Patrick Daugherty

Goal Line Stand

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Week 2 Rankings

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Updated 9/15/2013 at 12:00 PM ET. 

There’s no bad performance quite like a Week 1 bad performance. You wait all spring and summer for…that? A Week 1 dud invariably causes more consternation than say, a Week 5 dud, but in the grand scheme of things, there’s no difference between the two. So as you look forward to Week 2, it’s important not to overreact to one bad game. That is not to say some of last week’s flops were not instructive, however.      

There was no shortage of disappointing performances, but Lamar Miller’s 10-carry, three-yard effort against the Browns took the cake. Coming off a preseason where he failed to separate from Fumblin’ Daniel Thomas, Miller needed a big afternoon to assuage fantasy owners’ fears. Instead, he did the opposite. The question is, why? Film review turned up an obvious answer: He never had a chance.

The Dolphins’ run blocking was simply horrid, allowing immediate penetration that swallowed Miller up before he so much as had a chance to look downfield. Miami’s zone blocks were painfully slow to develop, while there was too much pre-snap motion. The Browns diagnosed a first quarter sweep a full 1-2 seconds before the ball was snapped (Miller was taken down for a two-yard loss). Miller broke just one tackle — at most — but it’s hard to shed defenders when you’re being gang tackled, which Miller was on almost every single attempt. Even on Miller’s longest rush — a six-yard scamper in the third quarter — he was nearly torn down at the line of scrimmage by Paul Kruger, who was in the process of easily shedding his block. Thomas fared a bit “better” — he gained 14 yards on eight carries — but only because the Dolphins, a zone-blocking team, appeared to adopt more of a power mentality when he got the rock.

Silver linings? The Dolphins were dealing with one of the better front sevens in the league in the Browns, and face a less-imposing challenge in Week 2 in the Colts. But until — if — they can get quicker off the ball and actually block somebody, Miller could prove a weekly adventure that trends much more in the direction of “unpredictable FLEX play” than the “solid RB2” drafters had in mind in August.  

Editor's Note: Rotoworld's partner FanDuel is hosting a one-week $25,000 Fantasy Football league for Week 2. It's $25 to join and first prize is $5,000. Starts Sunday at 1pm ET. Here's the link.

Week 2 Quarterbacks

Rank Player Name Opponent Notes
1 Aaron Rodgers vs. WAS -
2 Drew Brees at TB -
3 Peyton Manning at NYG -
4 Colin Kaepernick at SEA -
5 Cam Newton at BUF -
6 Matthew Stafford at ARZ -
7 Matt Ryan vs. STL -
8 Tom Brady vs. NYJ -
9 Robert Griffin III at GB -
10 Michael Vick vs. SD -
11 Tony Romo at KC Probable (ribs)
12 Russell Wilson vs. SF -
13 Andrew Luck vs. MIA -
14 Eli Manning vs. DEN -
15 Joe Flacco vs. CLE -
16 Terrelle Pryor vs. JAC -
17 Ryan Tannehill at IND -
18 Sam Bradford at ATL -
19 Jay Cutler vs. MIN -
20 Carson Palmer vs. DET -
21 Josh Freeman vs. NO -
22 Philip Rivers at PHI -
23 Andy Dalton vs. PIT -
24 Matt Schaub vs. TEN -
25 Ben Roethlisberger at CIN -
26 E.J. Manuel vs. CAR -
27 Alex Smith vs. DAL -
28 Chad Henne at OAK -
29 Brandon Weeden at BAL -
30 Jake Locker at HOU -
31 Christian Ponder at CHI -
32 Geno Smith at NE -

QB Notes: Here’s how ridiculous Colin Kaepernick has gotten. Going back to his 181-yard rushing performance in the Divisional Round of the playoffs — which, ok, entails just total 23 total NFL games, but work with me here — only LeSean McCoy’s 184-yard outburst on Monday Night Football has topped Kaepernick’s demolition of the Packers on the ground last January. So that makes it all the more impressive that during the same timespan, only Peyton and Eli Manning, who threw for 462 and 450 yards last week, respectively, have bettered the 412 yards Kaepernick racked up as a passer on Sunday. You can quibble and say we’re cherry picking numbers and timeframes, but that would be forgetting that Kap’s 181-yard day on the ground was an all-time record for a quarterback. The fact that just three games later he threw for 412 yards on the exact same defense — while only rushing for 22 yards, no less — illustrates what a uniquely great player he’s become. Kaepernick isn’t just an elite dual-threat quarterback. He’s a dual-threat quarterback elite at both rushing and passing. Don’t be surprised if he’s named the league MVP at season’s end.      

