Jesse Pantuosco

Power Rankings

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Week 2 Power Rankings

Wednesday, September 13, 2017


To quote the great Pepper Brooks, I feel shocked. The Chiefs didn’t just upset the Patriots on Thursday night—they mopped the floor with them. Here’s how it all went down.

 

1. New England sold out to cover Travis Kelce, opening lanes for Tyreek Hill and even Kareem Hunt downfield (Alex Smith can throw it deep—who knew?!). It didn’t help that $65 million cornerback Stephon Gilmore blew his assignment on Hill’s 75-yard touchdown while Hunt drew LB/DE Cassius Marsh in coverage on his 78-yard score.

 

2. The Patriots are at their best when they work fast by whipping quick-hit passes to slot receivers while going up-tempo with a no-huddle offense. But instead it seemed like Tom Brady was throwing errant deep balls against heavy pressure on third-and-long all night. That doesn’t happen with Julian Edelman healthy and it didn’t help that Danny Amendola, who is the next closest thing to Edelman, went down with a concussion in the second half.

 

3. All-Pro safety Eric Berry did a masterful job containing Rob Gronkowski, even if it cost him his season.

 

4. Once the Chiefs pulled ahead in the fourth quarter, they were able to lean on Hunt, who was nearly unstoppable in the ground game. The Patriots have a penchant for erasing huge deficits (I’m assuming most of you watched Super Bowl LI) but it’s tough to come back, or even get the ball back, when the other team’s running back is breaking off chunk gains in crunch time.

 

5. New England’s play-calling was a bit odd, wasn’t it? One matchup I thought the Patriots underutilized was Terrance Mitchell on Brandin Cooks. Filling in for an injured Steven Nelson opposite All-Pro corner Marcus Peters (who mostly stays glued to the left side), Mitchell simply couldn’t keep up with Cooks, often resorting to holding or pass interference simply to keep Cooks in check. Yet Cooks only managed three catches on seven targets.

 

6. Thursday’s game was littered with missed opportunities for the Patriots. They were stuffed twice on fourth down and settled for two field goals inside the red zone. Malcolm Butler also hurt the Patriots with a pass interference that set up a Chiefs touchdown before halftime, shifting the momentum back to Kansas City.

 

The Patriots have a great chance to right the ship this week against a non-existent Saints defense and they have a history of responding well to bad losses (like the last time they lost to Kansas City in 2014). But perhaps they’re not quite the juggernaut we made them out to be. And maybe the Chiefs, who went 12-4 a year ago, deserve more credit for a brilliantly executed game plan as road underdogs against a team that’s won two of the last three Super Bowls.

 

Now let’s get to the Power Rankings.

 


1. Green Bay Packers

 

Record: 1-0

 

Last Week: 3

 

Make that eight straight wins at home for the Packers against Seattle. All you Ty Montgomery truthers were proved right on Sunday. While Montgomery didn’t show much in the way of efficiency (2.8 yards per carry), his 74 offensive snaps led all running backs in Week 1. Green Bay hasn’t lost a regular season game since November 20 of last year.

 

2. Kansas City Chiefs

 

Record: 1-0

 

Last Week: 9

 

Spencer Ware combined for 239 yards from scrimmage over his final three games in 2016. Kareem Hunt topped that in his first NFL game (246), a feat so impressive it landed him on the cover of Sports Illustrated. Tyreek Hill was given the pet name TyFluke by skeptics in the fantasy community after his surprise breakout last season. Well the joke’s on them. Only Antonio Brown and Adam Thielen topped Hill’s 133 receiving yards in Week 1.

 

Editor's Note: Looking for a weekly edge in your fantasy leagues? Get the Rotoworld Season Pass for projections, early-week rankings, WR & RB reports, exclusive columns and chats with our experts and much more for just $19.99.

 

3. New England Patriots

 

Record: 0-1

 

Last Week: 1

 

Raise your hand if you expected Alex Smith to outplay Tom Brady in Thursday night’s season opener. Okay, liar. Brady’s 44.4 completion percentage was dead-last among starting quarterbacks in Week 1 while his 70.0 passer rating ranked 24th. Fantasy pundits spent half the summer debating Mike Gillislee’s role in New England’s offense. Thursday we finally learned the truth—he’s LeGarrette Blount 2.0 (three rushing touchdowns, zero receiving yards).

 

4. Pittsburgh Steelers

 

Record: 1-0

 

Last Week: 6

 

Martavis Bryant’s much anticipated return was a little on the underwhelming side (two catches for 14 yards). Le’Veon Bell was also understandably rusty after holding out all of training camp (47 yards on 13 touches). Antonio is still Antonio though (182 yards on 11 catches), and this T.J. Watt fella sure looks like the real deal. Jesse James’ two touchdowns on Sunday were more than he had in his previous 12 games combined.

 

5. Oakland Raiders

 

Record: 1-0

 

Last Week: 5

 

A year away from football seemed to do Marshawn Lynch some good. Beast Mode looked refreshed in his Raiders debut, breaking five tackles while totaling 92 yards from scrimmage (76 rushing, 16 receiving). Amari Cooper drew a team-high 13 targets in Sunday’s win but finished with nearly as many drops (four) as catches (five). He hasn’t topped 80 yards in a game since Week 8 of last season.

