Wednesday's NFL opener marks the 10th anniversary of Rotoworld's weekly Goal Line Stand rankings. For the first time in a decade the ranks will be without the voice of Gregg Rosenthal, who has moved on to run NFL.com's Around the League coverage.
The good news is that I joined Rosenthal as a Goal Line Stand partner two years ago, learning at the knee of the master. In a similar vein, Mike Clay will climb aboard this year as Rotoworld follows the NFL's tandem attack lead. Mike has over five years of experience ranking players for sites such as the esteemed Pro Football Focus. As long as Mike and I don't fumble Rosenthal's baton, the transition should be as smooth as Montana-Young or Manning-Luck.
Before finalizing your lineup choices each week, be sure to consult Evan Silva's brilliant Matchups column -- the best of its kind on the internet. More research hours are devoted to Matchups than any single article on Rotoworld, and it shows. Here is Silva's early-week breakdown of Cowboys @ Giants.
We are posting the ranks early this week for those owners deliberating players from tonight's game. I will post rankings and analysis every Thursday by 1 pm ET, including tomorrow's update with notes. For additional insight, including early-week rankings, exclusive stat tools, weekly projections, top 200 ranks, schedule analysis and premium Dynasty league coverage, check out our Season Pass.
Week 1 Quarterbacks
QB Notes: The top seven quarterbacks should be considered "plug 'n' play" all season. ... Vick (ribs) is not listed on the injury list this week. Although shadow corner Joe Haden's suspension has yet to kick in, the Browns will be without starting SLB Scott Fujita and NT Phil Taylor. ... After an excellent preseason in Dirk Koetter's uptempo offense, Ryan gets a massive matchup upgrade with Pro Bowl pass rusher Tamba Hali suspended while CB Brandon Flowers and FS Kendrick Lewis are questionable with injuries.
We are officially concerned about Rivers' early-season production. The Raiders' front four brings plenty of pressure, and Rivers' blindside is guarded by overwhelmed undrafted rookie free agent Mike Harris. Rivers had a 16:17 TD-to-INT ratio without LT Jared Gaither last year. Throwing in spotty August chemistry with "No. 1" receiver Robert Meachem, and Rivers is just a borderline fantasy starter. ... We're feeling Flacco in the no-huddle attack this year. ... Cutler should have little problem moving the ball against the Colts' soft defense. On the flip side, it makes sense to lean on Matt Forte and Michael Bush if the Bears jump out to an early lead. ... Luck may be NFL-ready, but Soldier Field is a stiff test in his debut.
We don't have a great read on Griffin's progress because the Shanahans limited his snaps in preseason action. RGIII is certainly rawer than Luck, but there's potential for a shootout in New Orleans. The Redskins passing attack has a boom-or-bust vibe in the opener. ... Palmer struggled to adapt to Greg Knapp's offense in August, and two of his top three receivers are question marks heading into the Monday night opener. ... A road game at Arizona is a stiff first test for Wilson. ... We have little faith in Dalton. He hasn't moved the offense consistently since taking advantage of an easy schedule in the first half of last season. The interior of the Bengals offensive line was a sieve in August, and there's no reliable second weapon behind A.J. Green.