Tom Brady at No. 8. Looks scary, doesn’t it? I’d be lying if I said I didn’t feel some hesitation at ranking Tom Terrific so low, but the fact is, on paper that might be generous. Missing Rob Gronkowski, Aaron Hernandez and Wes Welker, Brady didn’t get into a rhythm in Sunday’s win over the Bills until he started zeroing in on Shane Vereen and Danny Amendola. So naturally, both are going to miss this evening’s grudge match with the Jets. Brady did his best to form a rapport with rookie Kenbrell Thompkins Sunday, but Thompkins rewarded him by corralling just 4-of-14 targets, and failing to make plays on a number of catchable passes. Perhaps it was the undrafted free agent’s nerves at work, but it’s hard to see things getting any better with shutdown corner Antonio Cromartie likely to follow him all over the field in Foxboro. That leaves Julian Edelman as the one player Brady can truly trust against Gang Green. Who knows, maybe Brady will find him for 15 catches, 225 yards, another two touchdowns and all the fantasy glory his owners could ever desire. But more than likely, Brady’s supporting cast is going to necessitate he do something he’s scarcely done since Randy Moss and Josh McDaniels came to town: Win more as a game manager than gunslinger. Brady is a player you never bench, but this week, you better temper your expectations.

Although Robert Griffin III came on in the second half of Monday night’s loss, he did little to suggest he’s all the way back from his January knee injury. Griffin’s accuracy was scattershot, partly because he was hesitant to step into passes, instead throwing off his back foot. A whopping 259 of his 329 yards came after the Eagles went up 33-7 early in the third quarter. He was tentative as a runner. The good news is, Griffin still appeared further along than he has any right to be just eight months after reconstructive surgery, but he simply needs more time to round back into top form. For now he’s more of a low-end QB1 than the elite one he was last season. … In many ways, it’s surprising Michael Vick ended up with “only” 203 yards passing and 54 yards rushing in Monday night’s win. It’s less surprising, however, when you realize Vick attempted just five passes after the break. Apparently even Chip Kelly believes in milking the clock. Vick took a ton of hits against the Redskins, but he’ll be an every-week QB1 until he gets injured.

No one had a more absurd game plan than the Colts in Week 1, not even Cleveland. Yes, it’s true that Bruce Arians got a little too pass happy at times last season. Sometimes a lot too pass happy. But to have Andrew Luck attempt just 23 passes, only 16 of which came before the fourth quarter? To have Luck dropping back fewer times than Terrelle Pryor? Against a team starting Mike Jenkins and Tracy Porter at cornerback? Pure madness. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to be more balanced. There is something wrong with doing it at the expense of by far your best player. Luck is a borderline QB1 until OC Pep Hamilton proves he’s learned his lesson. … Speaking of Pryor, can you say “deluxe Tim Tebow”? That’s what he looked like on Sunday, a bigger, faster, more accurate version of America’s golden boy. Like Tebow, Pryor is going to make mind-numbing mistakes, but also like Tebow, he’s going to be far more useful for fantasy purposes than “real-life” ones. He’s worth a bench spot in standard leagues, and is a legit streaming option in two-QB formats.

Sam Bradford looked much like the improved quarterback he was down the stretch last season, throwing for 299 yards and two touchdowns against the Cardinals. With week-to-week consistency remaining one of his last major issues, Bradford could make a big statement against a Falcons team that might be missing CB Asante Samuel (thigh). … Josh Freeman looks more like a bottom-five quarterback every week, but the matchup is right in the Saints. … Ben Roethlisberger may not stay down around No. 25 for long, but he needs to show something after last week’s completely horrendous performance. It won’t be easy against the Bengals’ elite defense. The ranking says much more about Big Ben’s supporting cast than his own play.     

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Patrick Daugherty is a football and baseball writer for He can be found on Twitter .
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