Updated Week 2 RankingsSunday, September 16, 2012
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After two years of teasing frustrated fantasy owners, the Falcons and Ravens finally seem poised to put the hurry-up, no-huddle reins in the hands of Matt Ryan and Joe Flacco. It's no coincidence that the 791 points scored in Week 1 were the most in Kickoff Weekend history and the second-most of any week in NFL history. The up-tempo Falcons and Ravens were responsible for 84 of those points, and the Broncos' new no-huddle offense chipped in 31 of their own.
Queried about the league's offensive bent, one defensive coordinator replied, "Are you kidding me? The league loved this weekend. If they could have this every weekend, they'd be [extremely happy]. They're never going to slow this down. This is the gravy train."
Although we may see precocious rookies Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III accelerate the learning curve, the lesson provided by Ryan and Flacco is that not just any quarterback can master the responsibilities of the no-huddle offense.
"The biggest misnomer out there is that any quarterback can do this," former Colts president Bill Polian told Yahoo's Jason Cole this week. "Even within the quarterbacks in this league, you have to have someone with special traits, intelligence, recognition, the ability to process things both in terms of time and actual physical ability. There are a lot of great quarterbacks out there who can't run the no-huddle. It requires way too much processing for them. ... At any one time, you might have three or four quarterbacks who can really do it."
The good news for the owners of fantasy players on the Falcons and Ravens is that Ryan and Flacco have finally joined that elite club. Week 1 was a harbinger of fantasy success to come.
Week 2 Quarterbacks
QB Notes: Redskins VP of Football Operations Mike Shanahan already had a leg up on the Executive of the Year award after his bold trade with old crony Jeff Fisher to land franchise quarterback Robert Griffin III. If Week 1 was a sign of things to come, Shanahan is going to add Coach of the Year as well. After slow-playing the rest of the league with bland preseason game plans, Shanahan unveiled a masterpiece of screens, run-pass options, play action fakes and eight (!) fantasy-friendly designed quarterback runs in New Orleans. Don't get the idea that Griffin's record-setting performance was all scripted, though. Griffin extended the play on five occasions, three of them resulting in big plays. The rookie went 17-of-21 for 267 yards, two touchdowns and a 150.5 passer rating from inside the pocket, showing the same preternatural poise and playmaking ability that leaped off his college game film. The inimitable John Madden opined that the No. 2 overall pick was "the best player in the league in Week 1." RGIII is here to stay as a fantasy starter.
Rodgers would have topped the list considering his history of success versus the Bears, but the timing has been just a bit off with his receivers. The likely absence of Greg Jennings won't help matters. ... The Saints-Panthers game has the potential to be a fantasy bonanza. ... Ditto the no-huddle Broncos and Falcons on Monday night. ... Don't sit Stafford even against the 49ers. He just tied an NFL record with four consecutive 350-yard games, averaging over 400 yards per week going back to late December of last season.
Vick didn't play well at Cleveland, but he wasn't nearly as inept as you may have read elsewhere. The play design was uninspired, the pass protection was shaky thanks to a stronger than expected Browns pass rush, and the receivers had trouble gaining separation. The relatively low rankings of Vick and Flacco aren't red flags for the future, rather a reflection of two stingy defenses in a tough matchup. ... Big Ben has tough sledding against a defense that may be Rex Ryan's best ever. ... I always wonder why more teams don't mimic the Shanahan/Kubiak offense. Every time I look up in a Texans game, receivers and tight ends are running free on a play-action fake. As long as this remains a run-first unit, though, Schaub is no more than a QB2 option.
Fitzpatrick locked onto his receivers in a disastrous performance versus the Jets. With Tamba Hali and perhaps Brandon Flowers returning this week, his matchup isn't nearly as good as the one that greeted Matt Ryan in the opener. As Matchups guru Evan Silva points out, Fitzpatrick is just 216-of-372 (58.1 percent) for 2,288 yards (6.15 YPA) and a 13:19 TD-to-INT ratio in directing the Bills to a 1-9 record over their last 10 games. Silva also tells us that Dalton is responsible for 13 turnovers versus a mere eight touchdowns while directing the Bengals to a 3-7 record over their last 10. ... Ponder, on the hand, was downright excellent in the second half and overtime of the Vikings' Week 1 victory, showing accuracy, poise and field vision while completing 17 of his final 20 passes for 238 yards. ... Weeden set a record for worst quarterback grade ever handed out by Pro Football Focus.