Patrick Daugherty


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Week 2 Rankings

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Updated 9/16 at 12:00 PM ET. Removed Josh Gordon and DeVante Parker. Re-added Paul Richardson, added Antonio Callaway. Ticked Jarvis Landry up. Moved Seahawks defense down. Ticked Derrick Henry down.

9/16 at 12:45 PM ET. Moved Marcus Mariota further down based on pre-game reports.


Making his first career start, James Conner handled a monumental 36 touches against the Browns. He turned them into 192 yards from scrimmage and a pair of touchdowns. No other Steelers running back played a snap. It was as if Le'Veon Bell never left.

With Bell not returning for Week 2, Conner gets to follow up his dream day with a dream matchup. Another 35/192/2 probably isn’t the offing, but the Chiefs are more than ready to make another high-end RB1 day happen. Andy Reid’s defense surrendered 123 yards on just 22 carries (5.59 YPC) against the Chargers and coughed up a ridiculous 14/189/1 to Melvin Gordon and Austin Ekeler through the air. Both the highway and the skyway will be open. Even if he makes only a handful of starts, Conner’s early-season impact could make him a league-winner in the long run.  

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Week 2 Quarterbacks

Rank Player Name Opponent Notes
1 Drew Brees vs. CLE -
2 Ben Roethlisberger vs. KC -
3 Cam Newton at ATL -
4 Patrick Mahomes at PIT -
5 Jimmy Garoppolo vs. DET -
6 Aaron Rodgers vs. MIN Questionable (knee)
7 Deshaun Watson at TEN -
8 Philip Rivers at BUF -
9 Kirk Cousins at GB -
10 Alex Smith vs. IND -
11 Russell Wilson at CHI -
12 Jared Goff vs. ARZ -
13 Matthew Stafford at SF -
14 Tom Brady at JAC -
15 Andrew Luck at WAS -
16 Case Keenum vs. OAK -
17 Tyrod Taylor at NO -
18 Matt Ryan vs. CAR -
19 Blake Bortles vs. NE -
20 Sam Darnold vs. MIA -
21 Ryan Tannehill at NYJ -
22 Eli Manning at DAL -
23 Ryan Fitzpatrick vs. PHI -
24 Nick Foles at TB -
25 Dak Prescott vs. NYG -
26 Mitchell Trubisky vs. SEA -
27 Andy Dalton vs. BAL -
28 Joe Flacco at CIN -
29 Derek Carr at DEN -
30 Sam Bradford at LAR -
31 Marcus Mariota vs. HOU -
32 Josh Allen vs. LAC -
33 Blaine Gabbert vs. HOU -

QB Notes: Drew Brees’ 439 yards against the Bucs were 54 more than he had in any 2017 start. The Browns battered Ben Roethlisberger in Week 1 but had the benefit of wind and rain. It will be 72 and “sunny” in the Superdome. … As for Roethlisberger, his 22.8 QBR against the Browns was his lowest since Week 14 2016. The Chiefs’ talent-less defense promises to be a slump-buster for the Steelers’ home debut. Philip Rivers’ pass catchers dropped scores of 39 and 21 yards last Sunday, and he still ripped the Chiefs for 424 and three. … Cam Newton had a quiet day in a dull affair with the Cowboys. Things should be livelier against a Falcons defense adjusting to the loss of both SS Keanu Neal and MLB Deion Jones. You typically don’t want to lose your run-stopping safety and middle linebacker the week Newton comes to town. … Patrick Mahomes was as advertised against the Chargers, finding Tyreek Hill for gains of 58, 30, 20, 21 and 34 yards while flashing various looks as a runner. The Chiefs called both traditional and read option plays. Mahomes is going to have high-turnover performances, but his big-play skill-set and every-worthy arsenal of weaponry are going to make him an every-week QB1. With an over/under of 52.5, shootout conditions are brewing in Pittsburgh.

