
8Kurt Warnervs. SF -
9Carson Palmervs. DEN -
10Jay Cutlerat GB -
11Matt Ryanvs. MIA -
12Matt Schaubvs. NYJ -
13Joe Flaccovs. KC -
14Ben Roethlisbergervs. TEN -
15Kyle Ortonat CIN Fully expected to start
16Matt Hasselbeckvs. STL -
17David Garrardat IND -
18Brett Favreat CLE -
19Shaun Hillat ARZ -
20Eli Manningvs. WAS -
21Trent Edwardsat NE -
22Jason Campbellat NYG -
23Matt Casselat BAL Status Uncertain (knee)
24Chad Penningtonat ATL -
25Jake Delhommevs. PHI -
26Brady Quinnvs. MIN -
27Marc Bulgerat SEA Probable(finger)
28Byron Leftwichvs. DAL -
29Kerry Collinsat PIT -
30JaMarcus Russellvs. SD -
31Matthew Staffordat NO -
32Mark Sanchezat HOU -

Notes: Regular Goal-Line stand readers know the player comments go here. But with the Thursday game, we wanted to get the rankings to you as soon as possible. In lieu of notes, I wrote a final look back at the preseason in the Morning of.

Editor's Note: For projections for every player listed above, check out Rotoworld's Season pass package. The Rotoworld Oracle takes your scoring system and tells you who to start. Plus you get access to countless other features including tons of stat tools, columns, Top-200 rankings for trades, early weekly rankings, Evan Silva's running back report, Monday morning recaps, IDP help, and picks of the week.

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Gregg Rosenthal has directed Rotoworld's football content since 2003. He co-hosts the NBC Fantasy Fix and covers the NFL for and Catch him on Twitter.
Email :Gregg Rosenthal

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