The following rankings show my early top 25 picks for Week 2, among fantasy quarterbacks.
To clarify, this countdown doesn't lean on a particular stat. It's merely an educated early guess of which signal-callers will have the best combination of total yards (passing/rushing) and total touchdowns for the NFL's second week.
Regardless of how these rankings shake out every week, it shouldn't supersede these two important factors that go into regular lineup consideration:
1. Fantasy owners should always play their healthy superstars
As you can see below, Carson Palmer (at Miami) actually scores a higher weekly ranking than Matthew Stafford (at San Francisco). But I didn't draft Stafford (355 yards passing, one TD last week) in Round 1 or 2 last month to bench him on a random weekend in September.
2. Always ride your gut instinct
You can read every website or fantasy podcast, or ply certain gurus with Twitter-based lineup queries from Wednesday through Sunday. However, none of these shamans will ever match your passion level for your own fantasy squad. At the end of the day (one of my favorite cliches), only you will be responsible for the success or failure of that team.
Top 25 QBs For Week 2
1. Aaron Rodgers vs. Chicago
2. Philip Rivers vs. Tennessee
3. Drew Brees at Carolina
4. Tom Brady vs. Arizona
5. Cam Newton vs. New Orleans
6. Tony Romo at Seattle
7. Matt Ryan vs. Denver
8. Carson Palmer at Miami
9. Matthew Stafford at San Francisco
10. Michael Vick vs. Baltimore
11. Jay Cutler at Green Bay
12. Peyton Manning at Atlanta
13. Robert Griffin III at St. Louis
14. Eli Manning vs. Tampa Bay
15. Matt Schaub at Jacksonville
16. Joe Flacco at Philadelphia
17. Christian Ponder at Indianapolis
18. Andrew Luck vs. Minnesota
19. Andy Dalton vs. Cleveland
20. Ben Roethlisberger vs. N.Y. Jets
21. Ryan Fitzpatrick vs. Kansas City
22. Alex Smith vs. Detroit
23. Josh Freeman at N.Y. Giants
24. Matt Cassel at Buffalo
25. Sam Bradford vs. Washington
1. Aaron Rodgers has a quirky four-year trend (2008-11) of posting similar numbers against the Bears for a particular season. For example, his stellar 2011 average was 290 yards passing and four touchdowns. But for 2009, he failed to throw for more than 200 yards in each outing against Chicago. His clincher for this week's No. 1 ranking: Rodgers failed to notch three-plus touchdowns in consecutive games only once last year.
2. No NFL quarterback can touch Philip Rivers' average numbers from his last four home openers (2008-11)—330.5 yards passing and 2.5 touchdowns.
3. The Cam Newton pick is a tricky one. Yes, he accounted for 300-plus yards against the Bucs, but I fully expect the Panthers—who ran the ball on a wet, chewed-up field only 13 times last Sunday—to be markedly more balanced at home against the Saints. As a result, the No. 5 ranking will likely demand three Newton touchdowns.
4. Robert Griffin III (362 total yards, two TDs) had an amazing outing against the Saints—the fourth-most prolific debut (yards passing) for a rookie QB in NFL history. But it's still just one game. Let Griffin grow into the role of "reliable NFL quarterback" before attaining "savior" status. That said, his Week 2 matchup against the Rams is worthy of a top-15 ranking.
5. I love the matchup of Matt Ryan vs. Peyton Manning on Monday Night Football. But at the same time, I don't see either team rolling for more than 30 points. As the week goes on, perhaps I'll give a rankings bump to one or both of the star passers.
Jay Clemons can be reached on Twitter, day or night, at @ATL_JayClemons.
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