 

6. Atlanta Falcons

 

Record: 1-0

 

Last Week: 2

 

Austin Hooper led all tight ends with 128 receiving yards in Week 1 and did it on just two catches. Julio Jones drew fewer targets than teammate Mohamed Sanu in the opener but still did Julio things, absorbing four-of-five targets for 66 yards with most of it coming in the first half (3-for-62 before halftime). Matt Ryan showed no lingering effects from last year’s Super Bowl collapse, hanging 321 yards on Chicago in Week 1.

 

7. Dallas Cowboys

 

Record: 1-0

 

Last Week: 7

 

It took three tries, but Dak Prescott finally got his first win over the Giants on Sunday night. Jason Witten continues his steady ascent up the NFL’s all-time receptions list. With seven more catches he’ll pass Marvin Harrison for fourth behind only Larry Fitzgerald, Tony Gonzalez and Jerry Rice. Including the playoffs, Ezekiel Elliott has now topped 100 yards rushing in four of his last five games.

 

Editor's Note: Get our 2017 NFL Draft Guide + Season Pass for FREE with your first deposit on FanDuel and dominate your leagues! Claim now.

 

8. Seattle Seahawks

 

Record: 0-1

 

Last Week: 4

 

The Seahawks paid $5.5 million this offseason to see what Eddie Lacy had left. In Week 1 we got our answer: not much. Lacy’s tank looked close to empty on Sunday as he managed just three yards on five carries in his return to Lambeau Field. Most of us blamed Russell Wilson’s lackluster 2016 campaign on injuries. He seemed to have his legs back on Sunday (40 rushing yards) but still completed just 51.8 percent of his passes for 158 yards with no touchdowns and a lost fumble.

 

9. Detroit Lions

 

Record: 1-0

 

Last Week: 14

 

Ameer Abdullah saw a decent workload in the opener (career-high 18 touches) but disappointed by averaging just two yards per carry. Fortunately the Lions got better results from third-round pick Kenny Golladay, who broke out for 69 yards and two touchdowns in a win over Arizona. Expect him to be the top waiver pickup at wide receiver this week.

 

10. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

 

Record: 0-0

 

Last Week: 10

 

Jacquizz Rodgers may not be the flashiest name in fantasy, but his volume should be strong while he fills in for Doug Martin. Rodgers averaged 105.4 yards from scrimmage on 23.4 touches per game in five starts last season. Five: that’s the number of receivers who have drawn more targets than Mike Evans since the start of 2015.

 

11. Philadelphia Eagles

 

Record: 1-0

 

Last Week: 17

 

Nelson Agholor was a bust his first two years in the league but it looks like that narrative is about to change. With Josh Norman shadowing Alshon Jeffery for much of the day, Agholor broke loose for a career-best 86 yards in Sunday’s win over Washington. LeGarrette Blount’s receiving touchdown Sunday was his first since Week 5 of 2015.

 

12. Tennessee Titans

 

Record: 0-1

 

Last Week: 8

 

Eric Decker drew plenty of looks from Marcus Mariota in his Titans debut (eight to be exact) but only snagged three catches for 10 yards. That’s not ideal but fantasy owners who entered the year with concerns about Corey Davis’ usage had to be pleasantly surprised with Sunday’s results. The fifth overall pick played 42-of-64 offensive snaps in the opener and led the team with 10 targets even after missing most of camp with a hamstring injury. That game also featured Tony Romo’s debut as a broadcaster and apparently the man’s a psychic.

 

13. Minnesota Vikings

 

Record: 1-0

 

Last Week: 23

 

This is kind of like the chicken or the egg argument—were the Vikings that good or the Saints that bad on Monday night? I’m guessing it was a little of both. Fresh off setting the NFL’s single-season completion percentage record, Sam Bradford shredded the Saints for 346 yards and three touchdowns in the opener. Dalvin Cook’s draft stock fell after tanking at the Combine, but he was brilliant in his pro debut, pacing Minnesota with 127 rushing yards on 22 carries.

 

14. New York Giants

 

Record: 0-1

 

Last Week: 11

 

Aside from a string of completions to Shane Vereen during garbage time, the Giants’ offense was practically non-existent with Odell Beckham sidelined Sunday against Dallas. Looking for a fresh start after bottoming out with the Jets last year, Brandon Marshall couldn’t find daylight in his Giants debut, reeling in just one-of-four targets for 10 yards.

 

15. Denver Broncos

 

Record: 1-0

 

Last Week: 12

 

The Broncos tried their darnedest to give away a 17-point fourth quarter lead but Shelby Harris wasn’t having it. His blocked field goal propelled Denver to victory in the game that made Sergio Dipp go viral (I’m with Bob Ley on this one, by the way). Not many fantasy owners were able to take advantage of Bennie Fowler’s two-touchdown game on Monday night. He’s owned in only 0.4 percent of ESPN leagues.

 

16. Carolina Panthers

 

Record: 1-0

 

Last Week: 22

 

Christian McCaffrey showed promise in his NFL debut, tallying 85 yards from scrimmage, though veteran Jonathan Stewart out-touched him by a slim 20-18 margin. Meanwhile Greg Olsen and Kelvin Benjamin were both bottled up in the opener, combining for just 43 yards on three catches. Expect the offense to improve as Cam Newton, who missed part of camp with a shoulder injury, continues to shake off the rust. 

 


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Jesse Pantuosco is a football and baseball writer for Rotoworld. He has won three Fantasy Sports Writers Association Awards. Follow him on Twitter @JessePantuosco.
Email :Jesse Pantuosco



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