Jimmy Garoppolo posted a modest 261 yards against the Vikings’ elite defense. It should have been so much more. George Kittle dropped what could have been an 80-yard touchdown in the third quarter, while Garoppolo had some uncharacteristic misses. Now headed home, he’s facing a Lions squad that got smithereens’d by a Jets offense starting the youngest Week 1 quarterback in league history. … The Packers are going to “will he or won’t he?” Aaron Rodgers’ knee issue for as long as possible. That’s just what they do with injuries, especially when it comes to their quarterback. Even if Rodgers has real knee damage, it’s extremely difficult to envision him sitting after he carved up the Bears on one leg. The biggest concern is his foreboding matchup in the Vikes. … Kirk Cousins was solid if unspectacular against the 49ers. A floor day is likely against the Packers’ middle-of-the-road defense. … Alex Smith’s 255 yards and two touchdowns against the Cardinals were nice, but he would have had a lot more had the game been competitive. The Colts should keep it closer than Arizona but also have a (far?) worse defense. Smith’s patented 280/2 seems on the way.


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Deshaun Watson’s Week 1 went about as poorly as possible. The healthy return of Will Fuller (hamstring) would be a big boost against a Titans defense that struggled to pressure Ryan Tannehill. … The Bills looked like an expansion team in Baltimore. Philip Rivers is making one of the longest road trips in football against a defense that is going to be angry after last week’s embarrassment, but there is every other reason to expect a strong QB1 day. That’s if the game does not get out of hand early. … Jared Goff missed too many easy throws against the Raiders. That’s despite the fact that Jon Gruden’s squad generated only three QB hurries. Goff should have the requisite volume against the Cardinals, but he needs to be more efficient. … The QB8 on the road against a tough Broncos defense, Russell Wilson must now venture to Chicago without Doug Baldwin (knee). Khalil Mack terrorized a Packers offensive line that is twice as good as Seattle’s. QB12 might be too much benefit of the doubt. … Matthew Stafford was patently horrific against the Jets. Gang Green said they knew which plays were coming. Hopefully OC Jim Bob Cooter changes up the hand signals and verbiage for this week’s road trip.    

The Texans kept the lid on the Patriots’ offense, limiting Tom Brady to a QB9 day. Brady ripped the Jaguars at home in the AFC Championship Game, but expectations must be tempered against Jalen Ramsey and company on the road. … Andrew Luck’s average depth of target was 5.7 against the Bengals. It has never been below 8.1 in any given season. We are looking at a different player until Luck regains his strength/confidence. … Yes, the weather was bad. That doesn’t mean Tyrod Taylor gets a pass for completing just 15-of-40 throws while taking seven sacks in five quarters against the Steelers. The matchup is compelling in a Saints defense that got clownsuited by Ryan Fitzpatrick, but Taylor is too boom/bust to rank any higher. … It is reasonable to expect 260 yards and two touchdowns from Case Keenum against the Raiders’ barely-there defense. … Going by QB rating, just 10 of Matt Ryan’s 159 career appearances were worse than his showing against the Eagles last Thursday. Ryan has traditionally found the holes in the Panthers’ zone defense, but there is only so much enthusiasm to be mustered for a quarterback with 20 touchdowns over his past 17 starts.                        

Sam Darnold did a nice job alternating checkdowns and deep balls against the Lions. He can already be trusted as a floor play in two-quarterback leagues. … Marcus Mariota is running out of excuses. Now he’s missing his security blanket in Delanie Walker. The Texans were reasonably stout against Tom Brady. It could be another long day for the Titans’ fourth-year starter. … Ryan Fitzpatrick was the best quarterback in the league in Week 1. That lightning isn’t going to strike twice against an Eagles pass defense allowing 227 yards per game since the start of last season. … Week 1 featured nothing but negatives for Dak Prescott. He had no weapons, and his line couldn’t block. If you’re looking for something to hang your hat on, Prescott’s best 2017 performance came against the Giants. ... Playoff Nick Foles has retired. … Eli Manning looked washed against the Jaguars. That’s to be expected. It will be a crisis if that remains the case against the Cowboys. … Mitchell Trubisky was horrible against the Packers once the script ran out. He completed 15-of-26 passes for 72 yards (2.76 YPA) over the game’s final three quarters. He’s going to need four quarters worth of Andy Reid-level play-calling to be worth starting in two-quarterback formats. … Derek Carr was unconscionably bad against the Rams. … Josh Allen — our thoughts are with you.

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