They even allowed Joe Flacco to take some of the fourth quarter off in Week 1 after giving up 299 yards to the Baltimore Ravens’ passer before he gave way to backup Tyrod Taylor on Monday Night Football.
Next on the Bengals’ schedule is a road trip to visit rookie Robert Griffin III, who has electrified the NFL in his first two starts.
Griffin has completed 70.9 percent of his passes thus far, tossing three touchdowns and a pick.
But that’s not it. The dude can run the ball pretty well, too.
He’s got 124 rushing yards and a pair of touchdowns on the ground through two games. That’s an average of 12 fantasy points per game supplied by his rushing skills.
We’ve already been through the fact that he can throw the ball. The success he’s experienced with those two elements of his game (and his Week 3 opponent) make him—wait for it—the No. 1 ranked fantasy quarterback on my list this week.
1. Robert Griffin III, Washington Redskins (vs. Cincinnati Bengals): (See above.)
2. Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions (at Tennessee Titans): The Titans have a glaring weakness in their defensive scheme through two games: they haven’t defended the tight end very well this season at all. Stafford’s got a pretty good tight end.
He’s also got a Megatron.
3. Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers (vs. New York Giants): Another talented, dual-threat quarterback. Newton came alive in Week 2, rushing for 71 yards and a touchdown against the New Orleans Saints. He also threw for over 250 and another score.
4. Michael Vick, Philadelphia Eagles (at Arizona Cardinals): It’s no coincidence that Vick is near the top of this list. He, like Newton, had a magnificent fantasy day running and passing the ball. His two interceptions largely canceled his passing touchdown, but he added 371 passing yards to his totals through the air.
On the ground, Vick carried the ball 10 times for 34 yards and a score.
5. Tony Romo, Dallas Cowboys (vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers): From a group of top-two overall NFL draft picks to an undrafted dude from Eastern Illinois. Romo has become a legitimate NFL quarterback and has the weapons around him to make him a fantasy stud.
The fact that he’ll be playing his 2012 home opener doesn’t hurt, either.
6. Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints (vs. Kansas City Chiefs): The Chiefs should cure the Saints’ ills this season for at least a week or so.
7. Eli Manning, New York Giants (at Carolina Panthers): You can never count this guy out. 510 yards in Week 2 while the Giants put up 25 points in the fourth quarter? Are you kidding me?
8. Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons (at San Diego Chargers): Ryan’s weapons and abilities have made him a major fantasy bargain so far this season.
9. Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers (at Seattle Seahawks): He didn’t have so great a game at home against the Bears on Thursday night in Week 2. Now he has to visit a notoriously disruptive crowd along with the Seahawks, who are pretty good.
But it’s still Aaron Rodgers. You’re starting him…unless you have RGIII.
10. Tom Brady, New England Patriots (at Baltimore Ravens): Brady was outscored by Christian Ponder and Kevin Kolb in Week 2. But he’s Tom Brady.
He’s facing a vicious and focused Ravens defense. He’s temporarily lost a weapon (Aaron Hernandez). He’s going to be on the road.
But it’s Tom Brady, and he’s got to be in the top 10 somewhere.
11. Peyton Manning, Denver Broncos (vs. Houston Texans): The elder Manning brother will look to improve upon his nightmarish Monday Night Football start at home against a team that used to be his perennial divisional foe.
12. Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers (at Oakland Raiders): Big Ben threw two touchdowns and was credited with 275 passing yards as the Steelers dismantled the Jets. There was no Revis, but those guys are still pretty good on defense.
13. Joe Flacco, Baltimore Ravens (vs. New England Patriots): The Ravens will probably run the ball on Sunday night to keep the ball out of Tom Brady’s hands. Flacco could still get a couple of passing strikes to keep the Patriots honest.
14. Philip Rivers, San Diego Chargers (vs. Atlanta Falcons): If the Falcons play as well as they did on Monday night, there may be more attractive options out there. But we won’t know that until we see it again.
15. Alex Smith, San Francisco 49ers (at Minnesota Vikings): The 49ers quarterback is quietly putting up consistent numbers and keeping the ball out of the defense’s hands. He's a safe start for 200 yards and a touchdown or two.